Even as the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act makes its way to the Senate floor, experts are split on whether the bill goes far enough and if legislation is needed at all to fix government’s IT acquisition problems.
Angela Styles, chair of Crowell & Moring’s government contracts group, said a bulky procurement process for industry often drives the private sector away from even giving the government options in what it purchases.
“These companies that come to us and ask ‘What does it mean to be a federal contractor?’ come with the expectation based on FASA (the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act) and FARA (the Federal Acquisition Reform Act) from the ’90s that the government has an idea how to contract in a commercial fashion. Maybe the changes in ’94 and ’95 were more commercial, but they are not now,” Styles said, speaking Tuesday during a panel session at Amazon Web Services’ annual symposium for federal IT reform.
Styles said the provisions set up in part 12 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) contribute to an “extraordinary gulf” between how the government and private sector do business.
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