Defense bill has ASIA minor

Two measures of the Acquisition System Improvement Act were added to the Defense Authorization bill during a mark-up session this week, according to an executive with a technology industry trade group.

The provisions that were adopted would provide for the automatic adjustment of dollar-amount thresholds to account for inflation, and would extend the authority for the use of streamlined acquisition procedures for the award of contracts for commercial items valued at $5 million or less until January 1, 2009, said Olga Grkavac, an executive vice president at the Information Technology Association of America.

"Those are both important provisions, but not controversial," she said. "It would not be unfair to call them technical amendments."

More controversial aspects of ASIA, including expanded encouragement for the use of share-in-savings contracts and the establishment of an exchange program to allow government and industry acquisition officials to temporarily switch places, were apparently not adopted into the Defense bill.

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), ASIA's author, wanted to incorporate the acquisition bill into the defense legislation to move it through Congress. The Services Acquisition Reform Act, ASIA's predecessor, passed last year as part of the Defense Authorization bill. However, some elements of SARA were removed during the negotiation process that always accompanies legislation.

Many of those provisions returned in ASIA, which Davis, who chairs the Government Reform Committee, introduced in late April. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chair of the Armed Services Committee, co-sponsored the bill.

It was unclear what options Davis is considering for the provisions that were left out. Grkavac, whose organization strongly supports ASIA, said she expects Davis to keep trying.

"This would have been the quickest route, but it is not necessarily the only route," she said.

Davis's office was not able to provide additional information today.

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