DoD Revising Important Commercial Item Guidance

Under the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 (“FASA”), Congress required federal agencies to purchase commonly available products and services – “commercial items” – whenever possible and to use simplified procedures in doing so. Today, the Department of Defense (“DoD”) announced that it is revising its Commercial Items Handbook (“the Handbook”), originally written in 2001. The proposed rewrite is intended to “enhance effectiveness and efficiency” in the DoD commercial item program.

The Handbook constitutes a useful tool for businesses seeking to sell commercial products and services to the DoD because it contains the DoD’s own, internal guidance for commercial item procurements. For example, the Handbook includes guidance, including a series of helpful checklists, for those DoD procurement officials who make the crucial determination of whether a product or service is entitled to the favorable treatment afforded commercial items. By understanding this guidance, businesses are better able to market their products and services to defense agencies and their prime contractors under Part 12 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) and other applicable agency rules.

A draft of the proposed revisions is available for public review and may be accessed at:  The DoD welcomes industry comments on the proposed revisions.  Interested parties may submit comments through July 31, 2009.

For additional information or if you have questions on this topic, contact the Government Contract attorneys at Eckland & Blando.