Archives: Procurement Reform

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SBA Proposes New Data Rights and Phase III Preferences under SBIR/STTR Awards

The U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) recently issued a notice detailing proposed amendments to the policy directives governing the Small Business Innovation Research (“SBIR”) and Small Business Technology Transfer (“STTR”) programs.  The notice indicates that the SBA intends to implement significant changes to the current data rights provided under SBIR/STTR awards, as well as the … Continue Reading

DoD IG Report Reveals Ongoing Struggles in IT-Acquisition Reform

IT-acquisition reform remains an area of ongoing concern for Federal agencies and government contractors.  Indeed, as we previously discussed, the GAO has added IT Acquisitions and Operations to its bi-annual list of programs it identifies as posing a high risk for fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.  Strengthened by Congress’ passage in December 2014 of the … Continue Reading

HASC Chairman Proposes New Acquisition Reforms

Defense acquisition reform took another step forward this month with the launch of HASC Chairman Mac Thornberry’s “discussion draft” of legislation that will work its way into the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act.  Chairman Thornberry continues to press with his commitment to an iterative, incremental drive for acquisition reform.  This year’s bill focuses on key … Continue Reading

Defense Contractors Must Share (Even More) Information About Their IR&D Projects Before DoD Will Reimburse IR&D Costs

The Department of Defense (DoD) will require contractors to disclose more information about their Independent Research & Development (IR&D) projects before the Government will reimburse IR&D costs, the Pentagon said in a proposed rule issued earlier this week.  The proposed rule, which was previewed in an August 2015 white paper, is the latest sign that … Continue Reading

DoD To Reconsider How It Evaluates Proposed IR&D Projects In Awarding Government Contracts

The Department of Defense (DoD) is considering a proposed rule that would prevent defense contractors from promising future Independent Research & Development (IR&D) investments as a way to gain a competitive price advantage in DoD procurements.  Although DoD’s rulemaking is in its early stages, defense contractors with substantial IR&D programs should monitor these developments closely, … Continue Reading

Acquisition Reform Ramps Up Early in 2016

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry is wasting no time in his efforts to build on last year’s reforms to the defense acquisition system.  Less than a year after he launched his opening salvo in a new round of changes, Chairman Thornberry previewed the year ahead with a recent hearing and a presentation at … Continue Reading

DoD Retreats on Evaluation of Price Reasonableness

Last week, the Department of Defense (“DoD”) quietly withdrew its ill-received proposed rule on the evaluation of price reasonableness in commercial items acquisitions.  Issued on August 3, 2015, the Proposed Rule purported to provide guidance for evaluating the reasonableness of prices using data other than certified cost or pricing data.  As we previously reported, it … Continue Reading

DoD Proposes DFARS Changes in Attempt to Promote Voluntary Disclosure of Defective Pricing

Pursuant to the Truth in Negotiations Act (TINA), contractors are required to submit current, accurate, and complete cost or pricing data when negotiating certain contracts with the Government.  On November 20, the Department of Defense (DoD) published a proposed rule to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS).  The change would require DoD contracting … Continue Reading

“We Mean It, Maaannnn”—New Proposed Regulation Seeks to Encourage Higher-Quality Proposals by Boosting Enforcement of Five-Bidder Limit in Two-Phase Procurements for High-Value Construction Contracts

On October 8, 2015, the U.S. Department of Defense (“DoD”), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”), and the U.S. General Services Administration (“GSA”) jointly proposed a change to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) that would make it more difficult for agencies to bypass the existing five-bidder limitation in two-phase procurements for design-build projects worth more … Continue Reading

DoD Issues Targeted Class Deviation Updating Recently Adopted Cybersecurity DFARS Clauses

Last week, on October 8th, DoD issued a class deviation replacing DFARS 252.204-7012 and 252.204-7008 with revised clauses that give covered contractors up to nine (9) months (from the date of contract award or modification incorporating the new clause(s)) to satisfy the requirement for “multifactor authentication for local and network access” found in Section 3.5.3 … Continue Reading

GSA Seeks Input on Eliminating IT Schedule 70’s Two-Year Experience Requirement

Last month, we discussed Information Technology (IT) Schedule 70, one of the largest contract vehicles administered by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). GSA now is evaluating whether Schedule 70 should be made more accessible to certain small contractors, new IT providers, and other, similarly situated firms.… Continue Reading

DoD IR&D Projects May Not Be So “Independent” For Long

Last week, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued a white paper announcing that, beginning in FY2017, it will require contractors to notify DoD before undertaking any new Independent Research & Development (IR&D) projects. Contractors also will be required to inform DoD of “the results from these investments.” The white paper acknowledges that these requirements are a departure … Continue Reading

GSA Seeks Industry Input on Cybersecurity Schedule Offerings

Earlier this month, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) issued a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting feedback from industry on ways to improve the sale of Cybersecurity and Information Assurance (CyberIA) products and services through GSA’s multi-billion dollar Information Technology (IT) Schedule 70. IT Schedule 70 currently features more than a dozen special item numbers (SINs) for cybersecurity … Continue Reading

OMB Issues Final Guidance Implementing FITARA

The Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) has issued final guidance (the “Guidance”) implementing the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA).  We have previously discussed FITARA’s requirements that seek to reform and streamline the Government’s information technology (“IT”) acquisitions, which account for approximately $80 billion in annual spending. At its core, the Guidance implements the … Continue Reading

Proposed “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” Regulations Clarify New Responsibilities for Government Contractors

On May 28, 2015, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council published proposed regulations that create additional obstacles for offerors seeking to obtain government contracts.  As we previously discussed, these regulations implement the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” Executive Order 13673 that President Obama signed on July 31, 2014.  The regulations, which were accompanied by and … Continue Reading

Renewed Pressure to Definitize Letter Contracts

Earlier this week, the GAO issued a report to members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees regarding the Air Force’s compliance with definitization and reporting requirements associated with the use of undefinitized contract actions (“UCAs”).  UCAs, which commonly take the form of letter contracts, allow contractors to begin performance and seek payment before all … Continue Reading

Contracting Officers Must Soon Separately Justify Awards to Offerors Proposing High-Percentage or “Pass-Through” Subcontracting

Over the past decade, Congress has focused on eliminating excessive “pass-through” charges—charges defined as overhead costs or profits passed to the Government by contractors adding negligible value over work done by lower-tier contractors.  The efforts began with the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006, which introduced limitations on tiered subcontracts after allegations that the … Continue Reading

An Acceptable Proposal: Set Appropriately High, Clear Standards for DoD’s Auditors and LPTA Competitions

On April 30, 2015, the House Armed Services Committee passed H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2016, with an amendment (Log #325rl) that could shape how the Department of Defense (“DoD”) acquires audit and audit readiness services for its Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness (“FIAR”) Plan. Under the FIAR Plan, … Continue Reading

Doubts Raised About GSA’s New Vision for Federal Contracting

If comments at a recent public meeting are any indication, the General Service Administration’s proposed Transactional Data Reporting rule may be in danger of stalling before it even gets started. The proposed rule, announced to great fanfare last month, has been trumpeted by GSA as a “new vision for Federal purchasing.” During an all-day public … Continue Reading

GAO Reports Highlight Ongoing Struggles in Reforming IT Acquisitions and Operations

As federal agencies are slated to spend almost $80 billion on federal information technology (“IT”) acquisitions this fiscal year and the OMB prepares to issue its final guidance on the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (“FITARA”), GAO has released two reports this month that discuss ongoing efforts to improve IT procurement.  Combined with GAO’s recent addition … Continue Reading

Another Attempt at Defense Procurement Reform Begins

Mac Thornberry is taking a sledgehammer to the Pentagon’s $600 hammer. That particular bogeyman of wasteful defense spending never actually existed, but many real (and larger) inefficiencies continue to plague the defense procurement process.  Last month, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee released draft legislation designed to make fundamental reforms to the government’s … Continue Reading

Another Proposal from GSA: a Class Deviation for Commercial Agreements

March has been a busy month for the GSA in its efforts to implement what it has touted as a “new vision for Federal purchasing.” On March 5, 2014, GSA announced a proposed rule to reform pricing practices and contractor reporting requirements under multiple award schedule contracts. In its latest move, on March 20, 2015, … Continue Reading

SBA Proposes Comprehensive Small Business Mentor-Protégé Program

Last week, the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) published a proposed rule that if implemented will increase the opportunity for large and small businesses to partner on unrestricted competitions and small business set asides by creating a comprehensive Mentor-Protégé Program that will allow any type of small business contractor to partner with another company without … Continue Reading

The Defense Department Releases Updated Acquisition Guidance

Continuing its effort to reform military acquisitions, the Department of Defense (“DoD”) recently released an updated version of its acquisition guideline, DoD Instruction (“DoDI”) 5000.02, Operation of the Defense Acquisition System, available here.  The updated document incorporates the changes from an interim version of the Instruction released on November 26, 2013, and emphasizes tailoring acquisition … Continue Reading
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