On December 2, 2011, the Department of Defense (“DoD”) proposed a new rule that would require contractors bidding on specified solicitations to submit proposal adequacy checklists with their offers. The new proposed DFARS section, § 215.408(3), would give the contracting officer the discretion to include the Proposal Adequacy Checklist solicitation provision in any solicitation that requires the submission of certified cost or pricing data. In solicitations that include the provision, an offeror would be required to (1) complete the proposal adequacy checklist; (2) note which page of its proposal satisfies each checklist requirement; and (3) in the event the required information is not provided, explain why.
The checklist contains 47 requirements, which fall into the following categories of information:
- General Instructions
- Materials and Services
- Commercial Item Determinations
- Adequate Price Competition
- Interorganizational TransfersDirect Labor
- Indirect Costs
- Other Costs
- Formats for Submission of Line Item Summaries
Interestingly, DoD took many of the listed items directly from DCAA’s existing proposal adequacy checklist. According to DoD, the objective in proposing the rule is “to ensure that offerors submit thorough, accurate, and complete proposals” by allowing them to “self validate the adequacy of their proposals.” Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Proposal Adequacy Checklist, 76 Fed. Reg. 75512 (proposed Dec. 2, 2011) (to be codified at 40 C.F.R. pt. 215, 252). Based on data taken from FY 2008 – FY2010, DoD estimates that there are 905 solicitations per year that satisfy the criteria where the checklist could be used.
The proposed rule is part of DoD’s Better Buying Power Initiatives program, which was launched by Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates in May 2010. The efficiency initiative was introduced to provide better value to taxpayers by improving the way DoD conducts business and aims to, among other things, save $100 billion dollars in defense spending over the next few years. While the proposed rule has the potential to cut down on incomplete proposals – a point of contention in many bid protests – the net benefit is unclear, since it could also increase the period of time between request for proposals and contract award. Further, it remains to be seen whether contracting officers would actually exercise their discretion and include the provision in applicable solicitations. Contractors and other interested persons have been invited to comment on the proposed rule and have until the end of January to do so.