On February 24, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order entitled “Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains” (the “Order”). Among other things, the Order is an initial step toward accomplishing the Biden Administration’s goal of building more resilient American supply chains that avoid shortages of critical products, facilitate investments to maintain America’s competitive edge, and
Emergency Contracting During COVID-19: A Guide to FAR Part 18
The government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic implicates a host of authorities of interest to contractors, from those under the Stafford Act to its recently invoked Defense Production Act powers. The government has another critical, and perhaps under-examined, set of tools at its disposal to meet the demands of the pandemic: FAR Part 18, “Emergency Acquisitions,” catalogues authorities that give the government greater ability to acquire goods in a streamlined, accelerated manner. Contractors should take note of FAR Part 18 given the government’s urgent needs for COVID-19 related supplies and services.
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Other Transaction Authorities Given Greater Flexibility to Foster Innovation in Coronavirus Response
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. …
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House and Senate Will Debate Bid Protest Policy
The House of Representatives passed its version of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) last week. The headline story was the remarkably close, party-line vote: in contrast to past years, the bill received no Republican votes, and eight Democratic Members voted against it.
Those partisan dynamics obscured the inclusion of two important amendments – one Republican and one Democratic – regarding bid protest policy that the House quietly adopted in its bill. The provisions are not yet law, since the House and Senate must still resolve differences in their respective NDAAs through the conference process. In this post, we summarize these provisions and encourage government contractors to watch them closely in the coming months.
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“Economic Security Is National Security”: Key Takeaways from the Defense Industrial Base Report
(This article was originally published in Law360 and has been modified for this blog.)
Peter Navarro, assistant to the president for trade and manufacturing policy, recently offered in a New York Times op-ed that “[a] strong manufacturing base is critical to both economic prosperity and national defense.” The Trump Administration’s maxim that “economic security is national security” is rooted in several government initiatives, ranging from large-scale policy reforms (like renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement and strengthening the so-called “Buy American Laws”) to more granular contracting procedures (like the Department of Defense’s proposed changes to commercial item contracting and increased scrutiny of security across all levels of defense supply chains).
Business leaders should therefore pay close attention to the government’s long-awaited interagency assessment of the manufacturing and defense industrial base, available in unclassified form here. The report was commissioned by Executive Order 13806, which described “[s]trategic support for a vibrant domestic manufacturing sector, a vibrant defense industrial base, and resilient supply chains” as “a significant national priority.” The Department of Defense served as the lead agency coordinating the report, in partnership with the White House’s Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.
Throughout the 140-page report, the Interagency Task Force (the “Task Force”) identifies myriad threats, risks and gaps in the country’s manufacturing and industrial base, and concludes that “[a]ll facets of the manufacturing and defense industrial base are currently under threat, at a time when strategic competitors and revisionist powers appear to be growing in strength and capability.” To address these concerns, the Task Force lays out a methodology, diagnosis, and framework for policy recommendations and gives the government significant flexibility in crafting responses. The report recommends – and we expect the President to issue – a follow-on Executive Order directing action on those responses. That creates an opportunity for industry to participate in shaping the major implementing policies and regulations that are coming. …
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How Well Do You Know Your Supply Chain? New Policy Developments Affect Defense and Security Contractors
This post first appeared on Covington’s Global Policy Watch blog on September 7, 2018
Generating and sustaining the United States’ global economic and military superiority over more than the last half century has depended on a dominant U.S. global economic position and perpetual technological innovation. The United States has increasingly relied on a global industrial…
DoD Issues Further Guidance on Implementation of DFARS Cyber Rule
On September 21, 2017, the Director of the Defense Pricing/Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy (DPAP) issued guidance to Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition personnel in anticipation of the December 31, 2017 date for contractors to implement the security controls of NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-171. The guidance outlines (i) ways in which a contractor may use a System Security Plan (SSP) to document implementation of NIST SP 800-171; and (ii) provides examples of how DoD organizations could leverage a contractor’s SSP and related Plan of Action and Milestones (POA&M) in the contract formation, administration, and source selection processes.
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Cybersecurity Update: DoD Releases Long-Awaited Final Rule
On October 21, 2016, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued its long-awaited Final Rule—effective immediately—imposing safeguarding and cyber incident reporting obligations on defense contractors whose information systems process, store, or transmit covered defense information (CDI). The Final Rule has been years in the making and is the culmination of an initial rule issued in November 2013, two interim rules published in August 2015 and December 2015, and years of comments and experience by DoD and its contractors. The new Rule materially alters the predecessor rule in a number of respects and clarifies several important issues relating to contracting for cloud computing services.
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House and Senate Defense Bills Target Executive Order
Congress has weighed in on Executive Order 13673, known officially as the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Order” and unofficially as the “Blacklisting Order.” While the Office of Management and Budget reviews the Labor Department’s draft of the final regulations and guidance, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have added language to the Fiscal…
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 priorities that complement the efforts of Secretary Carter and Under Secretary Kendall to capitalize on private-sector innovation. The draft bill promotes experimentation and prototyping and takes some steps to attract nontraditional defense contractors into government contracting.
Unlike last year’s reform bill, however, this legislation has not yet garnered the support of HASC Ranking Member Adam Smith. He and other commentators have argued that the bill’s language might actually increase bureaucratic oversight and constrain the military services’ existing procurement authorities. In this post, we summarize the bill’s key provisions and discuss its potential path through Congress. …
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