Justification and Approval (J&A) is a document required by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) (Subpart 6.3) that justifies and obtains approval for contract solicitations that use Other than Full & Open Competition (FOC). Also called sole source.
Quick Sheet: Justification and Approval (J&A) Primer
Definition of Justification and Approval (J&A) – A document required to justify and obtain appropriate level approvals to contract without providing for full and open competition as required by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) (Subpart 6.3).
Legal Definition: 10 U.S.C. 2304(c) authorizes, under certain conditions, contracting without providing for full and open competition. Contracting without providing for full and open competition or full and open competition after exclusion of sources is a violation of statute unless permitted by one of the exceptions in 6.302.
Circumstances permitting other than full and open competition (FAR 6.302):
The following statutory situations permit contracting without providing for full and open competition:
- Only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements
- Unusual and compelling urgency
- Industrial mobilization; engineering, developmental, or research capability; or expert services
- International agreement
- Authorized or required by statute
- National security
- Public interest
Justifications Requirements (FAR 6.303):
A contracting officer shall not commence negotiations for a sole source contract, commence negotiations for a contract resulting from an unsolicited proposal, or award any other contract without providing for full and open competition unless the contracting officer:
- A contracting officer shall not commence negotiations for a sole source contract, commence negotiations for a contract resulting from an unsolicited proposal, or award any other contract without providing for full and open competition unless the contracting officer:
- Justifies the use of such actions in writing;
- Certifies the accuracy and completeness of the justification; and
- Obtains the approval.
- Technical and requirements personnel are responsible for providing and certifying as accurate and complete necessary data to support their recommendation for other than full and open competition.
- Justifications may be made on an individual or class basis. Any justification for contracts awarded under the authority of FAR 6.302-7 shall only be made on an individual basis. Whenever a justification is made and approved on a class basis, the contracting officer must ensure that each contract action taken pursuant to the authority of the class justification and approval is within the scope of the class justification and approval and shall document the contract file for each contract action accordingly.
- The justifications for contracts awarded under the authority may be prepared and approved within a reasonable time after contract award when preparation and approval prior to award would unreasonably delay the acquisitions
Justification Content (FAR 6.303-2):
Each justification shall contain sufficient facts and rationale to justify the use of the specific authority cited. As a minimum, each justification shall include the following information:
- Identification of the agency and the contracting activity, and specific identification of the document as a “Justification for other than full and open competition.”
- Nature and/or description of the action being approved.
- A description of the supplies or services required to meet the agency’s needs (including the estimated value).
- An identification of the statutory authority permitting other than full and open competition.
- A demonstration that the proposed contractor’s unique qualifications or the nature of the acquisition requires use of the authority cited.
- A description of efforts made to ensure that offers are solicited from as many potential sources as is practicable, including whether a notice was or will be publicized as required by Subpart 5.2 and, if not, which exception under 5.202 applies.
- A determination by the contracting officer that the anticipated cost to the Government will be fair and reasonable.
- A description of the market research conducted and the results or a statement of the reason market research was not conducted.
- Any other facts supporting the use of other than full and open competition, such as:
- Explanation of why technical data packages, specifications, engineering descriptions, statements of work, or purchase descriptions suitable for full and open competition have not been developed or are not available.
- For follow-on acquisitions as described (FAR 6.302-1(a)(2)(ii)) an estimate of the cost to the Government that would be duplicated and how the estimate was derived.
- When (FAR 6.302-2) is cited, data, estimated cost, or other rationale as to the extent and nature of the harm to the Government.
- A listing of the sources, if any, that expressed, in writing, an interest in the acquisition.
- A statement of the actions, if any, the agency may take to remove or overcome any barriers to competition before any subsequent acquisition for the supplies or services required.
- Contracting officer certification that the justification is accurate and complete to the best of the contracting officer’s knowledge and belief.
AcqLinks and References:
- Website: FAR Subpart 6.3 “Other Than Full and Open Competition”
- Website: DPAP “Justifications and Approvals / Sole Source Acquisitions”
- Guide: Justification & Approval Preparation Guide and Template
- Checklist: Justification and Approval Checklist
- Presentation: Army “Other Than Full and Open Competition” – Jan 2004
- Template: Justification & Approval (J&A) Template – 13 Sept 2017
- (Old) Template: Justification & Approval Template – 1 Oct 15
- Website: 10 U.S.C. 2304(c) “Contracts Competition Requirements”
- Fact Sheet: US Department of Justice Sole Source Fact Sheet