10 USC 2305 - Contracts: planning, solicitation, evaluation, and award procedures

(a) 
(1) 
(A) In preparing for the procurement of property or services, the head of an agency shall
(i) specify the agencys needs and solicit bids or proposals in a manner designed to achieve full and open competition for the procurement;

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(ii) use advance procurement planning and market research; and
(iii) develop specifications in such manner as is necessary to obtain full and open competition with due regard to the nature of the property or services to be acquired.
(B) Each solicitation under this chapter shall include specifications which
(i) consistent with the provisions of this chapter, permit full and open competition; and
(ii) include restrictive provisions or conditions only to the extent necessary to satisfy the needs of the agency or as authorized by law.
(C) For the purposes of subparagraphs (A) and (B), the type of specification included in a solicitation shall depend on the nature of the needs of the agency and the market available to satisfy such needs. Subject to such needs, specifications may be stated in terms of
(i) function, so that a variety of products or services may qualify;
(ii) performance, including specifications of the range of acceptable characteristics or of the minimum acceptable standards; or
(iii) design requirements.
(2) In addition to the specifications described in paragraph (1), a solicitation for sealed bids or competitive proposals (other than for a procurement for commercial items using special simplified procedures or a purchase for an amount not greater than the simplified acquisition threshold) shall at a minimum include

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(A) a statement of
(i) all significant factors and significant subfactors which the head of the agency reasonably expects to consider in evaluating sealed bids (including price) or competitive proposals (including cost or price, cost-related or price-related factors and subfactors, and noncost-related or nonprice-related factors and subfactors); and
(ii) the relative importance assigned to each of those factors and subfactors; and
(B) 
(i) in the case of sealed bids
(I) a statement that sealed bids will be evaluated without discussions with the bidders; and
(II) the time and place for the opening of the sealed bids; or
(ii) in the case of competitive proposals
(I) either a statement that the proposals are intended to be evaluated with, and award made after, discussions with the offerors, or a statement that the proposals are intended to be evaluated, and award made, without discussions with the offerors (other than discussions conducted for the purpose of minor clarification) unless discussions are determined to be necessary; and
(II) the time and place for submission of proposals.
(3) 
(A) In prescribing the evaluation factors to be included in each solicitation for competitive proposals, the head of an agency
(i) shall clearly establish the relative importance assigned to the evaluation factors and subfactors, including the quality of the product or services to be provided (including technical capability, management capability, prior experience, and past performance of the offeror);
(ii) shall include cost or price to the Federal Government as an evaluation factor that must be considered in the evaluation of proposals; and
(iii) shall disclose to offerors whether all evaluation factors other than cost or price, when combined, are
(I) significantly more important than cost or price;
(II) approximately equal in importance to cost or price; or
(III) significantly less important than cost or price.
(B) The regulations implementing clause (iii) of subparagraph (A) may not define the terms significantly more important and significantly less important as specific numeric weights that would be applied uniformly to all solicitations or a class of solicitations.
(4) Nothing in this subsection prohibits an agency from
(A) providing additional information in a solicitation, including numeric weights for all evaluation factors and subfactors on a case-by-case basis; or
(B) stating in a solicitation that award will be made to the offeror that meets the solicitations mandatory requirements at the lowest cost or price.
(5) The head of an agency, in issuing a solicitation for a contract to be awarded using sealed bid procedures, may not include in such solicitation a clause providing for the evaluation of prices for options to purchase additional property or services under the contract unless the head of the agency has determined that there is a reasonable likelihood that the options will be exercised.
(b) 
(1) The head of an agency shall evaluate sealed bids and competitive proposals and make an award based solely on the factors specified in the solicitation.
(2) All sealed bids or competitive proposals received in response to a solicitation may be rejected if the head of the agency determines that such action is in the public interest.
(3) Sealed bids shall be opened publicly at the time and place stated in the solicitation. The head of the agency shall evaluate the bids in accordance with paragraph (1) without discussions with the bidders and, except as provided in paragraph (2), shall award a contract with reasonable promptness to the responsible bidder whose bid conforms to the solicitation and is most advantageous to the United States, considering only price and the other price-related factors included in the solicitation. The award of a contract shall be made by transmitting, in writing or by electronic means, notice of the award to the successful bidder. Within three days after the date of contract award, the head of the agency shall notify, in writing or by electronic means, each bidder not awarded the contract that the contract has been awarded.
(4) 
(A) The head of an agency shall evaluate competitive proposals in accordance with paragraph (1) and may award a contract
(i) after discussions with the offerors, provided that written or oral discussions have been conducted with all responsible offerors who submit proposals within the competitive range; or
(ii) based on the proposals received, without discussions with the offerors (other than discussions conducted for the purpose of minor clarification) provided that the solicitation included a statement that proposals are intended to be evaluated, and award made, without discussions, unless discussions are determined to be necessary.
(B) If the contracting officer determines that the number of offerors that would otherwise be included in the competitive range under subparagraph (A)(i) exceeds the number at which an efficient competition can be conducted, the contracting officer may limit the number of proposals in the competitive range, in accordance with the criteria specified in the solicitation, to the greatest number that will permit an efficient competition among the offerors rated most highly in accordance with such criteria.
(C) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the head of the agency shall award a contract with reasonable promptness to the responsible source whose proposal is most advantageous to the United States, considering only cost or price and the other factors included in the solicitation. The head of the agency shall award the contract by transmitting, in writing or by electronic means, notice of the award to such source and, within three days after the date of contract award, shall notify, in writing or by electronic means, all other offerors of the rejection of their proposals. This subparagraph does not apply with respect to the award of a contract for the acquisition of perishable subsistence items.
(5) 
(A) When a contract is awarded by the head of an agency on the basis of competitive proposals, an unsuccessful offeror, upon written request received by the agency within 3 days after the date on which the unsuccessful offeror receives the notification of the contract award, shall be debriefed and furnished the basis for the selection decision and contract award. The head of the agency shall debrief the offeror within, to the maximum extent practicable, five days after receipt of the request by the agency.
(B) The debriefing shall include, at a minimum
(i) the agencys evaluation of the significant weak or deficient factors in the offerors offer;
(ii) the overall evaluated cost and technical rating of the offer of the contractor awarded the contract and the overall evaluated cost and technical rating of the offer of the debriefed offeror;
(iii) the overall ranking of all offers;
(iv) a summary of the rationale for the award;
(v) in the case of a proposal that includes a commercial item that is an end item under the contract, the make and model of the item being provided in accordance with the offer of the contractor awarded the contract; and
(vi) reasonable responses to relevant questions posed by the debriefed offeror as to whether source selection procedures set forth in the solicitation, applicable regulations, and other applicable authorities were followed by the agency.
(C) The debriefing may not include point-by-point comparisons of the debriefed offerors offer with other offers and may not disclose any information that is exempt from disclosure under section 552 (b) of title 5.
(D) Each solicitation for competitive proposals shall include a statement that information described in subparagraph (B) may be disclosed in post-award debriefings.
(E) If, within one year after the date of the contract award and as a result of a successful procurement protest, the agency seeks to fulfill the requirement under the protested contract either on the basis of a new solicitation of offers or on the basis of new best and final offers requested for that contract, the agency shall make available to all offerors
(i) the information provided in debriefings under this paragraph regarding the offer of the contractor awarded the contract; and
(ii) the same information that would have been provided to the original offerors.
(6) 
(A) When the contracting officer excludes an offeror submitting a competitive proposal from the competitive range (or otherwise excludes such an offeror from further consideration prior to the final source selection decision), the excluded offeror may request in writing, within three days after the date on which the excluded offeror receives notice of its exclusion, a debriefing prior to award. The contracting officer shall make every effort to debrief the unsuccessful offeror as soon as practicable but may refuse the request for a debriefing if it is not in the best interests of the Government to conduct a debriefing at that time.
(B) The contracting officer is required to debrief an excluded offeror in accordance with paragraph (5) only if that offeror requested and was refused a preaward debriefing under subparagraph (A).
(C) The debriefing conducted under subparagraph (A) shall include
(i) the executive agencys evaluation of the significant elements in the offerors offer;
(ii) a summary of the rationale for the offerors exclusion; and
(iii) reasonable responses to relevant questions posed by the debriefed offeror as to whether source selection procedures set forth in the solicitation, applicable regulations, and other applicable authorities were followed by the executive agency.
(D) The debriefing conducted under subparagraph (A) may not disclose the number or identity of other offerors and shall not disclose information about the content, ranking, or evaluation of other offerors proposals.
(7) The contracting officer shall include a summary of any debriefing conducted under paragraph (5) or (6) in the contract file.
(8) The Federal Acquisition Regulation shall include a provision encouraging the use of alternative dispute resolution techniques to provide informal, expeditious, and inexpensive procedures for an offeror to consider using before filing a protest, prior to the award of a contract, of the exclusion of the offeror from the competitive range (or otherwise from further consideration) for that contract.
(9) If the head of an agency considers that a bid or proposal evidences a violation of the antitrust laws, he shall refer the bid or proposal to the Attorney General for appropriate action.
(c) The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that before a contract for the delivery of supplies to the Department of Defense is entered into
(1) when the appropriate officials of the Department are making an assessment of the most advantageous source for acquisition of the supplies (considering quality, price, delivery, and other factors), there is a review of the availability and cost of each item of supply
(A) through the supply system of the Department of Defense; and
(B) under standard Government supply contracts, if the item is in a category of supplies defined under regulations of the Secretary of Defense as being potentially available under a standard Government supply contract; and
(2) there is a review of both the procurement history of the item and a description of the item, including, when necessary for an adequate description of the item, a picture, drawing, diagram, or other graphic representation of the item.
(d) 
(1) 
(A) The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that, in preparing a solicitation for the award of a development contract for a major system, the head of an agency consider requiring in the solicitation that an offeror include in its offer proposals described in subparagraph (B). In determining whether to require such proposals, the head of the agency shall give due consideration to the purposes for which the system is being procured and the technology necessary to meet the systems required capabilities. If such proposals are required, the head of the agency shall consider them in evaluating the offerors price.
(B) Proposals referred to in the first sentence of subparagraph (A) are the following:
(i) Proposals to incorporate in the design of the major system items which are currently available within the supply system of the Federal agency responsible for the major system, available elsewhere in the national supply system, or commercially available from more than one source.
(ii) With respect to items that are likely to be required in substantial quantities during the systems service life, proposals to incorporate in the design of the major system items which the United States will be able to acquire competitively in the future.
(2) 
(A) The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that, in preparing a solicitation for the award of a production contract for a major system, the head of an agency consider requiring in the solicitation that an offeror include in its offer proposals described in subparagraph (B). In determining whether to require such proposals, the head of the agency shall give due consideration to the purposes for which the system is being procured and the technology necessary to meet the systems required capabilities. If such proposals are required, the head of the agency shall consider them in evaluating the offerors price.
(B) Proposals referred to in the first sentence of subparagraph (A) are proposals identifying opportunities to ensure that the United States will be able to obtain on a competitive basis items procured in connection with the system that are likely to be reprocured in substantial quantities during the service life of the system. Proposals submitted in response to such requirement may include the following:
(i) Proposals to provide to the United States the right to use technical data to be provided under the contract for competitive reprocurement of the item, together with the cost to the United States, if any, of acquiring such technical data and the right to use such data.
(ii) Proposals for the qualification or development of multiple sources of supply for the item.
(3) If the head of an agency is making a noncompetitive award of a development contract or a production contract for a major system, the factors specified in paragraphs (1) and (2) to be considered in evaluating an offer for a contract may be considered as objectives in negotiating the contract to be awarded. Such objectives may not impair the rights of prospective contractors or subcontractors otherwise provided by law.
(4) 
(A) Whenever the head of an agency requires that proposals described in paragraph (1)(B) or (2)(B) be submitted by an offeror in its offer, the offeror shall not be required to provide a proposal that enables the United States to acquire competitively in the future an identical item if the item was developed exclusively at private expense unless the head of the agency determines that
(i) the original supplier of such item will be unable to satisfy program schedule or delivery requirements; or
(ii) proposals by the original supplier of such item to meet the mobilization requirements are insufficient to meet the agencys mobilization needs.
(B) In considering offers in response to a solicitation requiring proposals described in paragraph (1)(B) or (2)(B), the head of an agency shall base any evaluation of items developed exclusively at private expense on an analysis of the total value, in terms of innovative design, life-cycle costs, and other pertinent factors, of incorporating such items in the system.
(e) Protest File.— 

(1) If, in the case of a solicitation for a contract issued by, or an award or proposed award of a contract by, the head of an agency, a protest is filed pursuant to the procedures in subchapter V of chapter 35 of title 31 and an actual or prospective offeror so requests, a file of the protest shall be established by the procuring activity and reasonable access shall be provided to actual or prospective offerors.
(2) Information exempt from disclosure under section 552 of title 5 may be redacted in a file established pursuant to paragraph (1) unless an applicable protective order provides otherwise.
(f) Agency Actions on Protests.— 
If, in connection with a protest, the head of an agency determines that a solicitation, proposed award, or award does not comply with the requirements of law or regulation, the head of the agency
(1) may take any action set out in subparagraphs (A) through (F) of subsection (b)(1) of section 3554 of title 31; and
(2) may pay costs described in paragraph (1) of section 3554 (c) of title 31 within the limits referred to in paragraph (2) of such section.
(g) Prohibition on Release of Contractor Proposals.— 

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), a proposal in the possession or control of an agency named in section 2303 of this title may not be made available to any person under section 552 of title 5.
(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply to any proposal that is set forth or incorporated by reference in a contract entered into between the Department and the contractor that submitted the proposal.
(3) In this subsection, the term proposal means any proposal, including a technical, management, or cost proposal, submitted by a contractor in response to the requirements of a solicitation for a competitive proposal.