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IDIQ Concerns, IP Issues, and JEDI Controversy – Government Contractor News for May 2018

GAO Questions Pentagon’s Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Contracts

A watchdog agency recently reported that 40% of the Pentagon’s contracts were IDIQ and 75% of those were awarded to a single contractor, raising concerns about the agency suppressing competition. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the matter states, “Nearly all of the contracts we reviewed contained provisions that, while not explicitly limiting competition, may have the potential, under certain circumstances, to reduce the number of contractors who are eligible to compete for the orders.” Read more about the potential for IDIQ contract concerns here.

Air Force Challenged By Software Intellectual Property Issues

Air Force acquisition chief Will Roper cites software and intellectual property as challenging areas for the organization, and Air Force Sustainment Commander Lt. Gen. Lee Levy is calling for a change in the way the Air Force acquires intellectual property. Protracted legal battles over IP ownership detract from the mission and cause distraction for both the military and its industrial partners. Click here to read more about how the Air Force would like to improve the software acquisition and development process.

Contractors Gearing Up to Protest Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) Award

The Defense Department’s $10 billion cloud program, JEDI, drew criticism from contractors after announcing in April that it will be a single-award contract. Contractors began preparing for a bid protest even before the May 15th release of the final RFP, and it’s anticipated that this huge award will be the subject of much controversy for some time to come. Read more about JEDI and the related, potential bid protests here.

 

Whether you’re involved in the JEDI cloud solicitation or another bid protest, Randolph Law is here for you. Contact us for help weighing the pros and cons of any bid protest. 

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Spring News for Government Contractors

Using Transaction Contracting Models to Increase Customer Focus

Citizens demand a more customer-focused, efficient government. Yet the current procurement cycle takes as long as 3-5 years to support new program initiatives. With technology moving at a much faster pace and customer needs changing continuously, the federal government has acknowledged a need for an alternative to fixed-price, cost-plus government contracts. Transaction-based contracting could be the solution. Read more about how the government is considering low-risk, low-investment opportunities to partner with private sector providers to increase customer satisfaction and keep up with the rapid pace of changing technologies.

More Updates on Section 846 Implementation

In the past, we’ve posted about Section 846 of the National Defense Authorization Act, requiring the development of an e-commerce platform for federal defense procurement. This week, the General Services Administration (GSA) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) leaders hosted a forum entitled, “The $50 Billion e-Commerce Question: Section 846 Implementation Plan – Next Steps,” to review the legal, policy, and compliance issues raised by the implementation plan released in March. Click here to read a recap of the forum and learn more about the next steps.

Postaward Debriefing Changes for 2018

Shay Assad, Director of Defense Pricing/Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy for the Department of Defense (DoD), has implemented enhanced postaward debriefing rights as required by Section 818 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY18. DoD contracting officers are now required to accept additional questions from unsuccessful bidders as long as those questions are submitted within two days post-debriefing. The debriefing will be considered “open” until the agency has responded in writing. Read more about how these changes can help unsuccessful offerors in the debriefing process.

 

Whether you need assistance with a debriefing, bid protest, or other aspect of government contracting, we’re here for you. Contact us with your legal questions today.

March 22nd News & Notes for Government Contractors

Department of Defense (DoD) Shrinks $950 Billion Other Transaction Authority (OTA) Deal

The DoD’s original award for streamlined cloud solutions went to REAN but was subject to public scrutiny and a GAO bid protest. As a result, the deal has been scaled back to $65 million and the scope of the project narrowed significantly. Read more about this turn of events here.

Labor Department Maintains Compliance Despite Obama-Era Rollbacks

Although the Trump administration repealed many Obama-era regulations, the Labor Department has continued to enforce compliance, according to Larry Allen of Allen Federal Business Partners. Click here to listen to him discuss this issue with Tom Temin on Federal News Radio.

Progress Continues for GSA and OMB Commercial e-Commerce Portal

The General Services Administration (GSA) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have issued a joint implementation plan for the 2018 National Defense Administration Act which requires the development of an e-commerce portal for the procurement of commercial goods. Moving on to Phase 2 of the implementation plan, the GSA and OMB will conduct market research while looking for an initial rollout at the end of FY19. Read more about how the portal is designed to increase opportunities and transparency for federal contractors.

 

2018 has already been an interesting year for government contractors, with both opportunities and challenges on the horizon. As always, feel free to contact us for legal support as you do business with the federal government.

All About Acquisitions: Our March News Round-Up

Congress’ Acquisition Reforms Get High Marks from Military Services

With three years invested in military acquisitions reforms, the House Armed Services Committee has begun receiving feedback on how those reforms are faring in practice. So far, service acquisition chiefs report that things are going in the right direction, but more work remains to be done. 2019 is considered a good time to refine the reforms and declutter duplicate or conflicting legislation. Read more about what the DoD has to say about acquisition reforms here.

What Does a Split Pentagon Acquisitions System Mean for Government Contractors?

The Pentagon has split its acquisition, technology and logistics office into two branches, one dedicated to research and engineering (R&E) for new technologies and another to acquisition and sustainment (A&S) of existing capabilities. A&S Head Ellen Lord says not much will change over the next three months as the Pentagon works out a prototype for the future. Click here to learn more about the restructuring and when this may have an impact on industrial defense partners.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Says Acquisitions Innovation is Essential

As technological changes occur more rapidly and the Modernizing Government Technology Act goes into effect, agencies are looking to speed up award time and find more efficient and effective ways to handle acquisitions. OMB associate administrator for federal procurement policy Matthew Blum says now is the perfect time for agencies to think about improvements to their acquisition plans. Read about how agencies want to change the acquisitions process here.

 

2018 is shaping up to be a year of reform and innovation, making it a time of both challenges and opportunities for government contractors. As always, we are here to support your legal needs when working with the government. Don’t hesitate to contact us now or in the future. 

Government Contractor News for February 21, 2018

Contractors Face Significant Security Threats

CyberSecurity firm BitSight reported recently that government contracting firms face significant security threats that could put the nation’s security at risk. 5.6% of aerospace and defense contractors surveyed and 4.3% of technology contractors reported at least one breach since 2016. Healthcare contractors suffered the most, with 8% reporting issues since 2016. The survey raised other concerns as well, including the fact that many contractors depend on the same set of Cloud service providers and an outage among those providers could severely impact most, if not all, federal agencies. Click here to read more about the survey and how contractors can protect themselves from these dangers. 

 

VA Bid Protest Sustained Due to Ambiguities in the Solicitation

We talk a lot about bid protests and also avoiding costly ambiguities when working with an RFP. Recently, the GAO ruled in favor of a contractor who questioned the solicitation for office furniture being labeled as a SDVOSB set-aside after the contracting officer eliminated the required subcontracting-related VAAR 852.219-10 from the solicitation. Read all the details of the case here

 

Stability and Opportunity for Contractors in the 2019 Budget

Trey Hodgkins, Senior VP for the Public Sector at the Information Technology Alliance for Public Sector, says contractors have reason to feel positive about the President’s 2019 budget. Listen here to see why Hodgkins says the 2019 budget will bring stability and opportunity for federal contractors. 

 

Whether you need help evaluating the potential of a bid protest or want to increase your opportunities as a contractor by getting on the GSA Schedule, Randolph Law can help. Contact us today to take advantage of our experience in the federal contracting industry. 

 

 

 

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Dealing with a Government Shutdown & Other Contracting News for January 24th

The weekend’s government shutdown resolved on Monday, and federal employees returned to work. However, more shutdowns are inevitable as a result of intense political divides across the country. In this week’s news round up, we take a look at what federal contractors need to know in light of this week’s shutdown and possible shutdown on February 8th. 

What Do Government Contractors Need to Do During a Shutdown? 

With more government services being delivered by contractors than ever before, companies that are contracted for work with the federal government need to take special care during a shutdown. It’s critical during this time to maintain a positive relationship with your contracting officers and work with them to ensure that your actions during the shutdown meet the requirements of your contract. Click here to see a recommended action plan for federal contractors to follow during a government shutdown. 

 Tips for Using Contract Employees During the Shutdown

While some contract employees qualify as essential personnel, many federal contractors find themselves out of work during a federal shutdown. However, federal contracting firms can use this time for mandatory training or paid time off. Click here to read more about how a government shutdown impacts contractors. 

In Other News:

What are the Goals of the OMB, GSA e-Commerce Portal?

Section 846 of the 2018 Defense Authorization Bill calls for the implementation of an e-commerce marketplace for commercial items. The planning is in the very early stages of development right now, but this initiative could have a big impact on the future of contracting. Read more about the details that were released at the January 9th meeting at the GSA office. 

 

If you need legal advice for coping with the shutdown as a government contractor or navigating government contract regulations, don’t hesitate to email the team at Randolph Law for assistance. 

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New Year’s News for Government Contractors

Happy New Year from Randolph Law! We’re looking forward to helping you make 2018 your most successful year yet! 

To start, we’ve put together a quick round up of the latest news for government contractors. 

DARPA Makes $850M Services Contract Available for Bids

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has opened a 5-year, $850M contract for bidding. Bids on the Technical and Analytical Support Services Contract are due on February 8th. The scope includes technical, financial, administrative, legislative, legal and other services to support DARPA’s national security mission. Click here to see the full RFP

RAND Study Says Bid Protests Do Not Delay the DoD Procurement Process

While many in government are looking for ways to minimize and eliminate bid protests, a RAND Corp. study, commissioned by the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), found that bid protests are not undertaken frivolously. Protest activity has been increasing but remains an issue for a mere 0.3% of Department of Defense contracts. Click here to read more details from the study.

Section 809 Panel Seeks to Collect the Worst Acquisition Regulations

More than 2/3 of all Federal Acquisitions Regulations have not been updated since they were created, leaving hundreds of outdated or irrelevant compliance issues on the books for government contractors. The congressionally-mandated Section 809 Panel has been tasked with identifying and eliminating outdated provisions to streamline the acquisition process and alleviate the administrative burden posed by these regulations. Find out how to submit your least-favorite regulations to the panel’s “50 Worst!” campaign here.

 

Whether you’re struggling with regulatory compliance issues or evaluating the potential of a bid protest, Randolph Law is here to help. Contact us today with your government contracting questions. 

 

 

, , Government Contracting News & Notes for December 1st

2017 Bid Protest Annual Report

The GAO recently published its 2017 Bid Protest Annual Report to Congress.There were 2,433 protests last year, down 7% as compared to FY2016, with a 17% sustain rate. According to the report, the most common reasons for sustaining a bid protest were:

  1. Unreasonable technical evaluation
  2. Unreasonable past performance evaluation
  3. Unreasonable cost or price evaluation
  4. Inadequate documentation of the record
  5. Flawed selection decision

Justice Gorsuch Talks Government Contract Ambiguities

While some courts defer to administrative agencies when contract ambiguities arise, others apply general contracting principles to decisions regarding these conflicts. Justice Neil Gorsuch recently gave his position, siding with the Federal Circuit courts that defer to contracting principles rather than administrative agencies. The Supreme Court is expected to bring added insight to the conversation soon, making the process for resolving contract ambiguities clearer for government contractors and agencies alike.

 

Can Controversial Opinions Keep Your Firm from Winning a Government Contract?

In other words, can a contracting officer decide to eliminate a bid because a prominent figure in the company has expressed a controversial opinion on social media or in another public forum? The First Amendment would have you believe otherwise, but there are some situations in which a contractor’s public opinion could prevent him from performing appropriately on the job. For example, a bidder who has publicly expressed anti-immigration sentiments may be considered ineligible if bidding on a contract for English as a Second Language classes. That said, even if there doesn’t appear to be a conflict of interest, contracting officers can come up with any number of legitimate reasons why your firm was passed over – so why give them ammunition? Click here to read more on this topic and see why government contractors are urged to stay neutral on social media.

 

Do you need help with a bid protest or another aspect of working with the federal government? Contact us today for experienced legal assistance. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Joint Ventures 101: What You Need to Know About Joint Ventures & Government Contracts

Last month, we hosted a “Joint Ventures 101” seminar to educate small businesses about the benefits of forming Joint Ventures in order to compete for federal contracts. I wanted to take a moment to share the same information here in the hope that it will help others who are looking for ways to take advantage of the SBA’s Joint Venture rules and regulations.
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Please click here to read through my presentation, and don’t hesitate to contact Randolph Law for more information!
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Avoiding Pitfalls in the 8(a) Application Process

I was recently invited to present a webinar on pitfalls in the 8(a) application process for Jennifer Schaus and her government contracts consulting firm, Jennifer Schaus & Associates.
Here’s the full video:

 

Here’s a link to the powerpoint presentation.

Trimming out everything else, the key take away is to read, re-read, and then read again the SBA requirements for the 8(a) program, you can find them here.
While you are reading them, take notes on every specific item that is required. Here’s a very basic checklist of questions you should ask yourself:

1) Am I a member of one of the defined minority groups? How do I know?

For example, we get inquiries from folks who say “well, my grandmother was native american, does that count?” No, it does not. You must be an enrolled member of a Native American Indian Tribe to be considered Native American Indian. Each tribe has its own criteria for enrollment, and you have to match that criteria.

2) Is my annual income under $250,000?

Look at your taxes. What’s the top line. If you file taxes jointly with your spouse, does he or she contribute in some way to the business, whether working or guaranteeing a loan or name on a lease? If yes, it’s your joint income, if no, it’s yours alone.

3) Is my net worth under $250,000?

Your house doesn’t count, and your equity in the business doesn’t count. Your retirement accounts don’t count, unless you’re over 59 1/2. Everything else counts. Your bank accounts, other businesses, vacation house, car. Everything.

4) Have I been in business over two years?

This is a yes / no. When was your business registered with the state. Count two years past that. While there are waivers available to businesses that have not been in business for two years, they are very difficult to get.

5) Am I ready to collect all the documents necessary?

I’d say the average 8(a) application if printed out would run to about 1,000 pages. Be prepared, you will be asked for everything, and you must provide everything.
These are just some of the things you’ll need to be prepared for. Review the video, read the slides, go to the SBA website. When you’re ready, give us a call and we might be able to help you out.