Acquisition official: DOD, industry must communicate

Defense Department contracting officers need to talk more often to industry to improve the process of awarding contracts, a new memo states.

Shay Assad, DOD’s director of Defense procurement and acquisition, wrote in the memo that contract awards made without discussions should be rare. DOD officials need to encourage the various parties involved in source selections “to fully engage with industry at all stages of the competitive process.”

In the memo, he recommended DOD use industry days, requests for information and draft requests for proposals to exchange information and start dialogues with industry.

“Communication is a key element,” Assad wrote in the Jan. 2 memo.

After presolicitation, officers should continue talking with companies after they’ve submitted their proposals so the officers can understand the company’s exact intent when aspects of their proposal are blurry, Assad wrote.

“Such dialogue can only lead to more efficient, effective and improved source selections,” he wrote.

Assad told contracting officers not to open discussions with industry because they fear protests. Instead, they should communicate to ensure predictable and reliable contract outcomes, according to the memo.

He also wrote that conversations are equally important when an award is protested.

In the memo, he asked for briefings from contracting officers on any protest of a competitively awarded major acquisition program or acquired services of more than $1 billion within 10 days of the protest being filed. The briefings should outline the basis of the protest, the agency’s position on it and any other relevant information, the memo states.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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