Civilian Agencies May Increase Simplified Acquisition and Micro-Purchase Thresholds

Civilian agencies may issue class deviations to quickly implement provisions of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act increasing the micro-purchase threshold to $10,000 and the simplified acquisition threshold to $250,000.

In a memorandum for civilian agencies issued on February 16, the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council says that agencies may elect to adopt interim authority allowing their Contracting Officers to take advantage of these higher thresholds, even as the FAR Council goes through the formal process of codifying those changes.

The memorandum states that an official FAR Case has been opened to “implement that appropriate statutory changes in the FAR that are compelled” by the 2018 NDAA.  However, “agencies may have a need to use the increased thresholds prior to publication of the FAR changes.”  Therefore, the memorandum “constitutes consultation in accordance with FAR 1.404 with the Chair of the CAAC allowing agencies to authorize a class deviation to implement the changes.”

The CAAC’s memorandum makes it relatively easy for agencies to adopt class deviations: the CAAC provides agencies with the relevant FAR text, together with “highlights of the appropriate FAR citations needing changes to implement the increased thresholds.”  The highlighted provisions may serve “as a basis for issuing a class deviation.”

The CAAC memorandum “is effective immediately, and remains in effect until the increased thresholds are incorporated into the FAR or is otherwise rescinded.”

It’s very important to note that the CAAC memorandum is not itself a class deviation.  Instead, it authorizes civilian agencies to adopt their own class deviations while the FAR Case is pending.  If I don’t miss my guess, many Contracting Officers are going to be pushing their agencies for class deviations to take advantage of this new authority more quickly.

We’ll keep you posted.