Waivers for Banned Equipment

Although the purchase of Chinese produced telecommunications equipment is banned, the government is likely to see it in its supply chain for years to come. Since Section 889 law went into effect, contractors have requested waivers to keep their equipment in place and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has issued them. Many waivers that expired last week (30 September) have been extended for an additional two years. (Federal News Network, October 2, 2020)

One such agency requesting an extension, the U.S. Agency for International Development, requested a waiver from 889 and has been given until the end of fiscal year 2022 to remove Chinese telecom equipment. The waiver states the following, “As of September 30, 2022, the Agency statutory waiver authority ends and the Agency will not enter into any contracts with contractors using covered technology. For contractors that wish to continue to do business with USAID, it is important to phase out the use of covered technology. Recipients should ensure they have alternate funding because costs for covered technology will become unallowable. In regard to assistance (grants/cooperative agreements), the Agency will be revising its policy to extend the period of the allowability of costs for internet and telephone services for new awards made during the duration of the waiver.” (USAID Telcom Waiver, September 30, 2020)

Would you like to know more about the upcoming contracts to trade out Chinese equipment? 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.

Just the Facts FAS, Please

Earlier this week, a GSA watchdog discovered erroneous reporting of small business contracts by the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS). (Government Executive September 17, 2020)

The General Service Administration (GSA) inspector general (IG) recently provided a report that focused on the data entered into the Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation, which is managed by GSA. The Small Business Administration (SBA) uses the system data provided to determine if the federal government is achieving its annual goal of awarding 23 percent of contracts to small businesses. An IG review of FAS procurements from fiscal 2016 and 2017 and shows that small business procurements have been grossly overstated.

“We found that FAS’s reporting of small business procurements contained significant inaccuracies. We identified $89 million in procurements erroneously recorded as small business in the Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation. Additionally, FAS’ small business procurement reporting does not identify the extent of the work performed by large businesses. We found approximately $120 million of small business procurements in which large businesses performed a portion of the work.” (ibid)

After interviewing small business contractors and GSA officials as well as analyzing agency contracting data, the IG determined many of the issues to be out of GSA’s control. For instance, the IG found that classification codes  often “pre-populate” for task orders; due to the nature of the software, officers cannot override the system to update the task order codes. In addition, no mandate exists for FAS or small businesses to report how much of the work completed on a contract is subcontracted to large businesses. This leads to inaccuracies when assessing FAS’s small business procurements. Many believe the inaccuracies will never be fully fixed due to the competing policy issues and marketplace anomalies. (ibid)

The IG recommended the following:

  • Fix the limitations of the contracting system to enable accurate reporting
  • SBA and the commissioner discuss how subcontracting and reseller agreements are reported

How does this affect your contract or an upcoming proposal? Give us a call.

Is it Beta, Old, or New SAM?

Over time, GSA is transitioning reporting tools to beta.SAM, while the original SAM.gov remains live. Although the final site will also be called SAM.gov, it will be much different than the current one. When the full functionality of the new SAM.gov is moved over to beta.SAM, the latter will lose the “beta” prefix and the old SAM.gov will simultaneously be retired. Confused yet? (Nextgov September 11, 2020)

According to Judith Zawasky, assistant commissioner for the office of systems management in the Federal Acquisition Service (and former EZGSA employee!), “the new site is on track to lose its “beta” designation in 2021.” Zawasky is trying to ensure that remaining transition areas and training are smooth. The soft launch is expected to be finished by 17 October, and after that date, users will no longer be able to run reports on the FPDS.gov site. Searches will remain part of the site for a slightly extended period. Zawastsky noted that what remains of the transition to the new SAM.gov may not be completed before 2025. (ibid)

The final SAM.gov site will include FBO, under Contract Opportunities; FPDS, under Data Bank; the original SAM.gov; the grants site Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, CFDA; Wage Determinations Online, WDOL; Electronic Subcontracting Reporting System, eSRS; the past performance databases, the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System, FAPIIS, Contractor Performance Assessment Reports System, CPARS, and Past Performance Information Retrieval System, PPIRS; and the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, FFATA. (ibid)

Can’t find what you are looking for on any site? Give us a call, we can help.

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.