November 7, 2013 by cs
The House Armed Services Committee last week kicked off a fresh drive to fix the way the Pentagon buys weapons and services, vowing to “look past Band-Aid fixes and parochial interests” and implement meaningful reforms.
The committee’s chairman, U.S. Representative Buck McKeon, said some successful efforts were already under way, but the U.S. military acquisition system still faced significant challenges including cost overruns and schedule delays, and those would get worse due to mounting pressure on U.S. budgets.
“The Congress, together with the Department of Defense and industry, must be willing to do the hard work to find root causes, look past Band-Aid fixes and parochial interests, and have the courage to implement meaningful, lasting reform,” McKeon said at the start of a hearing on the issue.
McKeon said he had asked Representative Mac Thornberry, a Texas Republican, to lead the long-term effort, aided by Representative Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the committee.
The latest Government Accountability Office report calculates that the Pentagon is slated to spend $1.5 trillion to acquire 85 separate weapons programs in coming years. Those programs are projected to experience $411 billion in cost growth and average scheduled delays of 27 months, the GAO estimates.
Paul Francis, managing director of acquisition and sourcing management for the GAO, told the committee that previous reform efforts had started to slow cost growth, but 39 percent of the weapons programs on the books in fiscal 2012 had experienced cost growth of 25 percent or more.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/29/us-pentagon-weapons-congress-idUSBRE99S16E20131029
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.
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
August 15, 2013 by cs
A proposed rule published Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013 would update the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to help agencies consider past performance of contractors in awarding new work while shortening the comment period available to affected firms. The industry appears receptive.
As required by the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) President Obama signed on Jan. 2, the Defense Department, the General Services Administration and NASA drafted a rule to allow data on contractor past performance to be added to two databases, the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) and the Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS). The rule would also give contractors 14 days to submit comments, rebuttals or additional information in the database, rather than the current 30 days.
“It is important for past performance information to be shared with source selection officials immediately, so that award decisions can be better informed and made in a more timely manner,” the proposed rule states. “Expediting the time allotted to contractors to respond to performance evaluations should improve communication between the contractor and the government, enable current information to be shared quickly throughout the government, and ultimately ensure the government does business with high performing contractors.”
July 8, 2013 by cs
The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech (The Academy) kicks-off a four-day course on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 covering the fundamentals of using the Federal Acquisition Regulation FAR).
The course is being conducted at Georgia Tech’s world-class professional education facilities in the Global Learning Center located on campus in midtown Atlanta.
This contracting overview of the FAR, covers Module 1 of CON 090: Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Fundamentals, and includes the identification of the basic principles of contracting by the federal government, identification of and access to on-line resources, and instruction on the location, citation, and interpretation of the FAR, the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), and the DFARS’ Procedures, Guidance and Information (PGI).
This course was originally designed exclusively for federal contracting officers, but The Academy has expanded its scope so that it is relevant to multiple audiences, including contractors seeking to learn more about the federal contracting process, federal officials who need to satisfy job-related continuous education requirements, and anyone seeking more information about the federal acquisition profession.
More information about this course is available at: http://www.pe.gatech.edu/courses/con-090-1-contracting-overview-far.
In all, there are four Modules that make-up the CON 090 course series. Information about the entire series can be found at: http://www.pe.gatech.edu/courses/con-090-federal-acquisition-regulation-far-fundamentals.
The Academy’s complete list of government acquisition courses, and course scheduling, is at: http://contractingacademy.gatech.edu/training.
The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech is an official equivalency training provider of the Defense Acquisition University (DAU).
July 1, 2013 by cs
The Department of the Interior is finalizing regulations guiding implementation of the Buy Indian Act, which provides the Bureau of Indian Affairs (IA) with authority to set aside procurement contracts for American Indian-owned and controlled businesses and Alaska Native-owned and controlled businesses.
The new rule can be found at 78 Fed. Reg. 34266, dated June 7, 2013.
This rule supplements the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and the Department of the Interior Acquisition Regulation (DIAR), and the final rule is to be effective July 8, 2013.
The rule supplements the Federal Acquisition Regulation and Department of the Interior Acquisition Regulation, and will be located at 48 C.F.R. Sections 1401.301-80, 1452-280 and 1480. It also responds to and incorporates the nuances of Section 831 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1991 (Pub. Law 101-510, 10 U.S.C. 2301 note) that amended 25 U.S.C. 47 to allow American Indian firms to participate in the Department of Defense’s Mentor-Protégé Program and yet maintain eligibility for contracts awarded under the authority of the Buy Indian Act.
Indian economic enterprises interested in contracting with Indian Affairs should monitor the Federal Business Opportunities website — www.FedBizOpps.gov — to identify opportunities for which there is a Buy Indian set-aside under this rule.
June 7, 2013 by cs
Ever wondered how the Government plans its acquisition of products and services?
- As a contractor, wouldn’t you like to gain insights into the process?
- As a member of the acquisition team, don’t you need to learn how to conduct acquisition planning properly?
The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech will address these questions, and much more, in a five-day class, “Contract Planning in the FAR” (CON090-2) to be presented July 8 – 12, 2013.
This in-depth course covers all aspects of acquisition planning, including how to conduct market research, how to describe buying needs, and the preference for the acquisition of commercial and non-developmental items.
This course is the second module in a series of four educational modules that examine the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), the Government’s “procurement bible.”
- For government contracting officers, this course is required to maintain a contracting warrant. A warrant is a written document providing a contracting officer with the limits of his or her authority. Per FAR 1.601-2, Contracting Officers have the authority to “enter into, administer, or terminate contracts and make related determinations and findings” to the extent of the authority delegated to them by their warrant. Georgia Tech’s Contracting Education Academy offers a set of courses — each equivalent to Defense Acquisition University course standards — that help contractng officials maintain their warrants and enhance professional development.
- For businesspeople who compete for and fulfill government contracts, Academy classes are equally pertinent. Contractor personnel who attend Academy courses gain real-world knowledge about how government officials are trained to formulate and administer contracts. Insights in these areas provide invaluable guidance pertinent to reaching greater success in competing for, winning, and fulfilling government contract work.
Georgia Tech offers the entire CON 090 course series in world-class facilities on its campus in midtown Atlanta. From groups of 10 or more, Georgia Tech also brings any of its government contracting courses to the workplace.
For details on all classes, including the FAR Fundamentals course, please visit http://www.pe.gatech.edu/Subjects/Acquisition-Government-Contracting. To make arrangements for any of the courses to be taught at your place of work, email us at: ude.hcetag.ymedacAgnitcartnoCnull@ofni or give us a call at 404-894-6109.
June 5, 2013 by cs
“Yes, we use E-Verify.” “Of course, our company is in compliance, we did an I-9 audit a few years ago – isn’t that the same as E-Verify?” “I know this is not an issue, because I remember being told we addressed all I-9 and E-Verify issues.” “No, the General Counsel’s office doesn’t handle immigration issues.”
You get the picture. Many companies simply do not take immigration compliance seriously. This failing usually does not come from a disinterest in compliance, but rather from a threshold failure to understand the intricacies involved in immigration issues or the potential exposure that could result from noncompliance. Only when faced with government investigations, public scrutiny, or other negative impacts on the business do the right people in the right places start to pay attention. When they learn that federal contractors can be suspended or debarred for failing to adhere to immigration and E-Verify related issues that attention is heightened.
It has been almost three years since the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause (FAR 52.222-54) for federal contractors went into effect in September of 2009.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/federal-contractors-federal-acquisition-regulation-far-e-verify-clause-revisited-cri
May 18, 2013 by cs
Over 300 business counselors, representing programs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico traveled to Atlanta last week (April 21-25, 2013) to participate in a comprehensive training conference hosted by the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC).
The conference was held by the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC) which is the trade association representing the 90+ PTACs across the country. GTPAC is one of the original PTACs, having been established in 1985 and operating continuously ever since. PTACs are funded by the Defense Logistics Agency, supplemented by funding matches from local sponsors such as Georgia Tech, to assist businesses identify, compete for, and win government contracts at the federal, state and local government levels.
“Holding the annual training meeting in Atlanta enabled us to showcase the nation’s best practices in procurement counseling, and highlight the innovative efforts we’re spearheading right here in Georgia,” pointed out Chuck Schadl, group manager for government contracting services within Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. Schadl also serves as APTAC’s vice president for education and was responsible for vetting the 30 speakers at the conference. “The conference was the result of a year-long effort to identify experts across the country, from both public and private sectors, who were willing to share techniques that have proven to be successful in helping businesses grow through government contracts.”
Joe Beaulieu, GTPAC’s program manager, oversaw many of the conference’s details and personally moderated a session on the inner-workings of the System for Award Management (SAM), the federal database launched last fall that contains vendor registration, payment, and performance information. “There have been many problems with the implementation of SAM, and we took this opportunity to provide instruction on the ‘work-arounds’ we’ve developed that would benefit our colleagues and their clients,” commented Beaulieu.
Another highlight of the conference stemmed from a special four-hour educational workshop on the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) conducted by The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech (The Academy). More than half of the conference’s total attendees signed-up for this pre-conference workshop, held on Sunday afternoon, April 21, at the downtown Hyatt. The Academy’s program manager, Donna Bertrand, worked with Schadl to develop the workshop which was entitled “The Complete FAR Guide for PTAC Counselors.”
In a special presentation at APTAC’s awards dinner, GTPAC’s statewide staff was formally recognized for their educational efforts in support of PTACs nationwide.
May 8, 2013 by cs
An interim final rule published May 7, 2013 in the Federal Register and effective immediately will amend regulations to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program allowing for greater access to federal contracting opportunities for women-owned businesses as a result of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA) signed in January.
The interim final rule removes the anticipated award price of the contract thresholds for women-owned small businesses (WOSB) and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSB) to allow them greater access to federal contracting opportunities without limitations to the size of the contract. The rule can be accessed at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-05-07/html/2013-10841.htm and comments can be submitted on or before June 6, 2013, at www.regulations.gov, identified by the following RIN number: RIN 3245-AG55.
As a result of the rule change, contracting officers will be able to set aside specific contracts for certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs at any dollar level which will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of five percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSBs. The SBA is currently working on the changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulations.
Prior to the rule change, the anticipated award price of the contract for women-owned and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses could not exceed $6.5 million for manufacturing contracts and $4 million for all other contracts.
Every firm that wishes to participate in the WOSB program must meet the eligibility requirements and either self-certify or obtain third party certification. There are four approved third-party certifiers that perform eligibility exams: El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Women Business Owners Corporation, U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Additional information and links about approved third-party certifiers are available at: http://www.sba.gov/content/contracting-opportunities-women-owned-small-businesses
To qualify as a WOSB, a firm must be at least fifty-one percent owned and controlled by one or more women, and primarily managed by one or more women. The women must be U.S. citizens and the firm must be considered small according to SBA size standards. To be deemed “economically disadvantaged,” a firm’s owners must meet specific financial requirements set forth in the program regulations.
The WOSB Program identifies eighty-three four-digit North American Industry Classification Systems (NAICS) codes where WOSBs are underrepresented or substantially underrepresented. Contracting officers may set aside contracts in these industries if the contract can be awarded at a fair and reasonable price and the contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that two or more WOSBs or EDWOSBs will submit offers for the contract.
For more information on the Women-Owned Federal Small Business Contract Program or to access the instructions, applications or database, please visit www.sba.gov/wosb or contact your GTPAC counselor.