Defense mandates disclosure of contract bundling

Defense Department procurement officials who combine a number of small contracts to create one larger deal now must disclose their actions on a public website, according to an interim rule published in the Federal Register on Tuesday.

The practice, known as contract bundling, has long been a top concern of small businesses owners, who argue larger acquisitions will be out of their financial reach. And, while the change to the Defense Acquisition Regulations System does not prohibit contract bundling, it will shine a light on an often-secretive process and possibly provide a window of opportunity for creative and quick-thinking small businesses.

At least 30 days before issuing a solicitation, Defense contracting officers now will be required to publish a notice on FedBizOpps, a federal website that advertises potential contracting opportunities, of their intent to bundle the requirement. If the department has determined that "measurably substantial benefits are expected to be derived as a result of bundling," it must describe those potential savings.

The rule, which went into place immediately and applies only when the contract is funded entirely by the Pentagon, implements a provision in the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act.

The Federal Acquisition Regulation previously required agencies simply to notify the affected incumbent contractor of their intentions to bundle a requirement. The contractor, generally a small business, would then have the opportunity to engage the government and possibly retain some unbundled business.

But, by mandating broader notification of all contract bundling, a wider swath of the small business community could have the opportunity "to compete for more work of which the firms might otherwise have been unaware," the notice said.

In a separate rule issued on Tuesday in the Federal Register, the Pentagon now will require its contracting officers to notify congressional defense or intelligence committees within 30 days of issuing sole-source task or delivery orders in excess of $100 million.

The head of the Defense component, meanwhile, must determine in writing that sole-source procurements meet one of four criteria:

  • The task or delivery orders expected under the contract are so integrally related that only one source can reasonably perform the work;
  • The contract provides only for firm-fixed-price task or delivery orders;
  • Only one source is qualified and capable of performing the work at a reasonable price to the government;
  • The contract is necessary because of exceptional circumstances.

The department is accepting public comments on both rules through Sept. 13.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.