Defense bill could limit DOD contracting activity

The Defense Department could be limited in its ability to use contracts outside DOD, based on a provision in the Senate version of the Defense Authorization bill.

The bill, which the Senate could vote on today, calls for the creation of Contract Support Acquisition Centers within the Defense Logistics Agency and each of the military branches. The centers will oversee service contracting activities for DOD.

The bill further provides that after Sept. 30, 2009, no federal employee outside of one of the centers can enter into service contracts for the DOD without prior approval from the center's director or the DOD Secretary, unless the contract value is less than the simplified acquisition threshold.

The implications for the General Services Administration and other procurement organizations are unclear.

Larry Allen, executive vice president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, said the goal of the measure is only to add a layer of oversight to DOD's contracting activities, not to keep the agency from using GSA's services.

"Many of our members feel that DOD already has sufficient" safeguards and that Congress' efforts would be better spent on urging enforcement of existing rules rather than adding new ones, he said.

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