On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, I will be in Oak Ridge, Tennessee taking part in a Mentor Protégé & Joint Venture Speaker Panel Seminar. This interactive seminar will offer insights for small businesses and large prime contractors on assembling, marketing, and administrating joint ventures and teaming arrangements. It will address the unique challenges presented by teaming agreements and joint ventures while offering best practices for navigating these strategic alliances more effectively to win government contracts.

This program is sponsored by The University of Tennessee Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Oak Ridge Chamber.

Visit the SBDC website for more information and registration.

Last month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released results from its investigation into the effectiveness of the Department of Defense (DoD) Pilot Mentor-Protégé Program. In accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2016, GAO reviewed DoD’s procedures for approving mentor-protégé agreements, its performance measures for the program, and the differences between its program and the new All Small Mentor Protégé Program established by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Continue Reading GAO Review Calls for Greater Oversight of DoD’s “Pilot” Mentor-Protégé Program

I will be in Tampa, Florida on Friday, May 5 speaking at the 30th Annual Government Small Business Conference: Game Plan for Federal Contracting. I will speak on the topic of, “SBA Mentor Protégé Program” at 10:50 a.m. This session will provide an overview of the Mentor Protégé program and offer insights into how businesses of all types can take advantage of the program. This session is appropriate for businesses looking to develop their business and compete more successfully for federal government contracts.

Visit the Florida Small Business Development Center website for more information and registration.

In an article published in the May/June 2017 issue of ABA Bank Compliance (a publication of the American Bankers Association), I provided insight on how banks can mitigate violations with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). In January 2017, OFAC announced a settlement in which a large Canadian bank agreed to pay more than $500,000 in monetary penalties for 170 alleged violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran and Cuba. This especially costly example of financial stakes for banks and other financial institutions illustrates the importance of compliance, despite the challenges they face as they process millions of transactions on a daily basis and across international boundaries. While all risks cannot be eliminated, through careful investigation, compliance enhancements, monitoring and record keeping, financial institutions can help mitigate most risks.

For more details on key strategies to protect against violations and to remediate them when they do occur, access the PDF of the article, “Mitigating Economic Sanctions Risk,” below.

Download Document – ABA Bank Compliance May June 2017

On April 18, President Trump signed the “Presidential Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American” (the Order), which declares the Executive branch’s policy to buy American goods and rigorously enforce and administer laws governing entry into the United States of workers from abroad.  The Order is keeping with President Trump’s campaign promises regarding hiring American workers and promoting U.S. manufacturing, and signals a renewed focus on domestic sourcing requirements as well as the likelihood of greater restrictions on work visas for non-U.S. citizens.

Continue Reading Buy American Executive Order Means Renewed Obligations for Government Contractors

Later this month, the GSA will issue a refresh to all GSA Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) to incorporate new provisions and clause updates. Even if you are already a GSA Schedule holder, keep reading – a bilateral modification will be issued for your contract.

Continue Reading April Showers Bring Mass Mods: New GSA Schedule Refresh and Mass Modification

On March 31, 2017, the United States Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) dismissed a contractor’s claims against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for a lack of jurisdiction, stating that the contractor should have secured a final decision from the General Services Administration (GSA) prior to filing its claim. According to the CBCA, since the dispute was over the terms of a GSA Schedule contract and not over contract performance, proper procedures call for a decision from the GSA Schedule contracting officer before the CBCA can weigh in on the dispute.

Continue Reading Agency First! – CBCA Refuses Jurisdiction over Contractor’s Challenge of Wage Rate Adjustments Despite Final Decision from Contracting Officer

In an article published by Law360, I provided expanded insight on a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) jurisdiction gap that occurred between October 1 and December 14, 2016, due to a legislative oversight. During this lapse, there was no venue with jurisdiction to hear protests of civilian agency task order awards. Congress has now given GAO permanent jurisdiction, but recent rulings dealing with the lapse have made clear that the legislation will not be applied retroactively. I suggest that now “that the GAO’s jurisdiction to hear protests of both civilian and DOD task order protests is permanent, albeit set at different thresholds, it is unlikely that such lapses will occur again anytime soon.”

The full article, “An Update On Aftermath Of GAO Jurisdiction Gap,” was published by Law360 on April 6, 2017, and is available online.

Additional insights can be found in my earlier blog post on the topic, “Timing is Everything – GAO Refuses to Apply Jurisdiction Retroactively,” published on March 20, 2017.

  • Boeing announces deal to sell aircraft to Iran Aseman
  • The deal was apparently authorized by the U.S. Treasury Department, but Congressional foes fight to block it
  • If the deal goes through, further loosening of sanctions could follow

This story begins in July 2015, when the United States and its allies entered into a now-famous nuclear agreement with Iran which, among other things, paved the way for the United States to scale back economic sanctions on Iran – including those relating to commercial aircraft.  Executing that deal, in January 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a new, favorable licensing policy for many transactions relating to the sale of commercial passenger aircraft and related parts and services to Iran.

Continue Reading The Long Road: Boeing Continues the March into Iran

As we previously reported, Congress has taken its final steps in repealing Obama’s Fair Pay & Safe Workplaces rule, one of the most controversial rules enacted by the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council under President Obama. On February 6, the Senate gave the final vote of approval of the House Resolution overturning the rule, and on March 27, President Trump, unsurprisingly, signed the Resolution into law. At the same time, he also signed legislation overturning three other rules, including the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s land use planning rule and two rules issued by the U.S. Department of Education.  Though much of the Fair Pay rule had never been implemented due to a court injunction, this legislation formally revokes the rule and ensures that the FAR Council cannot enact a similar rule without Congressional approval.

Continue Reading Ding Dong the Regulation’s Dead! – Trump Finalizes Statutory Repeal of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rule