[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 246 (Thursday, December 22, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 79609-79610]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-32722]





48 CFR Part 53

[FAR Case 2011-022; Docket 2011-0093; Sequence 1]
RIN 9000-AM15

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

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

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: 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.

DATES: 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 

ADDRESSES: Submit comments in response to FAR Case 2011-022 by any of 
the following methods:
     Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. 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 http://www.regulations.gov, including 
any personal and/or business confidential information provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 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-


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 
    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).

List of Subjects in 48 CFR Part 53

    Government procurement.

    Dated: December 15, 2011.
William Clark,
Acting Director, Federal Acquisition Policy Division, Office of 
Governmentwide Acquisition Policy.
    Therefore, DoD, GSA, and NASA propose amending 48 CFR part 53 as 
set forth below:


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

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

    2. Revise section 53.105 to read as follows:

[[Page 79610]]

53.105   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.

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