Contracting Cone

Direct 8(a) Awards (FAR Subpart 19.8)


Direct 8(a) awards are a method to use sole source procedures to award to a single contractor under the 8(a) business development program if the following conditions apply:

  • Determination that the qualified small business is responsible
  • The resulting contract can be awarded at a fair market price
  • The anticipated total value of the contract doesn’t exceed the designated threshold for manufacturing requirements or threshold for all other requirements (There’s an exception to this rule for for an Indian tribe or an Alaska Native Corporation)


Effective March 17,2020, Class Deviation 2020-O0009, implementing Section 823 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (Pub. L. 116-92), authorizes sole source 8(a) awards valued at $100 million or less without a justification and approval.

  • The deviation establishes the $100 million threshold in lieu of $22 million at FAR 6.302-5(b)(4), 6.303-1(b), 6.303-2(d), and 19.808-1(a).
  • Additionally, in lieu of the approval requirements at FAR Part 6.304(a), the approval authority for justifications of 8(a) sole source awards exceeding $100 million is the head of the procuring activity.


Common Applications

  • All types of supplies and services
  • Defense Business Systems
  • Solutions and technologies
  • IT software and products
  • Research and development
  • Advisory and assistance services
  • Engineering services
  • Special studies





Ability to award directly to an 8(a) program qualifying vendor within FAR threshold reduces procurement lead time Many small businesses do not have approved cost accounting systems limiting selection of contract types
Small businesses provide culture of flexibility and innovation offering acquisition programs unique solutions to solving capability gaps Effort remains 8(a) set-aside designation for future re-compete activities unless the Small Business Administration agrees to remove the requirement from the program