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Federal Acquisition Reform Act of 1996

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Citation Edit

Federal Acquisition Reform Act of 1996 (FARA), Pub. L. No. 104-106, Div. D (now redesignated as the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996).

Overview Edit

FARA affects acquisition in general, making major changes in procurement processes. For example, with regard to competition, the FARA introduced the concept of "efficiency" in three areas:

  • Efficient competition,
  • Efficient approval procedures, and
  • Efficient competitive range determinations.

With regard to efficient competition, FARA requires that the FAR "shall ensure that the requirement to obtain full and open competition is implemented in a manner that is consistent with the need to efficiently fulfill the Government's requirements." With regard to efficient approval procedures, FARA raised the thresholds above which noncompetitive contracts must be approved by higher level agency officials. And with regard to efficient competitive range determinations, FARA authorizes contracting officers to limit the number of proposals in the competitive range, in accordance with the criteria specified in the solicitation, to the greatest number that will permit an efficient competition among the offerors rated most highly in accordance with such criteria.

In effect, this requirement changed the standard for determining the competitive range, from those with a reasonable chance for award to those "rated most highly."

In addition, FARA:

FARA's requirement to achieve "full and open competition . . . consistent with the need to efficiently fulfill the Government's requirements" puts the mandate for achieving results (through acquisition) on an equal footing with the competition mandate. The effect is that contracting officials have greater discretion and decision-making authority to make reasonable choices that balance the two mandates.

Source Edit

  • GSA, A Guide to Planning, Acquiring, and Managing Information Technology Systems, at 2-3 and 2-4 (Ver. 1 Dec. 1998) (full-text).

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