Tuneup of Federal Acquisition Regulation Process Under Way
FAR rule-making partners GSA, NASA, DoD, and OMB galvanize around bold changes to improve product quality, timeliness, and transparency of the process.
GSA # 10707
February 14, 2011
Contact: Diane Merriett, 202-538-5856
WASHINGTON – U.S. General Services Administrator Martha N. Johnson and Office of Federal Procurement Policy Administrator Daniel Gordon brought together Federal Acquisition Regulations rule-making partners at GSA, NASA, and the Department of Defense to develop bold, new ways to improve the product quality and timeliness of the FAR process. These efforts will remove barriers and increase transparency in federal government acquisitions, a key component in meeting President Barack Obama’s goal to make government leaner and more accountable to the American public.
“We need a tuneup on our system,” Johnson said. “Right now, we are driving our father’s car. It works, but is showing its age. I want a modern, electric car version of the FAR to take us where we need to go reliably and quickly.”
GSA hosted its first interagency “slam” with procurement- and policy-drivers from the agencies responsible for managing and coordinating the FAR rule-making process. A process pioneered by Johnson, a slam gathers key decision-makers in one room to solve specific problems. No one leaves until specific outcomes are achieved.
The session identified key improvements to the FAR’s rule-making process in the following areas:
• Team management – Creating a flexible rule-making team structure that focuses on making timely decisions and that can align with the ever-changing demands of federal agencies.
• Case management – Improving procedures to ensure quick resolution of critical acquisition policy decisions, reduce backlog, and bring fluidity to the process.
• Training – Developing a comprehensive training program for procurement policy analysts to replenish the pool of expert and seasoned professionals expected to retire.
The participants agreed to create action plans with projected milestones on each of these key outcomes by March 31, for presentation to the FAR Council.
“These are immediate, actionable ways to improve the FAR that will go a long way toward improving government procurement,” said Associate Administrator Kathleen Turco of GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy. “The slam process was a great way to tackle governmentwide issues surrounding federal rule-making, breaking down communications and process barriers among the FAR Council participants.”
Bill Roets, of NASA headquarters Office of Procurement, added: "The slam was a huge success in effectively and efficiently getting all of the participating agencies to agree on these three key improvement areas. We are looking forward to working with the other federal agencies on these improvement areas and improving the FAR rule-making process."
What is the FAR?
The FAR is a set of regulations established to codify, or systematize, uniform policies for acquisition of supplies and services by federal agencies.
Pursuant to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act of 1974, the FAR is issued and maintained jointly under statutory authorities granted to the Secretary of Defense, the Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, and the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
As the federal government's workplace solutions provider, the U.S. General Services Administration works to foster an effective, sustainable and transparent government for the American people. GSA’s expertise in government workplace solutions include:
• Effective management of government assets including more than 9,600 government-owned or leased buildings and 215,000 vehicles in the federal fleet, and preservation of historic federal properties;
• Leveraging the government’s buying power through responsible acquisition of products and services making up approximately 14 percent of the government’s total procurement dollars;
• Providing innovative technology solutions to enhance government efficiency and increase citizen engagement; and,
• Promoting responsible use of federal resources through development of governmentwide policies ranging from federal travel to property and management practices.