Acquisition Abuse Drives DOD to Reassess Commercial Purchase Rules

May 2, 2012

Commercial of-a-type purchases were designed to make it easier for the government to buy everyday items similar to those sold in the private sector, but abuse of the system is driving the Defense Department to push for a change in the rules.

DOD wants to change language in the U.S. Federal Acquisition Regulation to narrow the definition of what can be bought as of-a-type purchases because of pricing issues. Of-a-type commercial contracts aren't required to have the same amount of pricing data as other contracts and are exempt from some auditing requirements, according to a Defense News report. 

As a result, it's difficult for DOD acquisition officials to determine how much they should be paying for a given item.

"The overly broad definition of commercial item currently in effect affords items which are not truly commercial items and which are not sold to the general public to qualify as commercial items and as a result, contracting officers are unable to acquire the necessary data to make the price reasonableness determination," DOD spokesperson Cheryl Irwin told Defense News in an e-mail. 

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