809 Panel Contracting Shake-Up

Often, the Department of Defense has the need to make “real time” purchases, in the same way as corporations in the commercial world. With a procurement process in place that can be lengthy, the solutions provided may not always be the most technologically advanced. Congress took this knowledge and commissioned the Section 809 Panel.

The Section 809 Panel streamlines and codifies acquisition for DoD and addresses issues with the way DoD purchases warfighter equipment. The panel released their third report this week, with the final report (tying all findings together) expected to be released in mid-February.

Among its recommendations to mirror the commerical marketplace are the following:

  • A more streamlined approach for purchases, which includes halting publicly advertising procurements and small businesses set asides. (Federal News Network January 15, 2019)
  • Dividing DOD purchases into three groups:
    • Goods readily available -acquisition officials could buy items on a fixed-price basis worth up to $15 million — or higher with senior official approval — via direct solicitations or price quotes. This includes no public advertisement or small business set aside requirements.
    • Goods readily available with some modifications – would follow similar principles as goods readily available, but allow for slightly more government contract stipulations, oversight, and transparency. For example, those contracts covering most of DoD’s services spending would require public solicitations if they’re worth more than $15 million. And losing bidders would be able to file both pre- and post-award GAO protests.
    • Defense unique procurements -the panel acknowledged that DoD and Congress had already done significant work to develop alternative acquisition approaches that could deliver systems more quickly. (ibid)

The Section 809 panel will be disbanded this summer, expecting its study to live on in perpetuity. The report’s final recommendation is for all of the panel’s records to be transferred to a proposed Center for Acquisition Innovation at the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School. (Federal News Network January 2019)

It’s about time “Hidden Figures” get a little love

Although the government has met their small business spending goals over the past five years, women-owned small business contracts continue to lag far behind. In fact, women-owned small business contracts make up less than 5 percent of the total government contract expenditures, according to ChallengeHER, a national initiative to boost government contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses.

Candace Waterman, president, and CEO of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) said her group advocates for women-owned businesses on the Hill. But now, working through ChallengeHER, she has a forum to help educate women. SBA specialists from the agency’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) help train women via ChallengeHER on how best to enter the federal marketplace. (Federal News Network January 2, 2019)

Antonio Doss, SBA’s Washington, D.C. metro area district director, feels that in the DC area female small business owners have found particular success in the IT field.“We have women business owners who are excelling in that area, proving support to agencies like NASA and the Department of Energy, DoD facilities and very technical, scientific, STEM-type disciplines,” he said. (ibid)

Along with agency-to-business contracting, subcontracting opportunities abound. Questions? Call us at 301-913-5000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bid that Bid … Still!

Government shutdown or no, contractors should still submit bids by their due date!

According to Alan Chvotkin (EVP and general counsel for the Professional Services Council), “these are among the thousand day-to-day issues that arise during an actual lapse in funding. The general guidance I provide our members is: Until told otherwise, the deadline is the deadline, even if the government offices are closed.” (Aron Boyd, Nextgov December 28, 2018)

Submitting bids electronically is relatively easy. A bigger issue arises with bids requiring physical submission: what to do? You are your own best advocate in this situation. Chvotkin suggests that it’s “best to attempt delivery and document — with photos and time stamps of the effort and confirm the attempt with an electronic message to the designated official.” (ibid)

Due diligence on the contractors part goes a long way. Keep an eye out for updates and extensions. Do not assume a bid deadline will be extended. The best rule of thumb is to make no assumption and assume the original due date is the due date!

Give us a call and we will help you work through your bid submission, at 301-913-5000.

New Year Will Bring DEOS, an $8 Billion Contract

DoD and GSA are finishing up the Defense Enterprise Office Solution (DEOS) RFQ, expected in February. Contract award for the $8 billion cloud contract is expected in April. DEOS will replace the Defense Enterprise Email Service run by DISA and used mainly by the Army.

Hassan Harris, DEOS contracting officer, said the final acquisition strategy has yet to be determined. Once it is, everything will move quickly.

Under DEOS, DoD plans to consolidate and upgrade all of its desktop and collaboration services into the commercial cloud. DISA recently partnered with GSA to move DEOS from a standalone contract to one that may come under Schedule 70. (It remains unclear whether DEOS will be a single or multiple awards.)

Margie Graves, federal deputy CIO, said OMB is encouraging agencies to develop an IT modernization roadmap for back-office, command-and-control, and mission space capabilities. She believes a demand signal and clear message is being sent to industry regarding DoD’s, GSA’s and OMB’s commitment to maximizing buying power for all of the federal government and ensures that the government and DoD receive the best market offerings at the best price. She also noted DoD’s experiences with DEOS will give civilian agencies the ability to adopt cloud email and collaboration tools more quickly.

GSA and DoD continue to ask for industry feedback and comments on the best way to approach DEOS. DoD expects a phased implementation with approximately 200,000 users initially, on an unclassified network.

Want to talk about DEOS? Give us a call at 301-913-5000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

!!!! E Pluribus Unum (Schedule) !!!!

GSA announced it will modernize federal acquisition by consolidating the agency’s 24 Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) into one single Schedule (!!!!) for products and services. This sole Schedule will have one set of terms and conditions, bringing consistency in contracting practices, across the board.

Can it be true? We’re not quite sure how they will implement this. Will there still be individual acquisition centers? Will this be kind of like the current OOCorp system, wherein MOBIS-like services remain in Washington, video products are out of Philadelphia, etc.? That’s our bet. But we also believe that this will not be a smooth transition for contracting officers, let alone contractors!

Consolidating Schedules is part of GSA’s Federal Marketplace strategy to make the government buying and selling experience easy, efficient, and modern.  GSA’s strategic goal is to establish the agency as the premier provider of efficient and effective acquisition solutions across the government.

The consolidation is supposed to make it easier for government agencies to obtain products and services because the purchasing agents won’t have to search multiple Schedules. GSA states that this means industry can bring their offerings to the federal marketplace using a solutions-based approach, which more closely aligns with the way agencies are buying.

Consolidating to one Schedule reflects this feedback obtained by GSA from stakeholders who shared their ideas to improve the Schedules experience.

GSA is taking a measured and phased approach (!!)  over two years to transform the Schedules. They promise to incorporate stakeholder feedback throughout the consolidation process.

EZGSA is here to answer all of your questions or just chat about the big announcement at 301-913-5000.