Matters in Opposition (MIO) - Frequently Asked Questions

NOTE: This list of questions and answers is merely an attempt to summarize the applicable standards to a suspension or debarment action. It is not intended to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by a party against the Department of the Navy, its operating administrations, its officers, or any persons. In determining the applicability of, and rights under, any suspension or debarment, refer to the applicable regulations.

Why did I receive a Notice of Administrative Action (Suspension, Proposed Debarment or Debarment) or Letter of Concern?

The Department of the Navy is concerned about contractors who appear to have engaged in misconduct or have a record of poor performance. The Department, through the Suspending and Debarring Official (SDO), may take administrative action to protect the Government from doing business with non-responsible contractors.

These administrative actions are intended to be remedial in nature and are not punishment. If you are suspended, proposed for debarment, or debarred, you may not do business with the Executive Branch of the Federal Government and are excluded from all Federal contracts, benefits, and federally backed loans for a specific period of time. 

What is the difference between a Notice of Administrative Action (Suspension, Proposed Debarment or Debarment) and Letter of Concern?

A Notice of Administrative Action (Notice) provides notice that you may not do business with the Executive Branch of the Federal Government and are excluded from all Federal contracts, benefits, and federally backed loans for a specific period of time. 

A Letter of Concern is not part of the formal debarment process. Rather, it is a preliminary inquiry intended to get information from you about your present responsibility. A Letter of Concern may lead to a further administrative action found in a Notice.

Can I respond?

Yes; you may respond by submitting Matters in Opposition (MIO).

What are MIO?

MIO provide an opportunity for you to respond to the Notice or Letter of Concern. This is your chance to present whatever information you think the SDO should consider, including explanations, mitigating factors, and any remedial actions you have taken.

Am I required to submit MIO?

No; you are not required to submit MIO. These procedures are intended to afford you an opportunity to respond to the proposed action. If you do not submit anything, the SDO will render a decision based upon the existing administrative record. If you choose to submit MIO, timely submissions will be added to the record.

What should I include in my MIO?

You are welcome to submit any information or argument you would like the SDO to consider, including any specific information that raises a genuine dispute over material facts.

Many choose to submit a personal statement that describes the events leading up to the misconduct at issue, factual errors in the description of events provided, and any extenuating factors. Materials others have submitted also include witness statements, character letters, proof of awards, training records that reflect growth in the area of concern highlighted by the SDO, and other performance information that they felt was appropriate and relevant to the facts of their case.

You may also wish to address the remedial measures or mitigating factors listed and described in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) § 9.406-1(a).

Do I need an attorney?

No; you may have an attorney or representative if you wish, but it is not required.

How do I present my MIO?

MIOs may be presented in writing and possibly in person, over the phone, or by video conferencing. Timely written submissions will be added to the administrative record. Your written submission must be received by the Acquisition Integrity Office (AIO) within 30 calendar days of your receipt of the Notice or Letter of Concern and may be submitted via email or postal mail. Electronic submission of material by email is encouraged, provided you receive confirmation from the AIO, generally from the AIO point of contact assigned to your matter and identified in the Notice. If you elect to use mail delivery, you are encouraged to use USPS certified mail or a commercial delivery service such as FedEx.

In addition to your written submission, you may request, in writing, an in-person presentation with the SDO. Based upon the written submission, the SDO will determine the need for in-person presentations to address genuine disputes of material fact raised in the written submissions or as otherwise appropriate. In-person presentations will generally not be scheduled until the deadline for MIO responses has expired.

NOTE: Effective immediately and until further notice, in accordance with Class Deviation 2020-O0014 and in response to the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, the SDO may require MIO in-person presentations to be held via video-conference.

What if I need more time?

You may request an extension of time to respond within thirty calendar days of the date you receive the Notice or Letter of Concern. You must submit the request for an extension in writing, explaining the reasons why you need an extension. This request should be made to the assigned AIO point of contact and may be made by email.

What if I have questions about my response?

You may contact the AIO point of contact by email with any questions. Your letter should contain that point of contact.

When should I submit documentation supporting my MIO?

You should include all information and arguments you intend to rely upon with your written submission. For in-person meetings, any presentation material must be received by the assigned AIO point of contact at least five working days in advance of the in-person presentation.

What if my electronic files are large?

Electronic messages submitted to the AIO are subject to a 10 MB size limitation. If you anticipate the need to submit electronic files greater than 10 MB, you must first contact the assigned AIO point of contact to make arrangements for alternate delivery of files greater than 10 MB.

NOTE: It is your duty to ensure the timely submission of documentation to the AIO. Failure to make timely arrangements for the submission of electronic files larger than 10 MB does not constitute a cause for waiving or extending your submission deadline.

Where are MIO in-person presentations held?

In the event that the SDO determines that an in-person presentation is necessary, MIO in-person presentations are generally held at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. To enter the Washington Navy Yard, visitors must have a Department of Defense Common Access Card or an Active Military, Retired Military, or a Military Dependent ID. Otherwise, an escort with one of these credentials must meet you at the Visitor Access Center, where you will receive a visitor’s pass, and escort you to the AIO. All visitors 18 and older must have a photo I.D. Please allow plenty of time to go through security and for parking.

Directions to the Washington Navy Yard can be found HERE.

Access procedures for the Washington Navy Yard can be found HERE.

NOTE: Base security protocol is subject to change without notice. You should confirm current installation access procedures prior to your in-person MIO. 

Can I request an MIO presentation by video or telephone?

You may submit MIO either in writing or in person. Requests to use alternative means should be submitted to the assigned AIO point of contact.

Are the materials I submit to AIO subject to public release?

Any materials provided in your MIO response will be incorporated into the administrative record. Those materials are subject to release to third parties under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Materials that you consider to be proprietary or otherwise restricted from release under any exemption to the FOIA should be marked as such. To the extent permitted by law, regulation, and policy, these materials will be protected from release.

When can I expect a determination?

Once the SDO reviews your MIO, the SDO will consider the entire administrative record and will make a written determination on your present responsibility.

What if I miss the deadline? Can I request reconsideration of my case?

If you wish to request reconsideration of your debarment, you may submit a Request for Reconsideration to your AIO point of contact or to As with MIO, this request should include any relevant information that you deem is appropriate for the SDO to take into consideration.