Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- Ask the CIO
- Building the Hybrid Cloud
- Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future
- Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation: Discussion of Progress and Next Steps
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal Tech Talk
- The Future of Government Data Centers
- The Future of IT: How CIOs Can Enable the Service-Oriented Enterprise
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Moving to the Cloud. What's the best approach for me
- Navigating Tough Choices in Government Cloud Computing
- The New Generation of Database
- Satellite Communications: Acquiring SATCOM in Tight Times
- Targeting Advanced Threats: Proven Methods from Detection through Remediation
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- The Truth About IT Opex and Software Defined Networking
- Value of Health IT
- Air Traffic Management Transformation Report
- Cloud First Report
- General Dynamics IT Enterprise Center
- Gov Cloud Minute
- Government in Technology Series
- Homeland Security Cybersecurity Market Report
- National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
- Technology Insights
- The Cyber Security Report
- The Next Generation Cyber Security Experts
Shows & Panels
Inside the World's Biggest Buyer
The federal government takes more than $1 trillion per year to operate, with nearly half of its operating budget spent on the acquisition of goods and services. Congress, executive branch political leadership and career federal managers all agree — federal acquisition needs to be a lot more efficient and effective. Federal News Radio's week-long special report, Inside the World's Biggest Buyer, takes a look at acquisition from every perspective: agency, industry, workforce, oversight, and suspension and debarment.
Services Acquisition Reform Act (2003)
Friday - 6/8/2012, 12:02pm EDT
With the Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2003 (SARA), Congress recognized that agencies were buying more and more services rather than goods.
When Roger Waldron, president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, started working in government in the late 1980s, the government was buying more products and a lot less services than it does today. In the intervening years, as the government downsized, the need for services increased.
"The GSA Schedules, probably in the early '90s, maybe 60 or 70 percent, maybe even a little bit higher, were product-based acquisitions," Walrdon said.
Waldron said 55 to 65 percent of acquisitions are services today.
"Services, I think, are a bit harder to acquire. It's harder to write requirements around them. It's harder to evaluate them, what access to the commercial market, so I think the Services Acquistion Reform Act was an effort to address that in part," he said.
"Much of the federal regulations that had been promulgated through the years had been designed to manage the acquisition of goods," said Tim DiNapoli, acting director of GAO's acquisition and sourcing management office. "So, SARA, which came about in 2003, was intended to provide more guidance and flexibility on how we acquire services."
SARA included a number of key provisions intended to make that happen.
First, it created a civilian acquisition officer in each agency to oversee the procurement process. Second, it encouraged incentives for using performance-based contracts for services. It also provided the authority for the federal government to identify commercial services that could be acquired on a time-and-material basis or a labor-hour basis, which hadn't been clear in statute before.
"It also helped agencies to establish a more capable workforce with regards to establishing a workforce training fund, with some of the intent being to improve how contracting officers could improve their skills and capabilities in buying goods and services," DiNapoli said.
SARA also established the Acquistion Advisory Panel, made up of 13 people from the government and private sector, who reported to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget on the procurement system.
This story is part of Timeline: Congress crafts acquisition policy.
Inside the World's Biggest Buyer (Main Page)