GAO ESTIMATES THAT LPTA AWARDS STILL MAKE UP ONE-THIRD OF DOD PROCUREMENTS
More than two years after Congress passed several laws designed to curtail the use of Low Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) contracts, DOD still makes considerable use of this acquisition method, according to a new GAO report. In addition, DOD still has not issued the rules Congress ordered it to draft two years ago to ensure the department is only using the cost-conscious procurement method when appropriate. Not only are DOD offices that widely use LPTA thumbing their nose at Congress, they’re likely not following their own agency’s guidance either as DOD acquisition officials have sought to rein in LPTA use in successive policy directives. While LPTA may not be the discussion topic it once was among contractors, it is clear that is still a substantial part of some DOD office’s acquisition approach. The most sweeping Congressional legislation on DOD LPTA use established 8 criteria buyers are supposed to use before making an affirmative decision to conduct an LPTA acquisition. The DFAR case to implement this legislation, though, was opened less than a month ago and a final rule isn’t expected until the end of the 2019 fiscal year. It is important to remember, though, that the laws are still in effect regardless of regulatory guidance. There is more onus on contractors, though, to ensure that their buyers are aware of the current laws, as well as policy guidance, during the acquisition planning stage. This can be tricky business, but using a “Joe Friday” approach and sticking to the basic facts may be one successful strategy. Make sure that you’re prepared, as well, to point skeptical buyers to available internal DOD guidance.