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GSA Makes Inflation Adjustment a Bit Easier For Contractors

With nationwide inflation still at 8%, federal contractors are getting some additional relief from the General Services Administration. GSA updated its guidance for how quickly contracting officers can raise prices on the schedule. Jeff Koses, GSA’s senior procurement executive, and Mark Lee, the assistant commissioner in the Office of Policy and Compliance in GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, told contracting officers on Sept. 12 that they do not need additional approvals to invoke the economic price adjustment (EPA) clause in contracts. GSA said the new process will remain in place through March 2023. Click here to read more.

Federal Small Business Contracting Goals

Since 1988, the federal government has maintained annual goals for small and small “disadvantaged” business participation in federal contracting. Today, there are five government-wide statutory small business contracting goals set by Congress: Small Businesses, Small Disadvantaged Businesses, Women-Owned Small Businesses, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses, and HUB (Historically Underutilized Business) Zone Small Businesses. According to the SBA, the federal government reached or exceeded three of five contracting goals in FY2021. To read more, click here.

Reversing the Slow Disappearance of Commercial Item Contracting

With the enactment of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA) in 1994, there was hope that a new era of streamlined acquisition would allow the government to access rapidly the commercial technology and services needed to permit it to meet the challenges of a new century. Although FASA’s implementation started out with promise, 27 years on we have witnessed regulatory, operational and procedural steps backward. The foregoing problems have been facilitated, at least in part, by a systematic re-regulation of commercial products and services contracting. Click here to read more.

Audit of DoD Other Transactions and the Use of Nontraditional Contractors and Resource Sharing (DODIG-2022-127)

According to the United States Code (U.S.C.), the DoD can enter into transactions other than procurement contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements for basic, applied, or advanced research, through potential teaming arrangements tailored to a particular project. The objective of this audit was to determine whether the DoD awarded Other Transactions (OT) for prototypes in accordance with applicable Federal laws and DoD policies. Although DoD agreement officers awarded OTs for prototypes in accordance with the U.S.C., additional OT policies are needed. To read more, click here.

Updated Guidance on Managing the Effects of Inflation With Existing Contracts

The Department of Defense (DoD) issued Friday updated guidance for Contracting Officers regarding approaches for addressing inflation under existing firm-fixed-price contracts. The memorandum advises Contracting Officers about the range of approaches available to them to make potential accommodations including schedule relief and amending contractual requirements, and in extraordinary circumstances, the use of Extraordinary Contractual Relief. Click here to read more.

Pentagon Planning New Guidance to Help Contractors Squeezed by Inflation

The Defense Department is preparing new guidance that would give its contracting officers more flexibility to reimburse vendors whose costs have ballooned because of inflation. The update is in the final review stages and should be published within the next week, said Dr. Bill LaPlante, the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment. A key focus would be to offer relief to companies who signed firm fixed-price contracts with the government before inflation took hold. To read more, please click here.

Bill Signed into Law to Help Boost Semiconductor Production in the U.S.

President Biden on Tuesday signed into law a $54.2 billion measure to boost semiconductor production in the U.S. The bipartisan bill passed by Congress last month includes $39.4 billion in subsidies to encourage companies to manufacture chips, possibly creating more jobs in cities across the country. In addition, the bill will provide billions in funding for semiconductor research and workforce development. Click here to read more.

Federally Funded Research to be Free and Publicly Accessible Under New White House Guidance

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy directed federal agencies on Thursday to begin adopting policies that would make taxpayer-funded research free and accessible to the general public. In a memo to the heads of executive departments and agencies, Dr. Alondra Nelson, deputy assistant to the president and deputy director for science and society performing the duties of director at OSTP, instructed officials to implement their public access policies by December 31, 2025. OSTP will also work with federal agencies to update their public access policies and data sharing plans by mid-2023. To read more, please click here.

Government Asks Public for Input on Census Design

The U.S. Census Bureau is asking the public for suggestions to help guide the planning and design of the 2030 census, with an eye toward soliciting recommendations on how to use new technologies, data sources and other tools to encourage more people to respond to the next census. The request, published in a Federal Register notice on Aug. 17, comes as the Bureau continues to work on the early stages of its design selection phase for the next decennial census. The public feedback will help guide the initial operational design of the 2030 census, which the Census Bureau said it plans to decide in 2024. To read more, please click here.

DFARS Compliance: Top Keys to Success in 2022

DFARS serves as a supplement to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)—which governs federal contracting generally—and addresses cybersecurity risks that are unique to the defense contracting sector. As cybersecurity risks continue to grow and evolve, DFARS compliance presents new challenges every year, and defense contractors need to have systems in place that they can efficiently supplement, update, and replace over time. To read more, please click here.