PN 97-18

Procurement Notice

August 19, 1998


PURPOSE: To conform to the regulatory changes effected by Federal Acquisition Circular (FAC) 97-02, FAR Part 15 Rewrite; reflect the expiration of the waiver to the requirement to publish a synopsis in the Commerce Business Daily for certain acquisitions under NASA's MidRange procedures; and specify that the NASA Acquisition Internet Service (NAIS) is the Agency Internet site for posting solicitations and other acquisition information.

BACKGROUND: FAC 97-02, published in the Federal Register on September 30, 1997, completely revised FAR Part 15, Contracting by Negotiation. PN 97-3, dated February 27, 1998, revised the NFS to conform with the FAR changes. As a result of public comment on the NFS changes reflected in PN 97-3, several minor changes are made. These changes are largely editorial, administrative, and structural in nature. Regarding the change in MidRange synopsis requirements, NASA had been granted a waiver that permitted posting of MidRange synopses solely on the Internet. That waiver has expired and the CBD must be used for these acquisitions.

REGULATION: Parts 1804 and 1815 are revised as set forth in the enclosed replacement pages.

REPLACEMENT PAGES: You may use the enclosed pages to replace 4:5, 4:6, 15:3, 15:4, 15:5, 15:6, 15:7, 15:8, 15:11, 15:12, 15:13, 15:14, 15:15, 15:16, 15:25, and 15:26 of the NFS.

REGULATORY COMPLIANCE: This PN was published as a final rule in the Federal Register (63 FR 44408 - 44409, August 19, 1998).

EFFECTIVE DATE: This PN is effective as dated and shall remain in effect until canceled or superseded.

HEADQUARTERS CONTACT: Tom O'Toole, Code HK, 202-358-0478.

Scott Thompson

Director, Contract Management Division


(a) The NAIS Electronic Posting System (EPS) enables the NASA procurement staff to:

(b) The EPS maintains an on-line index linking the posted synopses and solicitations for viewing and downloading.

(c) The EPS shall be used to:

(d) The NAIS is the official site for solicitation postings. In the event supporting materials, such as program libraries, cannot be reasonably accommodated by the NAIS, Internet sites external to NAIS may be established after coordination with the Contracting Officer. Such sites must be linked from the NAIS business opportunities index where the solicitations reside. External sites should not duplicate any of the files residing on the NAIS.

Subpart 1804.6--Contract Reporting

1804.601 Record requirements.

The Headquarters Office of Procurement (Code HS) is responsible for meeting the requirements of FAR 4.601, based on installation submission of Individual Procurement Action Reports (NASA Form 507 series) data.

1804.602 Federal Procurement Data System.

(d) Code HS is responsible for requesting, obtaining, and reporting Contractor Establishment Codes to the FPDS.

1804.670 Individual Procurement Action Report (NASA Form 507 series).

The Individual Procurement Action Report and Supplements (NASA Form 507 series) provide essential procurement records and statistics through a single uniform reporting program as a basis for required recurring and special reports to Congress, Federal Procurement Data Center, and other Federal agencies. The preparation and utilization of the NASA Form 507 series are integral parts of the agencywide Financial and Contractual Status (FACS) system.

1804.670-1 Applicability and coverage.

The following procurement actions are individually reportable and require the completion of one or more of the forms in the 507 series.

(a) Initial basic procurements.

(b) Modifications. Modifications that (1) obligate or deobligate funds, regardless of dollar amount, (2) change the estimated cost and/or fee, (3) extend the completion date, or (4) add or change procurement statistics previously reported.

1804.670-2 Submission due date.

The FACS report shall have information as of the last day of the month and shall arrive in NASA Headquarters not later than the close of business on the fifth work day following each month being reported. The installation procurement officer should establish an agreement with the installation financial officer on a cut-off date for processing contractual documents to ensure that the FACS procurement submission and the FACS financial submission for the month include the same contracts.

1804.670-3 Preparing Individual Procurement Action Reports (NASA Forms 507, 507A, 507B, 507G, and 507M).

(a) The information required by the following forms shall be provided when submitting individual Procurement Action Reports:

(b) The NASA Forms 507 series shall be prepared in accordance with instructions issued by Code HS. These instructions will be issued and updated through Procurement Information Circulars (PICs).

1804.671 Committee on Academic Science and Engineering (C.A.S.E.) Report.

NASA Form 1356, C.A.S.E. Report on College and University Projects, shall be prepared for awards to nonprofit institutions of higher education or to nonprofit institutions that are operationally affiliated or integrated with an educational institution. Information on this form is used to produce reports required by the National Science Foundation and to respond to inquiries. Submission is required regardless of instrument type (contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or funded Space Act agreement) and type of proposal (solicited or unsolicited). Instructions appear on the form itself and constitute the detailed guidance for preparation and submission. The form, which is either included with the acquisition package or initiated by the contracting office, shall be completed, reviewed, and promptly forwarded upon award to the Headquarters Office of Human Resources and Education (Code FE).

Subpart 1804.8--Government Contract Files

1804.802-70 Handling of classified material.

When a contract is unclassified, classified material relating to that contract shall be maintained in a separate file folder and container, and the unclassified folder shall be marked to indicate the

(c)(6)(A) Except for acquisitions described in 1815.300-70(b) contracting officers shall issue draft requests for proposals (DRFPs) for all competitive negotiated acquisitions expected to exceed $1,000,000 (including all options or later phases of the same project). DRFPs shall invite comments from potential offerors on all aspects of the draft solicitation, including the requirements, schedules, proposal instructions, and evaluation approaches. Potential offerors should be specifically requested to identify unnecessary or inefficient requirements. When considered appropriate, the statement of work or the specifications may be issued in advance of other solicitation sections.

(f)(i) Upon release of the formal RFP, the contracting officer shall direct all personnel associated with the acquisition to refrain from communicating with prospective offerors and to refer all inquiries to the contracting officer or other authorized representative. This procedure is commonly known as a "blackout notice" and shall not be imposed before release of the RFP. The notice may be issued in any format (e.g., letter or electronic) appropriate to the complexity of the acquisition.

1815.203 Requests for proposals.

1815.203-70 Installation reviews.

(a) Installations shall establish procedures to review all RFPs before release. When appropriate given the complexity of the acquisition or the number of offices involved in solicitation review, centers should consider use of a single review meeting called a Solicitation Review Board (SRB) as a streamlined alternative to the serial or sequential coordination of the solicitation with reviewing offices. The SRB is a meeting in which all offices having review and approval responsibilities discuss the solicitation and their concerns. Actions assigned and changes required by the SRB shall be documented.

(b) When source evaluation board (SEB) procedures are used in accordance with 1815.370, the SEB shall review and approve the RFP prior to issuance.

1815.203-71 Headquarters reviews.

For RFPs requiring Headquarters review and approval, the procurement officer shall submit ten copies of the RFP to the Associate Administrator for Procurement (Code HS). Any significant information relating to the RFP or the planned evaluation methodology omitted from the RFP itself should also be provided.

1815.204 Contract format.

1815.204-2 Part I-The Schedule.

(c) To the maximum extent practicable, requirements should be defined as performance based specifications/statements of work that focus on required outcomes or results, not methods of performance or processes.

1815.204-5 Part IV-Representations and instructions.

(b) The information required in proposals should be kept to the minimum necessary for the source selection decision.

1815.204-70 Page limitations.

(a) Technical and contracting personnel will agree on page limitations for their respective portions of an RFP. Unless approved in writing by the procurement officer, the page limitation for the contracting portion of an RFP (all sections except Section C, Description/ specifications/work statement) shall not exceed 150 pages, and the page limitation for the technical portion (Section C) shall not exceed 200 pages. Attachments to the RFP count as part of the section to which they relate. In determining page counts, a page is defined as one side of a sheet, 8 1/2" x 11", with at least one inch margins on all sides, using not smaller than 12-point type. Foldouts count as an equivalent number of 8 1/2" x 11" pages. The metric standard format most closely approximating the described standard 8 1/2" x 11" size may also be used.

(b) Page limitations shall also be established for proposals submitted in competitive acquisitions. Accordingly, technical and contracting personnel will agree on page limitations for each portion of the proposal. Unless a different limitation is approved in writing by the procurement officer, the total initial proposal, excluding title pages, tables of content, and cost/price information, shall not exceed 500 pages using the page definition of 1815.204-70(a). Firm page limitations shall also be established for final proposal revisions, if requested. The appropriate page limitations for final proposal revisions should be determined by considering the complexity of the acquisition and the extent of any discussions. The same page limitations shall apply to all offerors. Pages submitted in excess of specified limitations will not be evaluated by the Government and will be returned to the offeror.

1815.207 Handling proposals and information.

1815.207-70 Release of proposal information.

(a) NASA personnel participating in any way in the evaluation may not reveal any information concerning the evaluation to anyone not also participating, and then only to the extent that the information is required in connection with the evaluation. When non-NASA personnel participate, they shall be instructed to observe these restrictions.

(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, the procurement officer is the approval authority to disclose proposal information outside the Government. If outside evaluators are involved, this authorization may be granted only after compliance with FAR 37.2 and 1837.204, except that the determination of unavailability of Government personnel required by FAR 37.2 is not required for disclosure of proposal information to JPL employees.

1815.207-71 Appointing non-Government evaluators as special Government employees.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, non-Government evaluators, except employees of JPL, shall be appointed as special Government employees.

(b) Appointment as a special Government employee is a separate action from the approval required by paragraph 1815.207-70(b) and may be processed concurrently. Appointment as a special Government employee shall be made by:

(c) Non-Government evaluators need not be appointed as special Government employees when they evaluate:

1815.208 Submission, modification, revision, and withdrawal of proposals.

(b) The FAR late proposal criteria do not apply to Announcements of Opportunity (see 1872.705-1 paragraph VII), NASA Research Announcements (see 1852.235-72), and Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I and Phase II solicitations, and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) solicitations. For these solicitations, proposals or proposal modifications received from qualified firms after the latest date specified for receipt may be considered if a significant reduction in cost to the Government is probable or if there are significant technical advantages, as compared with proposals previously received. In such cases, the project office shall investigate the circumstances surrounding the late submission, evaluate its content, and submit written recommendations and findings to the selection official or a designee as to whether there is an advantage to the Government in considering it. The selection official or a designee shall determine whether to consider the late submission.

1815.209 Solicitation provisions and contract clauses.

(a) The contracting officer shall insert FAR 52.215-1 in all competitive negotiated solicitations.

1815.209-70 NASA solicitation provisions.

(a) The contracting officer shall insert the provision at 1852.215-77, Preproposal/Pre-bid Conference, in competitive requests for proposals and invitations for bids where the Government intends to conduct a preproposal or pre-bid conference. Insert the appropriate specific information relating to the conference.

(b) The contracting officer shall insert the clause at 1852.214-71, Grouping for Aggregate Award, in solicitations when it is in the Government's best interest not to make award for less than specified quantities solicited for certain items or groupings of items. Insert the item numbers and/or descriptions applicable for the particular acquisition.

(c) The contracting officer shall insert the clause at 1852.214-72, Full Quantities, in solicitations when award will be made only on the full quantities solicited.

(d) The contracting officer shall insert the provision at 1852.215-81, Proposal Page Limitations, in all competitive requests for proposals.

Subpart 1815. 3--Source Selection

1815.300 Scope of subpart.

1815.300-70 Applicability of subpart.

(a)(1) Except as indicated in paragraph (b) of this section, NASA competitive negotiated acquisitions shall be conducted as follows:

(b) FAR 15. 3 and this subpart are not applicable to acquisitions conducted under the following procedures:

1815.303 Responsibilities.

(a) The SSA shall be established at the lowest reasonable level for each acquisition. Notwithstanding the FAR designation of the contracting officer as SSA, the SSA for center acquisitions shall be established in accordance with center procedures. For acquisitions designated as Headquarters selections, the SSA will be identified as part of the Master Buy Plan process (see 1807.71).

(b)(i) The source selection authority (SSA) is the Agency official responsible for proper and efficient conduct of the source selection process and for making the final source selection decision. The SSA has the following responsibilities in addition to those listed in the FAR:

(b)(2) Approval authorities for Acquisition Plans and Acquisition Strategy Meetings are in accordance with 1807.103.

1815.304 Evaluation factors and significant subfactors.

1815.304-70 NASA evaluation factors.

(a) Typically, NASA establishes three evaluation factors: Mission Suitability, Cost/Price, and Past Performance. Evaluation factors may be further defined by subfactors. Although discouraged, subfactors may be further defined by elements. Evaluation subfactors and any elements should be structured to identify significant discriminators, or "key swingers" - the essential information required to support a source selection decision. Too many subfactors and elements undermine effective proposal evaluation. All evaluation subfactors and elements should be clearly defined to avoid overlap and redundancy.

(b) Mission Suitability factor.

(c) Cost/Price factor. This factor evaluates the reasonableness and, if necessary, the cost realism, of proposed costs/prices. The Cost/Price factor is not numerically weighted or scored.

(d) Past Performance factor.

1815.305 Proposal evaluation.

(a) Each proposal shall be evaluated to identify and document:

(a)(1) Cost or price evaluation.

(b) The contracting officer shall document the rationale for discontinuing the initial evaluation of a proposal in accordance with this section.

1815.305-71 Evaluation of a single proposal.

(a) If only one proposal is received in response to the solicitation, the contracting officer shall determine if the solicitation was flawed or unduly restrictive and determine if the single proposal is an acceptable proposal. Based on these findings, the SSA shall direct the contracting officer to:

(b) The procedure in 1815.305-71(a) also applies when the number of proposals equals the number of awards contemplated or when only one acceptable proposal is received.

1815.306 Exchanges with offerors after receipt of proposals.

(c)(2) A total of no more than three proposals shall be a working goal in establishing the competitive range. Field installations may establish procedures for approval of competitive range determinations commensurate with the complexity or dollar value of an acquisition.

(d)(3)(A) The contracting officer shall identify any cost/price elements that do not appear to be justified and encourage offerors to submit their most favorable and realistic cost/price proposals, but shall not discuss, disclose, or compare cost/price elements of any other offeror. The contracting officer should question inadequate, conflicting, unrealistic, or unsupported cost information; differences between the offeror's proposal and most probable cost assessments; cost realism concerns; differences between audit findings and proposed costs; proposed rates that are too high/low; and labor mixes that do not appear responsive to the requirements. No agreement on cost/price elements or a "bottom line " is necessary.

(e)(1) In no case shall the contracting officer relax or amend RFP requirements for any offeror without amending the RFP and permitting the other offerors an opportunity to propose against the relaxed requirements.

1815.307 Proposal revisions.

(b)(i) The request for final proposal revisions (FPRs) shall also:

1815.308 Source selection decision.

(1) All significant evaluation findings shall be fully documented and considered in the source selection decision. A clear and logical audit trail shall be maintained for the rationale for ratings and scores, including a detailed account of the decisions leading to the selection. Selection is made on the basis of the evaluation criteria established in the RFP.

(2) Before award, the SSA shall sign a source selection statement that clearly and succinctly justifies the selection. Source selection statements must describe: the acquisition; the evaluation procedures; the substance of the Mission Suitability evaluation; and the evaluation of the Cost/Price and Past Performance factors. The statement also addresses unacceptable proposals, the competitive range determination, late proposals, or any other considerations pertinent to the decision. The statement shall not reveal any confidential business information. Except for certain major system acquisition competitions (see 1815.506-70), source selection statements shall be releasable to competing offerors and the general public upon request. The statement shall be available to the Debriefing Official to use in postaward debriefings of unsuccessful offerors and shall be provided to debriefed offerors upon request.

(3) Once the selection decision is made, the contracting officer shall award the contract.

1815.370 NASA source evaluation boards.

(a) The source evaluation board (SEB) procedures shall be used for those acquisitions identified in 1815.300-70(a)(1)(i).

(b) General. The SEB assists the SSA by providing expert analyses of the offerors' proposals in relation to the evaluation factors, subfactors, and elements contained in the solicitation. The SEB will prepare and present its findings to the SSA, avoiding trade-off judgments among either the individual offerors or among the evaluation factors. The SEB will not make recommendations for selection to the SSA.

(c) Designation.

(d) Organization.

(e) Voting members.

(f) Ex officio members.

(g) Evaluation.

(h) SEB presentation.

(i) Recommended SEB presentation format.

(j) A source selection statement shall be prepared in accordance with 1815.308. For installation selections, the installation Chief Counsel or designee will prepare the source selection statement. For Headquarters selections, the Office of General Counsel or designee will prepare the statement.

Subpart 1815.4--Contract Pricing

1815.403 Obtaining cost or pricing data.

1815.403-1 Prohibition on obtaining cost or pricing data.

(b)(1) The adequate price competition exception is applicable to both fixed-price and cost-reimbursement type acquisitions. Contracting officers shall assume that all competitive acquisitions qualify for this exception.

(c)(4) Waivers of the requirement for submission of cost or pricing data shall be prepared in accordance with FAR 1.704. A copy of each waiver shall be sent to the Headquarters Office of Procurement (Code HK).

1815.403-170 Acquisitions with the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC).

NASA has waived the requirement for the submission of cost or pricing data when contracting with the CCC. This waiver applies through March 31, 1999. The CCC will provide assurance of the fairness and reasonableness of the proposed prices, and will also provide for follow-up audit activity to ensure that excess profits are found and refunded to NASA. However, contracting officers shall ensure that the appropriate level of information other than cost or pricing data is submitted to permit any required Government cost/price analysis.

1815.403-3 Requiring information other than cost or pricing data.

(b) As indicated in 1815.403-1(b)(1), the adequate price competition exception applies to all competitive acquisitions. For other than firm-fixed-price competitions, only the minimum information other than cost or pricing data necessary to ensure price reasonableness and assess cost realism should be requested. For firm-fixed-price competitions, the contracting officer shall

a manner that it does not prematurely disclose innovative concepts, designs, and approaches of the successful offerors that would result in a transfusion of ideas.

(b) When Phase B awards are made for alternative system design concepts, the source selection statements shall not be released to competing offerors or the general public until the release of the source selection statement for Phase C/D without the approval of the Associate Administrator for Procurement (Code HS).

Subpart 1815.6--Unsolicited Proposals

1815.602 Policy.

(1) An unsolicited proposal may result in the award of a contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or other agreement. If a grant or cooperative agreement is used, the NASA Grant and Cooperative Agreement Handbook (NPG 5800.1) applies.

(2) Renewal proposals, (i.e., those for the extension or augmentation of current contracts) are subject to the same FAR and NFS regulations, including the requirements of the Competition in Contracting Act, as are proposals for new contracts.

1815.604 Agency points of contact.

(a) Information titled "Guidance for the Preparation and Submission of Unsolicited Proposals" is available on the Internet at A deviation is required for use of any modified or summarized version of the Internet information or for alternate means of general dissemination of unsolicited proposal information.

1815.606 Agency procedures.

(a) NASA will not accept for formal evaluation unsolicited proposals initially submitted to another agency or to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) without the offeror's express consent.

(b)(i) NASA Headquarters and each NASA field installation shall designate a point of contact for receiving and coordinating the handling and evaluation of unsolicited proposals.

1815.606-70 Relationship of unsolicited proposals to NRAs.

An unsolicited proposal for a new effort or a renewal, identified by an evaluating office as being within the scope of an open NRA, shall be evaluated as a response to that NRA (see 1835.016-70), provided that the evaluating office can either:

1815.609 Limited use of data.

1815.609-70 Limited use of proposals.

Unsolicited proposals shall be evaluated outside the Government only to the extent authorized by, and in accordance with, the procedures prescribed in, 1815.207-70.

1815.670 Foreign proposals.

Unsolicited proposals from foreign sources are subject to NMI 1362.1, Initiation and Development of International Cooperation in Space and Aeronautical Programs.

Subpart 1815.70--Ombudsman

1815.7001 NASA Ombudsman Program.

NASA's implementation of an ombudsman program is in NPG 5101.33, Procurement Guidance.

1815.7002 Synopses of solicitations and contracts.

In all synopses announcing competitive acquisitions, the contracting officer shall indicate that the clause at 1852.215-84, Ombudsman, is applicable. This may be accomplished by referencing the clause number and identifying the installation Ombudsman.

1815.7003 Contract clause.

The contracting officer shall insert a clause substantially the same as the one at 1852.215-84, Ombudsman, in all solicitations (including draft solicitations) and contracts.