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Procurement Administrative Lead Time

To ensure excellent customer service and a timely response time to our customers, the Acquisition and Property Division (APD) established Procurement Administrative Lead Time (PALT) goals.  The PALT time starts when the contracting office receives a complete acquisition package and begins the formal process to prepare the solicitation.  The PALT timeline concludes when an award is made.  Below are the goals for PALT average time (in calendar days).. 


Award Type

Goal (in days)

Simplified Acquisitions – Above $3,000 to $25,000


Simplified Acquisitions – Above $25,000 to $150,000


Negotiated Sole Source (Includes 8(a) sole source) – Open Market, Above $150,000


Construction Task Order


Architect-Engineer Task Order


Negotiated Full and Open – Open Market, Above $150,000


GSA Products Less than $1 Million


GSA Products $1 Million or greater


GSA Services Less than $1 Million


GSA Services $1 Million or greater


Commercial Items – Open Market, Above $150,000


Operations and Maintenance (Full and Open)


Standard ESPC – Processing Task Order Award


Complex ESPC –Processing Task Order Award (For geographically spread out, multiple Energy Service Company (ESCO) preliminary assessments, long baseline period, etc.)



Procurement Cutoff Dates

This is a reminder of the established cutoff dates for processing procurement requirements. These established dates allow adequate time to properly accomplish planned procurements and amendments and are based on receipt of a complete acquisition package which includes required approvals/clearances, a complete description of requirements, and adequate funding.  Although these deadlines are intended to identify when a requisition must be received to ensure placement prior to the end of the fiscal year, employees should refer to the Agency's specific year-end guidance to determine spending cutoff dates.

The following are the cutoff dates for requisitions covering supplies, equipment, construction, and services for the current fiscal year and for those supplies and services beginning early in the upcoming fiscal year. The dollar amounts shown opposite the cutoff dates apply to the total amount of the requisition. 


$3,000 and under September 1 (Use purchase card to maximum extent)
$3,001 - $150,000 July 1 – IT requirements exceeding $25,000 must include waiver.
$150,001 - and over April 1 - Contact your Business Service Center Acquisition Branch immediately. 
$2,001 - $25,000 June 1
$25,001 - $150,000 April 1
$150,001 - and over December 1 - Contact your Business Service Center Acquisition and Property Branch immediately.   Please note that this date accommodates sufficient time for an acquisition strategy review if required.
$2,501 –  $25,000 July 1


In accordance with Departmental Regulation 5013-6, the purchase card is the preferred method for purchases within the simplified acquisition threshold of $150,000.  Non-procurement personnel should be using purchase cards to the maximum extent for procurements $3,000 or less (equipment and supplies), $2,500 or less (services) and $2,000 or less (construction).

Time becomes critical at the end of the fiscal year when we are up against strict requirements for posting notices, seeking approvals, and competing requirements.  If you are holding a requisition until funds become available for a large, complex buy, and there is a good chance that it will be funded, contact your respective procurement staff to discuss the possibility of processing the request up to the point of award by the date indicated above.  The procurement staff will make their best effort to award any requisition received after the above established procurement cutoff dates, however, award cannot be guaranteed. 

As a reminder, contracts for severable services may be entered into for a period that begins in one fiscal year and ends in the next fiscal year if the period of the basic contract, options, or orders under that contract does not exceed a twelve-month period. These contracts no longer need to be written to match the fiscal year timeframe.

Develop and submit requisitions for maintenance agreements, lease renewals, subscriptions, and other service arrangements that you want carried over into next fiscal year by July 1 of the current fiscal year. Make sure that the information for these orders is complete with respect to quantities, makes, models, special features, serial numbers, and most importantly, the purchase order numbers of the arrangements being renewed.  Again, call your procurement staff if you have any questions regarding these matters.

Contract options covering the next fiscal year must also be considered by July 1 of the current fiscal year.  Requisitions to fund such options should be submitted to your procurement staff.  Each requisition should include a signed statement by the contracting officer’s representative that:

(1) Explains the reasons for the decision; and,

(2) Describes the quality of service now being provided by the contractor, which must be at least satisfactory.

Submit acquisition waiver requests for most Information Technology acquisitions of $25,000 or greater.

The Department has placed a moratorium on most Information Technology (IT) acquisitions of $25,000 or greater.  Prior to making any IT acquisitions which exceed this cost threshold, a waiver must be approved by the USDA Office of the Chief Information Officer.  Generally, an approved acquisition waiver must be obtained for most IT hardware, software, and support services including the following:

  • IT computers, printers, software, and other similar peripheral equipment;
  • Telecommunications technology including routers, switches, hubs, circuits, and telephone systems; and
  • IT support services including system development contracts and consulting services.

It normally takes a minimum of eight weeks from the time a draft waiver request is submitted by the requesting office before the USDA OCIO makes a final decision on the request.  This time frame should be considered during your acquisition planning process.  Additionally, waiver requests for year end procurements should be submitted to the ARS OCIO by late June to accommodate the heavy volume of waiver requests and procurements being processed and to ensure timely submission and subsequent approval by the USDA OCIO. 

Any questions regarding the IT acquisition waiver process should be referred to the Gary Rich, ARS Office of the Chief Information Officer at (301) 504-1052 or by e-mail at





Last Updated: 09/02/2014