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FEDERAL CONTRACTS PERSPECTIVE

Federal Acquisition Developments, Guidance, and Opinions


December 2015
Vol. XVI, No. 12
[pdf version]

CONTENTS


FY 2016 Defense Authorization Act Undertakes “Multi-Year Effort”
DUNS Number Proposed for Removal from FAR
DOD Picks Up Pace of Revisions to DFARS
NASA Finalizes Two Rules



FY 2016 Defense Authorization Act
Undertakes “Multi-Year Effort”

On November 25, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016. Title VIII, Acquisition Policy, Acquisition Management, and Related Matters, contains the sections that are significant to the defense and civilian acquisition communities. Instead of making changes to the rules and regulations that govern how the Department of Defense (DOD) acquires needed supplies and services, Congress decided to embark “on a multi-year effort to improve the underlying structure and process that delivers warfighting capability to the nation...The defense acquisition system itself increasingly poses a threat to our future military technological dominance. For this reason, the United States must create better incentives for innovation by removing unnecessary legislative, regulatory, and cultural barriers to new commercial competition.”

There are four themes running through Title VIII: (1) establish effective accountability for results; (2) increase access to commercial innovation and competition; (3) deregulate and streamline to reduce costs and gain efficiencies; and (4) reinvigorate the acquisition workforce. The following are some of the sections that are intended to address these themes and “improve the underlying structure and process” of the DOD acquisition system:



DUNS Number Proposed for Removal from FAR

For decades, the government has required its contractors to obtain and report a unique Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS®) number from Dun and Bradstreet as a condition for receiving a contract award. This proprietary number permits the government to track its spending by standardizing the identification of federal contractors. The DUNS number must identify the successful offeror’s name and address as stated in the offer and resulting contract, and it must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) database (https://www.sam.gov).

However, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (FFATA) (Public Law 109-282) established requirements for federal agencies to report information on awards to a single searchable, publicly accessible website – https://www.USAspending.gov. FFATA was amended in 2014 by the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) (Public Law 113-101) to require that summary financial data be reported by federal agencies in addition to federal award data, and to establish standards for the data reported on USAspending.gov or any successor site. The DATA Act requirements specifically state that the data standards shall, to the extent reasonable and practicable, “incorporate a widely accepted, nonproprietary, searchable, platform-independent computer-readable format” and “include unique identifiers for federal awards and entities receiving federal awards that can be consistently applied government-wide”.

To comply with the FFATA and DATA Act, a proposed rule has been issued that would amend FAR 2.101, Definitions; FAR subpart 4.6, Contract Reporting; FAR subpart 4.11, System for Award Management; FAR subpart 4.18, Commercial and Government Entity Code; FAR  52.204-6, Data Universal Numbering System Number; and other miscellaneous sections to replace “Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number” and “Data Universal Numbering System +4 (DUNS+4) number” with “unique entity identifier” (“a number or other identifier used to identify a specific commercial, non-profit, or government entity”) and “Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) indicator” (“a four-character suffix to the unique entity identifier. The suffix is assigned at the discretion of the commercial, non-profit, or government entity to establish additional System for Award Management records for identifying alternative Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) accounts (see [FAR] subpart 32.11) for the same entity”).

Comments on this proposed rule must be submitted no later than January 19, 2016, identified as “FAR Case 2015-022,” by either of the following methods: (1) the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov; or (2) mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat (MVCB), ATTN: Ms. Flowers, 1800 F Street NW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20405.



DOD Picks Up Pace of Revisions to DFARS

The Department of Defense (DOD) increased the tempo of its revisions to the Defense FAR Supplement (DFARS), issuing two final rules and six proposed rules in November.



NASA Finalizes Two Rules

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has finalized an interim rule and a proposed rule to amend the NASA FAR Supplement (NFS).





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