New ‘Made in America’ EO

On 25 January, President Biden issued a “Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers” executive order. (Government Executive, February 24, 2021)

Before the executive order takes effect:

  • New rules mandating the executive order must go through the formal rule-making process
  • Within 180 days, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council should consider replacing the “component test” (50 percent of a product’s cost must have a domestic origin)
  • The threshold for domestic content requirements for construction materials and end products will be increased, as well price preferences for domestic construction materials and end products

The order directs the FAR Council to assess exceptions from the Act for commercial information technology (IT). Recommendations will likely influence solution strategies. A Made in America office within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will be created, which will review waivers to purchase goods from outside the United States. Additionally, the Order mandates a list of actions to be performed within 45 days of the office director’s appointment. (ibid)

Biden’s EO also proposes that GSA create a public website for proposed waivers. Justification for all waivers will be publicly available, giving competitors the ability to weigh-in on waiver requests, likely diminishing the issuance of waivers. Contractors should consider this when determining their sourcing approach. (ibid)

Questions concerning your current as well as future government contracts and how the new order will affect them? Give us a call.

Security Clearance Due Process Streamlining

The Defense Department is streamlining process procedures for individual security clearances. (Defense Systems, January 27, 2021). On 19 January, the Under Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum to “simplify, centralize and unify the established administrative process for unfavorable security clearance eligibility hearings and appeals. The memo directs DoD unit heads to allow applicants to: “cross-examine” those who made negative statements about them, and receive documentation on the administrative due process. However, all unit heads retain the ability to “deny or suspend” access to classified information or Special Access Programs if an individual is found to be “inconsistent with protecting the national security.” (ibid)

“The policy is effective upon DoD General Counsel (GC) certification to USD (I&S) that DOHA has prepared, but no later than September 30, 2022.” (ibid)

Was your application for a security clearance revoked and you are not sure what to do next? Give us a call.

Self-Assess No More

Cybersecurity for  Department of Defense (DoD) contractors is an ongoing issue. Now, DoD is issuing an interim rule to implement an Assessment Methodology and Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification framework. This will assess contractor implementation of cybersecurity requirements and enhance the protection of unclassified information within the DoD supply chain. (Federal Register, DFARS Case 2019-D041 Action: Interim Rule)

The current self-attestation of NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-171 is not working due to a lack of DoD verification. Until the implementation of the interim rule, DoD did not have a mandate to verify contractor basic safeguarding or security requirements prior to contract award.  This regulation changes that. The interim rule adds a process for contractors to  implement cybersecurity requirements. This is to be accomplished while the DoD’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) and the procedures with the Accreditation Body (AB) are solidified. (Meritalk, September 28, 2020)

Questions about how the new rule will affect your contract or upcoming bid and what you can expect? Give us a call.

Not a “tricky” October 31st Deadline

A Multiple Award Schedule deadline is fast approaching. All contractors must do the following to remain in compliance with the MAS Consolidation Mass Mod A812:

  1. Update your catalog in GSA Advantage
  2. Update your Price List (text file) (GSA Interact September 8, 2020)

To remain in GSA Advantage, your SIP or EDI catalog to the consolidated MAS SINs must be updated before October 31, 2020, or you risk disruption to your catalog status or access to eTools. To accomplish the update, see the SIP/EDI Catalog Update Guide. All catalog submissions must be approved by your CO. (ibid)

Additionally, all schedule holders must update their Price List (Text File) using the MAS Consolidation Price List Guide, organizing their contract offerings under the new SIN structure. (ibid)

To aid contractors with their updates, webinars are being offered as well as a Vendor Support Center Help Desk at vendor.support@gsa.gov or call 877-495-4849. (ibid)

Having trouble getting your questions answered? Give us a call.

Practical Applications on the Chinese Tech Ban

On 23 July, the Defense Department released a memo explaining requirements for companies and contractors when the ban of telecommunications equipment made by Huawei and other China-based companies goes into effect. (Federal Computer Week, July 27, 2020)

Beginning 13 August, no contracts will be issued or extended to contractors using technologies or services and equipment made by Hikvision, ZTE or those listed in section 889(a)(1)(B) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019. Any contract, task/delivery order, and off-the-shelf items purchased after 13 August must include language invoking regulation for the ban. Additionally, indefinite delivery contracts are required to be modified. (ibid)

There is a waiver process, however, pursuable by agencies. According to Alan Dhvotkin PSC executive vice president and counsel, the waiver “will most likely begin with issues identified by the telecommunications provider to its federal agency customer. The federal agency then asks for an ODNI review, which will conduct a risk assessment.” A granted waiver lasts two years and may be requested at any time. (Federal Computer Week, July 22, 2020)

Have questions or need a waiver? Give us a call.