The Defense Department has released a new set of source selection guidelines that soon will apply to the entire Pentagon acquisition system.
The procedures represent the first new set of uniform procedures for source selection since the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) were first published, the Pentagon said in a statement. Shay Assad, DoD’s director of Defense procurement and acquisition policy, issued the guidance March 4.
When it comes into effect on July 1, the document will stand as the Defense Department’s “procedures for conducting competitively negotiated source selections and outlines a common set of principles and procedures for conducting such acquisitions,” the document states. “The goal of this procedure is to ensure the department’s source selection process delivers quality, timely products and services to the warfighter and the nation at the best value for the taxpayer.”
Among highlights of the new procedures are standardized rating criteria for vendors’ technical qualifications and past performance, and a new requirement that DoD services and agencies use of an independent source selection advisory council for any acquisition worth more than $100 million. Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council, a group that represents government service contractors, said the document does not appear to create new acquisition policy, but does provide standardization to DoD’s processes.
“What they’ve done, and in concept I think it makes a lot of sense, is take almost a template approach to various different kinds of procurements,” he said. “I think that’s helpful, because as with any agency that has multiple elements or multiple components, you often see inconsistent source selection or procurement processes, and consistency is helpful on both the government side and the industry side. I think you have to guard against it becoming too rigid, and I don’t think there’s anything in there that suggests it has to be rigid, but sometimes that’s the natural tendency.”
The source selection advisory councils will be made up of seven senior government officials, whose role will be “to provide counsel during the source selection process and must prepare the comparative analysis of the [source selection evolution board’s] evaluation results, when directed by the [source selection authority] .”
DoD will use the procedures for all source selections that are conducted under Part 15 of the FAR. The guidance will provide for departmentwide standardization of rating criteria and descriptions for the technical and past performance factors of any given offer, though some of the standardization has already been embraced by many parts of DoD, the Pentagon said.
“Many components already use standardized rating criteria and descriptions for the technical and past performance factors based on their previously developed supplements to the FAR and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement [DFARS] ,” DoD said in its statement.
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