PART 619 - SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAMS
Authority: 22 U.S.C. 2651a, 40 U.S.C. 121(c) and 48 CFR chapter 1.
Source: 53 FR 26170, July 11, 1988, unless otherwise noted.
619.000 Scope of part.
(b) It is the Department's policy to provide maximum opportunities for U.S. small businesses to participate in the acquisition process. DOS contracts that are awarded domestically for performance overseas shall be subject to the Small Business Act as a matter of policy. Contracts that are both awarded and performed overseas should comply on a voluntary basis.
Subpart 619.2 - Policies
619.201 General policy.
(a) The Operations Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), is responsible for performing all functions and duties prescribed in FAR 19.201(c) and (d).
(b) In addition to the requirements of FAR 19.201(b), each head of the contracting activity, or designee, is responsible for establishing in coordination with the OSDBU Operations Director annual goals for the DOS small business program.
(d) Pursuant to FAR 19.201(d), each Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Specialist (SDBUS) is responsible for -
(1) Maintaining a program to locate capable small business, small disadvantaged business, women-owned small business, HUBZone small business, veteran-owned small business, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business sources to fulfill DOS acquisition requirements;
(2) Coordinating inquiries and requests for advice from small business, small disadvantaged business, women-owned small business, HUBZone small business, veteran-owned small business, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns on DOS contracting and subcontracting opportunities and other acquisition matters;
(3) Advising contracting activities on new or revised small business policies, regulations, procedures, and other related information;
(4) Assuring that small business, small disadvantaged business, women-owned small business, HUBZone small business, veteran-owned small business, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns are provided adequate specifications or drawings by initiating, in writing, with appropriate technical and contracting personnel to ensure that all necessary specifications or drawings for current and future acquisitions, as appropriate, are available;
(5) Reviewing all proposed acquisitions in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold, including commercial items using the simplified acquisition procedures of FAR Subpart 13.5, and task and delivery orders under multiple award contracts exceeding $2 million, to assure that small business, small disadvantaged business, women-owned small business, HUBZone small business, veteran-owned small business, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns will be afforded an equitable opportunity to compete and, as appropriate, initiating recommendations for small business, 8(a), or HUBZone set-asides. This includes proposed contract modifications for new or additional requirements that do not fall within the original scope of the contract and which exceed the simplified acquisition limitation. This does not include the exercising of contract options;
(6) Assuring that contract financing available under existing regulations is offered when appropriate and that requests by small business concerns for such financing are not treated as a handicap in the award of contracts;
(7) Providing assistance to the contracting officer in making determinations concerning responsibility of prospective contractors whenever small business concerns are involved;
(8) Participating in the evaluation of a prime contractor's small, small disadvantaged, woman-owned small, HUBZone small, veteran-owned small, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business subcontracting plans;
(9) Assuring that the participation of small business, small disadvantaged business, women-owned small business, HUBZone small business, veteran-owned small business, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns is accurately reported;
(10) Attending, as appropriate, debriefings to unsuccessful small business, small disadvantaged business, women-owned small business, HUBZone small business, veteran-owned small business, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns to assist those firms in understanding requirements for responsiveness and responsibility so that the firm may be able to qualify for future awards;
(11) Making available to SBA copies of solicitations when so requested;
(12) When a bid or offer from a small business, small disadvantaged business, women-owned small business, HUBZone small business, veteran-owned small business, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business has been rejected for non-responsiveness or non-responsibility, upon request, aid, counsel, and assist that firm in understanding requirements for responsiveness and responsibility so that the firm may be able to qualify for future awards;
(13) Participating in Government-industry conferences to assist small business concerns, including Business Opportunity/Federal Acquisition Conferences, Minority Business Enterprise Acquisition Seminars and Business Opportunity Committee meetings;
(14) Maintaining a list of supplies and services that have been placed as repetitive small business set-asides;
(15) Participating in the development, implementation, and review of automated source systems to assure that the interests of small business concerns are included;
(16) Advising potential sources how they can obtain information about competitive acquisitions;
(17) Providing small business, small disadvantaged business, women-owned small business, HUBZone small business, veteran-owned small business, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns information regarding assistance available from Federal agencies such as the Small Business Administration, Minority Business Development Agency, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Economic Development Administration, National Science Foundation, Department of Labor and others, including State agencies and trade associations; and
(18) Participating in interagency programs relating to small business matters as authorized by the OSDBU Operations Director.
(1) The Procurement Executive is the agency designee for the purposes of FAR 19.201(f)(1). The written determination shall be forwarded to the Procurement Executive through the OSDBU Operations Director.
619.202 Specific policies.
619.202-70 The Department of State Mentor-Protégé Program.
(a) Purpose. The Mentor-Protégé Program is designed to motivate and encourage firms to assist small businesses with business development, including small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned small businesses, HUBZone small businesses, veteran-owned small businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. The program is also designed to improve the performance of DOS contracts and subcontracts, foster the establishment of long-term business relationships between small businesses and prime contractors, and increase the overall number of small businesses that receive DOS contract and subcontract awards. The program is limited to non-commercial item acquisitions.
(b) Definitions. The definitions of small business (SB), HUBZone small business concern (HUBZone), small disadvantaged business (SDB), women-owned small business (WOSB), veteran-owned small business (VOSB), and service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) are the same as found in FAR 2.101.
Mentor means a prime contractor that elects to promote and develop small business subcontractors by providing developmental assistance designed to enhance the business success of the protégé.
Protégé means a small business, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged business, women-owned small business, veteran-owned small business, or service-disabled veteran-owned small business that is the recipient of developmental assistance pursuant to a mentor-protégé program.
(c) Non-affiliation. For purposes of the Small Business Act, a protégé firm is not considered an affiliate of a mentor firm solely because the protégé firm is receiving developmental assistance from the mentor firm under the program.
(d) General policy.
(1) Eligible business prime contractors not included on the “List of Parties Excluded from Federal Procurement and Nonprocurement Programs” that are approved as mentor firms may enter into agreements with eligible protégé.
(2) A firm's status as a protégé under a DOS contract shall not have an effect on the firm's ability to seek other prime contracts or subcontracts.
(e) Incentives for prime contractor participation.
(1) Under the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(d)(4)(E)), DOS is authorized to provide appropriate incentives to encourage subcontracting opportunities for small businesses consistent with the efficient and economical performance of the contract. This authority is limited to negotiated acquisitions.
(2) Before awarding a contract that requires a subcontracting plan, the existence of a mentor-protégé arrangement, and performance, if any, under an existing arrangement, may be considered by the contracting officer in:
(i) Evaluating the quality of a proposed subcontracting plan under FAR 19.704-5; and,
(ii) Assessing the prime contractor's compliance with the subcontracting plans submitted in previous contracts as a factor in determining contractor responsibility under FAR 19.705-5(a)(1).
(3) A non-monetary award may be presented annually (or as often as appropriate) to the mentoring firm providing the most effective developmental support of a protégé. The Mentor-Protégé Program Manager will recommend an award winner to the Operations Director, OSDBU.
(f) Measurement of program success. The success of the DOS Mentor-Protégé Program will be measured by:
(1) The increase in the number and dollar value of contracts awarded to protégé firms under DOS contracts from the date the protégé enters the program;
(2) The increase in the number and dollar value of contracts and subcontracts awarded to the protégé under other Federal agencies and commercial contracts; and,
(3) The developmental assistance provided by the mentor firm and the resulting increase in the technical, managerial, financial or other capabilities of the protégé firm, as reported by the protégé.
(g) Eligibility of mentor firms. A mentor firm:
(1) May be either a large or small business;
(2) Must be eligible for award of U.S. Government contracts;
(3) Must be able to provide developmental assistance that will enhance the ability of protégé to perform as subcontractors; and,
(4) Will be encouraged to enter into arrangements with protégé and firms with whom they have established business relationships.
(h) Eligibility of protégé firms.
(1) A protégé firm must be:
(i) A SB, HUBZone, SDB, WOSB, VOSB, or SDVOSB as those terms are defined in FAR 2.101;
(ii) Small in the NAICS code for the services or supplies to be provided by the protégé to the mentor; and,
(iii) Eligible for award of U.S. Government contracts.
(2) Except for SDB and HUBZone firms, a protégé firm may self-certify to a mentor firm that it meets the requirements set forth in paragraph (h)(1) of this subsection. Mentors may rely in good faith on written representations by potential protégé that they meet the specified eligibility requirements. SDB status eligibility and documentation requirements are determined by FAR 19.304. HUBZone status eligibility and documentation requirements are determined by FAR 19.1303.
(3) Protégé may have multiple mentors. protégé participating in mentor-protégé programs in addition to DOS's program should maintain a system for preparing separate reports of mentoring activity for each agency's program.
(i) Selection of protégé firms. (1) Mentor firms are solely responsible for selecting protégé firms. The mentor is encouraged to identify and select a broad base of protégé firms whose core competencies support DOS's mission.
(2) Mentors may have multiple protégé.
(3) The selection of protégé firms by mentor firms may not be protested, except that any protest regarding the size or eligibility status of an entity selected by a mentor shall be handled in accordance with FAR and SBA regulations.
(j) Application and agreement process for mentor-protégé teams to participate in the program.
(1) Firms interested in becoming a mentor firm shall apply in writing to OSDBU. The application (Form DS-4053, Department of State Mentor-Protégé Program Application), shall be evaluated by the nature and extent of technical and managerial support proposed as well as the extent of financial assistance in the form of equity investment, loans, joint-venture support, and traditional subcontracting support proposed.
(2) A proposed mentor shall submit the application form and associated information to OSDBU.
(k) OSDBU review of application.
(1) OSDBU shall review the information to ensure the mentor and protégé are eligible and the information provided is complete. OSDBU shall consult with the contracting officer on the adequacy of the proposed mentor-protégé arrangement, and its review shall be complete no later than 30 calendar days after receipt of the application by OSDBU.
(2) Upon completion of the review, OSDBU will advise the mentor if its application is acceptable. The mentor may then implement the developmental assistance program in accordance with the approved agreement.
(3) The agreement defines the relationship between the mentor and protégé firms only. The agreement itself does not create any privity of contract between the mentor or protégé and the DOS.
(l) Developmental assistance. The forms of developmental assistance a mentor can provide to a protégé include:
(1) Management guidance relating to:
(i) Financial management;
(ii) Organizational management;
(iii) Overall business management/planning;
(iv) Business development; and,
(v) Technical assistance.
(3) Rent-free use of facilities and/or equipment;
(5) Temporary assignment of personnel to protégé for purpose of training; and,
(6) Any other types of permissible, mutually beneficial assistance.
(1) A mentor or protégé firm may voluntarily withdraw from the program. However, in no event shall such withdrawal impact the program mission and contractual requirements under the prime contract.
(2) Mentor and protégé firms shall submit to OSDBU annual reports on program progress of the mentor-protégé agreements. Large business mentors may submit these reports as part of their SB, HUBZone, SDB, WOSB, VOSB, and SDVOSB plan submission in accordance with the due date on the SF-295. DOS shall consider the following in evaluating these reports:
(i) Specific actions taken by the contractor, during the evaluation period, to increase the participation of protégés as suppliers to the U.S. Government and to commercial entities;
(ii) Specific actions taken by the mentor, during the evaluation period, to develop the technical and corporate administrative expertise of a protégé as defined in the agreement;
(iii) To what extent the protégé has met the developmental objectives in the agreement; and,
(iv) To what extent the mentor firm's participation in the Mentor-Protégé Program resulted in the protégé receiving contract(s) and subcontract(s) from private firms and agencies other than the DOS.
(3) The DOS OSDBU shall submit the annual reports to the cognizant contracting officer regarding participating prime contractor(s) performance in the program.
(4) Mentor and protégé firms shall submit an evaluation to the OSDBU at the conclusion of the mutually agreed upon program period, the conclusion of the contract, or the voluntary withdrawal by either party from the program, whichever comes first.
(n) Internal controls.
(1) OSDBU shall oversee the program and shall work with the cognizant contracting officer to achieve program objectives.
(2) DOS may rescind approval of an existing Mentor-Protégé agreement if it determines that such an action is in the Department's best interest. The rescission shall be in writing and sent to the mentor and protégé firms after approval by the OSDBU Operations Director. Rescission of an agreement does not change the terms of the subcontract between the mentor and the protégé or the prime contractor's obligations under its subcontracting plan.
(o) Solicitation provision and contract clause.
(1) The contracting officer shall insert the provision at 652.219-72, Department of State Mentor-Protégé Program, in all unrestricted solicitations exceeding $650,000 ($1,500,000 for construction) that offer subcontracting opportunities.
(2) The contracting officer shall insert the clause at DOSAR 652.219-73, Mentor Requirements and Evaluation, in all contracts where the prime contractor has signed a Mentor-Protégé Agreement with the Department of State.
Subpart 619.4 - Cooperation with the Small Business Administration
619.402 Small Business Administration procurement center representatives.
619.402-70 DOS designee.
Where the FAR requires action by a Small Business Administration procurement center representative, but one has not been assigned to the DOS contracting activity, the OSDBU Operations Director shall perform the action so required.
Subpart 619.5 - Set-Asides for Small Business
(c) Contracting officers shall use Department of State Form DS-1910, Small Business Review - Actions Above the Simplified Acquisition Threshold, to document set-aside decisions.
619.505 Rejecting Small Business Administration recommendations.
The Procurement Executive is the agency head for the purposes of FAR 19.505.
619.506 Withdrawing or modifying set asides.
(b) The Procurement Executive shall resolve disagreements between the OSDBU Operations Director and the contracting officer.
Subpart 619.6 - Certificates of Competency and Determinations of Responsibility
The contracting officer shall transmit to the OSDBU Operations Director concurrently with the submission to the appropriate SBA Regional Office, a copy of the documentation supporting the determination that a small business concern is not responsible, as required by FAR 19.602-1(a).
Subpart 619.7 - The Small Business Subcontracting Program
619.705 Responsibilities of the contracting officer under the subcontracting assistance program.
619.705-1 General support of the program.
It is the Department's policy to incorporate its current fiscal year goals as negotiated with the SBA into all pertinent Department solicitations, in addition to the standard subcontract clauses. Incorporation of the goals does not require that large prime contractors must subcontract, but does require that to the extent they plan to subcontract, specific goals be established for doing business with small, small disadvantaged, women-owned small, HUBZone small, veteran-owned small, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business firms. Where funds are available, an incentive clause such as that found in FAR 52.219-10, Incentive Subcontracting Program, is encouraged.
619.705-3 Preparing the solicitation.
To further promote the use of small, disadvantaged, women-owned small, HUBZone small, veteran-owned small, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business firms by large prime contractors, contracting officers are encouraged to consider the adequacy of the subcontracting plans, and/or past performance in achieving negotiated subcontract goals, as part of the overall evaluation of the technical proposals.
619.705-4 Reviewing the subcontracting plan.
OSDBU shall review subcontracting plans to determine if small, small disadvantaged, women-owned small, HUBZone small, veteran-owned small, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns are afforded the maximum practicable opportunity to participate as subcontractors. OSDBU shall recommend to the contracting officer changes needed to subcontracting plans found to be deficient.
619.705-6 Postaward responsibilities of the contracting officer.
619.705-6-70 Reporting responsibilities.
(a) The contracting officer shall forward to the OSDBU Operations Director a copy of each subcontracting plan that was incorporated into a contract or contract modification. Each contracting activity shall maintain a list of its active prime contracts that contain subcontracting plans.
(b) Contracting officers shall collect subcontracting data from contractors required to establish subcontracting plans in support of small, small disadvantaged, women-owned small, HUBZone small, veteran-owned small, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns. This data shall be collected annually and semiannually, using Standard Form 295, Summary Subcontracting Report, for the annual submissions, and Standard Form 294, Subcontracting Report for Individual Contracts, for the semiannual submissions. The head of the contracting activity shall forward these reports to the OSDBU Operations Director, not later than the 30th day of the month following the close of the reporting period.
619.708-70 Solicitation provisions and contract clauses.
The contracting officer shall insert a provision substantially the same as the provision at 652.219-70, Department of State Subcontracting Goals, in solicitations whenever the clause at FAR 52.219-9, Small Business Subcontracting Plan, is used.
Subpart 619.8 - Contracting with the Small Business Administration (The 8(a) Program)
Source: 64 FR 43624, Aug. 11, 1999, unless otherwise noted.
(d) Utilizing Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), the SBA has delegated its authority to contract directly with program participants under Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act to the Senior Procurement Executives of various Federal contracting activities. The Department of State has signed an MOU with SBA, effective May 6, 1998. Under the MOU, a contract may be awarded directly to an 8(a) firm on either a sole source or competitive basis. The SBA reserves the right to withdraw any delegation issued as a result of an MOU; however, any such withdrawal shall have no effect on contracts currently awarded under the MOU.
619.803 Selecting acquisitions for the 8(a) program.
619.803-70 Responsibilities of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (A/SDBU).
OSDBU shall review the capabilities of 8(a) concerns and disseminate that information to DOS program and contracting personnel. As necessary, OSDBU shall obtain from the SBA or 8(a) concerns supplemental information for DOS program and contracting personnel.
619.803-71 Simplified procedures for 8(a) acquisitions under MOUs.
Contracting activities may use the simplified acquisition procedures of FAR part 13 and DOSAR part 613 to issue purchase orders or contracts, not exceeding $150,000, to 8(a) participants. The $150,000 limitation for use of FAR part 13 simplified acquisition procedures applies to the acquisition of both commercial and non-commercial items. The following applies to such acquisitions:
(a) Neither offering letters to, nor acceptance letters from, the SBA are required.
(b) The contracting activity shall use the System for Award Management (https://www.sam.gov) to establish that the selected 8(a) firm is a current program participant.
(c) Once an 8(a) contractor has been identified, the agency contracting officer shall establish the price with the selected 8(a) contractor.
(d) The contracting officer shall issue the purchase order or contract directly to the 8(a) firm in accordance with the provisions of FAR part 13 and DOSAR part 613. The contracting officer shall insert FAR 52.219-14, Limitations on Subcontracting, and 652.219-71, Section 8(a) Direct Award, in all purchase orders and contracts awarded under this subsection. The contracting officer's title shall include the contracting activity, as follows: Contracting Officer for the Department of State [insert contracting activity]. In addition, in accordance with the MOU, OSDBU staff who have been issued limited contracting officer warrants for this purpose, shall sign the purchase order or contract as a third party.
(e) The contracting officer shall forward to the SBA District Office serving the 8(a) firm a copy of the purchase order or contract within five days after the order is issued.
619.804 Evaluation, offering, and acceptance.
619.804-2 Agency offering.
(a) When applicable, this notification shall identify that the offering is in accordance with the MOU identified in 619.800.
619.804-3 SBA acceptance.
619.804-3-70 SBA Acceptance Under MOUs for Acquisitions Exceeding $150,000.
(a) The SBA's decision whether to accept the requirement shall be transmitted to the contracting agency in writing within five working days of receipt of the offer.
(b) The SBA may request, and the contracting agency may grant, an extension beyond the five-day limit.
(c) SBA's acceptance letter should be faxed or e-mailed to the offering contracting agency.
(d) If the offering contracting agency has not received an acceptance or rejection of the offering from SBA within five days of SBA's receipt of the offering letter, the contracting agency may assume that the requirement has been accepted and proceed with the acquisition.
(e) The contents of the acceptance letter shall be limited to the eligibility of the recommended 8(a) contractor.
619.805 Competitive 8(a).
(a) 8(a) acquisitions may also be conducted using simplified acquisition procedures (see FAR part 13). The award process is significantly streamlined where an MOU is in place.
(b) For requirements exceeding $150,000 processed under the MOU cited in 619.800, the contracting officer shall submit the name, address, and telephone number of the low offeror (in sealed bid acquisitions) or the apparent successful offeror (in negotiated acquisitions) to the SBA Business Opportunity Specialist at the field office servicing the identified 8(a) firm. The SBA shall determine the eligibility of the firm(s) and advise the contracting officer within two working days of the receipt of the request. If the firm is determined to be ineligible, the contracting officer shall submit information on the next low offeror or next apparent successful offeror, as applicable, to the cognizant SBA field office.
619.806 Pricing the 8(a) contract.
(a) When required by FAR subpart 15.4, the contracting officer shall obtain certified cost or pricing data directly from the 8(a) contractor if the contract is being awarded under the MOU cited in 619.800.
619.808 Contract negotiation.
619.808-1 Sole source.
(a) If the acquisition is conducted under an MOU cited in 619.800, the 8(a) contractor is responsible for negotiating with the agency within the time established by the agency. If the 8(a) contractor does not negotiate within the established time and the agency cannot allow additional time, the agency may, after notification and approval by SBA, proceed with the acquisition from other sources.
(b) If the acquisition is conducted under an MOU cited in 619.800, the agency is delegated the authority to negotiate directly with the 8(a) participant; however, if requested by the 8(a) participant, the SBA may participate in the negotiations.
619.810 SBA appeals.
(c) The Procurement Executive is the agency head for the purposes of FAR 19.810(c).
619.811 Preparing the contracts.
619.811-1 Sole source.
(d) If the award is to be made under an MOU cited in 619.800, the contract to be awarded by the contracting activity to the 8(a) firm shall be prepared in accordance with the contracting activity's normal procedures, given contract type and dollar amount, that the contracting activity would use for a similar, non-8(a) acquisition, except for the following:
(1) The award form shall cite 41 U.S.C. 3304(a)(5)or 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(5), as appropriate, and 15 U.S.C. 637(a) as the authority for use of other than full and open competition.
(2) The contracting officer shall insert FAR 52.219-14, Limitations on Subcontracting, and 652.219-71, Section 8(a) Direct Awards.
(3) For acquisitions exceeding $150,000, the contracting activity shall include SBA's requirement number on the award document.
(4) A single award document shall be used between the agency and the 8(a) contractor, i.e., an SBA signature will not be required. The title of the agency contracting officer shall include the contracting activity, as follows: Contracting Officer for the Department of State [insert contracting activity]. In addition, in accordance with the MOU, OSDBU staff who have been issued limited contracting officer warrants for this purpose shall sign the contract as a third party. The 8(a) contractor's signature shall be placed on the award document as the prime contractor. The 8(a) contractor's name and address shall be placed in the “Awarded to” or “Contractor name” block on the appropriate form.
(a) If the award is made under the delegation of 8(a) contracting authority, competitive contracts for 8(a) firms shall be prepared in accordance with the same standards as 8(a) sole source contracts. See 619.811-1.
(b) If the acquisition is conducted under the MOU cited in 619.800, the process for obtaining signatures shall be as specified in 619.811-1(d)(4).
619.811-3 Contract clauses.
(d) The contracting officer shall insert the clause at FAR 52.219-18, Notification of Competition Limited to Eligible 8(a) Concerns, (Deviation), in competitive solicitations and contracts exceeding $150,000 when the acquisition is processed under the MOU cited in 619.800.
(e) The contracting officer shall insert the clause at FAR 52.219-14, Limitations on Subcontracting, and 652.219-71, Section 8(a) Direct Awards, in all solicitations and contracts that are processed under the MOU cited at 619.800. The clauses at FAR 52.219-11, Special 8(a) Contract Conditions; 52.219-12, Special 8(a) Subcontract Conditions; and, 52.219-17, Section 8(a) Award, shall not be used.
619.812 Contract administration.
(d) The head of the contracting activity is the agency head for the purposes of FAR 19.812(d). Awards under the MOU cited in 619.800 are subject to 15 U.S.C. 637(a)(21). These contracts contain the clause at 652.219-71, Section 8(a) Direct Awards, that requires the 8(a) contractor to notify the SBA and the contracting officer when ownership of the firm is being transferred.
619.870 Acquisition of technical requirements.
(a) Offering letter. When a decision has been made by OSDBU and the contracting officer to process an acquisition through the SBA under the 8(a) program, the contracting activity shall promptly send to the applicable SBA office a letter offering the acquisition to the SBA, with an information copy to the Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Specialist. The offering letter should transmit the statement of work, purchase description, technical data package, or specifications and such other information deemed necessary by the contracting officer.
(b) The contracting officer has greater latitude in holding discussions with the business concerns being considered under an 8(a) program acquisition if under the $4 million competitive threshold for 8(a) competition than under a non-8(a) program acquisition. Informal assessments of potential 8(a) sources shall be within the parameters of 13 CFR 124.308(g). The technical evaluation must be carefully reviewed to determine if any source declared to be unacceptable is capable of being made acceptable.