The SBA published the final rule to establish the procedures whereby Federal agencies may award sole source contracts to WOSBs and EDWOSBs. Under the rule, a contracting officer may award a sole source contract to a WOSB or EDWOSB where (1) the firm is a responsible contractor and the contracting officer does not have a reasonable expectation that 2 or more EDWOSBs or WOSBs (as the case may be) will submit offers; (2) the anticipated award price of the contract (including options) will not exceed $6.5 million for manufacturing or $4 million for any other contract; and (3) in the estimation of the contracting officer, award can be made at a fair and reasonable price. This rule will become effective on October 14, 2015.

The changes are to implement section 825 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015. Specifically, the final rule implements the authority set forth in section 825 of the 2015 NDAA allowing sole source awards to WOSBs or EDWOSBs in appropriate circumstances.

This final rule represents the next step in creating parity among the set-aside programs. WOSBs and EDWOSBs are now on equal footing with HUBZone and Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses eligible for sole source contracts.