FAR and Beyond Blog
Last week’s blog focused on the Federal Acquisition Service’s (FAS’s) notice seeking UPC codes and Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs) from all Multiple Award Schedule contractors. This initiative raises several questions:
- Has FAS complied with the Paperwork Reduction Act with regard to this new data reporting requirement?
- Can GSA Advantage handle the tsunami of data that will have to be uploaded to the site?
- Will there be a schedule by schedule dialogue with industry partners regarding the new requirement?
- Does FAS understand commercial practice regarding UPCs and MPNs?
- Will there be any corresponding reform to legacy reporting requirements currently in MAS contracts?
As I noted last week, FAS Commissioner Tom Sharpe reached out to the Coalition regarding this initiative seeking a dialogue. On August 12th we will be hosting Commissioner Sharpe for a discussion focusing on the UPC/MPN requirement. The meeting will be from 10 to 11 am—the location is to be determined. The Coalition will update our members as to the location as soon as it is finalized. This is a great opportunity for our members to share their thoughts, concerns and comments regarding yet another new data reporting requirement!
Now let’s turn to the Coalition Calendar for the Fall!!
Joseph P Caggiano Memorial Golf Tournament | 35th Anniversary Black Tie Gala | 15th Annual Excellence in Partnership Awards | 2014 Fall Training Conference
Mark your calendars and get ready to hit the links at Whiskey Creek on August 27th at our 2nd Annual Joseph P. Caggiano Memorial Golf Tournament. This charity tournament is to honor our good friend and colleague, Joe Caggiano, who was not only a 23-year veteran of the federal contracting marketplace but a naval veteran as well. We believe Joe would be proud of the fact that 100% of this year’s tournament proceeds are going to a brand new cause that will continue to support our nation’s veterans by way of our Coalition for Government Procurement Endowed Government Procurement Scholarship/Fellowship Fund.
In honor of our 35th Anniversary, and in conjunction with The George Washington University, we have made it a priority to fund and endow a scholarship or fellowship to provide financial support to a deserving veteran. Qualified veterans concentrating their studies in the field of US Government procurement and pursuing the JD or LLM degree in Government Procurement Law or the interdisciplinary Masters of Science in Government Contracting degree (MSGC) at GWU will benefit from the fund. We take our goal of common sense acquisition seriously and that starts with education – students enrolled in these programs will become the next generation of skilled professionals leading this critically important sector of the US economy. There are player slots still available for foursomes and single golfers and we have a variety of sponsorship opportunities remaining, including hole sponsors. Please consider getting a team together to support this worthy cause and enjoy a fun day golfing with your peers in Joe’s honor. Registration and sponsorship information can be found on our website here.
Moving on from summer events, it is with great excitement that I share with you important details of our much talked about 35th Anniversary Black Tie Gala and Excellence in Partnership (EIP) Awards banquet in conjunction with our 2014 Fall Training Conference. These events will be taking place on the evening of November 5th and all day on November 6th.
Our Anniversary Gala and EIP Awards will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC. This seemed to be a natural fit for us as the Reagan Building is of course owned by the U.S. General Services Administration. It is the first and only federal building designated for public and private use and is mandated by Congress to bring together the country’s best public and private resources to create a national forum for the advancement of trade. The evening’s events will include a reception, silent auction, keynote speaker, and our 15th Annual Excellence in Partnership (EIP) Awards.
The EIP Awards honor acquisition officials who have made significant strides in promoting and utilizing multiple award contracting vehicles. Awards will be given to individuals, organizations and contractors involved in procurement with GSA, VA, DHS, DoD and other government agencies. We urge you to take this opportunity to recognize an individual or organization that is deserving of an EIP Award. Nominations are officially open for the following prestigious award categories:
1. Lifetime Acquisition Excellence Award
2. Contractor Savings Award
3. Government Savings Award (Civilian)
4. Government Savings Award (DoD)
5. Myth-Busters Award
6. Best Veteran Hiring Program
7. Green Excellence in Partnership Award
Please see additional details and category descriptions, as well as make your nominations, on the EIP section of our website located at https://thecgp.org/eip-awards.
Our 2014 Fall Training Conference will take place the following day, November 6th, at the renowned JW Marriott. The JW Marriott is conveniently located at 1331 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, directly across the street from the Ronald Reagan Building. As a note, we will have a limited room block available on a first come first serve basis for the night of November 5th. Our conference agenda will consist of Mythbuster’s discussions on current topics and opportunities in Federal acquisition, training and networking, a keynote speaker, a town hall with Q&A, panel discussions, and of course our very popular breakout sessions in the afternoon.
Thank you for your continued support of The Coalition. We are thrilled to celebrate our 35th anniversary milestone with you in November and look forward to our biggest and best conference yet!
JanSan FSSI BPA Awarded
GSA has announced the awardees for the Janitorial and Sanitation (JanSan) Purchasing Channel. According to GSA’s notice on Interact, the established 18 blanket purchase agreements are designed to help federal agencies purchase Janitorial and Sanitation (JanSan) supplies at discounted prices that are an average 15.9 percent lower than standard government pricing.
On July 30th, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report on best value processes used by the Department of Defense (DoD) for FY 2013 contracts. Of the 2,851 new contracts issued in that fiscal year with obligations of over $1 million, DoD used either tradeoff or lowest price technically acceptable (LPTA) for 93% of those contracts. Among the findings, the report states that DoD uses the tradeoff process primarily for service acquisition, regardless of the obligation value. DoD preferred to use the LPTA process for commercial products with higher obligations, such as fuel. However, for contracts with lower obligations, DoD primarily used LPTA for both services and products.
According to the report, “several contracting and program officials said that their commands gave more attention to whether LPTA is an alternative option in light of declining budgets and efficiency initiatives. For contracts with obligations of $25 million or more, GAO found that DOD increased its use of LPTA since GAO last reported on this issue in October 2010 using fiscal year 2009 data. GAO’s prior report did not include contracts with lower obligations.”
The Coalition was interviewed as part of the GAO’s research for the report. Information provided to the GAO was based on the results of a LPTA member survey in which all respondents reported seeing an increase in LPTA by the Department of Defense across a wide scope of products and services.
The entire GAO report can be viewed here.
Bloomberg and CGP Q4 Spending Event
On July 31st, the Coalition for Government Procurement and Bloomberg Government co-hosted a Breakfast Briefing entitled “Strategies for Federal Market Success in Q4 and Beyond” at the Tower Club in Tysons Corner. Speakers included Roger Waldron, President of the Coalition for Government Procurement; Bill Gormley, President of the Gormley Group; and Kevin Brancato and Robert Levinson, both Senior Defense Analysts at Bloomberg Government. Following the business strategy panel, Michael Smith, Director of the Department of Homeland Security Strategic Sourcing Program Office, spoke to Q4 opportunities and acquisition resources at DHS. The event also covered recent trends in Q4 spending by agency, strategies businesses can use at the end of the fiscal year, and predictions for the FY2015 budget based on the current political landscape.
Nominate a deserving acquisition official for an EIP Award today! The Excellence in Partnership (EIP) Awards honor acquisition officials in the public and private sectors who have made significant strides in promoting and utilizing multiple award contracts, saving taxpayer dollars and contributing to veterans hiring and green initiatives. Awards will be given to individuals, organizations and contractors involved in procurement with GSA, VA, DoD, DHS and other government agencies. EIP Award nominations for 2014 are being accepted in the following categories:
1. Lifetime Acquisition Excellence Award
2. Contractor Savings Award
3. Government Savings Award (Civilian)
4. Government Savings Award (DoD)
5. Myth-Busters Award
6. Best Veteran Hiring Program
7. Green Excellence in Partnership Award
Please provide a brief description of why your nominee should be recognized with an EIP award with your nomination. Nominations may be submitted on the CGP website here. If you have any questions, please contact Matt Cahill at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 315-1054.
IT 70 Cloud Blog in Federal Times
This week, Coalition President Roger Waldron commented in a Federal Times blog that the price reduction clause could hinder the recent proposal to add a cloud services special item number (SIN) on Schedule 70. The cloud SIN RFI indicates that the purpose of the new Cloud Computing SIN “would be to improve the way GSA offers cloud computing services through IT Schedule 70, increase visibility and access of cloud computing services to customer agencies, and to provide industry partners the opportunity to differentiate their cloud computing services from other IT related products and services.” To access the blog, click here.
According to a recent report in Federal News Radio the category management initiative led by GSA has launched five government-wide pilots. GSA addressed the five pilots at the June Chief Acquisition Officer’s Council. The category management pilots are:
- Information Technology: Mary Davie, GSA’s assistant commissioner for the Office of Integrated Technology Services (ITS) will lead this effort focused on hardware, software, telecommunications and services.
- Human Capital: Sydney Smith-Heimbrock, who leads the employee services’ center for strategic workforce planning for the Office of Personnel Management, will head this effort.
- Administration: Marty Jennings, GSA’s assistant commissioner of General Supplies and Services, will run this pilot that includes products such as office supplies.
- Transportation: The Defense Department Transportation Command will lead this effort, which includes the next generation of delivery services under the strategic sourcing initiative.
- Medical and Pharmaceutical Supplies: The lead on this pilot has not been announced but the program will focus on surgical and medical supplies.
GAO: Healthcare.gov Lacked Planning and Oversight
This week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report exploring the issues behind the release of Healthcare.gov. The GAO found that federal health officials were responsible for poor planning and insufficient oversight of outside contractors. Additionally, GAO noted that “significant risks remain” and that some problems could persist hindering those attempting to buy coverage in the federal health insurance marketplace this fall. Look for more on this issue in next week’s FAR and Beyond Blog.
GSA has canceled the Schedule 70 contracts of about 1,000 vendors, Federal News Radio reports. At a contracting event in the DC area, GSA director of IT schedule programs Kay Ely said removing 1,000 vendors who were not meeting the minimum annual sales requirement of $25,000 a year is saving the agency approximately $3.2 million a year in administrative costs. It also cuts senior contracting officers’ workload in half. According to Kay Ely, GSA is listening to industry’s concerns and trying to keep the lines of communication open by giving vendors who are at risk of losing their schedule contracts plenty of opportunity to meet the basic requirements. Additionally, GSA’s Productive Contracts team communicates by email and phone with every schedule vendor at risk of having their contract canceled. Kay also pointed to many new training and education opportunities on the GSA website that have helped vendors increase their IT schedule sales to state and local markets by 38 percent last year.
DAPA Holders are Caught in the Middle of a Disagreement between the VA and DLA over the Application of the IFF to DAPA Sales
By Jack Horan, Partner, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP
Sales to the Department of Defense under its Distribution and Pricing Agreement program are very important to many VA FSS contractors. The VA, itself, views DAPA sales as integral to the success of VA Schedule contracts, telling contractors that “success of your VA FSS contract requires the development of a strong federal customer base and active promotion of your business to these customers” and “[p]articipation in the Defense Logistics Agency’s (DLA) Troop Support Distribution and Pricing Agreements (DAPA) program is a surefire way to penetrate the federal healthcare marketplace.” See VA FSS eNewsletter, No. 55 (March 2014) at 1
Despite the importance of these sales to VA FSS contractors, DOD and the VA are in the midst of a disagreement over whether VA FSS contractors are required to pay the industrial funding fee on sales of items through the DAPA when those items are also listed on the contractor’s VA Schedule Contract. The VA’s position is explicitly set forth in a somewhat unusual appendage to the standard Industrial Funding Fee and Sales Reporting Clause, GSAR 552.238-74, included in VA Schedule contracts:
NOTICE REGARDING DISTRIBUTION AND PRICING AGREEMENTS (DAPA)
If your firm has a DAPA with the Department of Defense, items available therein that are also awarded under FSS contract must, during the course of the FSS contract, be reported as FSS sales and included in quarterly FSS Sales Reports and Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) remittance.
See, e.g. RFP 797-FSS-99-0025-R9, Solicitation Document at 38.
The VA recently confirmed (and justified) its position that FSS Contractors must pay the IFF on DAPA sales in its FSS eNewsletter:
One of the questions we most often receive is “I have a DAPA, do I need to report those sales on my quarterly sales report?” In 1999, DoD and the VA signed a memorandum of understanding indicating that FSS pricing is the preferred method of pricing for products identified on DAPAs and as such sales for items awarded under a VA FSS contract that are also available under a DAPA must be reported as FSS sales.
Any delivery/task order placed against a VA Schedule contract – whether for a base contract item, blanket purchase agreement, or DAPA, is a reportable sale and must be included in the quarterly sales report & IFF payment. Additionally, all sales made to agencies other than the VA, state & local governments, and through prime vendor programs & direct-to-patient distribution must be reported. Direct all FSS sales reporting & IFF remittance questions to the VA Sales Desk.
See VA FSS eNewsletter, No. 55 (March 2014) at 5 (emphasis in original).
So the VA’s answer is a firm “yes” – VA Schedule contractors must pay the IFF on DAPA sales. Based on the VA’s eNewsletter, the VA appears to believe it has two justifications for the requirement: (1) a 1999 memorandum of understanding with DOD; and (2) its apparent view that items purchased under a DAPA is “placed against a VA Schedule contract.” Id.
A major problem with the VA’s position is that DOD apparently does not agree. The Defense Logistics Agency, the DOD Executive Agent for Medical Material. responsible for administration of DAPAs, is instructing its DAPA holders not to pay the IFF for sales to prime vendors under a DAPA:
The following is specific DAPA guidance:
• There is no direct relationship between a Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) and DAPA.
• A DAPA does not require a vendor to establish or have a FSS.
• Prime Vendor contracts are separate acquisitions and sales thereunder using the DAPA catalogue do not require reporting or payment through the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) process.
Any DAPA holder given contrary guidance should immediately contact DLA.
See DLA Memorandum to Prime Vendor DAPA Program, found at https://www.medical.dla.mil/Portal/.
DLA views DAPAs as “DLA pricing vehicles used to establish and manage pricing with manufacturers and/or distributors for medical material purchased under DLA’s Prime Vendor contracts” rather than orders “placed against a VA Schedule contract,” Compare, id and VA FSS eNewsletter at 5. DLA also sees its Prime Vendor contracts – “FAR Par 12 acquisitions that use pricing vehicles such as DAPA under FAR Part 16 as single source awards within a region” — as separate from VA’s FSS contracts. Id. Thus, these opposite views on the IFF grow out of a fundamentally different view of the role of VA Schedule contracts in DAPA orders. VA views the DAPA orders as “placed against” Schedule contracts while DLA views them as placed under DLA’s Prime Vendor contracts independent of the VA’s Schedule contracts. In its instruction to DAPA holders, DLA does not address the 1999 memorandum referenced in the VA’s eNewsletter.
So, FSS contractors with a DAPA, at least for now, are caught between the conflicting views of the VA and DLA – one telling them that they have to pay the IFF and the other telling them that they should not. Each relying on a fundamentally different view of the status of orders placed through DLA Prime Vendors based on DAPA pricing.
Moreover, a contractor faces risk in following either position. By excluding DAPA sales from the IFF, as instructed by DLA, the contractor risks a claim by the VA that it is not complying with its FSS contract, or worse, a potential claim under the False Claims Act. By paying the IFF, the contractor faces at least the financial risk of paying a fee that it is not obligated to pay. To the extent the fee is included in the cost in its DAPA, the DAPA holder also faces a potential request for a price reduction under the DAPA to eliminate the IFF. Given these risks, the VA and DLA have an obligation to their contractors to resolve this issue.
VA and DLA are involved in a discussion of these issues and we hope to report a resolution soon.
Important Decision Impacting Government Contractors
IN RE: KELLOGG BROWN &ROOT, INC., (KBR) (D.C. Circuit June 27, 2014)
This week the court decided a significant case for government contractors. The case is important because a contrary ruling would have eliminated the attorney-client privilege in connection with internal investigations conducted by companies required by law to maintain compliance programs. Given the requirements for compliance plans and mandatory disclosure of FAR Subpart 3.10, Contractor Code of Business Ethics and Conduct, many contractors would have been affected. Because of the potential impact, a number of organizations, including The Coalition for Government Procurement, submitted an amicus brief in support of KBR. The court cited the amicus brief as demonstrating the depth of industry concern with this issue. The following is an analysis of the case from McKenna Long & Aldridge. We suggest that you share it with your corporate attorneys and internal audit staff.
D.C. Circuit Upholds the Attorney-Client Privilege for Corporate Internal Investigations
By: Jack Horan, Partner, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, Jason Workmaster, Partner, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP and Sandeep Nandivada, Associate, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP
On June 27, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted Kellogg Brown & Root’s (KBR) petition for a writ of mandamus and vacated the District Court’s order in United States ex rel. Barko v. Halliburton Co., No. 05-cv-1276, 2014 WL 1016784 (D.D.C Mar. 5, 2014) compelling KBR to produce internal investigation documents. In Re: Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., No. 1:05-cv-1276 (D.C. Cir. June 27, 2014). The D.C. Circuit’s ruling has upheld important protections for companies conducting internal investigations pursuant to statute or regulation, and affirmed the continued vitality of the Supreme Court’s decision in Upjohn Co. v. United States, 449 U.S. 383, 389 (1981) for companies claiming the attorney-client privilege.
District Court Proceedings
In Barko, the relator sought documents created by KBR during its internal investigation of the allegations that are the basis for the relator’s qui tam case. KBR’s legal department oversaw the investigation, which was conducted pursuant to KBR’s Code of Business Conduct. KBR asserted the attorney-client privilege over the investigation, arguing that KBR created the documents so that KBR’s internal lawyers could provide legal advice to the company. The relator argued that the documents were not privileged because they were ordinary business records. The District Court applied a “but for” test for determining whether the purpose of the documents was to obtain legal advice – analyzing whether the documents would have been created “but for” the need for legal advice. The District Court reasoned that because regulations and KBR’s own corporate policy required KBR to conduct the investigation, KBR had not created the documents solely to obtain legal advice. The Court concluded that the documents were not privileged because KBR created them to satisfy regulatory and corporate requirements.
KBR immediately requested that the District Court certify the privilege question for interlocutory appeal and to stay its order compelling production pending a petition for a writ of mandamus from the D.C. Circuit. The District Court denied those requests. Left with no other choice, KBR took the extraordinary action of filing a petition for writ of mandamus with the D.C. Circuit. The D.C. Circuit stayed the District Court’s order pending a ruling on the mandamus petition.
D.C. Circuit’s Analysis
KBR had two difficult hurdles to clear to prevail on mandamus – it had to show legal error and that the error justified the extraordinary writ of mandamus. It cleared both of them.
The Circuit found two fundamental legal errors. First, the District Court improperly used a “but for” causation analysis when applying the “primary purpose test.” The correct formulation of the “primary purpose” test requires legal advice to be a significant purpose of the communication. The significant purpose of legal advice is not undermined simply because the internal investigation is also required by statute, regulation or a company’s compliance program.
Second, the District Court misinterpreted Upjohn. The D.C. Circuit noted that Upjohn does not require any of the following for the privilege to apply: (1) the involvement of outside counsel to claim the attorney-client privilege; (2) that attorneys personally conduct employee interviews when the investigation is conducted at the direction of counsel; or (3) the use “magic words” informing employees of the purpose of the interview.
The D.C. Circuit noted that KBR’s assertion of the privilege was “materially indistinguishable” from the basis upheld in Upjohn. As in Upjohn, KBR initiated an internal investigation in response to reports of potential misconduct and as part of a concerted effort to gather facts and ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. As in Upjohn, KBR’s in-house legal counsel coordinated the investigation. In short, the Circuit confirmed the continuing validity of Upjohn procedures in establishing the attorney-client privilege.
After finding clear legal error, the D.C Circuit applied the three factors required for mandamus as set forth in Cheney v. U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 542, U.S. 367, 380 (2004): (1) no other adequate means to secure the desired relief; (2) the right to relief must be clear and indisputable; and (3) the writ is appropriate under the circumstances. KBR easily met the first two factors. Mandamus provided KBR with the only meaningful remedy. The District Court had denied KBR’s motion for interlocutory appeal, and an interlocutory appeal under the collateral order doctrine is not available for attorney-client privilege orders. An appeal after final judgment would be too late to protect the documents that KBR was ordered to produce. The DC Circuit’s finding of clear legal error itself made KBR’s right to relief clear and indisputable.
The third factor, “a relatively broad and amorphous totality of the circumstances consideration”, also favored KBR. The potential for grave harm to the attorney-client privilege if the District Court’s decision remained in effect made mandamus “appropriate under the circumstances.” Left in place, the District Court’s decision could “work a sea change in the well-settled rules governing internal corporate investigations”:
Because defense contractors are subject to regulatory requirements of the sort cited by the District Court, the logic of the ruling would seemingly prevent any defense contractor from invoking the attorney-client privilege to protect internal investigations undertaken as part of a mandatory compliance program. See 48 C.F.R. § 52.203-13 (2010). And because a variety of other federal laws require similar internal controls or compliance programs, many other companies likewise would not be able to assert the privilege to protect the records of their internal investigations. See, e.g., 15 U.S.C. §§ 78m(b)(2), 7262; 41 U.S.C. § 8703. As KBR explained, the District Court’s decision “would disable most public companies from undertaking confidential internal investigations.” KBR Pet. 19.
Id. at 15. Thus, although not binding, the incorrect “but for” analysis could gain traction in other district courts. To protect against these harms to both KBR and the attorney-client privilege more broadly, the D.C. Circuit granted KBR’s petition for a writ of mandamus.
Government contractors (and the many other companies subject to statutory and regulatory requirements to conduct internal investigations) can now breathe a sigh of relief – the application of the attorney-client privilege to corporate internal investigations required by law or regulation has been vindicated and upheld. Companies following Upjohn procedures can conduct their internal investigations with the assurance that the attorney-client privilege will protect candid and full communications.
The Coalition’s Second Annual Joseph P. Caggiano Memorial Golf Tournament
Please join us for The Coalition’s 2nd Annual Joseph P. Caggiano Memorial Golf Tournament on August 27th at Whiskey Creek Golf Club! This charity tournament is to honor our good friend and colleague, Joe Caggiano, who was not only a 23-year veteran of the federal contracting marketplace but a naval veteran as well.
We believe Joe would be proud of the fact this year’s tournament proceeds are going to a brand new cause that will continue to support our nation’s veterans. In honor of the 35th Anniversary of The Coalition for Government Procurement, and in conjunction with The George Washington University, we are creating a scholarship/fellowship to provide financial support to a veteran. Specifically, qualified veterans concentrating their studies in the field of US Government procurement and pursuing the JD or LLM degree in Government Procurement Law or the interdisciplinary Masters of Science in Government Contracting degree (MSGC) at The George Washington University will benefit from the fund as we count on them to become the next generation of skilled professionals leading this critically important sector of the US economy.
Registration will begin at 9:30am with an 11:00am shotgun start, followed by a 4:30 pm post-tournament reception. The tournament will consists of a 4 player scramble with 144 maximum players. Please click here to register your foursome or as an individual golfer!
We have several exciting sponsorships available from title sponsors to beverage cart sponsors to hole sponsors, and also a wide range in pricing so no matter what your budget, you will still have an opportunity to support this wonderful cause. Please click here to review sponsorship opportunities and contact Matt Cahill at email@example.com or 202-315-1054 with any questions or sponsor commitments.
We look forward to your support and a fun and rewarding day for everyone!
Sweeping IT Procurement Bill Introduced
This week, a bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced legislation to reform how the federal government purchases IT goods and services. The Reforming Federal Procurement of Information Technology (RFP-IT) Act was introduced by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Ranking Member of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee among others. A summary of the bill includes the following proposals:
- Raising the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT) to $500,000 for information technology services provided by small technology firms, including small business IT purchases that are not covered under FAR subpart 13.5, such as custom computer programming and design services.
- Requiring GSA to provide Congress with recommendations on how to streamline IT Schedule 70 to ensure the Federal Government has direct access to the country’s most innovative technology firms
- Establishes the United States Digital Government Office (U.S. DGO) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to coordinate Federal IT policy
- Codifying the Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program
The Coalition will be monitoring the RFP-IT and will provide updates through the Friday Flash and the IT/Services and GWAC/MAC Committees.
Jeff Koses on GSA’s Acquisition Priorities on “Off the Shelf”
Last week on “Off the Shelf”, Jeff Koses, senior procurement executive for the General Services Administration, talked about the three priorities he is focusing on in his new role as the head of acquisition policy at GSA. They are:
- Strengthening the acquisition workforce
- Promoting smart and effective buying
- Building healthy and productive industry relationships
Koses outlines the status and goals of several key GSA initiatives including collection of prices paid data, use of social media, use of collaboration and visualization tools, designation of a GSA Ombudsman to hear industry issues, and developing sound metrics for the GSA acquisition workforce. To listen to the program with Jeff Koses, visit www.federalnewsradio.com/80/3666938/Acquisition-priorities-at-GSA.
Sharon Larkin Joins Rogers Joseph O’Donnell
On July 30th, the boutique litigation firm of Rogers Joseph O’Donnell announced that Sharon L. Larkins will join their practice in their Washington, D.C. office. Sharon previously served as an Assistant General Counsel of the Procurement Law Division at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and as a Trial Judge on the GAO Contract Appeals Board. She is the present Chair of the Public Contracts Law Section of the American Bar Association. We congratulate Sharon Larkin on this new opportunity and welcome her to The Coalition for Government Procurement.
House Passes Cyber Bills
This week, the House passed three different cybersecurity related bills with the goal of protecting U.S. critical infrastructure against hacking by encouraging information sharing, enhancing cyber technologies and improving the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) cybersecurity workforce:
o Requires that DHS properly recognizes industry-led entities to facilitate critical infrastructure protection and incident response.
o Amends the SAFETY Act to establish a definition for cyber incidents so private entities can voluntarily submit their cybersecurity procedures to the SAFETY Act Office to gain additional liability protections in the event of a cyber incident.
o Ensures that the National Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan is regularly updated and exercised in coordination with private sector stakeholders
o Directs the DHS secretary acting through the Under Secretary for Science and Technology to submit to Congress:
- A plan for research and development of cybersecurity and physical security technologies
- A report on the utilization of public-private research and development consortiums by DHS for accelerating technology development for critical infrastructure protection
o Requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop occupation classifications for cybersecurity employees at DHS and to ensure that such classifications are used throughout DHS and are made available to other federal agencies
o Directs the DHS Secretary to develop readiness assessment information on which cybersecurity positions are performed by DHS employees, independent contractors and other government employees.
o Tasks DHS with developing a process to verify that employees of independent contractors in DHS cybersecurity positions receive necessary information security and role-based security training.
Seeking Member Input on Cloud RFI
The Coalition will submit comments in response to GSA’s Cloud Computing Request for Information (RFI). The RFI is seeking industry feedback on a proposed change to add a Cloud Computing Special Item Number (SIN) to IT Schedule 70. The Coalition is interested in receiving member input to include in our comments. Please submit your feedback on the RFI by August 4 to Aubrey Woolley at (202) 315-1053 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Counterfeit Reporting Proposed Rule
The FAR Council published a proposed rule on June 10th extending certain reporting requirements for contractors beyond what is already required for counterfeit electronic parts to a broader scope of products and services. The proposed rule, titled “Extending Reporting of Nonconforming Items”, is intended to reduce the risk of counterfeit items entering the supply chain by ensuring that contractors report suspect items to a government database. According to an article by Crowell & Moring, “a contractor would be required to report to the contracting officer within 30 days of becoming aware that any ‘end item, component, subassembly, part or material contained in supplies purchased by the Contractor for delivery to, or for the Government is counterfeit or suspect counterfeit’”. It would also require that the contractor report the incidence to the Government-Industry Data Exchange Program (GIDEP) and monitor this site regularly to avoid delivery of any reported items to the government. For more details on the proposed rule, access Crowell & Moring’s article here. Comments on the rule are due August 11, 2014. Members who would like to provide feedback on the rule to the Coalition, please contact Aubrey Woolley at email@example.com.
Two-Part Webinar Series for GSA Schedule Contractors
The Coalition for Government Procurement, in conjunction with Baker Tilly, is pleased to announce an upcoming Two-Part Webinar Series for GSA Schedule Contractors:
The landscape for GSA Schedule contractors has become increasingly difficult. Both products and services contractors are facing new challenges as they negotiate new GSA Schedule contracts or administer their existing GSA Schedule contracts. Pricing, contract terms and conditions, and post-award compliance have all come under the microscope, and contractors must be ready to respond. This two part series will address some of GSA’s and GSA OIG’s recent focal points so that contractors can consider potential impacts to their business and how they can best prepare.
Part 2: Challenges Facing Products Contractors
Thursday, August 14th, at Noon EDT
Presented by Jeff Clayton and Steven Brewer
GSA is facing immense pressure to achieve lower prices for its federal government customers. This has impacted the government’s negotiation tactics and in turn it has impacted, and will continue to impact, products contractors. Prices paid data is being tracked and horizontal pricing comparisons are becoming the norm. Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiatives, an increasingly popular tool for GSA, continue their march across the supply side of the Schedules program. The presentation will discuss all of this and more, including best practices, so that contractors can prepare themselves to respond to these issues.