Effective December 31, 2015, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council has adopted an interim rule permitting contracting officers to issue qualifying sole source contracts to Woman-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB), as authorized in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.  The Small Business Administration (SBA) adopted a final rule authorizing the sole source contracts last September.

If adopted, the interim rule would amend numerous aspects of the FAR, including revising    FAR 19.1506 to “Women-Owned Small Business Program Sole Source Awards.”  Newly amended FAR 19.1506 generally requires contracting officers to consider issuing a sole source award to WOSBs or Economically Disadvantaged WOSBs (EDWOSB) if none of the listed exclusions apply.  According to the interim rule, a contract is ripe for a sole source award if the acquisition is assigned the appropriate NAICS code, there is not a reasonable expectation that offers from two or more qualifying WOSBs or EDWOSBs will be received, the anticipated contract price will not exceed $4 million (or $6.5 million for a manufacturing contract), and the award can be made at a fair and reasonable price.

The interim rule provides the necessary FAR guidance for contracting officers considering WOSB sole source awards.  Comments to the interim rule are due on or before February 29, 2016.