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)

There’s an App for That!

The Per Diem mobile app shows travelers the Federal Government per diem rate by city and zip code for US states and territories. GSA’s per diem rates are the daily allowance for lodging, meals and incidental expenses (excluding taxes).

The Department of State sets rates for foreign locations.

For Apple users, the app is available on the App Store, for Google users, the app is available on Google Play.

Give us a call at 301-913-5000 if you have questions about the app or per diem rates.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mo’ Money for Defense … and Contractors

For years now, the Department of Defense (and all other government agencies) has had to deal with the unpredictability of possible government shutdowns and ongoing resolutions. According to Pentagon Comptroller, David Norquist, “We’re in a very different place now.” At the Professional Services Council’s 54th annual Vision Federal Market Forecast conference, he explained, “Under a continuing resolution, we often had to wait until spring to do some things—now we can finalize them now or do them on schedule.”

Norquist predicted major shifts in the defense budget’s structure based on the Administration’s December 2017 National Security Strategy. Its underlying theme, he said, “is a return of great power competition” with Russia and China, which will require sub-agencies and contractors to better serve the warfighter.

According to Norquist, the defense budget is “large and complex”: bigger than the combined inventories, employees, and assets of WalMart, Apple and the state of California. Audits are necessary to fill gaps and plug holes.

His team will look at the condition of equipment, supplies, warehouses, and other buildings to generate “a laundry list of weaknesses.” Auditors will ask whether the items exist, whether the data are accurate, whether items are missing, and what shows up on financial statements.  Contractors who built the systems being used, he added, will be privy to “the very quick feedback loop on what’s being fixed.”

Norquist advised contractors to focus on an agency with a problem to which they bring a solution. Contractors who can solve an agency’s challenges or fulfill a need will be the winners in 2019.

If you have questions or need assistance give us a call at 301-913-5000.