National Association of Government Contractors

NDAA Changes Benefit Small Businesses, Buyers

The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) rules governing the acquisition of commercial items would give those making relatively small purchases more choices, and small businesses -- potentially -- a bigger share of that market.

Since President Donald Trump signed the 2018 NDAA into law on Dec. 12, the focus has been on rules providing a three-fold increase in the micro-purchase threshold for civilian agencies from $3,000 to $10,000.

A micro-purchase, because of its relatively low value, doesn't require competition. With few limitations, it allows contracting officers to  \buy any product from any company, so long as it doesn't exceed the $10,000 threshold.

"That's really, really important because it gives federal employees access to the commercial marketplace on a much greater level. It provides more flexibility, and it shows the confidence we have in federal employees to  comparison shop  just like you and I do, " Angela Styles, the former administrator for Federal Procurement Policy in the Office of Management and Budget, has stated.

"From office products to 'I need a printer and I need it now,' anyone in the federal government can go out right now to or Walmart and make a purchase as  long as it's under $10,000," Styles said.

A sudden increase in government spending isn't anticipated, however, as contracting officers wait to see how the NDAA authority is incorporated into the Federal Acquisition Regulations system (FAR).

The NDAA also set new spending thresholds for bigger contracts. The increased Simplified Acquisition threshold applies to purchases up to $250,000, and above that, the Certified Cost or Pricing Data threshold moves from $750,000 to $2 million. Both have their own

For purchase between $10,000 and $250,000, the NDAA states some terms and conditions, and a requirement for competition, but it's simplified.

"This is a 'give' to small business in the NDAA," said Styles. "Hopefully, having such a broad dollar range should benefit small business."

Given that agencies have met goals for buying from small business the past couple of years, it appears contracting officers have moved to the mindset of trying to buy more from small business. Styles called that a positive trend.

"I think they understand the importance of small businesses to the economy. They want to make those purchases. They get good products and services out of them. And, maybe, often times they are more responsive than some of the large businesses as well."

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