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Report to Congressional Committees:



United States General Accounting Office:



GAO:



December 2002:



INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SERVICES:



Agencies Complying with Revision to Federal Acquisition Regulation:



IT Services Solicitations:



GAO-03-32:



GAO Highlights:



Highlights of GAO-03-32, a report to the Senate Committee on 
Governmental 

Affairs, House Committee on Government Reform, and the House 
Subcommittee 

on Technology and Procurement Policy.



INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SERVICES

Agencies Complying with Revision to Federal Acquisition Regulation:



Why GAO did this Study:



Concerned that minimum personnel experience or education requirements 

in 

agency solicitations for information technology (IT) services were 

contributing to worker shortages, Congress included a provision in 

the 

fiscal year 2001 Defense authorization act requiring that the 

Federal 

Acquisition Regulation (FAR) be amended to limit the use of such 

requirements. 

Specifically,  agencies are not to include these requirements in 

solicitations 

for IT services that result in performance-based contracts—those 

with 

performance work statements that set forth contract requirements 

in clear, 

specific, and objective terms with measurable outcomes—unless the 

contracting 

officer determines that agency needs cannot be met without them. 

This law also 

required GAO to study and report on the government’s implementation 

of this 

provision. Accordingly, GAO assessed whether the FAR rule implementing 

this 

requirement conforms with the provision (section 813 of P.L. 106-398) 

and to what 

extent executive agencies have complied with the new requirement. GAO 

chose nine 

agencies to review, based on its analysis of data in FedBizOpps, a 

governmentwide 

Web site containing government business opportunities over $25,000. 

In commenting 

on a draft of this report, agencies agreed with its findings or did 

not indicate 

a position.



What GAO Found:



The final FAR rule implementing section 813 of P.L. 106-398, which 

was published on 

December 18, 2001, conforms with the requirements in this law. 

Specifically, as 

required by P.L. 106-398, the FAR now prohibits minimum experience 

or education 

requirements for contractor personnel in performance-based 

solicitations for IT 

services unless the contracting officer determines that the needs of 

the agency 

cannot be met without such requirements.Agencies in GAO’s review have 

been complying 

with the FAR’s minimum experience and education requirements. 

Specifically, as 

shown in the chart below, of the 161 performance-based solicitations 

in GAO’s review, 

in only 1 case—or about 1 percent—was an agency not in compliance 

with the FAR; 

that is, the solicitation contained minimum experience requirements 

and the contracting 

officer had not made a determination of agency need. In this case, 

the contracting 

officer was unaware of the FAR requirement at the time that the 

solicitation was issued, 

but stated that he would make such a determination in the future, 

when applicable.



Percentage of Performance-Based Solicitations in GAO’s Review that 

Did Not Comply with

the FAR Requirement:



[See PDF for Image]

[End of Figure]



To view the full report, including the scope

and methodology, click on the link above.

For more information, contact David A. Powner at (202) 512-9286 

or pownerd@gao.gov.



Contents:



Letter:



Results in Brief:



Background:



FAR Requirement in Conformance with Law:



Agencies Complying with FAR Requirement:



Conclusions:



Agency Comments and Our Evaluation:



Appendix I: Scope and Methodology:



Appendix II: Number of Solicitations with Minimum Experience 

or Education Requirements, by Department/Agency:



Appendix III: Information on Solicitations with Minimum 

Experience or Education Requirements:



Appendix IV: Comments from the Department of Health and 

Human Services:



Appendix V: Comments from the Department of the Interior:



Appendix VI: Comments from the National Aeronautics and 

Space Administration:



Appendix VII: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments:



GAO Contact:



Acknowledgments:



Table:



Table 1: Number of Performance-Based Solicitations by Department/

Agency:



Figure:



Figure 1: Percentage of Performance-Based Solicitations in Our Review 

That Did Not Comply with the FAR Requirement:



Abbreviations:



DOD:  Department of Defense

HHS:  Department of Health and Human Services

FAR:  Federal Acquisition Regulation

GSA:  General Services Administration

IT:   Information technology

NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration:



United States General Accounting Office:



Washington, DC 20548:



December 18, 2002:



The Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman

Chairman

The Honorable Fred Thompson

Ranking Minority Member

Committee on Governmental Affairs

United States Senate:



The Honorable Dan Burton

Chairman

The Honorable Henry A. Waxman

Ranking Minority Member

Committee on Government Reform

House of Representatives:



The Honorable Tom Davis

Chairman

The Honorable Jim Turner

Ranking Minority Member

Subcommittee on Technology and Procurement Policy

Committee on Government Reform

House of Representatives:



Concerned that agencies were including minimum personnel requirements 

in information technology (IT) services contracts, the Congress 

included limitations on their use in section 813 of the Floyd D. Spence 

National Defense Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2001 (P.L. 106-398). 

Section 813 requires that the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) be 

amended to prohibit minimum personnel experience or education 

requirements in IT services solicitations that result in performance-

based[Footnote 1] contracts unless the contracting officer determines 

that the needs of the agency cannot be met without such requirements. A 

final FAR rule implementing this requirement was published on December 

18, 2001.



P.L. 106-398 also requires that GAO report on the implementation of 

section 813. Our objectives were to determine (1) whether the FAR 

requirement conforms with P.L. 106-398 and (2) to what extent executive 

agencies have complied with the new FAR requirement. In doing this 

work, we reviewed and compared the legislation with the applicable FAR 

requirement. In addition, we reviewed 161 solicitations identified as 

performance-based by the departments of Commerce, Defense, Health and 

Human Services, the Interior, State, the Treasury, and Veterans 

Affairs; the General Services Administration; and the National 

Aeronautics and Space Administration. In reviewing these solicitations, 

we ascertained whether they contained minimum experience or education 

requirements for contractor personnel. If the solicitations contained 

such requirements, we interviewed agency contracting officials and 

reviewed applicable documents to determine the rationale for including 

the requirements. Appendix I provides additional information on our 

scope and methodology.



Results in Brief:



The FAR rule implementing section 813 of P.L. 106-398 conforms with the 

requirements in this law. Specifically, as required by P.L. 106-398, 

the FAR now prohibits minimum experience or education requirements for 

contractor personnel in performance-based solicitations for IT services 

unless the contracting officer determines that the needs of the agency 

cannot be met without such requirements.



Agencies in our review were complying with the FAR’s limitation on 

minimum experience and education requirements. Specifically, only 1 of 

the 161 performance-based solicitations we reviewed did not comply with 

the FAR requirement. In this one case, the solicitation contained 

minimum experience requirements for contractor personnel, and the 

contracting officer did not make a determination of agency need. The 

contracting officer stated that he was unaware of the FAR requirement 

at the time that the solicitation was issued but would make the 

appropriate determination in the future if applicable circumstances 

should arise.



In providing comments on a draft of this report, two agencies stated 

that they were in agreement with the findings of the report, and six 

agencies did not indicate whether they agreed or disagreed.



Background:



The government’s purchases of IT services have tripled over the past 

decade, from $5.7 billion in fiscal year 1991 to about $17.1 billion in 

fiscal year 2001.[Footnote 2] To achieve greater cost savings and 

better outcomes with this spending, the Congress and the administration 

have encouraged greater use of performance-based service contracting. 

Under this approach, the contracting agency specifies the outcome or 

result that it desires and leaves it to the contractor to decide how 

best to achieve the desired outcome. We recently reported that, in 

2001, agencies reported using performance-based contracting methods on 

about $28.6 billion, or 21 percent, of the $135.8 billion total 

obligations incurred for all services.[Footnote 3]



According to the legislative history of section 813, the Congress was 

concerned that minimum experience or education requirements included in 

agency solicitations for IT services were contributing to worker 

shortages by requiring contractors to use highly trained and educated 

workers to perform some services that could be done by less educated or 

experienced workers.[Footnote 4] In addition, it was felt that minimum 

experience requirements were inappropriate for performance-based 

services contracts because they are supposed to be awarded on the basis 

of measurable outcomes. Finally, the Chairman of the House Subcommittee 

on Technology and Procurement Policy was also concerned that minimum 

personnel requirements hampered the ability of contractors to find 

qualified personnel to perform the work under government contracts. As 

a result of these concerns, the Congress included a provision in the 

fiscal year 2001 Defense authorization act requiring that the FAR be 

amended to prohibit minimum personnel experience or education 

requirements in IT services solicitations resulting in performance-

based contracts unless the contracting officer determines that the 

needs of the agency cannot be met without such requirements.



FAR Requirement in Conformance with Law:



On December 18, 2001, the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the 

Defense Acquisition Regulations Council published the final FAR rule 

implementing section 813 of P.L. 106-398. This rule is in conformance 

with section 813 in that it adopts the requirements of the statute and 

captures the evident intent of the Congress. Specifically, FAR section 

39.104 substantially duplicates the legislative language, stating:



“When acquiring information technology services, solicitations must not 

describe any minimum experience or educational requirement for proposed 

contractor personnel unless the contracting officer determines that the 

needs of the agency--:



(a) Cannot be met without that requirement; or:



(b) Require the use of other than a performance-based contract (see 

Subpart 37.6).”:



Agencies Complying with FAR Requirement:



The nine agencies in our review were complying with the FAR 

requirement. Of the 161 performance-based solicitations in our review, 

in only one case was an agency not in compliance with the FAR; that is, 

the solicitation contained minimum experience requirements,[Footnote 

5] and the contracting officer had not made a determination of agency 

need.



Very few of the solicitations in our review included minimum experience 

or education requirements for contractor personnel. Specifically, only 

about 4 percent, or 7 of 161 solicitations, contained such minimum 

personnel requirements (app. II provides the results of our 

solicitation review by agency, and app. III contains additional 

information on the seven solicitations with minimum personnel 

requirements). Moreover, of the seven solicitations that included 

minimum experience or education personnel requirements, in six cases 

the agency complied with the FAR since the contracting officers made a 

determination that the needs of the agency could not be met without 

such requirements. Accordingly, as illustrated in figure 1, in only one 

solicitation--or about 1 percent--that we reviewed did the agency fail 

to comply with the FAR requirement because the contracting officer did 

not make a determination that the needs of the agency could not be met 

without such requirements.



Figure 1: Percentage of Performance-Based Solicitations in Our Review 

That Did Not Comply with the FAR Requirement:



[See PDF for Image]

[End of Figure]



Source: GAO analysis of agency solicitations.



Regarding the solicitation that was not in compliance with the FAR, the 

contracting officer stated that he was unaware of the FAR requirement 

at the time that the solicitation was issued in July 2002. He stated 

that since he is now aware of the requirement, he will make the 

required determination in the future, if applicable.



In two other cases, solicitations contained words such as “extensive 

experience” and “strongly desired” levels of experience. Agency 

contracting officials explained that such wording does not constitute 

minimum personnel requirements because they are not mandatory 

requirements. Although we agree that such statements do not legally 

establish a minimum personnel requirement, such provisions have the 

practical effect of directing vendors to satisfy those requirements in 

order to be competitive. Finally, in one case the solicitation provided 

minimum experience and education requirements “for informational 

purposes only.” The contracting officer explained that the minimum 

experience and education requirements were included in the solicitation 

at the request of prospective contractors, and were labeled “for 

informational purposes only.” However, a subsequent provision of the 

solicitation requires that contractor personnel in various labor 

categories should possess at least the minimum experience or education 

requirements listed in the solicitation. These provisions are clearly 

inconsistent. It is unclear which provision would be determined to 

prevail if the solicitation was challenged.



Conclusions:



As required by P.L. 106-398, the FAR was amended to limit the inclusion 

of minimum experience or education requirements for contractor 

personnel in IT services solicitations resulting in performance-based 

contracts. Agencies were complying with this regulation. Specifically, 

in our review of 161 solicitations, only 1 contained minimum experience 

requirements in which the contracting officer did not make a 

determination of agency needs, as required by the FAR.



Agency Comments and Our Evaluation:



We received both oral and written comments on a draft of this report 

from eight agencies; two agencies stated that they were in agreement 

with the findings of the report, and six agencies did not indicate 

whether they agreed or disagreed. Specifically:



* A procurement analyst in the office of the Director, Defense 

Procurement and Acquisition Policy, stated that the Department of 

Defense had no comments on the report.



* In written comments, the Inspector General stated that the Department 

of Health and Human Services had no comments on the report (see app. 

IV).



* In written comments, the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, 

and Budget stated that the Department of the Interior agreed with the 

contents and findings of the report (see app. V).



* An assistant transition coordinator in the GAO Liaison Office stated 

that the Department of State had no comments on the report.



* The Deputy Director, Office of the Procurement Executive, stated that 

the Department of the Treasury agreed with the findings of the report.



* The Director, Congressional Reports and Correspondence, stated that 

the Department of Veterans Affairs had no comments on the report.



* A management analyst in the Audit Followup and Evaluation Branch 

stated that the General Services Administration had no comments on the 

report.



* The written comments of the Deputy Administrator, National 

Aeronautics and Space Administration, did not state whether the agency 

agreed or disagreed with the findings in the report (see app. VI).



We also requested comments from the Department of Commerce, but none 

were provided.



We are sending copies of this report to the secretaries of the 

departments of Commerce, Defense, Health and Human Services, the 

Interior, State, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the administrators 

of the General Services Administration and the National Aeronautics and 

Space Administration; and the Director, Office of Management and 

Budget. We will also make copies available to others upon request. In 

addition, this report will be available at no charge on the GAO Web 

site at http://www.gao.gov.



If you have any questions on matters discussed in this report, please 

contact me at (202) 512-9286 or Linda J. Lambert, Assistant Director, 

at (202) 512-9556. We can also be reached by E-mail at pownerd@gao.gov 

and lambertl@gao.gov, respectively.



Other contacts and key contributors to this report are listed in 

appendix VII.



David A. Powner

Director (Acting), Information Technology

Management Issues:



[End of section]



Appendix I: Scope and Methodology:



To determine whether the FAR requirement conforms with P.L. 106-398, we 

reviewed section 813 of the law and compared it with the applicable 

Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requirement. In addition, we 

reviewed the Congressional Record and the applicable conference report 

to ascertain the legislative history of this provision.



To determine the extent to which executive agencies complied with the 

new FAR requirement, we obtained information on presolicitation 

notices[Footnote 6] and combined synopses/solicitations[Footnote 7] 

issued between December 18, 2001, and August 11, 2002, that were coded 

by the agencies as information technology (IT) and telecommunications 

services in the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Federal 

Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) Web site.[Footnote 8] FedBizOpps 

has been designated the single governmentwide point of electronic entry 

on the Internet where vendors can access the information they need to 

bid on available government business opportunities greater than 

$25,000.



Based on information from FedBizOpps, we chose to review 9 agencies 

that had at least 30 presolicitation notices and combined synopses/

solicitations coded as IT services. These agencies were the departments 

of Commerce, Defense (DOD), Health and Human Services (HHS), the 

Interior, State, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; GSA, and the 

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). We provided the 

list of presolicitation notices and combined synopses/solicitations 

from FedBizOpps to each of these agencies and asked them to identify 

those that were performance-based.[Footnote 9] For agencies that 

identified 15 or fewer performance-based solicitations, we reviewed all 

of their solicitations. For agencies that identified more than 15 

performance-based solicitations, we reviewed a random sample of these 

solicitations. Table 1 provides the total number of reported 

performance-based solicitations by agency and the number we reviewed.



Table 1: Number of Performance-Based Solicitations by Department/

Agency:



[See PDF for Image]

[End of Figure]

[End of table]



The 161 solicitations we reviewed covered a wide range of IT services, 

including software maintenance and support, network support, cellular 

services, and technical support services. In addition, 59 or about 37 

percent of these performance-based solicitations were sole-source 

acquisitions,[Footnote 10] and the remainder were issued under 

competitive procedures.



For solicitations in our review, we obtained copies of the solicitation 

and ascertained whether they contained minimum experience or education 

requirements for contractor personnel. If the solicitations contained 

such requirements, we interviewed agency contracting officials and 

reviewed applicable documents to determine the rationale for including 

the requirements.



We conducted our review between July and October 2002 in accordance 

with generally accepted government auditing standards.



[End of section]



Appendix II: Number of Solicitations with Minimum Experience or 

Education Requirements, by Department/Agency:



[See PDF for Image]

[End of Figure]



[End of section]



Appendix III: Information on Solicitations with Minimum Experience or 

Education Requirements:



Department/ agency: DOD/Air Force; Solicitations including minimum 

personnel requirements: Required that the base telecommunications 

system manager, outside plant cable technician, and telephone help-desk 

technician have 1 or 2 years of experience in performing various 

functions.; Determination of agency need?[A]: Yes--The contracting 

officer made a determination prior to the issuance of the solicitation 

that the inclusion of minimum personnel requirements was necessary to 

ensure continuity of operations for a mission-critical 

telecommunications system. He noted that the complexity of modern 

telecommunications systems requires personnel with experience and 

training to operate and maintain these systems without disruption..



Department/ agency: DOD/Air Force; Solicitations including minimum 

personnel requirements: Required that contractor personnel have a 

minimum of 1 year of experience with network communication, database 

management, and systems management.; Determination of agency need?[A]: 

Yes--According to the former contracting officer, she made a 

determination prior to the issuance of the solicitation that the 

inclusion of the minimum personnel requirements was necessary because 

the work involved a highly technical computing environment in which 

inexperienced personnel could cause the delay of the testing schedules 

for weapons systems development..



Department/ agency: DOD/Army; Solicitations including minimum 

personnel requirements: Required that certain types of contractor 

employees have a minimum of 1 or 2 years of experience in (1) resolving 

technical problems, (2) addressing inquiries regarding hardware/

software support, or (3) various types of computer repair and 

troubleshooting capabilities.; Determination of agency need?[A]: Yes--

The contracting officer stated that she made a determination prior to 

the issuance of the solicitation that the minimum personnel 

requirements were necessary because the majority of the work performed 

would be mission critical, directly impacting the various medical 

missions of the Army and supporting the war-fighter and various behind-

the-scenes personnel who provide administrative and logistics support..



Department/ agency: DOD/Army; Solicitations including minimum 

personnel requirements: Required that the proposed program manager, 

database engineer, Web engineer, senior-level programmers, and mid-

level programmers have at least a Bachelor of Science degree and 

various minimum levels of experience.; Determination of agency 

need?[A]: Yes--The contracting officer made a written determination 

prior to the issuance of the solicitation that minimum personnel 

requirements were necessary because the maintenance of the applicable 

system database is a critical function. According to the determination 

document, the effort was highly technical in nature, required a vast 

knowledge of databases and the Internet, and required personnel who 

were capable of executing the contract requirements immediately upon 

contract award..



Department/ agency: DOD/Army; Solicitations including minimum 

personnel requirements: Required that (1) the proposed project manager 

have at least 5 years experience in this role and (2) contractor 

employees have at least 3 years’ experience in various tasks, such as 

installing and upgrading electrical, electronic, and optical 

communication components.; Determination of agency need?[A]: No--The 

contracting officer stated that he was unaware of the FAR requirement 

at the time that the solicitation was issued. However, he noted that he 

included a project manager experience requirement to ensure that this 

person was adequately qualified and would not have to be trained. He 

added that the 3-year requirement helps avoid liability issues, which 

could arise from allowing unlicensed and inexperienced electricians to 

work in a remote area on a government facility..



Department/ agency: HHS/National Institutes of Health; Solicitations 

including minimum personnel requirements: Required that the project 

manager, implementation project manager, and the leads for 

infrastructure support and application implementation support meet 

various minimum experience requirements.; Determination of agency 

need?[A]: Yes--The contracting officer made a written determination 

prior to the issuance of the solicitation that including minimum 

personnel requirements would minimize implementation risks. In 

addition, the determination noted that the evaluation of key staff 

resumes, thorough minimum experience requirements, and reference checks 

would enable the agency to make a best value decision between competing 

contractors..



Department/ agency: Interior/U.S. Geological Survey; Solicitations 

including minimum personnel requirements: Required that certain 

technicians and a telephone attendant meet various minimum experience 

requirements.; Determination of agency need?[A]: Yes--The contracting 

officer stated that he made a determination prior to the issuance of 

the solicitation that skilled workers who have specific experience, 

training, and certifications were needed because lesser skilled 

contractor staff could (1) risk personal injury since they would be 

working with electrical cabling and (2) seriously damage agency 

equipment..



[A] Neither the law nor the FAR requires that a contracting officer put 

in writing the determination that the needs of the agency could not be 

met without minimum experience or education requirements.



Source: Applicable agencies.



[End of table]



[End of section]



Appendix IV: Comments from the Department of Health and Human Services:



DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES:



Office of Inspector General:



Washington, D.C. 20201:



DEC 3 2002:



Mr. Joel C. Willemssen:



Managing Director, Information Technology Issues United States General:



Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548:



Dear Mr. Willemssen:



The department has reviewed your draft report entitled, “Information 

Technology Services: Agencies Complying with Revision to Federal 

Acquisition Regulation,” and has no comments at this time.



The department appreciates the opportunity to comment on this draft 

report before its publication.



Sincerely,



Janet Rehnquist Inspector General:

Signed by Janet Rehnquist:



The Office of Inspector General (OIG) is transmitting the department’s 

response to this draft report in our capacity as the department’s 

designated focal point and coordinator for General Accounting Office 

reports. The OIG has not conducted an independent assessment of these 

comments and therefore expresses no opinion on them.



[End of section]



Appendix V: Comments from the Department of the Interior:





United States Department of the Interior:



OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY POLICY, MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET 

Washington, D.C. 20240:



DEC 4 2002:



Ms. Linda Lambert:



Assistant Director, Information Technology Issues:



U.S. General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548:



Dear Ms. Lambert:



Thank you for providing the Department of the Interior with the 

opportunity to review and comment on General Accounting Office (GAO) 

Draft Report, “Information Technology Services: Agencies Complying with 

Revision to Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).” (GAO-03-32, Job Code 

310439) We are in agreement with the draft report’s content and 

findings that agencies (including the Department of the Interior) are 

in compliance with the FAR prohibition against inclusion of minimum 

experience or education requirements for contractor personnel in 

performance-based solicitations for information technology services. 

As such, we have no suggested changes to recommend at this time.



Thank you again for providing us with the opportunity to review the 

draft report.



Sincerely,



P. Lynn Scarlett:

Assistant Secretary - Policy, Management and Budget:

Signed by P. Lynn Scarlett:



[End of section]



Appendix VI: Comments from the National Aeronautics and Space 

Administration:



National Aeronautics and Space Administration:



Office of the Administrator Washington, DC 20546-0001:



December 2, 2002:



Mr. David E. Cooper Director:



Acquisition and Sourcing Management United States General Accounting 

Office Washington, DC 20548:



Dear Mr. Cooper:



NASA has reviewed the draft GAO report “Information Technology 

Services: Agencies Complying with Revision to Federal Acquisition 

Regulation” (GAO-03-32) and thanks you for the opportunity to provide 

comments.



We were pleased the report included no recommendations for NASA. More 

specifically, we were please that all 15 of the NASA performance-based 

solicitations that were reviewed conformed with the FAR rule 

prohibiting minimum experience or:



education requirements for contractor personnel in performance-based 

solicitations for IT services unless the contracting officer determines 

that the needs of the Agency cannot be met without such requirements.



If you have any questions or require additional information, please 

contact Tom Luedtke, Assistant Administrator for Procurement, at (202) 

358-2090.



Cordially,



Signed by Daniel R. Mulville

for Frederick D. Gregory:

Deputy Administrator:



[End of section]



Appendix VII: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments:



GAO Contact:



Linda J. Lambert, (202) 512-9556:



Acknowledgments:



Shannin Addison, Norman Heyl, Michael Holland, Frank Maguire, and 

Patricia Slocum made key contributions to this report.



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FOOTNOTES



[1] According to P.L. 106-398, performance-based means that the 

contract includes the use of performance work statements that set forth 

contract requirements in clear, specific, and objective terms with 

measurable outcomes. 



[2] Dollar amounts are in 2001 constant dollars.



[3] U.S. General Accounting Office, Contract Management: Guidance 

Needed for Using Performance-Based Service Contracting, GAO-02-1049 

(Washington D.C.: Sept. 23, 2002).



[4] Cong. Rec. S5075 (Daily ed.), June 14, 2000.



[5] Neither the law nor the FAR defines the phrase “minimum experience 

or educational requirement” for proposed contractor personnel. For the 

purposes of this report, we interpreted the phrase to include only 

those solicitation provisions that explicitly set minimum standards. 

For example, a requirement that “proposed contractor personnel must 

have a minimum 5 years’ experience in COBOL programming and/or master’s 

degrees in computer science” would be prohibited under FAR section 

39.104. However, agencies can consider an offeror’s experience and 

expertise in evaluating proposals, consistent with section 813 and the 

FAR, as long as the agency does not require minimum experience or 

education requirements for contractor personnel. For example, a 

solicitation provision that requires offerors to “demonstrate 

experience or expertise in COBOL programming” would not violate the 

FAR. 



[6] See FAR section 5.204. 



[7] See FAR section 12.603.



[8] www.fedbizopps.gov.



[9] As a result of the agencies’ analyses of the FedBizOpps data, the 

number of possible candidate solicitations was reduced from the number 

contained in this Web site at all but one of the agencies because, for 

example, (1) they were not performance-based, (2) they had been 

miscoded in FedBizOpps, or (3) the solicitation had not been issued or 

had been cancelled. We did not validate the agencies’ assessment of 

their presolicitation notices and combined synopses/solicitations.



[10] FAR subpart 2.1 defines sole-source acquisition as a contract for 

the purchase of supplies or services that is entered into or proposed 

to be entered into by an agency after soliciting and negotiating with 

only one source. 



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