[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 189 (Wednesday, September 30, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 58630-58632]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-24785]


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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Defense Acquisition Regulations System

48 CFR Parts 204 and 237

[Docket No. DARS 2015-0009]
RIN 0750-AI29


Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Electronic 
Copies of Contractual Documents (DFARS Case 2012-D056)

AGENCY: Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Department of Defense 
(DoD).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: DoD is issuing a final rule amending the Defense Federal 
Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to establish that the 
Electronic Data Access system is the primary tool for distributing 
contracts and contract data and to provide internal control procedures 
for data verification to ensure contract documents in the Electronic 
Data Access system are accurate representations of original documents. 
This rule also removes outmoded language that is not consistent with 
electronic document processes.

DATES: Effective September 30, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Tresa Sullivan, telephone 571-372-
6089.

[[Page 58631]]


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    DoD published a proposed rule in the Federal Register at 80 FR 4846 
on January 29, 2015, to establish that the Electronic Document Access 
(EDA) system is the primary tool for distributing contracts and 
contract data and to provide internal control procedures for data 
verification to ensure contract documents in EDA are accurate 
representations of original documents; and remove outmoded language 
that does not resonate with electronic document processes. No 
respondents submitted public comments in response to the proposed rule.

II. Discussion and Analysis

    There are some minor editorial changes made from the proposed rule 
in the final rule to clarify the distribution of signed contract copies 
to contractors, uploading of certain contract attachments into EDA, and 
what constitutes an original signature. Accordingly, paragraph (a) is 
added to DFARS 204.201 to clarify that contracting officers shall 
distribute one signed copy or reproduction of the signed contract to 
the contractor in lieu of the requirements at FAR 4.201(a). DFARS 
204.270-1, paragraph (a), and 204.802, paragraph (a), now include 
statements that contract attachments that are classified, are too 
sensitive for widespread distribution, or cannot be practicably 
converted to electronic format should be provided by separate cover and 
not uploaded into EDA. Additionally, section 204.802, paragraph (f) is 
added to state that a photocopy, facsimile, electronic, mechanically-
applied and printed signature, seal, and date are considered to be an 
original signature, seal, and date.

III. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    Executive Orders (E.O.s) 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess 
all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if 
regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize 
net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public 
health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). E.O. 
13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, 
of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. 
This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not 
subject to review under section 6(b) of E.O. 12866, Regulatory Planning 
and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule 
under 5 U.S.C. 804.

IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    A final regulatory flexibility analysis has been prepared 
consistent with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., 
and is summarized as below. This rule is required to update guidance in 
the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS). A review 
of the DFARS language related to contract files and contract 
distribution resulted in recommendations to remove coverage that was 
structured to support processes for and distribution of paper files and 
paper copies and to add coverage reflecting current electronic 
processes.
    This final rule amends the DFARS to make the following changes:
     DFARS 204.201, paragraph (a), clarifies that contracting 
officers shall distribute one signed copy or reproduction of the signed 
contract to the contractor in lieu of the requirements at FAR 4.201(a).
     DFARS 204.270, Electronic Document Access, states the 
policy that the Electronic Data Access (EDA) System, an online 
repository for contractual instruments and supporting documents, is 
DoD's primary tool for electronic distribution of contractual 
documents. The rule provides that contract attachments that are 
classified, are too sensitive for widespread distribution, or cannot be 
practicably converted to electronic format should be provided by 
separate cover and not uploaded into EDA. This section also provides 
policy that agencies have certain responsibilities when posting 
documents to EDA, to include internal control procedures that ensure 
electronic copies of contract documents and data in EDA are accurate 
representations of original documents.
     DFARS 204.802, Contract Files, is revised. The language in 
this section, which addresses contract file requirements for 
authenticating and conforming paper documents and copies, is being 
removed as it is outdated. A new paragraph (a) is being added, 
providing that electronic documents posted to the EDA system are a part 
of the contract file. Additionally, paragraph (f) is added to state 
that a photocopy, facsimile, electronic, mechanically-applied and 
printed signature, seal, and date are considered to be an original 
signature, seal, and date.
    No comments were received from the public in response to the 
initial regulatory flexibility analysis.
    There will be little, if any, impact on small entities as this rule 
primarily affects procedures for internal Government electronic posting 
and distribution of contractual documents.
    This rule does not require any reporting or recordkeeping, and no 
alternatives were identified that will accomplish the objectives of the 
rule.

V. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The rule does not contain any information collection requirements 
that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under 
the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35).

List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 204 and 237

    Government procurement.

Jennifer L. Hawes,
Editor, Defense Acquisition Regulations System.

    Therefore, 48 CFR parts 204 and 237 are amended as follows:

0
1. The authority citation for 48 CFR parts 204 and 237 continues to 
read as follows:

    Authority:  41 U.S.C. 1303 and 48 CFR chapter 1.

PART 204--ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS

0
2. Amend section 204.201 by adding paragraph (a) to read as follows:


204.201  Procedures.

* * * * *
    (a) In lieu of the requirement at FAR 4.201 (a), contracting 
officers shall distribute one signed copy or reproduction of the signed 
contract to the contractor.

204.270  [Amended]

0
3. Amend section 204.270 by removing the text.

0
4. Add sections 204.270-1 and 204.270-2 to subpart 204.2 to read as 
follows:


204.270-1  Policy.

    (a) The Electronic Document Access (EDA) system, an online 
repository for contractual instruments and supporting documents, is 
DoD's primary tool for electronic distribution of contract documents 
and contract data. Contract attachments shall be uploaded to EDA, 
except for contract attachments that are classified, are too sensitive 
for widespread distribution (e.g., personally identifiable information 
and Privacy Act and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability 
Act, or cannot be practicably converted to electronic format (e.g., 
samples, drawings, and models). Section J (or similar location

[[Page 58632]]

when the Uniform Contract Format is not used) shall include the 
annotation ``provided under separate cover'' for any attachment not 
uploaded to EDA.
    (b) Agencies are responsible for ensuring the following when 
posting documents, including contractual instruments, to EDA--
    (1) The timely distribution of documents; and
    (2) That internal controls are in place to ensure that--
    (i) The electronic version of a contract document in EDA is an 
accurate representation of the contract; and
    (ii) The contract data in EDA is an accurate representation of the 
underlying contract.


204.270-2  Procedures.

    The procedures at PGI 204.270-2 provide details on how to record 
the results of data verification in EDA. When these procedures are 
followed, contract documents in EDA are an accurate representation of 
the contract and therefore may be used for audit purposes.


0
5. Revise section 204.802 to read as follows:


204.802  Contract files.

    (a) Any document posted to the Electronic Document Access (EDA) 
system is part of the contract file and is accessible by multiple 
parties, including the contractor. Do not include in EDA contract 
documents that are classified, too sensitive for widespread 
distribution (e.g., personally identifiable information and Privacy Act 
and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), or 
attachments that cannot be practicably converted to electronic format 
(e.g., samples, drawings, and models). Inclusion of any document in EDA 
other than contracts, modifications, and orders is optional.
    (f) A photocopy, facsimile, electronic, mechanically-applied and 
printed signature, seal, and date are considered to be an original 
signature, seal, and date.

204.805  [Amended]

0
6. Amend section 204.805, paragraph (1), by removing ``official 
contract files'' and adding ``contract files'' in its place.

PART 237--SERVICE CONTRACTING

0
7. Revise section 237.172 to read as follows:


237.172  Service contracts surveillance.

    Ensure that quality assurance surveillance plans are prepared in 
conjunction with the preparation of the statement of work or statement 
of objectives for solicitations and contracts for services. These plans 
should be tailored to address the performance risks inherent in the 
specific contract type and the work effort addressed by the contract. 
(See FAR subpart 46.4.) Retain quality assurance surveillance plans in 
the contract file. See http://sam.dau.mil, Step Four--Requirements 
Definition, for examples of quality assurance surveillance plans.

[FR Doc. 2015-24785 Filed 9-29-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 5001-06-P