Government Contracting Law News for October 2018

Pentagon Pilot Program Aims to Secure Supply Chain

A top defense contractor reports that the Pentagon has implemented a pilot program to identify the origins of parts that end up being used in military weapons and equipment. Increasing transparency comes amid concerns that parts are currently susceptible to hacking by foreign agents. Read more about the pilot program here.

Detailed Army Acquisitions Regulations Lead to Extended Bid Protests

Even when purchasing mundane items like computers, tablets, and printers, the Army’s extensive acquisition process can lead to bid protests from federal contractors. Click here to listen to Tom Temin of Federal News Radio examine the detailed regulations and how they create bid protest risks for government contractors.

The Growing Market for the Internet of Things (IoT)

Leading firms speculate that the market for devices that can be categorized as part of the Internet of Things is growing at an incredible rate, with 20 billion connected devices anticipated at a global level by 2021. However, less information is available about how IoT products can be sold to the federal government. Click here to read Tim Larkins’ commentary on selling the Internet of Things to the public sector.

 

Are you looking to grow your business as a federal contractor? Contact Randolph Law for a full spectrum of legal services to support your growth.

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Fiscal Year End News for 2018

GSA Schedules Modernization Slated for 2019

According to an interview with Alan Thomas, the commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, changes are coming in 2019 based on feedback from customers and vendors. These changes include:

  • The elimination of minimum purchase thresholds
  • Provisions allowing agencies to combine products and services under one buy
  • Collaboration between the GSA and Veterans’ Affairs (which currently operates its own schedules)
  • The launch of a pilot program to promote transparency

Click here to read more details from Thomas’ interview with Federal News Radio.

Stop Work If a Stop-Work Order Comes, Says Professional Services Council

Although congress has been making progress getting appropriations approved, a government shutdown is still possible after October 1st. If that happens, the Professionals Services Council says companies receiving a stop-work order in the event of a shutdown must stop work and enforce the order with vendors and subcontractors. Read more shutdown tips for government contractors here.

Senators Attempt to Discourage Year-End Spending Spree

A bipartisan group of Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee members have sent letters to 13 federal agencies discouraging spending at the close of the fiscal year. In 2017, agencies spent $11 billion in the final week of the year, and according to a recent report, eight top-spending agencies have at least 40% of their budgets remaining. Read more about how the end of fiscal year 2018 could see the biggest spending spree yet.

 

Do you have questions about closing out the fiscal year or protesting a bid at the end of FY2018? Contact us today for experienced representation. 

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Federal Contract Hiring & More News for July 2018

Federal Employment is Shrinking While Contracting Firms are Hiring

Federal employment has decreased by about 7,000 jobs over the past year as civilian agencies have been drawn down under the Trump administration. At the same time, government contractors are on a hiring spree, particularly in Northern Virginia where defense and intelligence contracts abound. Some contractors report that the only thing preventing them from hiring even more is the backlog on security clearances; approximately 700,000 people are currently awaiting clearance. Click here to read more about the increase in federal contract hiring here in Northern Virginia.

A First Look at the Restructured Pentagon Tech and Acquisitions Offices

In a July 13 memo, Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan approved changes to the structure the Pentagon uses to buy and develop weapons systems. With two offices – one focused on Research & Engineering and the other Acquisition & Sustainment – the Department of Defense aims to focus on buying that will support emerging technologies. Check out DefenseNews.com for details on the reorganization, including charts that illustrate the organizational structure of each office.

Unclear Details Surround Other Transaction Authority (OTA) Agreements

According to the Pentagon’s public affairs department, the Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded more than $21 billion in OTA agreements over the past three years. However, the Federal Procurement Data System shows only $4.2 billion during those same three years leading to concerns about waste, fraud, and abuse. OTA awards are not bound by the Federal Acquisitions Regulations and are designed to support speed and innovation, raising concerns from the Project for Government Oversight. Read more about OTAs and the issues surrounding them here.

 

Randolph Law is here to help your business succeed in the booming contracting market of Northern Virginia. Contact us today for your legal support needs. 

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Seaport-NxG, SAM.gov Fixes, and Contractor Security – Federal Contracting News for June 28, 2018

System for Award Management (SAM.gov) Fixes Planned for June 29th

Hundreds of federal contractors are hopeful that promised fixes to the SAM.gov website will roll out at the end of June, 2018. These changes will give contractors a new way to log in, update information, renew entries, and enter initial data. Most importantly, the fixes will alleviate the three-month requirement to submit notarized documents in order to make changes or apply for an account. Listen to more on this story on FederalNewsRadio.com.

Contractor Security to Become a Key Component in Department of Defense Buying Decisions

The Pentagon is looking to add another aspect of consideration to defense contractors after a Chinese hacking incident involving sensitive data on submarine warfare. Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Kari Bingen says agencies must consider security, as well as cost, schedule, and performance, when evaluating potential contractors. Going forward, the Pentagon intends to implement measures that will favor contractors who can demonstrate compliance with enhanced industrial security requirements. Read more about these changes here.

What to Expect from the Next Generation Seaport-e

Seaport-e has been controversial among government contractors since its inception in 2001. The Navy is currently revamping the contract as Seaport-NxG and increasing its competitive opportunities for contractors, with changes including direct awards, removal of zone restrictions, increased efficiency, flexible contract types, and more. Click here to read a full breakdown of the differences between Seaport-e and Seaport-NxG and prepare for the roll-out.

 

Whether you need support for Seaport-NxG proposals, security regulations, or other aspect of government contracting, Randolph Law is here for you. Contact us today with your questions.

 

Government Contracting News for May 4, 2018

The Navy Seeks an Algorithm to Flag Perceived Contracting Threats

After nearly awarding a contract to a company involved in a joint venture with Huawei, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer, the Navy is calling for changes that will flag similar security risks that may be lurking with potential contractors. The goal is to find an institutional algorithm that will identify potential threats without placing an administrative burden on the contracting agency or officers. Read more about this issue and potential solutions here.

Defense-Industrial Base Review Coming Mid-May

Top acquisition officials at the Pentagon say that an in-depth review of the American defense-industrial base will be released around May 15th. The unclassified portion of the report will identify materials for which we rely heavily on China, as well as areas of concern involving Russia. The result will include recommendations for increasing domestic capabilities and working with allies to eliminate dependencies on China or Russia. Click here to follow this story.

Government Accountability Office (GAO) Releases New Bid Protest Guide

A May 1st GAO requirement dictates that bid protests be filed via a new Electronic Protest Docketing System (EPDS). In conjunction with this requirement, the GAO has released a new guide detailing the revised bid protest process. the guide illustrates the requirements for filing via EPDS, exceptions to the rule, and the process for receiving protest decisions through the new system. Click here to view the guide and catch up on the EPDS requirements.

 

Whether you’re facing a potential bid protest and in need of experienced legal support or looking to expand your reach as a government contractor, we’re here to help. Contact us today!

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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.

GSA News & Commentary for Federal Contractors

GSA Expands Contractor Availability on One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services Small Business (OASIS SB)

Agencies now have 31 new ways to buy professional services, with a major addition to the small business side of OASIS. Available professional services include consulting, logistical, engineering, management, financial, and scientific services all under one contract. Read more about the new additions here. 

Increasing Transparency in the GSA Schedule Procurement Process

Recently confirmed GSA Schedule Administrator Emily Murphy has made it her goal to increase transparency in the federal procurement process, particularly by shining light on some of the “members-only” contracts that exist behind the GSA Schedule wall. Murphy counts transparency and increased competition as her top priorities as Administrator, and she is now waiting for recommendations from the Office of Governmentwide Policy, the Office of General Counsel, and the Federal Acquisition Service. Click here to read more about her objectives.

Are You Ready to Get on the GSA Schedule?

Our recent white paper offers a GSA Schedule Checklist for companies that are eager to secure their own position on the GSA Schedule. Download your copy here and take steps to prepare your organization to take advantage of the GSA Schedule’s contract vehicles.

 

Are you looking for a legal partner to support your federal contracting efforts? Contact Randolph Law today to learn more about the legal services that we offer for federal contractors. 

December GovCon News Roundup

The Year Ahead in the GovCon Sphere

Jim McCarthy and a panel of GovCon industry experts recently speculated on anticipated changes for 2018. Click here to read the highlights from their discussion, including speculation on the NDAA, commercial acquisitions, and what the marketplace looks like for new firms looking to break into government contracting in the new year. 

DoD Vendor Base Shrinks by 20%

Between 2011 and 2015, the Department of Defense vendor base shrunk by 20% during a period of hard caps on military spending. Read the executive summary of findings in the Center for Strategic and International Studies report, Measuring the Impact of Sequestration and the Defense Drawdown on the Industrial Base, 2011-2015. The Aerospace Industries Association is preparing to work with the Departments of Defense, State, and Commerce to help the Secretary of Defense make a case for “restoring the manufacturing and defense industrial base.”

Contractors Next to Target Sexual Harassers?

As Congress makes moves to expose and eliminate sexual harassment with new laws and regulations, government contractors may be next. Listen to Larry Allen of Federal News Radio discuss how contractors may begin targeting sexual harassers as the government takes measures to address and prevent inappropriate behavior.  

 

Do you have concerns about the year ahead or other GovCon news? Contact Randolph Law with all your legal and regulatory 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. 

 

 

 

 

 

Important News & Notes for Government Contractors

New 8(a) Application Process Begins November 15th

Perhaps the most exciting news this month is that the SBA’s streamlined 8(a) Business Development Program application process launches on November 15th. Firms that want to learn more about applying for 8(a) certification can click here to learn more about the new process and procedures for submitting their applications. Starting on November 15th, any applications not completed in the old system before October 15th will need to be restarted under the new system at Certify.SBA.gov.

“Hoop Jumping” to End for WOSBs?

According to a recent article on Federal News Radio, an SBA rule change may soon make it easier for certified Women Owned Small Businesses to work with federal agencies. Allowing contracting officers to use SBA’s WOSB repository instead of requiring them to search through an electronic filing cabinet will place WOSBs on par with HUBZone, Service Disabled Veteran, 8(a), and other certified disadvantaged businesses in terms of ease of use. As a result, WOSBs should have an easier time winning federal contracts.

Marijuana Legalization and Federal Contractors

Businesses with more than $100,000 in federal contracts are required to adhere to the Drug Free Workplace Act, but what does this mean for contractors in one of the 20 states (plus Washington D.C.) where marijuana has been legalized? Check out these reminders for companies that must adhere to the Drug Free Workplace Act, and get in touch with us if you have any questions.

 

Our team of attorneys is on hand to help you navigate the sometimes complicated world of government contracting. Contact us today for a consultation.