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Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System
Frequently Asked Questions (CPARS
Automated Information System)1. When browsing
a CPAR or after updating a record, I am unable to view the form
as a PDF file. What`s wrong?
A: The Adobe Acrobat Reader must be installed
to view the forms. The reader can be downloaded from http://www.adobe.com/.
If you have any problems downloading or installing the plugin, please
contact our Technical Support.
2. When I click on
"Enter the (Production or Practice) CPAR System",
I get an "Http 403" error. Whatís wrong?
A: The browser that you have currently installed
does not support 128-bit encryption. See the section, Information
Systems security for CPARS, on our webpage for a detailed
explanation of browser requirements. The complete URL to guide
you directly to this information is: cpar
3. Iím a program manager. I completed a proposed CPAR
and forwarded it to the contractor two weeks ago. Today I
enter that same contract number, click on "Review contractor
comments/modify ratings" and I get the message "There
are no records for contract XXXXXXXXXXXXX or you do not have
access to the record." What gives? I know
Iím inputting the correct contract number.
A: Check the CPAR status report for that
contract. The contractor has not yet responded to your proposed
rating. The CPAR cannot be modified or updated by you until
the contractor either updates his comments to the CPARS AIS
or thirty days have expired from the date that the CPARS was
forwarded to the contractor. Give the contractor a call to
ensure that he knows that a proposed CPAR is available for
4. Iíve entered Blocks 1-20 of a proposed CPAR. When I click
on "Save", I receive a message "Period of Performance
Start Date Missing or Invalid." Iíve checked the format
of the start date and it looks fine to me. Whatís wrong?
A: Check the format of the ending date. Both dates
must be in the MM/DD/YYYY format. Usually the error is caused
by failing to enter a leading "0" (zero) for the
months January through September (01 - 09) or inadvertently
omitting one of the "/" (slash) characters.
5. Our activity uses Macintosh computers.
Can the CPARS AIS be used on a Macintosh system?
A: Yes. The CPARS AIS is web-based so
most actions are completed directly from your browser. All
data inputs may be completed on a Macintosh system. However,
the Adobe Acrobat Reader for Macintosh must be installed to
print/view CPAR forms.
6. Iím using Internet Explorer as my browser in a Windows
95 environment. Whenever I click on the CAGE code lookup feature
or try to access the on-line help from the data entry template,
nothing happens. What am I doing wrong?
A:This same situation occurred during
testing of the July 21 release. However, it was not consistent
on all Internet Explorer equipped machines. It seems to be
a function related to the way your PC is set up. On some of
the machines tested, the problem cleared up when Internet
Explorer 4.01 was deleted (using the Add/Remove Programs feature
of Windows Setup) and then re-installed as a clean installation.
Late in June, Microsoft also released an update to Internet
Explorer called Service Pack 1. If you are doing the reinstall
anyway, update your version of Internet Explorer to include
the Service Pack 1 update. This is an operating system/browser
interaction problem, not a problem with the CPARS AIS programming
7. Iím inputting a CPARS on a Services contract. What should
I use as an FSC?
A: FSC fields for services contracts
should be completed by using the applicable Product Service
Code for the service being provided. A complete listing of
Product Service Codes and Federal Supply Codes is available
This URL is assigned to the Electronic Commerce Resource Center
which is supported by the Defense Logistics Agency.
8. In the Practice system, I`m trying
to input a contract with a delivery order number
or call order. Whenever I try to enter P1, A03
or 02 as an order number, I get a message "Error:
Invalid Order #: Please re-enter." What
am I doing wrong?
A. Check DFARS 204.7004. Supplementary
PIIN Numbers can only have a four or six digit
format. The CPARS application checks for a valid
order number with a minimum of four digits in
length and issues the error message for order
numbers that only contain one, two or three
characters. You probably would not run into
this situation in the Production system as you
would be entering live contract information
where the Procurement Instrument Identification
Number (PIIN) would already be in the prescribed
format. The same edit check is present in the
Production system. Note: When registering a
GSA contract in CPARS, the GSA schedule number
should be entered in the contract number field
and the local "F" order number is
entered in the order number field. CPARS will
accept up to a 19 position order number for
GSA contracts. An order number is required for
9. There has been some discussion about invalid
CAGE Codes lately. What is a valid CAGE Code?
A. A valid CAGE Code is a five (5) position
code that identifies companies doing or wishing
to do business with the Federal Government.
The format for a domestic CAGE code is the first
and fifth position must be numeric. The second,
third and fourth may be any mixture of alpha/numeric
excluding the letters "I" and "O."
However, there are foreign/international CAGE
Codes that begin with an alpha character, including
the letter "I," but not the letter
"O." The CPARS Automated Information
System provides a look-up feature to help users
verify that they are entering correct and valid
10. Can I save a status report as an Excel file?
A. Yes, a status report can be saved
as an Excel file. After running the status report
with the desired parameters, locate and click
on File on the browser's Menu bar and then choose
the option Save As. A dialog box may open informing
you "This web page may not save correctly.
Would you like to save it anyway?" Click
Yes. Next, the "Save Web Page" dialog
box will open. Identify the folder you want
to save the report in by clicking and highlighting
in the Save in drop box. Verify a unique file
name exists in the File name box. Select "Web
Page, HTML only (*.htm, *.html)" if not
already selected in the Save as type drop box.
Select "Western European (Windows) in the
Encoding drop box. Click Save to save the status
After saving the report, open Microsoft Excel.
Click on File on the Menu bar and choose the
Open option. Identify the folder where you saved
the report by clicking and highlighting in the
Look in drop box. Since the report was saved
as an HTML file, choose "All files (*.*)"
in the Files of type drop box. Double click
on the file name used to save the report. This
will open the status report in Excel. The report
can then be saved as a Microsoft Excel Workbook
by clicking on File and choosing Save As. Verify
that "Microsoft Excel Workbook (*.xls)"
is selected in the Save as type drop box. Click
11. Where do I go if I have other questions
on the CPARS Automated Information System?
Frequently Asked Questions (Policy)[top]
1. If I have a contract that meets all the requirements for preparing
a CPAR form, but the contract has recently closed, do I still have
to do CPAR?
A: ASN (RD&A) memorandum dated 2 October 1997 directed
the PEOs and SYSCOMs to "...initiate the collection of past performance
information by January 1998." Therefore, if the contract closed
after December of 1997, and meets all the other reporting requirements
contained in the January 1998 DoN CPARS Guide, you should prepare
a CPAR form.
2. Do I have to do a CPAR form for contracts funded with RDT&E
6.1, 6.2, or 6.3 funds?
3. How do overseas users and their contractors get access to
the browser supported 128 bit encryption, with the SSL (Secure Socket
Layers), so that all account information will be encrypted when transmitted
across the Internet?
A: All users, including those overseas on a military
installation, currently have access to 128 bit encryption via the
security procedures located on the website.
Information on updating or configuring
your browser is contained on the same site.. Under current U.S. law,
overseas contractors may not have access to 128 bit encryption technology;
therefore, the technology cannot be exported to overseas contractors.
Overseas CPARS focal points must have the contractors manually fill
out the contractor blocks on the CPAR form, and the contractor must
provide the filled out form to the DoN Focal Point who will then enter
the CPAR into the automated system. The CPARS Focal Point should manually
provide the completed (after completion by the Reviewing Official)
form to the contractor.
Update: On January 12, 2000, the U.S. Department of Commerce
Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) issued new encryption export
regulations which now allow the export of "retail" encryption
products (of any key length) around the world. The only restrictions
that remain are on terrorist supporting states (Cuba, Iran, Iraq,
Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria), their nationals, and other sanctioned
entities. For full details, see http://www.bxa.doc.gov/Encryption/Default.htm.
Now overseas contractors and government personnel may obtain and use
browsers with 128-bit encryption.
4. Should PPI be collected for joint ventures? [top]
A: Yes, PPI should be collected for `joint venture`
contractors when the applicable business sector and dollar thresholds
indicate that the contract is PPI eligible. There is no indication
from current guidance that joint ventures should be excluded. Also,
remember that the intent of the data collection is not only for future
DoN source selections, but also to share with other agencies. Your
PPI input may be very valuable to other agencies, even if you think
that DoN might not procure an item involving this particular joint
venture in the future.
5. Are CPARs required for delivery orders (DO)?
A: Yes. The information contained in a performance
assessment of work performed under a DO is equally as important as
that performed under a stand-alone contract, or any other type of
6. Who should prepare the CPARS for DOs?
A: TheCPARS Guide, paragraph 2.7, states: "For
delivery order or task order contracts, the contracting officer should
specify in the contract the frequency of, and the individual(s) responsible
for, past performance assessments associated with orders to be placed
against that contract." In general, it makes the most sense for
the person or persons with the most knowledge (i.e., closest to the
process) to prepare the CPARS.
7. Can a single CPARS be prepared for multiple work efforts?
A: "When a single contract instrument requires
segregation of costs for combining efforts, or contains multiple production
lots (or increments of work), an individual CPAR may be completed
for each segment of work. When the type of effort and the contractor`s
performance on each order are so similar as to reflect identical results,
the program manager in consultation with the CPAR focal point may
elect to prepare a single CPAR for each contract."
8. Who prepares a CPARS on a DO under a GSA contract?
A: Good question. GSA is currently reviewing their policy
on this item. We believe that the people receiving the goods or services
are the best qualified to prepare a CPARS and should do so for DOs
awarded under GSA contracts--GSA won`t know how well the contractor
performed. However, they should have a record of performance for future
use--which they will get from our activities preparing a CPARS.
When registering a GSA contract in CPARS, the GSA schedule number
should be entered in the contract number field and the local "F"
order number is placed in the order number field. An order number
is required when registering GSA contracts.
9. Are overseas contracting offices exempt from CPARS requirements?
A: This question has arisen both on the basis of the
128-bit encryption requirement and because it is perceived that the
need for PPI data on overseas contractors is minimal. The DoN CPARS
Guide makes no exceptions from the requirement to prepare CPARS based
on location. There are overseas sites (Marine Corps in Okinawa, for
utilizing the automated system, so we know it can be done. Any contracting
office having difficulties processing automated CPARS should contact
Failure to enter completed CPARs records into the CPARS AIS prevents
sharing data with other DOD activities. There may be occasions when
overseas contractors also do work on Army or Air Force work. This
may not be true for shipbuilding contractors
but it could apply to machine shops or electrical overhaul facilities,
for example. If the completed CPARS are entered into the Navy`s
CPARS AIS then they become reports of record that can be shared with
other agencies either though the AIS or eventually in the DOD PPAIS,
which is currently under development.
10. Do CPARS have to be done on BOAs (Basic Ordering
A: The Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) instrument itself is
not subject to CPARS since it is not a contract. However, each order
executed under a BOA is a contract and, as such, if the order exceeds
the applicable dollar threshold, then the order is subject to CPARS.
Also, if the total of all orders against the same BOA exceeds the
threshold, then a CPAR is required.
11. How do I make note of a prime contractorís compliance with
the sub-contractor performance plan submitted for the contract?
A. CPARS assessments are an evaluation of the prime contractorís
ability to perform on the contract. The sub-contractor should not
be individually assessed. In the Evaluation Areas of Block 18, the
Assessing Official should assess whether the contractor met small/small
disadvantaged and women-owned business participation goals in the
Subcontract Management area on the Systems CPARS form and in the Business
Relations area on the Services and IT CPARS form.
12. Are there forms available for completing CPARS containing
classified information? Can I enter that information into the
A. Forms are available from your CPARs Management Board member
or call the CPARS help desk at 603-431-9460, ext. 486. Classified
information is not to be entered into the CPARS automated application.
Use the on-line automated application as intended, for unclassified
use only. Completed classified CPARs must be filed on the originator`s
classified computer system and would only be available for Source
Selection users via a request to the originator with the usual security
precautions (i.e. need to know, clearance, etc.) Talk to your
CPARS Management Board member about the point of contact for collection
and storage of this information.
13. Are CPARs releasable under the Freedom of Information Act
A. DoD policy states that past performance evaluation information
(e.g. CPARs) is privileged source selection information and is not
releasable under the Freedom of Information Act. Further, Federal
Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 42.1503 (b) states: " The
completed evaluation shall not be released to other than Government
personnel and the contractor whose performance is being evaluated
during the period the information may be used to provide source selection
information." When a FOIA request is received for CPAR records,
the unit FOIA office must refer the request to the CPAR focal point
for coordination. The CPARS Program Manager at the Naval Sea Logistics
Center, Portsmouth, NH, is available for additional guidance/information
in this area.
1. What are the hardware restrictions to the contractors? How would
this affect corporate restrictions (firewalls) to prevent contractor
sensitive data from getting out of the company. This could be a real
problem for smaller contractors if their "firewall" solution
is to use a dedicated machine not connected to their own network.
A: To gain access to automated CPARS, the user must have a personal
computer with at least a 486-class processor, 8 megabytes of RAM,
Windows 95, 98 or Windows NT, and a browser with 128-bit encryption.
Today, most browsers have 128-bit encryption or it can be downloaded
off the Internet. In addition, the user will need to download Adobe
Acrobat Reader, which is available on the web for free. User firewalls
would not be affected by this system. It remains the responsibility
of the corporation to protect their networks and data by whatever
means they have established. If the small business does not have access
to a computer, or chooses not to participate on-line for his CPARS
because of his security restrictions, he can receive his CPARS either
in person or by mail. Our Air Force guide outlines procedures for
this. (Note: The Navy has not had any major problems reported by small
or large businesses during the last three years.)
2. How can we guarantee that even the small contractors have EQUAL
ACCESS into the system?
A: CPARS has approved access controls including software programs
and password protections at the database level. To gain access, the
command or center focal point will grant contractors access to the
system using user id and password. In the event a contractor does
not have computer access, the AF guide specifies hand delivery or
mail as the method of transmittal for the completed CPARS.
3. Suggest giving each new contractor a handout on CPARS at the time
he is awarded a contract.
A: We will ask the Navy to see if anything has been developed. If
not, we will develop a handout for the vendor community.
4. How will the large and small contractors be trained?
A: Center focal points will be responsible for training contractors.
To assist them, the website has a Computer Based Training (CBT) module
as well as practice sessions for contractors to become familiar with
the system. Help desk support is also available to all users. Additionally,
AQC is working with the Electronic Commerce Resource Centers to provide
training to the vendor community. Finally, AQC recommends CPARS be
discussed during post award conferences.
5. Is it clear on the website and form that classified data is
not to be entered into the system?
A: The Air Force Guide to the CPARS system that is posted on the
automated CPARS website states that classified and Special Access
Program (SAP) CPARS are not to be entered into the CPARS automated
information system. Classified and SAP CPARS are to be processed according
to AFPD 31-4, Information Security and AFI 31-401, Information Security
Program Management. Weíve asked the Navy to place a marking "Unclassified
Use Only" on the CPARS website and automated CPAR forms as an
additional reminder to users.
6. What do we do if we find out classified information has been
typed into the system? Do we shut it down?
A: There are existing procedures for handling security violations
on information systems. The violation would be treated according to
the circumstances of the infraction (i.e. system shutdown, etc).
7. Can the classified data be completely erased from the CPARS database
and the backup database?
A: Upon notification/identification, the automated CPARS Program Manager
would have the CPARS System Administrator completely erase the classified
CPAR from the CPARS database and the backup database.
8. Would we know who input the classified data and when?
A: Yes, each CPAR is identified to one focal point. The focal point
controls all access to inputting a particular CPAR, and maintains
the matrix form with these access rights.According to the CPARS SSAA,
"The CPARS System provides a documented history of AIS use. The
audit trail is of sufficient detail to reconstruct events in determining
the cause or magnitude of compromise should a security violation occur."
9. Would we know who had accessed the classified data, so that
we could ensure that the classified material was destroyed at each
place that it had been accessed?
A: Yes, the CPARS system has the capability of identifying who
accessed the data: According to the automated CPARS System Security
Authorization Agreement (SSAA) dated 28 Mar 00: "All access to
CPAR data is recorded by the CPARS Administration Object within the
10. Is there system security documentation for the CPARS AIS? [top]
A: There is an approved System Security Authorization Agreement (SSAA),
IAW DoD requirements, dated April í00. The SSAA contains particulars
on system safeguards.
11. Do we have standard templates for the program?
A: Yes, they are on the automated CPARS website.
12. Is there a system in place to guarantee e-mails get to the correct
A: At this time, there is no receipt notification capability.
However, it is incumbent upon individuals to provide their correct
e-mail address when they register with the focal point.
13. Are we going to have 3 years worth of previous contractor performance
info loaded into the system so as to avoid having to use two different
systems to monitor this info?
A: Today, all of AFMCís Past Performance Data is loaded into DoDís
Past Performance Automated Information System (PPAIS). Once a past
performance report is finalized in the automated CPARS, it will go
into the repository, PPAIS, for retrieval by the Services. During
the implementation of the automated CPARS, the operational commands
will be required to input the last two years past performance data.
There are relatively few CPARS from the Operational MAJCOMS.
14. How long will the Pilots last?
A: The pilots were completed in FY-01.
15. Who will be responsible for collecting and reporting metrics?
A: Under the new system, the PEO can run a report at any time
to check on the status of a CPARS; however, the focal point has the
responsibility for ensuring that CPARS are completed in a timely manner.
For AFMC, each center focal point provides metrics to his center commander.
This process will continue as the new CPARS is implemented. Currently,
the operational commands are not reporting metrics to the commanders.
We will be working with these commands over the next few months to
increase compliance with the requirement to complete CPARS.SAF/AQCI
has access to all data for Air Force. As the system is implemented
in the AF, AQCI will validate any AF-wide enhancements/improvements
and if approved, forward those to the Navy for possible incorporation
based upon AQC funding availability.
16. Need to have a Source Selection Cover Sheet for those CPARS downloaded
from the system?
A: We can easily add to the CPARS website. AQCI is providing the cover
sheet to the Navy for posting.
17. Will an actual source selection be performed during the Pilot
A: Yes, SMC will be conducting a source selection during the pilot
program. As a side note, all of the centers currently have access
to the DoD PPAIS system to obtain CPARS, (including Army and Navy)
during their source selections
18. Downloading files (information) into shared database server
is contrary to latest computer security training, if we focus on preventing
the spread of virus.
A: The approved System Security Authorization Agreement validates
that standard security measures are in place to protect CPARS. We
believe computer security training was primarily focused on downloading
from personal disks, etc without standard procedures for virus checking.
Send Questions/Comments to:
Customer Support Desk
Voice Phone: (603) 431-9460 extension 486 or DSN: 684-1690 extension
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