GSA, DoD and NASA have jointly proposed a rule to carry out a provision of the 2016 DoD budget law clarifying that agency acquisition personnel are permitted and encouraged to engage in “responsible and constructive exchanges” with industry, so long as those exchanges are consistent with law and regulation and do not promote an unfair competitive advantage to particular firms.

The policy “will better equip federal acquisition officials with the information needed to issue high-quality solicitations,” said a Federal Register notice.

It said the change builds on efforts by OMB to “address misconceptions commonly held by industry and government regarding the role of communication during the acquisition process in order to encourage early, frequent, and constructive engagement with industry to achieve better acquisition outcomes.”

Those efforts included issuing “myth-busting” memos addressing misconceptions held by those in the federal agency and vendor communities.

The notice seeks input on issues including: which phases of the acquisition process would benefit from more exchanges with industry and how to enhance communication; whether any current policy inhibits communication and how it could be revised; and whether it would be beneficial to encourage, or require, contracting officers to conduct discussions with offerors after establishing the competitive range for contracts of a high dollar threshold.