Notice of Availability of Final Contracting Policy, 46893-46894 [06-6929]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 157 / Tuesday, August 15, 2006 / Notices Although non-emergency issues not contained in this agenda may come before the Council for discussion, those issues may not be the subject of formal Council action during its 134th meeting. Council action will be restricted to those issues listed in this document and any issue arising after publication of this document that requires emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council’s intent to take final action to address the emergency. Special Accommodations This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Kitty M. Simonds, (808) 522–8220 (voice) or (808) 522–8226 (fax), at least 5 days prior to the meeting date. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: August 9, 2006. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E6–13307 Filed 8–14–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Notice of Availability of Final Contracting Policy National Ocean Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce (DOC). ACTION: Notice of Availability of Final Revised Contracting Policy. mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: The NOAA National Ocean Service (NOS) is publishing its updated contracting policy for hydrographic services per NOAA’s 2005 plans to review and update the subject policy. DATES: No comments are solicited through this notice. ADDRESSES: Ashley Chappell, Office of Coast Survey, National Ocean Service, NOAA (N/CS), 1315 East West Highway, Station 6113, Silver Spring, MD 20910. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ashley Chappell, Office of Coast Survey, National Ocean Service, NOAA (N/CS), 1315 East West Highway, Station 6113, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910; Telephone: 301–713–2770 ext. 148; fax (301) 713–4019, Attention: Ashley Chappell; E-mail ashley.chappell@noaa.gov. VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:41 Aug 14, 2006 Jkt 208001 The contracting policy for hydrographic services within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Ocean Service (NOS) is final. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background In House Report 108–576, which accompanied the FY 2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act, Congress recommended that NOAA’s National Ocean Service ‘‘work with the private mapping community to develop a strategy for expanding contracting with private entities to minimize duplication and take maximum advantage of private sector capability in fulfillment of NOAA’s mapping and charting responsibilities.’’ NOAA first consulted with congressional staff to clarify the scope of the request. Subsequently, on June 13, 2005, NOAA submitted a report to Congress outlining its intent to utilize its advisory group, the Hydrographic Services Review Panel (the Panel), as the primary vehicle for reevalting its existing mapping and charting contracting policy established in 1996. The report stated that the scope of NOAA’s efforts would be limited to hydrographic services programs funded under the ‘‘Mapping and Charting’’ section of the NOAA budget. NOAA then issued a Federal Register notice publishing and soliciting comments on its 1996 policy. The majority of comments were from private sector mapping firms and in general were supportive of NOAA’s existing policy. Upon review of the public comments and in consultation with the Panel, NOAA concluded that a moderate revision of its existing policy was the appropriate approach. On April 7, 2006, NOAA issued a second Federal Register notice publishing and soliciting comments on its draft revised policy. Two comments were received. One was generally supportive and the second detailed several concerns. Two concerns were that NOAA’s efforts (1) did not respond to the congressional request and (2) that the revised policy mistakenly focused solely on NOAA’s hydrographic services. As noted, personnel met with congressional staff and then provided Congress a report outlining the scope of NOAA’s intended efforts. That strategy included utilizing the Panel as the primary mechanism for engaging the public, including the private mapping community, in reexamining the contracting policy. In terms of the scope, the congressional language requesting NOAA to undertake this effort appeared in the ‘‘Mapping and PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 46893 Charting’’ section of the annual appropriations report that addresses only NOAA’s hydrographic services. The second comment disagreed with the draft policy’s conclusion that acquisition of geospatial data is a core agency mission and that the agency should maintain a core capability. Upon review, NOAA concludes its legal authorities provide language indicating acquisition of data is a core agency mission and that the agency should maintain an adequate operational capability. For example, the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act says that the NOAA administrator ‘‘shall acquire and disseminate hydrographic data.’’ (33 U.S.C. 892a(a)(1)). The Act authorizes NOAA to procure vessels, equipment and technologies in order to ‘‘maintain operational expertise in hydrographic data acquisition and hydrographic services.’’ (33 U.S.C. 892a(b)(1)). NOAA Hydrographic Services Contracting Policy NOAA recognizes that qualified commercial sources can provide competent, professional, cost-effective hydrographic services to NOAA in support of its mapping and charting mission for enhancing navigation safety. NOAA also recognizes that the provision of hydrographic services, including the acquisition and dissemination of hydrographic and shoreline data, is a core mission requirement of NOAA under the 1947 Coast and Geodetic Survey Act and the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act of 1998 (as amended). In the interest of public and environmental safety, the Federal government’s responsibility for executing its hydrographic services missions is manifest and non-delegable. Therefore, it is incumbent upon NOAA, as recommended by the Hydrographic Services Review Panel (the Panel), to maintain its operational hydrographic services core capability, and contract for the remainder of its hydrographic services to the extent of available funding. In general, it is the intent of NOAA to contract for hydrographic services when qualified commercial sources exist, and when such contracts are the most cost effective method of conducting these functions. This policy documents the framework and conditions under which contracting will be employed to ensure an open and consistent approach. To support this policy, NOAA will maintain a dialogue with private sector organizations and constituent groups. For the purposes of this policy, the term ‘‘hydrographic services’’ is defined to include: Geodesy, hydrography, E:\FR\FM\15AUN1.SGM 15AUN1 mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with NOTICES 46894 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 157 / Tuesday, August 15, 2006 / Notices photogrammetry, topography, remote sensing, geophysical (gravity, seismological, geomagnetic) measurements, tide and current observations, and data processing. Although this policy is limited to NOAA’s hydrographic services, it is NOAA’s intent to advance contracting and adhere to the principles of this policy to meet all of its geospatial, surveying and mapping requirements. NOAA will procure hydrographic data and services from qualified sources in accordance with its legal authorities, the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (40 U.S.C. 541 et seq.), including Title IX where appropriate. Commonly known as the ‘‘Brooks Act’’ for Architect/ Engineering (A/E) contracts, Title IX is a contract mechanism for use in situations where the professional nature of the services to be procured requires that potential contractors have specialized technical expertise. NOAA may determine that a particular surveying or mapping activity is inherently governmental. NOAA surveying and mapping activities considered inherently governmental in nature may include services necessary to: (1) Monitor the quality of NOAA products; (2) promulgate and promote national and international technical standards and specifications; (3) conduct basic research and development and ensure the rapid transfer to the private sector of the derived technology; (4) maintain the Federal geodetic and navigational databases necessary to support safe and efficient marine operations; (5) support coastal stewardship ecosystem applications; and (6) support Maritime Domain Awareness and Homeland Security preparation and response activities. To carry out the above activities, and to adequately monitor contracted services, NOAA will maintain a core capability of field and office expertise. NOAA may task qualified commercial sources with surveying and mapping services in any part of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone for any NOAA mission-related purpose, irrespective of pre-defined priority categories such as those documented in the NOAA Hydrographic Surveying Priorities. The government’s interests and responsibilities for surveying and mapping vary broadly, and experience has shown that maintaining flexibility is key to responding to the nation’s changing needs for updated surveying and mapping data. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:36 Aug 14, 2006 Jkt 208001 Ancillary Statements and Actions As recommended by the Panel, NOAA will continue to utilize a mix of inhouse and private-sector resources to accomplish its hydrographic services missions. Costs and productivity will be closely monitored within each category (i.e., public and private) to ensure best use of hydrographic services resources. NOAA will also seek to determine the optimal resource allocation between inhouse and private-sector resources based on the strength of the governmental interest, the total requirement for mapping and charting services, and the particular operational capabilities of either government or private-sector resources that may make one more suitable. NOAA will continue to examine ways to improve its contracting process, such as methods for minimizing the turnover frequency of contracting personnel and for reducing the length of time required to award contracts and task orders. NOAA will maintain its offer of debriefings to successful and unsuccessful hydrographic services contractors after final selection has taken place. The purpose of these debriefings is to assist contractors with identifying significant weaknesses or deficiencies in their submissions. NOAA is also exploring the establishment of an Ocean and Coastal Mapping Training Center. The Training Center was initially conceived as a curriculum to support NOAA’s in-house hydrographic surveying training requirements. But NOAA now recognizes value in broadening the Center’s scope to include training for NOAA and private sector contractors in techniques, standards, and technologies that support NOAA’s many shoreline, coastal and ocean mapping activities. This concept builds on NOAA’s annual Hydrographic Training and Field Procedures Workshops currently held for NOAA personnel and its hydrographic services contractors to train and trade valuable lessons learned from surveying experience. Such training would be beneficial to current or prospective NOAA contractors seeking to strengthen their proposal submissions. To view the 1996 National Ocean Service Contracting Policy; the Brooks Act, Public Law 92–582 or the 1998 and 2002 Hydrographic Services Improvement Acts (which authorize NOAA Navigation Services programs), visit http://nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/ocs/ hsrp/archive/library.htm. PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Dated: August 9, 2006. Captain Steven Barnum, NOAA, Director, Office of Coast Survey, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [FR Doc. 06–6929 Filed 8–14–06; 8:45am] BILLING CODE 3510–JE–M DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Technology Administration Technology Administration Performance Review Board Membership The Technology Administration Performance Review Board (TA PRB) reviews performance appraisals, agreements, and recommended actions pertaining to employees in the Senior Executive Service and reviews performance-related pay increases for ST–3104 employees. The Board makes recommendations to the appropriate appointing authority concerning such matters so as to ensure the fair and equitable treatment of these individuals. This notice lists the membership of the TA PRB and supersedes the list published in Federal Register Vol. 70, No. 158, pages 48374–48375, on August 17, 2005. Bruce Borzino (C), Deputy Director, National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161, Appointment Expires: 12/31/2008, General. Alan Cookson (C) (Alternate), Deputy Director, Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, Appointment Expires: 12/31/07, Limited. Paul Doremus (C), Director of Strategic Planning, Program Planning and Integration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, MD 20910, Appointment Expires: 12/31/07, Limited. Cita Furlani (C), Director, Information Technology Laboratory, National Institute of Standards & Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, Appointment Expires: 12/31/07, Limited. Patrick Gallagher (C) (Alternate), Director, NIST Center for Neutron Research, Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, Appointment Expires: 12/31/07, Limited. Howard Harary (C), Deputy Director, Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory, National Institute of E:\FR\FM\15AUN1.SGM 15AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 157 (Tuesday, August 15, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 46893-46894]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 06-6929]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Notice of Availability of Final Contracting Policy

AGENCY: National Ocean Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce (DOC).

ACTION:  Notice of Availability of Final Revised Contracting Policy.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The NOAA National Ocean Service (NOS) is publishing its 
updated contracting policy for hydrographic services per NOAA's 2005 
plans to review and update the subject policy.

DATES: No comments are solicited through this notice.

ADDRESSES: Ashley Chappell, Office of Coast Survey, National Ocean 
Service, NOAA (N/CS), 1315 East West Highway, Station 6113, Silver 
Spring, MD 20910.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ashley Chappell, Office of Coast 
Survey, National Ocean Service, NOAA (N/CS), 1315 East West Highway, 
Station 6113, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910; Telephone: 301-713-2770 
ext. 148; fax (301) 713-4019, Attention: Ashley Chappell; E-mail 
ashley.chappell@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The contracting policy for hydrographic 
services within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
(NOAA), National Ocean Service (NOS) is final.

Background

    In House Report 108-576, which accompanied the FY 2005 Consolidated 
Appropriations Act, Congress recommended that NOAA's National Ocean 
Service ``work with the private mapping community to develop a strategy 
for expanding contracting with private entities to minimize duplication 
and take maximum advantage of private sector capability in fulfillment 
of NOAA's mapping and charting responsibilities.''
    NOAA first consulted with congressional staff to clarify the scope 
of the request. Subsequently, on June 13, 2005, NOAA submitted a report 
to Congress outlining its intent to utilize its advisory group, the 
Hydrographic Services Review Panel (the Panel), as the primary vehicle 
for reevalting its existing mapping and charting contracting policy 
established in 1996. The report stated that the scope of NOAA's efforts 
would be limited to hydrographic services programs funded under the 
``Mapping and Charting'' section of the NOAA budget. NOAA then issued a 
Federal Register notice publishing and soliciting comments on its 1996 
policy. The majority of comments were from private sector mapping firms 
and in general were supportive of NOAA's existing policy. Upon review 
of the public comments and in consultation with the Panel, NOAA 
concluded that a moderate revision of its existing policy was the 
appropriate approach. On April 7, 2006, NOAA issued a second Federal 
Register notice publishing and soliciting comments on its draft revised 
policy. Two comments were received. One was generally supportive and 
the second detailed several concerns.
    Two concerns were that NOAA's efforts (1) did not respond to the 
congressional request and (2) that the revised policy mistakenly 
focused solely on NOAA's hydrographic services. As noted, personnel met 
with congressional staff and then provided Congress a report outlining 
the scope of NOAA's intended efforts. That strategy included utilizing 
the Panel as the primary mechanism for engaging the public, including 
the private mapping community, in reexamining the contracting policy. 
In terms of the scope, the congressional language requesting NOAA to 
undertake this effort appeared in the ``Mapping and Charting'' section 
of the annual appropriations report that addresses only NOAA's 
hydrographic services.
    The second comment disagreed with the draft policy's conclusion 
that acquisition of geospatial data is a core agency mission and that 
the agency should maintain a core capability. Upon review, NOAA 
concludes its legal authorities provide language indicating acquisition 
of data is a core agency mission and that the agency should maintain an 
adequate operational capability. For example, the Hydrographic Services 
Improvement Act says that the NOAA administrator ``shall acquire and 
disseminate hydrographic data.'' (33 U.S.C. 892a(a)(1)). The Act 
authorizes NOAA to procure vessels, equipment and technologies in order 
to ``maintain operational expertise in hydrographic data acquisition 
and hydrographic services.'' (33 U.S.C. 892a(b)(1)).

NOAA Hydrographic Services Contracting Policy

    NOAA recognizes that qualified commercial sources can provide 
competent, professional, cost-effective hydrographic services to NOAA 
in support of its mapping and charting mission for enhancing navigation 
safety. NOAA also recognizes that the provision of hydrographic 
services, including the acquisition and dissemination of hydrographic 
and shoreline data, is a core mission requirement of NOAA under the 
1947 Coast and Geodetic Survey Act and the Hydrographic Services 
Improvement Act of 1998 (as amended). In the interest of public and 
environmental safety, the Federal government's responsibility for 
executing its hydrographic services missions is manifest and non-
delegable. Therefore, it is incumbent upon NOAA, as recommended by the 
Hydrographic Services Review Panel (the Panel), to maintain its 
operational hydrographic services core capability, and contract for the 
remainder of its hydrographic services to the extent of available 
funding.
    In general, it is the intent of NOAA to contract for hydrographic 
services when qualified commercial sources exist, and when such 
contracts are the most cost effective method of conducting these 
functions. This policy documents the framework and conditions under 
which contracting will be employed to ensure an open and consistent 
approach. To support this policy, NOAA will maintain a dialogue with 
private sector organizations and constituent groups. For the purposes 
of this policy, the term ``hydrographic services'' is defined to 
include: Geodesy, hydrography,

[[Page 46894]]

photogrammetry, topography, remote sensing, geophysical (gravity, 
seismological, geomagnetic) measurements, tide and current 
observations, and data processing. Although this policy is limited to 
NOAA's hydrographic services, it is NOAA's intent to advance 
contracting and adhere to the principles of this policy to meet all of 
its geospatial, surveying and mapping requirements.
    NOAA will procure hydrographic data and services from qualified 
sources in accordance with its legal authorities, the Federal 
Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and the Federal Property and 
Administrative Services Act of 1949 (40 U.S.C. 541 et seq.), including 
Title IX where appropriate. Commonly known as the ``Brooks Act'' for 
Architect/Engineering (A/E) contracts, Title IX is a contract mechanism 
for use in situations where the professional nature of the services to 
be procured requires that potential contractors have specialized 
technical expertise.
    NOAA may determine that a particular surveying or mapping activity 
is inherently governmental. NOAA surveying and mapping activities 
considered inherently governmental in nature may include services 
necessary to: (1) Monitor the quality of NOAA products; (2) promulgate 
and promote national and international technical standards and 
specifications; (3) conduct basic research and development and ensure 
the rapid transfer to the private sector of the derived technology; (4) 
maintain the Federal geodetic and navigational databases necessary to 
support safe and efficient marine operations; (5) support coastal 
stewardship ecosystem applications; and (6) support Maritime Domain 
Awareness and Homeland Security preparation and response activities. To 
carry out the above activities, and to adequately monitor contracted 
services, NOAA will maintain a core capability of field and office 
expertise.
    NOAA may task qualified commercial sources with surveying and 
mapping services in any part of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone for 
any NOAA mission-related purpose, irrespective of pre-defined priority 
categories such as those documented in the NOAA Hydrographic Surveying 
Priorities. The government's interests and responsibilities for 
surveying and mapping vary broadly, and experience has shown that 
maintaining flexibility is key to responding to the nation's changing 
needs for updated surveying and mapping data.

Ancillary Statements and Actions

    As recommended by the Panel, NOAA will continue to utilize a mix of 
in-house and private-sector resources to accomplish its hydrographic 
services missions. Costs and productivity will be closely monitored 
within each category (i.e., public and private) to ensure best use of 
hydrographic services resources. NOAA will also seek to determine the 
optimal resource allocation between in-house and private-sector 
resources based on the strength of the governmental interest, the total 
requirement for mapping and charting services, and the particular 
operational capabilities of either government or private-sector 
resources that may make one more suitable.
    NOAA will continue to examine ways to improve its contracting 
process, such as methods for minimizing the turnover frequency of 
contracting personnel and for reducing the length of time required to 
award contracts and task orders. NOAA will maintain its offer of 
debriefings to successful and unsuccessful hydrographic services 
contractors after final selection has taken place. The purpose of these 
debriefings is to assist contractors with identifying significant 
weaknesses or deficiencies in their submissions. NOAA is also exploring 
the establishment of an Ocean and Coastal Mapping Training Center. The 
Training Center was initially conceived as a curriculum to support 
NOAA's in-house hydrographic surveying training requirements. But NOAA 
now recognizes value in broadening the Center's scope to include 
training for NOAA and private sector contractors in techniques, 
standards, and technologies that support NOAA's many shoreline, coastal 
and ocean mapping activities. This concept builds on NOAA's annual 
Hydrographic Training and Field Procedures Workshops currently held for 
NOAA personnel and its hydrographic services contractors to train and 
trade valuable lessons learned from surveying experience. Such training 
would be beneficial to current or prospective NOAA contractors seeking 
to strengthen their proposal submissions.
    To view the 1996 National Ocean Service Contracting Policy; the 
Brooks Act, Public Law 92-582 or the 1998 and 2002 Hydrographic 
Services Improvement Acts (which authorize NOAA Navigation Services 
programs), visit http://nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/ocs/hsrp/archive/
library.htm.

    Dated: August 9, 2006.
Captain Steven Barnum,
NOAA, Director, Office of Coast Survey, National Ocean Service, 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
[FR Doc. 06-6929 Filed 8-14-06; 8:45am]
BILLING CODE 3510-JE-M