Five Things You Should Know: Tips for Understanding and Using the FAR

Government contracting officials receive detailed training on the FAR. So do employees of some large contractors. But for many others in government contracting, particularly small businesses, there is no formal FAR training. For them, the FAR can seem overwhelming, even scary.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: the FAR is massive. In print form, which is how I read the FAR early in my career, you’re looking at a veritable brick of a book. You’d undoubtedly get some very nice definition by using copies of the FAR for bicep curls.

But, big as it is, the FAR isn’t quite as impenetrable as it might seem at first glance–especially if you know a few tricks. Here are my top five tips for understanding and using the FAR.

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Conflicting CIO-SP4 Updates For CTAs, And Now, A Promise to Clarify

We finally have NITAAC’s CIO-SP4 solicitation, complete with several amendments and a Q&A. So that means the anticipated offerors have the answers to all of their questions about this long-awaited GWAC procurement, right? Well, no. In fact, for anyone planning to team-up for CIO-SP4, there seems to be more confusion now than ever before.

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GAO: No SBA Certificate of Competency Review Needed for Failure to Adequately Explain Technical Approach

For small businesses, the SBA’s Certificate of Competency process can offer a powerful “second bite at the apple,” essentially allowing a small business to appeal to the SBA if a procuring agency finds the small business non-responsible.

But the SBA CoC process is limited to findings of non-responsibility under FAR Part 9. As GAO recently held, there is no right to appeal to SBA if the proposal was rejected for failing to adequately explain the small business’s technical approach.

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YouTube Tuesday: Simplified Acquisition & Micropurchase Threshold Increase

Recent changes to the FAR increased the simplified acquisition and micropurchase thresholds! For change highlights, check out my video:

Have questions? You can reach me here.

FAR Council Implements Interim FAR Rule Prohibiting Contractor Use of Chinese Telecom Products

The FAR Council recently moved forward with implementing provisions of Section 889(a)(1)(B) of the 2019 NDAA through an interim rule. This rule, effective August 13, 2020, furthers the work begun previously of separating the federal government and its contractors from certain Chinese telecom and video surveillance companies.

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Sole-Source Options for Agencies During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The current COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the federal government to take drastic measures. It has altered many aspects of federal contracting for contractors and agencies alike. During these trying times, agencies also have the authority to streamline some contracting procedures. Let’s take a look.

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