14 FAH-2 H-370

Unsolicited Proposals

(CT:COR-51;   04-19-2019)
(Office of Origin:  A/OPE)

14 FAH-2 H-371  GENERAL

(CT:COR-35;   08-03-2015)

a. An unsolicited proposal is a written offer to perform a proposed task or effort, initiated by a prospective contractor without a solicitation by the U.S. Government, with the objective of obtaining a contract.  An unsolicited proposal is a valuable means by which unique or innovative methods or approaches that have originated outside the U.S. Government can be made available to U.S. Government agencies.  It is offered in the hope that the U.S. Government will enter into a contract with the offeror for research or development of the methods, approaches, or ideas it contains or for delivery of the services or items it proposes.

b. The unsolicited proposal often represents a substantial investment of time and effort by the offeror.  It should present the proposed work in sufficient detail to enable program officials to determine if the work would enhance or benefit the U.S. Government’s research and development or other mission responsibilities.


(CT:COR-35;   08-03-2015)

a. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 48 CFR 15.603 requires an unsolicited proposal must be:

(1)  Innovative and unique;

(2)  Independently originated and developed by the offeror;

(3)  Prepared without U.S. Government supervision, endorsement, direction, or direct U.S. Government involvement;

(4)  Include sufficient detail to permit a determination that U.S. Government support could be worthwhile and the proposed work could benefit the agency's research and development or other mission responsibilities;

(5)  Not be an advance proposal for a known agency requirement that can be acquired by competitive methods; and

(6)  Not address a previously published general statement of agency requirement.

b. Advertising material, commercial product offerings, contributions, or technical correspondence, as defined below, do not constitute unsolicited proposals

(1)  Advertising material:  Material to acquaint the U.S. Government with a vendor's current off-the-shelf products or potential capabilities and to stimulate the U.S. Government's interest in buying such products (reference 48 CFR 15.601 definitions);

(2Commercial product offering:  Offers of commercial products usually sold in substantial quantities to the general public, which the vendor wishes to introduce into the U.S. Government's supply system;

(3)  Contribution:  Concepts, suggestions, or ideas presented to the U.S. Government for its use with no indication from the vendor that he or she will devote any further effort on the U.S. Government’s behalf (reference 48 CFR 15.601 definitions); or

(4)  Technical correspondence:  Written inquiries regarding U.S. Government interest in technical research areas and descriptions of research being conducted in those areas.

c.  Unsolicited proposals should contain the information outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations 48 CFR 15.605 to permit consideration in an objective and timely manner.


(CT:COR-35;   08-03-2015)

a. Unsolicited proposals received by any Department of State organizational element must be forwarded immediately to the cognizant head of the contracting activity (HCA) who will acknowledge receipt of each proposal.  In the acknowledgment letter, the HCA must request any additional information needed to make the proposal complete.  It will be assigned to a contracting officer for review.

b. The contracting officer will conduct a preliminary review of the proposal to determine that it:

(1)  Will deliver supplies or services that meet the needs of the requirements office;

(2)  Contains sufficient technical and cost information for evaluation;

(3)  Does not provide "off-the-shelf" items or standard services; and

(4)  Does not represent the substance of a current solicitation.

c.  The contracting officer must ensure that the proposal is properly marked in accordance with the requirement of 48 CFR 15.609(d) as to "Unsolicited Proposal - Use of Data Limited" unless the offeror clearly states in writing that no restrictions are imposed on the disclosure or use of the data contained in the proposal.  The contracting officer will then forward the proposal to the appropriate requirements office for review.


(CT:COR-51;   04-19-2019)

a. The ranking official in the requirements office must make a written determination as to whether the proposal is truly unsolicited.  Consideration should be given to whether the document may have resulted from close professional relationships between program officials and their counterparts in the scientific/business community or the inadvertent disclosure of information relating to contemplated projects.

b. 48 CFR 15.606-2 provides in reviewing an unsolicited proposal, program officials must consider the following:

(1)  Unique, innovative, or meritorious methods, approaches, or ideas contained in the proposal which originated with the offeror;

(2)  Overall scientific, technical, or socioeconomic merits of the proposed effort;

(3)  Potential contribution that the proposed effort could make to the Department's mission;

(4)  Capabilities, experience, techniques, or facilities that the offeror possesses, and which are crucial to achieving the proposal's scientific or technical objectives;

(5)  The qualifications, capabilities, and experience of the proposed principal investigator, team leader, or key personnel critical to achieving the proposal objectives; and

(6)  Realism of the proposed cost.

c.  A format for an unsolicited proposal evaluation checklist is found in 14 FAH-2 Exhibit H-374.

d. The requirements office contracting officer's representative (COR) must provide the results of the review, in writing, to the contracting officer.  A favorable comprehensive evaluation of an unsolicited proposal is not, in itself, sufficient justification for negotiating on a noncompetitive basis with the offeror.

e. If the review results in a finding that the proposal is unacceptable, the contracting officer will immediately notify the offeror of the reasons why the proposal is unacceptable and return it.

f.  If the requirements office decides to fund the unsolicited proposal, it must prepare a justification for the acceptance of an unsolicited proposal which documents that:

(1)  The substance of the proposal is not available from another source;

(2)  The proposal was selected on the basis of its overall merit, cost, and contribution to program objectives were compared with other offers; or

(3)  That the proposal contains technical data or offers unique capabilities not available from another source.

g. Data taken from the checklist used for evaluating the unsolicited proposal can be used in formulating the justification.  A format similar to that used for the Justification for Other Than Full and Open Competition may be used.  (See requirements of 48 CFR 6.303, "Justifications" and DOSAR 48 CFR 606.303-2, and 14 FAH-2 H-225 for the requirements; or A/OPE/AQM operating guidance memorandum 12-02, "Justification and Approvals for Other than Full and Open Competition" of February 29, 2012, which includes a template for use within the Department of State.)


14 FAH-2 Exhibit H-374  
Format for an Unsolicited Proposal Evaluation Checklist

(CT:COR-35;   08-03-2015)

Unsolicited Proposal Number:  _______________

Submitted by:  _________________     Date Accepted:  ________________





Is the proposed effort or idea truly unique or proprietary?


Are others working in the same area?


If so, can the requirement be competitively solicited without compromising the idea?


Does the offeror have an unfair advantage because of prior contracts?


Does the proposal appear to have actual or potential usefulness in support of Department of State goals and objectives?


Does the proposed work relate to:




Ongoing or completed projects at Department of State?


Planned projects at the Department of State?


Does offer present a clear, complete Statement of Work?


Are objectives clearly defined?


Are products/end results defined?


Is the management approach logical?


Are key events/milestones identified?


Does the planned period of performance appear appropriate to the effort?



Are the proposed manpower requirements realistic?


Are personnel categories appropriate?


Are proposed hours, by category, reasonable?


Does offeror have existing capability to perform the work?


Is there any significant amount of subcontract effort proposed?


Would this pose a risk in achieving the objective?


Does the offeror propose to obtain equipment for the project?  If so, evaluate type and quantity of equipment.


If equipment is to be provided by the U.S. Government, is it available?


If equipment is to be purchased, will it have subsequent usefulness?


Do the types and quantities of materials appear realistic for the project?


Does offeror have an established reputation in the field?


If not, does he or she have the technical capability to enter the field?


Are proposed labor rates realistic for each category of labor?


Are material/equipment costs realistic?


Do proposed indirect expense rates appear reasonable?


Evaluate other proposed costs. Does the overall cost appear reasonable?


Should an audit be made of the cost proposal?  If so, request contracting officer (CO) to arrange the audit.


Does the offeror have sufficient financial resources for project completion?




(1)    Validity of unsolicited proposal                                Yes   No

a.   Uniqueness of idea                                                  

b.   Prior U.S. Government involvement.                          

(2)    Technical approach:

a.   Sound                                                                   

b.   Fair                                                                      

c.    Weak                                                                    

(3)    Proposed cost:

a.   High                                                                     

b.   Reasonable                                                            

c.    Low                                                                      






Pursue the project and negotiate with offeror.


Pursue the project, with modifications, and negotiate with offeror.


Pursue the project by competitive means.


Do not pursue the project.





_______________________  __________________  _____________

Print Name                         Signature                   Date


_______________________  __________________  _____________
Print Name                         Signature                   Date


_______________________  __________________  _____________
Print Name                         Signature                   Date