On Thursday, August 17, 2017, I will be in Tampa, Florida taking part in the Prime Focus Executive Event.  I will present a session on the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program, highlighting the opportunities of this expanded program for both large and small businesses. During my session, I will explain how SBA-approved mentor/protégé relationships allow small businesses to benefit from significant support from large business mentors without being deemed to be affiliated. I will also offer best practices for large business mentors to enter into joint ventures with protégés and compete for work set aside for small businesses.

This program is hosted by CWU Inc. and Solvability, Inc.

As recent malware, ransomware and distributed denial of service attacks have made clear, the cyber threats posed to governments and commercial entities are real and growing. Critical infrastructure such as power plants, airports and communication systems are vulnerable to attacks on the cyber battlefield, as are banks, manufacturers, and law firms, among other commercial entities. In an attempt to address these risks, the U.S. government is imposing heightened cyber-security requirements on contractors, some of which are summarized below. But, in light of the growing cyber threats posed by nation states, subnational groups and bored teenagers, even companies that are not subject to these new requirements should evaluate the sufficiency of their current cyber security protocols and consider taking steps such as the simplified four-step “starter plan” – train, maintain, test and repeat – laid out below to address vulnerabilities.

Continue Reading DoD’s Efforts to Secure Information on Contractor Systems Continues, But All Companies Are at Risk and Should Take Steps Now to Protect Themselves

I commented on an article published in RealClearDefense, on the impact of the April executive order highlighting the Trump administration’s intention to renew the focus on sourcing domestic resources and employees for government contracts. The order requires increased enforcement of current “Buy American” laws, which date back to the Depression-era statutes Congress passed in 1933. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Commerce Department released follow-up guidance in late June requiring all federal agencies to prepare a compliance plan by September 15, 2017.

Continue Reading “Buy American” Rules Have Major Implications for Defense

The GAO recently denied Leidos Innovations Corporation’s protest of a determination that Leidos was ineligible to receive a $272 million award by the U.S. Army despite Leidos having both the highest-rated technical proposal and the lowest evaluated cost.  The GAO decision, which affirmed the agency’s determination that Leidos was non-responsible because one of Leidos’ subcontractors did not have the necessary base access, is an important reminder that prime contractors should thoroughly vet their subcontractors to ensure, to the extent possible, all necessary qualifications are satisfied for the associated contract.

Continue Reading Proposals are Only as Strong as their Weakest Link: GAO Affirms Non-responsiblity Determination Based on Subcontractor’s Lack of Base Access

On April 18, 2017, Donald Trump signed a Presidential Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American (EO). As we reported at the time, Section 3 of the EO directed the heads of all federal agencies to, among other things: (1) assess the monitoring of, enforcement of, implementation of, and compliance with Buy American laws within their agencies; (2) assess the use of BAA waivers within their agencies; and (3) develop and propose policies to ensure federal funds maximize the use of materials produced in the United States. It also ordered the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to issues guidance to agencies about how to comply with their obligations.

Continue Reading U.S. Government Guidance on Buy American Executive Order Could Signal Impending Headaches for Government Contractors

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

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.

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

As we previously reported here and here, between October 1 and December 14, 2016, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) lacked jurisdiction to hear most civilian agency task order protests (its jurisdiction over protest of Department of Defense (DoD) task order awards was unaffected by the lapse). On December 14, President Obama signed legislation reinstating GAO’s jurisdiction over protests of civilian task orders greater than $10 million.  He subsequently signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2017, which raised the threshold for DoD task order protests from $10 to $25 million.

Continue Reading Timing is Everything – GAO Refuses to Apply Jurisdiction Retroactively

As we previously reported, following the start of the Trump Administration, Congress has moved aggressively to overturn regulations passed in the final days of the Obama Administration through the rarely-used powers in the Congressional Review Act (CRA). This focus on CRA actions, which is in keeping with the Trump Administration’s broader goal of eliminating costly regulations, has taken time and attention in the early days of the 115th Congress because the CRA gives Congress a limited amount of time to reverse regulations.  One of the rules that has been targeted for elimination is the Fair Pay & Safe Workplaces rule, a rule subject to much debate and controversy since its enactment in August 2016. Recent Senate action makes it likely that the rule, which would have imposed billions of dollars in costs on taxpayers over the next decade, will be eliminated next week.

Continue Reading Last Straw for the Fair Pay & Safe Workplaces Rule – Congress to Take Final Vote on Repeal