It’ll cost $1 million to get better data on bundled federal contracts

May 7, 2014 by

A bill that would require agencies to do a better job of reporting when they combine what could be smaller contracts into a single solicitation would cost about $1 million over five years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The 2014 Contracting Data and Bundling Accountability Act aims to improve how agencies report their consolidated and bundled contracts. Agencies consolidate contracts by including multiple requirements in a single solicitation, and if the resulting contract becomes unsuitable for small businesses to bid on — because it’s too large or diverse, for instance  – it’s considered a bundled contract. Agencies are supposed to identify and then justify the move when they’ve either consolidated or bundled a contract.

CBO said it believed agency data on consolidated and bundled contracts is already available, but the analysis conceded that the Small Business Administration would require better software to retrieve that data from the Federal Procurement Data System. The software upgrade would cost about $1 million between 2014 and 2019, CBO said.

Small business advocates argue that the real problem is federal procurement officials are not properly reporting their consolidated contracts.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/2014/04/cost-better-data-bundled-federal-contracts/83164 

Grants and missile defense hit hardest in DoD’s science and technology budget request

April 25, 2014 by

Overall funding for the Defense Department’s science and technology budget undergo about a $500 million reduction in the president’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal, with grants and missile defense bearing the brunt of the cut, says a DoD official.

About $200 million of the proposed budget reduction would come from cuts to grant programs nationwide, which equates to about 1,500 grants, said Alan Shaffer, acting assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering.

The department also took about $150 million out of its Missile Defense Agency Science and Technology program, said Shaffer during an April 8 hearing of the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities. The decision made sense because much of the technology has matured to a level where it could be moved to other parts of the department, he added.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/grants-missile-defense-hit-hardest-dod-st-budget-request/2014-04-17 

Agencies extended noncompetitive contracts past time limits, GAO says

April 3, 2014 by

Agencies are letting noncompetitive contracts awarded on the basis of “unusual and compelling urgency” run past the one year limit they’re not meant to exceed.

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) limits the total period of contracts awarded using the urgency exception to one year, unless a determination from the head of the agency is made that exceptional circumstances apply.

Awarding a noncompetitive contract on the basis of urgency is necessary in select circumstances, such as combat operations or preventing unanticipated gaps in program support, says the Government Accountability Offices in a March 26 report,

But those contracts should be limited in duration to minimize the amount of time that the government is exposed to the risks of contracts that are awarded quickly without the benefits of competition, the watchdog says.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/agencies-extended-noncompetitive-contracts-past-time-limits-gao-says/2014-03-27 

 

Defense contractor to plead guilty

March 18, 2014 by

A civilian defense contractor accused of giving military secrets to a Chinese girlfriend half his age will be entering a guilty plea, his attorney said Tuesday.

Benjamin Bishop was expected to plead guilty in federal court on Thursday to one count of transmitting national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it and one count of unlawfully retaining national defense documents and plans.

Bishop, 60, was arrested last March at the headquarters for the U.S. Pacific Command, where he worked.

A document for the plea agreement filed Tuesday said Bishop emailed his girlfriend classified information on joint training and planning sessions between the U.S. and South Korea.

It said Bishop had classified documents at his Hawaii home, including one titled “U.S. Department of Defense China Strategy,” another on U.S. force posture in Asia and the Pacific and a U.S. Pacific Command joint intelligence operations center special report.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/394/3579484/Defense-contractor-to-plead-guilty

Defense getting better at handling False Claims while DOJ short on staff, experts say

March 5, 2014 by

Parties on both sides of False Claims Act cases tend to agree that the number of lawsuits and amount of money they redistribute to the U.S. government has significantly increased since the statute was amended in 1986.

Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies in Washington, D.C., contends that Congress has been pressured not to rein in the anti-fraud law, but instead, find ways to widen its scope.

“In recent years, you’ve seen some pushback from the business community, but given the record of congressional expansion, they’ll be doing pretty well if they can just keep Congress from expanding it further,” said Olson, who also founded and still runs the popular blog Overlawyered.com.

Olson and other experts claim that excessive False Claims Act lawsuits will continue to cause trouble for businesses. They say when not interpreted properly, the law permits lawsuits that are expensive, time-consuming and often meritless.

The Department of Justice announced in December that it secured $3.8 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving fraud against the government in 2013. According to the office, the amount represents the second largest annual recovery of its type in history and brings total recoveries under the False Claims Act to $17 billion since January 2009.

The DOJ also shows that its 2013 efforts recovered more than $3 billion for the fourth year in a row, surpassed only by last year’s nearly $5 billion in settlements and judgments.

Keep reading this article at: http://legalnewsline.com/in-the-spotlight/247486-defense-getting-better-at-handling-false-claims-while-doj-short-on-staff-experts-say

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

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 

Proposed rule streamlines agency small business spending

February 13, 2014 by

The Defense Department, General Services Administration and NASA are proposing to amend federal acquisition guidelines to help streamline small business purchasing, according to a notice in the Feb. 3 Federal Register.

The proposed rule would clarify that agencies can continue to claim credit toward their small business spending goals even if the small business has left the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program – as long as the contract award was made while the business was in the program.

However, if the small business no longer represents itself as a small business in future contracts, agencies can no longer count any spending with that company under its small business goals.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20140203/ACQ02/302030012/Proposed-rule-streamlines-agency-small-business-spending 

Defense Logistics Agency to hold ‘contract opportunities’ webinar for 8(a) manufacturers and machine shops on Feb. 19

February 13, 2014 by

The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Land and Maritime’s Office of Small Business Programs is hosting a “Contracting Opportunities” Webinar for Small Disadvantaged Businesses and 8(a) Suppliers on Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 at 2:00 pm EST.

The purpose of the webinar is to discuss how 8(a) and other small disadvantaged businesses can be considered as suppliers for the more than 300 open Land and Maritime parts purchases that have been assigned to the 8(a) program.  The webinar is exclusively for 8(a) and small disadvantaged contractors who have the capability of competitively manufacturing and delivering the requirements for these open National Stock Number (NSN) purchases.

DLA Land and Maritime is specifically searching for qualified 8(a) and small disadvantaged contractors who are manufacturers or machine shops.  Land and Maritime procures spare parts for the military services.  These spare parts are identified by NSNs.   The Feb. 19th webinar will be focusing only on those NSNs set-aside for certified 8(a) and small disadvantaged businesses.  A list of those 8(a) open NSNs can be found at: DLA L&M 8a Open NSNs – 02.2014.

Detailed below are instructions for accessing the 8(a) NSN data packages.  The purpose of supplying the data packages is to allow decision-making regarding business capability to provide one or more of the items in accordance with the drawings and specifications, and in line with past buying history.   Please note that at the above-designated web page, the solicitation titled “OPEN8ANSNS” is only a dummy solicitation designed to allow access to the drawings in cFolders, and will remain active only until March 21, 2014.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCESSING DETAILED NSN DATA PACKAGES:

1. Go to DLA Land and Maritime web site:

http://www.landandmaritime.dla.mil

OR

https://pcf1.bsm.dla.mil/cfolders (start with #5)

2. Go to the side bar and click on DLA/EBS Internet Bid Broad System (DIBBS)

3. Go Technical Data on the right side of the window

4. Go to DLA Collaboration Folders (cFolders) click on “I Agree”

5. Input your user ID and password

6. Go to the Filter for Solicitation link

7. Type in solicitation number OPEN8ANSNS all in upper case.

8. Review nomenclature and sub-folders

9. Click on Material Numbers to access drawings for downloading

INSTRUCTIONS FOR REGISTERING FOR WEBINAR:

To register for the “Contracting Opportunities” Webinar for Small Disadvantaged Businesses and 8(a) Businesses, please send an email to lim.aldnull@CCBCCSD with the following information: Name, CAGE code, and email address.

The DLA Land and Maritime Small Business Office’s mission is to  assist you with your journey to do business with DLA Land and Maritime.  The office can be reached at 614-692-3541 or by via email at lim.aldnull@CCBCCSD.

INFORMATION ABOUT 8(a) AND SMALL DISADVANTAGED BUSINESSES:

To qualify for the Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) program, a small business must be owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual. Certain presumed groups include African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Native Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans. Other individuals can be admitted to the program if they show through a “preponderance of the evidence” that they are disadvantaged because of race, ethnicity, gender, physical handicap, or residence in an environment isolated from the mainstream of American society. In order to meet the economic disadvantage test, all individuals must have a net worth of less than $250,000, excluding the value of the business and personnel residence. Successful applicants must also meet applicable size standards for small business concerns. In addition, they must be in business for at least two years (may be waived), display reasonable potential for success, and be of good character.

The SBA 8(a) Business Development program is a 9-year program designed to assist socially and economically disadvantaged individuals in gaining access to the resources necessary to develop small businesses. The goal is to improve the opportunities of disadvantaged firms to compete on an equal basis in the mainstream of the American economy. The SBA is responsible for selecting firms for this program. For more information go to: http://www.sba.gov/8abd

TIPS FOR MATCHING YOUR COMPANY CAPABILITIES WITH DLA LAND & MARITIME OPPORTUNITIES:

  1. Go to DLA web site Selling to DLA Land and Maritime
  2. Go to DIBBS
  3. Check out the federal stock classes (FSC) and see where your expertise lies.
  4. Focus on NSNs of those FSCs.