[Federal Register Volume 65, Number 162 (Monday, August 21, 2000)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 50871-50879]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 00-21182]



[[Page 50871]]

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Part VI





Department of Defense

General Services Administration

National Aeronautics and Space Administration





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48 CFR Parts 2, 4, 5, et al.



Federal Acquisition Regulation; Electronic Commerce in Federal 
Procurement; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 65, No. 162 / Monday, August 21, 2000 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 50872]]


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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

48 CFR Parts 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 14, 19, 22, 34, 35, and 36

[FAR Case 1997-304]
RIN 9000-AI10


Federal Acquisition Regulation; Electronic Commerce in Federal 
Procurement

AGENCIES: Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration 
(GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense 
Acquisition Regulations Council (Councils) are proposing to amend the 
Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to designate FedBizOpps as the 
single point of universal electronic public access to Governmentwide 
procurement opportunities. Agencies will have until October 1, 2001, to 
complete their transition to, or integration with, FedBizOpps. This 
rule implements section 850 of the National Defense Authorization Act 
for Fiscal Year 1998. The proposed rule also changes the public 
notification requirements to allow greater electronic access to 
information on Government acquisitions, including notices of upcoming 
acquisition opportunities, notices of subcontracting opportunities, and 
notices of contract awards.

DATES: Interested parties should submit comments in writing on or 
before October 20, 2000, to be considered in the formulation of a final 
rule.

ADDRESSES: Submit written comments to: General Services Administration 
FAR Secretariat (MVRS) 1800 F Street, NW, Room 4035 ATTN: Laurie Duarte 
Washington, DC 20405.
    Submit electronic comments via the Internet to: [email protected]
    Please submit comments only and cite FAR case 1997-304 in all 
correspondence related to this case.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The FAR Secretariat, Room 4035, GS 
Building, Washington, DC, 20405, at (202) 501-4755 for information 
pertaining to status or publication schedules. For clarification of 
content, contact Mr. Ralph De Stefano, Procurement Analyst, at (202) 
501-1758. Please cite FAR case 1997-304.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

    An interim rule was published in the Federal Register at 63 FR 
58590, October 30, 1998, amending FAR Subpart 4.5 and making associated 
changes to FAR Parts 2, 5, 13, 14, and 32 to implement Section 850 of 
the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998, Pub. L. 
105-85. Section 850 amends Titles 10, 15, 40, and 41 of the United 
States Code to eliminate the preference for electronic commerce within 
agencies to be conducted on the FACNET computer architecture. The 
interim rule--
     Promotes the use of cost-effective procedures and 
processes that employ electronic commerce in the conduct and 
administration of Federal procurement systems; and
     Requires Federal procurement systems that employ 
electronic commerce to apply nationally and internationally recognized 
standards that broaden interoperability and ease the electronic 
interchange of information.
    Public comments were received from 28 respondents. All comments 
were considered in drafting this proposed rule. Subsequent to 
publication of the interim rule, the Office of Federal Procurement 
Policy proposed to designate FedBizOpps as the single Governmentwide 
point of entry for accessing information on procurement actions. This 
proposed rule changes the FAR to implement that recommendation.
    FedBizOpps (in the process of being expanded for Governmentwide 
usage) is the new name for the Electronic Posting System (EPS) that is 
accessible via the Internet at http://www.fedbizopps.gov. Agencies must 
make contracting opportunities that meet the criteria in FAR 5.101 
accessible via FedBizOpps. Most public notices of procurement actions 
over $25,000 are now published in the Commerce Business Daily. Under 
the proposed rule, agencies would no longer furnish separate notices to 
the CBD. Agencies would direct FedBizOpps to forward the information to 
the CBD, using the current format prescribed for the electronic version 
of CBD, Commerce Business Daily Network (CBDNet). The proposed rule 
also--
     Adds place of contract performance and set-aside status to 
the required notice content;
     Requires agencies to make accessible through FedBizOpps 
other notices that are currently published in the CBD, such as pre-
solicitation notices and award notices supporting subcontracting 
opportunities;
     Requires agencies to make accessible via FedBizOpps most 
solicitations and amendments associated with business opportunities 
listed on the FedBizOpps website;
     Permits contractors to publicize subcontracting 
opportunities with the intent of supporting achievement of 
subcontracting goals; and
     Permits agencies to make accessible via FedBizOpps 
information that allows potential offerors to better understand how 
they can meet the Government's needs.
    Agencies must be posting all applicable actions on the FedBizOpps 
website by October 1, 2001. This phase-in period supports smooth 
transition to a Governmentwide posting system.
    In proposing to designate FedBizOpps, the Office of Federal 
Procurement Policy (OFPP), in consultation with the Procurement 
Executives Council (PEC), considered the electronic methods that have 
been used in recent years to significantly increase access to 
Government procurement opportunities. In addition to FedBizOpps, OFPP 
considered CBDNet and the Federal Acquisition Computer Network 
(FACNET). OFPP also examined suitable commercial alternatives.
    The following were the OFPP objectives:
     Create a central point for electronic access to business 
opportunities. Through the central point, allow access to notices that 
must now be published in the CBD, solicitations, and related 
acquisition information, including information maintained at central 
points or on agency websites.
     Follow the commercial lead. Leverage the investment made 
by the private sector, benefit from the market-driven economies and 
innovation that commercial tools offer, and accommodate different 
commercial electronic means for acquiring information.
     Facilitate reengineering for sellers and buyers. For 
sellers, provide ``one stop to business'' and a consistent process for 
locating business opportunities. The Governmentwide point of entry must 
be reliable and easy to use. For buyers, support streamlined 
preparation and issuance of notices and solicitation information 
without disrupting, eliminating or otherwise requiring the replacement 
of current agency electronic commerce software.
    Based on agencies' experiences to date with each of the above-
mentioned alternatives, OFPP believes that

[[Page 50873]]

FedBizOpps can most effectively meet the Government's objectives by--
     Creating a central point for electronic access. FedBizOpps 
hosts a wide variety of business documents, including notices, 
solicitations, and other related acquisition information;
     Creating an index of all business information at one 
internet location for searching and downloading;
     Allowing agencies to continue to select the most 
appropriate posting option for their mission (i.e., posting at 
FedBizOpps or posting at the agency website), since either achieves the 
goal of access through a single point of entry;
     Providing access through electronic tools that have 
widespread commercial acceptance and interface with sellers' electronic 
tools, and can adapt to new tools as they gain commercial acceptance;
     Allowing potential offerors and service providers to 
access and download information through a variety of commercial 
electronic means and business applications, including web-based 
technology, bulk data feeds, and push technology through electronic 
mail (e-mail); and
     Enabling sellers to choose the means (either direct or 
service-provider enhanced) they find most suitable for gaining access 
to Federal business opportunities.
    For sellers--
     Providing ``one stop'' access to business opportunities. 
After identifying notices of interest, sellers may quickly access 
related solicitation information through a direct link. When a seller 
``clicks'' to the notice, they are also obtaining, through the 
solicitation page, direct access to all solicitation and related 
information electronically available at that time on the acquisition;
     Easing the process for locating the information needed to 
decide whether to pursue a business opportunity by presenting 
information in consistent web page formats (i.e., the same user 
interface) up to the point of browsing or downloading the solicitation. 
This enhances sellers' familiarity and comfort in identifying business 
opportunities for review;
     Making notices of proposed contract actions available in a 
standardized format, as required by FAR 5.207. (However, FedBizOpps 
does not require a standardized format for solicitations, so that 
agencies may maintain flexibility in formatting solicitations to 
accommodate their individual processes and needs); and
     Keeping business processes simple and flexible. Surveys 
indicate that potential offerors generally find that FedBizOpps 
provides easy, user friendly, and consistent access to business 
opportunities. Users like FedBizOpps' automatic e-mail notification 
feature because it provides information about contracting opportunities 
for specific supplies or services or specified agencies and eliminates 
the need for repeated searches to gain access to up-to-date 
information.
    For the Government--
     Reengineering Government buyer practices. Surveys indicate 
that FedBizOpps helps to streamline and eliminate transaction steps. 
FedBizOpps can accommodate existing posting systems and contract 
writing systems, allowing seamless integration. Notices and 
solicitations can be posted on the Internet without any rekeying of 
information. Agencies without their own posting system or a contract 
writing system that integrates with FedBizOpps are serviced through an 
easy web-based interface. According to the survey, this increases 
agency efficiency;
     Eliminating the need for individual websites. In the past, 
agencies maintained individual web sites at each operating location. 
When a buyer or contracting officer wanted to produce a business 
opportunity, they would enter the notice information into CBDNet 
through the Internet, and would give their solicitation document to a 
``webmaster'' who would post the document to the Internet. Under 
FedBizOpps, the buyer posts the notice information. It is forwarded to 
CBDNet, and FedBizOpps posts the solicitation document via the Internet 
FedBizOpps. This reduces process steps and eliminates the need for a 
dedicated webmaster for this function; and
    FedBizOpps is linked to the Procurement Marketing and Access 
Network (PRO-Net), an Internet database of small businesses managed by 
the Small Business Administration. This link increases small business 
awareness of Government contracting opportunities.
    This is a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was subject 
to review under Section 6(b) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory 
Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major 
rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The changes may have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., because the proposed rule 
establishes Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps.gov) as the 
single Governmentwide point of electronic entry (``GPE'') for all large 
and small business entities accessing notices of proposed contract 
actions, solicitations, and related procurement information. An Initial 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) has been prepared and will be 
provided to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy for the Small Business 
Administration. The analysis is summarized as follows:

    The proposed rule establishes the Electronic Posting System 
(EPS), to be renamed the Federal Business Opportunities 
(FedBizOpps.gov), as the single Governmentwide point of electronic 
entry (``GPE'') for accessing notices of proposed contract actions, 
solicitations, and related procurement information. This action 
implements section 30(c)(4) of the Office of Federal Procurement 
Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 426(c)(4), that requires the designation of a 
single point of entry to provide convenient and universal public 
access to procurement opportunities Governmentwide.
    The legal basis for the rule is Section 850 of Public Law 105-
85, codified at section 30 of the OFPP Act (41 U.S.C. 426).
    The proposed rule will apply to all large and small entities 
that do business or are planning to do business with the Government. 
FedBizOpps is designed to be sufficiently versatile to allow sellers 
and service providers to access and download information through 
different commercial electronic means, including web-based 
technology, bulk data feeds, and electronic mail. This versatility 
will enable the more than 47,340 small and 29,200 large businesses 
to have easy access to Government business opportunities.
    The rule imposes no reporting, recordkeeping, or other 
compliance requirements. Basic skill in operating a personal 
computer with access to the internet is required to access the GPE 
website (http://www.fedbizopps.gov). The estimated purchase cost of 
a personal computer, modem, software, telephone lines, and internet 
access is $1,600. To accommodate small and large businesses that may 
not wish to access the GPE directly, FedBizOpps will make notices 
available for paper publication in the CBD. In addition, FedBizOpps 
will make available--in a daily bulk feed--business opportunity 
information to value added networks and other service providers to 
publish or otherwise provide information in either electronic or 
paper form.
    The rule does not duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any other 
Federal rules.
    Prior to the development of this proposed rule, the Office of 
Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), in consultation with the 
Procurement Executives Council (PEC), considered the suitability of 
various alternatives to satisfy the requirement of section 30 of the 
OFPP Act to designate a GPE. OFPP focused its review on electronic 
means that the Government has used in recent years to significantly 
increase access to Government procurement opportunities. Thus, in 
addition to FedBizOpps, consideration was given to CBDNet and the 
Federal Acquisition Computer Network

[[Page 50874]]

(FACNET). OFPP also sought to determine if suitable commercial 
alternatives presently exist to provide the single point of entry 
function.
    Alternatives to FedBizOpps demonstrated benefits, some 
significant, over paper-based processes. However, when considering 
the Government's objectives in the aggregate (i.e., creating a 
central point for electronic access to business opportunities, 
following the commercial lead, and facilitating reengineering for 
sellers and buyers), the alternatives did not exceed the benefits of 
FedBizOpps in serving as the GPE.

    A copy of the IRFA may be obtained from the FAR Secretariat. The 
Councils will consider comments from small entities concerning the 
affected FAR parts in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 610. Comments must be 
submitted separately and should cite 5 U.S.C 601, et seq. (FAR case 
1997-304), in correspondence.

C. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply because the proposed 
changes to the FAR do not impose information collection requirements 
that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under 
44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.

List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 14, 19, 
22, 34, 35, and 36

    Government procurement.

    Dated: August 15, 2000.
Edward C. Loeb,
Director, Federal Acquisition Policy Division.
    Therefore, DoD, GSA, and NASA propose that 48 CFR parts 2, 4, 5, 6, 
7, 9, 12, 13, 14, 19, 22, 34, 35, and 36 be amended as set forth below:
    1. The authority citation for 48 CFR parts 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 
13, 14, 19, 22, 34, 35, and 36 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 40 U.S.C. 486(c); 10 U.S.C. chapter 137; and 42 
U.S.C. 2473(c).

PART 2--DEFINITIONS OF WORDS AND TERMS

    2. Amend section 2.101 by adding, in alphabetical order, the 
definitions ``Commerce Business Daily (CBD)'' and ``Governmentwide 
point of entry (GPE)''; and in the definition ``Federal Acquisition 
Computer Network (FACNET) Architecture'' by removing the last sentence. 
The added text reads as follows:


2.101  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Commerce Business Daily (CBD) means the publication of the 
Secretary of Commerce used to fulfill statutory requirements to publish 
certain public notices in paper form.
* * * * *
    Governmentwide point of entry (GPE) means the single point where 
Government business opportunities greater than $25,000, including 
synopses of proposed contract actions, solicitations, and associated 
information, can be accessed electronically by the public. The GPE is 
located at http://www.fedbizopps.gov.
* * * * *

PART 4--ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS


4.501  [Amended]

    3. Amend section 4.501 by removing the definition ``Single, 
Governmentwide point of entry.''
    4. Amend section 4.502 by revising paragraph (b)(4) to read as 
follows:


4.502  Policy.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (4) Include a single means of providing widespread public notice of 
acquisition opportunities through the Governmentwide point of entry and 
a means of responding to notices or solicitations electronically; and
* * * * *
    5. Amend section 4.803 by revising paragraph (a)(4) to read as 
follows:


4.803  Contents of contract files.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (4) Synopsis of proposed acquisition as required by part 5 or a 
reference to the synopsis.
* * * * *

PART 5--PUBLICIZING CONTRACT ACTIONS

    6. Add section 5.003 to read as follows:


5.003  Governmentwide point of entry (GPE).

    For any requirement in the FAR to publish a notice in the CBD 
through the GPE, the contracting office may transmit the notice 
directly to the CBD if the contracting office lacks the capability to 
access the GPE and the notice is issued prior to October 1, 2001.
    7. Amend section 5.101 by removing the introductory paragraph; and 
by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:


5.101  Methods of disseminating information.

    (a) As required by the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(e)) and 
the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 416), 
contracting officers must disseminate information on proposed contract 
actions as follows:
    (1) For proposed contract actions expected to exceed $25,000, by 
synopsizing in the CBD (see 5.201). To satisfy this requirement, 
contracting officers must use the GPE, except as provided in 5.003.
    (2) For proposed contract actions expected to exceed $10,000, but 
not expected to exceed $25,000, by displaying in a public place or by 
any appropriate electronic means, an unclassified notice of the 
solicitation or a copy of the solicitation satisfying the requirements 
of 5.207(d) and (g). The notice must include a statement that all 
responsible sources may submit a quotation which, if timely received, 
must be considered by the agency. Such information must be posted not 
later than the date the solicitation is issued, and must remain posted 
for at least 10 days or until after quotations have been opened, 
whichever is later.
    (i) If solicitations are posted in lieu of a notice, various 
methods of satisfying the requirements of 5.207(d) and (g) may be 
employed. For example, the requirements of 5.207(d) and (g) may be met 
by stamping the solicitation, by a cover sheet to the solicitation, or 
by placing a general statement in the display room.
    (ii) The contracting officer need not comply with the display 
requirements of this section when the exemptions at 5.202(a)(1), (a)(4) 
through (a)(9), or (a)(11) apply, when oral or FACNET solicitations are 
used, or when providing access to a notice of proposed contract action 
and solicitation through the GPE and the notice permits the public to 
respond to the solicitation electronically.
    (iii) Contracting officers may use electronic posting of 
requirements in a place accessible by the general public at the 
Government installation to satisfy the public display requirement. 
Contracting offices using electronic systems for public posting that 
are not accessible outside the installation must periodically publicize 
the methods for accessing such information.
* * * * *
    8. Revise section 5.102 to read as follows:


5.102  Availability of solicitations.

    (a)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(4) of this section, the 
contracting officer must make available, through the GPE, solicitations 
synopsized through the GPE, including specifications and other 
pertinent information determined necessary by the contracting officer. 
Transmissions to the GPE must be in accordance with the Interface

[[Page 50875]]

Description available via the Internet at http://www.fedbizopps.gov.
    (2) The contracting officer is encouraged, when practicable and 
cost effective, to make accessible through the GPE additional 
information related to a solicitation.
    (3) The contracting officer must ensure that solicitations 
transmitted to FACNET are forwarded to the GPE to satisfy the 
requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section.
    (4) The contracting officer need not make a solicitation available 
through the GPE when--
    (i) Disclosure would compromise the national security (e.g., would 
result in disclosure of classified information) or create other 
security risks. The fact that access to classified matter may be 
necessary to submit a proposal or perform the contract does not, in 
itself, justify use of this exception;
    (ii) The nature of the file (e.g., size, format) does not make it 
cost effective or practicable for contracting officers to provide 
access through the GPE;
    (iii) The agency's senior procurement executive makes a written 
determination that access through the GPE is not in the Government's 
interest; or
    (iv) The contracting office lacks the capability to access the GPE 
and the synopsis is issued prior to October 1, 2001.
    (b) When the contracting officer does not make a solicitation 
available through the GPE pursuant to paragraph (a)(4) of this section, 
the contracting officer--
    (1) Should employ other electronic means (e.g., CD-ROM, electronic 
mail) whenever practicable and cost effective. When solicitations are 
provided electronically on physical media (e.g., disks) or in paper 
form, the contracting officer must--
    (i) Maintain a reasonable number of copies of solicitations, 
including specifications and other pertinent information determined 
necessary by the contracting officer (upon request, potential sources 
not initially solicited should be mailed or provided copies of 
solicitations, if available);
    (ii) Provide copies on a ``first-come-first served'' basis, for 
pickup at the contracting office, to publishers, trade associations, 
information services, and other members of the public having a 
legitimate interest (for construction, see 36.211); and
    (iii) Retain a copy of the solicitation and other documents for 
review by and duplication for those requesting copies after the initial 
number of copies is exhausted.
    (2) May require payment of a fee, not exceeding the actual cost of 
duplication, for a copy of the solicitation document.
    (c) In addition to the methods of disseminating proposed contract 
information in 5.101(a) and (b), provide, upon request to small 
business concerns, as required by 15 U.S.C. 637(b)--
    (1) A copy of the solicitation and specifications. In the case of 
solicitations disseminated by electronic data interchange, 
solicitations may be furnished directly to the electronic address of 
the small business concern;
    (2) The name and telephone number of an employee of the contracting 
office to answer questions on the solicitation; and
    (3) Adequate citations to each applicable major Federal law or 
agency rule with which small business concerns must comply in 
performing the contract.
    (d) When electronic commerce (see subpart 4.5) is used in the 
solicitation process, availability of the solicitation may be limited 
to the electronic medium.
    (e) Provide copies of a solicitation issued under other than full 
and open competition to firms requesting copies that were not initially 
solicited, but only after advising the requester of the determination 
to limit the solicitation to a specified firm or firms as authorized 
under part 6.
    (f) This section 5.102 applies to classified contracts to the 
extent consistent with agency security requirements (see 5.202(a)(1)).
    9. Revise section 5.201 to read as follows:


5.201  General.

    (a) As required by the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(e)) and 
the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 416), agencies 
must make notices of proposed contract actions available as specified 
in paragraph (b) of this section.
    (b)(1) For acquisitions of supplies and services, other than those 
covered by the exceptions in 5.202 and the special situations in 5.205, 
the contracting officer must transmit a notice to the GPE, for each 
proposed--
    (i) Contract action meeting the threshold in 5.101(a)(1);
    (ii) Modification to an existing contract for additional supplies 
or services that meets the threshold in 5.101(a)(1); or
    (iii) Contract action in any amount when advantageous to the 
Government.
    (2) When transmitting notices to the GPE, contracting officers must 
direct the GPE to forward the notice to the CBD to satisfy the 
requirements of the Small Business Act and the Office of Federal 
Procurement Policy Act to furnish notices for publication by the 
Secretary of Commerce.
    (3) When transmitting notices to FACNET, contracting officers must 
ensure the notice is forwarded to the GPE. Contracting officers must 
ensure that such notices are forwarded by the GPE to the CBD to satisfy 
the requirements of the Small Business Act and the Office of Federal 
Procurement Policy Act to furnish notices for publication by the 
Secretary of Commerce.
    (c) The primary purposes of the notice are to improve small 
business access to acquisition information and enhance competition by 
identifying contracting and subcontracting opportunities.
    (d)(1) The GPE may be accessed via the Internet at http://www.fedbizopps.gov.
    (2) Subscriptions to the CBD must be placed with the Superintendent 
of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402 (Tel. 
202-512-1800).
    10. Amend section 5.202 in paragraph (a)(13) by revising paragraph 
(a)(13)(ii) and by removing (a)(13)(iii) to read as follows:


5.202  Exceptions.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (13) * * *
    (ii) Will be made through FACNET or another means that provides 
access to the notice of proposed contract action through the GPE; and 
permits the public to respond to the solicitation electronically; or
* * * * *
    11. Amend section 5.203 by revising the introductory paragraph, 
paragraphs (a), (b), and (e), the first sentence of paragraph (g), and 
paragraph (h) to read as follows:


5.203  Publicizing and response time.

    Whenever agencies are required to publicize notice of proposed 
contract actions under 5.201, they must proceed as follows:
    (a) An agency must transmit a notice of proposed contract action to 
the GPE. The notice must be forwarded by the GPE, and published in the 
CBD, at least 15 days before issuance of a solicitation except that, 
for acquisitions of commercial items, the contracting officer may--
    (1) Establish a shorter period for issuance of the solicitation; or
    (2) Use the combined synopsis/solicitation procedure (see 12.603).
    (b) The contracting officer must establish a solicitation response 
time

[[Page 50876]]

that will afford potential offerors a reasonable opportunity to respond 
to each proposed contract action, (including actions via FACNET or for 
which the notice of proposed contract action and solicitation 
information is accessible through the GPE), in an amount estimated to 
be greater than $25,000, but not greater than the simplified 
acquisition threshold; or each contract action for the acquisition of 
commercial items in an amount estimated to be greater than $25,000. The 
contracting officer should consider the circumstances of the individual 
acquisition, such as the complexity, commerciality, availability, and 
urgency, when establishing the solicitation response time.
* * * * *
    (e) Agencies must allow at least a 45-day response time for receipt 
of bids or proposals from the date of publication of the notice in the 
CBD required in 5.201 for proposed contract actions categorized as 
research and development if the proposed contract action is expected to 
exceed the simplified acquisition threshold.
* * * * *
    (g) Contracting officers may, unless they have evidence to the 
contrary, presume that notice has been published 10 days (6 days if 
electronically transmitted through the GPE or other means) following 
transmittal of the synopsis to the CBD. * * *
    (h) In addition to other requirements set forth in this section, 
for acquisitions subject to NAFTA or the Trade Agreements Act (see 
subpart 25.4), the period of time between publication of the synopsis 
notice in the CBD and receipt of offers must be no less than 40 days. 
However, if the acquisition falls within a general category identified 
in an annual forecast, the availability of which is published in the 
CBD and the GPE, the contracting officer may reduce this time period to 
as few as 10 days.
    12. Revise sections 5.204 and 5.205 to read as follows:


5.204  Presolicitation notices.

    Contracting officers must provide access to presolicitation notices 
through the GPE (see 15.201 and 36.213-2). Synopsizing of a proposed 
contract action is required prior to issuance of any resulting 
solicitation (see 5.201 and 5.203).


5.205  Special situations.

    (a) Research and development (R&D) advance notices. Contracting 
officers are encouraged to transmit to the GPE advance notices of their 
interest in potential R&D programs whenever existing solicitation 
mailing lists do not include a sufficient number of concerns to obtain 
adequate competition. Advance notices must not be used where security 
considerations prohibit such publication. Advance notices will enable 
potential sources to learn of R&D programs and provide these sources 
with an opportunity to submit information which will permit evaluation 
of their capabilities. Potential sources which respond to advance 
notices must be added to the appropriate solicitation mailing list for 
subsequent solicitation. Advance notices must be entitled ``Research 
and Development Sources Sought,'' cite the appropriate Numbered Note, 
and include the name and telephone number of the contracting officer or 
other contracting activity official from whom technical details of the 
project can be obtained. This will enable sources to submit information 
for evaluation of their R&D capabilities. Contracting officers must 
synopsize (see 5.201) all subsequent solicitations for R&D contracts, 
including those resulting from a previously synopsized advance notice, 
unless one of the exceptions in 5.202 applies.
    (b) Federally Funded Research and Development Centers. Before 
establishing a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) 
(see part 35) or before changing its basic purpose and mission, the 
sponsor must transmit at least three notices over a 90-day period to 
the GPE and the Federal Register, indicating the agency's intention to 
sponsor an FFRDC or change the basic purpose and mission of an FFRDC. 
The notice must indicate the scope and nature of the effort to be 
performed and request comments. Notice is not required where action is 
required by law. When transmitting notices to the GPE, contracting 
officers must direct the GPE to forward the notice to the CBD to 
satisfy the requirements of the Small Business Act and the Office of 
Federal Procurement Policy Act to furnish notices for publication by 
the Secretary of Commerce.
    (c) Special notices. Contracting officers may transmit to the GPE, 
special notices of procurement matters such as business fairs, long-
range procurement estimates, pre-bid/pre-proposal conferences, 
meetings, and the availability of draft solicitations or draft 
specifications for review.
    (d) Architect-engineering services. Contracting officers must 
publish notices of intent to contract for architect-engineering 
services as follows:
    (1) Except when exempted by 5.202, contracting officers must 
transmit to the GPE each proposed contract action for which the total 
fee (including phases and options) is expected to exceed $25,000. When 
transmitting notices to the GPE, contracting officers must direct the 
GPE to forward the notice to the CBD to satisfy the requirements of the 
Small Business Act and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act to 
furnish notices for publication by the Secretary of Commerce. Reference 
must be made to the appropriate CBD Numbered Note.
    (2) When the total fee is expected to exceed $10,000 but not exceed 
$25,000, the contracting officer must comply with 5.101(a)(2). When the 
proposed contract action is not required to be synopsized under 
paragraph (d)(1) of this section, the contracting officer must display 
a notice of the solicitation or a copy of the solicitation in a public 
place at the contracting office. Other optional publicizing methods are 
authorized in accordance with 5.101(b).
    (e) Effort to locate commercial sources under OMB Circular A-76. 
When determining the availability of commercial sources under the 
procedures prescribed in subpart 7.3 and OMB Circular A-76, the 
contracting officer must not arrive at a conclusion that there are no 
commercial sources capable of providing the required supplies or 
services until publicizing the requirement through the GPE at least 
three times in a 90 calendar-day period, with a minimum of 30 calendar 
days between each. When necessary to meet an urgent requirement, this 
may be limited to a total of two notices through the GPE in a 30 
calendar-day period, with a minimum of 15 calendar days between each. 
When transmitting notices to the GPE, contracting officers must direct 
the GPE to forward the notice to the CBD to satisfy the requirements of 
the Circular.
    (f) Section 8(a) competitive acquisition. When a national buy 
requirement is being considered for competitive acquisition limited to 
eligible 8(a) concerns under subpart 19.8, the contracting officer must 
transmit a synopsis of the proposed contract action to the GPE. When 
transmitting notices to the GPE, contracting officers must direct the 
GPE to forward the notice to the CBD to satisfy the requirements of the 
Small Business Act and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act to 
furnish notices for publication by the Secretary of Commerce. The 
synopsis may be transmitted to the GPE concurrent with submission of 
the agency offering (see 19.804-2) to the Small Business Administration 
(SBA). The synopsis should also include information--

[[Page 50877]]

    (1) Advising that the acquisition is being offered for competition 
limited to eligible 8(a) concerns;
    (2) Specifying the North American Industry Classification System 
(NAICS) code;
    (3) Advising that eligibility to participate may be restricted to 
firms in either the developmental stage or the developmental and 
transitional stages; and
    (4) Encouraging interested 8(a) firms to request a copy of the 
solicitation as expeditiously as possible since the solicitation will 
be issued without further notice upon SBA acceptance of the requirement 
for the section 8(a) program.
    13. Amend section 5.206 by revising the introductory text of 
paragraph (a) to read as follows:


5.206  Notices of subcontracting opportunities.

    (a) The following entities may transmit a notice to the GPE, the 
CBD, or both to seek competition for subcontracts, to increase 
participation by qualified HUBZone small business, small, small 
disadvantaged, and small women-owned business concerns, and to meet the 
established subcontracting plan goals:
* * * * *
    14. Amend section 5.207 by--
    a. Redesignating paragraphs (a) through (h) as (b) through (i), 
respectively, and by adding a new paragraph (a);
    b. Revising newly designated paragraph (b);
    c. Revising the introductory text of newly designated paragraph 
(c), and adding under ``Format Item and Explanation/Description of 
Entry'' item numbers 18 and 19; and
    d. Revising newly designated paragraph (i) to read as follows:


5.207  Preparation and transmittal of synopses.

    (a) Content. Each synopsis transmitted to the GPE or CBD must 
address the following data elements, as applicable:
(1) Action Code.
(2) Date.
(3) Year.
(4) Government Printing Office (GPO) Billing Account Code.
(5) Contracting Office Zip Code.
(6) Classification Code.
(7) Contracting Office Address.
(8) Subject.
(9) Proposed Solicitation Number.
(10) Opening/Closing Response Date.
(11) Contact Point/Contracting Officer.
(12) Contract Award and Solicitation Number.
(13) Contract Award Dollar Amount.
(14) Contract Line Item Number.
(15) Contract Award Date,
(16) Contractor.
(17) Description.
(18) Place of Contract Performance.
(19) Set-aside Status.
    (b) Transmittal--(1) GPE. Transmissions must be in accordance with 
the Interface Description available via the Internet at http://www.fedbizopps.gov.
    (2) CBD--(i) Electronic transmission. All synopses transmitted 
electronically to the CBD, other than through the GPE (see 5.003), must 
be in ASCII Code. Contact your agency's communications center for the 
appropriate transmission instructions or services.
    (ii) Hard copy transmission. When electronic transmission is not 
feasible (see 5.003), synopses should be sent to the CBD via mail or 
other physical delivery of hard copy and should be addressed to: 
Commerce Business Daily, U.S. Department of Commerce, P.O. Box 77880, 
Washington, DC 20013-8880.
    (c) Format for the CBD. The contracting officer must prepare the 
synopsis in the following style and format to assure timely processing 
of the synopsis by the Commerce Business Daily.
* * * * *
    18. Place of contract performance. (Include where applicable; where 
not applicable, enter N/A.)
    19. Set-asides. (Identify if the proposed acquisition provides for 
a total or partial set-aside, a very small business set-aside, or a 
HUBZone small business set-aside. If not a set-aside, enter N/A.)
* * * * *
    (i) Cancellation of synopsis. Contracting officers should not 
publish notices of solicitation cancellations (or indefinite 
suspensions) of proposed contract actions in the GPE or CBD. 
Cancellations of solicitations must be made in accordance with 14.209 
and 14.404-1.
    15. Amend section 5.301 by revising the introductory text of 
paragraph (a); by revising paragraphs (b)(7) and (c); and by adding 
paragraph (d) to read as follows:


5.301  General.

    (a) Except for contract actions described in paragraph (b) of this 
section and as provided in 5.003, contracting officers must synopsize 
through the GPE awards exceeding $25,000 that are--
* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (7) The contract action--
    (i) Is for an amount not greater than the simplified acquisition 
threshold; and
    (ii) Was conducted by using FACNET or access to the notice of 
proposed contract action was provided through the GPE and permitted the 
public to respond to the solicitation electronically; or
* * * * *
    (c) With respect to acquisitions subject to the Trade Agreements 
Act, contracting officers must submit synopses in sufficient time to 
permit publication in the CBD, through the GPE, not later than 60 days 
after award.
    (d) When transmitting notices to the GPE, contracting officers must 
direct the GPE to forward the notice to the CBD to satisfy the 
requirements of the Small Business Act and the Office of Federal 
Procurement Policy Act to furnish notices for publication by the 
Secretary of Commerce.
    16. Amend section 5.404-1 by revising paragraph (b)(3)(iii) to read 
as follows:


5.404-1  Release procedures.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (iii) More specific information relating to any individual item or 
class of items will not be furnished until the proposed acquisition is 
synopsized through the GPE or the solicitation is issued;
* * * * *
    17. Revise section 5.404-2 to read as follows:


5.404-2  Announcements of long-range acquisition estimates.

    Further publicizing, consistent with the needs of the individual 
case, may be accomplished by announcing through the GPE that long-range 
acquisition estimates have been published and are obtainable, upon 
request, from the contracting officer.

PART 6--COMPETITION REQUIREMENTS


6.303-2  [Amended]

    18. Amend section 6.303-2 in paragraph (a)(6) by removing ``CBD''.

PART 7--ACQUISITION PLANNING

    19. Amend section 7.303 in paragraph (a) and the introductory text 
of paragraph (b) by removing ``shall'' and adding ``must'' in their 
place; and by revising paragraph (b)(1) to read as follows:


7.303  Determining availability of private commercial sources.

* * * * *

[[Page 50878]]

    (b) * * *
    (1) Synopsizing the requirement through the Governmentwide point of 
entry (GPE) in accordance with 5.205(e); and
* * * * *

PART 9--CONTRACTOR QUALIFICATIONS

    20. Amend section 9.204 in the introductory text of paragraph (a) 
by removing ``shall''and adding ``must'' in its place; and by revising 
paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows:


9.204  Responsibilities for establishment of a qualification 
requirement.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (1) Periodically furnish through the Governmentwide point of entry 
(GPE) notice seeking additional sources or products for qualification 
unless the contracting officer determines that such publication would 
compromise the national security. When transmitting notices to the GPE, 
contracting officers must direct the GPE to forward the notice to the 
Commerce Business Daily (CBD) to satisfy the requirements of 10 U.S.C. 
2319(d)(1)(A) and 41 U.S.C. 253c(d)(1)(A).
* * * * *
    21. Amend section 9.205 by revising the introductory text of 
paragraph (a) to read as follows:


9.205  Opportunity for qualification before award.

    (a) If an agency determines that a qualification requirement is 
necessary, the agency activity responsible for establishing the 
requirement must urge manufacturers and other potential sources to 
demonstrate their ability to meet the standards specified for 
qualification and, when possible, give sufficient time to arrange for 
qualification before award. The responsible agency activity must, 
before establishing any qualification requirement, furnish notice 
through the GPE. When transmitting notices to the GPE, contracting 
officers must direct the GPE to forward the notice to the CBD to 
satisfy the requirements of 10 U.S.C. 2319(d)(1)(A) and 41 U.S.C. 
253c(d)(1)(A). The notice must include--
* * * * *

PART 12--ACQUISITION OF COMMERCIAL ITEMS

    22. Amend section 12.603--
    a. In the introductory text of paragraph (a) by removing ``Commerce 
Business Daily (CBD)'';
    b. By revising paragraph (a)(1);
    c. In paragraph (a)(2) by removing ``CBD'';
    d. In paragraph (c)(2)(xv) by removing ``Commerce Business Daily''; 
and
    e. By revising paragraphs (c)(3) and (c)(4) to read as follows:


12.603  Streamlined solicitation for commercial items.

    (a) * * *
    (1) Whether transmission is made directly to the Commerce Business 
Daily (CBD) or through the Governmentwide point of entry (GPE), section 
5.207 limits descriptions in the CBD to 12,000 textual characters 
(approximately 3\1/2\ single-spaced pages).
* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (3) Allow response time for receipt of offers as follows:
    (i) Because the synopsis and solicitation are contained in a single 
document, it is not necessary to publicize a separate synopsis 15 days 
before the issuance of the solicitation.
    (ii) When using the combined synopsis/solicitation, contracting 
officers must establish a response time in accordance with 5.203(b) 
(but see 5.203(h)).
    (4) Publicize amendments to solicitations in the same manner as the 
initial synopsis/solicitation.

PART 13--SIMPLIFIED ACQUISITION PROCEDURES

    23. Amend the introductory paragraph of section 13.104 and the 
introductory text of paragraph (a) by removing ``shall'' and adding 
``must'' in their place; and by revising the first sentence of 
paragraph (b) to read as follows:


13.104  Promoting competition.

* * * * *
    (b) If using simplified acquisition procedures and not using either 
FACNET or providing access to the notice of proposed contract action 
and access to the solicitation information through the Governmentwide 
point of entry (GPE), maximum practicable competition ordinarily can be 
obtained by soliciting quotations or offers from sources within the 
local trade area. * * *
* * * * *


13.105  [Amended]

    24. Amend section 13.105 in the introductory text of paragraph (a) 
by removing ``shall'' and adding ``must'' in its place; and in 
paragraph (a)(1)(ii) by removing ``single, Governmentwide point of 
entry'' and adding ``GPE'' in its place.

PART 14--SEALED BIDDING

    25. Revise section 14.203-2 to read as follows:


14.203-2  Dissemination of information concerning invitations for bids.

    (a) Procedures concerning display of invitations for bids in a 
public place, information releases to newspapers and trade journals, 
paid advertisements, and synopsizing through the Governmentwide point 
of entry (GPE) are set forth in 5.101 and 5.2.
    (b) For procedures that apply to publicizing notices through the 
GPE to determine whether commercial sources are available, as 
prescribed by OMB Circular A-76, see 5.205(e) and 7.303(b).
    26. Amend section 14.503-2 by revising paragraphs (a)(4) and (b) to 
read as follows:


14.503-2  Step two.

    (a) * * *
    (4) Not be synopsized through the Governmentwide point of entry 
(GPE) as an acquisition opportunity nor publicly posted (see 5.101(a)).
    (b) The names of firms that submitted acceptable proposals in step 
one will be listed through the GPE for the benefit of prospective 
subcontractors (see 5.207(a)(1)).

PART 19--SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAMS

    27. Amend section 19.202-2 in the introductory paragraph by 
removing ``shall'' and adding ``must'' in its place; and by revising 
paragraph (c) to read as follows:


19.202-2  Locating small business sources.

* * * * *
    (c) Publicize solicitations and contract awards through the 
Governmentwide point of entry (GPE) (see subparts 5.2 and 5.3).
    28. Amend section 19.804-2--
    a. In the first sentence of the introductory text of paragraph (a) 
by removing ``shall'' and adding ``must'' in its place;
    b. In paragraph (a)(9) by removing ``Commerce Business Daily'' and 
adding ``Governmentwide point of entry (GPE)'' in its place; and
    c. By revising the third and fourth sentences of paragraph (c) to 
read as follows:


19.804-2  Agency offering.

* * * * *
    (c) * * * All requirements, including construction, must be 
synopsized through the GPE. For construction, the synopsis must include 
the geographical

[[Page 50879]]

area of the competition set forth in the SBA's acceptance letter.

PART 22--APPLICATION OF LABOR LAWS TO GOVERNMENT ACQUISITIONS

    29. Amend section 22.1009-4 in paragraph (a) by removing ``shall'' 
and adding ``must'' in its place; and by revising the introductory text 
of paragraph (b) to read as follows:


22.1009-4  All possible places of performance not identified.

* * * * *
    (b) Include the following information in the notice of contract 
action (see 5.207(g)(4)):
* * * * *

PART 34--MAJOR SYSTEM ACQUISITION


34.005-2  [Amended]

    30. Amend section 34.005-2 in paragraph (a)(1) by removing 
``publication in the Commerce Business Daily'' and adding ``publicizing 
through the Governmentwide point of entry'' in its place.

PART 35--RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CONTRACTING

    31. Amend section 35.004 in the introductory text of paragraph (a) 
by removing ``shall'' and adding ``must'' in its place; and by revising 
paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows:


35.004  Publicizing requirements and expanding research and development 
sources.

    (a) * * *
    (1) Early identification and publication of agency R&D needs and 
requirements, including publicizing through the Governmentwide point of 
entry (GPE) (see part 5);
* * * * *
    32. Amend section 35.016 by revising paragraph (c) to read as 
follows:


35.016  Broad agency announcement.

* * * * *
    (c) The availability of the BAA must be publicized through the 
Governmentwide point of entry (GPE) and, if authorized pursuant to 
subpart 5.5, may also be published in noted scientific, technical, or 
engineering periodicals. The notice must be published no less 
frequently than annually. When transmitting a notice to the GPE, 
contracting officers must direct the GPE to forward the notice to the 
Commerce Business Daily to satisfy the requirement of the Small 
Business Act and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act to 
furnish notices for publication by the Secretary of Commerce.
* * * * *

PART 36--CONSTRUCTION AND ARCHITECT-ENGINEER CONTRACTS

    33. Amend section 36.213-2 in the introductory text of paragraph 
(b) by removing ``shall'' and adding ``must'' in its place; and by 
revising paragraph (b)(9) to read as follows:


36.213-2  Presolicitation notices.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (9) Be publicized through the Governmentwide point of entry in 
accordance with 5.204.

[FR Doc. 00-21182 Filed 8-18-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6820-EP-U