Government Executive article by Robert Brodsky

Next month, the Transportation Security Administration will be required to adhere to the same procurement regulations imposed on almost all other federal agencies.

Since its creation in November 2001, TSA has been exempt from the Federal Acquisition Regulation. The exemption was designed to allow the agency to quickly install security screening equipment at airports after the Sept. 11 attacks. Lawmakers, however, ended the exemption last year, citing the lack of urgency in TSA's procurement operations and the agency's ongoing problems with contract management.

As of June 23, TSA must follow the FAR, as well as the Homeland Security Department's internal purchasing regulations, according to a final notice published Tuesday in the Federal Register.

Members of Congress have fought for nearly two years to bring TSA in compliance with the FAR, the standard governmentwide acquisition rules followed by most federal agencies, including all other DHS components.

In 2006, Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Olympia Snow, R-Maine, offered an amendment to the Homeland Security appropriations bill that would have ended the exemption. That language was eliminated in committee.

An identical amendment sponsored by Kerry and Snowe, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, respectively, was signed into law last December as part of the omnibus appropriations package.

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