Secretary of Defense William Perry today issued a strong endorsement of the
acquisition reform legislation contained in the FY 96 National Defense
Authorization Act. The bill was signed into law February 10, 1996.
"We are tremendously encouraged by the important acquisition reform measures it
contained in this year's National Defense Authorization Act. They are a
critical follow-on to last year's legislative success in acquisition reform,
moving us much further along to the reengineered acquisition system that we
must have to meet our 21st century defense needs," said Secretary Perry.
Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology Paul Kaminski believes
that the new provisions contained in the act will greatly simplify the
government's buying practices for computers and commercial items, will improve
competition and help guarantee fast and cost-effective resolution of
The bill's provisions include:
· Repeal of the Brooks Automatic Data Processing Equipment Act, a major
stumbling block to buying computers and related items.
The 1965 Brook's Act gave all federal information technology (IT) acquisition
and management authority to the General Services Administration (GSA). This
anachronistic law is antiquated in today's commercial microcomputer
environment. It produced a cumbersome bureaucracy that often impeded the
quick, efficient purchase of IT, and meant that many DoD computers were
obsolete by the time they were delivered.
The Brooks Act repeal also eliminates the exclusive authority of the General
Services Administration Board of Contract Appeals (GSBCA) to consider
contractor objections (bid protests) to IT procurements. Nearly half of all
major IT procurements are protested to the GSBCA, extending the procurement
time line by 30-40 percent. Now, all protests will be handled at the General
Accounting Office (GAO), which provides a quicker, cheaper and more streamlined
protest procedure for federal contractors.
· Establishment of cutting edge IT management policies that empower
agencies directly, while ensuring that central coordination occurs precisely
when needed to enhance governmentwide efficiency.
The Act requires the Office of Management and Budget to establish agency
guidance for governmentwide institution of capital investment planning and
performance measures for virtually all federal IT programs. The Act also
establishes a Chief Information Officer (CIO) in each federal agency, who has
oversight responsibility for agency information technology programs or projects
to ensure these policies are appropriately implemented in each program.
In anticipation of this bill, the assistant secretary of Defense for Command,
Control, Communications, and Intelligence has developed a performance and
results based information resources management (IRM) capital planning and
investment model. This model will require an IRM Strategic Plan from each
Defense component, tied to budget plans, from which a DoD IRM Strategic Plan
will be generated. DoD will implement performance measures in its IRM
processes. In support of this effort, the office of the deputy assistant
secretary of Defense (C3I Acquisition) will publish a DoD IRM Performance
Measures Guide in the third quarter of Fiscal Year 1996. It will contain a
minimum mandatory set of performance measures for nine IRM areas.
· Simplification of competition requirements to enhance efficiency in
award process while maintaining full competition.
The bill permits contracting officers to limit the number of bidders in the
competitive range to three when it will promote efficiency. Under the existing
law, a contracting officer had to look for the "natural break or grouping" to
determine the competitive range; those who should be considered further for
award. If there was any question whether a bidder should be included, the
bidder was kept in, in order to avoid a protest. Many contractors would
continue to incur bid and proposal costs, and DoD was forced to expend precious
resources evaluating bids that had no chance of winning. This new authority
enables agencies to expedite the procurement process, and allows bidders, which
do not have a chance of receiving the award, to save time and money by being
removed sooner rather than later in the process. The bill also raises the
approval levels for contract awards made using other than full and open
competition methods from $10 million to $50 million, eliminating for those
awards an additional but ineffective and time-consuming higher level review.
· Rationalization of procurement integrity law and post-employment
The procurement integrity law is amended to focus on the improper disclosure or
obtaining of contract award information. Post-employment restrictions are
simpler and clearer, applying across the government to employees or officials
in procurements above $10 million. The new law is much more understandable and
will enhance the attractiveness of Federal service because individuals can be
more certain of their legal and ethical obligations in follow-on, private
· Simplification of commercial item buys
For a three year period, commercial items up to $5 million in contract value
can now be purchased using greatly simplified procedures. Further, burdensome
cost or pricing data requirements are lifted from all competitive commercial
item procurements. The government will be able to buy most commercial items
just like any other customer, without imposing virtually all government unique
Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition Reform Colleen A. Preston
said, " The bill contains revolutionary breakthroughs. The first big step for
legislative reform was the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994. Now
this bill shows that the spirit of acquisition reform is still going strong in
the Congress. This legislation will allow DoD to aggressively continue to
reform the acquisition process and become the smartest, most
efficient, and most responsive buyer of best-value goods and
services that meet our warfighters' needs."