DOD is wary of competitive procurement proposal

DOD is wary of competitive procurement proposal

A provision some in Congress want added to the 2002 National Defense Authorization Act is a lot like a gift received on Christmas Day, said director of Defense procurement Deidre Lee. The intent of the gift is good, but it might not be what you asked for, it might not fit and you might not be able to return it.

Lee, who spoke today at a breakfast in McLean, Va., sponsored by Federal Sources Inc., referred to Section 803 of the act, which would require procurement officials to open up competition to three or more contractors before purchasing services valued at $100,000 or greater. The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on April 1.

The purpose of the rule is to prevent Defense Department officials from choosing a contractor without competition when they buy services from the General Services Administration's Federal Supply Service schedules. The supply schedules are prenegotiated contracts of products and services that are open to federal agencies.

The problem lies in the hundreds of vendors vying to bid on GSA schedules, Lee said. DOD does not have the time to evaluate even dozens of proposals, she added.

Since the proposal was published, dozens of Defense contracting officers have submitted comments opposing the rule, many saying it will slow the process of procuring goods and services.

Defense is reviewing the comments and will issue its response to the rule by June 26, Lee said.

DOD buys more than $60 billion of goods and services each year, about $2.2 billion of which is bought from federal supply schedules, Defense officials said. DOD is the largest single user of GSA schedules, Lee added.

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