Four ways to prep for fourth-quarter contracting

As of July 15, there were 55 shopping days left in fiscal 2015, Bill Gormley, president of the Gormley Group, reminded the audience at BGOV’s July 15 Next/Edge event, The Race to the Finish. The Coalition for Government Procurement cosponsored the session.

The fourth quarter is the busiest season of the year for federal contractors. Here are four ways companies can prepare to maximize business in the fourth quarter, gleaned from the event.

  1. Identify Your Closing Strategy
  2. Look for Set-Aside and Sole-Source Work
  3. Have a ‘Black Friday’ Plan
  4. Dot Your I’s and Cross Your T’s

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VA conducts monthly verification webinars for veteran-owned small businesses

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) is now hosting Verification Program webinars and virtual town halls to provide information to potential new applicants, firms re-verifying, and those who have achieved verification.

vets first“Verification” is the process veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) must go through to prove their businesses meet the appropriate ownership and control standards set by the VA for Veterans First contract set-asides.

The schedule of webinars includes:

  • 1st Tuesday of each month – Preparing for Re-verification Webinar & Town Hall
    • This training is designed for firms whose verification will expire in 5 months or thirty days.
  • 3rd Tuesday of each month – Pre-Application Webinar & Town Hall
    • This training is designed for firms interested in submitted their first CVE Verification application. Also, firms who have been inactive in the program for some time and now desire to submit an application can also benefit from this session.
  • 4th Tuesday of each month – How to stay Verified Webinar & Town Hall
    • This training is designed for firms who have been verified in the last six months.

To learn more about CVE and the verification program, please connect via

Queue set up for SBA 7(a) loans until more money is found

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has instituted a waiting list for its flagship 7(a) loans because the program hit its annual lending cap of $18.75 billion on Thursday (July 23, 2015).

SBA logo smallSBA officials, lenders and small business groups are urging Congress to raise the program’s authorization to $23.5 billion in order to free up loans for small businesses. Demand for the program is high because the government-guaranteed loans are the primary source of long-term loans, which feature lower monthly payments, for small businesses.

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Fort Stewart to hold contract forecast forum on Aug. 27

Fort Stewart invites businesses to attend a “Forecast Forum” with representatives from Fort Stewart Units and Mission Installation Contracting Command (MICC) where they will be providing their anticipated contract opportunities for 2015-16.

Fort Stewart GAThis event is being held on Thursday, August 27, 2015.  On-site, event check-in begins at 8:30 a.m.  To see the agenda, click on this link: MICC Fort Stewart Forecast Forum Agenda FPLA-08272015

The location is 100 Knowledge Dr., SFC Paul R. Smith Education Center, Ft. Stewart, GA 31314-5018.

There is no fee to attend, but advance registration is required!  To register, visit and hit the “Sign Up” button.

This event is located outside Gate 1 (No gate access required). Make a right onto General Stewart Way and a left onto Knowledge Drive. If you have Military/Federal Civilian ID or CAC Card, you can gain access to Fort Stewart through any gate. If you do not, you will only gain access through Gate 1 and will need to show a current Driver’s License, Auto Registration, and Auto Insurance. Also, allow extra time in case they need to inspect your vehicle. Do not speed on this installation. Use of (non-hands free) cell phones while driving on Fort Stewart is illegal and you could be fined.


Actions foreshadow uniform cybersecurity regulations for federal contractors

Two recent Executive Agency actions lay the groundwork for a FAR cybersecurity clause in 2016.

  • Government contractors should expect an amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation in 2016 that mandates cybersecurity clauses and standards.
  • Companies can prepare now by comparing new government standards to their existing system protections.
  • As part of this process, companies should not just be reviewing the capabilities of their information systems, but also their written information assurance policies, training materials, and employment and third-party agreements.

cyber securityFederal government contractors handling Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) should take notice of two recent executive agency actions. Combined, they lay the groundwork for a new cybersecurity clause to be added to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) in 2016.

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White House wants agencies to prioritize emerging tech in next year’s budget

The White House plans to prioritize emerging technology and big data in the fiscal year 2017 budget, according to a memorandum published last week.

ombWhen submitting budget requests to the Office of Management and Budget, federal agencies should “prioritize investments in enabling technologies that benefit multiple sectors of the economy, such as nanotechnology, robotics, the Materials Genome Initiative, and cyber-physical systems and their application to smart cities,” the memo said.

General topics mentioned in the memo include “advanced manufacturing and industries of the future,” and “information technology and high-performance computing,” in addition to other science-related subjects such as climate change.

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How this venture capital firm wants to help start-ups, with no government experience, navigate Washington

Yanev Suissa, a venture capitalist formerly with New Enterprise Associates, wants to invest in startups that could eventually snap up government contracts.

His approach, he admits, is unorthodox: to invest in startups who have so far had nothing to do with the public sector.

A former senior investment officer under the Bush and Obama administrations, Suissa recently founded SineWave Ventures, an early-stage investment fund aiming to back commercial startups and help guide them through marketing to local, state and federal governments.

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Illustration courtesy Harvard Business Review -
Illustration courtesy Harvard Business Review –

Why are government contractors cutting their cybersecurity budgets?

Government contractors reduced their spending on cybersecurity in the past year, despite several high-profile data breaches, a new survey shows.

American Flag 2About 52 percent of businesses reported a slight decrease in cyber spending in the past year. About 17 percent said their cyber spending increased dramatically, while 31 percent said it increased slightly, according to a new survey from contracting analysis firm Deltek.

“We’re surprised that over half of the companies . . . had experienced decreased spending in cybersecurity,” Deltek Vice President Kevin Plexico said during a call discussing the results. “Our best guess is that the ones that are decreasing are probably not the ones that have had breaches.”

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Yes, there will be a federal spending spree this fall

Federal agencies typically squeeze much of their contract spending in at the end of the federal fiscal year, and that trend is expected to continue this fall, analysts and agency officials said Wednesday.

Federal BudgetSince 2009, agencies have spent an average of 32 percent of their annual contract dollars in the last three months of the fiscal year, which ends in September, Bloomberg Government analysts said at an event sponsored by the company. The event, called “The Race to the Finish,” was aimed at companies seeking to increase their government contracting opportunities.

Much of the late-stage spending is on large multiple-award contracts, especially for information technology purchases. For example, about half of the spending under NASA’s Solutions for Enterprise-wide Procurement vehicle — which is available to all federal agencies for purchasing IT products — occurs in the the fourth quarter.

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To see the top 100 federal contractors in FY14, click here: Top 100 Contractors Report_FY14

Fast acquisition and fair competition tough to balance

As agencies face a changing threat environment and any number of crisis and emergencies, federal managers must strike a balance between how they respond with rapid contract awards while adhering to regulations for full and open competition.

Rapid acquisition should be the norm in government for both emergencies and routine procurements, given the rapid pace of technological change. With that model, agency officials have to anticipate emergencies, putting in place competitively awarded contracts that can be used in the event that a crisis occurs.

“You have some cases during a natural disaster or terrorist attack where you don’t have the time to go out to the marketplace to do a full competition. The most important thing is to provide relief for the situation,” said Stan Soloway, president and CEO of the Professional Services Council, an advocacy group for the government contracting community.

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