As many contractors know all too well, the System for Award Management (SAM) has had a rocky 2022 driven by the transition from the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) to the assignment of Unique Entity IDs (UEI) through SAM. PilieroMazza previously wrote about the issues here. The switch resulted in a wide range of entity validation issues, causing contractors undergoing the validation process to miss their payment deadlines and significantly hampering their ability to register in SAM in time for proposal submissions. For government contractors pursuing DOD procurements, we discuss in this client alert welcome relief for those who faced SAM registration challenges.

To provide temporary relief from these concerns, last week, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) issued a class deviation that permits DOD contracting officers to apply FAR 4.1103(b) procedures to procurements. Under that FAR provision, the contractor is required to be registered in SAM within 30 days after contract award, or at least three days prior to submission of the first invoice, whichever occurs first. This means a DOD contractor does not need to be registered in SAM at the time of proposal submission if the requirements of the class deviation are met.

The class deviation instructs contracting officers to administer the authority provided under the class deviation on a case-by-case basis. Contracting officers are supposed to take several steps listed in the class deviation, including using a copy of the ticket the offeror has submitted to the Federal Service Desk as the offeror’s proof of its initiation or attempt to start the SAM registration process. The contracting officer is also supposed to ensure the offeror has provided responses for all required representations and certifications that would normally be captured in its SAM profile.

The class deviation will remain in effect through October 31, 2022. Between now and then, it applies to both new DOD procurements as well as existing DOD solicitations if the contracting officer amends the solicitation to include FAR 52.204-7 Alternate 1. If you are currently working on a DOD solicitation due between now and the end of October that does not contain FAR 52.204-7 Alternate 1, you should let the contracting officer know about the class deviation and ask them to amend the solicitation so you will benefit from the temporary relief DOD is providing through the class deviation.

The class deviation only applies to DOD procurements, so while this is very welcome relief for contractors facing SAM registration challenges it will not help those who are pursuing civilian agency procurements. The class deviation provides a very helpful roadmap for agencies to follow DOD’s lead, so hopefully more efforts are underway to alleviate the SAM registration issues more broadly.

If you have any questions about the class deviation or SAM registration challenges you are facing, please contact the author of this client alert, Jon Williams, or another member of PilieroMazza’s Government Contracts Group. Special thanks to Ustina Ibrahim for her assistance with this client alert.