Senate bill would define lead systems integrators' role

Administration procurement officials would define the responsibilities of a project’s lead systems integrator and study how agencies use the integrators differently under new proposed contracting reform legislation.

The bill, introduced Feb. 17 by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), addresses the de facto outsourcing of program management responsibilities when a large contractor becomes the lead systems integrator for a multipart project. Few other details about the legislation were available.

The Accountability in Government Contracting Act also would tell the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) to watch and analyze interagency contracting trends and help a troubled acquisition workforce.

The legislation seeks to ensure that interagency contracting is producing value by requiring OFPP to collect and make public data on the numbers, scope, users and rationales for the contracts.

For the workforce, the bill would create acquisition internship programs, a government/industry exchange program and a scholarship program for graduate study. In addition, it lays out requirements for workforce strategic plans by chief acquisition officers. OFPP would have to add a new senior executive to manage this initiative, according to the bill.

According to another part of the bill, all government task or delivery orders of more than $100,000 would be competed and more information in a statement of work for orders greater than $5 million would be required to get more effective competition. The bill also would mandate post-award debriefings for task or delivery orders valued at greater than $5 million.

Along with boosting the authority of inspectors general, the bill would also extend IGs’ subpoena power to include electronic documents.

Sole-source contracting also would be further securitized. When such contracting is appropriate, the bill would require publication of notices on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site of all task or delivery orders that are more than $100,000 within 10 business days after the award.

Collins, ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, considers the reforms sensible and useful, according to a statement.

“Too often, the problem of waste, fraud and abuse stimulates floods of outrage and magic bullet proposals that lean more toward symbolic gestures than practical reforms,” Collins said.

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