48 CFR § 873.113 - Exchanges with offerors.
(a) Without regard to FAR 15.201 or 15.306, acquisitions generally involve exchanges between the Government and competing offerors. Open exchanges support the goal of efficiency in Government by providing the Government with relevant information (in addition to that submitted in the offeror's initial proposal) needed to understand and evaluate the offeror's proposal. The nature and extent of exchanges between the Government and offerors is a matter of contracting officer judgment. Clarifications, communications, and discussions are not applicable to acquisitions under this part. (38 U.S.C. 8153)
(b) Exchanges with potential offerors may take place throughout the source selection process. Exchanges may start in the planning stages and continue through contract award. Exchanges should occur most often with offerors determined to be in the best value pool (see 873.114). The purpose of exchanges is to ensure there is mutual understanding between the Government and the offerors on all aspects of the acquisition, including offerors' submittals/proposals. Information disclosed as a result of oral or written exchanges with an offeror may be considered in the evaluation of an offeror's proposal. (38 U.S.C. 8153)
(c) Exchanges may be conducted, in part, to obtain information that explains or resolves ambiguities or other concerns (e.g., perceived errors, omissions, or deficiencies) in an Offeror's proposal. (38 U.S.C. 8153)
(d) Exchanges shall only be initiated if authorized by the contracting officer and need not be conducted with all offerors. (38 U.S.C. 8153)
(e) Except for acquisitions based on alternative negotiation techniques contained in 873.111(d)(1), the contracting officer and other Government personnel involved in the acquisition shall not disclose information regarding one offeror's proposal to other offerors without consent of the offeror in accordance with FAR parts 3 and 24. (38 U.S.C. 8153)
(f) Award may be made on initial proposals without exchanges if the solicitation states that the Government intends to evaluate proposals and make award without exchanges, unless the contracting officer determines that exchanges are considered necessary. (38 U.S.C. 8153)