In 2016, Congress instructed the U.S. Department of Defense to convene a panel of procurement professionals from government and industry to review the regulations governing DoD procurements. The “Section 809 panel” was instructed to recommend “amendment or repeal” of defense procurement regulations “with a view toward streamlining and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the defense acquisition process and maintaining defense technology advantage.”
On Jan. 31, 2018, the 809 panel issued the first volume of its much-anticipated final report, setting forth 73 discrete recommendations to Congress for procurement reform. Volume two of the report is due in June of 2018, and volume three is due in January of 2019. This first volume addresses, among other topics:
- Commercial buying;
- Contract compliance and audit; and
- Small business goals.
Weighing in at nearly 650 pages, the report has a lot to offer, and in places proceeds well beyond the limited remit of “amendment or repeal” of existing regulations, proposing major reforms and revisions that would require significant new law and rulemaking to implement. The law that established the 809 panel did not require Congress or the DoD to adopt its recommendations, but the full three-volume report represents an attempt to define the terms of the debate over procurement reform, and is intended to feed into Congress’ deliberations over the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. This article aims to give a brief summary of the report’s tone and contents.
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