New DoD Rule Requires Formal Certification for WOSB and EDWOSB Contracts

The DoD has issued a new class deviation, effective immediately, which implements the SBA’s requirement that women-owned small businesses be formally certified to receive WOSB set-aside contracts.  The class deviation contains a “priority review” procedure to allow companies with pending WOSB or EDWOSB certification applications to be considered for award. 

Effective immediately, when a DoD contracting officer wishes to award a WOSB set-aside or sole source contract, the DoD contracting officer is required to verify the awardee’s certification status in the SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS). Companies are not eligible for DoD WOSB or EDWOSB set-asides or sole source unless they are designated with the appropriate status in DSBS. Be sure to check your DSBS status before you submit your proposal. You can check your status, here.

In order to submit an offer on a specific EDWOSB or WOSB set-aside, 13 cfr  § 127.504(a) requires an application, at minimum, submitted and pending with the SBA.

But what about a self-certified company that is the apparent awardee of a DoD contract, but is awaiting approval of its WOSB or EDWOSB certification? The DoD class deviation offers a “priority review” process to potentially allow the company to receive an award. The class deviation says:

For offers on EDWOSB or WOSB set-asides only, the contracting officer shall verify in DSBS that the concern either is designated as an EDWOSB or WOSB or has an application pending with the Small Business Administration (SBA) or one of its authorized third-party certifiers. If the concern becomes the apparently successful offeror while its EDWOSB or WOSB application is pending, the contracting officer shall notify the SBA’s Director of Government Contracting by email at, who will ensure priority review of the application by either the SBA or the third-party certifier, as applicable, and complete a determination within 15 calendar days of receipt by the SBA. If a determination is not received within that timeframe, the contracting officer may either grant an extension, or presume the concern is not an eligible EDWOSB or WOSB and make award to another offeror.

DoD Class Deviation 2021-O0002.

This deviation remains in effect until the FAR and SAM are updated to align with the SBA revisions, or until the DoD otherwise rescinds or amends it. We will keep you updated here at SmallGovCon.

* Updated March 15, 2021

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