On March 22, 2018, the DoD issued guidance enhancing post-award debriefing rights for unsuccessful offerors.  Pursuant to the guidance, unsuccessful offerors may submit to the awarding agency additional questions relating to the contracting officer’s debriefing.  The questions must be submitted within two business days after receiving the debriefing.  The awarding agency has five business days to respond, in writing, and the post-award debriefing will not be considered concluded until the agency delivers its written responses.

The enhanced debriefing rights modify the GAO’s protest timelines under FAR 33.104(c).  Contracting officers must now suspend contract performance or terminate the awarded contract upon receipt of a protest filed with the GAO within:

  • Ten days after the date of contract award;
  • Five days after a debriefing date offered to the protestor under a timely request; or
  • Five days after the awarding agency delivers its written response to the additional questions submitted pursuant to this guidance, whichever is latest.

This guidance implemented paragraphs (b) and (c) of section 818 of the NDAA for FY 2018 (Pub. L. 115-91), which amends 10 USC 2305(b)(5) and 31 USC 3553(d)(4).