On March 12, 2013, the Department of Defense issued guidance on the expanded use of the Defense Contract Management Agency’s (DCMA) Contract Business Analysis Repository (CBAR) application.
The CBAR was established in February 2012 at the request of DoD Director of Defense Pricing Shay Assad. The CBAR functions as the central repository of information regarding DoD suppliers, providing contracting officers easy access to information to assist in contract price negotiations.
Before the recent update, CBAR contained the following information regarding DoD contractors:
- Indirect expense and direct labor rates (final and forward pricing rates)
- Status of contractor business systems
- Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) information, including CAS coverage, CAS compliance, and Disclosure Statement adequacy
- Information about the contractor’s parent company
- Information regarding independent research and development (IR&D) costs (proposed, estimated, and actual)
In the March 2013 memo to DoD directors, Mr. Assad announced enhanced CBAR functionality in version 1.6 of the application, which had been deployed on December 3, 2012. As part of the new features, CBAR will now include data and documentation related to procuring contracting officers’ (PCO) pre-negotiation objectives and records of negotiations with contractors.
A new Business Clearance module within CBAR will retain data and include documentation such as a contracting officer’s pre-negotiation objectives, price negotiation memorandum memorializing negotiations, and other documentation that could provide insight into a PCO’s negotiation experience with a contractor. DoD intends that this information will allow PCOs to share knowledge and negotiation experience regarding a specific contractor with others in the PCO community. DoD hopes that with the shared knowledge, PCOs will be empowered with information to negotiate a better deal for the government.
While the Business Clearance module is currently functional, beginning June 24, 2013, DoD will require mandatory population of Business Clearance data within CBAR for all negotiated contracts over $25 million. In addition, PCOs will be required to upload Business Clearance documentation for all contracts and contract actions over $100 million that occurred after October 1, 2012.
Since the inception of CBAR, contractors have wondered whether information within the application would be made available to industry. It has been DoD’s policy that CBAR is intended for exclusive use by DCMA and the contracting officer community. As such, access to CBAR has not been made available to contractors.
While broad access to CBAR would not be practical, especially since CBAR contains information that would otherwise be considered by contractors as proprietary and confidential competitive information (e.g., rates and CAS-related information), contractors should periodically inquire about the accuracy of their own information within CBAR—particularly as matters of noncompliance or system disapprovals are resolved.
More importantly, contractors should know the type of information available to the larger DCMA contracting officer community about their compliance profile. Having recognized the type of information retained within CBAR and the intended use of the information during the negotiation of contracts, contractors should be prepared to address and respond to information within CBAR that could ultimately adversely impact negotiations.
The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of Berkeley Research Group, LLC.