Is a signed Acquisition Plan required prior to release of Request for Proposals?
Since we do not have all of the facts pertaining to your requirement, solicitation/contract or contractor(s), the following answer is based solely on the background and question provided. As we do not have access to the contract folder or particulars that apply to this situation, we highly recommend you consult the Contracting Officer and possibly the Legal Office.
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As a general business practice, we recommend approval of the Acquisition Plan before release of the formal solicitation.
The Acquisition Plan is a comprehensive plan for implementing the contracting strategy. It is approved by a Component Acquisition Executive or designee in accordance with Agency FAR supplements. Overall, the Acquisition Plan should be approved before release of the formal solicitation.
For example, per the Air Force Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement, AFFARS 5307.104(S-90)(a)(1), for ACAT programs, unless otherwise authorized by the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA), the contracting officer shall not release the formal solicitation until the MDA has approved the Acquisition Strategy/LCMP in accordance with USD(AT&L) and Air Force guidance.
Per AFFARS 5307.104(S-90)(a)(2), for all other acquisitions, the contracting officer shall not release the formal solicitation until the approval official has approved the Acquisition Plan unless the acquisition is being conducted pursuant to the authority of FAR 6.302-2, unusual and compelling urgency.
Care must be taken when reading AFFARS 5307.104(S-90)(a)(1) above concerning reference to Acquisition Strategy. As discussed in the Defense Acquisition Guidebook, The Acquisition Strategy required by DoD Instruction 5000.02 is not the same as the acquisition plan required by FAR Subpart 7.1 and DFARS Subpart 207.1. Acquisition Plans are execution-oriented and tend to contain more contracting-related detail than an Acquisition Strategy. An Acquisition Plan normally relates to a singular contractual action, whereas an Acquisition Strategy covers the entire program and may reflect the efforts of multiple contractual actions.
Since you are in the Navy, you would need to follow the Navy Marine Corps Acquisition Regulation Supplement (NMCARS). In accordance with NMCARS 5207.103(h), the DASN(AP) is the approval authority for acquisition plans (APs) that include individual contract actions with an estimated value of $100,000,000 or more (including options), except if the contract action is included in a current acquisition strategy for an ACAT program for which ASN(RD&A) or USD(AT&L is the milestone decision authority. Further, HCAs are responsible for prescribing procedures for the review and approval of APs, including revisions to the plans, for contracts less than $100,000,000 (including options).
Note, if a change occurs to the program/acquisition that significantly affects the acquisition such as scope, dollar value, and contract type, the program manger with the assistance of the contracting officer shall prepare a revised Acquisition Plan and a statement that summarizes the changes and obtain the approval of the revised Acquisition Plan.