Various executive agencies of the U.S. government have come together in an effort to speed up how the government acquires new technology and solutions, the United States General Services Administration (GSA) announced today.
The GSA, in the simplest terms, is a federal body in charge of all of the material stuff the government uses. This includes everything from land, to cars, to IT technology and solutions, and it is also the government body in charge of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).
Whenever a government agency wants to issue a new contract or proposal to aqcuire goods from a civilian body, it has to make sure the supplier meets the guidelines laid out by FAR.
“The vision for the Federal Acquisition System is to deliver on a timely basis the best value product or service to the customer, while maintaining the public’s trust and fulfilling public policy objectives. Participants in the acquisition process should work together as a team and should be empowered to make decisions within their area of responsibility,” says the first section of FAR.
FAR was put in place in 1974 as a part of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act of 1974, but thanks to what the Government Accountability Office called “changing security threats, rapidly evolving science and technology, and budget imbalances,” the process of FAR-compliant acquisition often proves to be too slow or too difficult for smaller companies.
“We need a tuneup on our system,” U.S. General Services Administrator Martha N. Johnson said today. “Right now, we are driving our father’s car. It works, but is showing its age. I want a modern, electric car version of the FAR to take us where we need to go reliably and quickly.”
Together with NASA, the Department of Defense, and the Office of Management and Budget, the GSA is “tuning up” FAR beginning on March 31.
The group will create action plans in three general areas: team management, case management, and training. All of them will concentrate on the ways the GSA can more quickly and accurately assess the material needs of federal agencies, and fulfill them in a quick, but fair manner.