Another year, another National Defense Authorization Act, littered with small business actions and policy decisions!
Let’s go through the first section of the list of provisions and descriptions, and I’ll follow up with more later on – after I’ve digested them myself!
Section 821 – Acquisition strategy required for each major defense acquisition program, major automated information system, and major system
Requires that an acquisition strategy be developed for every contract opportunity, with a recognition of small business potential for priming or utilization.
Section 844 – Mandatory requirement for training related to the conduct of market research
A Sources Sought notice is a research tool used by government agencies as a key way to determine if there are two or more capable small businesses that can perform the requirements of a planned contract. This section requires training for contracting staff in conducting Sources Sought and market research.
Section 851 – Procurement of commercial items
For commercial items (products), each system of defining these can be different and require multiple submissions across civil, defense, and other non-FAR agencies (like FAA). This section tries to start this process becoming homogenized for all submissions.
Section 854 – Report on defense-unique laws applicable to the procurement of commercial items and commercially available off-the-shelf items
This section specifically asks that DoD justify any unique DFAR (Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement) provisions specifically related to commercially available items (products, mostly).
This is trying to reduce the DFAR versus FAR differences by reducing those sections of the DFAR that cover the same types of items acquired by other FAR provisions.
Section 857 – Treatment of goods and services provided by nontraditional defense contractors as commercial items
Ordinarily, the complex government regulations for FAR and DFAR contracting requires a contracting specialist or even a lawyer to interpret. This is especially true when it is a firm’s first attempt to sell to the Federal Government. This clearly stifles innovation, so Section 857 establishes new FAR/DFAR guidelines that simplify procedures for commercial items, rather than requiring the full-blown contracting procedures. While this mostly applies to products, it does establish a pathway for simpler acquisitions.
Section 861 – Amendment to Mentor-Protégé Program
The DoD Mentor-Protégé program requires specific tri-annual re-authorization, and this section accomplishes that. This is a good thing, since it means more money for small business and help for the small protégés from the big guys.