The federal government is the largest buyer of goods and services in the world, and executive branch agencies-particularly the Department of Defense-make most of these purchases. Many (although not all) acquisitions by executive branch agencies are subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which can make the FAR a topic of interest to Members and committees of Congress and their staff. In particular, Members, committees, and staff may find themselves (1) considering or drafting legislation that would amend the FAR to save money, promote transparency, or further other public policies; (2) conducting oversight of executive agencies' performance in procuring goods and services; and (3) responding to questions from constituents regarding executive branch procurement activities. In addition, certain commentators have recently suggested that some or all FAR provisions should be withdrawn. The FAR is a regulation, codified in Parts 1 through 53 of Title 48 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which generally governs acquisitions of goods and services by executive branch agencies. It addresses various aspects of the acquisition process, from acquisition planning to contract formation, to contract management. Depending upon the topic, the FAR may provide contracting officers with (1) the government's basic policy (e.g., small businesses are to be given the "maximum practicable opportunity" to participate in acquisitions); (2) any requirements agencies must meet (e.g., obtain full and open competition through the use of competitive procedures); (3) any exceptions to the requirements (e.g., when and how agencies may waive a contractor's exclusion); and (4) any required or optional clauses to be included, or incorporated by reference, in the solicitation or contract (e.g., termination for convenience). The FAR also articulates the guiding principles for the federal acquisition system, which include satisfying the customer in terms of cost, quality, and timeliness of the delivered goods and services; minimizing operating costs; conducting business with integrity, fairness, and openness; and fulfilling public policy objectives. In addition, the FAR identifies members and roles of the "acquisition team." The FAR is the result of a 1979 statute directing the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to "issue polic[ies] ... for the purpose of promoting the development and implementation of [a] uniform procurement system." Partly in response to this directive, the FAR was issued in 1983, and took effect in 1984. It has been revised frequently since then, in response to legislation, executive orders, litigation, and policy considerations. These revisions are generally made by the Administrator of General Services, the Secretary of Defense, and the Administrator of National Aeronautics and Space, acting on behalf of the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council. However, the Administrator of OFPP also has the authority to amend the FAR in certain circumstances. FAR amendments generally apply only to contracts awarded after the effective date of the amendment. While the FAR contains the principal rules of the federal acquisition system, it is not the only authority governing acquisitions of goods and services by executive branch agencies. Statutes, agency FAR supplements, other agency regulations, and guidance documents may also apply. In some cases, these sources cover topics not covered in the FAR, and sometimes the FAR addresses topics not expressly addressed in statute or elsewhere. In addition, it is the contract (not the FAR) that binds the contractor, although judicial and other tribunals may read terms required by the FAR into contracts which lack them. Agencies subject to the FAR may deviate from it in certain circumstances, and agencies or transactions not subject to the FAR may be subject to similar requirements under other authority.