ITAA official criticizes SARA panel recommendations

An official from the Information Technology Association of America said a federal panel’s forthcoming recommendations on purchasing commercial services could add time and expense to the government procurement process.

The Acquisition Advisory Panel has not yet released its recommendations, but ITAA and other industry groups are concerned about what they heard during the panel's deliberations. Lawmakers mandated the panel in the Service Acquisition Reform Act to look at ways to improve how government buys commercial services and solutions.

But the recommendations the panel considered "threaten to roll back a decade of procurement reforms that have considerably improved the federal government’s ability to serve its citizens,” Trey Hodgkins, ITAA’s director for defense and intelligence, told a gathering today hosted by the National Contract Management Association.

“If these recommendations were adopted, they would impose a procurement process that is less efficient, less effective and less fair for everyone involved – especially the taxpayers,” he said.

Hodgkins pointed to several of the panel’s recommendations that are of greatest concern to ITAA, including those that would:
• Permit additional protests on task and delivery orders, even after protests at the time of contract award had been concluded.
• Impose restrictive requirements for the use of time and material contracts, even when the government is unable to define requirements adequately or when time does not allow the use of other contract vehicles.
• Redefine commercial services in a way that would effectively exclude the latest cutting-edge commercial technologies from government acquisition.

ITAA and other associations formed a coalition to highlight their concerns about the panel. The other members of the coalition are the Aerospace Industries Association, the Contract Services Association, the Government Electronics and Information Technology Association, the National Defense Industrial Association and the Professional Services Council.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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