Title 48 of the Code of Federal Regulations contains the primary documents that govern procurement in the Department of Defense (DoD); the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS). The FAR and DFARS are further broken down into parts that cover each aspect of the procurement process. One of these parts describes alternate procedures for low-dollar contracts.
A common criticism of the federal acquisition system is that it is too slow. These procedures for low-dollar contracts allow for an expedited acquisition process to fill requirements faster than normal, but there are some specific steps that can be taken to make them better serve the American warfighter and taxpayer.
First, the simplified acquisition threshold should be increased from $250,000 to $1 million so these streamlined procedures can be used more often. The threshold was last increased in 2018 by $100K to the current level. For an organization that obligates $320B for contracts annually and considering how thorough even the simplified acquisition procedures are, a $1M simplified threshold is reasonable.1
1. Moshe Schwartz et al, “Defense Acquisitions: How and Where DOD Spends and Reports Its Contracting Dollars,” p. 3, Congressional Research Service, (2 July 2018), https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R44010.pdf.
2. FAR 13.003(a)
3. FAR 13.003(h)(4)
4. Government Accountability Office, “GAO Bid Protest Annual Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2018,” (27 November 2018), www.gao.gov/assets/700/695707.pdf