The Department of Defense (DOD) has issued a final rule1 amending the Department of Defense FAR Supplement (DFARS) to provide a “proposal adequacy checklist” for offerors to complete when a solicitation requires certified cost or pricing data. New DFARS 215.408 provides that, when the solicitation requires the submission of certified cost or pricing data, the contracting officer “should” include 252.215-7009, Proposal Adequacy Checklist, in the solicitation to facilitate submission of a “thorough, accurate, and complete proposal.” The provision will only be included in solicitations with an estimated value greater than the Truth in Negotiations Act threshold (currently US$700,000), and that require certified cost or pricing data. The checklist applies only to the cost proposal, and not to the offeror’s entire proposal submission.

The purpose of the checklist is to facilitate offerors’ submission of adequate proposals, and to enable offerors to self-validate their proposals through use of the checklist. Use of the checklist is not a mandatory requirement, but contracting officers will have discretion to determine applicability based on procurement requirements. According to DOD, the checklist is intended as a tool to assist offerors in providing adequate, compliant proposals, and is not meant to be punitive. DOD’s goal in issuing the checklist is to improve proposal submissions from prospective contractors, and thereby promote efficiency during the proposal evaluation process, by reducing rework, added proposal preparation costs and delays associated with inadequate proposals. According to DOD, use of the checklist should result in cost savings by improving initial proposal submissions from offerors and reducing the amount of rework and resubmissions, as well as time savings for contracting officers, because the offeror will specify where to find required information in its proposal. The completed checklist is not intended to be a standalone document, but will be used by contracting officials in reviewing proposals when certified cost or pricing data are required. Prime contractors are not required to flowdown the checklist to subcontractors, but may elect to have their prospective subcontractors use the same, or a similar, checklist, as appropriate.

When the contracting officer determines the checklist is applicable, the solicitation provision created by this rule will be specified in Section L of the solicitation, and is meant to supplement the other instructions for circumstances where certified cost or pricing data will be required.

In the final rule, the proposal adequacy checklist includes 36 items, down from the 47 checklist items initially identified in the December 2011 proposed rule. The checklist requires offerors to provide the location of requested items, or an explanation of why the requested information is not provided. The final rule became effective on March 28, 2013.