FAR tweaked in time for fall buying

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Managers of the biggest governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs) expect a recent change to the federal acquisition bible will make agencies’ fall spending run a little smoother.

In June, the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration and NASA issued an amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation removing a bit of the paperwork that required federal agencies to get an interagency acquisition determination when they buy goods and services from GWACs.

The rule, approved in May, became effective on June 5, according to the Federal Register filing.

GSA and NASA run some of the largest GWACs in the federal government.

Bill Zielinski, assistant commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service’s office of information technology category, welcomed the change just ahead of the busy September buying season. In a July 9 blog post, he said it reduces the administrative burden for agencies buying through GSA’s IT Schedule 70 or through GWACs such as 8(a) STARS 2 and Alliant 2, as well as through the agency’s assisted acquisition programs.

With the change, Zielinsky said, agencies “can now identify and quickly use GSA IT Category contracts and acquisition solutions, especially as they embark on their end-of-year IT spending and acquisition efforts.”

In a July 15 email to FCW, Joanne Woytek, program manager for NASA's Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement GWAC, said the change was small, but welcome. Although the previous FAR wording wasn’t hard for agencies to navigate, the new language “removes a step in the acquisition process that was unnecessary” and “is a positive move.”

SEWP, Woytek said, is also preparing for a busy end-of-fiscal-year federal buying season. The GWAC, she said, has added a customer service staff member. Woytek said she plans to extend SEWP office hours beginning in August and will be open until midnight on Sept. 30, the last day of fiscal 2019.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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