The 2019 NDAA contains several provisions reforming commercial item contracting.
As discussed below, these changes include: 1) revision of the definition of commercial items for purposes of federal acquisition statutes; 2) limitations on the applicability to U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) commercial contracts of certain provisions of law; 3) modifications to procurement through commercial e-commerce portals; and 4) review of federal acquisition regulations on commercial products, commercial services, and commercially available off-the-shelf items.
Several federal acquisition statutes and regulations exist that impact commercial item contracting. The two most prominent examples are the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA) and Part 12 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Before Congress passed FASA in 1994, many contractors did not conduct business with the U.S. government due to demanding terms and conditions and additional costs or risks associated with government specifications. FAR Part 12 establishes a mandatory preference for the U.S. government to purchase products and services available in the commercial marketplace using commercial terms and conditions. From time to time, Congress revises these statutes and regulations in response to shifts in policy considerations and market conditions.
The 2019 NDAA works again to reform commercial item contracting. These revisions are important for government contractors operating in the commercial item contracting space to know.
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