GAO’s Jurisdiction Over Most Civilian Task Order Protests Has Expired

The GAO’s jurisdiction to hear most protests in connection with task and delivery order awards under civilian multiple award IDIQs has expired.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO confirmed that it no longer has jurisdiction to hear protests in connection with civilian task and delivery order awards valued over $10 million because the underlying statutory authority expired on September 30, 2016.

The Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 established a bar on bid protests concerning military and civilian agency task and delivery orders under multiple-award IDIQs.  FASA, as it is known, allowed exceptions only where the protester alleged that an order improperly increased the scope, period, or maximum value of the underlying IDIQ.

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Federal Acquisition Regulation: Effective Communication between Government and Industry

A Proposed Rule by the Defense Department, the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on 11/29/2016


DoD, GSA, and NASA are proposing to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement a section of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. This rule clarifies that agency acquisition personnel are permitted and encouraged to engage in responsible and constructive exchanges with industry, so long as those exchanges are consistent with existing law and regulation and do not promote an unfair competitive advantage to particular firms.


Interested parties should submit comments to the Regulatory Secretariat Division at one of the addresses shown below on or before January 30, 2017 to be considered in the formulation of a final rule.

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A New Dimension of Acquisition

A Soldier heads back to camp, grabs a power bar and unloads his gear. The power bar, which was “printed” minutes earlier, contains all the nutrients his body currently needs, according to sensors that are embedded in his uniform.

While this sounds like something from a sci-fi movie, engineers and scientists at the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) are looking at ways to use additive manufacturing (AM, also known as 3-D printing) to meet Soldiers’ needs. Using AM to supply Soldiers with customized nutrient-dense food, or to repair critical parts on demand or to print new cells to repair burned skin, will not only lighten the logistics burden but also make the acquisition process more efficient.

“The vision is to be able to have additive manufacturing as a tool in the toolbox so that Soldiers can manufacture and produce a product as close to the point of need as possible,” said Andy Davis, program manager for the Army’s Manufacturing Technology program (ManTech). Part of RDECOM, which is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, ManTech works closely with Army organizations to identify and fund projects that support the overall Army science and technology strategy.

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Texas Federal Court Blocks Overtime Rule; Employers Off the Hook on December 1 Changes (For Now)

Yesterday, a federal judge in Texas issued a temporary nationwide injunction preventing the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) overtime rule from taking effect on December 1. We discussed both the lawsuit and the final rule previously, and also provided a Q&A about these changes.

Employers across the country have been scrambling to ensure that workers currently covered by the executive, administrative, or professional exemptions (also known as the “white collar” exemptions) to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)  would remain exempt. The final rule issued by DOL back in May would have raised the salary threshold – the minimum amount that employees must earn to be exempt from overtime pay under the white collar exemptions – from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year) beginning December 1.

DOL estimated that more than four million workers would become entitled to overtime as a result of the new rule, and that employers would convert the vast majority of workers currently earning less than $913 per week to hourly status (rather than increase their salaries).

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DoD, Army Ramp Up Cybersecurity Measures With New Initiatives

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2016 — Two initiatives were rolled out today to strengthen the cyber security environment in the Defense Department and the Army, DoD officials announced.

The first initiative is part of the “Hack the Pentagon” program that debuted last spring, officials said. Called the Vulnerability Disclosure Policy, it provides a legal avenue for digital security researchers who find and disclose vulnerabilities in DoD’s public websites.

The policy gives researchers clear guidance for testing and disclosing vulnerabilities, and also commits DoD to work openly and in good faith with outside researchers, officials said.

“The Vulnerability Disclosure Policy is like ‘see something, say something’ for the digital domain, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said.

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Carter Announces Program for Hackers to Disclose DOD Web Vulnerabilities

Defense Secretary Ash Carter today launched a process for ethical hackers to alert the Pentagon about any vulnerabilities they discover on Defense Department websites.

The vulnerabilities disclosure program comes out the same day DOD launches its Hack the Army bug bounty program, which offers cash prizes for vulnerabilities hackers find in a select group of high-value websites.

The goal of both programs is to provide a clear process for internet security researchers to disclose dangerous vulnerabilities to the Pentagon without fearing they’ll be sued for violating the sites’ copyright protections or laws such as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

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IGs offer insight, advice to procurement industry ahead of new administration

The first year of an administration can bring sweeping changes in workforce and policy, but for the inspectors general overseeing agencies, it’s business as usual.

Speaking on a panel during a Nov. 17 Coalition for Government Procurement event in Tysons Corner, Virginia, acting Defense Department Inspector General Glenn Fine said he didn’t see the presidential transition “as dramatically different” than any other time of the federal year.

“To be honest, we’re always busy,” Fine said. “I’m sure we’ll get additional requests, but we get them at all times. Somebody asked me the other day, is it gonna change now with one party controlling the presidency and Congress. I don’t believe so. I believe that we are non-partisan, we’re independent, and we’re going to be doing what we’re doing in the same way we’re doing it, regardless of the political changes. And in fact, that’s what I tell our folks in the IG community, that it is important for us not to be aligned with one side or the other, not to try to even maneuver in that way.”

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NIST out with draft cyber guide for manufacturing industry

NIST is seeking comment by Dec. 7 on its draft project related to manufacturing industrial control systems.

Government scientists are seeking industry input on a project that will produce design blueprints to help manufacturers and chemical plants use special computerized production processes that are secure from online attacks.

In a release Monday, the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence said it is seeking comment by Dec. 7 on its draft project description: Capabilities Assessment for Securing Manufacturing Industrial Control Systems.

Industrial control systems, or ICS, are specialized IT systems — with both software and hardware elements — that run industrial processes. Because ICS controls physical plants, like factory assembly lines or chemical processing, hackers can have real world effects by attacking it.

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New NIST Guide Helps Small Businesses Improve Cybersecurity

Small-business owners may think that they are too small to be victims of cyber hackers, but Pat Toth knows otherwise. Toth leads outreach efforts to small businesses on cybersecurity at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and understands the challenges these businesses face in protecting their data and systems.

“Businesses of all sizes face potential risks when operating online and therefore need to consider their cybersecurity,” she said. “Small businesses may even be seen as easy targets to get into bigger businesses through the supply chain or payment portals.”

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Improving Acquisition: An Industry Perspective

Bell Helicopter is honored to have been an industry partner in defense acquisition since 1935. More importantly, we are proud of our legacy as pioneers of transformational equipment that continues to shape the battlefield and meet the ever-changing face of combat. These rapid advancements in technology have introduced precise weapon systems, stealth operations and advanced capabilities, allowing the U.S. armed forces to maintain critical strategic advantages and keep the enemy guessing.

For more than two centuries, the armed forces have continually redefined how wars are won. Unique missions and requirements have driven demand for innovative products year after year, conflict after conflict, as traditional battle tactics have become obsolete. Original equipment manufacturers are prepared to meet the future needs of our customers, filling capability gaps and making their visions a reality.

Today, in an era of constantly emerging threats and evolving technologies, it’s important for industry and the military services to work together to improve the acquisition system so that we can deliver cutting-edge products to the warfighter in a timely manner.

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