We recently authored an article for Reuters examining Commercial Solutions Openings, a contracting mechanism through the Department of Defense (DoD), which seeks innovative commercial technologies or services.

We defined CSOs as “another pathway for nontraditional technology companies to provide goods and services to the federal government. They are used ‘to obtain innovative solutions or potential capabilities that fulfill requirements; to close capability gaps, or provide potential innovative technological advancements; and when meaningful proposals with varying technical or scientific approaches can be reasonably anticipated.’”

In the article, we outlined some key elements that government contractors should consider when deciding whether to submit CSO proposals include:

  1. Evaluation: CSOs are reserved for the acquisition of products or services new to the federal contracting space.
  2. Award: CSOs are awarded on a fixed-price basis and include fixed-price incentive contracts. CSOs are treated as commercial products or commercial services making them subject to Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 12 requirements.
  3. Burdensome Regulatory Requirements: These purportedly simplified commercial requirements will include compliance with the forthcoming Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) Program and, depending on the structure of the contract, potentially the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), more onerous and complex obligations than typical commercial terms.
  4. Decreased Protest Risk: CSO acquisitions are highly technical exercises as they normally involve advanced technologies and proposals that are reviewed by subject-matter experts.

The full article, “Defense Department Program Enshrines Innovation into Law,” was published by Reuters on October 5 and is available online or in the PDF provided by the outlet.