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The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) is

[t]he regulation that codifies uniform acquisition policies and procedures for Executive agencies Governmentwide.[1]


Is is the primary regulation used by all federal executive agencies in their acquisition of supplies and services with appropriated funds. It was established to codify uniform policies for acquisition of supplies and services by executive agencies. It is codified in Title 48 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.

The FAR became effective April 1, 1984, and is issued within applicable laws under the joint authorities of the Administrator of General Services, the Secretary of Defense, and the Administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, under the broad policy guidelines of the Administrator, Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Office of Management and Budget.

The FAR is not just a contracting regulation; it addresses topics that apply throughout the life cycle, including such critical aspects as acquisition planning (Part 7), market research (Part 10), description of needs (Part 11), and contract administration (Part 42). Acquisition policies and procedures for acquiring digital services (which are Information Technology services) are addressed in FAR Part 39.

Those who are involved in acquisition, whether programmatic, technical, financial, or contracting, should be knowledgeable about the FAR and about changes to the FAR as they occur. For example, statutory and policy reforms have prompted the inclusion of two sections in the FAR that have important implications for those involved in managing acquisitions: the guiding principles for the Federal Acquisition System and performance standards.

The origin of these guiding principles is linked to the general reform philosophy espoused by the Clinton-Gore Administration. Vice President Gore, in the Report of the National Performance Review: Creating a Government that Works Better and Costs Less, recognized the need for deregulation in the acquisition process and emphasized that acquisition regulations should be rewritten to provide for empowerment and flexibility. According to the report, the acquisition regulations should:

  • Shift from rigid rules to guiding principles.
  • Promote decision making at the lowest possible level.
  • End unnecessary regulatory requirements.
  • Foster competitiveness and commercial practices.
  • Shift to a new emphasis on choosing “best value” products.

The Department of Defense (DoD, has heavily supplemented (overridden) the FAR by the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS).


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