On January 31, 2018, the Department of Defense (DoD) published a final rule regarding commercial item purchasing requirements. Among other key amendments, the final rule modifies the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) by: (i) formalizing a presumption of commerciality for items that DoD previously treated as commercial; (ii) providing commercial item treatment to goods and services offered by nontraditional defense contractors; and (iii) prioritizing the types of information that the contracting officer (CO) can consider when determining price reasonableness in the absence of adequate competition.
The final rule adopts much of DoD’s August 2016 proposed rule, which itself was a revised version of a retracted August 2015 proposed version. (This was discussed the August 2016 proposed rule on this subject(and linked to an article regarding the August 2015 version in a prior post.) Despite receiving repeated input from industry and Congress, DoD’s final rule still provides little concrete guidance, and although these changes were made with the stated purpose of promoting consistency across purchasing components, it appears likely that inconsistencies will persist.
In particular, the final rule continues to leave the door open for individualCOs to make potentially burdensome requests for information to support the proposed pricing of commercial items.