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Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement; Institutions of Higher Education

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Department of Defense (DoD).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

DoD has adopted as final, with minor changes, an interim rule amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to implement Section 549 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000. Section 549 amends statutory provisions pertaining to the denial of Federal contracts and grants to institutions of higher education that prevent Senior Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) access or military recruiting on campus.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

July 30, 2002.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Susan Schneider, Defense Acquisition Regulations Council, OUSD (AT&L) DP (DAR), IMD 3C132, 3062 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-3062. Telephone (703) 602-0326; facsimile (703) 602-0350. Please cite DFARS Case 99—D303.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

This rule implements Section 549 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 (Public Law 106-65). Section 549 amends 10 U.S.C. 983 to prohibit DoD from providing funds by contract or grant to an institution of higher education (including any subelement of that institution) if the Secretary of Defense determines that the institution (or any subelement of the institution) has a policy or practice that prohibits, or in effect prevents, Senior ROTC units or military recruiting on campus.

DoD published an interim rule at 65 FR 2056 on January 13, 2000. Sixty-one sources submitted comments on the interim rule. After evaluating all comments, DoD converted the interim rule to a final rule with minor editorial changes. A summary of the comments and the DoD response is provided below:

Comment: The greatest concern expressed by respondents pertained to the extension of the prohibition to subelements of educational institutions. The respondents stated that Section 549 of Public Law 106-65 was intended to recodify prior legislation, which did not require extension of the prohibition to subelements; prior legislative history did not support extension to subelements; and the fact that the subelement language was contained in the Senate report but not in the House report, and that the Senate had receded to the House version of the bill, meant that DoD could not rely upon the Senate report as a basis for extending the rule to subelements of an institution.

DoD Response: Senate and House Committee reports generally are taken into consideration to determine legislative intent only when the statutory language is unclear. The final language of Section 549 of Public Law 106-65 clearly states that the policy applies to any subelement of an institution. A comparison of the previous and current legislation shows that the subelement language was a new addition to the statute resulting from the enactment of Section 549.

Comment: Several respondents believed that DoD did not have Start Printed Page 49254sufficient cause to issue an interim rule without prior opportunity for public comment. DoD Response: Section 549 of Public Law 106-65 became effective upon enactment, on October 5, 1999. DoD issued a rule before receipt of public comments to promptly comply with the new statutory requirement.

Comment: One respondent stated that the rule calls for suspension and debarment without due process and asked what procedure exists for an educational institution to challenge a determination. DoD Response: This DFARS rule merely prescribes the action to be taken after an institution is determined to be ineligible for DoD contract awards. The procedures used to make that determination are addressed separately in the regulations at 32 CFR part 216.

Comment: One respondent stated that the requirements for stopping payments and terminating existing contracts go far beyond traditional suspension and debarment. DoD Response: These requirements are not new. They were added to the DFARS in 1995 to comply with Section 558 of Public Law 103-337, which prohibited DoD from providing funds to educational institutions that prevented military recruiting on campus. The current legislation contains a similar prohibition.

This rule was not subject to Office of Management and Budget review under Executive Order 12866, dated September 30, 1993.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

DoD certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., because the rule applies only to institutions of higher education that do not permit Senior ROTC units or military recruiting on campus.

C. Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply because the rule does not impose any information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.

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List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 209, 243, and 252

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Michele P. Peterson,

Executive Editor, Defense Acquisition Regulations Council.

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Interim Rule Adopted as Final With Changes

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Accordingly, the interim rule amending

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1. The authority citation for

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Authority: 41 U.S.C. 421 and 48 CFR Chapter 1.

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PART 209—CONTRACTOR QUALIFICATIONS

[Amended]
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2. Section 209.470-3 is amended in paragraphs (b)(1), (2), and (3) by removing “Must” and adding in its place “Shall”.

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[FR Doc. 02-19081 Filed 7-29-02; 8:45 am]

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