The use of sole source providers by government agencies is called “other than full and open competition.” A sole source provider is one that alone fulfills the government's needs for a particular product, part or service.
A company that produces a unique product or offers a one-of-a-kind service that no other company affords can be used as a sole source provider for a government project if that item or service is needed.
A company can become a sole source provider even if there are other companies that make the product. If those other companies cannot deliver in a timely and responsible manner so that the items or services are available when needed, they are out of the running.
Full and open competition is not required in cases where there is an urgent need for immediate action. However, this would only mean sole source provision in cases where other bids could not be gathered.
National Emergency Preparedness
Sole source providers can be used in cases where the government relies on a product, research, or an expert in order to be prepared for and deal with national emergencies.
All providers to government agencies must go through a justification process and be accepted in order to be declared a sole source provider.