Letters to the Editor

Services sector backs FAR Part 15 rewrite

The Professional Services Council (PSC) takes strong exception to the implication of a recent article on the Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 15 [FCW Aug. 11]. The article "Industry surrenders to rewrite of Part 15 " creates the absolutely erroneous impression that the broad professional and technical services industry - including the information technology segment - was somehow in a state of high anxiety regarding the rewrite of FAR 15. The opposite is true. The majority of the services sector has enthusiastically and consistently supported the proposed FAR 15 modifications and has expressed this in multiple written comments from associations companies and even individuals.

The PSC is highly representative of this community given that our membership includes small intermediate and large businesses and includes a large component of IT businesses and an equally large component of businesses that engage in high-technology systems integration and engineering services outside direct IT activities.

There is no sense of "industry resignation related to FAR 15." To the contrary FAR 15 has major virtue in many respects.

In a very fundamental way FAR 15 is a metaphor for overall acquisition reform. It moves to selectively deregulate the system clearly underscores common sense and management of discretionary judgment as the order of the day and in the process sorts out the various players in terms of whether they are really willing to take the leap and embrace acquisition reform or wish to remain locked into the bureaucratic prescriptive and highly inefficient and uneconomic practices of the past.

The intense criticism of the rewrite of FAR 15 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce allegedly representing small business is accurately reported in FCW but fails to report the fact that the vast majority of the federal contracting community including many small businesses represented in my and other sister associations strongly support the effort. Some elements of the small-business community have legitimate substantive problems with the proposed FAR 15 changes. However the chamber and its group of small-business constituents have not been constructive and forthcoming in introducing their concerns into the process. Instead they have simply issued blanket condemnations of the overall effort. This is unfortunate for them and for the overall prospects for progressive constructive acquisition reform.The PSC remains optimistic that we will continue on the path of reform and end up with a system that contains the best commercial practice and simplifies and intelligently deregulates the federal acquisition system.

Bert M. ConcklinPresidentProfessional Services Council

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