Section 809 Panel Issues Volume I of Final Report

The Section 809 Panel, the Department of Defense’s advisory panel on streamlining and codifying acquisition regulations, issued Volume I of its Final Report. The report contains recommendations to update DoD’s process for acquiring information technology business systems, streamline auditing requirements, address challenges in how small businesses interact with DoD, update commercial buying, clarify the definition of personal and nonpersonal services, remove statutory requirements for 13 acquisition-related DoD offices, and repeal 20 acquisition-related statutory reporting requirements.

Panel’s Mission

The 18-person panel was created by section 809 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, as amended by section 863(d) of the FY 2017 NDAA and sections 803(c) and 883 of the FY 2018 NDAA. The panel’s mission is to find ways to streamline and improve the defense acquisition process. The panel was given two years to develop recommendations for regulatory and statutory changes to achieve those ends. The goal of the recommendations is to shape DoD’s acquisition system into one that is simple and effective.

Dynamic Marketplace

The report sets out the framework of a “Dynamic Marketplace,” which the panel describes as an outcome-based-acquisition process for providing simplified access to the global marketplace. The goal is to harness the benefits from the global marketplace of ideas, solutions, products, and services at a speed that is closer to real time than the current acquisition process allows.

Recommendations

The report includes recommendations to repeal many obsolete statutory provisions. The purpose of the repeal is to remove provisions that either unnecessarily constrain the authority of the Secretary of Defense or are no longer operative, giving DoD greater flexibility to operate. To better facilitate commercial item acquisitions, the panel recommends eliminating 165 government-unique clauses that pose barriers to the acquisition of commercial items. Also, the panel recommends implementing a single definition for “subcontractor” to replace the current 27 separate, sometimes overlapping, definitions. The panel elaborates each of its recommendations in the report’s eight sections:

  • Commercial Buying
  • Contract Compliance and Audit
  • Defense Business Systems: Acquisition of Information Technology Systems
  • Earned Value Management for Software Programs Using Agile
  • Services Contracting
  • Small Business
  • Statutory Offices
  • Statutory Reporting

Volume I of the Final Report follows the panel’s May 2017 Interim Report. The panel is expected to publish Volume II of the Final Report in June 2018, and Volume III in January 2019.

About George Gullo

George Gullo is an attorney editor in the Government Contracts group at Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. George serves as the principal editor of Cost Accounting Standards Guide and supports all of the group’s print and electronic publications, as well as legal research tools, including the Government Contracts Reporter, Board of Contract Appeals Decisions, and the FAR and DFARS Matrix Smart Charts. With more than 25 years experience in the legal publishing industry, including more than 15 years in the government contracts area, George also has a background in legal and business transactions. He is a graduate of DePaul University College of Law and a licensed Illinois attorney.
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