Can an Activity procure transportation related services, over the SAT, in accordance with FAR 47? Furthermore, there are several instances throughout the FAR that list what Agencies can and cannot do, but it is silent on Activities. I have seen several organizations that treat Activities as Other Defense Agencies, would this apply for instances in the FAR that speak only about Activities? Or should one derive that when the FAR only states that Agencies, may, that it intends Activities, cannot, unless specifically mentioned.
(a) All Government agencies may contract for transportation or for transportation-related services. The DoD and GSA contract for transportation or for transportation-related services on behalf of other activities and agencies. (b) Agencies may obtain transportation or transportation-related services for which the cost does not exceed the simplified acquisition threshold if term contracts or basic ordering agreements are not available.
Findings - The FAR states that agencies may contract for transportation or transportation related services and execute basic ordering agreements. Of particular interest is that the FAR does not state that Activities cannot exercise this same authority.
Per FAR 47.2e - Additional guidance for DoD acquisition of freight and passenger transportation is in the Defense Transportation Regulation, DTR.
DTR Section L.5 - DOD activities will use best commercial practices and streamline best-value acquisition processes and include performance-based specifications when acquiring transportation services.
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If the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command cannot provide the drayage services, then I see nothing in FAR Part 47
prohibiting your activity from going through contracting channels to procure the services. Mandatory use of the GSA Regional Federal Supply Service Bureau applies only to civilian government activities. As for the FAR's distinction between "activity" and "agency," it appears cloudy at best. Throughout the FAR, "activities" is used to refer to both functions and organizations. A clue as to whether your activity is also an "agency" can be taken from DoDEA's own website
: "DoDEA is a field activity of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. It is headed by a director who oversees all agency (emphasis added) functions from DoDEA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia." In other words, the terms "activity" and "agency" are equivalent.