Justifying a Sole Source Contract


A Sole Source contract may be issued if the agency believes that only one company is qualified to supply a certain product or service.

The Contracting Officer must conduct market research to justify the Sole Source, obtain formal approval, and issue a written document known as a ‘Justification & Approval’ (J&A)

The justification must describe the proposed product or service; the contractor’s specific qualifications; the market research that was conducted; the efforts made to solicit offers from as many potential sources as possible; and a determination that the anticipated price will be fair and reasonable.

FAR 6.302 describes the circumstances that allow for ‘other than full and open’ competition:

  • Only One Responsible Source and No Other Supplies or Services Will Satisfy Agency Requirements
  • Unusual and Compelling Urgency
  • Industrial Mobilization; Engineering, Developmental, or Research Capability; or Expert Services
  • International Agreement
  • Authorized or Required by Statute (certain purchases must be made from the Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR) or National Institute for the Blind & Mentally Handicapped (AbilityOne)
  • National Security
  • Public Interest


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