SAM.gov registration is free, and SAM help is available at no charge, too

October 8, 2013 by

Businesses interested in Federal contracting must, as an initial step, register in the Government’s database known as System for Award Management (SAM).   Registration at the official SAM site — www.sam.gov — is free.

SAM replaced another database — Central Contractor Registration (CCR) — with which many people inside and outside of Government were familiar.  SAM is a better technology solution because it actually consolidates what once were several stove-pipe, stand-alone databases.  Because of the migration of records from CCR to SAM last year, all vendors now must re-validate and update their records.  And vendors new to the Government sector must establish a vendor record in SAM for the first time.

The good news is that SAM registration is something that any vendor can master by themselves.  And if any vendor needs instruction, help is readily available free of charge.  Here are three important tips:

    1. Don’t be confused by look-alike websites.  There is only one SAM database, and it’s a secure website operated by the Federal Government.  It’s located at https://www.sam.gov.  You also can navigate to SAM by simply typing sam.gov or www.sam.gov in your web browser.  Either of these variations will redirect to the secure site.  The key thing to know is that the official Federal SAM website is a “.gov” website, not a commercial website, so SAM.com is not an option if you’re trying to navigate to a Government website.
    2. There are helpful videos now available on-line to help you with the SAM registration process.  If you need to migrate an old CCR record over to SAM, you can view the instructional video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuFGM9H0gPI&feature=c4-overview&list=UUGYKiouhiBpijT51CplQZ-w.    If your business was never registered in CCR, then your starting point is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VPGVYPvch4&list=UUGYKiouhiBpijT51CplQZ-w.
    3. If you need advice on how to organize your records in order to register in SAM — or you need help with the SAM registration process itself — expert assistance is available free of charge to all vendors, small and large.  Just contact the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) nearest you.  PTACs have produced a SAM instructional video, too, and it’s available here:  https://netforum.avectra.com/eWeb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=APTAC&WebCode=SAM.  A complete list of all PTACs across the nation is available at http://www.aptac-us.org/new/Govt_Contracting/find.php.    In Georgia, you can contact any of the nine PTAC offices located across the state — all contact information can be found at: http://gtpac.org/team-directory.

Remember, SAM registration is necessary if you want to do business with Federal agencies.  Remember, too, SAM registration is something you can tackle yourself.  There is never a charge to register at sam.gov, and help with the SAM registration process is readily available, at no charge, from your nearest PTAC.

Small businesses bid on fewer contracts over the last 5 years, survey says

August 22, 2013 by

Bidding activity from small businesses for federal contracts dropped  significantly over the last 5 years, an August American Express government  contracting survey  says.

The company sent surveys to all small businesses registered within the System  for Award Management and performed on a contract in the last 5 years, receiving  684 responses.

Survey authors say the data shows small business submitting fewer bids or  proposals, with the average annual number dropping by 72 percent for prime  contract bids since 2007, the survey says. In 2012, small business respondents  submitted on average 7.9 bids or proposals, as opposed to 19.5 in 2007.

One reason for a decrease in bidding activity may be reductions in government  spending, the survey says.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/small-businesses-bid-fewer-contracts-over-last-5-years-survey-says/2013-08-14

Download the report at: http://assets.fiercemarkets.net/public/sites/govit/amexsurvey.pdf 

Newnan man gets two years in prison for falsely representing himself as SDVOSB on federal contracts

June 24, 2013 by

Newnan, Ga., resident Arthur W. Singleton was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison for fraudulently obtaining several government construction contracts reserved for veterans with service-related disabilities.

He also was ordered to pay $181,000 in restitution.

According to U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: Singleton owned a construction firm named “Singleton Enterprises” and had more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry.

In 2007, Singleton, 63, approached a Vietnam veteran (who was bedridden from surgeries related to his combat injuries) and proposed staring a business to exploit the veteran’s disabled status to get federal government contracts that were reserved exclusively for companies owned and run by service-disabled veterans. When the veteran agreed to the scheme, Singleton formed two companies using the veteran’s name.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2013/06/20/singleton-enterprises-owner-gets-two.html 

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.