August 14, 2014 by cs
Contractors are concerned they might lose government business for coming forward about suspected internal data breaches, after the unprecedented decision by two departments to halt contracts with a hacked background investigation firm.
It is believed the personal information of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees likely was compromised when a suspected nation state penetrated a USIS corporate network. USIS conducts personnel investigations on behalf of many agencies, including the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). DHS and OPM temporarily ceased some jobs with USIS after the incident.
OPM did not pause work as a punishment, but rather as a way to protect federal employees until more details about the intrusion are known, agency officials told Nextgov on Friday, August 8, 2014. But officials said they do not host information with USIS on the same system DHS uses.
DHS has issued stop work orders to temporarily halt activities that involve personal information, until the department can assess the full scope of the potential intrusion and repairs, Homeland Security officials told Nextgov.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2014/08/will-government-shred-your-contract-after-hack/91049
August 13, 2014 by cs
Contractors will have to report any labor law violations to federal agencies under an executive order signed by President Obama July 31, 2014.
Contractors will need to disclose any labor law violations from the past three years before a contract can be awarded to them. Violations include family and medical leave, collective bargaining and wages.
The order would also charge agencies with taking contractor labor law violations into account when awarding contracts.
Only contracts valued at more than $500,000 would be affected and the order will be implemented in 2016.
August 8, 2014 by cs
A new bipartisan House bill seeks to reform how the federal government buys IT goods and services and also make it easier for smaller firms to compete for federal contracts.
The Reforming Federal Procurement of Information Technology, or RFP-IT Act was introduced July 30, 2014. The legislation proposes to enhance competition for government IT contracts, promote innovation, and strengthen accountability by creating a new government office.
According to its sponsors, the bill will improve competition by expanding the number of contracts using a simplified process that makes it easier for small and innovative firms to bid. The process will shorten lead times on contracts, cut administrative costs, and create a larger pool of bidders for federal contracts, the bill’s authors claim.
August 7, 2014 by cs
A recent Gallup poll puts Congress’s approval rating at 15 percent (which is actually up six points since November).
But service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) hoping to participate in strong federal mentor-protégé programs shouldn’t blame Congress, which has twice passed legislation authorizing — and in one case requiring — the SBA to create or strengthen federal mentor-protégé programs affecting SDVOSBs.
Instead, it is the SBA that has dragged its feet, leaving SBVOSBs to wonder if and when 8(a) firms’ monopoly on SBA mentor-protégé programs will end.
Keep reading this article at: http://vetlikeme.org/where-the-heck-are-the-sba-sdvosb-mentor-protege-programs
Contractors affected by recent hikes in Service Contract Act’s health & welfare rates must file timely claims
August 5, 2014 by cs
On federal contracts subject to the Service Contract Act, the prevailing health and welfare (H&W) fringe benefit rate was increased, effective July 22, 2014, to $4.02 per hour. (One exception: The new benefit rate in Hawaii is $1.66.)
The new H&W rate applies to all invitation for bids opened, or other service contracts awarded on or after July 22, 2014.
Contracting offices are to include a new wage determination reflecting the new H&W rate to trigger the contractor’s obligation to pay the higher H&W rate. Contracting offices may make “pen and ink” changes to the current wage determinations received for contracts beginning on or after July 22, 2014 and for which the updated rates were not included.
Once the contracting authority provides a new wage determination, contractors must submit — within 30 days of the change – any claim for an equitable adjustment as a result of increased costs attributable to wage determination rate changes.
August 4, 2014 by cs
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced on August 1, 2014 that the federal government reached its small business federal contracting goal for the first time in eight years, awarding 23.39% in federal contracts to small businesses totaling $83.1 billion of eligible contracting dollars. The government’s annual small business contracting goal is 23%.
The SBA’s report is for FY13, or the 12-month period ending September 30, 2013.
“When we hit our small business procurement target, it’s a win. Small businesses get the revenue they need to grow and create jobs, and the federal government gets the chance to work with some of the most responsive, innovative and nimble companies in the U.S. while the economy grows,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.
Performance in four out of five of the small business prime contracting categories showed significant improvement, with increases in performance against statutory goals. While contract dollars have gone down in all categories as a result of overall reduced federal spending, small businesses still secured a greater percentage of the contracting dollars.
Alongside the announcement, the SBA released its FY 2013 Small Business Procurement Scorecard, which provides an assessment of each federal agency’s yearly small business contracting achievement against its goal. Overall, the federal government received an “A” on SBA’s government-wide Scorecard. Twenty individual agencies receiving an A or A+. Three agencies were given a B. One agency, the Department of Energy, received a failing grade, awarding only 7% of its contracts to small businesses in FY13.
The individual agency scorecards released by the SBA, as well as a detailed explanation of the scorecard methodology, is available online at http://go.usa.gov/Nxxd.
August 2, 2014 by cs
The Navy has awarded five companies eight-year contracts valued at $2.5 billion to install standardized shipboard networks.
The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command tapped BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services, General Dynamics C4 Systems, Global Technical Systems, Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. and Serco, Inc. for the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts for the Navy’s Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services.
The CANES program is intended to equip every ship in the fleet with a standards-based network.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/defense/2014/08/navy-drops-25-billion-contracts-update-shipboard-networks/92006
July 30, 2014 by cs
The General Services Administration’s effort to add cloud services to its huge multiple-award Schedule 70 IT contract might give it some leverage over competing government contracting vehicles and a leg up on advancing technology.
Mary Davie, assistant commissioner of GSA’s Office of Integrated Technology Services, wrote in a blog post last week that agency leaders are thinking about creating a single special item number (SIN) for cloud services on its IT Schedule 70 governmentwide acquisition contract — the largest, most widely used IT acquisition vehicle in the federal government.
GSA’s request for information issued in early July said commercial cloud computing services were currently being sold through several SINs on Schedule 70.
Keep reading this article at: http://fcw.com/articles/2014/07/17/schedule-70-cloud.aspx
July 29, 2014 by cs
Do federal strategic sourcing initiatives put price ahead of good business relationships — and hurt both small businesses and the agencies seeking their services in the process?
“The strategic sourcing that Wal-Mart does builds long-term relationships with suppliers,” said Emily Murphy, senior counsel of the House Committee on Small Business. The federal government’s brand of strategic sourcing, however, has become “more about leveraging buying and limiting the number of companies that might be able to compete.”
Keep reading this article at: http://fcw.com/articles/2014/07/23/strategic-sourcing-and-business.aspx
July 23, 2014 by cs
President Obama will renew a federal initiative that requires agencies to quickly pay small business contractors, a July 11 White House statement says.
QuickPay requires agencies to pay small businesses with federal government contracts within 15 days of receiving an invoice, rather than the normal 30-day period, the statement says.
The initiative, which was originally launched in 2011, has saved small businesses more than $1 billion, the White House notes.