On September 24, 2018, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued a final rule that alters its regulations governing the Veteran-Owned Small Business Verification Program.  The final rule, “VA Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) Verification Guidelines,” will go into effect on October 1, 2018.  This new rule brings much awaited clarity and uniformity to the regulations governing the VA’s ownership and control requirements for VOSBs and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs).

Details of the VA VOSB Verification Guidelines

The rule places exclusive authority to implement VOSB verification regulations in the Small Business Administration (SBA), and goes so far as to seek the removal of all references to “ownership” or “control” from VA regulations.  Additionally, the rule provides clarification on certain portions of the VA verification process, and outlines the circumstances that will allow a company to qualify as a VOSB or SDVOSB under a surviving spouse or active employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).

Continue Reading VA Concedes Sole Responsibility for Verifying Veteran Contractor Ownership and Control to the SBA

I will be presenting the topic of “Federal Procurement Protests & Appeals” at the 2018 PDS/SCS GovCon Seminar on Thursday, October 18. This event provides attendees with up-to-date information on compliance and changes in the government contracts industry.

For more information about and to register for the event, please visit the event website.

  • FIRRMA would significantly expand CFIUS jurisdiction.
  • Mandatory filing would be required in some cases.
  • Parties that protect and maintain personal information are likely to face more scrutiny.

As we have described in recent blog posts in March 2018, January 2018 and October 2017, a rash of proposed transactions have not survived the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) process.  Most notably, as we described here, in March 2018, President Trump announced that he would not allow Singapore-based Broadcom to acquire U.S.-based Qualcomm, a rival chipmaker.

The president made his decision based on the recommendation of CFIUS, the U.S. government’s inter-agency committee that reviews transactions that could result in control of a U.S. business by a foreign person in order to determine if the transaction would have an effect on the national security of the United States.

Continue Reading Proposed CFIUS Reform Moves Forward

In early April, the GAO issued a final rule revising the existing bid protest process—the major revisions being the introduction of an Electronic Protest Docketing System (EPDS) and a protest filing fee. When the rule takes effect on May 1, 2018, the new EPDS will launch as the GAO’s electronic filing and document dissemination system for bid protests.

Continue Reading New GAO Bid Protest Procedures Take Effect on May 1

Congress created the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs in 1982 and 1992, respectively. These programs require certain government agencies to set aside a percentage of their extramural budgets so domestic small businesses can engage in research and development (R&D) with a strong potential for technology commercialization. Accordingly, 11 agencies support the SBIR program with five of them also having STTR programs. The Small Business Administration serves as the coordinating agency for the programs.

Small businesses receive multiple benefits by applying for SBIR/STTR awards. The funding is stable, predictable, and not a loan. In addition, the capital is non-dilutive, and the small business retains certain intellectual property rights for their developments. Companies can use their proposals for SBIR/STTR awards as an opportunity to develop a relationship with a university or other research institutions. These programs allow innovative small businesses to offset the cost of R&D while leaving them in control of any developed IP.

Continue Reading Additional Funding Available for SBIR/STTR Awardees at the State Level

In late March, Tennessee Governor Haslam proposed an amended budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018, which included $3 million toward LaunchTennessee Grants—demonstrating that Tennessee’s implementation of a matching program for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs (STTR) survived as more than just a 12-month initiative.

Previous State Funding

Within the last year, Tennessee became the seventeenth state to implement a matching program for SBIR and STTR federal funding. However, there was no guarantee that the program would be funded for a second year. While Tennessee is among national leaders in terms of research funding, Tennessee-based businesses have not been as successful as other states in winning SBIR and STTR awards. This matching program sought to help increase the success rate.

Continue Reading LaunchTennessee’s SBIR/STTR Matching Fund Program Hoping for Another Successful Year

Todd Overman will be presenting at the 31st Annual Government Small Business Conference in Tampa on May 4, 2018. The event, co-hosted by the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center at USF and the Florida SBDC at USF, is a unique conference for small business owners to learn how to optimize business opportunities through informative workshops, panel discussions, and a Business Opportunity Expo featuring federal agencies.

Todd’s presentation, “Early Themes for Government Contractors Under the Trump Administration,” will highlight regulatory updates implemented by the Trump Administration that impact government contractors, as well discuss enforcement trends that could impact certain industries.  Issues to be covered include domestic preference, small business developments, and cybersecurity enforcement.

EVENT DETAILS:

Continue Reading Event – Regulatory and Enforcement Update: Early Themes for Government Contractors Under the Trump Administration

On March 12, 2018, President Trump blocked Broadcom, a Singapore-based semiconductor manufacturer, from pursuing the purchase of U.S.-based Qualcomm, a rival chip maker.  Broadcom’s offer, reportedly for $117 billion or perhaps even more, would have been one of the largest technology deals in history.

The president’s decision followed a determination by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) that the transaction was likely to pose unacceptable national security risks to the United States.  The president apparently made his decision shortly after Broadcom met with Pentagon officials in a final effort to salvage the deal.

Continue Reading CFIUS Continues Aggressive Intervention, Qualcomm Deal Blocked

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is responsible for developing information security standards and guidelines—including minimum requirements for federal information systems. At the end of February, NIST released its Final Draft of Special Publication (SP) 800-171A—Assessing Security Requirements for Controlled Unclassified Information.

First proposed in November 2017, the publication means to provide agencies and contractors with guidance regarding how to conduct assessments under the prominent cybersecurity standard NIST SP 800-171—Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Systems and Organizations. This standard acts as the foundation for how contractors must protect all forms of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).

Continue Reading Final Draft of NIST SP 800-171A Still Open for Comments

On January 24, 2018, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied a bid protest that in part, focused on the issue of price credit. VT Halter Marine, Inc. (VT) protested the award of a Department of the Army contract—for design and manufacture of maneuver support vessels (MSVs)—to Vigor Works LLC (VW). VT alleged the agency misevaluated the proposals and made an unreasonable source selection decision. The GAO disagreed. This bid protest provides a great example of the importance of understanding up front how the government plans to calculate price credits and how those credits can make your proposal more advantageous to the government.

Continue Reading Learning from Bid Protests: Price “Credits” for IP Rights