DOD authorization bill reinforces competition, transparency, oversight

The final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2009 that passed Congress includes several provisions intended to increase competition, transparency and oversight in federal contracting.

The Senate approved the package Sept. 27; it now goes to the White House.

The legislation includes 10 provisions that were drawn up by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the senators said. The provisions originated in Lieberman’s and Collins’ Accountability in Government Contracting Act, which the Senate passed last year.

Those provisions include creating a Contingency Contracting Corps to ensure efficiency in urgent contracting; requiring enhanced competition for task and delivery orders placed under existing contracts; and limiting to one year the length of certain noncompetitive contracts, such as those awarded for urgent and compelling circumstances.

The provisions also also include regulating the use of cost-reimbursement contracts; linking award and incentive fees to acquisition outcomes; taking steps to prevent the abuse of interagency contracts; limiting the tiering of subcontractors; requiring the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the Federal Acquisition Institute to prepare an Acquisition Workforce Development Strategic Plan; requiring ethics safeguards related to contractors' conflicts of interest and requiring the Office of Management and Budget to collect data on interagency contracting actions and on other transactions.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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