How does a facility become eligible to be considered for a classified bid or quotation?

How does a facility become eligible to be considered for a classified bid or quotation?

Question 4 on the DSS Facility Clearance Process FAQs says this on the subject:

The same process used in the case of an unclassified procurement is involved. The facility must qualify as a bidder to a Government procurement activity or to a prime contractor or subcontractor performing on a Government contract. If the bid or potential subcontract involves access to classified information, the procuring activity or cleared prime contractor submits a request to clear the prospective bidder. Personnel from the Facility Clearance Branch at Defense Security Service (DSS) evaluate the request and assure that the request is valid. Part of this validation includes confirmation that the facility has a reputation for integrity and lawful conduct in its business dealings. Further, the contractor and its key managers must not be in a “barred” status from participating in Government contracts.


Here’s the link to the page:

Answers to Questions About Teaming – Part 1

These questions were asked during a recent “Developing and Managing Contractor Teams” Workshop.


How long does it take the process to become a mentor/protégé?

8(a) firms should consult with their SBA District Office Business Opportunity Specialist BEFORE they apply for the 8(a) BD Mentor-Protégé program.

According to the Small Business Administration Office of Government Contracting and Business Development, it usually takes about 3 or 4 months for a new 8(a) Mentor Protégé Agreement to undergo full analysis and receive a decision from the SBA headquarters.

Protégé 8(a) firms should notify their prospective Mentors that 1.) SBA approval and acceptance of the Mentor Protégé Agreement is not guaranteed and involves a great deal of due diligence and 2.) The entire end-to-end Mentor Protégé Agreement review process will entail approximately one quarter to one half of a year to complete.


Can the three Protégé’s have the same NAICS Code?

Please reference 13 CFR124.520 (b)(2) for complete details as well as contacting your SBA District Office for an official answer.

Excerpts from the reference.

(2) Generally a mentor will have no more than one protégé at a time. However, the Assistant Administrator//Business Development (AA/BD)  may authorize a concern or non-profit entity to mentor more than one protégé at a time where it can demonstrate that the additional mentor/protégé relationship will not adversely affect the development of either protégé firm (e.g., the second firm may not be a competitor of the first firm). Under no circumstances will a mentor be permitted to have more than three protégés at one time.


When an 8(a) enters into a Mentor Protégé Joint Venture Agreement with a large business, is the new JV a small business?

Under the formal Mentor Protégé and Joint Venture Programs the answer is yes.


— Donna Gaillard/Phyllis Embree

Post-Award Debriefs

Congratulations!  You won the contract!  Win or lose, be sure to take part in the Post-Award Debrief.

We all know it’s important to follow-up after contract award and request a debrief so that we can learn about how our proposal stacked up against our competitors.  Even if you’ve won the contract, a debrief makes sense, so you can learn what you did right and then apply that knowledge to the next contract competition.  In order to gain the most from these debriefing opportunities, it’s also smart to review the FAR guidance that applies in FAR 15.506, Postaward Debriefing of Offerors, to fully comprehend what information the contracting officer can and cannot reveal.  First, be aware that debriefings of successful and unsuccessful offerors may be done orally, in writing, or by any other method acceptable to the contracting officer.  Secondly, be familiar with the FAR description of the minimum items to be included.  They are:

(1) The Government’s evaluation of the significant weaknesses or deficiencies in the offeror’s proposal, if applicable;

(2) The overall evaluated cost or price (including unit prices), and technical rating, if applicable, of the successful offeror and the debriefed offeror, and past performance information on the debriefed offeror;

(3) The overall ranking of all offerors, when any ranking was developed by the agency during the source selection;

(4) A summary of the rationale for award;

(5) For acquisitions of commercial items, the make and model of the item to be delivered by the successful offeror; and

(6) Reasonable responses to relevant questions about whether source selection procedures contained in the solicitation, applicable regulations, and other applicable authorities were followed.

Finally, it’s important to understand what the CO will not discuss. That would include:

point-by-point comparisons of the debriefed offeror’s proposal with those of other offerors. Moreover, the debriefing shall not reveal any information prohibited from disclosure by 24.202 or exempt from release under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) including —

(1) Trade secrets;

(2) Privileged or confidential manufacturing processes and techniques;

(3) Commercial and financial information that is privileged or confidential, including cost breakdowns, profit, indirect cost rates, and similar information; and

(4) The names of individuals providing reference information about an offeror’s past performance.

A bit of preparation leading up to the debrief is time well spent.  It’s prudent to jot down the pertinent questions and give some thought to the sequencing of questions.  Be persistent in your questioning and you may learn more useful information that can be applied to the next competition.

–Jim Dickensheets

Words of Wisdom From A Small Business Leader

Our founder, Tom Stover, led his company with integrity, faith and skill. He passed away in 2013 after battling cancer.
Tom believed that small business success came through a combination of hard work, sound execution and fair play.  Tom was also an avid reader of Tom Clancy and on more than one occasion he shared “quips of Clancy” in conversation.
“The point of life is to press on, to do the best you can, to make the world a better place.”
Tom Clancy, Clear and Present Danger 
Tom would often remind his audience, in closing a training session, to “Remember your families.” — His take on making the world a better place.

How Can A Joint Venture Help My Business Grow?

A joint venture is defined as a business arrangement in which two or more parties agree to pool their resources for the purpose of accomplishing a specific task. This task can be a new project or any other business activity. In a joint venture (JV), each of the participants is responsible for profits, losses and costs associated with it. However, the venture is its own entity, separate and apart from the participants’ other business interests – Investopedia

The JV can be either informal, where a handshake seals the agreement to share a booth at an expo, or very formal with lawyers and complex agreements documenting two or more companies combining resources to develop new technologies.  Benefits:

  • Save money and reduce risk through capital and resource sharing
  • Smaller companies are able to work with larger companies to develop, manufacture and market new products/services
  • Research/Development underwritten by more than one company

The Joint Venture for the 8(a) company joining with a non- 8(a) company in the pursuit of federal business opportunities is executed in a Mentor- Protégé relationship.  The two companies, let’s assume a small 8(a) and a large non 8(a), work the JV through the SBA.  The companies form a new legal entity (JV-1 for example) for the mutual interest of both companies.

The purpose of the JV is to increase the number of contract wins however there are specific rules.  Highlights as follows:

  • The JV is limited to 3 contracts in a 2 year period.
  • The 8(a) firm in the JV must receive profits commensurate with the work performed by the 8(a) firm
  • The 8(a) must perform at least 40% of the work
  • Mentor firm is only allowed 3 protégés at one time
  • The mentor protégé agreement is required to specify the development assistance the  mentor will provide the 8(a) firm.

JVs offer opportunities that a small company may not experience when going it alone.  If this sounds like something you may be interested in contact your nearest SBA office and inquire about establishing a JV.

–Frank Lane

A Small Business Quiz. How Well Do You Know the Basics?


Here’s a quick quiz regarding small business relationships with the Federal Government :

  1.  True/False?  Marketing business capabilities to a program/project manager is not allowable by the FAR.
  2.  True/False?  A great idea coupled with great execution is a formula for success.
  3.  True/False?  Who you know matters more than what you know.
  4.  True/False?  In government business financial models aren’t relevant
  5.  True/False?  I submitted a proposal response to an RFP.  I noticed some inconsistencies  with how the Governments procurement team was handling the Source Selection.  Am I allowed to protest before award?

Our response:

  1.  False.  A small business is allowed to market its capabilities to an agency prior to release of a solicitation.  The agencies purposely release RFI’s and Sources Sought Synopsis to identify qualified small businesses to address its requirements.  See FAR
  2. False.  You need more than a great idea to be successful.  You will want to consider the following during your journey to small business success.  A. Who is the customer and what does he/she need.  Addressing a potential clients needs may or may not be relevant to your great idea. B. What differentiates your product/service from the masses and why will the client buy it?  You sell a quality product or service at a fair/reasonable price and it meets the client’s needs.
  3. True.  In many ways conducting business with Uncle Sam is similar to commercial business.  Building a relationship with either the program office or contracts shop will help in developing trust and mitigating risk.  The relationships yield recommendations and follow on business.  Don’t sell yourself short in this.
  4. False.  Financial model s are tools that provide insight into “what if” scenarios that aid a business in determining what it takes to reduce risk, gain trust and  “make a buck”.
  5. True.  FAR 33.1 identifies scenarios where a Protest may be filed before contract award.

Hopefully you did well and scored “correctly” on all 5 questions.  The quiz is designed to aid the small business to recognize some of the things that often trip up small contractors on the way to becoming a better, smarter more profitable vendor.

Federal Contracting Acronyms



AAR After Action Report
ACAT Acquisition   Category
ACO Administrative   Contracting Officer
ACQ Acquisition
ACS Assistant Chief of Staff
ACWP Actual Cost of Work   Performed
ADA Americans with Disabilities Act
ADPE Automated Data Processing Equipment
AI Action Item
ALIN Agreement   Line Item Number
ANS American National   Standard
ANSI American National   Standards Institute
AVBS Automated Best Value System


B/L Bill   of Lading
B&P Bid and Proposal
BAA Broad Agency Announcement
BAC Budgeted Cost at Completion
BAFO Best and Final Offer
BAT Best Available Technology
BD Business Development
BDO Blanket Delivery Order
BMM Business Matchmaking
BOA Basic Ordering Agreement
BOS Business Opportunity   Specialist
BPA Blanket Purchase Agreement


CA Cooperative Agreement
CAD Computer Assisted Design
CAGE Commercial and Government   Entity
CAO Congressional Affairs   Office
CAS Cost Accounting Standards
CBI Confidential Business   Information
CBO Congressional Budget   Office
CCDR Contract Cost Data Report
CCR Central Contractor   Registration
CDD Contract Delivery Date
CDRL Contract Data   Requirements List
CEA Cost Effective Analysis
CFR Code of Federal   Regulations
CFSR Contract Funds Status   Report
CICA Competition in   Contracting Act
CID Commercial Item   Description
CIO Chief Information Officer
CLIN Contract Line Item Number


CM Configuration Management
CMM Capability Maturity Model
CMMI Capability Maturity   Model-Integrated
CMO Contract Management   Office
CMT Contract Management Team
CO Contracting Officer
COB Close of Business
CONUS Continental United States
COR Contracting Officer   Representative
COTR Contracting Officer’s Technical   Representative
COTS Commercial Off-the-Shelf
CPAF Cost Plus Award Fee
CPARS Contractor Performance   Assessment Reporting System
CPFF Cost Plus Fixed Fee
CPIF Cost Plus Incentive Fee
CPN Contract Payment Notice
CPR Cost Performance Report
CRADA Cooperative Research and   Development Agreement
CY Calendar Year


DACA Days After Contract Award
DARO Days After Receipt of   Order
DARPA Defense Advanced Research   Projects Agency
DCAA Defense Contract Audit   Agency
DCMA Defense Contract   Management Agency
DEL Delivery
DFARS Defense Federal   Acquisition Regulation Supplement
DHS Department of Homeland   Security
DI Document Identifier
DIC Document Identifier Code
DID Data Item Description
DLA Defense Logistics Agency
DLH Direct Labor Hour
DOC Department of Commerce
DOD Department of Defense
DOE Department of Energy
DOI Department of the   Interior
DOJ Department of Justice
DOL Department of Labor
DOS Department of State
DOT Department of   Transportation
DUNS Data Universal Numbering   System
DVD Direct Vendor Delivery
DZ Dozen



EA Each
EB Electronic Business
EC Electronic Commerce
ECP Engineering Change   Proposal
EDD Estimated Delivery Date
EDI Electronic Data   Interchange
EDOP Expedited Delivery Order   Process
EEO Equal Employment   Opportunity
EFT Electronic Funds Transfer
EO Executive Order
EOM End of Month
ETA Estimated Time of Arrival
ETC Estimate to Complete


FAQ Frequently Asked Question
FAR Federal Acquisition   Regulation
FAS Federal Acquisition   Service
FASA Federal Acquisition   Streamlining Act
FFP Firm Fixed Price
FFRDC Federally Funded Research   and Development Center
FIPS Federal Information   Processing Standards
FISMA Federal Information   Security Management Act
FLSA Fair Labor Standards Act
FMS Foreign Military Sales
FMV Fair Market Value
FOIA Freedom of Information   Act
FPI Fixed Price Incentive
FPL Federal Procurement List
FSC Federal Supply   Classification
FSN Federal Stock Number
FSS Federal Supply Schedules
FTE Full Time Equivalent
FY Fiscal Year
FYI For Your Information


G&A General and   Administrative
GAA General Agency Agreement
GAO Government Accountability   Office
GBL Government Bill of Lading
GFE Government Furnished   Equipment
GFM Government Furnished   Materials
GFP Government-Furnished   Property
GOCO Government Owned,   Contractor Operated
GPO Government Printing   Office
GSA General Services   Administration
GSARS General Services   Acquisition Regulation Supplement
GWAC Government-wide   Acquisition Contract


HBCUs Historically Black Colleges and Universities
HCA Head of Contracting Activity
HQ Headquarters
HR Human Resources
HUB Historically   Underutilized Business
IA Information Assurance
IAW In Accordance With
IDIQ Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity
IFB Invitation for Bid
IG Inspector   General
IQC Indefinite Quantity   Contract
ISO International Standards   Organization (or International Organization for Standardization)
ISSA Inter/Intra Service   Support Agreement
IV&V Independent Validation   and Verification
IT Information Technology
KM Knowledge Management
KSPH Keystrokes per Hour
LAN Local Area Network
LOA Letter of Offer and Acceptance
LOB Line of Business
LOE Level of Effort
LOP Letter of Procurement
LT Lot
M&IE Meals and Incidental Expense
MBDC Minority Business Development Center
MBE Minority Business Entrepreneur
MILSPEC Military Specification
MIL-STD Military Standard
MOA Memorandum of Agreement
MOU Memorandum of   Understanding
NAICS North American Industry Classification System
NARA National Archives and   Records Administration
NASA National Aeronautics and   Space Administration
NASFARS National Aeronautics   Space Administration FAR Supplement
NDI Non-Developmental Item
NIIN National Item Identification Number
NIST National Institute of   Standards and Technology
NLT No Later Than
NSN National Stock Number
NTE Not to Exceed



O/A On or About
OCONUS Outside the Continental   United States
OCR Optical Character   Recognition
OFPP Office of Federal   Procurement Policy
OMB Office of Management and   Budget
OPM Office of Personnel   Management
OSDBU Office of Small and   Disadvantaged Business Utilization
OSHA Occupational Safety and   Health Administration
OWBO Office of Women’s   Business Ownership


P/N Part Number
PAR Payroll, Accounting and   Reporting System
PCO Procuring Contracting   Officer
PCR Procurement Center   Representative
PEO Program Executive Officer
PES Professional Engineering   Services
PID Procurement Item   Description
PIN Personal Identification   Number
PIV Personal Identity   Verification
PK Package
PL Public Law
PMP Program Management Plan
PO Purchase Order
POA&M Plan of Action and   Milestones
POC Point of Contact
PPIRS Past Performance   Information Retrieval System
PR Pair; Peer Review(s);   Purchase Request
PRDA Program Research and   Development Announcement


QA Quality Assurance
QAB Quality Assurance Program
QBL Qualified Bidders List
QC Quality Control
QMS Quality Management System
QPL Qualified Products List


R&D Research and Development
RD&D Research, Development and   Demonstration
RDD Required Delivery Date
RDDTE Research, Development,   Demonstration, Testing and Evaluation
RFB Request for Bid
RFI Request for Information
RFID Radio Frequency   Identification
RFP Request for Proposal
RFQ Request for Quotation



SADBUS Small and Disadvantaged   Business Utilization Specialist
SAT System Acceptance Test
SBA Small Business   Administration
SBAC Small Business Advisory   Committee
SBDC Small Business   Development Center
SBIC Small Business Investment   Company
SBIR Small Business Innovation   Research
SBSA Small Business Set Aside
SDB Small Disadvantaged   Business
SDV Service Disabled Veteran
SDVOSB Service-Disabled   Veteran-Owned Small Business
SEC Securities and Exchange   Commission
SF Standard Form
SIC Standard Industrial   Classification Codes
SIN Special Item Number
SKN Stock Keeping Number
SKU Stock Keeping Unit
SOO Statement of Objectives
SOP Standard Operating   Procedure
SOW Statement of Work
SSA Source Selection   Authority
SSA Social Security   Administration
SSN Social Security Number
STTR Small Business Technology   Transfer Program


T&M Time and Materials
TBA To be Announced
TCO Termination Contracting   Officer
TD Technology Development
T for C Termination for   Convenience
T for D Termination for Default
TIN Taxpayer Identification   Number
TINA Truth in Negotiations Act
TIPS Technical Information   Packages
TQM Total Quality Management
TTN Technology Transfer   Network


U/I Unit of Issue
UCC Universal Commercial Code
UPC Universal Product Code
USC United States Code
USG United States Government


V&V Verification and   Validation
VAR Value   Added Reseller
VC Venture Capital(ist)
VSC Vendor   Support Center



WAWF Wide Area Work Flow
WBC Women’s Business Centers
WBE Women’s Business   Enterprise
WBS Work Breakdown Structure
WOSB Woman-Owned Small   Business


XO                                                                                      Executive Officer


YOB Year of Birth
YR Year
YTD Year to Date