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Friday Flash, 05.09.14

FAR and Beyond Blog

The Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) Second Generation Office Supplies (OS2) Dashboard:  The check engine light is on! 

The Coalition welcomes the FSSI OS2 Dashboard as a positive step in improving transparency. The dashboard responds to public requests for more information regarding OS2 including information about pricing, savings and small business participation.

The dashboard states that “[i]n 9 out of 10 cases, the median OS2 price is lower than the median Schedule 75 (Non-OS2).”  The dashboard also provides a pricing table, “April 2014 Price Comparison: Schedule 75 to OS2,” that allows for a comparison of median Schedule 75 prices to median OS2 prices on an item by item basis. The dashboard can be found here.

The pricing information contained on the dashboard is instructive regarding the shortcomings of FSSI.   That 9 out 10 times the median OS2 prices of an item is lower than the median Schedule 75 is unremarkable!  The schedule contracting process is designed to lower prices by competition at the task order stage.  The dashboard’s pricing comparison information confirms the competitive nature of the schedules ordering process—not the efficacy of the current FSSI.   Individual agencies competing specific requirements can and have achieved similar, if not superior savings.  In fact, our members have experienced situations where agency specific BPAs have provided a better deal, including lower prices, than the FSSI OS2 BPAs only to see the agency move to the OS2 BPAs rather than maintaining their own.

The current FSSI approach reflects a vision of GSA as “America’s Buyer.”   The Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) has described current FSSI strategy as “supplier suppression,” the key tenants of which are limiting the number of suppliers, increasing data reporting requirements and driving down pricing through generic government-wide BPAs.  This approach limits competition, hurts small businesses and reduces access to the commercial marketplace.

Sound procurement outcomes are built upon clear, consistent and firm requirements.  Moreover, each agency/department is in the best position to understand, articulate, procure and manage its requirements and mission needs in the procurement process.  That is why the Coalition, with input from the procurement community, has set forth a list of “Best Practices for Establishing Blanket Purchase Agreements.”  Chief among the best practices is focusing on requirements—and that BPAs reflecting single agency requirements should be preferred over multiple agency or government-wide BPAs.  Single agency BPAs allow the government to state specific, realistic, authentic requirements that can be accurately priced.  In contrast, GSA’s generic government-wide BPAs cannot articulate specific, realistic, and authentic requirements through FSSI.  Simply put GSA does not hold or manage other agency requirements.  As such, the current FSSI approach creates detachment between contractors and customer agencies that reduces value and customer satisfaction.

The irony is that the GSA Schedules contract structure, ordering procedures, and electronic tools are all designed to drive competition for agency specific requirements.  As a refresher, here are the key features of the program:

  • Statutory and regulatory mandates for streamlined task and delivery competition
  • GSA Advantage! serves as a market research tool providing customers and contractors with pricing and other key information for products and services on contract
  • E-buy, GSA’s electronic quote tool,  increases transparency and competition by allowing customer agencies to post RFQs and conduct task and delivery competitions consistent with statute and regulation
  • Continuous open seasons that provide the opportunity for commercial firms to submit new offers for commercial products and services every working day of the year

The top down, lowest common denominator approach to FSSI does not reflect the federal marketplace.   At its best, GSA is not America’s Buyer, rather it is the Federal Government’s Procurement Market Maker.  GSA brings customer agencies and commercial firms together via the GSA Schedules to compete, acquire and deliver best value outcomes for the America people.

The FSSI check the engine light is on and it is time for a tune up!

Roger Waldron



Coalition Recommendations Top National Dialogue

Message from President, Roger Waldron

Thanks to the active participation of CGP members, the Coalition’s member recommendations topped the list of ideas to improve the Federal acquisition system in the CAO Council’s National Dialogue.

The Coalition really appreciates everyone who took the time to vote in the National Dialogue.  The government will look at the results and recommendations received as they assess how to reduce barriers to the Federal market and improve the acquisition system.  This week, Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel, specifically referred to the National Dialogue in his testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  VanRoekel said that he anticipates that the government “will have recommendations for actions emerging from this work.”

The following Coalition member recommendations were at the top of the final list of those received in the National Dialogue, based on the number of votes:

  • Reduce Extensive Data Collection Requirements
  • Remove the Price Reductions Clause and Reform Pricing for the Multiple Award Schedules
  • Address Burdensome Ordering Procedures for Blanket Purchasing Agreements (BPAs)
  • Reduce Contract Duplication
  • Increase Clarity of Intellectual Property (IP) Rights- GSA Schedules
  • Implement Other Direct Costs-GSA Schedules
  • Reduce Restrictive Experience Requirements- GSA Schedules

The results are a strong statement in support of the need to reduce barriers to entry into the Federal market, reduce costs in government procurement and increase access to innovation.  We look forward to the implementation of the recommendations received in the National Dialogue and will keep you up to date on future developments.


Administrator Tangherlini Testifies on IT Acquisition

This week the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing on Critical Factors for Success in Information Technology Acquisitions.  GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini provided testimony to the committee, which primarily focused on GSA’s own IT investments and the services they offer to customer agencies government-wide.  Within GSA, Administrator Tangherlini described how GSA has empowered the Chief Information Officer, adopted zero-based budgeting for IT projects, enhanced use of cloud computing and adopted a more agile IT development process.  Tangherlini noted that GSA’s internal IT reform initiatives have resulted in an 18% reduction in IT spending (from $698 million in FY2013 to a budget request of $572 million in FY2015).

Administrator Tangherlini also briefly mentioned some specific IT Acquisition Solutions that GSA offers customer agencies—Schedule 70 and Networx.  He noted that “Through better pricing of these and similar acquisitions, GSA helped agencies save more than $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2014 on these acquisitions.”

On the Prices Paid Portal, the Administrator said that, “the system is being populated with initial data on simple commodities such as office supplies, with data on more complex items to follow.” He also explained that GSA’s objective for the portal is to provide comparative market pricing information that is widely available, such as many e-commerce, travel and secondary market portals.

To access the full testimony, visit


Bart Bush on GSA Consolidation Projects, June 5

Join the Federal Buildings Committee on June 5th at 10am for a conversation with Bart Bush, Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Client Solutions in the Public Buildings Service (PBS).  Mr. Bush will be discussing GSA’s efforts to reduce the Federal footprint through consolidation projects.


GSA recently announced a $70 million investment in 19 consolidation projects with Federal agencies across the country.  These projects are designed to reduce costs by eliminating multiple leases and to also improve environmental performance.

Federal Buildings Committee

June 5 at 10am

Mayer Brown

1999 K St NW

Washington, DC

All members are welcome to join the discussion.  To attend, please RSVP to Roy Dicharry at


Meet IT Schedule 70 Advocate, Karl Krumbholz

Join the Coalition’s IT/Services Committee at 10am this coming Tuesday at Northrop Grumman Information Systems in McLean, VA. The meeting will feature a meet and greet with the newly announced IT Schedule 70 Advocate for industry. The new position was announced at the recent IT Industry Day and filled by Karl Krumbholz who is looking forward to meeting Coalition members.


The IT Schedule 70 advocate is slated to address issues that broadly impact all companies that do business on Schedule 70 and act as a sounding board for companies as they interact with GSA. Please RSVP to Roy Dicharry at if you would like to attend the meeting.


GAO: Early Attention to Guidance and Engagement Ensures Competiveness

In a report released this week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Department of Defense’s (DoD) competition rate for all contract obligations declined over the past 5 fiscal years from 62 percent in fiscal year 2009 to 57 percent in fiscal year 2013.  It has remained flat for the past 2 years.

In GAO’s report on DoD competition, they noted that the requirements introduced in 2010 for competitive solicitations that result in only one offer are intended to help ensure more effective competition.  However, they may apply too late in the acquisition process. DoD contracting officials and vendors told GAO that engagement with vendors well before the 30 day solicitation period is key to ensuring vendors have adequate time to review draft requests for proposals, plan resources, provide feedback on potentially restrictive requirements, and determine whether to prepare proposals. The report also notes that contracting officers for the contracts reviewed rarely collected information about reasons only one offer was received. GAO asserts that this limited their ability to revise acquisition strategies appropriately or plan for future competitive acquisitions. Moreover, the one-offer rules do not require contracting officials to engage with the vendor community to learn why vendors chose not to submit offers.

GAO recommends that 1) DoD ensure that existing acquisition planning guidance promotes early vendor engagement, and 2) DoD establish guidance for when contracting officers should assess why only one offer was received. DoD agreed with the recommendations.


Meet Jan Frye on VA Acquisition, May 28

Coalition members are invited to attend a meeting with Jan Frye, Deputy Assistant Secretary Office of Acquisition and Logistics at the Department of Veterans Affairs on May 28 (rescheduled date).


This is a unique opportunity for members to hear from Jan Frye on the latest acquisition initiatives at the VA designed to support America’s Veterans.  The May 28 meeting will be at 10:00am at McKenna Long & Aldridge (1900 K Street, Washington, DC 20006). To attend in person, RSVP to Roy Dicharry at



Compliance Lessons from the Office of Inspector General

By: Jack Horan, Partner, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP

Effective and compliant contract administration should be a primary goal for all government contractors, including, of course, contractors with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  As with any other business goal, compliance should be attained efficiently.  Within the web of statutory, regulatory, and contractual requirements, VA contractors should understand the areas where noncompliance creates the greatest risk and exposure, and spend their resources accordingly.

As with the Offices of Inspectors General throughout the government, the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) is a central player in the oversight of contracts, enforcing compliance with all major VA statutory, regulatory, and contractual requirements, and redressing compliance failures.  As part of its responsibilities, the VA OIG reports to Congress twice annually on the audits, reviews, and investigations it conducts.[1]  Although intended for other purposes, these reports can assist VA contractors in identifying the requirements that are of the most importance to the VA, and should be most important to the contractor.  In short, VA OIG’s actions over the prior year serve as a lesson to contractors on where to spend their time and money (and the effect of noncompliance).

The VA OIG has “a nationwide staff of auditors, investigators, health care inspectors, and support personnel” in six major component “offices” that conduct “independent oversight reviews to improve the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of VA programs, and to prevent and detect criminal activity, waste, abuse, and fraud.”  For a VA contractor, the three component offices that are of most importance are:  (1) the Immediate Office of the IG; (2) the Office of Counselor to the IG; and (3) Office of Investigations.[2]

The Immediate Office of the IG is top-tier management, with the Deputy Inspector General operating as the “Chief Operating Officer.”  In addition to planning, directing and monitoring all [IG] operations,” the Immediate Office establishes investigative priorities for the Office, and identifies and promotes legislative initiatives to Congress.

The new year should bring a new IG to the VA.  On November 6, 2013, GeorgeOpfer announced his retirement as IG after more than 44 years of government service.  Mr.Opfer assumed responsibility as Inspector General on November 17, 2005, after being nominated by President GeorgeW.Bush.  Although President Obama has not nominated a replacement, Mr.Opfer’s long-time Deputy, RichardGriffin, is currently serving as Acting Inspector General.  Mr.Griffin has been a Deputy Inspector General since November 23, 2008, and previously served as Inspector General from November 1997 to June 2005.

A change in Inspector General can have a significant effect on the priorities, policies, and procedures of an office – as demonstrated by the GSA’s OIG under the direction of the current IG, Brian Miller.  Given his status as Acting Inspector General and his long service under Mr.Opfer, it would be surprising if Mr.Griffin made dramatic changes to the VA OIG’s policies or procedures.  Significant changes will likely come, if at all, under the next IG.

The Office of Counselor provides counsel to the OIG on False Claims Act cases affecting the VA and serves as liaison to the Department of Justice on False Claims Act cases.  The Office of Counselor also manages the Office of Contract Review, which  provides pre-award and post-award audits of contractors’ proposals and contracts under an agreement with VA’s Office of Acquisition, Logistics and Construction (OALC).[3]  The majority of pre-award audits of proposals for contracts or modifications under the VA’s Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) program.  The Office automatically reviews the pricing for all proposals when the estimated contract or modification exceeds $5,000,000 under Schedule 65IB, Drugs, Pharmaceuticals, and Hematology Related Products, and $3,000,000 for the other VA Schedules.  The Office of Contract Review also reviews pharmaceutical manufacturers’ compliance with the pricing requirements of the Veterans Health Care Act.  Thus, the Office of Contract Review reviews pricing for major VA contracts and ensures the pricing is compliant with contractual, regulatory, and statutory requirements, and provides a recommendation to the contracting officer on the prices the VA should pay for items on large FSS contracts.

So how did the pricing proposed by potential contractors fare with Office of Contract Review?  During fiscal year 2013, the Office conducted 83 pre-award audits of proposals of all types, and identified $655,056,285 in cost savings, or an average of $7.9 million in cost savings per audit.[4]  It’s safe to say that the Office did not routinely accept pricing as proposed by the contractors.

How about proposals for FSS awards, renewals or modifications?  Forty-six of the 83 pre-award audits were of proposals for awards, renewals or modifications under the FSS program[5] – 32 for initial award, ten for renewals, and four for modifications to add products.[6]  The Office recommended a price reduction for 72% (23 of 32) of the audited proposals for initial award.  The Office recommended a total of $470,428,110 in price reductions, with an average of $14.7 million per audit (including all 32 audits).  Thus, offerors submitting proposals for an initial award of an FSS contract fared worse than the average contractor subject to pre-award audits.

With pricing established by the existing contracts, one would expect that the contractor would fare better in pre-award audits for contract renewals.  Contractors did fare better but the Office frequently challenged the proposed pricing.  The Office recommended a total of $18,577,827 in price reductions, with an average of $1,857,783 per audit.  The OIG recommended a price reduction for 60% (six of ten) renewal proposals.

Contractors seeking product additions fared the best over the past year with the OIG recommending price reductions in only 25% (one of four) of its audits.  The one price reduction was a significant one though — $8,615,256.

So, here are the lessons learned from the pre-award audits:

  • Most obviously, the OIG takes a hard look at proposed pricing, in the past year rejecting 72% of pricing proposed for initial award, 60% for renewals, and 25% for modifications.
  • A contractor needs to be prepared to support its pricing not only when it is seeking the initial FSS contract, but also at renewal and for each modification.

Now let’s look at post award audits – audits conducted to determine whether a contractor is complying with its pricing obligations.  The Office reported 33 post-award audits in fiscal year 2013, which resulted in the VA recovering contract overcharges totaling over $17.6 million.  According to the OIG, approximately $11.7 million of that recovery resulted from Veterans Health Care Act compliance with pricing requirements, recalculation of Federal ceiling prices, and appropriate classification of pharmaceutical products.

Fourteen of the post-award audits were of voluntary disclosures.  The Office claimed more than offered by the contractor in nine of 14 voluntary disclosures.  The average recovery to the VA from voluntary disclosures was $1,157,117.[7]

The VA recovered 100 percent of recommended recoveries for post-award audits.

Lessons learned from post-award audits:

  • Pay close attention to your Veterans Health Care Act pricing – it is a major compliance area for the OIG, comprising the largest recovery area.
  • Be prepared to support your accounting and rationale for any voluntary disclosures.  The disclosure is likely to be audited and the proposed repayment amount is likely to be challenged.
  • Your opportunity to affect the government’s view of your liability is through negotiations with the OIG.  The Office has an excellent record – 100% of the time – of recovering what it determines the VA is due.

Now, a look at the focus of the Office of Investigations over the past fiscal year.  The Office of Investigations (OI) investigates crimes committed against programs and operations of the VA.  Within the OI, the Criminal Investigations division investigates all types of crimes (including criminal fraud as well as rape and murder) and civil fraud.  For fiscal year 2013, the OI reported opening 45 cases, making 11 arrests, and obtaining more than $564.1 million[8] in fines, restitution, penalties, and civil judgments “in the area of procurement practices.”

The OI specifically identified twelve criminal cases involving procurement violations by contractors – all twelve involved service-disabled, veteran-owned small business fraud.  In those cases, the SDVOSB business either misrepresented the eligibility of its owner, or the true ownership of the business.

Lessons learned from the OI:

  • Exposure under the False Claims Act for VA contracts can be very significant – reaching over $500 million in 2013.
  • People get arrested and go to jail for defrauding the VA.
  • If you tell the VA that you are a serviced-disabled veteran and own and operate a SDVOSB, you better be a service-disabled veteran and own and operate the SDVOSB.

Finally, one other lesson learned – this one from the structure of the VA OIG.  Contact by the Office of Contract Review and the Office of Investigations can both lead to civil or even criminal liability, but there is a significant difference.  If the contact comes from the Office of Investigations, the issue has already likely been determined to be a potential civil fraud or criminal violation.  There is no doubt that it is time to call your lawyer.

[1] See Semiannual Report to Congress, Issue 69, (October 1, 2012 – March 31, 2013),VA OIG; Semiannual Report to Congress, Issue 70 (April 1 – September 30, 2013), VA OIG.

[2] The three other component offices are the following: (1) the Office of Audits and Evaluations, which audits and evaluates the effectiveness of the Veterans Health Administration programs and Veterans Benefits Administration programs; (2) the Office of Healthcare Inspections, which monitors the healthcare provided to the veterans; and (3) the Office of Management and Administration, which provides comprehensive support services to the VA OIG, and administers the VA OIG Hotline.

[3] The Office of Counselor also supervises the Release of Information Office, which primarily processes Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act requests for OIG records, as well as other requests for information.

[4] The reports describe the pre-award audits results as “potential cost savings” and “savings and cost avoidance” so it is not clear whether these amounts include audit recommendations ultimately rejected by the contractors.

[5] To provide some perspective, the VA estimates that there are currently 1900 contract holders under its FSS program.

[6] The categorization of the pre-award and post-award audits in this article are based on the description of the audits in Appendix A of the reports.

[7] The OIG’s reports labeled eleven post-award reviews as involving voluntary disclosures with a total recovery to the VA of $12,728,288.

[8] This amount includes a $500 million fine resulting from a False Claims Act case against a large pharmaceutical company.


Legal Corner

Proposed Rule Reflects Questionable Implementation of Statute to Expand Application of Personal Conflict of Interest Rules

By: Jason A. “Jay” Carey, Partner, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP; Alison L. Doyle, Partner, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP; John W. Sorrenti, Associate, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) currently imposes personal conflict of interest (“PCI”) requirements on contractors performing acquisition functions closely associated with inherently governmental functions.  FAR subpart 3.11.  Contractors performing such work must screen for and prevent PCIs, and the screening process includes disclosure and review of covered employees’ financial interests and other relationships.  Compliance can be a significant burden and understandably raises concerns about the proliferation of personal financial information in the hands of contractors and the government.

On April 2, 2014, the FAR Council issued a proposed rule that would greatly expand the application of those PCI requirements to contractors performing a number of other (non-acquisition) “functions closely associated with inherently governmental functions,” as well as contracts for personal services.  79 Fed. Reg. 18503 (Apr. 2, 2014).  The proposed rule’s implementation of the underlying statute raises red flags, and would require many new contractors to accept significant and ambiguous compliance burdens.  Comments are due by June 2, 2014.

The proposed rule purports to implement section 829 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, which required the Secretary of Defense to review existing PCI requirements to determine whether they should be extended to other defense contractors through a revision of the Department of Defense supplement to the FAR.  The proposed rule, however, goes beyond the stated intent of section 829, extending the requirement to all agencies, not just the Department of Defense.  Contractors and industry groups submitting comments may want to address the propriety of this approach given the statutory language.

With respect to the substantive requirements of the proposed rule, it deletes the current limitation to acquisition-related functions, and applies PCI rules to all contractor “functions closely associated with inherently governmental functions.”  Section 829 referred to 10 U.S.C. § 2838(b)(3) to define the term “functions closely associated with inherently governmental functions,” and that statutory provision defined the term as the list of functions in FAR § 7.503(d).  The proposed rule, however, does not adopt this definition — and, in fact, does not define the term at all.  Rather, the rule refers generally to FAR subpart 7.5.  But that subpart does not define the term, or even contain the words “closely associated.”  As a result, the proposed rule provides no guidance to contracting officers regarding what it means for a function to be “closely associated” with inherently governmental functions.  Leaving this essential term undefined will assuredly create confusion, and lead to an inconsistent and uneven application of the rule from agency to agency and contracting officer to contracting officer.  And over time, agencies will gravitate to the most conservative approach — i.e., the broadest application — without any systematic assessment of whether that approach makes sense, or is worth the cost to contractors and the procurement system.

Further complicating matters is the ambiguity of the functions listed in FAR § 7.503(d), which sweep in a wide range of services that support government operations, including:

  • Budget preparation (including workload modeling, fact-finding, efficiency studies, and should-cost analyses);
  • Reorganization and planning activities;
  • Development of policies or regulations (including analyses, feasibility studies, and strategy options);
  • Any situation that might permit a contractor to gain access to confidential business information or other sensitive information;
  • Support for responses to Freedom of Information Act requests;
  • Some legal, security, and inspection-related services.

The FAR Council is interested in receiving comments on which functions listed in FAR § 7.503(d) should be included or excluded from the PCI requirements.  In addition to addressing that question, contractors and industry groups should consider commenting on the ambiguous scope of the covered functions in FAR § 7.503, which is certain to lead to uneven implementation.  For example, the new PCI rule would apply to contracts where the contractor may have access to “confidential business information” or “other sensitive information.”  See FAR § 7.503(d)(11).  Those terms are not defined, and have potentially broad application — not just to contractor proprietary information and source selection information, but also to any information the government views as confidential or sensitive.  The reference to “planning activities” in FAR § 7.503(d)(2) is similarly broad and undefined.

Given the absence of any definition of “closely associated,” the lack of clarity in FAR § 7.503, and the conservative nature of many in the acquisition workforce, a broad application of PCI requirements seems likely if the proposed rule is adopted as-is.  As currently drafted, the proposed rule has far-reaching implications, and is likely to impose substantial costs and compliance burdens on contractors — beyond what even Congress intended.  Contractors should consider submitting comments, and closely monitor the progress of the proposed rule.


Four Agencies to Offer Financial Management Shared Services

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has announced the designation of four shared service providers for Financial Management—the Department of Agriculture, Treasury, Interior and Transportation.  These agencies will provide core accounting and other services to Federal agencies in alignment with the Administration’s plan to Improve Financial Systems Through Shared Services, released in March 2013.  Agencies have been directed to use shared service solutions for future modernizations of core accounting or “mixed” systems.  OMB expects that as agencies move to shared services, they will reduce the risk of new system implementations, gain access to faster and less expensive technological innovation, achieve cost savings, and meet deadlines.  The specific offices that will offer shared services for financial management systems are:

  1. Department of Agriculture’s National Finance Center
  2. Department of the Interior’s Interior Business Center
  3. Department of Transportation’s Enterprise Services Center
  4. Department of Treasury’s Administrative Resource Center

OMB may designate additional providers in the coming years as more agencies move to shared services and lessons are learned from these four providers.


Coalition Response to NS2020 RFI

This week, the Coalition submitted comments in response to the recent RFI for GSA’s Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS). The RFI sought public input/feedback on the Network Services 2020 (NS2020) Strategy to meet future Federal information technology and telecommunications needs.  The Coalition’s comments can be found here.


HHS Commodity IT Procurement Expected this Summer

According to a report in The Washington Post, the Department of Health and Human Services is planning a ten-year, $10 billion Chief Information Officer–Commodity Solutions contract for release this summer. Research from Deltek suggests the solicitation will be released in May. The vehicle will provide commodity information technology equipment and software to the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies. Approximately half of the program’s awards are expected to go to small businesses.


DoD Assessing Sustainable Purchasing Compliance

This week Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy (PAP) issued an internal memorandum that provides instructions to DoD Departments about how to assess compliance with its Sustainable purchasing objectives.  DoD Departments and Agencies (including the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Defense and Logistics Agency) are to review a sample of 100 applicable contract actions from the first and second quarter of FY2014 to determine if the contracts include requirements for sustainable products and services.  The sample may include solicitations for new contracts, task orders under existing multi-year contracts, IDIQs, Multiple Award Contracts, GSA Schedules and BPAs.  For each contract under review, DoD will assess whether the following apply:

  • EPA-designated recycled content products
  • IT related ENERGY STAR products
  • FEMP-designated Energy Efficient Low Standby Power products
  • USDA-designated Biobased/Biopreffered products
  • Environmentally Preferred Products
  • EPEAT-registered products
  • Water efficient products
  • Non-ozone depleting substances
  • Non or Low Toxic or Hazardous Constituents

While any type of contract may be selected for the review, some examples of contract services and products mentioned in the memo are building operations and maintenance, electronic equipment (including leasing), fleet maintenance, building interiors, furniture and janitorial services.

To view the report form that DoD Departments are to complete, see pg 3 of the memorandum posted at


DFARS Releases Final Rule on Counterfeit Electronic Parts

The Department of Defense (DoD) published a final rule on Counterfeit Electronic Parts that amends the DFARS in accordance with  the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. Among other provisions, the rule will:

  • Add requirements for identifying, avoiding, and reporting counterfeit parts to existing requirements for the contractor’s purchasing system
  • Prohibit contractors from claiming, as a reimbursable cost under DoD contracts, the cost of counterfeit or suspect counterfeit electronic parts or the cost of rework or corrective action due to the use or inclusion of such parts, with some exceptions
  • Address the government’s role in reviewing and monitoring the contractor’s processes and procedures for detecting and avoiding counterfeit or suspect counterfeit electronic parts as part of a contractor’s purchasing system review

The rule became effective on Tuesday of this week. We encourage members to review the final rule here.


Last Chance to Register! IAE Webinar, May 13

GSA welcomes Coalition members to a virtual meeting on the Integrated Award Environment (IAE) next Tuesday, May 13.  In addition to the IAE team’s invitation to industry (featured last week), GSA would like to share the following blog post about the event.

IAE Blog: Transparency and Being Open

May 5, 2014

Last December, GSA’s Integrated Award Environment (IAE) team laid out our core Architectural Principles related to our goal of bringing together the government’s systems that facilitate and track federal award activities.  First among those principles is the requirement that “IAE Must Be Open.”

On May 13, IAE will be hosting the third in our series of industry focused events – a webinar during which we will explain exactly what we mean by “be open” (please register here).  What does it mean for the near future of IAE and the systems we manage, and why is being open, or transparency, a critical component of what we are building?

While a relatively new concept in the business world – and even newer in the federal IT landscape – transparency and openness have established, measurable benefits that will allow for collaboration and coordination not seen before in similar situations.  A move to an open environment will create more efficient and effective government; will spur innovation and economic growth; will foster transparency and accountability; and will create an environment of inclusion and empowerment.

Certainly there will be challenges adopting this new way of doing business, but our belief is that in doing so, we will avoid many of the pitfalls of the past and instead will harness the best minds and the best solutions to problems even before they happen.  Of course we recognize that in embracing openness, there is a balance that must be struck across a variety of issues such as security, use of COTS tools, and commercial services.  IAE and our partners will work tirelessly to strike that appropriate balance without negating the core value of openness and inclusivity.

As we’ll explain in detail on May 13, when we say open, we mean open in every aspect.  The new IAE will include open processes, services, and data.  Yes – the code will be open.  We want anybody to be able to examine and improve our code base.

With a paradigm shift to openness as a backdrop, we have much to discuss with our industry and other vested partners.  We are very much looking forward to engaging in those conversations, and we hope you’ll begin that process with us on May 13 at 1:00PM EST.

Navin Vembar

Director, GSA IT Integrated Award Environment Division

Judith Zawatsky

IAE Director of Outreach & Stakeholder Management

CGP Briefing on Cybersecurity Acquisition – May 22nd

The Tower Club, Tysons Corner, VA

May 22, 2014, 8:00AM – 11:00AM, Registration 7:30AM

Registration Fee: Premier Member $95; Standard Member $145; Non-Member $215

The Coalition will host a morning panel discussion and workshop on the implications for contractors of the new DoD and GSA final report on cybersecurity acquisition – including an overview and update on the Draft Implementation Plan and NIST cybersecurity requirement for critical infrastructure.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Jon Boyens, Senior Advisor for Information Security, NIST
  • Emile Monette, Senior Advisor for Cybersecurity, GSA Office of Mission Assurance
  • Don Johnson, USD (AT&L) | DASD (C3Cyber)
  • Richard Blake, Business Management Specialist with GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service Enterprise GWAC Center, San Diego (pending travel approval)
  • Ken Evans Jr., Deputy Product Manager for the Army Information Warfare Product Office
  • Tom Barletta, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson
  • David Z. Bodenheimer, Partner, Crowell &
    Moring LLP
  • Beth Ferrell, Partner, McKenna Long & Aldridge
  • More to come!

A primary purpose of the DoD – GSA Final Report is to recommend strategic guidelines for acquisition practitioners. In addition to covering the substantive materials, panelists will discuss the following issues as they relate to the new guidance, NIST Framework, and DFARS rule:

  • How government, schedule, and commercial contractors should prepare and respond to the new guidance in proposal efforts
  • Is it likely that the new guidance will move from voluntary to mandatory for contractors in the near future?
  • With an estimated $46 Billion spent on global critical infrastructure cybersecurity in 2013, how much is enough?
  • Are Risk Management principles and Best Practices management sufficient in this current threat and vulnerability environment?
  • Are there implications in the new guidance for the certification and qualifications of FedRAMP contractors in providing cloud services?

We are confident that the information, sources, and resources covered will strengthen your cybersecurity efforts and expand your knowledge in this critical area and we look forward to your participation.

To register, click HERE!

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