DHS adopts interim procurement rule

The Homeland Security Department has adopted its first departmental procurement regulation, which took effect today without the usual comment period because of the department's urgent need to create purchasing procedures.

The interim rule, known as the Homeland Security Acquisition Regulation, includes dozens of separate parts mandating policies on a broad range of procurement issues, such as contracting disputes, cost sharing and cost accounting standards.

The department's HSAR Work Group, comprised of lawyers from various agencies, wrote the regulation. 'The team's approach was to develop and issue a regulation that delegates authority, where appropriate, to the lowest levels, is concise, and is simple for contractors, offerors and DHS contracting personnel to use,' according to the Federal Register notice issued today announcing the regulation.

The department's chief procurement officer, Gregory D. Rothwell, approved the regulation Nov. 21.

The Federal Register notice states that 'due to an urgent need for seamless continued acquisition and contracting operations of the previous agencies and organizations that now comprise DHS, it is impracticable to afford the public an opportunity to comment prior to issuing this interim rule.'

The department asked the public to submit comments on the interim rule to acquisition@dhs.gov by Jan. 5, 2004. The notice said DHS would consider comments as officials draft a final rule.

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