Evaluation of Existing Acquisition Regulations

This Proposed Rule document was issued by the General Services Administration (GSA).


Request for comments.


In accordance with Executive Order 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,” GSA is seeking input on acquisition regulations, policies, standards, business practices and guidance issued by GSA across all of its acquisition, disposal, and sales programs, that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification.


Comments must be received on or before July 31, 2017.

Learn more: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=GSA-GSA-2017-0002-0007

Is the performance of the procurement system improving?

I have been working over the past few days on a keynote speech I will give on June 12 at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, in connection with the twentieth anniversary of their procurement law and policy program’s conferences on Public Procurement: Global Revolution. For this twentieth anniversary, I have been asked to reflect on the big picture of changes in the system over the past two decades.

As I worked on my remarks, I was initially filled with optimistic thoughts. Since the burst of procurement reform in the 1990s (full disclosure: I was a leader of this effort while in government), there has, in my view, been a major improvement in the culture of the U.S. federal procurement system in a more performance-oriented direction.

Continue reading: https://fcw.com/blogs/lectern/2017/05/kelman-procurement-system-improvements.aspx

Summary of Audits on Assessing Contractor Performance: Additional Guidance and System Enhancements Needed

Navy, Air Force, Army, and Defense organization officials generally registered, or had a valid reason for not registering, contracts and generally prepared PARs for contracts that required an evaluation. However, DoD officials did not consistently comply with requirements for evaluating contractor performance when preparing PARs from May 2013 through May 2016.  Report at http://www.dodig.mil/pubs/documents/DODIG-2017-081.pdf

VA looks at cut in tech funding

On the whole, the Departments of Veterans Affairs enjoys a $6.4 billion funding boost in President Donald Trump’s budget request.

Yet as the department plans to make critical IT decisions this summer, including a long-awaited decision on what to do with its homegrown Vista electronic health record system, the proposal would cut the department’s IT spend.

While lawmakers raised concerns about this drop, VA Secretary David Shulkin is not alarmed.

Continue reading: https://fcw.com/articles/2017/05/26/va-tech-more-with-less.aspx?s=fcwdaily_300517

FAR 52.204-21 And The Future Of Federal Cybersecurity Enforcement

Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of opening the 2017 Associated General Contractors of America Federal Contractor Conference in Washington, DC with a presentation focused on the emerging issue of Cybersecurity in Federal contracting.  Data breaches are big news in the private sector, but the issue has remained somewhat under the radar for public contracts – until now.

New rules and regulations (with the imminent promise of more on the way) are setting the stage for Cybersecurity to be the next big government enforcement target under the Civil False Claims Act (which the Department of Justice used to claw back $4.7 Billion in recoveries from Federal contractors in FY 2016 alone).

Continue reading: http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/far-52-204-21-and-the-future-of-federal-65350/

Last week, WPI hosted and attended a number of events focusing on Federal contracting opportunities – 5th Annual Department of Veterans Affairs Conference, Midwest SBLO meeting and UWM’s MERC.  Some takeaways:

  1. As it applies to veteran owned businesses, the CVE verification only applies to work with the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the FAA. Details on the Verification requirements are available at https://www.va.gov/osdbu/pressreleases/news20131010.asp The US SBA SDVOSB program applies to the other agencies.  More information at https://www.sba.gov/contracting/government-contracting-programs/service-disabled-veteran-owned-businesses
  2. Although not yet implemented, the Final Rule for Credit for Lower Tier Small Business Subcontracting became effective January 23, 2017. Contractors requiring small business subcontracting plans as well as small businesses should be aware of this change and watch for details. The text is available at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/23/2016-30874/credit-for-lower-tier-small-business-subcontracting
  3. In addition to the Small Mentor Protégé Program, DoD will continue to offer the long standing DOD MP Program. Learn more about this program at http://www.acq.osd.mil/osbp/sb/programs/mpp/
  4. The Midwest SBLO group hosted their quarterly meeting in Milwaukee. Guest speakers included representatives from Husch Blackwell, Belonger Corporation and Convenience Electronics.  SBLO’s are encouraged to participate in their quarterly meetings – in person or via webcast.  Learn more at http://www.midwestsblogroup.org/
  5. A message from Federal agency representatives at the VA event – respond to Sources Sought and IFB’s. Small businesses need to make sure that the agencies are aware of your capabilities and small business status.   Supporting the agencies efforts to perform market research, can influence a requirement being set-aside under one of the US SBA small business programs.   Businesses should be reviewing opportunities on a daily basis.
  6. Networking is CRITICAL to success – a continuing message to contractors.
  7. The new beta version of the USASPENDING.GOV site is now available for use – https://beta.usaspending.gov/#/ The beta version content will be updated during the summer and then will replace the current site in September.
  8. I had the pleasure of hearing the presentation by Dr. William Regli from DARPA at UWM’s MERC event. Organizations interested in learning more can go to darpa.mil.  Open solicitations are available at www.fbo.gov.  Four focus areas were highlighted – Math, Modeling and Design / Physical Systems / Human-Machine Systems and Social Systems.

Aina Vilumsons

Executive Director – CEO

NIST Unveils ‘Framework Meets FISMA’ Cyber Best Practices

The government’s cyber standards agency released draft guidance Friday outlining cybersecurity best practices for federal agencies.

The long-planned initiative came just one day after President Donald Trump issued an executive order mandating federal agencies implement a cybersecurity framework that agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, developed or face consequences.

Friday’s guidance from NIST essentially outlines how agencies can incorporate that cybersecurity framework into their existing security requirements. NIST officials have referred colloquially to the document as “framework meets FISMA,” a reference to the Federal Information Security Management Act, government’s main cyber compliance law.

Continue reading: http://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2017/05/nist-releases-draft-cyber-framework-federal-agencies/137857/

Rules around buying of commercial items remains hot button issue for DoD, Congress

Two interesting items to keep an eye out on Capitol Hill. First, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, is expected to issue the first draft of his acquisition reform bill this week.

Details about the proposals in this annual Defense authorization legislation still are being closely held, but Thornberry told the press in late April that the bill will try to address several procurement areas where the committee hasn’t spent a lot of time on in recent years.

Industry sources say one of those areas is the buying of commercial items. The sources say Thornberry’s staff has been active in talking to DoD and industry about what’s needed to improve the military’s access to commercial items.

Continue reading: https://federalnewsradio.com/reporters-notebook-jason-miller/2017/05/rules-around-buying-of-commercial-items-remains-hot-button-issue-for-dod-congress/

Navigating Defense Department Cyber Rules

Defense contractors by Dec. 31 are expected to provide “adequate security” to protect “covered defense information” using cyber safeguards.

This obligation arises from a Defense Acquisition Regulation System Supplement clause, “Network Penetration Reporting and Contracting For Cloud Services,” that was finalized last October and described in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-171. Thousands of companies who sell directly to the Defense Department, and thousands more who sell to its suppliers, are or will be, subject to the rule.

The Pentagon is well-justified to seek improved cyber protection of sensitive but unclassified technical information. Hackers have exploited network vulnerabilities in the defense supply chain for the unauthorized exfiltration of valuable and sensitive defense information. Senior defense officials have expressed alarm at this persistent and pervasive economic espionage. 

Continue reading: http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2017/4/21/navigating-defense-department-cyber-rules

GSA starts translating Trump’s priorities into acquisition policy

The General Services Administration is going to have its hands full this summer as it works toward translating President Donald Trump’s contracting priorities into policy.

Jack St. John, GSA’s chief of staff, outlined a few of these priorities for a crowd of contractors at the May 11 Coalition for Government Procurement’s Spring Conference in Falls Church, Virginia.

“We are in the process of making changes, one of which is switching the [Transactional Data Reporting] requirement from a mandatory to a voluntary process. We’re going to reexamine the burdens and benefits of TDR,” he said.

Continue reading: https://federalnewsradio.com/acquisition/2017/05/gsa-starts-translating-trumps-priorities-into-acquisition-policy/