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FAR Arrangement


Jamaal Valentine

Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Arrangement  

14 members have voted

  1. 1. Do You Think FAR Is Arranged Chronologically?

    • Yes
      3
    • No
      11


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Over the  years, I have used the FAR's order to set up pages on this site.  That hasn't been easy all the time.  However, I wasn't using it to manage actions within the contracting process.  That may be more troubling.

After about 50 years, there is no single Federal Acquisition Regulation nor System.  As Vern and I have discussed here there is a Defense Contracting Regulation, Other Agency Contracting Regulations, and the "Balkanized" Agency Contracting Regulations, eg., FAA.  I used Balkanized from Nash and Cibinic.

I am in the process of seting up Wifcon.com's analysys of the NDAA for FY 2024--the "annual congressional perfections" to what is referred to as the FAR.  I'll probably be done by this weekend.  There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of congressional perfections added to the FAR System.  I've got some good news.  There are less new requirements in Title VIII.  However, there are more "Legislative Proposals Not Adopted" than before.  The NDAA became law just days ago.  Apparently, the "perfectors" wanted to get home and couldn't find places in time for all the junk (LPNAs).

Section 802 is "Modification of truthful cost or pricing data submissions and report."  I guess there is always room for congressional perfection.

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I answered "yes" because it was a better answer than "no".

Acquisition planning is in the front and contract management is in the back, but do "Bonds and Insurance" come before "Taxes" in the acquisition process? Do "General Contracting Requirements" come before "Special Categories of Contracting" in the acquisition process. 

However, I think it's more of a stretch to say the FAR has no coherent structure. 

What a strange hill to die on.

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I don’t think we have to say the FAR has no coherent structure. I think everyone could agree that FAR is arranged by topic (and includes chronology). For example, if you look at and within the subchapters you see the topics and subtopics. This includes some logical sequencing as highlighted above. However, many topics include pre-award and post-award activities once you actually get into the parts, subparts, sections, etc. (e.g., FAR part 4 governs closeout of contract files). This breaks the chronology.

I don’t believe FAR is arranged to be read from front to back. For me, FAR is not ordered in a chronological sequence by definition. Reading FAR front to back wouldn’t start with the earliest and follow the order in which an acquisition occurs.

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I wouldn’t choose to defend or die on this hill. (This poll is because I’m interested in seeing if there is any consensus)

 

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5 hours ago, Don Mansfield said:

I answered "yes" because it was a better answer than "no".

Acquisition planning is in the front and contract management is in the back, but do "Bonds and Insurance" come before "Taxes" in the acquisition process? Do "General Contracting Requirements" come before "Special Categories of Contracting" in the acquisition process. 

However, I think it's more of a stretch to say the FAR has no coherent structure. 

What a strange hill to die on.

I think the key issue is whether the FAR's organization is chronological or not. I assume there is general agreement that the FAR has structure, but I disagree with the statement that the FAR is structured in the chronological order of the acquisition process.  Likewise, OP mentions ethical considerations and it is a reach to say it occurs before conducting acquisition planning, market research, and deciding on an ordering authority. 

I've read the OP's article a couple of times and I still don't understand the "so what" of his discussion. It reads like he is trying to provide insight to a new CS. However, if a CS has an A&E requirement is he or she to assume that they do not have to glance at Part 36 until after Market Research or an ordering authority is determined? The CS should be reviewing several of the parts concurrently throughout the acquisition process. Also, OP should have hit a hard stop when he lumped Part 16-41 into a single group. When you have four groups of 5 and one group with 25 --you have to question your original assumption.

 

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10 hours ago, Don Mansfield said:

Do "General Contracting Requirements" come before "Special Categories of Contracting" in the acquisition process. 

I think so, concerning the execution of an acquisition. One may well select a specific, special category of contracting up front to execute but many of the GCR would likely apply to the execution processes.

It’s not so much of a question of “Chronological Order” as general and/or overarching principles and procedures often preceding separate, specialized topics and procedures. 

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I read Mark's LinkedIn OP. He's a smart guy. But he's also very opinionated and not at all shy about sharing his opinions. (I routinely receive similar feedback but, then again, I didn't post what he did on LinkedIn.)

My take on his assertion was "meh." I don't think it really matters all that much, nor does knowing the "acquisition chronological order" of the FAR Parts aid in finding what one might need to find. In that vein, I agree with dacaan regarding the "so what".

I teach the FAR (using Vern's amazing hands-on method) and we have never, ever, needed to map the various FAR Parts to the acquisition lifecycle. If that's important info for somebody, then good for them. The entire assertion strikes me as "interesting, if correct, but I have better things to think about."

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14 hours ago, Jamaal Valentine said:

I wouldn’t choose to defend or die on this hill. (This poll is because I’m interested in seeing if there is any consensus)

I was referring to the author of the LinkedIn article and the guy he was arguing with. The LinkedIn article reads like a post in r/iamverysmart subreddit.

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Defense Acquisition University offers “a generalized order of events in the acquisition contracting process.” It looks more like an island-hopping campaign through FAR.

Click here: Contracting Subway Map

Also, the Department of the Army uses a similar tool called Contracting Compass. It doesn’t indicate a chronological arrangement to FAR either.

Hopefully these tools will be useful to some readers. Thanks for the participation!

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7 hours ago, Jamaal Valentine said:

Defense Acquisition University offers “a generalized order of events in the acquisition contracting process.” It looks more like an island-hopping campaign through FAR.

Click here: Contracting Subway Map

Also, the Department of the Army uses a similar tool called Contracting Compass. It doesn’t indicate a chronological arrangement to FAR either.

Hopefully these tools will be useful to some readers. Thanks for the participation!

Comparing the subway (from the article) as "a generalized order of events in the acquisition contracting process" is a terrible idea.  I still remember Metro Center in the D. C. Metro.  Three levels of crazies running up the steps and down the steps to meet in the middle and running into each other while trying to squeeze into an open subway door before it closed.  It was always a near death experience.

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7 hours ago, Jamaal Valentine said:

Defense Acquisition University offers “a generalized order of events in the acquisition contracting process.” It looks more like an island-hopping campaign through FAR.

Click here: Contracting Subway Map

First time I’ve seen this.  It also uses the Contracting Cone and the Periodic Table to better visualize everything.  It looks like a great training tool for pretty much everyone involved in the acquisition process.

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Thought I would post to let people know that the original author of the LinkedIn post has now resigned from the NCMA Board of Advisors. As I posted earlier, I know the guy. I think it's a shame that NCMA lost a resource because some people didn't like either the message or the delivery.

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Hopefully those parties can work something out. I’ll share that the original author has a lot to offer on other acquisition topics. In the end, I’m sure this is temporary and cooler heads will prevail.

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  • 2 weeks later...

"The Federal Acquisition Regulations are set up in the chronological order of a typical acquisition activity."

I don't like "chronological". Try this instead:

The FAR presents the rules of acquisition in an order that, to some extent, corresponds with the sequence of activities in a typical acquisition.

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17 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

"The Federal Acquisition Regulations are set up in the chronological order of a typical acquisition activity.

I don't like "chronological". Try this instead:

The FAR presents the rules of acquisition in an order that, to some extent, corresponds with the sequence of activities in a typical acquisition.

Sequence for "aspect"?  Remove "typical"?

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