The Coalition for Government Procurement

Abraham Lincoln’s famous Thanksgiving Day Proclamation has become an annual tradition at the Coalition. The October 3, 1863 Presidential Proclamation, released in the midst of the Civil War, called on the nation to observe the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving. Lincoln’s message still has meaning today as we express gratitude for our many blessings. As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year with family and friends, please keep all those in harm’s way in your thoughts and prayers, both military and civilian.

thanksgivingA Proclamation

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

On Wednesday the nation honored our Veterans.  Veterans Day is a special time to say thank you to veterans and their families for their service and the sacrifices they have made to keep us all safe and free.  In a larger sense, we should all honor and remember our veterans each and every day for all that they have done.  It is a challenging time for veterans transitioning to civilian life and more must be done to support them as they enter the job market.  To that point, the Coalition for Government Procurement is proud to have partnered with the George Washington University (GWU) to establish an endowed Scholarship Fund in recognition of the outstanding achievements of qualified veterans at GWU concentrating their studies in the field of U.S. Government procurement and pursuing a law or master’s degree.


The endowed scholarship is a true convergence of the Coalition’s interests and values – common sense in government procurement and support for veterans.  Acquisition excellence, access to best value commercial solutions, and policies that promote a strong acquisition workforce are cornerstones of the association’s agenda. With direction from our member companies and the Board of Directors, the Coalition has long supported programs that benefit our nation’s veterans.  Last year, in recognition of the Coalition’s 35th anniversary, our Board authorized the establishment of the scholarship fund to benefit veterans pursuing a career in federal acquisition.


If you would like to contribute to funding this scholarship, we would greatly appreciate your tax deductible donation, which can easily be processed by visiting  Thank you in advance for your corporate and individual support.


Each day, remember and honor our veterans!



Roger Waldron


During the Coalition’s recent Fall Training Conference there were many discussions regarding the pace of MAS purchases. It was widely communicated that MAS purchases leveled off from previous year declines and were growing slightly (approximately 1%) as we enter the new fiscal year.  That is good news for government-wide contracting, customer agencies, and MAS contractors. The MAS program remains the largest commercial item contracting program across government. It is strategically positioned to efficiently and effectively deliver best value commercial solutions, services and products to meet customer agency missions. The MAS program’s potential remains vast!

As Administrator Denise Turner Roth noted in her recent interview with Federal Times, if GSA offers contracts (e.g. MAS contracts) that are effectively structured to meet customer needs, then agencies will not create their own contract vehicles. How can GSA better meet customer needs through the MAS program? In short, how can GSA “grow” the MAS program? Here are three key reforms that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the MAS program:

No. 1. Implement Other Direct Costs (ODCs) on MAS contracts.

ODCs” are a FAR-sanctioned, contracting mechanism to allow reimbursement for materials, other direct costs and indirect costs on commercial item contracts. ODCs provide the contract flexibility to efficiently and effectively meet customer agency mission requirements for comprehensive commercial service solutions. Yet, although the operable FAR-sanctioned provision currently resides in MAS contracts, ODCs are prohibited under MAS contracts. ODCs are a game changer. GSA has already made great strides in consolidating the Professional Services Schedules (PSS). ODCs would significantly enhance the PSS’s ability to meet customer agencies cross-cutting professional services requirements. Our members report that customer agencies often turn away from the MAS program due to the lack of ODC functionality. As a result, customer agencies are creating their own duplicative contract vehicles. Ironically, GSA’s GWAC’s include ODCs! The time is now for implementing ODCs to meet customer needs and grow the MAS program! Take a look at the Coalition ODC White Paper for more on implementation.

No. 2. Reform the MAS Pricing Policy.

The decades-old pricing policies governing the MAS program reduce competition, limit access to innovation, and increase costs for government and industry. MAS contractors report that they will not add new technologies/capabilities in the face of the compliance risk associated with the Price Reduction Clause (PRC). Moreover, as the commercial market continues to evolve towards even greater use of flexible pricing methodologies, the current static MAS pricing model based on the Commercial Sales Practices (CSP) submission requirements and PRC fails to provide customer agencies with best value mission support from the commercial marketplace. Take a look at the Coalition’s white paper on MAS pricing for more on this issue.

No. 3. Improve MAS Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs).

The current regulatory regime creates a strong preference for multiple award BPAs. The regulations need to be simplified. Agencies should be empowered to identify and compete recurring requirements for single award BPAs. These single award BPAs should include firm volume commitments for agency requirements. Single award BPAs may be the greatest untapped resource for agencies seeking to leverage and compete their requirements under the MAS program. In addition, reforms should be made to allow BPAs to extend beyond the term of the underlying contract. This reform would create greater certainty in the competitive MAS market for both customer agencies and MAS contractors. Certainty that will enhance customer satisfaction and increase use of the MAS program. To its credit, FAS is addressing evergreen contracting in a holistic manner through reforms in the submission of follow-on offers for contractors reaching the end of the 20 year contract term. The next vital step is to address the term of competed BPAs under the MAS program!

These three key reforms can further unleash the power of the MAS program to bring best value commercial solutions, services and products to customer agencies. GSA has the authority and the discretion to accomplish these reforms and the Coalition stands ready to work towards our common goal of improving the MAS program.


As you know, on September 30th the Coalition sent a letter to GSA regarding the recent class deviation addressing commercial supplier agreement (CSA) terms that conflict or are incompatible with federal law (Acquisition Letter MV-15-03). The letter requests rescission of the deviation, and it addresses the legal, policy, and operational ramifications of the deviation’s modification of the “order of precedence” provisions of the commercial item clause. It also makes clear the Coalition’s willingness to meet with GSA to discuss a solution that recognizes and balances the interests of government and industry while promoting commercial item acquisitions.

By letter dated October 21st, GSA responded to the Coalition’s request. A copy of the response can be found here. Although the Coalition is disappointed that the response does not directly address industry concerns, the Coalition maintains its interest in a dialogue on this significant change in procurement policy. In the interests of transparency, it is important to MAS contractors that GSA and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy share their ideas on how to address the following key questions:

  • How should GSA manage the workload associated with the potential renegotiation of thousands of MAS contracts across FAS (for instance, should it develop an operational implementation plan for FAS contracting officers)? Given the change in the order of precedence, commercial terms that were accepted by GSA in lieu of solicitation provisions and clauses no longer control. For prudent MAS contractors that seek the advice of counsel, a foreseeable consequence of this significant change likely will be to request that GSA “renegotiate” their contracts in order to clarify the applicability of commercial terms in any existing addenda. This contracting activity poses a significant logistical challenge, as well as potentially a huge new workload for FAS and MAS contractors.

  • How will GSA and contractors negotiate adequate consideration for the material change in the allocation of rights under MAS contractors? The change in the order of precedence is a material change in contract terms that compels contractors to cede material legal rights. As such, it must be executed through a bilateral modification to the MAS contract after negotiation and agreement on adequate consideration.

  • What impact will contractors’ renegotiated consideration have on the efficacy of GSA’s flagship program?Over the years, GSA has suffered unfair criticism of its schedule pricing. Readers of this blog know the great effort the Coalition has taken to defend the agency, in particular, to clarify that commercial pricing comparisons should be made to prices on actual task orders placed against the schedule, not schedule list prices. It is not clear to what extent the price impact caused by the class deviation will make associated products unattractive relative to the commercial counterparts of those products.

  • How does this change impact small business concerns? Moreover, at a time when DoD and OMB are seeking greater access to innovation, how will GSA attract new commercial firms to the GSA federal market given the low priority given to standard commercial terms and conditions? Due diligence requires an understanding of the impact of these changes as barriers to entry in the government space. To the extent that changes in the order of precedence create a negative incentive for new commercial firms entering the MAS marketplace by increasing uncertainty and risk and thereby reducing confidence and opportunities in the federal market, they undermine the government’s stated goal of increasing access to innovation.

  • How does the deviation square with statute and regulation governing commercial item acquisition, and does OMB countenance this position?As the Coalition stated in its letter, the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 (FASA) requires the head of the agency to ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that commercial items may be procured to fulfill agency requirements, that requirements be modified so they can be met by commercial items, that specifications be stated to enable offerors to supply commercial items, and that policies be revised to reduce the impediments to acquiring commercial items. See 41 U.S.C. 3077.   FASA is implemented at Part 12 of the FAR. FAR 12.301(a) provides, in part, that “contracts for the acquisition of commercial items shall, to the maximum extent practicable, include only those clauses required by law or “[d]etermined to be consistent with customary commercial practice.” FAR 12.302(c) precludes the inclusion of any term or conditions in a solicitation or contract for commercial items in a manner that is inconsistent with customary commercial practice for the item being acquired unless a waiver is approved in accordance with agency procedures.”

  • Is there an alternative to the current approach that meets the government’s needs while maintaining the preference for commercial terms and conditions?  At the Coalition’s recent Fall Conference, it became clear that GSA and vendors were not divided over safeguarding the government’s interests in the issues identified. Rather, their disagreement is a matter of approach. To the extent that less intrusive, commercial approaches to addressing GSA’s concerns exist, GSA should consider them.

The Coalition strongly believes that there is a sound, efficient, and effective way to address the concerns that prompted the class deviation, and it stands ready to discuss alternatives with GSA and OMB.

Roger Waldron



We are looking forward to a wonderful two days of Myth-Busters collaborative and constructive dialogue across the procurement community. We are very excited to have GSA Administrator Denise Turner-Roth as our Keynote Speaker for the EIPs and the Honorable Dr. Jack Gansler as our Keynote Speaker for the Fall Training Conference. As the Training Conference title indicates, much of the dialogue will focus on acquisition reform in its many “forms,” from current operational initiatives across the executive branch, to the policy and legal reforms being contemplated for the system as a whole.

With the focus on acquisition reform, the Coalition is setting aside time during the Fall Conference for a “brainstorming” session, during which, we will solicit attendee (both government and industry) ideas for reforms that improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the procurement system. We are pleased that Francis Rose from Federal News Radio has agreed to serve as our facilitator for this brainstorming session, which we have nicknamed our “Post-it Note Session!” Here is how it will work:

Morning Fall Conference Kick-off Remarks

As part of my opening kick-off remarks the morning of the Fall Conference, I will provide attendees with an update on the Coalition, and part of this update will include a briefing on the Coalition’s Commercial Marketplace Initiative for the MAS program. The Commercial Market Initiative represents an effort to streamline entry and competition, and to promote innovation, across the largest government-wide contracting program. In addition to this initiative, three to four additional acquisition reform categories will be highlighted for consideration. Attendees will be asked to recommend potential reforms and initiatives for improving acquisition performance for all. The intent of this opening session is to prepare attendees for the lunch brainstorming session.

Lunch Acquisition Reform Brainstorming Session

The Acquisition Reform brainstorming session will take place during the Fall Conference Luncheon. We hope attendees will share and discuss their acquisition reform ideas during the meal, as we will be seeking suggestions from each table. Next, Francis Rose will facilitate a discussion among the attendees, probing for acquisition reform ideas and suggestions. In addition, attendees will be provided post-it notes in order to write down their ideas and suggestions that will be posted on charts around the room. The charts will be focused on the three to four additional acquisition reform categories introduced in the morning. Finally, as a follow-up to the conference, the posted ideas and suggestions will be collected, recorded, and provided to the attendees, speakers, and other stakeholders across the procurement community.

Needless to say, we are looking forward to a robust reform dialogue!! You can find the entire 2015 Fall Training Conference agenda here. We look forward to seeing you next week, and don’t forget to bring your acquisition reform thinking caps!


Roger Waldron



With the Senate’s passage of the NDAA this week, we are approaching the finish line for this critical piece of legislation. This conference agreement undertakes needed reform, and the process leading to it should be lauded as an example of bipartisan cooperation across the Congress. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that this process continues.

From a procurement policy perspective, the NDAA marks a needed alignment between acquisition reform and the new environmental realities our nation faces. The Coalition applauds the Congressional recognition of national security as a critical driver for reform that can be addressed only by increasing DoD’s access to cutting-edge, innovative commercial technologies to support its mission. In this regard, the NDAA includes a number of provisions designed to streamline the acquisition process and to reduce barriers to entry for those firms seeking to bring commercial innovation into the government space.   Just as important, the NDAA reforms provide the potential to reduce transactional costs (unnecessary overhead, administrative and compliance costs) for both government and industry.

Many of these positive changes are set forth in Title VIII, Acquisition Policy, Acquisition Management and Related Matters, of the NDAA. Although this blog cannot encompass a section-by-section analysis (N.B. that analysis will be provided to attendees at the Fall Conference), it is useful to highlight some key reforms of interest to our membership:

  • Reinvigorating commercial item acquisitions. The NDAA seeks to improve DoD access to commercial products, services, and solutions.   Sections 851 to 857 of Title VIII collectively provide an improved framework and reduced barriers to entry for commercial firms seeking to do business with DoD. The provisions will enhance access to cutting edge commercial technologies, grow business, and result in a strengthened industrial base. They also address head-on the imperative of increasing access to commercial innovation in order to maintain the technological superiority that has sustained our national security and supported the warfighter.
  • Embracing alternate processes to acquire capability. The NDAA seeks greater flexibility in the acquisition/transactional tools available to DoD to acquire capability, particularly innovative commercial technologies. For example, Title VIII includes language that provides for alternate acquisition paths to acquire critical national security capabilities (See Section 805), and a provision that makes permanent certain “other transactions authority” (See Section 815). The NDAA’s overall thrust in this key area reflects the view that it may be prudent to look outside traditional FAR-based procurement processes to streamline acquisition.   The NDAA also includes provisions that will enhance funding flexibilities to support investments in and access to innovation.
  • Reforming and streamlining acquisition regulations. The NDAA seeks to streamline acquisition regulations across the DoD. The goal here is to reduce/eliminate unnecessary overhead, administrative and compliance costs imposed by the current FAR- and DFARS-based procurement system. Streamlining acquisition regulations has great potential to save transactional costs, increase capability, and enhance access to commercial innovation. Of particular note, Section 809 directs DoD to establish an advisory panel that will focus on streamlining acquisition regulations, somewhat analogous to the Section 800 Panel, whose report laid the groundwork for the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act.

The NDAA Conference Report can be found here. You can hear more about acquisition reform on the Hill on October 22nd at the Coalition’s Fall Conference, Acquisition Reform – Assessing the Impact on Business Opportunities. Jon Etherton of Etherton and Associates will be moderating a panel of experts from Capitol Hill that will focus on Congressional acquisition reform efforts. To learn more about the Fall Conference agenda please click here.


Roger Waldron



The Coalition is excited to announce the 2015 Excellence in Partnership (EIP) Award Winners! The EIP Awards were developed 16 years ago to honor individuals and organizations in the acquisition community that have made significant contributions to the procurement system while providing best value to the taxpayer.

The EIP Lifetime Acquisition Excellence Award is the Coalition’s recognizes individuals in the procurement community who have demonstrated a long-term commitment to improving the federal acquisition system.

The 2015 EIP Lifetime Acquisition Excellence Awardees are:

Lifetime Acquisition Excellence Award

  • Geraldine Watson, General Services Administration
  • Kay Ely, General Services Administration

The Coalition for Government Procurement also honors Excellence in Partnership in four additional distinguished categories—Myth-busters, Government Savings, Green Excellence, and Best Veteran Hiring. The EIP awards in these categories highlight outstanding acquisition initiatives that result in significant cost savings for the American taxpayer and highlight exceptional public and private sector programs that promote sustainability and support veterans.

The 2015 EIP government and industry awardees in these categories are:

Myth Busters Award

  • GSA Alliant 2 Unrestricted and the Alliant 2 Small Business team
  • Mike Pullen CGI Federal

Government Savings Award

  • Randall Culpepper, United States Air Force
  • R10 FAS Professional Services Category Management Team

Green Excellence Award

  • Ricoh Americas Corporation

Best Veteran Hiring Award

  • Grainger – Promoting Opportunities
  • CACI International Inc – Continuing the Commitment
  • ManTech International Corporation – Continuing the Commitment


Finally, the Coalition’s highest honor is “The Common Sense in Government Procurement” Award. This year the Coalition is honored to present Carolyn Alston with “The Common Sense in Government Procurement” Award for a professional lifetime of outstanding work supporting common sense procurement policies, procedures and practices that drive best value for the American people.

Thank you to our 2015 EIP Award Judges, and congratulations to all of the winners as we look forward to seeing everyone at this year’s 2015 Excellence in Partnership Awards & Fall Training Conference!


Roger Waldron


A Government Shutdown . . . Again?

September 24th, 2015

As we approach the fiscal year deadline, the chances of another government shutdown have grown. The most recent federal government shutdown occurred in 2013. It lasted seventeen days, and not many people were happy with the end result. This approach to appropriations may not be the way to “run a railroad,” but FAR & Beyond will leave it to the philosophers to muse on that topic, as some already are doing. Rather, the Coalition will offer some advice to weather the potential storm.

At the outset, FAR & Beyond has one note of caution: don’t panic. Yes, there are heightened emotions over some very serious issues, and yes those emotions could play into the voting in Congress, as well as the Administration’s response to any funding legislation. Remember, however, that the dynamics now are different from those existing in 2013. For instance, controversial matters are being raised in separate bills, and so-called “clean CRs” reportedly are being drafted. Moreover, the popular backlash this time around is predictable and may not be worth any perceived benefit associated with disrupting government funding. In sum, at this point, a shutdown is not a fait accompli.

That said, over the years, the Coalition has provided members with timely information, guidance, and best practices to assist in managing contract and cost risks associated with a potential shutdown, resources from the last shutdown in 2013 can be found here. Please review the guidance, along with this checklist of key practices and questions in preparing for the potential of a shutdown:

  • Review your contract-
    • What is the contract type?  Under certain circumstances contracting officers may require continued performance fixed-price contracts may require continued performance if the contractor has already been paid or funds already have been obligated.
    • What is the funding profile? Is the contract fully or incrementally funded? Under certain circumstances funded contracts may continue.
    • Does the contract include FAR 52.242-15 which allows for the issuance of a stop-work order?
  • Reach out to your contracting officer and ask-
    • Is the work performed under the contract deemed an “essential” activity necessary to protecting life and property?
    • Should contract performance continue in the event of a shutdown?
    • Does the CO plan to issue a stop-work order?
    • Will the government facility where the work is to be performed be open to contractors, and what Federal employees are required to provide oversight for contractor performance during a shutdown?
  • Plan for additional costs-
    • Anticipate potential delays and have a plan in place for potential delays in payment
    • Determine whether payment to subcontractors may be delayed if payment from the government has not been received
    • Develop internal methods of tracking additional costs associated with shutdown and restart activities to potentially recoup these costs later
  • Communicate with your team-
    • Create a communication plan for employees and identify alternatives, if practical, for employees impacted by a client shutdown, e.g., if a stop-work order is issued
    • Reach out to your subcontractors—does the subcontract include a stop-work clause? Can delivery be deferred and what is the cost impact?
  • Meet with internal counsel beforehand to assure that your plans are sound and consistent with your obligations under the contract and the law

In homage to Yogi Berra who, sadly, passed away, although it may feel like deja vu all over again, the prudent contractor will be prepared to mitigate performance and cost risk. In the meantime, the Coalition will keep you appraised as the situation warrants.

I can’t believe we’re just over four weeks away from our 2015 Excellence in Partnership Awards & Fall Training Conference, taking place on the evening of October 21st and all day on October 22nd.  This two day event will be held at the Westin Tysons Corner in Falls Church, VA and discounted room rates are available by calling the hotel and using code TJ21AA.

We are thrilled to have the GSA Administrator, Denise Turner Roth, as our keynote speaker for our EIP Awards dinner.  Additionally, we will be honoring Carolyn Alston, our dear friend and colleague who retired from the Coalition this past July.  Carolyn’s incredible dedication, commitment, and professionalism have defined her entire career and she truly stands as an embodiment of the “Excellence in Partnership” spirit.

Prior to the Administrator’s keynote, we will have a networking reception and silent auction, where last year we raised over $10,000 for our Coalition for Government Procurement Endowed Scholarship Fund.  This scholarship fund will financially support a deserving veteran who is concentrating their studies in the field of US Government procurement at The George Washington University.  If you have a silent auction donation, please let Matt Cahill know!

The next morning we will jump right into our Fall Training Conference where we will be focused on Acquisition Reform.  We have a robust agenda that includes over 30 government speakers and numerous industry experts who will participate as keynotes, panelists, and breakout presenters.

Thank you to General Dynamics Information Technology for being this year’s Excellence in Partnership Title Sponsor and AvKARE for being this year’s Fall Training Conference Title Sponsor!  There are still several sponsorship opportunities your company can take advantage of, both big and small, for the Excellence in Partnership Awards portion and the Fall Training Conference portion of this two day event.

Please register as soon as possible so we can have an accurate head count.  For questions regarding sponsorships or assistance with registration, please contact Matt Cahill at 202-315-1054 or

Thanks for your continued support of the Coalition – we are looking forward to your participation at our Excellence in Partnership Awards and Fall Training Conference!



As students return to school and Congress returns to Capitol Hill, there is a feeling of anticipation in the air. Some might attribute this feeling to the autumnal equinox arriving in less than two weeks, and others might associate it with the expected flurry of legislative activity surrounding the end of the government fiscal year. To observers of the acquisition landscape, however, this feeling of anticipation signals something different, specifically, the potential for wholesale change in how the government conducts business.

Earlier this year, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman, John McCain, introduced S. 1376, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016. That bill, along with H.R. 1375, introduced by House Armed Services Committee Chairman, Mac Thornberry, attempts to tackle the challenges raised by what has become a slow, bureaucratic, and costly Defense acquisition system. The House and Senate are in conference on the two bills; but one thing is clear: unlike in the past, these bills move beyond simply improving processes for the sake of efficiency.

Among other things, the bills seek to reduce paperwork and reporting requirements, streamline the acquisition process, increase accountability, and promote the professional development and growth of the Department of Defense (DOD) acquisition workforce. All are potentially positive steps for a beleaguered, inefficient defense acquisition system that is sinking under the weight of overregulation, burdensome reporting requirements, and an archaic cost-based oversight regime.

Of particular note is the Senate bill’s provisions enhancing commercial item contracting and reducing barriers to entry for nontraditional commercial technology firms seeking to do business with the Department. These provisions reflect the high priority the Senate has placed on gaining access to innovative technologies and cutting-edge commercial firms. This priority appears to be shared by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter who has voiced the Department’s strategic imperative of embracing the commercial marketplace and cutting edge innovators.   This position manifests a conviction that improving access to commercial innovation from the commercial market is vital to ensuring American military dominance over the long term. Thus, procurement reform is not only a priority for management improvement; it is a national security imperative.

That is why, as discussed in the August 13th FAR & Beyond blog, the Department proposed rule addressing access to cost and/or price data for commercial items is a curious step. The rule is a step back from commercial item contracting that is counter to the goal of gaining greater access to commercial innovation by reducing barriers to market entry.

In response to the proposed rule, Senator McCain sent a letter to Secretary Carter raising concerns regarding its negative impact on access to innovation and cutting-edge commercial firms. In part, that letter states,

This new regulation would likely deter privately held start-up companies from offering their products and services to DOD, because it would impose cumbersome and excessive bureaucratic requirements on these firms to provide detailed cost data for precisely the types of solutions that DOD needs. …

A copy of the letter can be found here.

The Armed Services Committee Chairman urged the Secretary to rescind the proposed rule “immediately.” The Coalition will continue to monitor the status of the proposed rule, and if necessary submit comments on behalf of our members. We also will continue to monitor and update you on the status of acquisition reform on the Hill.

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