DOD now required to report bundled contracts, sole-source awards
Interim rule may not have a significant effect on companies, but small businesses could reap a big benefit
- By Matthew Weigelt
- Jul 13, 2010
Acquisition officials in the Defense Department now must post notices about bundled contracts and their benefits, according to a new interim rule.
DOD’s contracting officers are required to publish a notification on FedBizOpps.gov or any similar site at least 30 days before releasing a solicitation for a bundled contract, according to a notice published today in the Federal Register. The interim rule amends the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS). Contracting officers must report the bundling only when they’re using DOD funds.
Contract bundling occurs when an agency combines several smaller procurements into one larger purchase. If a defense agency expects to reap measurably substantial benefits because of bundling, the notification must include the brief description of those benefits, the rule states.
The rule is based on a provision in the fiscal 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, which became law in October.
The interim rule isn’t expected to have a significant effect on companies, particularly small businesses. On the other hand, small companies may benefit in the end.
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“In fact, availability of the notice of potential bundling may enable small businesses to compete for more work of which the firms might otherwise have been unaware,” the notice states.
Currently, the Federal Acquisition Regulation only requires officials to notify an incumbent small business when one of its requirements could be bundled.
“However, the new provision enables any small businesses, whether or not an incumbent contractor, to become aware of a potential bundled opportunity, generally 30 days prior to the release of the solicitation,” the notice states.
The rule goes into effect today. Defense acquisition officials are accepting comments on the rule through Sept. 13 as they draft the final rule.
In another interim DFARS rule, defense agencies now must alert congressional defense committees of sole-source task or delivery orders in excess of $100 million. The law bans sole-source contract awards that are more than $100 million except in certain circumstances. For instance, officials have to determine the order is integrally tied to a single company or only one company is capable of performing the work, according to another Federal Register notice.
Defense officials must report the sole-source solicitation within 30 days of determining the award meets certain criteria, the rule states.
Defense agencies must send their sole-source determinations to the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, instead of directly to the committees. The undersecretary will provide consistency in format as the notices go to the committees and will better manage the process in order to meet the 30-day deadline, the notice states.
Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.