Competition in Federal Contracting: An Overview of the Legal Requirements [June 30, 2011] [open pdf - 401KB]
"Competition in federal procurement contracting has become a topic of increased congressional and public interest, in part because of alleged misconduct involving noncompetitive contracts and reports that the number of noncompetitive contract actions has increased. President Obama also emphasized competition in his March 4, 2009, memorandum on government contracting. Additionally, prominent officials within the Department of Defense (DOD), which accounts for some 70% of federal procurement spending per year, have expressed their commitment to reducing DOD's use of noncompetitive contracts. […] Issuance of orders under task order and delivery order (TO/DO) contracts is not subject to CICA, although award of TO/DO contracts is. However, the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA) of 1994 established a preference for multiple-award TO/DO contracts; required that agencies provide contractors 'a fair opportunity' to compete for orders in excess of $3,000 under multiple-award contracts; and authorized the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to hear protests challenging the issuance of task or delivery orders that increase the scope, period, or maximum value of the underlying contract. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2008 further limited the use of single-award TO/DO contracts. It also specified what constitutes a 'fair opportunity to be considered' for orders in excess of $5.5 million under multiple-award contracts and granted GAO jurisdiction to hear protests of orders valued in excess of $10 million."
CRS Report for Congress, R40516