1. Purpose. This chapter establishes the procedures for the use of a broad agency announcement (BAA) within the Department of Commerce.

2. Policy. A BAA, as defined in the Federal Acquisition Regulation, is a general announcement of the Department's research interests, including criteria for selecting proposals and soliciting the participation of offerors capable of satisfying the government's needs for the procurement of basic and applied research and that part of development not related to the development of a specific system or hardware procurement. A BAA may be used by an operating unit to fulfill its requirements for scientific study and experimentation directed toward advancing the state-of-the-art or increasing knowledge or understanding rather than focusing on a specific system or hardware solution. The use of the BAA technique is a competitive acquisition method that may be used to issue contracts for basic and applied research. BAA techniques shall not be used solely for the purpose of accelerating the procurement schedule. If a BAA is the appropriate method of procurement to be used, the operating unit shall follow this CAM chapter's procedures until contracts are awarded or the BAA must be cancelled and a new procurement initiated.

3. Definitions. The selecting official is the individual responsible for selecting proposals for acceptance. This individual shall be the head of the operating unit or a designee not lower than two levels below the head of the operating unit. The selecting official may delegate various duties but remains responsible for the overall evaluation and selection process.

4. References.

    a. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 35.016, Broad Agency Announcements.

    b. FAR 15.8, Price Negotiations.

    c. Commerce Acquisition Regulation (CAR) 1335.016, Broad Agency Announcements.

5. Applicability. This chapter applies to all Department of Commerce operating units. Operating units may supplement these procedures to provide "agency unique" guidance or instructions.

6. Limitations. A BAA shall be used only to issue contracts. If grants or cooperative agreements are desired, BAA procedures approved by the operating unit's financial management office shall be followed.

7. Effective date. This Chapter is effective immediately.

8. Responsibilities.

    a. The program office is responsible for:

        1) writing and issuing the BAA;

        2) obtaining the required approvals and concurrences;

        3) ensuring that adequate funds are available;

        4) evaluating proposals in accordance with preestablished criteria;

        5) selecting proposals for acceptance;

        6) preparing and submitting procurement requests to the responsible contracting office;

        7) documenting the basis for the selection or nonselection of the proposals, for informing offerors of their selection or nonselection; and

        8) providing assistance to the contracting office while contracts are being negotiated.

    b. The head of the contracting office is responsible for:

        1) concurring that the use of a BAA is appropriate and reviewing the draft BAA;

        2) issuing the Commerce Business Daily (CBD) notice;

        3) assisting the program office after the BAA is released and proposals are being evaluated and selected; and

        4) negotiating and awarding contracts with fair and reasonable prices in accordance with the requirements of the FAR and the CAR.

9. Procedures. The following procedures shall be followed if a BAA is used:

    a. Preparation and Issuance:

        1) The operating unit shall notify the responsible contracting office that it desires to use BAA techniques to obtain contracts for basic and applied research. A copy of the draft BAA and supporting documentation shall be provided with the notification.

        2) If the head of the contracting office agrees that the use of BAA techniques is appropriate for the proposed acquisition, the proposed action shall be assigned to a contracting officer (CO).

        3) The CO shall prepare a memorandum to the file which includes the following:

            a) The name of the individual designated to be the selecting official.

            b) The names, titles, and brief background of the individuals who will serve on the peer/scientific evaluation panel(s).

            c) Information that addresses the following items in the Commerce Acquisition Manual, Part 7, Chapter 1, Acquisition Plans.

                (1) Part I, paragraph (f);

                (2) Part II, paragraph (a), paragraph (b); paragraph (d) especially focusing on why a BAA was selected rather than a competitive Request for Proposals; paragraphs (e) and (i); the rights in data portion in paragraph (1); paragraphs (m) through (p); and paragraph (u).

            d) Evidence that the concurrence of the Contract Law Division, Office of General Counsel, has been obtained for the proposed BAA.

            e) A copy of the proposed BAA which shall include the following:

                (1) A brief technical description of each area of interest. Specifications and detailed statements of work shall not be used.

                (2) The criteria to be used to evaluate the proposals, their relative importance, and the method of evaluation.

                (3) Estimates of the amount of available funds and the number of anticipated awards.

        4) A copy of the CO's memorandum, the CBD notice (see 5 below), and the final version of the BAA shall be furnished to the Departmental Office of Procurement for information at the time the CBD notice is transmitted for publication.

        5) The CBD notice may either include instructions for potential offerors to request copies of the BAA or the CBD notice or text of the BAA, including evaluation and selection criteria. Operating units may publicize the BAA in scientific, technical, or engineering periodicals.

        6) A source list of firms who have requested copies of the BAA shall be maintained, unless the BAA was included in the CBD notice.

        7) The BAA may remain open for submission of proposals for a maximum of one year but the time allotted to a specific BAA should be based upon program requirements and priorities.

        8) The BAA shall be prepared, printed and distributed by or under the direction of the selecting official, unless the text of the BAA was included in the CBD notice. Distribution shall not begin until the CO has confirmed that the notice has been published in the CBD.

        9) The Procurement Integrity provisions of Section 27 of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act shall commence with the issuance of the CBD notice. The selecting official is responsible for ensuring that all evaluators have signed the certificate required by FAR. The contracting office may provide assistance if requested.

    b. Evaluation and Selection.

        1) Proposals shall be submitted to the designated contracting office and shall be protected in accordance with FAR 15.411. The contracting office role at this point in the process shall be limited to storing the proposals until the evaluation panels are ready to start evaluating them.

        2) If, during the time a BAA is open, any unsolicited proposals for efforts that are within the scope of the BAA are received, such proposals shall be handled in accordance with FAR 15.5, Unsolicited Proposals.

        3) Evaluation, selection, and award may occur anytime after the BAA is issued.

        4) Contractors shall be selected following the peer or scientific review of the proposals. Peer or scientific review shall be performed by specialists in the required discipline(s) either from within or outside the Department, or both. Evaluation by specialists outside the Government shall be conducted in accordance with FAR 15.413-2(f). In particular, outside evaluators shall comply with FAR 15.413-2(f)(5), and shall not have either actual or apparent conflicts of interest.

        5) After receipt of proposals, offerors shall not be contacted without the prior concurrence of the CO and the approval of the selecting official. Contacts shall be limited to the following instances:

            a) For the purposes of clarification, as defined at FAR 15.601, to understand the meaning of some aspect of the proposal that is not clear; or

            b) To obtain confirmation or substantiation of a proposed approach, solution, or cost estimate.

        6) Competitive range determinations shall not be made and best and final offers shall not be requested.

        7) All or part of a proposal may be selected for award of a contract unless the offeror requests otherwise. In addition, changes to a selected proposal may be sought as long as (a) the ideas or other aspects of the proposal on which selection is based are contained in the proposal as originally submitted, and are not introduced by the changes; and (b) the changes sought would not involve a material alteration to the requirements stated in the BAA. Changes that would affect a proposal's selection shall not be sought. When changes are desired, they may be described to the contracting officer after selection has been made, or the selecting official may request revisions from the offeror. The changes shall not transfer information from one offeror's proposal to another offeror [see FAR 15.620(d)(2)]. When collaboration between offerors would improve proposed research programs, collaboration may be suggested to the offerors by the selecting official.

        8) The basis for selection of a proposal shall be documented in a selection statement applying the evaluation factors contained in the BAA. No factors other than those contained in the BAA shall be used. The selection statement must represent the conclusions of the selecting official and shall be self contained. It shall not incorporate by reference the comments of the reviewers.

        9) The selecting official (or CO, if authorized by the operating unit's procedures) shall notify each offeror whose proposal was not selected for award and explain generally why the proposal was not selected. If requested, the selecting official shall arrange a debriefing in accordance with FAR 15.1003. The CO shall participate in the debriefing.

        10) A proposal that is scientifically and programmatically meritorious but which is not selected during the initial review may be included in subsequent reviews unless the offeror requests otherwise. The selecting official shall promptly notify the offeror that its proposal was not selected for initial award but will be held over for subsequent review.

        11) The selecting official (or CO, if authorized by the operating unit's procedures) shall notify each offeror whose proposal was selected for negotiation leading to award. The notification shall state that:

            a) The proposal has been selected for negotiation leading to award of a contract;

            b) The offeror will be contacted by the CO, who is the only official authorized to obligate the Government; and,

            c) Any expenses incurred by the offeror in anticipation of receiving an award will be at the offeror's risk.

        12) The selecting official shall forward the following to the CO:

            a) The results of the technical evaluation, including the total number of proposals received under the BAA by the time of selection, the selection statement, and the proposal(s) selected for funding.

            b) A description of any changes desired in any offeror's statement of work, including the reasons for the changes and any effect on the level of funding;

            c) A description of deliverable items, including technical reports and delivery dates, consistent with the requirements of the BAA;

            d) A procurement request for each proposal selected;

            e) Comments on the offeror's cost proposal; comments on the technical approach by the selecting official, which may be based on the reviewers' comments; and copies of the reviewers' comments, with any different conclusions reached by the selecting official noted. The comments on the cost proposal shall address the need for, and reasonableness of, travel, computer time, materials, equipment, subcontracted items, publication costs, labor hours, labor mix, and other costs;

            f) A copy of the selected proposal as originally submitted, any revisions, and any related correspondence from the successful offeror; and

            g) Copies of the reviewers' evaluation comments. The reviewers' names and institutions may be omitted in order to protect their identity.

    c. Negotiation. After proposals have been selected, the process becomes one of negotiating a fair and reasonable price with a responsible contractor and the requirements of FAR Part 15 govern.

        1) Upon receipt of a complete procurement package, the CO shall contact each selected firm and shall identify the proposed type of contract, level of effort, and the estimated date for the start of negotiations. In addition, a sample contract shall be provided which includes any modifications to the offeror's proposal, and identify any changes to the proposed research effort. The contract statement of work may summarize the proposed research and state that the research shall be conducted in accordance with certain sections of the proposal which may be incorporated by reference into the contract. Since each offeror has based its proposal on its unique ideas, there is no price competition. If the proposed contract exceeds the FAR threshold for certified cost or pricing data, such data must be obtained at this time if the data were not submitted with the initial proposal.

        2) The offeror shall be requested to complete and return copies of the required certifications and representations, and all other appropriate award and contract forms.

        3) If applicable, the CO shall ask the offeror to provide a subcontracting plan. The approved subcontracting plan shall be incorporated into the negotiated contract by reference.

        4) After prenegotiation planning has been completed, including obtaining a contract audit (if needed), the CO shall conduct negotiations in accordance with FAR Part 15 and CAR Part 1315, as applicable.

        5) Upon the conclusion of negotiations, the contracting officer shall award a contract, complying with all applicable award requirements, including business clearances and synopses of award.

        6) If a proposed contract exceeds $5 million, a copy of the following documents shall be to the Procurement Oversight Division, Departmental Office of Procurement:

            a) Detailed prenegotiation memoranda (objectives) and price negotiation memoranda, documenting the analyses of the technical content and costs, prior to the commencement of negotiations; and

            b) Negotiated contract, including all applicable documents such as the Statement of Work, the various attachments, etc., prior to making the contract award

        7) If the program changes, if funding does not become available, or there are other fundamental reasons that require the BAA to be cancelled, the contracting officer shall publish a notice in the CBD. If a BAA is cancelled, the program technical office may also notify the firms that had requested a copy of the BAA.