The U.S. Federal Procurement System: An Introduction

The U.S. procurement market is one of the largest in the world,1 and the procurement law which guides that market, a regulatory regime which is both complex and mature,2 offers important lessons for other procurement systems around the world. This article provides a modest introduction to U.S. procurement law – especially federal procurement law, which generally is more extensively developed than state or local procurement law3 – and suggests possible lessons learned that may be useful for other systems. The article proceeds in several parts. Part I reviews the history of the federal procurement system, which can be traced to the Revolutionary War. That initial part also discusses the contract administration regime that the federal government has developed – a separate system, uniquely independent from commercial law – and argues that setting the U.S. procurement law regime apart from commercial law makes sense because of the unique requirements (and risk allocations) between the government and its contractors. Part II discusses access to the market, through transparency for example, and because of international trade agreements guaranteeing non-discrimination and national treatment. Part III discusses leading procurement methods in federal procurement, with a special emphasis on the multilateral competitive negotiations that had, by the end of the twentieth century, become a mainstay of complex federal procurements.

Christopher R. Yukins
no 3
s. 69