Is there new criteria for High Risk Rating based on ACAT 1 Programs? Where would one be able to locate ACAT Programs in the contract? We were told to look on the front page, it's not there.
DCMA on-line manual states...
188.8.131.52. Criteria. High Risk means that the contractor's system has significant deficiencies as determined by the Contracting Officer. High Risk also means that the contractor has undocumented, inconsistent or chaotic contractor processes and practices; findings of fraud, waste and abuse; safety or national security concerns; or cost, schedule or performance issues. High risk contractors include those with a pattern of questionable or non-existent procedures and those with poor internal controls.
This is the definition we understand for High Risk. Clarification would be much appreciated!
Great Question – really multiple questions. So it is best if I try to answer them one at a time.
First simple question -- Where would one be able to locate ACAT Programs in the contract?
Well, before I answer that question – we need to understand what is an ACAT Rating?
There is a GREAT discussion on a DAU webpage site entitled “Acquipedia” regarding Acquisition Categories – that is ACAT. This page -- https://dap.dau.mil/acquipedia/Pages/ArticleDetails.aspx?aid=a896cb8a-92ad-41f1-b85a-dd1cb4abdc82. It provides a nice discussion of the various ACAT ratings and the determinants for those ratings! [Though I must apologize for the duplicate entry on that page.] The BEST description is in a paper at https://dap.dau.mil/policy/Documents/Policy/AcqProc03.rtf, which discusses the CRITERIA for ACAT ratings.
With that guidance, it is not that simple as just looking at the first page. The Standard Form 33 (Found at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/forms/download/116254) does not have a block that addresses that designation/rating. Yes, in Block 1 – the DPAS rating may be applied but that is NOT the same as the ACAT rating. So, as a contractor, the best source of this information would be the Contracting Officer. The Procuring Contracting Officer (PCO) DEFINITELY knows the rating for the Contract that they have awarded, or if you deal with an Administrative Contracting Officer (ACO) – they also will know the ACAT rating. DCMA has EXTENSIVE discussion, from a managerial perspective, of the actions performed regarding ACAT Rated programs. See the DCMA guidance at http://guidebook.dcma.mil/56/index.cfm.
Your second question -- Is there new criteria for High Risk Rating based on ACAT 1 Programs?
You properly cited the DCMA guidance for assigning a risk rating – but only one part of it. You cited 184.108.40.206 – Excellent. But notice that this guidance is really driving its risk assessment from a post Property Management System Analysis (PMSA) perspective. There is another reference within this chapter that may provide some additional light to your question. Section 6 of the DCMA Contract Property Management Guide found at http://guidebook.dcma.mil/34/.
6. Plan PMSA. The PA shall:
6.1. Revalidate Risk Rating. The PA shall revalidate the risk rating previously assigned to each contractor (to the extent a risk rating was previously assigned)[Emphasis added]. PAs shall base the revalidation on the results of the last PMSA, the current status of the contractor's property management system and any other sources of reliance including, but not limited to, potential program impact due to property type or criticality, [Emphasis added] Special Programs' findings* past performance, prior experience with the contractor, contractor procedural changes, other audit findings, past deficiencies and corrective actions, or results of pre-award and post-award conferences. New contractors shall be considered (at least) moderate risk until such time the PA determines the appropriate level of surveillance.
[*Note: Contractor property system validations and verifications under DCMA Special Programs are typically limited to only select portions of a contractor's property management system. Such reviews are not considered PMSAs under this Instruction. However, they shall follow the PMSA process framework. To the extent that Special Programs' findings impact the contractor's property management system at-large, close coordination between the assigned PA and Special Programs is essential.]
I do not read this as a LIMITING statement – rather it provides the Property Administrator guidance as to any NUMBER of items that may affect a contractor’s performance.
And yes, Government Property MAY be considered a CRITICAL CRITERIA under an ACAT Rated program.
Why? Because the Government, specifically the Department of Defense, views these ACAT rated programs as critical programs!
So I am looking at the concept of a RISK RATING for Property Management from two perspectives:
1. Prospectively, i.e., towards the future and
2. Retrospectively, i.e., what has been done in the past.
Prospectively – if I have not analyzed this contractor’s Property Management System previous to my engagement – what are the factors that I should consider in making a determination of risk? Well, having a number of ACAT I programs MAY be an indicator of risk – as well as other factors.
Retrospectively, I can look more specifically at the contractor’s PAST PERFORMANCE. And this one is a little easier – weak procedures, extensive losses of Government property, inadequate processes, etc., as cited by you in the DCMA Guide for Contract Property, Section 220.127.116.11.
And it appears that you are concerned that you have been rated High Risk. So, there may have been areas within your Property Management that were inadequate in the past. If such is NOT the case – the Property Administrator may be using his or her judgment to make a decision that based upon the EMPHASIS given to these DOD ACAT I rated programs that involve critical Government Property – that this may be a CONTRIBUTING factor to that Risk Rating – along with OTHER Risk Criteria.
But, I would like to try to appease your apparent “angst” – that this does NOT mean you have a “bad” Property Management System – rather it is for the Government Property Administrator in PLANNING their ENGAGEMENT with you through the Property Management System Analysis.