Draft 2020 NDAA Changes Mandatory DoD Debriefings and Permanently Authorizes DoD Mentor-Protégé Program

On June 11, the House Armed Services Committee published its draft of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was updated June 19. Among other proposed sections impacting small business contractors which will be discussed in future blog posts, the draft reduces the monetary threshold for comprehensive Department of Defense debriefings and renews the DoD’s Mentor-Protégé Program.

Enhanced Debriefings Threshold

In section 818 of the 2018 NDAA, discussed on this blog, Congress introduced “Enhanced Post-Award Debriefing Rights” for certain DoD procurements. Specifically, the section required that where the DOD awards a contract valued at $100 million or more, the DoD also has to provide a redacted version of the “agency’s written sources selection award determination” to offerors during their debriefings.

In section 828 of the draft 2020 NDAA, however, the contract value triggering this requirement is reduced by half to $50 million. While the 2018 NDAA significantly increased the amount of information disclosed as part of DoD debriefings generally, the proposed 2020 NDAA meaningfully enhances the number of procurements in which additional information must be disclosed.

DoD Mentor-Protégé Program Permanent Authorization

In addition to increasing the number of contracts subject to enhanced debriefing rights, the draft 2020 NDAA also permanently authorizes the DoD’s Mentor-Protégé Program. Just last year, the DoD significantly altered the program, directly impacting eligibility and certification rules and requirements. Now, the draft 2020 NDAA also requires the DoD’s Office of Small Business Programs to set Mentor-Protege performance goals and provide Congress periodic reviews of its success in meeting those goals.

Finally, the draft NDAA also alters the DoD Mentor-Protege Program definition of “Disadvantaged Small Business Concern.” While the 1991 NDAA, which first implemented the Program, referred to a “disadvantaged small business concern” as “a firm that has less than half the size standard corresponding to its primary North American Industry Classification System code,” the 2020 draft only requires that a disadvantaged firm is not larger than the applicable size standard.

The draft 2020 NDAA includes a number of other important potential changes relevant to the world of government contracting. Stay tuned to SmallGovCon online or through our monthly email newsletter for more information on the 2020 NDAA. Additionally, if you have general questions about debriefings, check out our handbook, Debriefings and Bid Protests: A Guide to Protest Rules and Regulations