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Acquisition Plan

ACON 001
General Information

General Policy for Acquisition Planning
The FAR requires agencies to perform acquisition planning and conduct market research for all acquisitions in order to promote:

  • The acquisition of commercial items or, to the extent that commercial items suitable to meet the agency’s needs are not available, non-developmental items
  • Full and open competition per FAR Part 6 or, when full and open competition is not required in accordance with Part 6, to obtain competition to the maximum extent practicable

Acquisition planning must involve all personnel responsible for significant aspects of the acquisition. The purpose of this planning is to ensure that the Government meets its needs in the most effective, economical, and timely manner. Some Department of Defense (DoD) agencies have a detailed acquisition planning system in place that goes beyond the general requirements of FAR Part 7.

Acquisition planning should begin as soon as the agency’s need is identified, preferably well in advance of the fiscal year in which contract award or order placement is necessary. In developing the plan, the planner forms a team consisting of all those who will be responsible for significant aspects of the acquisition, such as contracting, fiscal, legal, and technical personnel. If contract performance is to be in a designated operational area or supporting a diplomatic or consular mission, the planner shall also consider inclusion of the combatant commander or chief of mission, as appropriate. The planner should review previous plans for similar acquisitions and discuss them with the key personnel involved in those acquisitions. At key dates specified in the plan or whenever significant changes occur, and no less often than annually, the planner shall review the plan and, if appropriate, revise it.

While acquisition planning is required for all acquisitions (FAR 7.102), DFARS 207.103 requires written acquisition plans in DoD for:

  1. Acquisitions for "development" (as defined in FAR 35.001) when the total cost of all contracts for the acquisition program is estimated at $10 million or more;
  2. Acquisitions for production or services when the total cost of all contracts for the acquisition program is estimated at $50 million or more for all years or $25 million or more for any fiscal year; and
  3. Any other acquisition considered appropriate by the department or agency.

Elements of a Written Acquisition Plan

Both FAR 7.105 and DFARS PGI 207.105 describe the specific elements that are required for acquisition plans. An abbreviated version is shown below to provide an idea of the scope of acquisition plans. Consult FAR 7.105 and DFARS PGI 207.105 for complete details.

  • Statement of need. Introduce the plan by a brief statement of need. Summarize the technical and contractual history of the acquisition. Discuss feasible acquisition alternatives, the impact of prior acquisitions on those alternatives, and any related in-house effort.
  • Applicable conditions. State all significant conditions affecting the acquisition, such as requirements for compatibility with existing or future systems or programs, and cost, schedule, and capability or performance constraints.
  • Cost. Set forth the established cost goals for the acquisition and the rationale supporting them, and discuss related cost concepts to be employed.
  • Capability or performance. Specify the required capabilities or performance characteristics of the supplies or the performance standards of the services being acquired and state how they are related to the need.
  • Delivery or performance-period requirements. Describe the basis for establishing delivery or performance-period requirements. Explain and provide reasons for any urgency if it results in concurrency of development and production or constitutes justification for not providing for full and open competition.
  • Trade-offs. Discuss the expected consequences of trade-offs among the various cost, capability or performance, and schedule goals.
  • Risks. Discuss technical, cost, and schedule risks and describe what efforts are planned or underway to reduce risk and the consequences of failure to achieve goals. If concurrency of development and production is planned, discuss its effects on cost and schedule risks.

(a) Acquisition background and objectives --

  • Sources. Indicate the prospective sources of supplies or services that can meet the need. Consider required sources of supplies or services (see FAR Part 8) and sources identifiable through databases including the Governmentwide database of contracts and other procurements instruments intended for use by multiple agencies. Include consideration of small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged business, and women-owned small business concerns (see Part 19), and the impact of any bundling that might affect their participation in the acquisition When the proposed acquisition strategy involves bundling, identify the incumbent contractors and contracts affected by the bundling. Address the extent and results of the market research and indicate their impact on the various elements of the plan (see Part 10).
  • Competition. Describe how competition will be sought, promoted, and sustained throughout the course of the acquisition. If full and open competition is not contemplated, cite the authority in 6.302, discuss the basis for the application of that authority, identify the source(s), and discuss why full and open competition cannot be obtained.
  • Source-selection procedures. Discuss the source-selection procedures for the acquisition, including the timing for submission and evaluation of proposals, and the relationship of evaluation factors to the attainment of the acquisition objectives (see Subpart 15.3).
  • Acquisition considerations. For each contract contemplated, discuss contract type selection (see Part 16); use of multiyear contracting, options, or other special contracting methods (see Part 17); any special clauses, special solicitation provisions, or FAR deviations required (see Subpart 1.4); whether sealed bidding or negotiation will be used and why; whether equipment will be acquired by lease or purchase (see Subpart 7.4) and why; and any other contracting considerations. Provide rationale if a performance-based acquisition will not be used or if a performance-based acquisition for services is contemplated on other than a firm-fixed-price basis
  • Budgeting and funding. Include budget estimates, explain how they were derived, and discuss the schedule for obtaining adequate funds at the time they are required.
  • Milestones (dates) for the acquisition cycle. Examples of acquisition steps to address:
    • Acquisition plan approval
    • Statement of work
    • Specifications
    • Completion of acquisition-package preparation
    • Purchase request
    • Justification and approval for other than full and open competition where applicable
    • Issuance of synopsis
    • Issuance of solicitation
    • Evaluation of proposals, audits, and field reports
    • Beginning and completion of negotiations
    • Contract preparation, review, and clearance
    • Contract award

Identification of participants in acquisition plan preparation. List the individuals who participated in preparing the acquisition plan, giving contact information for each.

(b) Plan of action --

Acquisition plans are typically written by contracting personnel. However, depending on agency-specific procedures they are subject to approval by other officials such as program managers, competition advocates, small and disadvantaged business utilization official, and legal official.