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April 5, 2000



Memorandum for:     Heads of Contracting Offices

                                  /original signed by Lisa Jandovitz/
From:                       Lisa Jandovitz, Acting Director
                                Acquisition Policy and Programs

Subject:                    DoC Policy Methodology

Acquisition Policy and Programs (APP) has undertaken a review of all existing acquisition policy and guidance. Over the years, DoC policy and guidance has been issued to the operating units using a variety of different mechanisms, including Acquisition Letters (AL), Procurement Memoranda (PM), HCO Memoranda, Departmental Administrative Orders (DAOs), as well as the Commerce Acquisition Regulations (CAR) and the Commerce Acquisition Manual (CAM) and corresponding Commerce Acquisition Bulletins (CAB) and Commerce Acquisition Circulars (CAC). The use of these multiple means of disseminating information has resulted in confusion for our customers. Consistent with APP's goal to provide meaningful and value added acquisition policy for Commerce acquisition personnel, we will be limiting our future policy transmittals, as follows.

Effective immediately, there will be only two sources for DoC acquisition policy and guidance, as follows:

    (1)    Commerce Acquisition Regulations (CAR)

The Commerce Acquisition Regulation (CAR) establishes uniform acquisition policies and procedures, which implement and supplement the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

    (2) Commerce Acquisition Manual (CAM)

The Commerce Acquisition Manual (CAM) implements and supplements the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and the Commerce Acquisition Regulation (CAR). It is non-regulatory in nature and provides uniform policies and procedures for internal operations associated with acquiring supplies and services within the Department. Many of the procedures in the CAM originate from external regulations in areas such as security, printing, finance, etc.

As always, you should rely on the CAM as procedural guidance and follow established procedures unless there are sound, justifiable reasons for not doing so.

In the past, the CAM has been issued in parts and chapters associated with the related Parts of the FAR. Future issuances of CAM guidance will be numbered consistent with the FAR and the CAR, with numbering directly tied to the FAR parts, subparts or sections being supplemented. The CAR and CAM section numbers will be preceded by the number "13", which represents DoC's chapter assignment in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) for issuance of agency acquisition regulations. (For example, FAR section 13.301 prescribes usage of the Government-wide Purchase Card. DoC Purchase Card Procedures will be issued as CAM 1313.301.)

Changes to the CAR will be issued via CAR Circulars and changes to the CAM will be issued via CAM Notices. Both will be numbered sequentially using the following format: FY- ##, where FY is the fiscal year in which the change is issued and ## represents the sequential number (01, 02, etc.) of the issuance within that fiscal year.

We will continue to use Procurement Memoranda (PM) to communicate information that does not establish or change policy or procedure, or to request action on a one-time basis. PMs will be sequentially numbered in the same manner described above, and will include a header indicating whether the PM is for "INFORMATION" or "ACTION." PMs will be self-expiring once the information has been communicated or the action completed.

All existing policy documents will be reviewed in the coming months and will either be incorporated into the CAR or CAM or will be cancelled. We will ensure that all policy changes include operating unit input and buy-in whenever possible through maximum use of technology.

APP plans to issue all future policy and guidance in "plain language" in accordance with the President's memorandum of June 1, 1998, which directed Executive departments and agencies to use plain language in future rulemaking documents. Further information on the Government's "Plain Language" initiative is available on the internet at . All existing policy and guidance remains in effect until otherwise notified.

In support of our policy update and to further our goal of improving communication with our customers, APP will be launching an improved policy website that will better organize existing policy documents as well as provide information on new policy issuances and cancellations. With the innumerable policy changes that will be forthcoming over the next year, the website will serve as a valuable tool to help you stay abreast of DoC acquisition policy.

All CAR, CAM and PM issuances will be posted on the APP website. APP will notify HCOs by e-mail of new policy or procedure postings on the website. If you would prefer that the e-mail notification be directed to another individual within your office, please submit the individual's name and e-mail address to Catherine Poole at . Hard copy distributions will continue for the near future until it has been determined that all offices are able to view and print the policy from the website.

Should you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact me at (202) 482-0202.