October 29, 2013 by cs
Contractors and subcontractors can no longer receive reimbursement from the government for the costs of defending themselves against whistle-blower lawsuits deemed legitimate.
The fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L.112-239) called for the change. On Oct. 22, the Defense Department, the General Services Administration and NASA published an interim rule, which was effective Sept. 30, to implement the law.
The Federal Acquisition Regulation previously only forbade contractor reimbursement for legal costs incurred in proceedings brought by a government–federal, state, local or foreign. The new rule amends the FAR to include legal costs from proceedings brought by a contractor or subcontractor employee “submitting a whistleblower complaint of reprisal.”
The rule also broadens the scenarios that render the whistle-blower complaint legitimate. Previously, the FAR said the contractor would have to be found liable or fined in a civil proceeding in order to disqualify it from reimbursement. In the case of a criminal proceeding, it would have to be convicted.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/contractor-costs-whistle-blower-cases-no-longer-reimbursable/2013-10-22
The interim rule can be found in the Federal Register at: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/09/30/2013-23702/federal-acquisition-regulation-allowability-of-legal-costs-for-whistleblower-proceedings. Comments are due by Nov. 29, 2013.
October 21, 2013 by cs
The U.S. Defense Department awarded several hundred contracts last month in a fiscal year-end surge of activity as officials raced to ink deals before the government shutdown.
The Pentagon in September announced almost 730 awards potentially worth about $47 billion, according to a Military.com analysis of the Pentagon’s daily contract announcements.
The value doesn’t include tens of billions of dollars in previously announced Army alternative-energy contracts, or reflect what is actually spent, or obligated, because many deals are only partially funded at first.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2013/10/11/pentagon-contracting-surged-before-shutdown/
October 16, 2013 by cs
The government’s largest contracts slated for release this fiscal year will be significantly larger than previous years, according to a new analysis.
The top 20 contract opportunities represent a combined potential business worth $160 billion over the contracts’ lifetime, or a 74 percent increase over the $92 billion value of last year’s top contracts, according to a new report by market research firm Deltek.
Request for proposals are expected to start rolling out in January, which should provide some breathing room for agencies to recover from the partial shutdown, said Jennifer Sakole, principal analyst for federal information services at Deltek. Whether contracts will be immune to impacts of the shutdown is unclear, but so far agencies haven’t announced plans to cancel or postpone these contracts.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20131009/ACQUISITION/310090010/2014-s-top-contracts-see-growth
October 10, 2013 by cs
The Pentagon has recalled 90 percent of the 350,000 civilians furloughed last week, including acquisition, contracts and logistics personnel.
But, as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made clear in his recall memo, due to the fact that the Pentagon doesn’t currently have an appropriations bill, those folks don’t have any money to buy stuff.
The Pentagon brought back most of the furloughed civilians based on an interpretation of the quickly written Pay Our Military Act, signed by President Obama on Sept. 30. The law says furloughs don’t apply to civilian employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.defenseone.com/management/2013/10/dod-acquisitions-staff-back-work-they-just-cant-buy-anything/71483
October 9, 2013 by cs
In the week following the US government shutdown, tea party Republicans are now poised for a new attack on federal spending as lawmakers and the White House battle over the nation’s borrowing limit.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has put Congress on notice: The United States will hit its borrowing ceiling on Oct. 17. Far-right House Republicans have been salivating for a debt-ceiling fight for months, eager to take on what the chamber’s top Republican calls “Washington’s spending problem.”
A dramatic few weeks of political wrangling that led to a government shutdown saw House Republicans go after President Barack Obama’s health care reform law. And while it’s likely they will take that fight to a coming debate over raising the nation’s debt ceiling, House GOP leaders and rank-and-file members also want more spending reductions.
“On the debt limit, we’re going to introduce a plan that ties important spending cuts and pro-growth reforms to a debt-limit increase,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who many in Washington view as being driven by the tea party wing of his caucus.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20131007/AGENCY01/310070010/Debt-ceiling-fight-will-imperil-defense-spending
October 8, 2013 by cs
As the government shutdown drags on, contractors both large and small are raising alarms about ripple effects on their workforces and cash flow that threaten to worsen if the budget stalemate continues.
The Aerospace Industries Association on Thursday called on Congress to accelerate the process toward a solution or risk private-sector furloughs and certification delays that could wreak havoc on schedules for aircraft delivery and space launches.
“A number of our member companies have notified us that if this shutdown continues — which is affecting all of the Defense Department’s functions involved in contracting – they will be forced to furlough tens of thousands of workers,” said AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey in a statement. “The most immediate concern is the absence of Defense Contract Management Agency inspectors…..required to audit and approve parts and operations throughout the manufacturing process for military products. The manufacturing process must stop if these inspections and certifications are not performed, choking off the flow of new equipment to our armed forces.”
Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2013/10/contractors-start-feel-shutdown-pain/71356
October 4, 2013 by cs
The Pentagon will continue to award hundreds of millions of dollars in acquisition, services and other types of contracts despite a government-wide shutdown, but don’t expect to hear about them.
The Defense Department will not publicly announce contracts during the shutdown, Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Pentagon spokesman, wrote in an email.
But that should not stop the military services and defense agencies from signing pacts for equipment, supplies and other items.
The Pentagon will do “one big announcement” of the contracts awarded during this period when the shutdown ends, Christensen wrote.
So how is this possible? It is because the money being used to sign the deals was appropriated by Congress in prior years.
September 23, 2013 by cs
Awaiting U.S. Senate approval is a bill passed by the House of Representatives this summer that would require the Department of Defense (DoD) to take steps toward the development of a contracting program, patterned after a program developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), designed to increase contract awards to veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs).
Back in June, Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania introduced, and the House unanimously passed, an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013. If approved by the Senate and signed into law, the DoD will be required, as a first step, to perform a study analyzing the potential benefits of adopting its own “Vets First” program. DoD would work with the VA and the Small Business Administration (SBA) to develop a report detailing what impact contract set-asides for VOSBs would have on issues like veteran entrepreneurship and veteran unemployment.
If this law is implemented, it is presumed that DoD would develop a program similar to the VA’s Vets First Program. Created in 2006, through the enactment of the Veterans Benefits, Health Care and Information Technology Act of 2006, Vets First allows the VA to designate (“set aside”) certain contracts exclusively for VOSB and service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) concerns. The VA’s Vets First program favors VOSB and SDVOSB companies over other disadvantaged groups when the VA sets aside a procurement for small business. In its first seven years, the program has resulted in the award of tens of millions of dollars in contracts for VOSB and SDVOSB companies.
The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) will follow this story and will keep GTPAC clients advised of any developments.
September 18, 2013 by cs
A bipartisan pair of lawmakers has asked the Defense Department to rethink its plan to cut staff by 20 percent at top headquarters offices, asking for the Pentagon to exhaust all other options before taking negative personnel actions.
Reps. Bill Young, R-Fla., and Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., chairman and ranking member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, said in a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that department cuts should be made after careful analysis, and not based on “arbitrary goals.” Hagel announced the planned workforce reductions in July.
The appropriators called for an organizational review that “considers recommendations to eliminate certain functions and certain contracts entirely, rather than across-the-board cuts to all functions.”
Young and Visclosky emphasized the Pentagon’s legal obligation to conduct a cost comparison before replacing any civilian employees with contract workers. In trimming the workforce, they said the “total workforce should be considered,” including contractors, and that the review should identify any contractors that are “illegally performing inherently governmental functions.”
August 23, 2013 by cs
The Pentagon’s point woman for hiring women-owned small businesses said this week that she “needed a lift” from the travails of furloughs and sequestration.
“This is a tough time for the federal government and DoD in particular if your’re concerned about small businesses,” said Linda Oliver, deputy director of the Defense Department’s Office of Small Business Programs. “Our travel dollars have been cut to nonexistent, our training dollars cut. I’m not second- guessing the decisions, but it’s kind of a down time.”
Speaking on Tuesday to hundreds of current and prospective contractors at the American Express Open’s annual summit, Oliver’s chief advice was to take advantage of the “debrief,” the optional meeting companies may request within three days of learning that they have been eliminated during a contract award process. “The debrief is not on the contracting officers’ list of fun things to do, since they fear they’re being set up for a bid protest,” she said. “But it’s really valuable and gives all involved perspective and closure,” she said.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2013/08/despite-sequester-agencies-continue-hiring-women-owned-contractors/69104