Will e-commerce portals replace the Federal Supply Schedules?

The General Services Administration estimates the size of the federal market for commercial products to be about $50 billion a year. Manufacturers and distributors of commercial products have seen GSA’s multiple award schedule contracts as a good way to way to access federal customers. But a GSA schedule contract does not guarantee sales and the process of obtaining and adhering to such a contract presents its own headaches.

Soon there will be a better way.

Section 846 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2018 establishes a program that will allow federal agencies to purchase commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) items through commercial e-commerce portals that are currently available only to the private sector. As long as the procurement is under the new $250,000 Simplified Acquisition Threshold, COTS products (not services) will be available for purchase Government-wide, presumably without additional competition and without a lengthy list of FAR clauses incorporated by reference.

Continue reading: https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=886126f2-0c9b-42e6-9661-3a2d22de36ae

Pentagon Delays Deadline For Military Suppliers to Meet Cybersecurity Rules

The Pentagon will delay a Jan. 1 deadline for all of its suppliers to meet a set of new regulations largely designed to better protect sensitive military data and weapon blueprints.

By year’s end, companies must instead merely show that they have a plan in place to meet the regulations, Ellen Lord, the defense undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Continue reading: http://www.govexec.com/technology/2017/12/pentagon-delays-deadline-military-suppliers-meet-cybersecurity-rules/144559/?oref=govexec_today_pm_nl

Section 508 Gets an Update: New Web Accessibility Guidelines for Government Sites Take Effect in January

Updates for Section 508 accessibility legislation go into effect in January, creating new specifications for how federal agencies must make websites and other digital information channels navigable for users with disabilities, and experts say these requirements are poised to become the new standard for state and local governments as well.

Section 508 is a 2001 amendment to the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973, designed to help sweeping accessibility legislation keep pace with the rapidly evolving nature of technology. Early this year, lawmakers passed a long-awaited refresh of Section 508 that goes into effect Jan. 18. The exact updates are complex and nuanced, but at a basic level they stipulate that federal government websites must be accessible for people with hearing and sight disabilities using screen readers and other assistive tech. The requirements also note that content should be accessible for people with cognitive, language and learning disabilities, while requiring adherence to WCAG 2.0 standards, a set of guidelines used throughout the world.

Continue reading: http://www.govtech.com/internet/Section-508-Gets-an-Update-New-Web-Accessibility-Guidelines-for-Government-Sites-Take-Effect-in-January.html

‘Reinventing government,’ 25 years later

We are coming up next year on the 25th anniversary of the country’s first and perhaps only governmentwide management reform program organized around a coherent theme: the Clinton administration’s “reinventing government” effort.

In 1993, the first year of the Clinton administration, I went on leave from my job at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, where I was a professor of public management, to take a Senate-confirmed position in the Office of Management and Budget as administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. That office of 30-odd civil servants did not buy anything itself but had the lead role in formulating governmentwide procurement policy.

At the beginning of the 1990s, the thinking about how to manage well in government began to turn toward performance. As political scientists William Gormley and Steven Balla have written, “The concept of performance came to rival accountability as a standard for evaluating executive branch agencies.”

Continue reading: https://fcw.com/articles/2017/12/06/kelman-25-years-of-acquisition-reform.aspx