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

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Final rule.


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


Effective Date: August 27, 2012.


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 FAC 2005-60, FAR Case 2011-022.


I. Background

DoD, GSA, and NASA published a proposed rule in the Federal Register at 76 FR 79609 on December 22, 2011, to implement the removal of FIPS 161. FIPS 161 is being removed based on the notice posted in the Federal Register at 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 This FIPS requirement was withdrawn by the Secretary of Commerce because it was obsolete and had not been updated to adopt current voluntary industry standards, Federal specifications, Federal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 final rule closes that gap by clarifying the use of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 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.

II. Discussion and Analysis

There were no public comments received in response to the proposed rule; therefore, this rule is published as a final rule.

III. 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.

IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration certify 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 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 and replacement with the ANSI X12 set of standards. ANSI X12 standards were already a part of the FIPS 161 standard and have been updated with current voluntary industry standards already in use. Therefore, there is no impact to the Government or contractors in establishing ANSI X12 as the new standard. Small businesses will continue to be able to generate forms by computer.

V. 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).

List of Subjects in 48 CFR Part 53

Dated: July 16, 2012.

Laura Auletta,

Director, Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Governmentwide Policy.

Therefore, DoD, GSA, and NASA amend 48 CFR part 53 as follows:


1. The authority citation for

Authority: 40 U.S.C. 121(c); 10 U.S.C. chapter 137; and 51 U.S.C. 20113.

2. Revise section 53.105 to read as follows:

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) of this section may also be used for submission of data set forth in other parts for which specific forms have not been prescribed.

[FR Doc. 2012-17738 Filed 7-25-12; 8:45 am]