We expressed concerns last week that the features and functionality of Hill Air Force Base’s search engine for the Federal Acquisition Regulation and agency FAR supplements — the FARSite — might not be transferred to Acquisition.gov.
Now, there is at least one indication that the FARSite’s capabilities will be incorporated into Acquisition.gov.
As announced last week, the popular and functional FARSite search engine is going to be “transitioned” on Oct. 1, 2019 into the FAR search site maintained by the General Services Administration (GSA) at Acquisition.gov.
However, in the initial announcement of this change, there was no word about whether the FARSite’s capability to simultaneously search both the FAR and individual agency FAR supplements would be part of the transition. This feature is especially useful when researching the application of a specific FAR provision or clause in a particular agency’s solicitation or contract. Also unclear was whether Class Deviations to the FAR, currently shown in context with FAR provisions and clauses on the FARSite, would be integrated into Acquisition.gov.
Now, it appears that both of these helpful features will be part of the “new” Acquisition.gov when it debuts on Oct. 1st.
Last last week, the FARSite posted this message on its home page:
“We will continue making updates to FARSite until the new capability is ready for full deployment at which time you’ll be able to access the new system by going to Acquisition.gov. More exact dates and information will be provided once the prototype is nearing completion. During prototype testing the AF will have full transparency into ensuring the new site provides the existing capabilities as the current FARSite.”
The last sentence of the statement implies that the popular features and functions of the FARSite will be integrated into Acquisition.gov. At present, Acquisition.gov offers neither the ability to search the FAR and FAR supplements simultaneously nor the ability to identify Class Deviations as a part of FAR searches.
Incidentally, while Acquisition.gov was initially silent about the merger with the FARSite, GSA posted this announcement on Friday:
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), Air Force (USAF), and Defense Acquisition University (DAU) are partnering to reduce duplication and make it easier to electronically access acquisition regulations. The USAF website for supplemental regulations, FARSite.hill.af.mil, will be transitioned to GSA’s acquisition.gov by September 30, 2019. Acquisition professionals and vendors will then have a single website to access and search the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and supplemental regulations. For additional questions, please contact the website administrator.
While GSA’s announcement offers no specific assurances that FARSite’s unique functionality will be a part of the transition, we’re counting on the FARSite’s assurances that “… the new site [will provide] the existing capabilities as the current FARSite.” After all, the latest usage statistics available show that while all military branches make up the majority of the users of the FARSite, visitors from GSA itself and Lockheed Martin are among the top 25 user groups. There’s no questioning the FARSite’s popularity; since its inception in mid-1996, it has been accessed 2.3 billion times.
Bottom line: There are a lot of people depending on the Air Force and the GSA to get this merger right.
See our initial story on this subject here.