On December 26, 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued updated guidelines for all grants and awards issued by the federal government. The objective was to make the management of the grants and awards easier for both the government and the recipients. There was considerable variations from agency to agency for award documents (containing terms, conditions, standards, and so forth). In addition, within the Department of Defense (DoD), there was considerable variation from component to component so that similar awards for similar projects might have significant differences depending upon whether the award was made by the Army or the Navy. In some cases, the administrative differences might even vary depending upon which command with the Army issued the award. (The last time the system had been addressed was in the 1990s.)
The rules that address how DoD components make grants and awards and enter into cooperative agreements are the Department of Defense Grants and Agreements Regulations (DoDGARs).
Six proposed regulations announced
Announced on November 7, 2016, six proposed rules would reorganize and simplify the DoDGARs. They address administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements and should make the award process easier. The new rules implement OMB requirements for plain language, standard wording, standard formats, and the use of consistent terms and conditions by approximately 100 different DoD components that award grants or enter into cooperative agreements.
These proposed regulations effect organizations that receive grants or enter into cooperative agreements with the DoD:
- Institutions of higher learning.
- Nonprofit organizations.
- State governments.
- Local governments.
- Some for-profit entities.
These proposed regulations will govern the use of between $4 to $6 billion in federal funds for defense research, support of state National Guards, assistance to communities affected by military cutbacks, and education of military dependents.
Deadline for comments
If your organization is affected by these changes, you have until February 6, 2017, to submit comments, as indicated in the announcement in the Federal Register (FR).
2 CFR 1103 becomes 2 CFR 1104
The first proposed rule is a codification and “housekeeping” regulation that removes Part 1103 of Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), where the current interim DoDGARs are found, and creates a new part 1104 for the revised DoDGARs. 81 FR 78,356 (November 11, 2016).
The second proposed rule establishes a consistent set of definitions for the DoDGARs. 81 FR 78,360 (November 11, 2016).
Uniform content and standard format
The third proposed rule established a uniform content and standard format for the award documents. Among other issues, the rules address how each award document must have an award cover page, define award-specific terms and conditions, define general terms and conditions that apply to an individual DoD component’s grants or awards, include administrative requirements, state the basis for the legal requirements governing the grant or award (executive order, regulation, or law), and state the programmatic requirements of the grant or award. 81 FR 78,369 (November 11, 2016).
National policy requirements addressed in a consistent fashion
The fourth proposed rule establishes a consistent way for award documents to address such national policy requirements as nondiscrimination, environmental protection, and live organisms. It provides standard wording that can be applied to all DoD awards. 81 FR 78,376 (November 11, 2016).
Uniform approach to management and administration of grants and awards
The fifth proposed rule establishes a uniform approach to such issues as financial management, payments, allowable costs, budgets, audits, titles to property, management and disposition of property, procurement standards for state government when administering a grant, reporting requirements, records, and regulations governing subawards and subgrants. 81 FR 78,382 (November 11, 2016).
DoDGARs are in transition
The sixth proposed rule is another housekeeping regulation that explains the DoDGARs are “in transition” and points out that eventually they will all be in Title 2 of the CFR, but, for the meanwhile, part of the DoDGARs will remain in Title 32. The regulation then edits some of the Title 32 regulations in view of the changes made by the previous proposed rules. 81 FR 78,442 (November 11, 2016).
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