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DoD Releases Small Business Strategy

The Department of Defense (DoD) released its Small Business Strategy today. The strategy promotes a strong, dynamic, and robust small business industrial base by focusing on reducing barriers to entry, increasing set-aside competitions, and leveraging programs to grow the industrial base. As part of DoD’s efforts to strengthen support of small businesses, this strategy focuses on stepping up engagement with industry, including providing more tools and resources. This engagement and training effort will be facilitated by the Department’s ninety-six APEX Accelerators located across the country, formerly known as the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, which serve as a resource for small businesses to increase their readiness, help them find opportunities to do business with the Department and accelerate their insertion into the defense marketplace. Click here to read more.

NIST Debuts Long-Anticipated AI Risk Management Framework

The National Institute of Standards and Technology unveiled its long-awaited Artificial Intelligence Risk Management Framework, representing the culmination of an 18-month-long project that aims to be universally applicable to any AI technology across all sectors. Increasing trustworthiness and mitigating risk are the two major themes of the framework, which NIST Director Laurie Locascio introduced as guidance to help organizations develop low-risk AI systems. The document outlines types of risk commonly found in AI and machine learning technology and how entities can build ethical, trustworthy systems. To read more, click here.

It’s Time for New Incentives for Defense Primes to Invest in Startups

While there have been some high-profile entrant startups that have successfully worked with the Pentagon, the majority of these small firms have found the bureaucracy too difficult to pierce — and the funding too sporadic. In this new op-ed, Chip Walter, a retired Navy captain now in the venture capital space, offers up a solution: look to the defense primes. “If we are to meet the innovation goals of the NDS, we must incentivize the primes to move beyond the short-term partnership model and encourage them to form more holistic relationships with promising early-stage companies, including investment into operating businesses,” writes Chip Walter. To read the full article, click here.

Long-Term Implications of the 2023 Future Years Defense Program

As part of the President’s annual budget request, the Department of Defense (DoD) develops a plan—called the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP)—that reflects DoD’s expectations about its programs and costs over the next five years. In this report, the Congressional Budget Office analyzes DoD’s plans for 2023 through 2027 (as presented in the 2023 FYDP, which was issued in April 2022) and projects how those plans would affect defense costs for an additional 10 years (through 2037). In his proposed budget, the President requested $772 billion for DoD in fiscal year 2023. That amount is about 1.5 percent less (after removing the effects of inflation) than the amount appropriated for 2022. To read more, click here.

Pentagon Plans to Formally Propose Changes to CMMC Program Ahead of Official Launch

The Pentagon is implementing major changes to its CMMC program coming out of a 2021 internal review and had planned to seek an interim final designation to change defense acquisition regulations. The unified agenda says the new rule to implement the CMMC program is now a proposed rule and changes to the 2020 CMMC rulemaking, originally released as an interim final rule, will also be issued as a notice of proposed rulemaking. The unified agenda sets a May 2023 release for both items. Click here to read more.

Preventing Organizational Conflicts of Interest in Federal Acquisition Act

Congress has passed the Preventing Organizational Conflicts of Interest in Federal Acquisition Act (“the Act”), aiming to help identify and mitigate potential conflicts of interest between taxpayer-funder projects and government contractors’ other business opportunities. The Act requires the FAR Council to revise the FAR within 18 months to include definitions and a rule reflecting the requirements of the Act. The revised regulations will provide more clarity and will be targeted toward increasing the level of detail in potential conflict of interest disclosures and agency oversight of organizational conflicts of interest. To read more, click here.

Homeland Security Is Going to Have to Start Buying More Uniforms and Equipment from Small, Domestic Firms

In the coming months and years, the Homeland Security Department is going to have to buy more of its uniforms and equipment from domestic small businesses. The fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act that President Biden signed on December 23, 2022, includes the bipartisan Homeland Procurement Reform Act. The bill requires, to “the maximum extent possible” that no less than one-third of the funds obligated in a fiscal year for the covered items should be used to procure items “manufactured or supplied in the United States by entities that qualify as small business concerns,” which are U.S. for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and don’t dominate in their field of work, reads the text of the NDAA. To read more, click here.

Forthcoming National Cyber Strategy Highlights 2023 Cybersecurity Agenda

The White House Office of the National Cyber Director is expected to issue a new national cyber strategy within the next couple of months. Mark Montgomery, the senior director of the Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the strategy will likely map out a shift already underway toward more cybersecurity regulation. White House officials, like National Cyber Director Chris Inglis and Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger, have repeatedly pointed to the need for a baseline standard of cybersecurity across critical infrastructure sectors. And the Biden administration has already moved out on a sector-by-sector regulatory plan. To read more, click here.

Federal Procurement: Emergency-Related
Acquisition Flexibilities

Federal procurement is an essential component of the federal government’s response to disasters, emergencies, and other types of incidents. To aid contracting officers in identifying acquisition flexibilities that may be particularly useful for emergency-related acquisitions, acquisition officials added a new Part 18 to the FAR in 2007. Part 18 is a single reference to acquisition flexibilities that already exist in other parts of the FAR. These flexibilities may be useful in facilitating procurements during emergency situations. Subpart 18.1 lists generally available acquisition flexibilities. Emergency acquisition flexibilities are identified in subpart 18.2. To read the full report, click here.