COMMERCIAL ITEM ACQUISITON ENTERS TIME WARP
If you been feeling nostalgic lately for the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, or a 25 cent postage stamp, there may be a good reason: There are more rules governing federal commercial item acquisitions now than at any time since 1989. The Department of Defense has already expanded its desire for cost data on commercial prime and sub-contracts. Environmental rules, mandatory ethics disclosures, and human trafficking laws make the Drug Free Workplace seem counter-intuitive. Coming soon are minimum wage laws, new counterfeit parts rules, and workplace safety rules.
It’s a wonder that any purely commercial companies are left as federal prime contractors. In fact, several have either left the market or moved toward the sidelines. This is another cost to federal rules, though one never fully considered by rule makers. In addition to calculating the cost of complying with every new rule, the FAR Council, and others, should examine the impact on competition in the marketplace.
Don’t want to end up with 6 companies supplying every government need? Really interested in small and innovative business solutions? Put down the regulatory pen and stop assuming that every contractor is out to steal from your child’s Christmas stocking. Without commercial item acquisition reform contractors may borrow a line from another famous show that debuted in 1989 “No (contract) soup for you!”