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NEW: Unprecedented Federal Spending Pattern

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

NEW: Unprecedented Federal Spending Pattern

Unprecedented is a word that I have been using for federal contract spending since 2009 because the federal budget keeps getting larger which means more spending. This unprecedented spending is very different context.

Yes, we heard the saber rattling for the debt ceiling – which did pass because it had to pass. What is this unprecedented is about is, in all my 15 years of propeller head data analysis and contract nerdiness, I have never seen numbers like this.

Contracts to date:

3/4 have ONE offer. (download free report)

Unprecedented Federal Spending Pattern

Let’s see if I can explain this without geeking out…

I just ran the June NAICS spending report for SAMradar members. This report crunches all federal contract data from and compares it to While we have always seen a significant portion of contract activity with a “single offer” we are seeing an unprecedented increase in “Not Reported” offers in FPDS. I know with my experience in engaging federal buyers this has meant one so I asked SAMradar members to use this as a discussion point and in EVERY case to date – that “Not Reported” has meant ONE offer. This means 75% have ZERO competition – let that sink in for a moment.

Can this be right?

This week I personally asked several active and retired contracting officers and they have all confirmed that in most cases – “Not Reported” means ONE. In circulating this information with federal experts, there is unanimous consent that a “Not Reported” usually means ONE. Now, I am sure there are outliers out there so please don’t come and tell me it is an IDIQ or BPA order, because while it might be in a rare case (less than 1 in 20), in most cases it is not.

What does a this mean?

It means that instead of the historical average of 38% having ONE reported offer received, the new number is 78% of new contracts (Date signed) or 75% of modified contracts (Date Modified) – this is DOUBLE the average for the past 10 years. I think that qualifies as unprecedented, don’t you?

How does this happen?

In a recent briefing on Sole Source Justification and Approval (J&A) briefing we discussed how contracting officers can – and do – use the FAR 6.3 “Other than Full and Open Competition” and the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984 along with J&A language to award without notification of any kind. We know that a few (4,198) show up on as part of “Special Notices” and 548 limited source show up under “Justification”.

So that begs the question: How can you compete for the 2.4 million and BE the “ONE offer” received?

Now, I can shamelessly say the answer is SAMradar (I told you, shameless). What we know, and now you know, is 98% are not showing up

What can you do?

Use SAMradar to help you identify and engage federal contracting officers NOW, so when they spend the rest of their budget by September 30th. You have to do this now because by mid-August, you won’t reach them because they will be neck deep in contract actions – the ones that will go to your competition without posting on – if you don’t act now.

Dave Lowe - Founder SAMradar

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