Defense Department leaders and agencies have been granted much-needed flexibility to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment Ellen Lord delegated approval authority for Other Transaction Agreements (“OTs”) related to the coronavirus response, consistent with Section 13006 of the CARES Act. Continue Reading Other Transaction Authorities Given Greater Flexibility to Foster Innovation in Coronavirus Response
The Department of Defense (DoD) has once again emphasized its willingness to engage with commercial companies and other non-traditional contractors to try to expedite and simplify its procurement of innovative technologies. In particular, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) indicated that it plans to enter directly into Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreements, and DoD issued a class deviation for a commercial solutions opening (CSO) pilot program.
These developments, in connection with the continued promotion of OTA agreements by DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit Experimental organization (DIUx), provide commercial companies with additional incentives to enter into creative collaborations with the U.S. Government.
On February 7, the Department of Defense (DoD) awarded REAN Cloud a contract valued at up to $950 million to work with defense agencies to migrate existing applications to commercial cloud solutions. The award is of significant relevance to efforts currently underway in connection with the upcoming DoD Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure—or “JEDI”—procurement. However, the award is also important in a broader context in that it was issued as a follow-on production contract to an “other transaction” (OT) prototype agreement awarded on an expedited basis by DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit Experimental organization (DIUx). The award, therefore, reflects DoD’s increased comfort with issuing high-value production contracts following preliminary work with DIUx under OT prototype agreements.
The employee non-competition agreement landscape continues to evolve rapidly, with several states enacting new limits on the use of non-competition agreements between employers and employees. Once a valuable tool for employers to protect their businesses from unfair competition, loss of customers, or misuse of company confidential information, many states have increasingly limited the enforceability of such agreements.
The federal government is now weighing in on the appropriate use of non-competition agreements between employers and employees. President Biden’s July 9, 2021 Executive Order asks the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to limit such agreements—signaling a potential expansion of federal regulation of agreements between employers and workers. And a pending Senate bill would ban most non-competition agreements. Given these developments, government contractors and other employers should assess whether their use of these agreements with employees is consistent with recent state developments and aligned with the broader trend toward limiting the enforceability of these agreements.
(This article was originally published in Law360 and has been modified for this blog.)
On July 15, 2019, President Trump issued an Executive Order on Maximizing Use of American-Made Goods, Products, and Materials. The EO directs the FAR Council to “consider” amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation’s provisions governing the implementation of the Buy American Act. This EO is the Trump administration’s latest – and most concrete – step toward enhancing domestic sourcing preferences and restricting foreign sources of supply for federal customers. And if implemented, the change promises to have dramatic implications for government contractors and their supply chains. Continue Reading Another Executive Order on Buying American, and This One Has Teeth
We recently wrote about GSA’s new Transactional Data Reporting (“TDR”) pilot program, which requires participating Federal Supply Schedule (“FSS”) contractors to report 11 items of transactional data to GSA each month. The TDR rule also eliminates the requirement to provide a Commercial Sales Practices (“CSP”) format as well as the Price Reductions Clause. As we noted in our earlier post, the TDR rule promises to give GSA contracting officers greater flexibility in evaluating FSS offers and proposed pricing, but there still is significant uncertainty as to how GSA will apply the rule in practice.
Recognizing this uncertainty, the Coalition for Government Procurement recently submitted 65 questions to GSA focused on five aspects of the TDR rule: Use of the Data, Pricing, Pilot Administration and Operations, Public Disclosure of Information, and Evaluating the Pilot. GSA responded to the Coalition’s questions on September 19th. While GSA’s efforts to engage with industry are commendable, GSA left unanswered many key questions that are of significance to FSS contractors, including how the TDR rule will impact FSS contract pricing negotiations.
The Court of Federal Claims recently issued an opinion in the long running litigation between Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation (“Sikorsky”) and the United States regarding Sikorsky’s cost accounting practices. In this new decision, the court rejected a government attempt to pursue a new legal theory to challenge Sikorsky’s compliance with the Cost Accounting Standard (“CAS”), which contradicted a legal theory the government had pursued in an earlier round of litigation. During the first round of litigation, the government had claimed that Sikorsky’s accounting practices violated a specific CAS – CAS 418. In the second round, the government demanded payment from Sikorsky on the theory that those same accounting practices were actually compliant and therefore a subsequent change triggered a violation of a different CAS regulation. This new legal theory was inconsistent with the government’s original claim. In rejecting this aggressive tactic, the court indicated its displeasure at the government’s legal arguments, and the decision may help contractors in future attempts to curtail the government’s appetite for aggressive CAS litigation tactics. Continue Reading In Long-Running CAS Case, the Court of Federal Claims Rejects a Government Attempt to Get Another Bite at the Apple
On September 9, the Biden Administration released a number of new details for its Path out of the Pandemic that will impact U.S. Government contractors and a number of other individuals and entities. In addition to requiring most executive agency employees to receive COVID-19 vaccines, the Administration plans to mandate that executive agency contractors and subcontractors, with some exceptions, impose similar requirements on their employees pursuant to an executive order that will fully go into effect on October 15, 2021. The overall impact of the executive order will not be clear until additional details are released in the coming weeks, but government contractors should begin considering the implications of the new requirements and take steps to ensure timely compliance.
The world has been almost singularly focused on the 2019 coronavirus for more than 18 months now, but the fact remains that we still face an array of other known pathogens with pandemic potential and any number of unknown pathogens that could pose a similar risk. These threats have periodically been an area of congressional focus since the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, and most recently a bill for the Disease X Act would renew this focus and direct it at new, currently unknown viral threats. The bill is poised to be a key piece of legislation in ongoing and future biodefense initiatives and pandemic preparedness. Continue Reading The Next Pandemic: New Bill Looks Ahead to Counteract Novel Threats
In the latest World Health Organization daily situation report, as of March 11, 2020, the WHO reported 118,326 COVID-19 cases confirmed and 4,292 deaths worldwide, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 938 cases and 29 deaths in the United States. The same day, WHO characterized COVID-19 as the first global pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. Additionally, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), issued a Declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) to provide liability immunity for entities against any claim of loss caused by, arising out of, relating to, or resulting from the manufacture, distribution, administration, or use of covered medical countermeasures (MCMs). Prioritized pathways are now available to expedite review of new, responsive technology proposals for MCMs from diagnostics to therapeutics.