Wednesday night brought 14 inches of snow—significantly more than predicted! (Gee, how did that happen?) I spent Thursday morning shoveling the driveway and sidewalk. Everything is closed. The streets are not plowed. It is Washington, DC. Enough already! It is time for Olde Man Winter to retire! And with the venting done, let’s turn to this week’s comment.
Earlier on Wednesday the Department of Defense (DoD) issued a request for public comment as part of the Director of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy’s (DPAP’s) “assessment to identify impacts experienced by industry resulting from contracting statutes.” The Federal Register notice can be found here. DPAP has identified approximately 400 DFARS requirements based solely on statute. As part of the assessment, the DPAP Director is seeking public input with regard to—
- Particular impacts associated with specific contracting statutes;
- Why the identified impact does not achieve the intended benefit of the identified legislation, or why the identified benefit is not helpful to the Department; and
- Any recommendations for alternative approaches to achieve the intended benefit of the identified legislation.
The notice also states that DPAP is interested in feedback on DFARS provisions that are not based on statute, but warrant similar consideration. Public comments are due March 14th.
DPAP’s request presents a wonderful opportunity to provide information/data regarding statutory requirements where the costs outweigh the benefits. Just as important, the public should use this opportunity to also address the benefits of certain statutes. In particular, the benefits of the current statutory definition of “commercial item” far outweigh perceived costs. With the budget challenges facing the federal government, innovation can drive savings, efficiency and effectiveness. The flexibility provided by the “of a type” definition enhances competition and expands the commercial market across the federal enterprise. Simply put, the commercial item definition facilitates access to new technologies, solutions and services. We cannot afford to restrict it.
Our first comment in response to the notice will be a recommendation to extend the due date for comment to May 14th. Given the importance of the task combined with the extensive number of statutory requirements to review, additional time is needed for the public to respond with fulsome, sound comments for consideration by the Secretary of Defense..
Finally, the Coalition will be responding to the request for comment. We will be providing our members with the 400 statutory cites with the corresponding DFARS reference as compiled by DPAP. We look forward to your feedback. Next week we will be seeking volunteers for a working group to develop consensus comments for submission to DPAP.