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Competition in Contracting Act of 1984 (CICA), codified at 41 U.S.C. §253.
The Act requires, with limited exceptions, that federal contracting officers promote and provide for full and open competition in soliciting offers and awarding U.S. Government contracts over the simplified acquisition threshold.
Before CICA many Federal contracts were not competed but awarded based more on who you knew within the government. Maximum competition is desirable from a public perspective because, if properly administered, it results in timely delivery to the U.S. Government of quality products and services at reasonable cost.