Feds May Want Vendors to Vouch

An item posted in today's Federal Register under the Defense Department, the general Services Administration and NASA asks whether the Federal Acquisition Regulation should be amended to require that contractors vouch for the authenticity of their products (Here is a summary.)

The proposal asks whether contractors should have to state up front that their products are authentic and asks what their liability should be if the products are found not to be. It's a big problem, as Nextgov reported in May:

The FBI, along with the Homeland Security Department, seized more than 400 pieces of counterfeit Cisco network hardware with an estimated retail value of more than $76 million during a two-year investigation dubbed Operation Cisco Raider. . . . The bureau placed much of the blame for the fake equipment finding its way onto government computer systems on current acquisition policies that the government follows to buy IT equipment, which encourages agencies to award contracts to companies offering the lowest possible price, because contractors buy the low-cost equipment to remain competitive. Policies that allow contracting officers to permit bidding companies to work with subcontractors, who often buy equipment from other subcontractors, exacerbates the problem, because it becomes harder to track the origin of the equipment from manufacturer to supplier, the FBI concluded.

A public meeting to consider the measure is being held from 9am to 3pm on Dec. 11 in the James Webb Memorial Auditorium at NASA in Downtown Washington. Those wishing to make a presentation at the meeting must submit them to GSA by Dec. 1. So if you feel strongly about the issue one way or the other, be there.

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