The Department of Defense is making Small Business their business

The Federal Register recently posted a request for comments which stated, “The participation of dynamic, resilient, and innovative small businesses in the defense industrial base is critical to the United States’ efforts to maintain its technological superiority, military readiness, and warfighting advantage. The department seeks public input on the barriers that small businesses face in working with the department. This input will be used to update the department’s Small Business Strategy led by the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Small Business Programs.” (Nextgov September 15, 2021)

DoD is looking to reinforce President Biden’s executive orders supporting underserved communities while promoting American competition. Some specific areas of exploration are:

  • What regulations or business practices hinder the relationship between small businesses and the government?
  • How do the department’s initiatives (The Mentor-Protege Program, Indian Incentive Program, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, the Rapid Innovation Fund, Small business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer), support or impact small businesses?
  • How do contracting timelines impact small businesses?
  •  Are skilled workforces attainable to “sustain a competitive small business ecosystem?”
  • How the coronavirus pandemic has impacted small businesses in the defense industrial base. (ibid)

At a recent Pennsylvania Showcase on Commerce, Defense Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks said, “over the past decade, small businesses in the defense industrial base shrunk by over 40%. The data shows that if we continue along the same trend, we could lose an additional 15,000 suppliers over the next 10 years.” She noted that the department is committed to making it more straightforward for small businesses to win contracts and referenced the Request for Comments notice in the Federal Register.

President Biden is “committed to nurturing small businesses that have faced historic barriers in rural and urban America, including businesses owned by veterans, women, and people of color-especially Black, Latino and Asian American businesses.” President Biden’s goal is to double the number of federal contracts awarded to small and disadvantaged businesses, in the next few years.

The Department of Defense is looking for input by October 25, 2021, to their Request for Comments. If you have questions about the RFC or are looking to work with the DoD or other government agency, give us a call.

 

 

The Marine Corps gets straight to the point and you should too

For conferences, the Marine Corps Systems Command, Office of Small Business Programs hands out a small 16-page pamphlet. A small unassuming pamphlet entitled, Doing Business with the Marine Corps. The brochure has a page dedicated specifically to proposal writing titled, “Power up your proposal.” (Federal News Network August 2021)

Within the “Power up your proposal” page, you will find one of the most straightforward guides to proposal writing.

  1. “Read the solicitation in its entirety multiple times, read and understand the instructions to Offerors, and comply with all of them.”
  2. “Choose your competitions wisely. Target only those solicitations for products and services in your niche market so that you can increase your probability of success.”
  3. “Don’t submit quotes or proposals with teaming partners’ logos all over them.”
  4. “Do not use acronyms without spelling them out first! Do not assume that the proposal evaluators are familiar with a particular acronym unless the acronym was used within the solicitation. When in doubt, spell it out, and provide a definition and/or context for all acronyms.”
  5. “Constantly review your proposal for grammatical errors. Have different people from diverse backgrounds read your technical proposal for clarity, comprehension, consistency, and conciseness. It is important to submit a proposal that is completely free of errors.” (ibid)

All of the above may seem obvious, however, if overlooked, can mean the difference between having a proposal accepted or rejected.

Have questions or need assistance with your next response to a request for proposal? Give us a call.

 

Getting the government to green

The increasing number of Natural disasters are actually not at all “Natural.” They are costing the global economy more than $390 billion each year. As a response, consumers and corporations are working on ways to lower their carbon footprint. Simultaneously, the government is putting into place, aggressive timelines to curb emissions. The Biden administration announced a 2030 target, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 52 percent. (Washington Technology September 13, 2021)

Because the federal government has such extensive purchasing power, they have the ability to drive holistic sustainable innovations in the private sector. The government can create sustainability standards and include those standards in requests for proposals, thus driving the private sector into more sustainable practices. (ibid)

According to Bloomberg Government, “$682 billion was spent on contracts in fiscal 2020 a record expenditure for the government.” This gives the federal government the ability to incentivize contractors, who want to work with the government. (ibid)

Will sustainability standards become the norm for requests for proposals? It is already in cybersecurity, the NIST 800 standards have set the bar high for device manufacturers. (ibid)

A recent executive order to speed up cybersecurity advancements pushes industry to progress and innovate even faster. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could use this same type of model to impel sustainability. (ibid)

Once the government makes sustainability a priority, the private world will follow suit. We are already seeing a new mentality and with that, progress.

Questions concerning environmental standards and how to exceed them in your next response to an RFP? Give us a call.

 

 

Get vaccinated, stay safe, continue to work

On July 29, 2021, the Biden Administration announced that every federal government employee and onsite contractor must attest to their vaccination status. At the same time, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force which oversees the development and implementation of agency COVID-19 workplace safety plans issued the COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Agency Model Safety Principles.  The Agency Model Safety Principles must be incorporated into current COVID-19 workplace safety plans. (JD Supra September 2, 2021)

Agency Model Safety Principles:

  • Attestation form signed by onsite contractors to confirm their vaccination.
  • Contractors refusing to sign the attestation form will be treated as not fully vaccinated, for purposes of safety protocols.
  • All contractors who refuse to sign the attestation form or who are not fully vaccinated must wear a mask in all settings, physically distance, and take a weekly or twice-weekly COVID-19 screening test.
  • Agencies must create a program to test those not fully vaccinated.
  • Fully vaccinated onsite contractors do not need to be tested, physically distance themselves or wear a mask in areas of moderate or low transmission.
  • All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask in areas of high or substantial transmission. (ibid)

The mandate currently deals only with contractors working on federal facilities. However, the White House stated that “President Biden is directing his team to take steps to apply similar standards to all federal contractors.” (ibid)

The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force urges agencies to provide onsite contractors with the Certification of Vaccination form as they enter any federally-controlled work area. Contractors will be required to keep the form with them while they are on federal premises. Contractors should be ready to show the Certification of Vaccination upon entry to a federal building or federally-controlled indoor site. Contractors entering without a form will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, taken within the past 3 days, before entry is permitted. (ibid)

As with all things “COVID,” the policies are evolving and changing regularly. It is incumbent upon the federal contractor to stay apprised.

Questions about GSA? Give us a call.