DoD Proposes DFARS Amendment to Enhance Debriefings

Receiving a notice that a competitor received an award can be a punch to the gut. This feeling is compounded when the requested debriefing is short on details. Offerors are normally left with more questions than answers.

The DoD has proposed to amend the DFARS to enhance debriefings in certain procurements. The correct amount of information in a debriefing is an ever-moving target; hopefully, this new proposed amendment will be a step in the right direction.

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GAO Dismisses Challenge to Brief Explanation of Award

Depending on the type of procurement, an agency will often provide either a brief explanation or debriefing after an award is made. But those explanations are difficult to challenge, as a recent GAO decision confirmed.

In the decision, GAO dismissed a protester’s challenge to the sufficiency of a two-paragraph explanation. Protester failed to show competitive prejudice or regulatory deficiency in the explanation. Since the protester could not demonstrate either of these conditions resulted from the explanation, GAO dismissed these allegations.

When protesting to GAO after receiving a brief explanation, what do you need to know in order to get your foot in the door? Let’s take a look.

“Open your Email Attachments!” Says GAO

With the ongoing rise of technology in the workplace, safe email practices are increasingly important. In particular, many in the cybersecurity community are concerned about email attachments and spam. Even so, in Information Unlimited, Inc., B-415716.40 (Oct. 4, 2019), GAO warned protesters not to delay in opening email attachments provided by the government.

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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.

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Section 809 Panel Recommends Eliminating COFC’s Ability to Consider Protests After GAO’s Resolution

Among its suggestions to streamline the acquisition process, the Section 809 Panel has proposed to eliminate the ability to file a protest at GAO and the Court of Federal Claims. Instead, the Panel would require protesters to choose between filing at GAO or the Court.

Let’s take a look.

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Under FAR Part 16 Task Order Solicitation, Agency Can Establish Competitive Range Without Notification

Under FAR Part 15 negotiated procurements, an agency must give notice and an opportunity to request a debriefing to offerors eliminated from the competitive range. But the notice requirement does not apply for task and delivery order procurements under FAR Part 16 where FAR Part 15 is inapplicable.

A recent GAO decision highlights this distinction.

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GAO: Agency Closing Time is 4:30 p.m., not 5:00 p.m.

Unless an agency designates different business hours, the FAR says that a government agency is deemed to close at 4:30 p.m. local time–not 5:00 p.m., as it would be easy to assume.

In a recent case, the 4:30 p.m. closing time cost an unsuccessful offeror a chance at a GAO protest because the offeror’s debriefing request, sent to the agency at 4:59 p.m., was deemed untimely.

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