FAC Number: FAC 2022-07
Effective Date: 08/10/2022

Federal Acquisition Regulation

Part 34 - Major System Acquisition

34.000 Scope of part.

This part describes acquisition policies and procedures for use in acquiring major systems consistent with OMB Circular No. A-109; and the use of an Earned Value Management System in acquisitions designated as major acquisitions consistent with OMB Circular A-11, part  7.

34.001 Definition.

Effective competition, as used in this part, is a market condition that exists when two or more contractors, acting independently, actively contend for the Government’s business in a manner that ensures that the Government will be offered the lowest cost or price alternative or best technical design meeting its minimum needs.

34.002 Policy.

The policies of this part are designed to ensure that agencies acquire major systems in the most effective, economical, and timely manner. Agencies acquiring major systems shall-

      (a) Promote innovation and full and open competition as required by part  6 in the development of major system concepts by-

           (1) Expressing agency needs and major system acquisition program objectives in terms of the agency’s mission and not in terms of specified systems to satisfy needs, and

           (2) Focusing agency resources and special management attention on activities conducted in the initial stage of major programs; and

      (b) Sustain effective competition between alternative system concepts and sources for as long as it is beneficial.

34.003 Responsibilities.

      (a) As required by A-109, the agency head or designee shall establish written procedures for its implementation.

      (b) The agency procedures shall identify the key decision points of each major system acquisition and the agency official(s) for making those decisions.

      (c) Systems acquisitions normally designated as major are those programs that, as determined by the agency head, (1) are directed at and critical to fulfilling an agency mission need, (2) entail allocating relatively large resources for the particular agency, and (3) warrant special management attention, including specific agency-head decisions. The agency procedures may establish additional criteria, as specified in A-109, for designating major programs system acquisitions.

34.004 Acquisition strategy.

The program manager, as specified in agency procedures, shall develop an acquisition strategy tailored to the particular major system acquisition program. This strategy is the program manager’s overall plan for satisfying the mission need in the most effective, economical, and timely manner. The strategy shall be in writing and prepared in accordance with the requirements of subpart  7.1, except where inconsistent with this part, and shall qualify as the acquisition plan for the major system acquisition, as required by that subpart.

Part 35 - Research and Development Contracting

35.000 Scope of part.

      (a) This part prescribes policies and procedures of special application to research and development (R&D) contracting.

      (b) R&D integral to acquisition of major systems is covered in part  34. Independent research and development (IR&D) is covered at 31.205-18.

35.001 Definitions.

Applied research means the effort that (a) normally follows basic research, but may not be severable from the related basic research; (b) attempts to determine and exploit the potential of scientific discoveries or improvements in technology, materials, processes, methods, devices, or techniques; and (c) attempts to advance the state of the art. When being used by contractors in cost principle applications, this term does not include efforts whose principal aim is the design, development, or testing of specific items or services to be considered for sale; these efforts are within the definition of "development," given below.

Development, as used in this part, means the systematic use of scientific and technical knowledge in the design, development, testing, or evaluation of a potential new product or service (or of an improvement in an existing product or service) to meet specific performance requirements or objectives. It includes the functions of design engineering, prototyping, and engineering testing; it excludes subcontracted technical effort that is for the sole purpose of developing an additional source for an existing product.

Recoupment, as used in this part, means the recovery by the Government of Government-funded nonrecurring costs from contractors that sell, lease, or license the resulting products or technology to buyers other than the Federal Government.

35.002 General.

The primary purpose of contracted R&D programs is to advance scientific and technical knowledge and apply that knowledge to the extent necessary to achieve agency and national goals. Unlike contracts for supplies and services, most R&D contracts are directed toward objectives for which the work or methods cannot be precisely described in advance. It is difficult to judge the probabilities of success or required effort for technical approaches, some of which offer little or no early assurance of full success. The contracting process shall be used to encourage the best sources from the scientific and industrial community to become involved in the program and must provide an environment in which the work can be pursued with reasonable flexibility and minimum administrative burden.

35.003 Policy.

      (a) Use of contracts. Contracts shall be used only when the principal purpose is the acquisition of supplies or services for the direct benefit or use of the Federal Government. Grants or cooperative agreements should be used when the principal purpose of the transaction is to stimulate or support research and development for another public purpose.

      (b) Cost sharing. Cost sharing policies (which are not otherwise required by law) under Government contracts shall be in accordance with 16.303, 42.707(a) and agency procedures.

      (c) Recoupment. Recoupment not otherwise required by law shall be in accordance with agency procedures.

35.004 Publicizing requirements and expanding research and development sources.

      (a) In order to obtain a broad base of the best contractor sources from the scientific and industrial community, agencies must, in addition to following the requirements of part  5, continually search for and develop information on sources (including small business concerns) competent to perform R&D work. These efforts should include-

           (1) Early identification and publication of agency R&D needs and requirements, including publicizing through the Governmentwide point of entry (GPE) (see part  5);

           (2) Cooperation among technical personnel, contracting officers, and Government small business personnel early in the acquisition process; and

           (3) Providing agency R&D points of contact for potential sources.

      (b) See subpart  9.7 for information regarding R&D pools and subpart  9.6 for teaming arrangements.

35.005 Work statement.

      (a) A clear and complete work statement concerning the area of exploration (for basic research) or the end objectives (for development and applied research) is essential. The work statement should allow contractors freedom to exercise innovation and creativity. Work statements must be individually tailored by technical and contracting personnel to attain the desired degree of flexibility for contractor creativity and the objectives of the R&D.

      (b) In basic research the emphasis is on achieving specified objectives and knowledge rather than on achieving predetermined end results prescribed in a statement of specific performance characteristics. This emphasis applies particularly during the early or conceptual phases of the R&D effort.

      (c) In reviewing work statements, contracting officers should ensure that language suitable for a level-of-effort approach, which requires the furnishing of technical effort and a report on the results, is not intermingled with language suitable for a task-completion