Thursday, October 5, 2017

More Recommendations for the Section 809 Panel

From time to time, we provide updates to some of the activities of the Section 809 Panel, an advisory panel created by the 2016 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) to make recommendations on streamlining the Defense Department's acquisition regulations. The Section 809 Panel solicits recommendations and ideas from anyone that has an interest in Government procurement and wishes to offer up ideas for streamlining the acquisition process.

Last week, The Coalition for Government Procurement submitted a list of 30 specific recommendations for (i) reducing unnecessary regulations on industry, (ii) empowering successful acquisition management and (iii) strengthening inter-agency contracts to ensure that DoD contracting officers can make informed contracting choices. The Section 809 Panel is reviewing those recommendations now, The Coalition's report can be found here.

So what were some of their recommendations? Well, to be honest, we haven't read the full 94 page report ourselves. That seems a bit much to ask, no? But we did review the titles of the 30 recommendations, scanned through the document, and read the details of a few that sounded interesting. Here are some samples:

  1. There were a few suggestions that appear outside the scope of the Panel's mission. For example, the Coalition recommended that a change required by the 2017 NDAA - competition at the task order level - be expanded to civilian agencies as well.
  2. Permanent sun-setting - the Coalition recommend a procurement sun-setting on all procurement regulations not required by statute.
  3. Eliminating the requirement to report executive compensation - this will save contractors 55,000 hours every year and the requirement has dubious benefits.
  4. Increase the micro-purchase threshold to $10,000 (from $5,000). Affects only one percent of spending but would increase the speed of thousands of transactions.
  5. Streamline the cumbersome SAM (System for Award Management) registration process. The current process is intimidating for new businesses seeking to sell to the Government.
  6. More training for the acquisition workforce (a recommendation that comes up every year)
  7. Modernize FedBizOpps - it lacks many of the features found on comparable commercial market platforms.
  8. Change the auditing process - This recommendation is not a slam against DCAA.  Rather it is a recommendation that civilian agencies use organizations other than their own Inspector General offices to conduct contract audits.

You can read (or peruse) the full report here.


  1. With regards to the first recommendation, it is within the scope of the panel. Panel Chairwoman D Lee has stressed that they will be reviewing all aspects of procurement that touch DoD including inter-agency contracts. That recommendation would be helpful for streamlining civilian contracts which are used by the Department.

    Additionally, DOD made that suggestion to Congress earlier this year for those same reasons.

    1. Thanks for the comment. It only makes sense that DoD and civilian agencies be consistent.