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  • Question

    1. How does OMB circular A-130, section 8.b, which supports maintaining existing information systems, ensuring consistency of enterprise architectures, and avoid having improvements to existing systems duplicate existing capabilities, interface with FAR 6.302-1(c) which requires that brand name only purchases be essential to the Government's requirements, thereby precluding consideration of a product manufactured by another company. FAR 8.405-6(a)(1) and FAR 8.405-6(b), have similarly clear preference for competition over sole source or brand names. A number of purchase requests that are made at agencies involve the purchase of brand name products because they are deemed compatible with the existing enterprise architecture. 2. Does A-130 provide a basis for considering compatibility with existing enterprise architecture as meeting the essential to the Government's requirements element of FAR 6.302-1(c)? 3. How do Government purchasing agents reconcile the FAR preference for competition with the practical and OMB A-130 concept of maintaining a proven IT enterprise and its components?


    Answer

    Those are interesting questions, for which to receive a complete and thorough response you would need to ask the policy makers/writers for both OMB Circular A-130 and FAR 6.3. However, it can be safely stated that the justification requirements at FAR 6.303 are meant to permit the contracting officer (with input from the appropriate user/program manager of course) with the flexibility to explain how providing for full and open competition would be inappropriate in light of the guidance in OMB A-130. The authority at FAR 6.302-1(a)(2)(ii) would form the basis for the justification in your case.

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