Panoptic Enterprises'


Federal Acquisition Developments, Guidance, and Opinions

January 2003
Vol. IV, No. 1


2003 Defense Authorization Act Limits Task Orders, Extends FAR Subpart 13.5 Until 2004
Department of Homeland Security Approved to Open
DFARS Changes on Mentor-Protege Program, U.S.-Made Products
DTAR to be Rewritten
EO Guides Faith-Based Initiatives Implementation
OMB Releases Second Set of FAIR Act Inventories
PRO-Net, CCR Databases Merged
Prompt Payment Interest Rate Set at 4 1/4%

2003 Defense Authorization Act Limits Task Orders,
Extends FAR Subpart 13.5 Until January 1, 2004

On December 2, 2002, President Bush signed the $393 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 (Public Law 107-314). As was the case with the FY 2002 National Defense Authorization Act, this year's act is relatively calm and quiet. However, it does contain acquisition-related provisions in Title VIII, Acquisition Policy, Acquisition Management, and Related Matters (one of which applies governmentwide), and a few other miscellaneous provisions scattered about.


Applicable to Department of Defense (DOD) Only:

In addition to Title VIII, Public Law 107-314 has several other acquisition-related provisions squirreled away:

Department of Homeland Security Approved to Open

On November 25, 2002, President Bush signed into law Public Law 107-296, the Homeland Security Act of 2002. It establishes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and authorizes it to open in 60 days -- on January 24, 2003.

There are several provisions of the act that are of interest to those interested in acquisitions with the department:

DFARS Changes on Mentor-Protege Program, U.S.-Made Products

Several changes to the Defense FAR Supplement (DFARS) were made during December:

DTAR to be Rewritten

The Department of the Treasury is proposing to completely rewrite the Department of the Treasury Acquisition Regulation (DTAR) so it is in plain English; eliminates internal operating procedures that do not have a significant effect beyond Treasury; reflects current policy, practice, and recent FAR changes; and eliminates coverage that duplicates the FAR. In addition, the rewritten DTAR would establish a Treasury mentor-protege program. Treasury intends the reissued DTAR to be simple for contractors, offerors, and Treasury contracting personnel to use. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The DTAR is Chapter 10 of Title 48 of the Code of Federal Regulations.)

Some of the more prominent provisions of the proposed rewritten DTAR are:

Comments must be submitted by January 10, 2003, to the Department of the Treasury, Office of the Procurement Executive, ATTN: Angelie Jackson, 1500 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, c/o 1310 G Street, NW, Suite 400W, Washington, DC 20220.

EO Guides Faith-Based Initiatives Implementation

On December 12, President Bush issued Executive Order (EO) 13279, Equal Protection of the Laws for Faith-Based and Community Organizations, to "guide federal agencies in formulating and developing policies with implications for faith-based organizations and other community organizations." This guidance applies to certain contracts issued by various departments and agencies.

On January 29, 2001, President Bush issued EO 13198 directing the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, and Labor to "establish within their respective departments a Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives" to "coordinate department efforts to eliminate regulatory, contracting, and other programmatic obstacles to the participation of faith-based and other community organizations in the provision of social services."

EO 13279 supplements EO 13198 by defining which "social services" are subject to the president's faith-based initiative:

  1. Child care services, protective services for children and adults, services for children and adults in foster care, adoption services, services related to the management and maintenance of the home, day care services for adults, and services to meet the special needs of children, older individuals, and individuals with disabilities (including physical, mental, or emotional disabilities);

  2. Transportation services;

  3. Job training and related services, and employment services;

  4. Information, referral, and counseling services;

  5. The preparation and delivery of meals and services related to soup kitchens or food banks;

  6. Health support services;

  7. Literacy and mentoring programs;

  8. Services for the prevention and treatment of juvenile delinquency and substance abuse, services for the prevention of crime and the provision of assistance to the victims and the families of criminal offenders, and services related to intervention in, and prevention of, domestic violence; and

  9. Services related to the provision of assistance for housing under federal law.

To implement this guidance, EO 13279 amends EO 11246 of September 24, 1965 (Section 202 of which mandates equal opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin), to exempt from the equal opportunity requirements "a government contractor or subcontractor that is a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society, with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on by such corporation, association, educational institution, or society of its activities." In addition, EO 13279 amends EO 11246 to permit the Secretary of Labor to "provide, by rule, regulation, or order, for the exemption of facilities of a contractor that are in all respects separate and distinct from activities of the contractor related to the performance of the contract."

Finally, President Bush also issued EO 13280, Responsibilities of the Department of Agriculture and the Agency for International Development With Respect to Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, to direct the Department of Agriculture and the Agency for International Development to establish Centers for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, and to comply with EO 13198 and EO 13279.

OMB Releases Second Set of FAIR Act Inventories

On December 9, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the second set of Fiscal Year 2002 Commercial Activities Inventories of non-governmental functions being performed by government agencies. These inventories are required to be compiled and made available to the public by the Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act of 1998. This second set of inventories covers almost 54,000 positions; the first set covered approximately 250,000. Inventories are from the Departments of Education and Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Small Business Administration, and others. The agencies' lists are available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/OMB/procurement/index.html.

Interested parties have 30 working days (that is, until January 23, 2003) to challenge the omission or inclusion of an activity on an agency's Commercial Activities Inventories list. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) has prepared a summary "FAIR Act User's Guide" and it is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/OMB/procurement/index.html. This User's Guide will help interested parties review 2002 FAIR Act inventories, and include the website addresses for individual agency inventories.

PRO-Net, CCR Databases Merged

On December 19, DOD and the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that they had completed the integration of two key federal contractor databases: the Procurement Marketing and Access Network (PRO-Net) and the Central Contractor Registration (CCR). The merged databases will allow small businesses to input information into both databases once.

PRO-Net is SBA's electronic gateway to information by and for small businesses. It is at http://pro-net.sba.gov. CCR is DOD's repository for information about federal contractors that the government needs to transact with them. It eventually will become the repository for all agencies so vendors will not have to register separately with each agency. It is at http://www.ccr.gov.

Prompt Payment Interest Rate Set at 4 1/4%

The Department of Treasury has established 4 1/4% (4.25%) as the interest rate for the computation of payments made between January 1 and June 30, 2003, under the Prompt Payment Act and the Contracts Disputes Act. This rate is also used in facilities capital cost of money calculations. The interest rate for the prior six-month period (July 1, 2002 -- December 31, 2002) was 5 1/4% (5.25%). The interest rate for January 1, 2002, through June 30, 2002, was 5 1/2% (5.5%).

Copyright 2003 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

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