The questions regarding Healthcare.gov and the role the federal procurement system leads this week’s “FAR and Beyond” blog back to one of the Thirteen Thoughts for 2013: Requirements development –the blocking and tackling of federal procurement! Just as blocking and tackling are the fundamental keys to winning football, sound requirements development is the key to successful, best value procurement outcomes for customer agencies, contractors and the American people!
It may be too early to fully understand and/or identify the causes behind Healthcare.gov’s current challenges, especially without seeing the contract terms and conditions, including the statement of work. But what remains true and has been true for close to two decades is that requirements development is the Achilles heel of government procurement. Forget Low Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) acquisition strategies, past performance databases and strategic sourcing. The best, most effective way for the government to acquire high level, best value contractor performance in support of agency missions is through improved requirements development. Indeed, that is one reason the current strategic sourcing approach is high risk—it focuses on complex, overly broad government-wide Blanket Purchase Agreements rather than focused, well- articulated agency specific Blanket Purchase Agreements.
To his credit, Former OFPP Administrator Dan Gordon’s Myth-Busters campaign was focused on improving requirements development through more effective communication between government and industry. As stated in Former Administrator Gordon’s February 2, 2011 memorandum:
Access to current market information is critical for agency program managers as they define requirements and for contracting officers as they develop acquisition strategies, seek opportunities for small businesses, and negotiate contract terms. Our industry partners are often the best source of this information, so productive interactions between federal agencies and our industry partners should be encouraged to ensure that government clearly understands the marketplace and can award a contract or order for an effective solution at a reasonable price.
Perhaps the current situation provides a teachable moment regarding our federal procurement system. Perhaps the moment will provide the impetus for a review and reform of an overly complex system that creates unnecessary barriers to the commercial marketplace, stifles innovation, and increases costs for all.
Any such review should start with improving requirements development. The Services Acquisition Reform Act (SARA) 2007 Acquisition Advisory Panel Report still provides a sound, effective foundation for revamping the procurement system. As the SARA Panel Report noted in a finding on best commercial practices:
Commercial organizations invest the time and resources necessary to understand and define their requirements. They use multi-disciplinary teams to plan their requirements, conduct competitions forward, and monitor contract performance. They rely on well-define requirements and competitive awards to reduce prices and obtain innovative, high quality goods and services. Procurements with clear requirements are far more likely to meet customer needs and be successful in execution.
See page 31, Chapter 1, of the Report.
In response to the above the SARA Panel recommended that:
Current policies mandating acquisition planning should be better enforced. Agencies must place greater emphasis on defining requirements, structuring solicitations to facilitate competition and fixed price offers, and monitoring contract performance. Agencies should support requirements development by developing centers of of expertise in requirements analysis and development. Agencies should then ensure that no acquisition of complex services (e.g. information technology or management) occurs without express advance approval of requirements by the program manager or user and the contracting officer, regardless of which type of acquisition vehicle is used.
The SARA Panel’s recommendation remains timely and should be addressed. Make no mistake, improving requirements development, especially with regard to information technology, will take a sustained, long term effort across the procurement community. Like blocking and tackling—requirements development is foundational, hard work that leads to success. Let’s tackle requirements development for the American people!
Next week, more on the costs and complexities of the Federal Acquisition Regulations. We will address how the “award price” paid will always be lower (a better value) based on the requirements.
October 30, 2013
Now that the Government has reopened, how has the federal market changed in the wake of the government shutdown and budget cuts?
What business intelligence is needed to succeed in FY 2014?
How do actions from The Hill affect your business strategy?
How will changing Agency Budget Priorities impact your business?
Learn the answers to these questions from Federal Acquisition Leaders, Agency CFOs and Government Officials at The Coalition’s 2013 Fall Training Conference – The New Federal Market.
Breakout sessions will address new developments in government-wide acquisition programs including Strategic Sourcing, GSA Acquisition Center Initiatives, Veterans Affairs, GSA e-marketing, Professional Services and more.
Some of the speakers include…
- Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics – Department of Defense
- Major General Wendy M. Masiello, Director of Contracting—Air Force
- Emily Murphy, Senior Counsel, House Committee on Small Business
- Norman Dong, Deputy Controller— Office of Management and Budget
- Kathleen Turco, Chief Financial Officer—Veterans Health Administration
- Anne Rung, Chief Acquisition Officer—General Services Association
- Michael Smith, Director of Strategic Sourcing —Department of Homeland Security
- Lesley Field, Deputy Administrator – Office of Federal Procurement Policy
- Jeff Koses, Director, Office of Acquisition Operations, GSS, GSA
- Iris Cooper, Executive Director, Office of Acquisition Operations, VA
- Geri Watson, Director, Management Services Center, GSA
- Joanne Woytek, Program Manager, NASA SEWP, NASA
October 30 is just around the corner and the Coalition Fall Conference, The New Federal Market, is a go! We look forward to the incredible line-up of speakers, the Excellence in Partnership Awards and the breakout sessions. Click here for the complete agenda and registration. In order for you to get the most out of the conference we’d like to share some advanced information about the breakout sessions so that you make strategic choices about which sessions to attend.
- SESSION ONE BREAKOUTS 2:30 to 3:30
Get the latest information on GSA’s overarching Federal Strategic Sourcing approach as well as information on-going initiatives :Jan San, MRO, MOBIS, Managed Print Services and IT Products
Jeff Koses – Director, Office of Acquisition Operations, GSS, GSA
Acquisition Directors Forum
Attend this session for a brief overview of initiatives of the GSA Acquisition Centers and have your questions answered about what’s going on in contract operations
Peter Han – Acting Director, National Administrative Services and Office Supplies Acquisition Center, GSA
Shaloy Castle Higgins – Director, Greater Southwest Acquisition, GSA
Don Denno – Division Director, Facilities Maintenance and Hardware Acquisition Center, GSA
Linda Valdes – Integrated Workplace Acquisition Center, GSA
Acquisition Directors Forum – Information Technology
Attend this session for an overview of initiatives of the GSA Information Technology Acquisition Center and have your questions answered about what’s going on in contract operations
Cheryl Harris – Acting Deputy Director, IT Schedule 70
Carmen Calloway – Acting Division Director, IT Schedule 70
Department of Veterans Affairs Acquisition (VA)
Do you have questions about the VA strategic acquisitions? From medical equipment to IT Healthcare, join this session for information about the unique programs of VA.
Iris Cooper – Executive Director, Office of Acquisition Operations, VA
Note – Craig Robinson, VA NAC, who was originally to be in this session is unable to attend as a result of the government shutdown.
Get to know the government’s power buyers. These entities buy on behalf of federal agencies using a variety of strategies and sources. Find out what they have planned for 2014 and how to participate.
Timothy E. Fleming – Assistant Commissioner, Office of Acquisition Operations, GSA
Christie Goodman – Director, Strategic Acquisition Service, Program Support Office, Department of Health and Human Services
- SESSION TWO BREAKOUTS 3:30 to 4:30
How have DHS spending goals been affected by budget changes? Come find out from DHS acquisition officials.
Jose Arrieta- Procurement Ombudsman, DHS
Robert Namejko – Industry Liaison, DHS
Michael Smith – Director of Strategic Sourcing, DHS
Guy Torres – Director IT Acquisitions, Customs and Border Protection/DHS
Tim Shaughnessy – Technical Advisor to Chief Procurement Officer, DHS
What you need to know about GSA’s latest e-initiatives (reverse auction, GSA Advantage, etc.)
Timothy Dempsey – System Chief, MAS Program Office, Office of Acquisition Management, GSA
Geri Watson – Director, Management Services Center, GSA
Bruce Spainhour – Director, Center for Innovative Acquisition Development, GSA
Christopher Fornecker – Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Integrated Technology Service, GSA
Joanne Woytek – Program Manager, NASA SEWP, NASA
Robert Coen – Acting Director, NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC)
The Coalition looks forward to facilitating discussions among key stakeholders that pave the way for acquisitions that achieve the complex missions of agencies at great value for the U.S. taxpayer.
Following the government shutdown, the Coalition is surveying members on its impact on the contractor community. The purpose of the survey is to identify some lessons learned and make recommendations to key stakeholders in the government about how to best prepare contractors in advance of a shutdown. Your participation is essential to developing these recommendations for the government. All responses to the survey are anonymous and for non attribution. To take the 5 minute survey now, click here.
A big thank you to our members who have already taken the survey!
Shutdown Stops and Starts at GSA
Federal Times reported that GSA issued stop work orders for approximately 1,000 contracts on the first day of the government shutdown, October 1. These stop work orders totaled approximately $1 billion in work. According to GSA, the contracts included maintenance contracts and a myriad of services. Once the government shutdown ended, GSA was able to reinstate most of these contracts on the first day that the government resumed regular operations, October 17.
NASA SEWP V Extension
In an announcement posted on Wednesday, NASA extended the deadline to submit proposals for its Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) V contract vehicle to November 15 at 2:00PM EST. SEWP V is valued at $20 billion. Its request for proposals due date was delayed due to the recent government shutdown.
On October 10, 2013, the House VA Committee, Subcommittee on Health held a hearing to address overuse of prescription painkillers. The focus of the hearing was on poor pain management practices and lack of coordination among providers treating vets. In their opening statements, both full committee chair, Jeff Miller, and subcommittee chair, Dan Benishek, M.D., expressed concern that vets with chronic pain are being treated poorly by the VA, and that the VA needed a better approach to pain management than simply prescribing powerful painkillers. Chairman Miller pointed out that over the last eleven years, the number of patients treated by the VA has increased by 29% while narcotic prescriptions written by VA doctors and nurses increased 259%. In fairness to the VA, however, his statement did not address the types of injuries soldiers have suffered from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, injuries they may not have survived a decade ago, which could explain the increased need for prescription painkillers. These statistics may also be misleading because many prescriptions of controlled substances cannot be refilled. Dr. Benishek said he appreciated the challenges that VA medical centers experience in providing quality care but would like to see more involvement of pain specialists in treatment of vets with chronic pain, better provider practices, and better coordination of care.
New small business contracts are expected in FY 2014 according to a new report from Deltek. An article in the Washington Post described the following contract vehicles for small business presented in the report. They are with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Army and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
- DHS – Program Management, Administrative, Clerical and Technical Services II will provide services in two categories. The first will cover program management, technical services and operational services, while the second will cover administrative services. The report explains that the vehicle will include contracts with two base years and three one-year option periods, for a maximum of five years. Competition will be restricted to service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses. The contract is expected to have a ceiling value of $1.5 billion. The anticipated release is this coming December.
- USAID – The Global Health Supply Chain program plans to award one contract for procurement and long-term global supply improvement of laboratory supplies, such as rapid test kits. Restricted to small businesses, the vehicle is expected to have a five-year base period with one additional three-year option period, for a maximum of eight years. Also expected for a December release, it is valued between $75 million and $500 million.
- Army – The Space and Missile Defense Advisory and Assistance Services is looking for contractors to provide non-personnel advisory and assistance services in support of Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Army Forces Strategic Command. The contract performance period is projected to be five years with an anticipated ceiling of $496 million.
Gratuities – Cautionary Tales for Contractors and Government Employees
By: Tom Barletta, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP; Fred Geldon, Senior Counsel, Steptoe & Johnson LLP; & Mike Navarre, Special Counsel, Steptoe & Johnson LLP
Recent events demonstrate that government investigators and prosecutors are taking more seriously the ethical regulations that govern gratuities. Cases in point:
- On April 25, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a press release announcing that a Bureau of Prisons (BOP) employee had pled guilty to a charge of receiving unlawful gratuities. The BOP employee, a supervisory traffic management specialist in the BOP Relocation Services section, was responsible for giving relocating BOP employees a list of approved movers and then referring their move to agents of the chosen carrier. While performing these duties the employee received spa and salon gift cards in the amount of $1,007 and $790 from one carrier’s agent, as well as free moving services from moving companies. The BOP employee was subsequently assessed a fine of $1,500 and placed on probation for 18 months.
- On June 5, 2013, the Washington Post reported that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had placed two managers on administrative leave for accepting free food and other gifts in violation of government ethics rules. These violations were discovered during an audit of a years-old conference, at which the managers “allegedly held an after-hours party in their private hotel suites.” It apparently was not clear who gave the managers the food, worth $1,162. Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a statement to the Post that the IRS has started the process of firing the managers.
The basic rules applicable to government employees regarding gratuities are set forth in the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch (“Standards”), which are codified at 5 C.F.R. § 2635. The Standards generally prohibit federal government employees from accepting gifts from “prohibited sources,” a category that includes, among others, contractors (and employees of contractors) doing business with or seeking to do business with the federal government employee’s agency. 5 C.F.R. §§ 2635.102(k), 2635.203(d).
There are some exceptions, however. For example, under the Standards, federal employees may accept, even from “prohibited sources,” items worth $20 or less, as long as the total value of the gifts from the same source is not more than $50 in a single calendar year (calculated by including a contractor and its employees as a single source). 5 C.F.R. § 2635.204(a). The Standards also include other limited exceptions, such as gifts motivated by family relationships.
The size of the gratuities in the two recent examples discussed above far exceeds these thresholds. In the case prosecuted by the Justice Department, however, the amount at issue was significantly less than amounts usually cited in large corruption cases, and demonstrates that even these (relatively) small violations are attracting the attention of auditors, investigators, and prosecutors.
Although the Standards apply only to government employees who receive gratuities rather than to contractor employees who offer gratuities, contractors can face potential liability in relation to gratuities as well.
The federal criminal gratuities statute, 18 U.S.C. § 201, provides for fines or imprisonment for anyone who, for example,
directly or indirectly gives, offers, or promises anything of value to any public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official, for or because of any official act performed or to be performed by such public official, former public official or person selected to be a public official.
18 U.S.C. § 201(c)(1)(A).
Unlike a bribe, an illegal gratuity does not require an intent to influence; rather, the illegal gratuity only need be given “for or because of” an official act. An illegal gratuity “may constitute merely a reward for some future act that the public official will take (and may already have determined to take), or for a past act that he has already taken.” United States v. Sun-Diamond Growers of California, 526 U.S. 398, 404-405 (1999). There must, however, be a connection, i.e., the government must prove “a link between a thing of value conferred upon a public official and a specific ‘official act’ for or because of which it was given.” Id. at 414.
The risk to contractors is heightened, however, because the line between an acceptable gift and an illegal gratuity is nuanced. For example, in United States v. Hoffmann, 556 F.3d 871, 877 (8th Cir. 2009), the court rejected the defendant’s contention that the Government had failed to prove that he violated the gratuities statute because he did not reasonably believe that the government employee would take an official action and because the government employee never did so. Rather, the court upheld the conviction finding that a “reasonable juror could conclude” that the contractor gave the government project manager a set of golf clubs “to . . . reward future performance.”
The risk to contractors is demonstrated by yet another recent Justice Department announcement in a whistleblower “qui tam” case that included gratuities allegations. On March 7, 2013, DOJ announced that three CIA contractors (American Systems Corporation, Anixter International Inc., and Corning Cable Systems LLC) had agreed to pay $3 million to settle allegations they violated the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Act. The announcement included allegations that in pursuit of a 2009 contract the companies had provided gratuities (meals, entertainment, gifts, and tickets to sporting and other events) to CIA employees.
Prohibitions on gratuities applicable to contractors are also incorporated into various FAR provisions. For example, FAR 52.203-13(b)(3) (Contractor Code of Business Ethics and Conduct) requires that contractors “timely disclose, in writing, to the agency Office of the Inspector General, with a copy to the Contracting Officer, whenever, in connection with the award, performance, or closeout of this contract or any subcontract thereunder, the Contractor has credible evidence that a principal, employee, agent, or subcontractor of the Contractor has committed . . . [a] violation of Federal criminal law involving . . . gratuity violations found in Title 18 U.S.C.” In addition, FAR 52.203-3(a) allows the government to terminate a contract if a contractor or contractor employee “[o]ffered or gave a gratuity (e.g., an entertainment or gift) to an officer, official, or employee of the Government; and [i]ntended, by the gratuity, to obtain a contract or favorable treatment under a contract.” The government also may recover damages and/or suspend or debar a contractor from federal contracting for violations of this clause. See FAR 3.204(c).
Finally, in addition to potential criminal penalties and suspension and debarment, providing gratuities to government employees can also result in other adverse effects for a contractor, such as negative past performance ratings that could affect current and future business.
In sum, to maintain healthy relationships with their government customers and to protect government employees and themselves from potential liability, contractors should understand the laws and regulations applicable to gratuities to government employees, have a clear policy regarding gratuities (which, for many contractors includes a prohibition on giving gratuities) and provide appropriate education and training to their employees.
Of course, contractors should also be aware of laws and prohibitions that apply in related contexts, including anti-kickback laws that prohibit certain improper payments between prime contractors and subcontractors, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits certain types of payments to foreign officials, and laws and regulations that regulate payments that can be made to members of Congress and staff.
 “Gifts” include entertainment, favors, discounts, hospitality, transportation, and other things of value. 5 C.F.R. § 2635.203(b).
 The Court in Sun-Diamond also rejected the Government’s contention that the illegal gratuities statute is violated by providing a gift to an official because he is in a position (i) to act favorably at some unknown future time, or (ii) to “build a reservoir of goodwill that might ultimately affect one or more of a multitude of unspecified acts.” Sun-Diamond, at 405.
 The Justice Department also alleged that the companies improperly received source selection information from a CIA employee to whom they had provided gratuities.
House Explores Impact of a Reduced Defense Budget
The House Armed Services Committee held a hearing this week on the impacts of the Continuing Resolution and Sequestration on Defense Department operations. According to a Federal News Radio article, representatives from each of the military services said that they were able to avoid cancellation of any major acquisition programs in 2013, but that the impacts of defense budget cuts would increase over time. In 2014, the DoD will not have unobligated prior year dollars which could make it difficult to move funds between accounts unless there is some allowances made under sequestration.
One of the largest threats to defense planning in future years is the uncertain environment that has been created as a result of sequestration and budget gridlock on Capitol Hill. Sean Stackley, the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, also testified to the House that “this uncertain environment that we’re marching through is unraveling all the efforts that the department has put in to driving affordability into our programs… In 2013, we saw deployments being canceled. We saw the front end of procurements being canceled. You’re seeing delays to programs. When you compound that year over year, as posed through sequestration, it’s not a straight line. It will quickly devolve.” To read the entire Federal News Radio article, visit www.federalnewsradio.com/93/3491088/DoD-acquisition-programs-remain-alive-but-sequestration-damage-is-real.
This week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on its review of high-value real estate leases at the General Services Administration (GSA). In the report, GAO recommended that GSA be more transparent about its capital-planning approaches with Congress and more strategic about how it makes decisions concerning high-value leasing.
GSA’s Public Buildings Service (PBS) manages real property for civilian agencies and has a large portfolio of leased and owned properties. In FY 2011, these properties totaled nearly 350 million square feet. The Departments of Justice, Treasury and Commerce have the highest percentage of “high-value” leased properties. The government currently considers leases over $2.79 million annually as “high-value”.
GSA is required to submit a prospectus for high-value leases to Congress for their approval. The GAO found that GSA’s lease prospectuses did not regularly follow standard capital-planning principles such as an evaluation of alternatives to leasing. Further, GAO found that more information in these prospectuses could help decision makers better determine whether continuing to lease was the best option compared with owning the asset.
GSA Administrator, Dan Tangherlini, agreed with GAO’s recommendations and said that the agency will take action to include more information in the lease prospectus to Congress and prioritize potential ownership solutions for current high-value leases. To read the full report, visit www.gao.gov/assets/660/657978.pdf.
NIST Releases Cybersecurity Framework
This week the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued a Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework to assist owners and operators of critical infrastructure in managing cybersecurity risks. The standards were developed in accordance with Executive Order 13636, “Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.” The purpose of the Preliminary Framework is to provide organizations with direction about how to reduce cybersecurity risks using existing standards, guidance, and best practices. NIST notes that the framework should build on and improve organizations’ existing cybersecurity programs and help create one for those organizations without a program already in place. According to a Government Contracts Advisory from McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, the framework consists of three parts:
- Framework Core: The Framework Core “presents standards and best practices in a manner that allows for communication of cybersecurity risk across the organization from the senior executive level to the implementation/operations level.” It lays out five cyber-related functions, possible cybersecurity outcomes, cybersecurity activities, and methods to accomplish those activities.
- Framework Profile: The Framework Profile is to be used to: (1) “describe both the current state and the desired target state of specific cybersecurity activities, thus revealing gaps that should be addressed to meet cybersecurity risk management objectives;” and (2) create a plan for filling those gaps.
- Framework Implementation Tiers: The Framework Implementation Tiers “describe how an organization manages its cybersecurity risk,” including the extent of the thoroughness and sophistication of the organization’s practices and the extent to which an organization’s cybersecurity risk management is integrated into its overall risk management.
For more information, members are encouraged to review the October 22 McKenna Government Contracts Advisory and the primary source material above.
DoD Initiates Cybersecurity Info Sharing Program
A final rule has been issued by the Department of Defense regarding the establishment of the Department of Defense (DoD)-Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Voluntary Cyber Security Information Assurance (CS/IA) Activities. The final rule responds to public comments on the establishment of the DIB CS/IA program, a voluntary cyber security information sharing program between DoD and eligible DIB companies. The program enhances and supplements DIB participants’ capabilities to safeguard DoD information that resides on, or transits, DIB unclassified information systems. According to an article from McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, DoD received fifty comments from twelve respondents prior to the release of the final rule. DoD addressed some comments by adding clarifications to certain definitions and deleted language which suggested that participants were required, if requested by the Government, to provide additional information or assurances regarding their policies/practices. While this issue was addressed, the DoD did not address other issues that commenters raised. This includes a concern that language in the rule could be broadly interpreted, requiring virtually all cyber incidents to be reported to the government pursuant to the rule. The rule is effective November 21, 2013. The DoD-DIB Voluntary Cyber Security and Information Assurance Activities final rule is posted here.
Luke McCormack Appointed DHS CIO
The Department of Homeland Security would like to share the following announcement with Coalition members from Acting Under Secretary for Management Chris Cummiskey.
I am pleased to announce that President Obama has appointed Luke J. McCormack to serve as the Department’s Chief Information Officer. Mr. McCormack currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Information Resources Management/Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the Department of Justice, a position he has held since 2012.
Prior to this position, Mr. McCormack served in a variety of positions at DHS. From 2005 to 2012, he served as the CIO for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He served at Customs and Border Protection as Acting Director of Infrastructure Services Division from 2004 to 2005, Director of Architecture and Engineering from 2002 to 2003, and Director of Systems Engineering from 1999 to 2002. Before joining the federal government, he served at various private sector companies including MCI and Ford Aerospace. He received an M.B.A. from the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.
Mr. McCormack will oversee the Department’s continuing efforts to implement information technology (IT) enhancements and enhance IT security.
DPAP Class Deviation on Tax Delinquent Contractors
Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy (DPAP) issued a class deviation on October 22 establishing a prohibition against contracting with corporations that have unpaid tax debts or a federal felony conviction. The prohibition is required by the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2014 which states that funds under the law may not be used to enter into a contract with any corporation that—
- Has any unpaid Federal tax liability that has been assessed and that is not being paid in a timely manner, unless the agency has considered suspension or debarment and made a determination that no further action is necessary to protect the interests of the Government; or
- Was convicted of a felony criminal violation under any Federal law within the preceding 24 months, unless the agency has considered suspension or debarment and made a determination that no further action is necessary to protect the interests of the Government.
The class deviation went into effect October 22, 2013 and applies to all solicitations that use Fiscal Year 2014 funds.
Congress Introduces Security Clearance Bill
On October 10, the Senate passed the Security Clearance Oversight and Reform Enhancement (SCORE) Act (S. 1276). The bill would improve oversight of the security clearance process by mandating the suspension or termination of background check investigators that falsify reports. Also, it requires that the government update the policies that determine which positions require a security clearance. The SCORE Act has been referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.