Defense database is under fire

The ABA's Section on Public Contract Law has concluded that the CCR program isn't broad
enough.


The program, which requires that all Defense contractors provide company data to DOD,
should be governmentwide, not just Defense-wide, the ABA group concluded recently.


"We are unclear why the proposed rule is being issued only by the Defense
Acquisition Regulations Council and not jointly with the Civilian Agency Acquisition
Council," said Marcia G. Madsen, Public Contract Law Section chairwoman in a letter
to the Defense Department.


DOD began CCR to meet the requirements of the Debt Collection Improvement Act and
President Clinton's executive order on streamlining procurement through electronic
commerce, she said.


These efforts "apply to all government department and agencies," Madsen said.


The objective of presenting one DOD face to industry is desirable, she said, but the
CCR plan as the department is implementing it falls short of the goal.


"For the most part, commercial item vendors do not have specialized sales forces
that focus only on DOD opportunity, but rather if they have a separate government sales
force at all, their responsibilities include both Defense and civilian agencies,"
Madsen said.


The ABA's questions make sense, said Michael Mestrovich, executive director of DOD's
Electronic Commerce Integration Organization. Some other agencies have shown interest, he
said.


"From the financial aspect of CCR, the Treasury Department and General Services
Administration are pretty much thinking this is pretty useful for all of us," he
said. But procurement officials have been more reluctant, Mestrovich said.


Some federal officials have said they are watching CCR to determine whether such a
program can work governmentwide.


DOD has not been satisfied with the number of companies that have registered. DOD has
said that vendors that fail to register will not be allowed to compete for Defense
contracts.


The result of the CCR registration requirements could be reduced competition, Madsen
said.


"This would unfairly penalize commercial item vendors that only occasionally do
business with DOD as well as penalize the government by requiring it to accept a less
desirable or higher-priced commercial item," Madsen said.


ABA recommended that contracts be awarded to any contractor that has submitted a
registration form and that all prospective awardees be given "a reasonable amount of
time" to submit the registration form.


DOD, however, is moving forward with the registration process, working to meet its
March 31 deadline [GCN, June 16, 1997, Page 1].


After getting little initial response, DOD officials directed the Defense Logistics
Service Center to gather information from the existing databases of GSA, the Small
Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency and others to create a seed file of
preliminary trading partner profiles [GCN, Nov. 24, 1997, Page 3].


The department is sending those 318,000 vendors the information for verification, DOD
officials said.


The process is scheduled to be completed soon.


The information will be sent to the department's electronic commerce resource centers
located in Johnstown, Pa., and Palestine, Texas.


DOD had set a Sept. 30 deadline last year for vendors to register, but the poor
response forced the department to postpone the deadline to March 31.


DOD officials said they didn't know the number of companies that have registered so
far.


Companies can register by mail, fax or online at http://www.dlsc.dla.mil/ccr.


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