Commissaries Begin Measuring Regional Savings

FORT LEE, Va., Jan. 30, 2017 — Commissary savings now will be reported more often and better reflect the cost of living where patrons shop, the director and CEO of the Defense Commissary Agency said.

“We have updated how we measure patron savings at the commissary,” Joseph H. Jeu said. “This enhanced way of calculating savings doesn’t change the actual dollars that patrons save, but it will give patrons a better understanding of price comparisons in their local area.”

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State Procurement Officers Release Priorities for 2017

The National Association of State Procurement Officers released a ranked list of their members’ top ten priorities for 2017. It’s perhaps not surprising, “the strategic role of central procurement” is ranked No. 1—including “creating an enterprise vision for the state” and “an elevated role in the hierarchy of the executive branch.”

The list paints a broad-brush picture of procurement officials focused on the growth and maturation of their agencies as a core statewide function, with workforce development, measuring performance, e-procurement / enterprise resource planning solutions, and effective sourcing strategies rounding out the top five.

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The Top 10 Reasons People Are Denied a Security Clearance

In 2016, the Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals held 1,142 security clearance appeals hearings. They made decisions on security clearance eligibility, placement into public trust positions and Common Access Card denials. If you are denied a security clearance or your security clearance is revoked due to adverse information that has been discovered or self-reported, you have the right to appeal the decision before DOHA. A study of the cases and their outcomes offers a good chance to see the trends in security clearance denials, and what issues are likely to cause issues in your own background investigation.

Among the things you discover if you study DOHA cases for very long: Many cases look very similar and the primary issues remain the same from year to year. Here’s an overview of the top 10 issues that appeared before the board in 2016:

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Volk Field air space grows to accommodate next generation aircraft

An expansion of the Volk Field Special Activity Airspace (VFSAA) near the Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center in Camp Douglas, Wisconsin, became reality in late 2016.

After years of planning and environmental impact analysis, as well as public review and comments, the Federal Aviation Administration officially expanded the military operations area in Central Wisconsin, which now provides an enhanced training environment for the latest aircraft.

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Defense Acquisition Chief Lays Out Hard-Won Lessons

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2017 — The outgoing undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics leaves office this week, and he’s leaving behind a road map for the future of defense acquisition.

Frank Kendall spoke yesterday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies here about his new book, “Getting Defense Acquisition Right,” which is available in PDF form here.

The book contains, as Kendall wrote in its introduction, “some of the hard-won lessons of my decades of experience in the development of new defense products.”

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New Federal Acquisition Regulation Rule – Reporting Reduced or Untimely Payments to Small Business Subcontractors

The FAR Council has issued a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (‘FAR”) to implement a section of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.  The new rule, which goes into effect on January 19, 2017, will require certain prime contractors to “self-report” to their contracting officers all reduced or untimely payments to their small business subcontractors within 14 days of when the payment was due and the reason for the reduced or untimely payment.

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Pentagon Wins Court Round on Disclosing Sikorsky Subcontracting Plans

Defense Department attorneys won an appeals court decision on Jan. 6 that denies a demand from a small business advocacy group that Sikorsky Aviation Corp. be required to disclose its subcontracting plan submitted under a long-standing Pentagon program.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled against the Petaluma, Calif.-based American Small Business League, saying that forcing the helicopter maker to disclose its subcontracting plan would put it at a competitive disadvantage.

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Double Your Pleasure: GAO’s Annual Protest Report Shows Sustain Rate Almost Doubled, Effectiveness Rate Remained Flat

In mid-December, GAO issued its Bid Protest Annual Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2016. The report reveals, among other things, that GAO’s protest sustain rate for this past fiscal year (“FY”) was 22.56%, almost double that of FY 2015.  While this is perhaps the most notable data point, the report once again provides a wealth of interesting information for the contractor community.

The Competition in Contracting Act requires that GAO report to Congress certain data concerning GAO’s handling of bid protests, including the number of protest filings and a summary of the most relevant grounds for sustaining protests.[1] Unpacking this data provides helpful insight to contractors considering whether or not to challenge a procurement award via a bid protest at GAO.  The report includes a chart comparing the statistics over the last five fiscal years; below we summarize some of the highlights for FY 2016:

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What to make of the NDAA’s latest DOD reorgs

It might not be quite as dramatic as the breakup of AT&T, but the congressionally mandated split of the Department of Defense’s AT&L office is no small matter.

Currently, the DOD’s office of Acquisition, Technology and Logistics is headed by Undersecretary Frank Kendall, and his portfolio includes 17 different offices such as acquisition, research and engineering, logistics and material readiness and installations and environment.

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The FAR Council Wishes Contractors a Happy New ‘Privacy Training’

The FAR Council issued a final rule on December 20, 2016, amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to add FAR Subpart 24.3, requiring privacy training for all contractor employees who (1) access a system of records; (2) handle personally identifiable information (PII); or (3) design, develop, maintain, or operate a system of records. A “system of records” is a “group of any records under the control of any agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual.” 5 U.S.C. § 552a(a)(5); FAR 24.101.

These requirements apply to all contracts and flow down to all subcontracts involving access to a system of records. This includes commercial item contracts, contracts below the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT), and contracts for commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) items.

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