In legislation passed last week, Congress directed the FAR Council to issue new rules for contractor organizational conflicts of interest.  The legislation itself did not create any new OCI standards, but provided factors for the council to consider, focusing on conflicts of interest for companies that act as consultants to the government.

It is unclear at this point what the precise nature and extent of the resulting changes to the OCI rules may be.  But the new law makes it likely that there will be some fairly significant revisions.  Congress set a deadline of Summer 2024 for the new regulations, so the contracting community should be on the lookout for a notice of proposed rulemaking in the coming months, and should not hesitate to submit comments for the government’s consideration.

Continue Reading New Contractor Conflict of Interest Rules May Be Coming Soon, with a Special Focus on Consulting and Advisory Contracts

On December 1, 2022, the Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and NASA published a final rule addressing “Effective Communication Between Government and Industry,” which is aimed at “encourag[ing] communication between Government acquisition personnel and industry.”

The rule adds a paragraph to FAR 1.102-2 that reads as follows:

The Government must not hesitate to communicate

On Tuesday, GAO released its Bid Protest Annual Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2022, which provides bid protest statistics and other interesting information regarding GAO’s protest system.

  • The number of protest filings dropped by 12% from FY21.  After a 12% drop in FY21, protest filings went down another 12% in FY22, with

As we have previously covered on this blog, challenges to the terms of a solicitation typically must be raised in a bid protest brought prior to proposal submission.  The Government Accountability Office recently sustained such a pre-award protest in Selex ES, Inc., B-420799 (Sept. 6, 2022)

Continue Reading GAO Sustains Pre-Award Protest and Finds Solicitation Terms to Be Ambiguous

On March 18, 2022, the Department of Defense published a final rule in the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement implementing its “enhanced” debriefing process.  That process originated in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 and had previously been implemented via a class deviation.

The DOD enhanced debriefing process — which applies to procurements under FAR Part 15, and to task order competitions under FAR 16.505 — has two hallmarks:

Continue Reading DOD Issues Final DFARS Rule on Enhanced Debriefing Process

Last Tuesday, GAO released its Fiscal Year 2021 protest statistics, which as always contains a wealth of interesting information about GAO’s protest system.

  • Protest filings dropped by 12% from FY20.  After remaining fairly steady in FY19 and FY20, filings dropped in FY21, with the lowest number of cases filed since FY08.  It seems likely,

[This article was originally published in Law360.]

Amidst the whirlwind of M&A activity in the government contracts industry, a recent bid protest decision from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) highlights the importance of proper planning to protect prime contract proposals during M&A and other corporate transactions.  Last month, GAO denied a protest from ICI Services Corporation (ICI), which challenged the U.S. Navy’s decision to award a task order to Serco, Inc. (Serco) under the SeaPort Next Generation (SeaPort-NxG) vehicle.  Although ICI raised a “multitude of challenges,” GAO focused on what it considered the gravamen of ICI’s protest — that Serco was ineligible for award because it allegedly was not a complete successor-in-interest to the Naval Systems Business Unit (NSBU) of Alion Science and Technology Corporation (Alion).  Serco had acquired the NSBU from Alion in July 2019, and has been operating the NSBU in the several months since then.

For years, contractors have faced an amalgamation of protest decisions assessing the impact of transactions on proposals for new prime contracts.  The recent ICI decision provides some additional guidance and, more importantly, underscores GAO’s stated intent that its decisions not frustrate pending proposals merely because a corporate transaction has taken place or is expected to take place, but instead ensure that the procuring agency has reasonably considered the impact of the transaction and concluded that the resulting contract will be performed in materially the same way as described in the proposal.  In the absence clear guidance in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) on the treatment of bids in connection with a corporate transaction, GAO’s decision in ICI offers some clarity for contractors and a framework for agencies when assessing the impact of a transaction.  Although every transaction and proposal is unique, the ICI decision highlights some key considerations for contractors.
Continue Reading Buying a Business Without Losing the Pipeline: Further Guidance for Protecting Proposals

Federal civilian agencies will now face new restrictions on when and how they can use Lowest Price Technically Acceptable source selection procedures. A new rule in the Federal Acquisition Regulation is the latest in a series of measures aimed at regulating the use of LPTA source selection procedures. The new rule implements an October 2019 proposed rule and takes effect on February 16, 2021.
Continue Reading New FAR Rule Continues Shake-Up of LPTA Procurements

Although it is usually good news for a protester when an agency takes corrective action, the corrective action sometimes fails to adequately address the protest grounds.  When this occurs, a protester may wish to file a new protest challenging the agency’s corrective action.  The question of when to file a corrective action challenge is often tricky, however — and a misstep can result in dismissal.  GAO recently clarified that timing in Computer World Services Corporation.

Continue Reading GAO Clarifies Timing for Corrective Action Protests

It’s a big deal in the government contracts community whenever the Federal Circuit weighs in on a bid protest.  And it is a particularly big deal when the Federal Circuit issues a split opinion in a bid protest.  That’s what happened last week in Inserso Corporation v. United States (No. 2019-1933), where the Federal Circuit issued a split opinion denying a protest as waived under Blue & Gold.

Continue Reading Federal Circuit Splits on Blue & Gold Question in Inserso