Contracting Cone

Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) vs Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO)

Broad Agency Announcement (BAA)
(FAR Part 35.016)
Defense Commercial Solutions Opening
(CSO)
Pilot Program
Description

BAAs are used to obtain proposals for basic and applied research and development to advance or evaluate cutting edge technologies, not related to a specific system or hardware requirement. BAAs should be used when meaningful solutions can be expected. BAAs are typically “open” and proposals accepted for a specified period of time. Proposals submitted in response to BAAs may or may not lead to contracts.

BAAs may be used for the award of science and technology proposals for the following: 

  • Basic research (budget activity 6.1)
  • Applied research (budget activity 6.2)
  • Advanced technology development (budget activity 6.3)
  • Advanced component development and prototypes (budget activity 6.4)

 

BAAs may be used to award FAR-based contracts or non-FAR based agreements.

A competitive program authorized by Section 879 of the FY17 NDAA to acquire innovative commercial items, technologies, or services that directly fulfill requirements, close capability gaps, or provide potential technological advances.

CSO procedures are also used to award non-FAR based agreements. Specific limitations and requirements apply when using the CSO evaluation procedures and is dependent upon the non-FAR based strategy selected

Common Applications
  • Research & Development (R&D) studies
  • Prototypes
  • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) efforts
  • Science & Technology (S&T) initiatives
  • Technology maturation
  • Commercial products and services
  • IT product and services
  • R&D studies for commercial technology
  • Commercial technology maturation
Pros
  • Increases knowledge in areas of strategic importance and technical capability to programs
  • Streamlined evaluation process based on technical merit increases flexibility to select innovative capability solutions
  • Streamlined evaluation process based on technical merit increases flexibility to select innovative commercial solutions
  • Commercial technology enables rapid delivery of capability
  • Shorter evaluation timelines for solution briefs significantly reduce procurement lead times
Cons
  • Limitations on use of BAAs increases burden on government to transition capability to acquisition programs
  • Intellectual property and data rights increases burden on government to ensure rights are explicit during transition to acquisition programs
  • Cannot acquire products in quantity
  • Data rights and licenses of commercial technology increases burden on government to ensure specialized rights are well understood within the context of the commercial product lifecycle
Restrictions
  • Limited to basic and applied research
  • Must be funded using RDT&E funds
  • Cannot be used for specific system or hardware solution
  • Cannot be used for systems engineering and advisory services
  • Cannot be used for production
  • Limited to fixed-price or fixed-price incentive contract arrangements
  • Awards exceeding $100 million require approval from USD A&S or military service acquisition executive
  • Requirement to promote competition in accordance with DFARS 215.371-2 does not apply
  • Authority expires on September 30, 2022