Davis' SARA bill moves closer to law

SARA sponsor Rep. Tom Davis: The current acquisition system is inadequate to leverage the best services and products.

Olivier Douliery

The way agencies buy services is about to shift heavily toward performance contracts. The House passed the Defense Authorization conference report that includes the Services Acquisition Reform Act.

"The current acquisition system, although much improved by the reforms of the 1990s, is simply inadequate to leverage the best and most innovative services and products," said Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., the sponsor of the bill.

Davis said SARA will "put the tools to access the commercial service and technology market in the hands of a trained work force that will have the discretion necessary to choose the best value for government -- and be held accountable for those choices."

Alan Chvotkin, senior vice president and general counsel for the Professional Services Council, an Arlington, Va., industry association, said these provisions are the most significant changes in the last 10 years to the way federal agencies buy services.

Many in industry have said the Federal Acquisition Regulation is unclear about the use of time-and-materials contracts when buying services, and that this law will clarify those questions, Chvotkin said.

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