ACQUISITION PANEL RECOMMENDS REDUCED REGULATORY BURDEN FOR COMMERCIAL BUYS:
Commercial item acquisition should be easier and less regulated according to “Volume I” of the Section 809 panel report issued last week. While the title, “Report of the Panel on Streamlining and Codifying Acquisition Regulations”, won’t rocket to the top of any best seller lists, the content contains substantial, detailed recommendations on a variety of ways DOD acquisition could be improved. One recommendation is to scrap the limited definition of “Commercial Off the Shelf” item in favor of a more expansive, standardized definition of commercial item. Similarly, the panel recommends the creation of a new “commercial services” definition, one that specifically acknowledges Knowledge Based Services, among other things. Another service recommendation is to make it clearer that contractor support personnel work for, and must primarily take direction from, a contractor. Enhanced use of commercially-based audit procedures, scrapping Earned Value Management for agile software acquisition, and improved small business treatment are also key recommendations in this volume. Absent from this report was any discussion on DOD use of non-DOD contracts, though it is anticipated that a future report will contain a recommendation in this area. The final report is not due for several months, but these initial recommendations will likely be widely read in both DOD and Congressional oversight committees. The report is available on the Section 809 website for those looking for some “light” reading.