A pivot to post-award

Note: This post is co-authored by Dan Chenok, executive director of the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

Most efforts to improve the procurement system during the last 20 years have focused on the process by which agencies work to develop requirements and acquisition approaches (known in contracting terms as “acquisition planning”), and to choose a winning contractor (known as “source selection”).

In contrast, the third stage — post-award contract management — has received relatively little attention, low visibility, and often insufficient resources from government and industry alike. Some even worry that, to borrow the title of a 2008 IBM Center brief on the topic written by Allan Burman, former administrator of the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy, that after contract award, nobody is “minding the store.”

Continue reading: https://fcw.com/blogs/lectern/2016/05/kelman-chenok-post-award.aspx?s=fcwdaily_300616&admgarea=TC_Management

SBA to Interpret Supreme Court Contractor Ruling for Small Business

This month’s Supreme Court decision requiring the Veterans Affairs Department to expand set-asides for veteran-owned small businesses could affect broader procurement regulations across government, a Small Business Administration official said on Tuesday.

John Shoraka, associate administrator of SBA’s Office of Government Contracting and Business Development, told Government Executive at a contractors networking event that “the path forward is that we have to interpret how the decision impacts the Small Business Act.”

Continue reading: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2016/06/sba-interpret-supreme-court-contractor-ruling-small-business/129477/?oref=govexec_today_nl

GSA finalizes major update to acquisition policy

Nearly a decade after a panel of experts recommended major changes to the way the government buys services, the General Services Administration is going through with two significant updates.

GSA released the final data transaction reporting rule June 23 creating a requirement for government contractors to submit information about transactions through the schedule contracts and those governmentwide acquisition contracts run by the agency.

The agency says transactional data refers to the information generated when the government purchases goods or services from a vendor. It includes specific details such as descriptions, part numbers, quantities and prices paid for the items purchased.

Listen to the story on Federal News Radio: http://federalnewsradio.com/acquisition-policy/2016/06/gsa-finalizes-major-update-acquisition-policy/

DoD CFOs to Congress: If you’d like a clean audit, stop reorganizing us

The Obama administration has already voiced its objections to the major reshuffling of DoD’s organizational chart the Senate proposed in its version of this year’s Defense authorization bill, complaining that the plans were drawn up “without careful study and consideration.” But several of the department’s top financial officials said last week that the Senate plan is directly at odds with one of Congress’ top priorities:  getting DoD to pass an audit.

Their argument, in essence, is that it’s taken the better part of seven years to get the department’s current bureaucratic structure in sync and working together toward auditability, and moving the puzzle pieces around just one year before the audit deadline would be unhelpful.

In particular, Mike McCord, DoD’s undersecretary for comptroller matters and its chief financial officer, objected to a provision that would move the sprawling Defense Finance Accounting Service (DFAS) out from under his control and place it under a brand new undersecretary for management in February 2017, just a few months before the department hopes to submit fully-auditable financial statements for the first time in its history.

Continue reading: http://federalnewsradio.com/dod-reporters-notebook-jared-serbu/2016/06/dod-cfos-congress-youd-like-clean-audit-stop-reorganizing-us/

Suspensions and Debarments of Misbehaving Contractors Drop

Formal disciplinary actions against federal contractors in the form of suspensions, debarments and proposed debarments fell 3.7 percent in fiscal 2015 over the previous year, according to the annual report of the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee.

The survey of agencies found 918 suspensions, 2,196 proposed debarments and 1,873 debarments in fiscal 2015, according to a letter from Chairman David Sims to the chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The interagency body created to enforce a 1986 executive order monitors how agencies flag contracting companies, organizations and individuals that engaged in improper conduct and enters them in the General Services Administration’s System for Award Management database

Continue reading: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2016/06/suspensions-and-debarments-misbehaving-contractors-drop/129257/?oref=govexec_today_pm_nl

Department of Defense’s ‘Hack the Pentagon’ Program Nets 138 Issues

Hack the planet? Tough. Hack the Pentagon? Easier, but still fairly tough. Yet, that didn’t stop more than 250 hackers from taking part in the Department of Defense’s first-ever bug bounty program. The pilot, which ran from April 18 to May 12—less than a month—netted 138 vulnerabilities that the Defense Department determined to be “legitimate, unique and eligible for a bounty.”

Though the bug bounty program ended up costing the federal government around $150,000, officials believe it was money well spent.

“It’s not a small sum, but if we had gone through the normal process of hiring an outside firm to do a security audit and vulnerability assessment, which is what we usually do, it would have cost us more than $1 million,” said Ash Carter, Secretary of Defense, as reported by the DoD.

Continue reading: http://www.pcmag.com/news/345408/department-of-defenses-hack-the-pentagon-program-nets-138

How to plan for after the hack

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released draft guidance for recovering from a cyber incident in response to shifting beliefs that some events can’t be prevented.

Although it is not an operational playbook, the draft “Guide for Cybersecurity Event Recovery,” which NIST released earlier this month, provides guidance on how organizations can recover from a cyber breach by providing steps for creating a response plan.

“Much of the planning and documentation for recovering from a cybersecurity event needs to be in place before the cyber event occurs,” according to the document.

Continue reading: https://gcn.com/articles/2016/06/20/nist-recovery.aspx?s=gcntech_210616

Pentagon Embraces GSA’s OASIS Services Contract

Defense Department procurement officials have agreed to expand their use of the General Services Administration’s single contract for complex professional services known as OASIS, GSA announced.

The One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services contract, and its related version for small business firms, provides a unique vehicle through which agencies can buy commercial and noncommercial services in program management, management consulting, logistics, engineering, science and finance.

Continue reading: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2016/06/pentagon-embraces-gsas-oasis-services-contract/129229/?oref=govexec_today_nl

Navy creates a ‘safe space’ for cyber innovation

With security threats to virtually every aspect of government operations, cyber warriors and technology developers need safe spaces to practice and develop tools without compromising existing networks.  That’s where the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Rapid Innovation Center comes in.  RIC was designed to be a sandbox where devices, programs and innovative ideas can be tested at a safe remove from the rest of the warfare center, RIC innovation lead Steve O’Grady told GCN.

By emptying an old storage facility that housed spare parts for submarines in Newport, R.I., the Naval Undersea Warfare Center freed up 3,200 square feet of space for the RIC. Navy officials visited Google and other companies using sandboxes to get a feel for how to shape the new innovation center.

Continue reading: https://gcn.com/articles/2016/06/17/rapid-innovation-center.aspx?s=gcntech_200616

House Passes FY 2017 Defense Appropriations Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the fiscal year 2017 Defense Appropriations bill. The legislation funds critical national security needs, including military operations and readiness programs, as well as health and quality-of-life programs for our troops and military families.

The legislation meets the overall defense spending limits set by law for fiscal year 2017, providing $517.1 billion in discretionary funding – an increase of $3 billion above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $587 million below the President’s budget request. The bill also provides $58.6 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)/Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) funding – the level allowed under current law. Following the lead of the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act of 2017, the legislation targets approximately $16 billion of this OCO/GWOT funding to meet needs within the base Pentagon budget.

Continue reading: http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=394614