U.S. Department of Defense

On January 29, the Biden administration announced several policy initiatives aimed at addressing pay transparency and equity, including a proposed rule issued by the Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP). Continue Reading Proposed Rule Seeks to Bring Gender Pay Equity to Federal Contracting Community

On December 26, the Department of Defense (DoD) published its long-awaited Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) Program proposed rule, which places comprehensive cybersecurity and information security requirements on DoD contractors and subcontractors. Continue Reading Department of Defense Publishes Long-Awaited CMMC Proposed Rule

On November 17, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued a final rule, implementing Section 874 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), clarifying that certain DoD-unique statutes and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) clauses are inapplicable to DoD commercial item procurements, including acquisitions of commercial off-the-shelf items and commercial services. The changes aim to reduce barriers to entry and administrative burden for nontraditional defense contractors and streamline DoD procurement of innovative technologies from the private sector.Continue Reading New Rule Seeks to Streamline DoD Commercial Product and Service Procurements

The health of the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) has been brought to the fore as the United States responds to wars in Ukraine and Israel. Unfortunately, according to the National Defense Industrial Association’s “Vital Signs” report, the U.S. DIB faces numerous challenges due to limited capacity to surge production, political obstacles to defense budgeting, and labor challenges. Continue Reading GAO Assesses Health of the Defense Industrial Base

On July 8, the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (OUSD (A&S)) announced its first update to the Other Transactions (OT) Guide since November 2018. The DoD OT Guide provides a detailed overview of the OT process and best practices, from pre-solicitation to award and post-award management. Continue Reading Department of Defense Issues First Update Since 2018 to Other Transactions Guide

Unprecedented inflation levels have caused substantial hardship on government contractors during the last year – especially those with firm fixed-price contracts. Fortunately, meaningful help may be on its way. The Senate recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of Fiscal Year 2023, which authorizes future spending of appropriations and outlines Department of Defense (DOD) policy priorities for the next fiscal year.Continue Reading Inflation Relief on Its Way for Government Contractors?

Generally, government agencies are given broad discretion to define their needs; however, last month, the United States Court of Federal Claims chose to curtail an agency’s authority to cancel and amend bid solicitations in Seventh Dimension, LLC v. U.S., No. 21-2275C (May 2022).
Continue Reading Broad Agency Discretion to Cancel Bid Solicitations Curtailed with Recent Court Decision – “The Tribe has Spoken”

Well, that was quick.  In four memos dated September 30 and October 1, contractors learned the terms of the contract provisions implementing the COVID-19 vaccine and masking requirements mandated by President Biden’s Executive Order (EO) 14042, discussed here, and the implementing guidance issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force) on September 24. In the next 10 days we expect to see most other agencies issue deviation memos similar to the General Services Administration (GSA) and Department of Defense (DoD) memos discussed below.

As discussed in this post, while the contract provisions, along with updated guidance from the Task Force, answer some of the open questions, contractors are still in the unfortunate position of rushing to ensure they are compliant with these requirements when the contract provisions apply to them without knowing the answers to some fundamental questions. Despite these open questions, companies have little time, for example, to ensure that covered employees are vaccinated by the December 8, 2021 deadline. After that deadline, any contractor that becomes subject to these requirements will have to ensure that on new contracts or options/extensions that incorporate the new clause, covered employees are fully vaccinated by the first day of performance, which of course is impossible unless contractors enforce these vaccine mandates in advance. That said, the memos do seem to clarify that compliance with the Task Force guidance will not be required for prime contracts solely for the manufacturing of products.

The FAR Clause

On September 30, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council issued a memo providing agencies with “initial direction” requiring the implementation of the Task Force guidance. It includes FAR 52.223-99, Ensuring Adequate COVID-19 Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors (OCT 2021) (Deviation), along with directions that agencies “expeditiously” issue class deviations to ensure that contracting officers can begin using the clause on or before October 15, 2021.Continue Reading And … They’re Off! Contractors Race to Comply Now that the COVID-19 Vaccination Deviations Have Arrived

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s (Federal Circuit) opinion in The Boeing Co. v. Secretary of the Air Force shed additional light on the technical data rights of contractors under defense contracts. The decision hinges on the fact that technical data provided by a contractor to the government remains the property of the contractor. Additionally, contractors retain certain rights in connection with technical data even when the government has so-called “unlimited rights” to use it.

Case Background

In this case, Boeing held two contracts with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) for work on the F-15 Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability System. The contracts included the requirement for delivery of technical data to the USAF with Unlimited Rights and the DFARS 252.227-7013, non-commercial technical data rights clause (Subsection 7013). The parties did not dispute that Boeing retained ownership of technical data delivered to the USAF under the contracts, but Boeing contended that its legends on the technical data were intended to protect its rights as they pertained to third parties. Namely, putting third parties on notice of the proprietary nature of the data and directing that “Non-US Government Entities May Use and Disclose Only As Permitted In Writing By Boeing Or By The US Government.” The USAF rejected the data deliverables marked in this manner, finding them nonconforming and Boeing requested a final Contracting Officer’s decision on the matter.

The Contracting Officer’s final decision confirmed that the USAF was correct in rejecting the legends and directed Boeing to correct them. Boeing appealed the decision to the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA) on the ground that Boeing’s legend was “not nonconforming” under Subsection 7013(f) since its legend did not address restrictions on government rights, only third-party rights. The ASBCA, ruling on the motion for summary judgment, disagreed, siding with the USAF’s position that only the legends listed in Subsection 7013(f) are authorized and Boeing’s legend was not one of those. Boeing appealed this decision to the Federal Circuit.Continue Reading Federal Circuit Confirms DoD Contractor’s Expanded Restrictions on Non-Government Parties Rights in Data

On March 18, President Trump issued an Executive Order invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA), a tool that may help the administration combat the COVID-19 pandemic. With companies like 3M, GE, and others voluntarily ramping production of medical supplies to accomplish the nation’s significant needs, the president is yet to unleash his recently invoked authority. Still, the Executive Order activates far-reaching executive powers to prioritize production of key medical supplies, including protective medical equipment and ventilators. With the apparatus needed to deploy the DPA now in place, government contractors should prepare themselves for what may come.

By way of background, Congress passed the DPA during the Korean War to ensure sufficient production of materials deemed critical to the nation’s defense. Echoing economic controls imposed in World War II, the DPA gives the executive branch extraordinary powers, including the authority to require manufacturers to produce and prioritize certain items; allocate raw materials and facilities for the production of these items; and, in certain circumstances, even set price and wage controls.Continue Reading Administration Ready to Use DPA to Address COVID-19 Shortages