8(a) program mentor to pay $928,000 False Claims Act settlement

March 2, 2014 by

An 8(a) Program mentor has agreed to pay a False Claims Act settlement of $928,000.  The settlement stems from the government’s claims that the mentor abused the 8(a) mentor-protege program.

According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, the mentor firm performed eight 8(a) prime contracts on behalf of its protege–without an SBA-approved joint venture.  The government also contended that the mentor’s extensive role resulted in the protege firm failing to meet the applicable limitation on subcontracting.

According to the DOJ, Okland Construction Co. Inc., a large business, entered into an 8(a) mentor-protege agreement with Saiz Construction Co., an 8(a) participant.  Although the SBA did not approve joint ventures between the companies, Okland allegedly prepared the bids for the 8(a) contracts and Okland’s employees served as project managers, submitted invoices, and performed payroll and other accounting functions.

The government also alleged that Okland’s extensive involvement resulted in Saiz’s inability to meet the 15% limitation on subcontracting applicable to general construction contracts.  Okland allegedly concealed its extensive involvement in the 8(a) contracts by misrepresenting to the government that its employees were employees of Saiz.

Keewp reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/8a-program/8a-program-mentor-to-pay-928000-false-claims-act-settlement/

GSA doesn’t measure agencies’ inclusion of small businesses in strategic sourcing, GAO says

February 28, 2014 by

The General Services Administration (GSA) hasn’t developed a performance measure to determine small business participation in strategic sourcing initiatives and the Office of Management and Budget hasn’t monitored agencies’ efforts to include small businesses, a recently release Jan. 23 Government Accountability Office report says.

While documentation shows that agencies generally do consider small businesses in strategic sourcing contracts, the report says, there isn’t agency data and performance measures that would provide a more precise understanding of the inclusion of small businesses.

The Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) can’t be used to track the extent of strategic sourcing across the federal government and its effects on small businesses because there is no strategic sourcing category in the system, GAO says.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/gsa-doesnt-measure-agencies-inclusion-small-businesses-strategic-sourcing-g/2014-02-25 

After years of declining contract values, 2014 might bring back large programs

February 27, 2014 by

Fiscal 2014 may provide more high-dollar opportunities for federal contractors, after a recent slide in the value of new solicitations.

Deltek analyzed solicitations released each quarter from fiscal 2010 through 2013 as well as the same data for the first quarter of fiscal 2014 and anticipated solicitations for the remainder of the year.

The decreases in federal spending since fiscal 2011 have been mimicked in the combined dollar value of solicitations. Deltek saw a decline in solicitation values to $302.4 billion in fiscal 2013, down from a peak of $376.2 billion in 2011.

In contrast, the number of released solicitations has increased. The total of 6,325 solicitations released in 2013 is slightly less than the 6,700 in 2012, but represents a 32 percent increase from 2011. The average solicitation value in 2013 was $47.8 million, down from an average of $78.4 million two years earlier.

These changes illustrate a shift in federal procurement toward programs that are smaller in scope and dollar value, making it easier for agencies to gain approval to move forward.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/after-years-of-declining-contract-values-2014-might-bring-back-large-programs/2014/02/20/bfd09b10-972e-11e3-afce-3e7c922ef31e_story.html

GSA awards 125 small businesses OASIS contracts

February 26, 2014 by

On Monday (Feb. 24, 2014), the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced it has awarded 125 contracts to small businesses for its One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) Small Business (SB) contract to companies that will provide customers with best value services for complex professional service requirements.

OASIS SB, a 100-percent small business set-aside contract, was developed in response to the Government’s need for a hybrid, government-wide acquisition vehicle.  OASIS SB will provide a streamlined solution for both commercial and non-commercial needs. OASIS SB is designed to reduce duplication of contracting efforts across the government and provide federal agencies with comprehensive, integrated professional services contract options.  The list of the 125 companies awarded contracts is available by clicking here.  

“We created OASIS SB to meet the growing demand for a hybrid, government-wide acquisition vehicle that maximizes opportunities for small businesses, stated Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) Commissioner Tom Sharpe.  “We believe that the large pool of awardees will provide government with access to highly skilled small businesses through a contract that is not only cost effective, but also efficient and streamlined for easier use by federal agencies looking to purchase complex professional services.”

OASIS SB will compliment GSA’s Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) program and provide agencies with more flexible full-service options. Notable features and benefits of OASIS and OASIS Small Business include:

  • Government-wide use
  • Access to best in class solution providers
  • On-ramp/off-ramp procedures to ensure a flexible, vibrant vendor pool
  • Integrated support for key government initiatives

GSA predicts OASIS SB will drive down costs for federal agencies, and increase efficiency by reducing the time spent on developing complex contractual instruments. OASIS SB will include a vast array of professional services contractors for agencies to choose from. In fact it  has already become the solution of choice for some government agencies. In December,  the United States Air Force committed to use OASIS SB in lieu of creating several of its own multiple-award, Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) acquisition vehicles. These efforts are estimated to be worth approximately $1.4 billion per year and use of OASIS SB is projected to save the Air Force and taxpayers significant dollars and resources.

For more information visit www.gsa.gov/oasis and OASIS Industry Group on GSA Interact.

What’s on the chopping block—and what’s safe—in the Pentagon’s shrinking budget?

February 25, 2014 by

This year’s scramble in Washington over the budget request will start Monday, when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to preview the fiscal 2015 Defense Department budget—a week before the official request goes to Congress.

Its first hint at budget priorities will spur the defense industry to start lobbying, lawmakers to stake out their priorities, and the Pentagon to launch a charm offensive on Capitol Hill. And everyone involved will be chasing the same goal: keeping their priorities safe from cuts, even if that means nudging someone else’s pet project.

Before the budget Hunger Games begin, here are a few key priorities that could be on the chopping block as the Pentagon decides how to cut tens of billions of dollars—and what might escape the ax.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.defenseone.com/management/2014/02/whats-chopping-blockand-whats-safe-pentagons-shrinking-budget/79231/?oref=defenseone_today_nl?oref=d-interstitial-continue 

Pentagon to ask for more cyber spending in next budget

February 24, 2014 by

The Pentagon’s cyber budget will get a boost as part of the department’s fiscal 2015 budget request, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said last Tuesday (2/18/2014).

“We are adjusting our asset base and our new technology,” the Pentagon’s top official said, adding that the department will increase spending to help improve its cyber capabilities, including a larger focus on cyber security, intelligence gathering, and reconnaissance.

The department’s budget request will be released March 4, as part of the Obama administration’s budget, and the secretary is expected to offer a preview Monday. Hagel and other top Defense officials have largely sidestepped questions about what spending they are asking to have increased — or what programs to cut.

“Of course, it’s going to shift the proprieties and the balance of forces, and where you invest your money to be able to ensure readiness for your forces, capability, … and capacity,” Hagel said.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/defense/2014/02/pentagon-ask-more-cyber-spending-next-budget/79040

Army Cyber Command general explains Fort Gordon investment

February 20, 2014 by

The Army is focusing investment at Fort Gordon to refine its cyber domain and maximize the potential for “emerging, game-changing land-power technology,” said Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon, the commanding officer of the Army Cyber Command.

Cardon’s remarks come one week before his keynote address at the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s 106th annual meeting on the theme of “Community Strong.”

Expected to speak on how the diverse community organizations collaborate to achieve economic success regionwide, Cardon said last week that the Army selected Fort Gordon as the permanent home for its Cyber Command to better control “cyber mission forces.”

“These decisions to co-locate the Army’s operational and institutional cyber organizations with National Security Agency-Georgia will create tremendous synergy through closer collaboration and coordination,” he said.

Keep reading this article at: http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2014-02-18/army-cyber-command-general-explains-fort-gordon-investment 

Feds should provide more education and easily available information for SDVOSBs, Rand says

February 18, 2014 by

Federal agencies should provide more education and make contracting information more easily available to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses to help agencies meet the governmentwide 3 percent contracting goal, a Rand report says.

Additional education for SDVOSBs could include more advanced information and training about the Federal Acquisition Regulation and the federal bidding process, as well about the roles and responsibilities of contracting staff, the report says.

Agencies should remove barriers imposed on SDVOSBs by making information easily available to those small businesses and improving communication between the government and SDVOSBs, the report says.

That includes offering information about current incumbents’ performance to help SDVOSBs evaluate their chances of winning a bid, Rand says.  The government should also provide contracting resources for reviewing prime contractors’ execution of their bid and subcontracting plans, conduct those reviews and publish the results.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/feds-should-provide-more-education-and-easily-available-information-sdvosbs/2014-02-10 

What new cyber standards mean for federal contractors

February 17, 2014 by

The White House on Wednesday issued voluntary cyber standards aimed at defending key private networks essential to U.S. society – but it could be years before the benefits are noticeable.

While optional for industry, it is expected that the guidelines — which encourage reporting data breaches to the government — will be required for federal contractors.

Government suppliers say they felt involved in the development of the standards and are satisfied that their flexibility will not be burdensome. That same flexibility has given some security observers pause, however, over concerns that “critical infrastructure” industries, like the energy and medial sectors that sustain daily living, will remain vulnerable.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2014/02/what-obamas-new-cyber-standards-mean-federal-contractors/78713/

President issues order boosting minimum wage on new federal contracts

February 14, 2014 by

President Obama issued an executive order Wednesday raising the minimum wage for workers under federal contracts to $10.10 per hour, starting next year.

The move fulfills a pledge Obama made in his State of the Union address last month to take action on his own to raise wages for lower-paid workers on federal projects and at government facilities.

“There are hundreds of thousands of people working under contracts with the federal government to provide services or construction who are currently making less than $10.10 an hour,” the White House said in a statement. “Some examples of the hardworking people who would see their wages go up under this executive order include nursing assistants providing care to our veterans at nursing homes, concessions workers in national parks, people serving food to our troops, and individuals with disabilities working to maintain the grounds on military bases.”

Before signing the order at the White House, Obama said, “right now, there’s a dishwasher at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas making $7.76 an hour — $7.76 an hour. There’s a fast-food worker at Andrews [Air Force Base], right down the street, making $8.91 an hour.  There’s a laundry worker at Camp Dodge in Iowa making $9.03 an hour.  Once I sign this order, starting next year, as their contracts come up, each of them and many of their fellow coworkers are going to get a raise.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2014/02/obama-issues-order-boosting-minimum-wage-contractors/78725/