Part 7 - Acquisition Planning

Subpart 7.1 - Acquisition Plans

Chapter 1 - Acquisition Plans



August 1989



1. Purpose 1
2. Background 1
3. Objectives 1
4. Policy 1
5. Applicability 1
6. Exemptions 2
7. Approval of the Plan 2
8. Changes to the Acquisition Plan 2
9. Waiver 2
10. Procedures 3
11. General Requirements and Format of the Acquisition Plan 3
12. Contents of the Acquisition Plan 3
(a) Title
(b) Statement of need
(c) Applicable conditions
(d) Cost
(e) Capability or performance
(f) Delivery or performance-period requirements
(g) Trade-offs
(h) Risks
(i) Acquisition streamlining
(a) Sources
(b) Competition
(c) Evaluation and source selection procedures
(d) Contracting method and considerations
(e) Budgeting and funding
(f) Product descriptions
(g) Priorities, allocations, and allotments
(h) Contractor versus Government performance
(i) Management information requirements
(j) Make or buy
(k) Test and evaluation
(I) Logistics considerations
(in) Government-furnished property
(n) Environmental considerations
(o) Government-furnished information
(p) Security considerations
(q) Other considerations
(r) Other approvals
(s) Milestone schedule
(t) Additional requirements for major systems (OMB Circular A- 109)
(u) Participants in acquisition process


1. Purpose

This Chapter prescribes Department policies and procedures for the preparation and approval of acquisition plans. Throughout this chapter, the phrase "acquisition plan" will mean a specific written document which describes detailed planning for an individual large dollar project/program.

2. Background

Subpart 7.1 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requires that Agencies perform acquisition planning and conduct market surveys on all acquisitions in order to provide for full and open competition. As an acquisition becomes more significant, greater planning efforts and documentation are required. Agencies are also responsible for developing acquisition plan procedures, including establishment of criteria and thresholds at which written acquisition plans are required.

3. Objectives

The objectives of an acquisition plan are to:

(a) Coordinate the efforts of all acquisition personnel in the planning stages of a major acquisition, with emphasis on increased interaction and communication between the program and contracting offices.

(b) Ensure that the requirement is presented in a way that promotes full and open competition, and

(c) Identify and overcome various impediments that could delay the acquisition or lead to increased cost or technical risk.

4. Policy

It is the Department's policy that:

(a) Acquisition planning and market surveys will be conducted for all acquisitions in order to promote full and open competition. The degree of planning and market research will vary, depending on such factors as the acquisition's size, scope and complexity.

(b) When full and open competition is not required per Part 6 of the FAR, efforts will be made to obtain competition to the maximum extent practicable.

(c) Acquisition plans in the format prescribed in this Chapter are required for all Department acquisitions estimated to exceed $5,000,000. The estimated acquisition amount includes options, later phases, and follow-on contracts. Modifications, either adding new work or issued under the "Changes" clause, exceeding $5,000,000, will also require a plan. In some cases, subcontracts exceeding $5,000,000 may also require a plan. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis, or on a project basis, at the time the individual acquisition plan is being reviewed by the Procurement Executive.

5. Applicability

This Chapter applies to all Department acquisitions unless specifically exempted as indicated below in paragraph 6. Acquisition plans are required for 8(a) procurements as well as procurements from GSA Schedules when the procurement is over $5,000,000.

6. Exemptions

Acquisition plans are not required for the following types of acquisitions:

7. Approval of the Plan

(a) Acquisition plans must be approved by the Procurement Executive before the resultant solicitation(s) is issued.

(b) Acquisition plans must be approved by the Head of the Contracting Activity (HCA) prior to submission for Procurement Executive approval. The schedule for approval of the plan must allow for a thirty (30) day review period from the date the plan is received by the Director of the Office of Procurement Management at the address shown in paragraph 10. As determined on a case-by-case basis, acquisition plan approvals may be conditional and require subsequent Departmental review and approvals.

(c) Approval of an acquisition plan does not constitute approval for any deviation, special condition or clause which might be described in the plan. Approvals for these actions must be submitted independently in accordance with FAR subpart 1.4 and CAR subpart 1301.4.

(d) No acquisition plan will be approved for an acquisition proposing to use other than full and open competition when the decision is based upon a lack of advance planning or concerns relating to the availability of funds (FAR 6.301(c)).

8. Changes to the Acquisition Plan

After initial approval, significant changes in the acquisition plan must be approved by the Procurement Executive before they are implemented. The contracting officer should discuss potential significant changes to the acquisition plan with the Office of Procurement Management before requesting formal approval of any amendments to the plan.

9. Waiver

In rare cases, the requirement for approving an acquisition plan may be waived by the Procurement Executive on the basis of urgency (such as the need for a compressed acquisition schedule to meet urgent program needs) or some other justifiable basis. The request for waiver must be in writing, and must fully describe the facts and the basis for the request. A waiver will not be considered when the urgency stems from the lack of advance planning for the acquisition. Requests for waivers will be submitted for the Procurement Executive's approval, in the same manner as the acquisition plan. The waiver must be granted prior to the release of the solicitation. Waiver of an acquisition plan does not constitute authority for any deviation, special condition or clause which might be needed for the acquisition. Approvals for these actions must be submitted independently in accordance with FAR subpart 1.4 and CAR subpart 1301.4.

10. Procedures

It is the joint responsibility of the contracting and technical offices to prepare the acquisition plan, in coordination with the Office of General Counsel (or counsel specifically assigned to a procurement office), and submit it through appropriate channels for the Procurement Executive's approval. The plan must be prepared sufficiently in advance of the solicitation's release date to allow the Bureau and the Department to properly review the plan. The acquisition plan shall be submitted (1 original and 5 copies, with two information copies of the statement of work/specifications) to the following address:

The Procurement Executive
Attn: Director, Office of Procurement Management
Room H6424 - 14th Street & Constitution Avenue, N.W
Washington, DC 20230

Care should be taken when forwarding an acquisition plan to the address listed above. The document must be sealed in two envelopes and the inside envelope marked with the following notation:

"Source Selection Information - To Be Opened Only By Addressee"

11. General Requirements and Format of the Acquisition Plan

(a) The acquisition plan will clearly address the key decision points in the proposed acquisition and will identify all significant technical, cost, or business issues. The following documents will be attached to the plan:

(i) The proposed statement of work/specifications, including deliverable items and option provisions.

(ii) Justification for Other Than Full and Open Competition, if applicable.

(iii) Any other document that might bear on the acquisition planning process.

(b) Prior to Procurement Executive review, the plan will be signed by the responsible Program Official; Contracting Officer; Office of General Counsel representative; the Head of the Contracting Office (HCO); and the Head of the Contracting Activity (HCA). Exhibit 1 contains a suggested signature page format for the plan.

(c) The following notice shall be prominently displayed on the front page of all acquisition plans:

"This document contains proprietary or source selection information related to the conduct of a Federal agency procurement. The disclosure and receipt of this information is restricted by section 27 of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 423). The unauthorized disclosure of this information may subject both the discloser and the recipient to the contractual, civil, and/or criminal penalties as provided by law."
In addition, each page of the acquisition plan shall be marked as follows:
"Source Selection Information--See FAR 3.104"

12. Contents of the Acquisition Plan

In accordance with Section 7.105 of the FAR, the acquisition plan will consist of two parts: "Part I" -Acquisition Background and Objectives and "Part II" - Plan of Action. Acquisition plans must, at a minimum, contain every element listed in Parts I and II below. (This will allow the acquisition plans to be used as a form of a "checklist"). It is understood that each acquisition will be different, and that not all of the plan elements will always apply. Where an element is clearly inapplicable, the plan may simply state that it is "not applicable". NOTE: In those less-than-obvious, discretionary cases, a brief explanation must be included to support the "not applicable" determination.


(a) Title: Provide a short descriptive title.

(b) Statement of need: Include a brief statement of need, the technical and contractual history of the project, feasible acquisition alternatives, and related in-house effort.

(c) Applicable conditions: Discuss all significant conditions affecting the acquisition such as need for compatibility with existing or future systems or programs, and any known cost, schedule, capability or performance constraints.

(d) Cost: Provide total estimated cost, including any options. When options are involved, show the cost for each separately from the total cost. For acquisitions subject to OMB Circular A-76 procedures, the total cost may be expressed either as a range or by total number of FTEs. As appropriate, discuss how the following approaches were utilized in developing the cost estimates:

(i) Life-cycle-cost - Discuss how life-cycle cost will be considered. If it is not used, explain why. If appropriate, discuss the cost model used to develop life-cycle cost elements.

(ii) Design-to-cost - Describe the design-to-cost objective(s) and underlying assumptions, including the rationale for quantity, learning curve, and economic adjustment factors. Describe how objectives are to be applied, tracked and enforced. Indicate specific related solicitation and contractual requirements to be imposed.

(iii) Should-cost-analysis - Describe the application of should-cost analysis to the acquisition plan (see FAR 15.810).

(e) Capability or performance: Specify the required capabilities or performance characteristics of the supplies or services being acquired and state how they are related to the need.

(f) Delivery or performance-period requirements: Describe the basis for delivery or performance period requirements and show how they relate to the Government's need. Explain and provide reasons for any urgencies. Explain how performance will be monitored.

(g) Trade-offs: Describe any trade-offs to be considered among cost, performance, and schedule goals and their consequences.

(h) Risks: Describe the technical, cost, and schedule risks and discuss what efforts are planned to reduce risk; also address the consequences of railing to achieve acquisition goals.

(i) Acquisition streamlining: If specifically designated by the Department as a program subject to acquisition streamlining, discuss plans to:

(i) Encourage industry participation by using draft solicitations, presolicitation conferences, and other means of stimulating industry involvement during the design and development phase.

(ii) Select and tailor only the most cost-effective requirements, and

(iii) State the timeframe for identifying which of those specifications and standards, originally provided for guidance only, will become mandatory (see FAR 10.002(c)).


(a) Sources: Indicate the prospective sources of supplies and/or services that can meet the need. Describe the efforts that will be made to identify all qualified sources, including small businesses, smalldisadvantaged businesses, women-owned, and labor-surplus area concerns. Discuss the results of market research and/or surveys and indicate their impact on the various elements of the plan.

(b) Competition: Describe how competition will be sought, promoted, and maintained throughout the course of the acquisition. Specifically:

(i) Describe the efforts to be made to seek additional firms, in addition to the required Commerce Business Daily announcement(s). If full and open competition is not contemplated, cite the authority in FAR 6.302, discuss the basis for the application of that authority, identify the proposed source(s), and discuss why full and open competition cannot be obtained.

(ii) Identify and discuss the major work components or subsystems and their potential for "breakout" (i.e., as a separate acquisition) to enhance competition.

(iii) Address competition for spare and repair parts, if applicable.

(iv) When effective subcontract competition is both feasible and desirable, describe how such subcontract competition will be sought, promoted and sustained. Identify any known barriers to increasing subcontract competition and address how to overcome them.

(c) Evaluation and source selection procedures:

(i) Describe the evaluation procedures to be used and show the relationship of the evaluation factors to the objectives of the acquisition. Discuss the evaluation methodology and describe the relative importance between technical, business management, and cost factors in the selection process. Discuss how options, if any, will be evaluated.

(ii) State how Issuance No. 4 of the Commerce Acquisition Manual entitled "Formal Selection Procedures" will be used and identify the individual who will serve as the Source Selection Official (SSO). If the SSO is changed, at any time, after approval of the acquisition plan, the name of the new SSO must be provided, in writing, to the Procurement Executive.

(d) Contracting method and considerations: Discuss the proposed type of contract and why it was selected. When an incentive-type contract is proposed, discuss the incentive provisions considered most suitable for accomplishing the acquisition objectives. Describe use of special funding, options, or any special contracting methods, any special clauses (e.g., economic price adjustment clauses), special solicitation provisions, or FAR/CAR deviations required; whether sealed bidding or negotiation will be used and why; whether equipment will be acquired by lease or purchase and why; and any other relevant considerations.

(e) Budgeting and funding: Describe how the budget estimates were derived and discuss the schedule for obtaining adequate funds when required. Identify the funding amounts by appropriation account, fiscal year, line item and project. Where funding is obtained from multiple projects, provide a complete identification of each fund source. (Also see "Cost", Part I.)

(f) Product descriptions: In accordance with FAR Part 10, explain the choice of product description types to be used in the acquisition.

(g) Priorities, allocations, and allotments: Address if the acquisition is subject to the Defense Production Act of 1950. (FAR Subpart 12.3)

(h) Contractor versus Government performance: Address the requirements of OMB Circular No. A-76.

(i) Management information requirements: Discuss what management system will be used to monitor performance.

(j) Make or buy: Discuss any considerations given to make-or-buy programs (see FAR 15.7).

(k) Test and evaluation: If applicable, describe the test program to be used by the Government and Contractor.

(I) Logistics considerations: Describe:

(i) The assumptions determining contractor or agency support, both initially and over the life of the acquisition, including maintenance and servicing considerations, and distribution of commercial products.

(ii) The reliability, maintainability, and quality assurance requirements, including use of warranties.

(iii) The requirements for contractor data (including repurchase data) and data rights, their estimated cost, and how the data will be used.

(iv) The standardization concepts, including the need to designate, in accordance with agency procedures, technical equipment as "standard" so that future purchases can be made from the same manufacturer.

(in) Government-furnished property: Describe any property to be furnished to the contractor, both real and personal, and discuss its availability, condition and schedule. Discuss what steps are being taken to ensure that the property will be timely furnished to the contractor.

(n) Environmental considerations: Discuss any environmental issues associated with the acquisition, the applicability of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement (see 40 CFR 1502), the proposed resolution of environmental issues, and any environment-related requirements to be included in the solicitation and contract.

(o) Government-furnished information: Discuss any Government-owned information (manuals, drawings and test data) to be provided to prospective offerors and contractors.

(p) Security considerations: For acquisitions dealing with classified matters, describe how adequate security will be established, maintained and monitored (see FAR Subpart 4.4).

(q) Other considerations: As applicable, discuss the consideration given to the following:

(i) Value Engineering Provisions.

(ii) Preproposal conference.

(iii) Site visits for contractors.

(iv) Preaward surveys.

(v) Benchmark testing/performance validation.

(vi) Other issues deemed appropriate by the contracting or program officials.

(r) Other approvals: Describe any separate approvals that are required. Required approvals include, but are not necessarily limited to:

(i) Requirements Initiative - If the acquisition includes information technology (as defined in the Department's "Information Technology Management Handbook"), identify the requirements initiative by its title, description, number, and provide the date of the Departmental approval. The name of the Departmental- level official who approved the initiative must also be included.

NOTE: If applicable, a Requirements Initiative must be approved at the Department level before an acquisition plan is submitted to the Procurement Executive. Failure to receive a Requirements Initiative approval before an acquisition plan is submitted will result in the acquisition plan being returned unapproved.

(ii) Delegations of Procurement Authority (DPA) - for certain ADP,Telecommunications acquisitions as described in the Information Technology Management Handbook.

(iii) Departmental Advisory and Assistance Board review for services.

(s) Milestone schedule: Establish the planned acquisition schedule, including the following steps and any others deemed appropriate. Fully explain and completely justify times shown which are shorter than. normal lead-times.

(i) Requisition received by the Contracting Officer.

(ii) Requisition reviewed by CO for completeness (specifications, justifications, etc.) and determined "ready" for acquisition action.

(iii) Labor Surplus/Small Business Review.

(iv) Special Approvals Obtained.

(v) Submission of Acquisition Plan.

(vi) Approval of Acquisition Plan. (allow for 30-day approval process)

(vii) Submission of Agency Procurement Request (APR).

(viii) Receipt of Delegation of Procurement Authority (DPA).

(ix) Issuance of CBD announcement.

(x) Solicitation Review(s) and Clearances.

(xi) Issuance of Solicitation.

(xii) Pre-proposal/pre-bid conference.

(xiii) Receipt of Bids/Offers.

(xiv) Request(s) for Audit.

(xv) Receipt of Technical Evaluations (including TACPs, when applicable).

(xvi) Receipt of Audit(s) Reports.

(xvii) Competitive Range Determination.

(xviii) Benchmark, OCD Tests Completed.

(xix) Receipt of pre-award survey reports.

(xx) Establish Pre-negotiation Objectives.

(xxi) Open Negotiations.

(xxii) Receipt of Best and Final Offers.

(xxiii) Completion of Negotiations.

(xxiv) Prepare Price Negotiation Memoranda.

(xxv) EEO compliance review received.

(xxvi) Subcontracting Plan Approval (OSDBU).

(xxvii) Source Selection.

(xxviii) Contract Review(s) and Clearances.

(xxix) Contract Award, including Public Announcement Considerations. (FAR 5.303)

(t) Additional requirements for major systems (OMB Circular A-109): The acquisition plan for acquisitions which have been determined to be major systems in accordance with DAO 208-3, as amended, must include the additional elements contained in FAR 7.106. For major systems acquisitions, the Program Development Plan (PDP), required by DAO 208-3, may serve as the acquisition plan provided all of the acquisition plan elements are fully discussed in the PDP.

(u) Participants in Acquisition Process: List the names and phones numbers for the following individuals:

(i) Responsible Contracting Officer.

(ii) Contract specialist, if assigned.

(iii) Responsible program manager.

(iv) Contracting Officer's Technical Representative, if different from (iii).

(v) Additional individuals who helped prepare the acquisition plan.

(vi) Source Selection Official.


Sample Format

Acquisition Plan Signature Page


Approval Requested:


___________________________________________________________ ___________________________
Program Official Date
Phone Number:
___________________________________________________________ ___________________________
Contracting Officer Date
Phone Number:
___________________________________________________________ ___________________________
Office of General Counsel Date
(or counsel specifically assigned to a procurement office)
Phone Number:
___________________________________________________________ ___________________________
Head of Contracting Office Date
Phone Number:
___________________________________________________________ ___________________________
Head of Contracting Activity Date
Phone Number: