DFARS now requires inventory checks

Military contracting officers must review the existing Defense inventory for software and services before checking new sources, under a final rule the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council published last month.

The rule adds the requirements of the Enterprise Software Initiative to the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement.

The rule states the council's goal: to save taxpayer money by paying low prices and using software licenses efficiently.

The Defense ESI working group lobbied for the rule as a way to put some teeth in a two-year-old mandate that was widely overlooked. A July 2000 memorandum from the Defense CIO's office required contracting officers to consult ESI when buying commercial software and maintenance services, but the memo has often been ignored.

The latest move by the council makes the measure a part of DFARS, the rules that procurement officials must follow when purchasing for military agencies.

'As we grow our portfolio of DOD Enterprise Software Agreements in the ESI, this rule will further our mission of software asset management,' said Floyd Groce, a co-chairman of the working group. 'In addition to lowering license prices, the rule is a critical part of the DOD process to identify, acquire and manage software licenses enterprisewide.'

Defense contracting officers must first check the Defense inventory before making large software buys, said James S. Clausen, the other co-chairman of the group. The blanket purchasing agreements offer DOD agencies discounts of up to 90 percent off list prices for items such as communications software, database products and security tools.

If the inventory does not have an enterprise agreement for a particular product, or if a contracting officer is not satisfied with the price or terms, he or she can apply for a waiver to use another vehicle, officials said.


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