Agency Spending During the Pandemic

Government contractors are experiencing difficulties as they work through obstacles and uncertainties during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, if you thought spending would slow, think again.

In response to the emergency, spending likely exceeded $100 billion for the month of March, according to a webcast hosted by George Mason University’s Center for Government Contracting (GMU). Because of a standard 90-day reporting lag, that figure is likely to be even higher. (Washington Technology, March 31, 2020)

The department of Health and Human Services is responsible for the bulk of non-defense contracting activity with commitments of approximately $748.5 million under research and development. Eric Lofgren, a GMU research fellow, feels the majority of that is going toward “Other Transaction” contracts, designed for speed of fielding capabilities as they fall outside of traditional acquisition regulations. (ibid)

Orders are also being solicited and placed for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as well as services such as testing and cleaning. Orders of this nature could very well rise to over $100 billion in response to the COVID-19 emergency. Non-defense spending, as of 27 March, totaled $15 billion, which is on track for spending during the same timeframe in 2019. However, the recently passed CARES Act stimulus package frees up $2 trillion so agencies have funds available for immediate use. (ibid)

The Department of Defense is looking at how the commercial industry is designing solutions. In March, DoD requested white papers from the academic community and private industry for prototype solutions to prevent, contain, treat, and detect coronavirus as well as other possible bio-threats. Many believe this is just the start as DoD begins to support the federal government’s pandemic response. (ibid)

Jerry McGinn, executive director of the GMU GovCon Center and former head of DoD’s manufacturing and industrial base policy office said, “Initially a lot of industry was in the sources sought phase of solicitations, now you’re starting to see they’re just going straight to solicitations…. They’re publishing notices on one day and requiring responses the next, and this is just going to accelerate.”

Questions about these solicitations and how your company might provide solutions? Give us a call.

Phase 2: Resistance is Futile

Although we covered this last month, it’s worth another review  as GSA moves to phase two of the MAS consolidation.

As you know, GSA is merging the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program contracts from 24 different schedules into one. Notices of changes to terms and conditions for current contract holders under the MAS program should be received by contract holders in the coming months.

The consolidated schedule makes it simpler for the government to make purchases and will roll out in three parts:

  1. Creation of a new contract vehicle for all future acquisitions
  2. Bring current contract holders onto the new consolidated schedule
  3. Consolidate those businesses that have multiple contracts across many schedules(Federal Times January 31, 2020)

Terms and conditions are being standardized and all current contract holders and contractors, placed on the consolidated schedule, must respond to them by July 31, 2020. (ibid)

Questions about the consolidation and how you and your contracts are affected? Give us a call.

DUNS is done!

For roughly 57 years, DUNS numbers, created by Dun & Bradstreet, have been the official entity verification for government contractors and private industry.  It was indexed in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) in 1998. GSA, the administrator of the program, issued an RFP in 2019, to replace DUNS. Ernst & Young was awarded the new contract, this past March. (Nextgov, July 2019)

What does this all mean? For starters, Ernst & Young will be responsible for administering a new “Unique Entity ID” as well as managing the transition from DUNS. Every organization, including vendors, grantees, and coops doing business with federal agencies will have a new, 12 character identifier, 3 characters longer than the current DUNS number. The Unique Entity ID  is a mix of numbers and letters following a specific set pattern.

A new process is also effective with the updated verification number. Organizations will request a Unique Entity ID when registering with SAM.gov, instead of  applying through a vendor such as Dun & Bradstreet.  To assist with the transition, GSA has released the Unique Entity ID Standard, set up a virtual meeting for July 25, and created a webpage dedicated to the transition for those who would like to know more. (ibid)

The Unique Entity ID is structured to avoid confusion with the old numbers, tax ID numbers and Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) codes. All systems using the current 9 digit format will require an update to use the longer Unique Entity ID number. (ibid)

Questions about the new Unique Entity ID? Wondering what to do with your old DUNS and how it affects your current contract or one you are bidding on now? Give us a call and we can explain.