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The FAR Bootcamp®

  • Graduates of The FAR Bootcamp® receive 40 hours of instruction and earn 40 continuous learning points or continuing legal education points.
  • The objective is to prepare attendees to independently research the FAR to find answers to questions about Government contracting and to function effectively in the Government contracts market in either the Government or the private sector.
  • The course is not designed to teach attendees about specific activities, such as source selection, contract pricing, contract funding, or contract termination. It is designed to teach them how to find, interpret, and apply the rules for such activities.
  • There are no lectures and there are no PowerPoint slideshows.
  • Attendees work through progressively more complex research and problem-solving exercises and drills, learning how to find, read, interpret, and apply the rules of Government contracting. They learn to use hardcopy and online versions of the FAR and to use public and commercial research tools.
  • The FAR Bootcamp® meets, and exceeds, the NCMA's Contract Management Standard.
  • Class size is strictly limited to 25 persons. The course is open to all with an interest in Government contracting.
  • In order to receive a certificate, attendees must attend all sessions and complete all assignments.
  • There are no prerequisites.
  • The course is also suitable for experienced personnel who want to improve their knowledge of and facility with the FAR.
  • Course hours are 9:00 am until 4 pm, Monday thru Thursday (with one hour for lunch), and 9:00 am until Noon on Friday.

The Source Selection Bootcamp®

A Path to Innovation, Efficiency, and Sound Decisions
through Concepts, Principles, and Critical Thinking

The Federal Acquisition Regulation requires that agencies plan acquisitions, including the conduct of source selections. We know that source selection planners tend to be practical people. They want to design a process that will produce a good decision within a reasonable time, that will pass any review, that will withstand any protest, and that will ultimately lead to the achievement of the acquisition objective. So we have designed a course to explain how to do that.

There are two basic ways to plan a source selection (1) by cutting and pasting from previous plans and solicitations and (2) by critically thinking things through from scratch.

While cutting and pasting avoids “reinventing the wheel” and can save time up front, it also impedes critical thinking and spreads the use of inefficient processes that produce poor outcomes. After proposals arrive and evaluation begins, planners who cut and paste may find that they did not receive the information they need about offerors and their offers and are confronted with questions that they cannot answer because they did not think critically and from scratch. They may find that they have used terms and evaluation factors that they did not fully define and cannot clearly explain, and which must be worked out by evaluators while in the middle of things. That situation can lead to internal disagreements and to inconsistent, unreasonable, and indefensible findings and decisions.

The Source Selection Bootcamp® is designed to prepare acquisition personnel to plan source selections through critical thinking. It covers the selection and development of evaluation factors for award, evaluation process design, and solicitation preparation.

The course is not another review of regulations and protest decisions. The emphasis is on explication of the fundamental concepts and principles of sound source selection decisionmaking. It is designed to help planners facilitate and expedite the work of evaluators and decision makers. Attendees will be shown how to design a process that is simple, efficient, and fast, stripping from it all unnecessary and unproductive steps, and using innovative labor-saving and time-saving techniques.

The course is suitable for all personnel who will participate in any competitive acquisition process other than sealed bidding, including processes conducted pursuant to FAR Parts 12, 13, 15, or 35, and FAR Subparts 8.4, 16.5, 36.3, or 36.6. It is taught on site, through presentations, case studies, exercises, and guided discussions. Attendance is limited to 25 persons. The instructors are subject matter experts who are experienced in the conduct of source selections.

There are no prerequisites. However, prospective students should have a basic familiarity with the various methods of contracting other than sealed bidding and of the general processes of solicitation, offer (or quotation), and award.

Course length: Three full days, 9:00 am am to 3:00 pm, with a one hour open discussion/study hall at the end of each day.

Critical Thinking for Acquisition Professionals

Acquisition professionals program managers, project officers, contracting officers, contract specialists, contracting officer representatives, and their contractor counterparts must make many decisions and plans. They must analyze often complex issues, considering many factors and weighing arguments from many sides. So the ability to think critically is an essential professional skill.

Increasingly, senior acquisition officials, contractors, industry associations, and others have called for more and better critical thinking by the Acquisition Workforce. At The FAR Bootcamp® we demand critical thinking and argumentation by our students in a variety of problem solving scenarios. Based on the observations that we have made over the course of more than 15 years of teaching, we decided to launch a course devoted to critical thinking that is designed especially for those who work in Government acquisition.

Critical thinking is the mental process of evaluating, questioning, and judging your own thinking and the thinking of others based on established principles of sound reasoning. Critical thinking entails being conscious of, inquisitive about, and judgmental toward assertions and arguments—the ones that we plan to make, the ones that we have made, and the ones that others have made. It entails reading closely and listening attentively; recognizing assertions and arguments; seeking definitions; asking pertinent questions of ourselves and others; recognizing and eliminating ambiguity and vagueness; and being on the lookout for unsupported and false premises, logical fallacies, inconsistencies, and conclusions that do not follow from the premises on which they are assertedly based. The goal is to learn the truth about beliefs and assertions, if possible.

In Critical Thinking for Acquisition Professionals students will learn the fundamentals of critical thinking and put them into practice through analysis and discussion of acquisition related case studies. Topics include:

  • Understanding rationality
  • Reasoning deductively
  • Framing issues and problems
  • Reading closely and listening attentively
  • Identifying assertions
  • Asking, anticipating, and answering questions
  • Identifying, defining, and seeking definitions of key words and terms
  • Eliminating ambiguity and vagueness
  • Constructing, recognizing, analyzing, and evaluating "arguments"
  • Recognizing and validating assertions of "fact"
  • Weighing and evaluating "evidence"
  • Recognizing valid ("sound") and invalid ("unsound") arguments
  • Spotting fallacies and inconsistencies
  • Explaining and justifying proposals, plans, decisions, and actions

Critical Thinking for Acquisition Professionals is designed for all who are or will be actively engaged in acquisition policy making, and contract planning, formation, and administration.

Prerequisites: The course is designed for those who have successfully completed either The FAR Bootcamp®, the Defense Acquisition University's CON 90, "Federal Acquisition Regulation Fundamentals," or the Federal Acquisition Institute's CON 120, "Mission-Focused Contracting." Ideally, applicants will have achieved at least a DAWIA/FAC-C Level I certification or its equivalent.

The course is three days, and course hours are from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.


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