Important Contract Considerations Affecting Systems Engineering
The following contracting aspects may affect the program’s SE efforts and products and should be considered in solicitations:
• Organizational Conflict of Interest – The Government acquisition contracting team needs to avoid any organizational conflict of interest (OCI) in SE and technical direction work to be performed by a potential contractor. A potential OCI exists when, because of a contractor’s other activities, the contractor may enjoy an unfair competitive advantage, or when award of the subject contract could put the contractor in the position of performing conflicting roles that might bias the contractor’s judgment (see HUFAR 9.5UH). The CO is responsible for using the general rules procedures, and examples in the FAR to identify and evaluate potential OCIs as early in the acquisition process as possible and to avoid, neutralize, or mitigate significant potential conflicts before contract award. From the program’s point of view, they must be aware that any current or previous involvement of contractors or consultants in aspects of this, or a related, program may preclude the opportunity of responding to the RFP being prepared. High standards of ethics and professionalism are expected of every participant in the source selection process. Any questions or concerns about procurement integrity or standards of conduct should be brought to the agency ethics official or the CO.
• Commercial Item Acquisition – Market research will determine if commercial items (e.g., COTS) or non-developmental items are available and may meet certain technical requirements of the program. The SE (i.e., includes LSE and other technical staff – logistics, T&E, IA, etc.) team plays a key role in supporting the market research efforts, analyzing technical attributes and associated costs related to benefits and risks of various such options. Generally, however, the Government’s requirements should be described in terms of performance requirements. This is usually part of the Acquisition Strategy. It should be left to the offerors (in their proposals) and contractor, in design documents delivered to the Government for approval, to describe the planned use of commercial items.
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