jwomack

Original Intent of FAR Parts and Subparts

19 posts in this topic

Mr. Edwards (and others),

You often identify where a FAR Part or Subpart originated from presumably to help understand original intent.  Can you explain the steps you follow to identify the origins?  For example, in a recent posting you said –

“The rule in FAR 15.405(d) originated with DOD. It was added to the Defense Acquisition Regulation in 1982, 47 FR 9399, March 5, 1982, DAC 76-31, without explanation. The rule appeared in DAR 3-801.1(c) as follows…”

How did you get from 15.405(d) to the DAR and the other citations?  I’m not particularly interested in 15.405 but rather the generic process you follow.  I know there are citations at the bottom of many FAR Subparts but clearly you’re looking beyond those.

Any particular websites you find most useful?

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Vern explained this to me previously on a different post. 

Pull up the section on the eCFR site. 

For example, I pulled up FAR 5.101(a).  The text of the FAR cites two USC code references which are the source of the requirements listed in the paragraph.  Even if those were not listed there, if you look at the bottom of the section in the eCFR you will see a series of Federal Register notices. 

[48 FR 42119, Sept. 19, 1983, as amended at 50 FR 1728, Jan. 11, 1985; 50 FR 52429, Dec. 23, 1985; 51 FR 27117, July 29, 1986; 52 FR 21885, June 9, 1987; 56 FR 41731, Aug. 22, 1991; 60 FR 34736, 34746, July 3, 1995; 61 FR 39191, July 26, 1996; 62 FR 12692, Mar. 17, 1997; 63 FR 58592, Oct. 30, 1998; 66 FR 27409, May 16, 2001; 68 FR 56678, Oct. 1, 2003; 72 FR 63076, Nov. 7, 2007; 75 FR 53132, Aug. 30, 2010; 79 FR 24197, Apr. 29, 2014]

You can then look up these FR notices which should contain information (e.g., FAR case) about rule that was published in the FAR.  Sometimes these FR notices will reference other FR notices which solicited comments as part of the rule making process.  Each one of these added or made some change to the content of that section.

A legal search tool such as Westlaw is useful in pulling up FR notices, especially older ones.  Sometimes simply searching for it on a search engine such as Google can locate it. 

There is a GPO site for FR notices goes back to 1990 and also the FR website itself, but it only goes back so far.

Sometimes the source of the content in the FAR is an Executive Order which can be found at the embedded link.   Sometimes it is the US Code from a public law.  U.S.C. can be found at the embedded link.  Under each section there is a list of public laws from which the code came.  Each public law is hyperlinked to the original text of the law.

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jwomack:

I search the historical Federal Register and CFR databases for key words and phrases. That's the key task when researching the regulations. I then read through the references to find the originating language and its source, then follow up through amendments and supplements. It's a lot of work and takes a lot of time and it requires good research technique, which takes time to develop. I use Westlaw, without which it the research would require that I spend many hours in academic libraries, which I must sometimes do anyway. Fortunately, there is a good university library and a good university law library near my house, to which I have research and borrowing privileges. I also use the Library of Congress historical CFR database and certain professional publications. Very occasionally I look in the National Archives.

It helps to have 45 years of experience in the business, a good memory, and lots of old friends who also have good memories and boxes of old reference material in their basements. I'm currently researching performance-based payments for an article, and I spent at least three hours this morning looking in the Library of Congress historical CFR database for the old DOD and NASA policy regarding what we used to call "milestone billings," which was the forerunner of the current policy. I only knew about milestone billings because I used to negotiate them. I called an old friend who remembered some things about them that facilitated my searches. Old IG and GAO reports are often helpful. When you're doing this kind of research you often stumble on good stuff about other policies and procedures by accident.

I have about 6,000 books in my home library, many of which are about law, contracting, and pricing. I have books of old government procurement regulations dating back to the 19th century, access to more, and copies of many historical studies of government contract pricing and other contracting topics.

I don't teach anymore, but still I get paid to research and write, so I'm constantly working in a variety of databases about a variety of topics in contracting. However, all this is coming to an end soon. So one or more of you will have to take up the slack.

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...and that's why the rest of us just google to find what Mr. Edwards said.

LOL, kidding (kind of).

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Vern -

You said,"I don't teach anymore, but still I get paid to research and write, so I'm constantly working in a variety of databases about a variety of topics in contracting. However, all this is coming to an end soon. So one or more of you will have to take up the slack." 

Does this mean you are retiring soon?  Please say it isn't so!!!

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A lot of research, time, and experience.  No magic pill (darn it!!!).

As to experience, having been around since the birth of the FAR would clearly have its advantages.  An obstacle I can’t overcome so I guess it’s more time and research in my future.  Appreciate the sources.  I’m familiar with most but there are a couple I don’t use as often as I probably should.

Thanks for everyone’s input.

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4 hours ago, leo1102 said:

Does this mean you are retiring soon?

leo1102, Dude, I am so retired! My wife and I are moving out of Portland to our new house in the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area. Below is a photo of Mt. Hood that I took through my living room window. And it was not with a telephoto lens.

My son and I are going to adopt and keep donkeys to protect his sheep, and I am going to help out on his farm and vineyards. My wife and I are going to keep chickens and honeybees. I am going to volunteer at the local library. We are going to hike with our grandsons in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, which is a few miles up the road, and gather chanterelles in the fall, which are abundant in our neighborhood. We have decided that we won't have TV or internet service, but will read books and watch the sky change through our living room window. I am studying the Columbia River journals of the Canadian explorer David Thompson and plan to retrace some of his steps. We are going to study the Missoula Floods and Gorge geology. I am hoping to buy a few acres a few miles up river so I can plant trees and help maintain the Oregon White Oak savannas. Well, I could go on, but you get the idea. Contracting has been very, very good to me, but now I'm moving on. I'm leaving it all up to you guys.

Vern

IMG_0910.JPG.1a9a8c39bcbbb5a65d330ff42082f892.JPG

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Thank you for the education and your writings.  Enjoy your retirement!  I hope to have a similar view some day.

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Well, this is not what I wanted to wakeup to.

To Monsieur Edwards, congratulations, and thank you. The view and plan are wonderful!

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Vern--

Congratulations on retirement, and for your distinguished career.  You have been an excellent source for me for information on business, procurement, common sense, and much more.  Wishing you Fair Winds and Following Seas, Vern!!  

 

And, what you describe as your next act is what I dream.... I'm a few years behind you.

Thanks for everything, Maestro!!

Elizabeth Baierl

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A thank you will never be enough, Vern Edwards.

As far as the rest of the frogs, in a contracting profession where Vern Edwards is not there to set things straight:

"That's it, man. Game over, man. Game over! What the [xxxx] are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?"

ALIENS (1986), Bill Paxton playing Private Hudson

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Vern - THANK YOU!!!    You inspired me to be the best contracting professional I can be.  Your knowledge has been a beacon in times of darkness.  I wish you much deserved happiness in your retirement. 

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Thank you, Vern.  Enjoy life!!!

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God speed, Mr. Edwards. And thanks for everything! #legend

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Thanks, guys. But whoa, no encomiums or farewells. I'll still be lurking around from time to time. Besides, not everyone thinks I'm all that great. I'm just a crotchety 1102 who reads a lot. Anyway, I'm not headed for Valhalla just yet.

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That would be a beautiful view to wake up to with coffee. 

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A Viking 'Heaven"  - really Vern  LOL  Please know that many of us have "grown up" in contracting with you as our father figure; a wise man who challenged us, encouraged us and pointed us in the right directions.  I could wax poetic, but I won't.   I thank you, I will miss you, and WIFCON will miss you.

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Then change my name to Luke Skywalker!!!

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