DOD sets limits for lead systems integrators

Lead systems integrators cannot have a financial interest in a major acquisition when they are working closely with the Defense Department on the details of that purchase or one related to it, under a new interim rule.

The rule is a response to congressional concerns in the fiscal 2007 Defense Authorization bill. Lawmakers said they are concerned about conflicts of interest and the potential for a company to end up evaluating itself or its competitors in making contract awards, according to a Senate report on the bill.

The potential for problems grows as DOD contracts out more work relating to acquisition, engineering and managing major programs, the report said.

The Government Accountability Office discourages agencies from letting lead systems integrators have too much influence in contracting decisions. Agency officials must be vigilant about protecting their agency’s interests, a 2006 GAO report said.

Published in today’s Federal Register, the rule would add policies to its federal acquisition regulation, and a solicitation provision and a required clause in contracts.

In another matter, DOD issued a final rule requiring certain training for contractors who work on information assurance for the department. The objective of the rule is to ensure that contractors who have access to those systems are properly trained and managed.

Contractors without up-to-date, DOD-approved certifications will be blocked from the information systems, the rule states.

DOD said the rule applies to about 83 small businesses that perform such work for DOD annually.

In another final rule, DOD plans to have contractors use the Online Representations and Certifications Application to submit company information rather than submitting the same information to numerous places, as DOD policies now require.

DOD also issued a final rule prohibiting the department from awarding contracts that include work that is considered inherently governmental.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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