A Shutdown Has Been Avoided … For Now

Con­gress has aver­ted a mid­night shut­down, as the House on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon fol­lowed the Sen­ate’s ex­ample by eas­ily passing a tem­por­ary spend­ing bill fund­ing the gov­ern­ment through Decem­ber 11.

The stop­gap meas­ure passed the Sen­ate 78 to 20 and then cleared the House on a 277-151 vote, des­pite the op­pos­i­tion of dozens of con­ser­vat­ives with ob­jec­tions to any pack­age that con­tin­ues to fund Planned Par­ent­hood. Videos re­leased by a pro-life group charge that the or­gan­iz­a­tion is il­leg­ally selling fetal tis­sue for a profit; the or­gan­iz­a­tion vig­or­ously denies the al­leg­a­tions.

Neither Demo­crats nor Re­pub­lic­ans were thrilled about the shut­down show­down, and both sides poin­ted fin­gers at the oth­er for bring­ing the coun­try to the brink. But there is some hope that the two sides can come to an agree­ment in the next few months for a longer budget deal clear­ing the decks for the next pres­id­ent.

Continue reading at http://www.govexec.com/oversight/2015/09/shutdown-has-been-avoided-now/122446/?oref=govexec_breaking_alert.

DOT puts brakes on 5 major road projects in budget crunch

Madison — The state Department of Transportation is delaying five major road projects for at least two years because it doesn’t have the money for the work under the state budget crafted by Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans in the Legislature.

The delays — including on some stretches that already have orange barrels on the road — could end up being longer because legislators for years have been unable to come up with ways to find new revenue for highways.

The delays on the five projects will likely have a cascading effect that will push off work on future projects, but the department hasn’t said what those could be.

Continue reading at http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/dot-puts-breaks-on-5-major-road-project-in-budget-crunch-b99586812z1-329959171.html

Small Defense Firms, the Pentagon Can Help You Fight Off Hacks — Just Ask

Hackers pummel small companies because they are easy targets, with poor security hygiene and network access to big business partners, say security specialists. That logic applies to small military contractors, too.

But the Pentagon’s Office of Small Business Programs has resources to help protect the little defense businesses – it just didn’t know it. That was the finding of a Government Accountability Office audit released Thursday.

The office “had not identified or disseminated cybersecurity resources to defense small businesses that the businesses could use to understand cybersecurity and cyberthreats,” Joseph Kirschbaum, GAO director for defense capabilities and management, said in the report. Office employees “were not aware of existing cybersecurity resources such as those we identified when we met with them in June 2015.”

Continue reading at http://www.defenseone.com/management/2015/09/small-defense-contractors-pentagon-has-your-back-just-ask/122135/?oref=d-river&source=nletter-%%__AdditionalEmailAttribute1%%.

Contracting officers hold the key to surviving the government shutdown

The clock is ticking, so now is the time for contractors to prepare for a government shutdown at midnight Sept. 30.

One of the biggest questions is whether a contractor can continue to work if Congress fails to pass a budget or continuing resolutions before Oct. 1.

The answer to that question is not a simple “yes” or “no” because no single answer will fit all customers, and the right answer today for one customer may not the right answer for the same customer a week from now, said John Cooney, an attorney with the Venable law firm. He was speaking at a Professional Services Council event on contractor implications of a government shutdown.

Continue reading at http://washingtontechnology.com/blogs/editors-notebook/2015/09/psc-government-shutdown-advice.aspx.

Future USS Milwaukee Completes Acceptance Trial

MARINETTE, Wis. — The future USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) successfully concluded its acceptance trial Sept. 18, after completing a series of in-port and underway demonstrations for the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV), the Navy announced in a Sept. 22 release.

The acceptance trial is the last significant milestone before delivery of the ship to the Navy, which is planned for October. During the five-day trial, the Navy conducted comprehensive tests of the installed systems.

“What a ride,” said LCS program manager CAPT Tom Anderson. “The weather on Lake Michigan during the conduct of this trial was not pleasant. Despite the high sea state, Milwaukee crisply executed the schedule of events and received some of the highest demonstration scores to date for the LCS [littoral combat ship] class. Milwaukee lives up to her namesake city in both her tenacity and strength.”

Continue reading at http://www.seapowermagazine.org/stories/20150922-milwaukee.html.

Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors, Notice of Rate Change in Effect as of January 1, 2016

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (the Department) is issuing this notice to announce the applicable minimum wage rate to be paid to workers performing work on or in connection with Federal contracts covered by Executive Order 13658, beginning January 1, 2016.

Executive Order 13658, Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors (the Executive Order or the Order), was signed by President Barack Obama on February 12, 2014, and raised the hourly minimum wage paid by contractors to workers performing work on covered Federal contracts to: $10.10 per hour, beginning January 1, 2015; and beginning January 1, 2016, and annually thereafter, an amount determined by the Secretary of Labor (the Secretary) in accordance with the methodology set forth in the Order. See 79 FR 9851. The Secretary’s determination of the Executive Order minimum wage rate also affects the minimum hourly cash wage that must be paid to tipped employees performing work on or in connection with covered contracts beginning January 1, 2016. See 79 FR 9851-52. The Secretary is required to provide notice to the public of the new minimum wage rate at least 90 days before such rate is to take effect. See 79 FR 9851.

Continue reading at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/09/16/2015-23235/establishing-a-minimum-wage-for-contractors-notice-of-rate-change-in-effect-as-of-january-1-2016

New contingency contracting officers readying for possible deployment

A new group of contingency contracting officers is preparing to be among the first to deploy and provide expeditionary contracting support during the initial stages of future disaster and contingency operations.

The Joint Contingency Acquisition Support Office, part of Defense Logistics Agency Logistics Operations, created the cadre of 24 contracting officers after seeking volunteers from the agency’s contracting community early this year.

“This is a group of qualified, talented contracting officers who are dedicated to deploy anywhere in the world, whenever they’re needed,” said Charmaine Camper, director of JCASO’s Expeditionary Contracting Office.

Members received initial training in July and August on three core pillars: readiness, academics, and operational and battlefield preparation. The training plan incorporated lessons learned by expeditionary contracting officers Michaella Olson and Craig Hill while they were supporting Operation United Assistance in Africa, as well as JCASO members who deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Continue reading at http://www.dla.mil/DLA_Media_Center/Pages/Newcontingencycontractingofficersreadyingforpossibledeployment.aspx


White House, Agencies Begin Prepping for ‘Executing an Orderly Shutdown’

Federal agencies submitted their shutdown plans to the White House in August as part of a new effort to plan for a potential failure by Congress to pass spending bills, and the Office of Management and Budget is currently reviewing those blueprints.

After the 2013 shutdown, OMB told agencies they had to submit contingency plans for an appropriations lapse every other year, with the first one due Aug. 1, 2015. OMB reminded agencies of that requirement in a memorandum sent out earlier this year.

“Agency heads, in consultation with their general counsels, must develop and maintain plans for an orderly shutdown in the event of a lapse in appropriations. Up-to-date plans must be on file with OMB,” the guidance said. “Whenever there is a change in the source of funding for an agency program or any significant modification, expansion, or reduction in agency program activities, the agency must submit an updated plan to OMB for review that reflects this change.”

Continue reading at http://www.govexec.com/management/2015/09/white-house-agencies-begin-prepping-executing-orderly-shutdown/121721/?oref=govexec_breaking_alert.

Oshkosh Defense Showcases JLTV at Modern Day Marine

OSHKOSH, Wis. (Sept. 22, 2015) — Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK) company, will be displaying the newest member of the Marine Corps vehicle fleet, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), at Modern Day Marine in Quantico, Va. September 22-24, 2015.  The Oshkosh JLTV represents the next generation of light tactical vehicles with unmatched protection, off-road mobility, reliability and modularity – at an affordable cost.

“Marines are a go anywhere, do anything force and they need a transportable vehicle that supports the most demanding missions and gets them back home safely,” said USMC Colonel John Bryant (Ret), senior vice president of defense programs for Oshkosh Defense. “The Oshkosh JLTV provides Marines with the protection of a light tank, the underbody protection of an MRAP, the network capability of a mobile command center and the off-road mobility of a Baja 1000 racer. Marines have never before had this much capability in a light vehicle.”

Continue reading at http://oshkoshdefense.com/news/oshkosh-defense-showcases-jltv-at-modern-day-marine/

WEDC wins SBA grant to help Wisconsin exporters

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. received a grant to help companies across the state grow their exports.

The U.S. Small Business Administration awarded a $712,000 grant to WEDC as part of the State Trade and Export Promotion program, which handed out $17.4 million to 40 states.

WEDC will use the funding for its ExporTech export acceleration program and to award to Wisconsin small businesses — those with less than 500 employees — to attend an upcoming trade venture.

Wisconsin received the fourth-highest award in the country.

Continue reading at http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2015/09/21/wedc-wins-sba-grant-to-help-wisconsin-exporters.html.