Make a Broad Agency Announcement

A BAA is a notice from the government that requests scientific or research proposals from private firms and/or educational institutions concerning innovative ideas and approaches of interest to the government. BAAs is not itself a government contract; however, proposals that are submitted may or may not lead to contracts. FAR 35.016(a) states “BAA’s may be used by agencies to fulfill their requirements for scientific study and experimentation directed toward advancing the state-of-the-art or increasing knowledge or understanding rather than focusing on a specific system or hardware solution”.

Benefits of BAAs include:

  • Easy to implement and afford flexibility to select the newest innovations and scientific approaches
  • Allow for state-of-the-art advancements and increasing knowledge and understanding
  • Allow for any type of business of educational institution to respond with a proposal for innovative ideas and approaches
  • Contracts awarded under BAAs do not require separate competition; BAAs satisfy full and open competition requirements

BAAs are Appropriate When:

  • Research and Development (R&D) funding type is available to fund contracts resulting for BAAs
  • There is a desire for new and creative solutions to broad problem statements
  • Using a conventional Statement of Work (SOW) could stifle ideas and concepts given the many plausible approaches
  • Fulfilling requirements for scientific study and experimentation directed toward advancing the state-of-the-art or increasing knowledge or understanding rather than focusing on a specific system or hardware solution
  • Objectives are based on areas of need rather than specific outcomes or solutions
  • Meaningful proposals with varying approaches are reasonably anticipated
  • Evaluation will be based on peer or scientific review

BAA Limitations:

  • Cannot be used for a specific system or hardware solution
  • Limited to only Research and Development (R&D) funding type
  • Requires processes to be developed that are different than standard RFPs to solicit, evaluate, and award contracts resulting from BAAs 
  • The government cannot direct work (e.g., develop the SOW); the government provides research and technical objectives in the BAA solicitation that describe the research areas the government is interested in
  • The BAA responder, not the government, develops and defines a SOW, including work requirements and performance specifications (however, during negotiations, the offeror can work with a contracting officer to refine the SOW to incorporate peer reviewer and program comments)

As a minimum, the following information should be included in a BAA:

  1. An identifying number and program name.
  2. Points of contact for both contracting and technical matters. Offerors are encouraged to make contact with the listed individuals for any assistance required.
  3. A description of the broadly stated areas of potential basic research or a description of the scientific or engineering problems needing new and creative solutions. A short summary of areas of program interest, expanded as appropriate, to include problems, objectives, and deliverable items (reports, software, prototypes, etc.).
  4. Information on proposal format and number of copies of white papers or proposals requested.
  5. The address and/or method for white paper or proposal submittal.
  6. If a two-step BAA variation is used, a description of the full proposal invitation procedures.
  7. Criteria for selecting white papers and proposals.
  8. If an informational briefing is scheduled, details as to time, date, place, number of attendees permitted, clearances needed, etc.
  9. Advice to foreign-owned firms that their participation is subject to foreign disclosure review procedures and that they should immediately contact the contracting focal point for information if they contemplate responding.
  10. If export-controlled technical data is involved, a note advising that only firms holding certification under the US/Canada Joint Certification Program (JCP) are allowed access to such data.
  11.  The total dollar value or range of dollar values as well as anticipated period of performance may be stated in the announcement.

BAA Variations (from the Air Force Research Laboratory BAA Guide):

One-Step: The one-step process is used to request full technical and cost proposals from each offeror. The proposals are evaluated in accordance with the solicitation criteria and all of a selected proposal, part of a selected proposal, or none of the proposals are selected.

Two-Step: The two-step process is sometimes used when a large number of proposals are anticipated. Potential offerors are invited to submit brief descriptive white papers in lieu of full proposals. The BAA must state whether an unfavorable white paper evaluation will bar the offeror from further consideration. Full proposals are requested from those offerors selected in the white paper evaluation process. When proposals are received, they are evaluated and selected.

Open BAA: This approach allows for white paper and/or proposal submittals at any time within a specified period. BAAs must be publicized no less frequently than annually. White papers/proposals are evaluated when received during the period that the BAA is open.

Closed BAA: This approach allows for white paper and/or proposal submittals at a specified date and time as set forth in the BAA. Late bid and proposal provisions (IAW FAR 52.215-1(c)(3)) are usually included in the BAA.

BAA with Calls: This technique allows for publication of a basic BAA solicitation that contains overarching information, but does not request white papers or full proposals. The basic BAA often functions as a framework identifying the technical areas and giving the basic terms and administrative information of the BAA, and it is usually open for at least 12 months. The requests for white papers and/or proposals are transmitted via Calls that are published separately from the basic BAA at various times during the open period of the basic BAA (Note: The first Call may be published with the basic BAA.). The Calls may further define the technology/government needs or just request white papers or full proposals. The Calls may also include specific terms that apply to that Call such as further technical details and any pertinent clauses such as available GFP or specific Organizational Conflict of Interest requirements. Proposals or white papers are submitted only when Calls to the basic BAA request them. Late bid and proposal provisions (IAW FAR 52.215-1(c)(3)) are usually included in the BAA.

Staggered-Closed BAA: The staggered-closed BAA states a specified date and time for receipt of proposals or white papers, but also allows for proposals/white papers after the date and time set for proposal receipt. All offerors should be cautioned, however, that the likelihood of funding proposals received after the specified date and time is substantially reduced.

Combinations of the above can result in subsets such as; closed one-step; closed two-step; open one-step; open two-step; two-step with calls; one-step with calls; or two-step staggered-closed.

Actions You Can Take
  • Identify if a R&D funding source is available to utilize a BAA strategy.
  • Evaluate the program timeline and strategy and identify technical insertion points that provide opportunities to incorporate innovations received under a BAA.
  • Look broadly across the organization to identify opportunities to do a Agency-level BAA around specific topics of interest. 
  • Develop a process to review, evaluate, and disposition BAA submissions in a consistent manner. 
  • Create a standard BAA award template that can be used for awards made under the BAA. This will streamline the process and ensure consistency in BAA awards.
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