What is the DoD definition of Special Test Equipment (SIE)?
I must admit – this question took me back for a moment as the term Special Inspection Equipment was a term foreign to my long career in the Government procurement. Fortunately, we were able to make contact and meet with some common ground here!
So let’s start with your questions first – and then move to current usage of these terms.
I was unable to find any historical references to Special Inspection Equipment (SIE). in my reference materials, including the Armed Service Procurement Regulation (ASPR), its name replacement the Defense Acquisition Regulations (DAR). SIE is NOT defined in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). In point of fact, after an exhaustive search of the FAR it is not referenced at all in the document! The Department of Defense FAR supplement (DFARS) DOES use the term – but it also does not define it!
SIE is used twice within the DFARS:
252.246-7001 (And its alternates) Warranty of Data provides the Government a warranty of the TECHNICAL data under a contract. Alternate I and Alternate II both use the term SIE and its product drawings and associated lists – and add a MIL-T and MIL-D requirement through the clause.
246.710(2) is the policy prescribing the USE of 252.246-7001 and its alternates with various Fixed Price (FP) Contracts, i.e., FP Incentive and Firm FP contracts.
I also found a reference to a Data Item Description (DID) for SIE and a sample DID on our DAU ACC Practice Center at https://acc.dau.mil/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=46295. I would encourage you to look at this reference and the DID.
Some Current Definitions
Rather, you might consider the current term and definition found in the FAR (And has been in use for decades) – specifically Special Test Equipment, commonly referred to by its abbreviation of STE. STE is defined at 2.101 and means,
“either single or multipurpose integrated test units engineered, designed, fabricated, or modified to accomplish special purpose testing in performing a contract. It consists of items or assemblies of equipment including foundations and similar improvements necessary for installing special test equipment, and standard or general purpose items or components that are interconnected and interdependent so as to become a new functional entity for special testing purposes. Special test equipment does not include material, special tooling, real property, and equipment items used for general purposes or property that with relatively minor expense can be made suitable for general purpose use.”
Now I tried to do a little synthesis as to the application of the aforementioned DID ans as I explained in our discussion, the FAR, in the past prior to 2007, had a clause – FAR 52.245-18, entitled STE Clause – that required the contractor to come into the Government, 30 days prior to acting, with a listing and description of the STE that they were proposing to fabricate or acquire. The STE Clause included much of the same information contained in the DID (Though the STE Clause in my opinion was much more comprehensive in its request. If interested you may reference this old version of the clause at the Hill AFB FARSITE -- http://farsite.hill.af.mil/archive/Far/1990-37/52_237.html.)
This clause allowed the Government a number of benefits:
1. The opportunity to screen Government resources for any existing STE,
2. Ensure that the item was, in fact, SPECIAL test equipment.
Though that information may not be of import to you in your situation I provided it for historical purposes. That clause is no longer in use. It was deleted with the publication of the 2007 iteration of the FAR as it had outlived its usefulness.
To cover one other area that we discussed – title to STE. Under cost reimbursement type contracts the Government claims:
“(i) Title to all property purchased by the Contractor for which the Contractor is entitled to be reimbursed as a direct item of cost under this contract shall pass to and vest in the Government upon the vendor's delivery of such property.
(ii) Title to all other property, the cost of which is reimbursable to the Contractor, shall pass to and vest in the Government upon—
(A) Issuance of the property for use in contract performance;
(B) Commencement of processing of the property for use in contract performance; or
(C) Reimbursement of the cost of the property by the Government, whichever occurs first.”
FAR 52.245-1(e) (Current Edition)
Note that the term “Property” as used in this clause INCLUDES STE. Therefore, if the contractor acquires or fabricate STE under this contract – with the costs being a DIRECT charge to the contract – the Government has TITLE to said STE, and would have every right to have the contractor deliver that STE to the Government at contract completion.
If it is desired that the contractor design and develop STE for the GOVERNMENT to use – then it would be best to list said STE as a Deliverable/CLIN under the contract. Lastly, this is where the DFARS clause of 252.246-7001 may come into play in regard to any WARRANTIES for the technical data related to this deliverable piece of STE.
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