Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Federal Acquisition Regulation; Clarification of Standards for Computer Generation of Forms

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble


Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).


Proposed rule.


DoD, GSA, and NASA are proposing to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to remove any reference to Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 161 and codify requirements for standards already in use.


Interested parties should submit written comments to the Regulatory Secretariat at one of the addressees shown below on or before February 21, 2012 to be considered in the formation of the final rule.


Submit comments in response to FAR Case 2011-022 by any of the following methods:

  • Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by inputting “FAR Case 2011-022” under the heading “Enter Keyword or ID” and selecting “Search.” Select the link “Submit a Comment” that corresponds with “FAR Case 2011-022.” Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “FAR Case 2011-022” on your attached document.
  • Fax: (202) 501-4067.
  • Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat (MVCB), Attn: Hada Flowers, 1275 First Street NE., 7th Floor, Washington, DC 20417.

Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite FAR Case 2011-022, in all correspondence related to this case. All comments received will be posted without change to, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided.

Start Further Info


Ms. Deborah Lague, Procurement Analyst, at (202) 694-8149 for clarification of content. For information pertaining to status or publication schedules, contact the Regulatory Secretariat at (202) 501-4755. Please cite FAR Case 2011-022.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information


I. Background

DoD, GSA, and NASA are proposing to revise the FAR to implement the removal of FIPS 161. FIPS 161 is being removed based on the notice posted in the Federal Register (73 FR 51276) on September 2, 2008, by the Department of Commerce. This FIPS requirement was withdrawn by the Secretary of Commerce because it was obsolete, and had not been updated to adopt current voluntary industry standards, Federal specifications, Federal data standards, or current good practices for information security. The withdrawal of this standard created a gap in the FAR. This proposed case, if adopted, closes that gap by clarifying the use of American National Standards Institute X12, as the valid standard to use for computer-generated forms. FAR 53.105 is being amended; it will continue allowing agencies and the public to generate standard and optional forms on their computers.

In addition to clarifying that FIPS 161 is no longer in use, public comments are invited to identify other voluntary industry standards, Federal specifications, Federal data standards, or current good practices for the computer generation of forms.

II. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

Executive Orders (E.O.s) 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). E.O. 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not subject to review under Section 6(b) of E.O. 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

III. Regulatory Flexibility Act

DoD, GSA, and NASA do not expect this rule to 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 it is removing FIPS 161 which is obsolete or has not been updated to adopt current voluntary industry standards, Federal specifications, Federal data standards, or current good practices for information security. This is a technical change acknowledging the removal by the Department of Commerce of FIPS 161. Small businesses will continue to be able to generate forms by computer. Therefore, an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis has not been performed. DoD, GSA, and NASA invite comments from small business concerns and other interested parties on the expected impact of this rule on small entities.

DoD, GSA, and NASA will also consider comments from small entities concerning the existing regulations in subparts affected by the rule in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 610. Interested parties must submit such comments separately and should cite 5 U.S.C. 610 (FAR Case 2011-022), in correspondence.

IV. Paperwork Reduction Act

The rule does not contain any information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35).

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 48 CFR Part 53

End List of Subjects Start Signature

Dated: December 15, 2011.

William Clark,

Acting Director, Federal Acquisition Policy Division, Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy.

End Signature

Therefore, DoD, GSA, and NASA propose amending 48 CFR part 53 as set forth below:

Start Part


1. The authority citation for 48 CFR part 53 continues to read as follows:

Start Authority

Authority: 40 U.S.C. 121(c); 10 U.S.C. chapter 137; and 42 U.S.C. 2473(c).

End Authority

2. Revise section 53.105 to read as follows:

Start Printed Page 79610
Computer generation.

(a) The forms prescribed by this part may be computer generated without exception approval (see 53.103), provided—

(1) There is no change to the name, content, or sequence of the data elements, and the form carries the Standard or Optional Form number and edition date (see 53.111); or

(2) The form is in an electronic format covered by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) X12 Standards published by the Accredited Standards Committee X12 on Electronic Data Interchange or a format that can be translated into one of those standards.

(b) The standards listed in paragraph (a)(2) above may also be used for submission of data set forth in other parts for which specific forms have not been prescribed.

End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2011-32722 Filed 12-21-11; 8:45 am]