Davis seeks ASIA influence on purchasing

The architect of the Services Acquisition Reform Act today introduced new legislation intended to finish the job he started with SARA. The Acquisition System Improvement Act (ASIA) is largely comprised of the elements of SARA that were not passed last year.

"This legislation continues my efforts to provide the federal government greater access to the commercial marketplace, and to get the right people with the right skills in place to manage the acquisition of services and technology so necessary to the government," said the bill's author, Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.). "My goal is to have the government approach the best practices of industry, particularly in the acquisition of cutting-edge information technology and management services. SARA moved us far in that direction, and ASIA will add to those improvements we've already put in place." The new bill, if passed, will:

Create an acquisition professional exchange program to permit temporary trades between agencies and private-sector companies. Acquisition professionals will be able to gain first-hand experience and insight into how the entities on the other side of the fence operate.

Add more share-in-savings initiatives to increase the use of such contracts. In share-in-savings contracts, contractors take on more of the financial risk of projects, and potentially reap greater rewards if they succeed in saving money for their customers.

Create simplified acquisition procedures for commercial items. The legislation would provide for an extension — until January 1, 2009 — of the streamlined provisions for the award of contracts valued at up to $5 million for commercial items.

Provide redundancy in procurement of telecommunications services. As much as possible, agencies would have to ensure that telecom services include physically separate entry points into buildings, and routed over a variety of local network facilities, all to ensure that the failure of a single component or entry point would not cripple the network.

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