On September 8, 2022, the Department of Defense (“DoD”) issued Class Deviation 2022-O0009 (the “Deviation”) immediately authorizing contracting officers to allow active registration in the System for Award Management (“SAM”) within 30 days of contract award or three days prior to submission of the first invoice (whichever comes first) rather than at the time of award—provided the contractor can prove it has initiated or attempted to start the SAM registration process. The Deviation is in effect through October 31, 2022 unless rescinded or extended.
The SAM registration process, which changed in April 2022 when GSA switched from the DUNS number to the Unique Entity Identifier (“UEI”), has suffered from significant delays and system errors. These system challenges continue, and SAM incident tickets continue to take weeks to process in many cases. With this Deviation, DoD joins a number of other agencies that have already issued guidance for managing SAM delays that may affect contracts or grants.
Contracting officers are not required to use the Deviation, but they are encouraged to consider applying the Deviation on a case-by-case basis depending on the acquisition strategy and internal contracting processes. When using this DoD Deviation, the contracting officer should include FAR 52.204-7 Alternate I in new solicitations or insert it by amendment to existing solicitations.
Contractors will be required to provide certain information when a contracting officer chooses to use this DoD Deviation, including:
- a copy of the Federal Service Desk SAM incident ticket (with ticket number and date) as proof of the contractor’s initiation or attempt to start the SAM registration process;
- responses for the required FAR and DFARS provisions that would normally be captured in the annual representations and certifications section of the SAM registration; and
- notice to the contracting officer as soon the contractor’s SAM registration is complete.
When using this DoD Deviation, the contracting officer should escalate contractor incident tickets through military service/agency SAM leads so that Defense Pricing and Contracting may prioritize tickets for action with the SAM Program Office.
The Deviation appears focused on new awards, but it may be applied by DoD to option years as well since the same SAM registration issues affect existing contractors updating their registrations.