Pentagon leaders put support contractors on notice for deep cuts

June 19, 2013 by

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his top budget deputy on Tuesday signaled they intend to make deep cuts in contractor personnel who help manage programs in almost every sector of the Pentagon bureaucracy.

The Defense Department today employs an estimated 700,000 service contractors who, in many cases, work side-by-side with the civilian and military workforce at installations across the country and worldwide.

The new shift can be expected to return some clout into the hands of civil service employees who work at half the cost or even less, reversing a decades-old trend of farming out program management increasingly to pricey hired hands in the defense industry.

“We are currently reviewing all contractors, all the contracts we have,” Hagel testified at a Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2013/06/pentagon-leaders-put-support-contractors-notice-deep-cuts/64715/?oref=national_defense_nl 

Bleak outlook for global defense industry

June 12, 2013 by

Deloitte LLP’s 2013 “Global Defense Outlook,” released June 10, 2013, is basically all bad news. Even the silver linings turned to lead when we talked them over this morning with the chief of the defense practice at the giant consulting firm, retired Air Force Gen. Charles Wald.

As US defense spending staggers, there are some other places on the planet where military budgets are on the rise, from the usual suspects in East Asia and the Persian Gulf to unexpected players in Africa. The amounts, however, aren’t anywhere near big enough to offset US and European declines.

Defense ministries and contractors have gotten used to powerful growth since 9/11. Indeed, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute calculates the boom began even before that, with worldwide military expenditure rising every year since 1998 – until 2012, when they finally started down again. Of the (roughly) 195 countries in the world, just 50 account for 97 percent of global defense spending, the Deloitte study calculates, and, said Wald, that “top 50,” taken as a group, “are going to reduce their spending.”

That may or may not be good news for global peace, but it’s tough news for the defense industry.

It’s not just that the pie is getting smaller: Traditional defense firms’ percentage slice of that pie is shrinking as well. That’s because what little growth is happening is increasingly moving away from old-fashioned heavy metal – tanks, ships, planes – to information technology, from sensors to communications to cybersecurity. An invasion of IT companies from the much larger and more dynamic civilian economy hardly bodes well for traditional defense firms.

Keep reading this article at: http://breakingdefense.com/2013/06/10/deloitte-details-bleak-outlook-for-global-defense-industry/

Top 50 Defense Spenders Worldwide

Top 50 Defense Spenders Worldwide
Source: Deloitte LLP’s 2013 “Global Defense Outlook,” released June 10, 2013

Contract planning is Academy’s next course in July

June 7, 2013 by

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.

Pentagon’s top contracting official: Sequestration’s cuts could continue into FY14, disproportionately affecting small businesses

June 5, 2013 by

Sequestration spending cuts could continue into 2014, and the impact of the deep cuts will fall disproportionately on small business, the Pentagon’s top acquisition official told a Navy industry forum on Monday of this week (June 3, 2013).

“It’s a reasonable possibility that we will go into 2014 with sequestration still underway,” said Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. “A lot of things we planned on doing we won’t be able to do.”

Last month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Defense Department employees he could not guarantee that the budget situation would ease next year.

Kendall’s comments to the 2013 Navy Opportunity Forum in Arlington, Va., come three months into a budget sequester that is taking $41 billion out of the Pentagon budget this fiscal year, leading to cuts across the military in everything from operations and deployments to training and readiness. Furloughs are set to begin in July for about 85 percent of the Defense Department’s 767,000 civilian employees.

In the sequestration environment, Kendall said, the department needs to be more proactive in taking care of the small businesses that contract with the military.

“The cuts we are going to experience potentially will fall on small businesses,” more than on large military contractors, he said, adding that cuts in research and development worry him as well. “Potential adversaries are modernizing at a rate which makes me nervous,” he told the group, which included representatives of companies that produce advanced technologies funded by Navy programs.

Kendall said the department is about to conclude its strategic choices and management review, which Hagel ordered to provide department leaders with options given the current budget environment as well as the prospect of future spending cuts.

“What would we have to do at the department if we had to take $50 billion a year out over the long term? That would be pretty devastating,” Kendall said, mentioning one such scenario being considered by the review.

Posted by the American Forces Press Service at http://www.defense.gov//news/newsarticle.aspx?id=120200.

Critical steps a contractor can take to foster E-Verify compliance

June 5, 2013 by

“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

Most top contractors increased business with federal government in 2012

May 28, 2013 by

A majority of the top 200 government contractors made more money on federal awards last year than in 2011, despite major budgetary cutbacks, according to a report released Wednesday.

Overall, the federal government spent $516.3 billion on contracts in fiscal 2012, down 3.1 percent from fiscal 2011’s total of $532.6 billion, the largest year-over-year decline in inflation-adjusted dollars since 1997, the analysis said. Sixty-four percent of that total went to the top 200 companies doing business with the government.

Bloomberg Government, which published the report, analyzed data from 24 agencies and departments, and in 20 categories of federal purchases. Bloomberg found that many contractors were able to maintain or increase business by focusing on sectors that were not subject to “budget pressures,” such as space vehicles, drones, health information technology and cybersecurity.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2013/05/most-top-contractors-increased-business-federal-government-2012/63049/?oref=dropdown 

DoD unlikely to cancel contracts for savings

February 25, 2013 by

Defense Department Controller Robert Hale says he does not foresee DoD canceling contracts if sequestration takes effect. Instead, DoD is more likely to deal with budget pressures by declining to pick up contracts’ option periods and simply not awarding new contracts.

“I would like to say, to reassure them, if you’ve got a contract with us, we’re going to pay you,” Hale said. Even under sequestration and with employees taking furloughs, he added, DoD will keep making payments on time.

A contract option period allows agencies to buy additional quantities of supplies or work without further negotiation between the agency and company.

Defense officials are delving into specifics on what the department really needs to buy and what projects to continue.

Keep reading this article at: http://fcw.com/articles/2013/02/21/sequestration-contracts.aspx.

Challenging contracting conditions hurt consultancy’s revenues

January 31, 2013 by

Consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton reported a 3.5 percent decrease in revenues in the third quarter of its 2013 fiscal year, citing lower demand and challenging market conditions for government contractors.

The company reported revenues of $1.39 billion in the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2012, down from $1.44 billion during the same period in the previous year. Net income for the quarter was $56.2 million, down from $62.8 million the previous year. The company’s fiscal year begins in April and runs through March.

Booz Allen Hamilton was focused on increasing productivity in the “uncertain federal budget environment,” said Chairman, CEO and President Ralph W. Shrader. “At every level in our company, we are making changes to ensure our cost competitiveness to win and perform work,” Shrader said in a statement.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2013/01/challenging-contracting-conditions-hurt-consultancys-revenues/60989/?oref=govexec_today_nl.

Procurement Opportunities Guide now available at no cost

January 30, 2013 by

The 2013 edition of Braddock’s Procurement Opportunities Guide, An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Selling to Governments and Corporations, is now available to GTPAC clients at no charge!

Braddock’s Procurement Opportunities Guide is a primer designed to help small business owners and decision makers understand the government procurement and private sector procurement spaces.  The Guide provides an overview of government and corporate markets with an emphasis on who buys and how buying decisions are made.  The Guide also presents “next step” resources for federal and state governments and the private sector.

Topics covered by the Guide include:

  • Selling to the federal government/state governments
  • Selling to large corporations
  • Selling to foreign governments and international organizations
  • “Green” procurement
  • Special resources for Women-, Minority, and Veteran-owned businesses
  • A glossary of procurement related terms, a procurement preparation checklist, information about teaming agreements and joint ventures, and more.

Braddock’s Procurement Opportunities Guide is published and copyrighted by Braddock Communications, Inc.  This special PDF edition of Braddock’s Procurement Opportunities Guide is available at no charge to you thanks to the generous support of Microsoft Corporation.

Download the Guide here: https://netforum.avectra.com/eWeb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=APTAC&WebCode=PUBPOG

 

SBA to remove dollar limits on WOSB set-asides

January 18, 2013 by

Women-owned small businesses will have greater access to federal contracting opportunities as a result of changes included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA) to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program.

“This new law is a prime example of how the Obama Administration is embracing a more inclusive view of entrepreneurship, helping small businesses and America succeed,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “Today, women own 30 percent of all small businesses up from just 5 percent 40 years ago. As one of the fastest growing sectors of small business owners in the country, opening the door for women to compete for more federal contracts is a win-win.”

The NDAA 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.
Prior to the new law, 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.

The Women’s Federal Contract Program allows contracting officers to set aside specific contracts for certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs and will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of five percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSBs.

The law also requires the SBA to conduct another study to identify and report industries underrepresented by women-owned small businesses. As a result, more eligible women-owned businesses may be able to participate in SBA’s Women’s Federal Contract Program and compete for and win federal contracts.

These changes have not yet taken effect.  The SBA is working with the Office of Federal Procurement Policy under the President’s Office of Management and Budget on the implementation including changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

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 www.sba.gov/wosb.
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 Small Business Program or to access the instructions, applications or database, please visit www.sba.gov/wosb.