DoD in process of splitting responsibilities for two new acquisition offices

The Defense Department is parsing out exactly how it will split one of its biggest and most infamous sections after Congress mandated the division last year.

The Pentagon is doing preliminary work on splicing its acquisition office into two distinct areas: research and engineering, and day-to-day business acquisitions, said Mary Miller, acting assistant defense secretary for research and engineering during an April 18 speech at a National Defense Industrial Association event in Washington.

Part of that work includes assigning distinct responsibilities to each new office. DoD is now picking out actions that were once housed under one roof to be passed off to their new acquisition office parents.

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Little-noticed section of OMB’s reorg memo brings the real potential for change

Tucked into the Office of Management and Budget’s ambitious plan to reorganize and restructure the government is a significant and generally overlooked section on organizational efficiency and effectiveness.

But it’s this portion of the April 12 memo focusing on the mundane ideas of alternative delivery models, streamlining mission-support functions and leveraging existing solutions for common requirements that includes some of the most realistic and achievable goals. Ideas such as shared services, insourcing and outsourcing and all-but-mandating the use of existing multiple-award contracts instead of developing new ones are the types of initiatives that have the real potential to change and transform agencies and their mission areas.

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82 FR 18253 – Small Business Size Standards; Adoption of 2017 North American Industry Classification System for Size Standards

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) proposes to amend its small business size regulations to incorporate the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) revision for 2017, identified as NAICS 2017, into its table of small business size standards. NAICS 2017 created 21 new industries by reclassifying, combining, or splitting 29 existing industries under changes made to NAICS in 2012 (NAICS 2012). SBA’s proposed size standards for these 21 new industries have resulted in an increase to size standards for six NAICS 2012 industries and part of one industry, a decrease to size standards for two, a change in the size standards measure from average annual receipts to number of employees for one, and no change in size standards for twenty industries and part of one industry. SBA proposes to adopt the updated table of size standards, effective October 1, 2017

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Trump Orders Agencies to Buy American or Face Consequences

President Trump on Tuesday is expected to sign an executive order aimed at boosting the economy by instituting a “more muscular” approach to prioritizing American workers and products through federal immigration, procurement and trade laws.

“Buy American is the Trump administration’s highest priority when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars,” a senior administration official told reporters at a background briefing Monday afternoon.

The implications for federal agencies and federal contractors are significant. While a number of laws already require agencies to favor domestic products in federal procurements, administration officials said agencies too often circumvent the requirements through loopholes and waivers—practices the Trump administration intends to halt.

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What Every Contractor Should Know About Requests for Equitable Adjustment

Government contractors quickly learn to expect the unexpected. While working on a construction contract, a contractor may encounter undisclosed utility lines 15 feet underground. Or, an information technology support contractor may be asked to comply with heightened security requirements without being given a contract modification. These changes increase the cost of performance and can put a small business in a precarious position. In situations like this, many contractors file a request for equitable adjustment (“REA”), seeking additional compensation and/or time. Before preparing and submitting an REA, there are several important things of which contractors should be aware.

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DHS Achieves an Acquisition First for the Agency

The Homeland Security Department’s acquisition struggles have been in Congress’ crosshairs for years and were again highlighted in the Government Accountability Office’s High-Risk list this February. A new GAO audit, however, suggests progress addressing those issues.

Released this week, the audit states all 26 acquisition programs GAO reviewed met department-approved cost, schedule and performance baselines to measure progress “for the first time since GAO began its annual assessments” three years ago, with more than half the programs on track to meet initial cost goals.

The audit covers DHS acquisitions over fiscal 2016, which total approximately $7 billion spent on ships, surveillance technology at the border, screening equipment at airports and other equipment.

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How DHS’ acquisition oversight strategy is picking up steam

The Homeland Security Department’s acquisition strategy is earning some praise and pointers from the Government Accountability Office.

For the first time since GAO began its annual review of major DHS acquisition programs, all 26 had an approved baseline, according to a new report. More than half, or 17 of the 26, were on track to meet some of its deadlines and cost goals. Seven of the 17 only recently met these milestones.

Yet the remaining nine programs slipped on its scheduling, and four of them experienced some cost overruns.

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GSA May Make Industry Participation in Data Reporting Pilot Optional

The General Services Administration is considering whether to remove a mandate requiring industry partners seeking or renewing a schedule to participate in its Transactional Data Reporting pilot.

Kevin Youel Page, deputy commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, said Thursday voluntary participation in the 3-year pilot—which stemmed from a GSA-published rule last June—has been higher than expected, leaving officials to consider whether mandating participation was necessary.

Industry participants in the pilot provide sales information about their products and services to GSA. In turn, GSA relieves those participants of requirements many in industry dislike: the price reduction clause and commercial sales disclosures. GSA wants to use that data to improve the value agency customers get in purchasing billions of dollars worth of products and services sold through the Multiple Award Schedules.

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Progress impeded, acquisition workforce anxious as bid protests continue to multiply

If you want to strike a nerve with federal acquisition managers, bring up bid protests. The number of protests have all but doubled over the past decade, and that’s creating a significant amount of consternation among the ranks of acquisition personnel at the General Services Administration.

Janine Wilson, GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service national account manager for the Army, said that this was one of the main things federal customers need from industry during a Coalition for Government Procurement panel on April 4, and other GSA officials quickly piled on.

“It’s not just the Army, it’s across the spectrum of customers,” Mark Aucello, director of GSA’s Assisted Acquisition Services client support center for the Mid-Atlantic region, said. “We understand, if we do something wrong, and there’s a legitimate reason to protest, then protest. That’s what it’s there for. But … [when] it’s ‘I want to keep it another six months because I’m the incumbent and I lost,’ I think that’s the sort of thing that creates a lot of work and expense on the government’s part.”

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Wisconsin Procurement Institute Adds Business Leaders to Board

The Wisconsin Procurement Institute (WPI) is pleased to announce the addition of three new business leaders to its Board of Directors.

Jean Marie Thiel, President, Belonger Corporation. Ms. Thiel started Belonger Corporation in her basement with one employee,  It is now Wisconsin’s only woman-owned and American-Indian owned mechanical contracting company with over 30 employees.  Ms. Thiel has experience in the construction and services industry going on 26 years, specializing in federal and DOD relations, joint venturing, and mentoring. Recognized as the “first” formally sanctioned 8a Mentor-Protégé for the federal government in the state of Wisconsin.
Jeff Van Straten, President, Bentley World Packaging.  Mr. Van Straten, has been with Bentley World Packaging since 2014.  He has experience in executive, financial or consultant capacity and over 16 years in the transportation and airlines industries.  Mr. Van Straten previously served as President of Dutchland Plastics in Oostburg.

Rod Copes, President, Applied Fab and Machining/Heale Manufacturing.  Mr. Copes is also President of Royal Enfield Motors North American Division. He has over 20 years of experience in manufacturing and global sales. Mr. Copes also held a variety of executive positions across several different functions while working at Harley Davidson including: Customer Service, International Sales, Marketing, Business Development Continuous Improvement, Powertrain Operations and Tomahawk Operations.

“We are pleased to have Ms. Thiel, Mr. Van Straten and Mr. Copes joining the  Board of the Wisconsin Procurement Institute.  All three bring unique knowledge and expertise to the table which will support WPI’s work in developing strong and successful federal contractors in addition to bringing federal dollars to Wisconsin,” said Bill Hughes, Partner , Husch Blackwell LLP, and WPI’s Board Chair.

Ms. Thiel, Mr. Van Straten and Mr. Copes join WPI  Board Chair Bill Hughes and Board members, John Dickert, Mayor of Racine; Richard Deschauer, DRS Power & Control Technologies; Baly Ambegaoker, CENTERPOINT Inc.; Herb Miller, Michels Corporation; Travis Schmuhl, Oshkosh Corporation; Jane Glass, Spacesaver Corporation; Andrew Bergholz, TAPCO; Dr. Robert M. Meyer, UW-Stout; Barb LaMue, WEDC and Aina Vilumsons, WPI.

WPI is a non-profit organization established in 1987 to help Wisconsin businesses win federal contracts, especially defense contracts.  WPI staff and extensive network of partners provided technical and professional expertise to Wisconsin businesses.  WPI’s mission is to assist Wisconsin business in growing their federal, state and local government sales, profits and jobs.  WPI is headquartered at the Technology Innovation Center in Milwaukee with offices in Madison, Camp Douglas, Wausau and Appleton.