DOD requesting IT budget boost

Data Science company Govini, recently reported the Department of Defense requested a 7.8% increase in its fiscal 2022 budget for IT. The request is mostly from the “general IT” spending subcategory. This brings the total sought to $34.8 billion for IT. (Fedscoop July 8, 2021)

Congress needs to approve the requested budget before it moves to DOD, however, it is a good indication of where the money will go, once approved. The IT and Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) budget breakdown are as follows:

  • Naval Tactical Communications increase 2.8% to $2.6 billion
  • Medical IT increase by 6.9% or $2.2 billion
  • Other increase by 12.5% to $18 billion (ibid)

The budget increases consistently trend upward from the previous year indicating the importance of IT in war. Bob Work, former deputy secretary of defense in the Obama administration said, “the future character of warfare will be defined more by information than by hardware.” (ibid)

Looking to provide IT services to DOD? Give us a call.

 

 

What the new Minimum Wage Executive Order means

In late April, President Biden signed an executive order, requiring government contractors to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022. Censeo Consulting Group analyzed the effect of the federal worker minimum wage increase. They determined that approximately 30,520 contracts will require modification. In addition, they expect the modifications to add 450,000 additional contracting office, workload hours. This equates to about 240 additional full-time positions. (ExecutiveGov May 27, 2021)

The executive order will impact federal spending from between $1 and $2 billion. Agencies can prepare by:

  • Segmenting contract portfolio by delivery location and spend category, highlighting impacted contracts
  • Developing a policy and process for addressing impacted contracts
  • Analyze internal pricing to identify contracts requiring modifications (ibid)

The departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, Agriculture, and State are most impacted by the executive order and are likely preparing to make their contract modifications on or before the 2022 deadline.

Do you need to modify your contract? Give us a call.

 

Small business and startups are front and center

Boosting small businesses and software for DoD are priorities for the Biden administration and their nomination for the Defense Department’s technology efforts.  Heidi Shyu, nominated for undersecretary of defense,  recently introduced her priorities to modernize the military during her confirmation hearing. She stated, “In order to rapidly transition the latest software, we need to have an open architecture that isolates the software from the hardware then allows rapid user testing.” (Defense Systems May 26, 2021)

Shyu told the senate that DOD should be investing so that development and procurement are 70% of their costs for a new weapons system. Shyu proposed buying more emerging tech such as artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and hypersonics rather than investing in older systems. Shyu said, “today, sustainment makes up 70% of total weapon system cost, with development and procurement making up 30%.” (ibid)

During Shyu’s hearing, she mentioned small businesses, especially startups working on new technologies, repeatedly. Shyu feels they are necessary for the Defense Department’s success. Shyu did not lose sight of the inability of the acquisition system to shift prototypes into programs. Shyu plans to institute a clear transition path. (ibid)

Shyu said, “part of the reason there is a valley of death for technology is that a lot of the technology programs are being developed by small companies, and unless you had the foresight two years ago to understand that the technology is going to be mature within two years time, by the time you get the money to buy that technology it’s two years old now.” (ibid)

Shyu said, “I saw a six-person company that’s developed any type of fuel as input and the output is a DC-plug. Those are the types of creative, innovative companies we need to nurture. And they are struggling to figure out who to talk to in the DOD.” (ibid)

Are you an innovator or a small business looking to work with the Department of Defense? Give us a call.

 

 

 

 

Don’t be caught non-compliant

With each new year comes a new set of sub and prime contract goals each non-small business contractor and government agency must adhere to. Agencies achieve their goals by awarding prime contracts to small businesses. Non-small business contractors who compete for contracts worth $750,000 or more ($1.5 million for construction contracts) are required to submit a small business subcontracting plan. The plan must include how a contractor will attract small businesses and ensure that those businesses actually have an opportunity to subcontract (FAR 19.702). The plan must show separate dollar and percentage goals for small businesses, those services/supplies to be subcontracted, and an explanation of how small business contracts will be secured. (JDSupra April 23, 2020)

To keep contracts in check, the federal government may intermittently audit contractors. The audits verify small business subcontracting plan s are being fulfilled. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is the lead for the evaluations, the SBA may delegate this authority to other federal agencies. Department of Defense contracts are generally evaluated by the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA). (ibid)

Compliance reviews are random and any contractor with a subcontracting plan can be selected for review. The government considers the following factors during compliance reviews:

  • Number and size of the contractor’s government contracts
  • Date of last compliance review
  • Most recent compliance review results
  • Importance/sensitivity of the project
  • Reporting compliance in the electronic subcontracting reporting system (ibid)

The following may be reviewed during an audit:

  • Contract files/correspondence related to the contract
  • IT systems
  • Documentation on subcontracting methods and procedures (ibid)

Once the audit is complete, a contractor can expect to receive a report on non-compliant items found and a rating based on the review. A rating can range from unsatisfactory to outstanding. No further action is necessary if a contractor receives an outstanding rating. When the rating is below satisfactory, the contractor must create a corrective action plan (CAP) within 30 days, explaining the steps they will take to become compliant. (ibid)

It is a good idea for contractors to have the required documents on hand, should they receive notice of an upcoming audit. They may include the following:

  • Small business certification paperwork
  • Subcontracting program policies
  • Any prior compliance reviews
  • Organizational charts
  • Policy letters from the company CEO verifying subcontracting program
  • Historical subcontracting reports
  • Listing of any small business conferences or trade shows attended
  • Documentation of success stories – showing contracts awarded
  • A letter identifying small business liaison officer (ibid)

Companies that are well prepared for audits and have a subcontracting plan in place will undoubtedly move through a review smoothly and quickly.

Do you have all of your ducks in a row for a possible upcoming audit? Give us a call.

 

Three DoD DFARS will soon become permanent rules

According to a recent statement by Katie Arrington, the Pentagon’s CISO for acquisition and sustainment, three Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplements (DFARS) for the Department of Defense’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) will soon be permanent rules. (MeriTalk April 15, 2021)

The CMMC program enforces cybersecurity standards in the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) supply chain. The certification requirements will be part of all DoD contract requirements by 2026. (ibid)

The soon-to-be-permanent rules are:

  • DFARS Provision 252.204.7019 requires contractors to complete self-assessments and upload them into the DoD’s Supplier Risk Performance System (SPRS)
  • DFARS Clause 252.204.7020 takes place upon contract completion, allows DoD access to systems, facility, and personnel if DoD assesses the necessity due to risk
  • DFARS Clause 252.204.7012 requires all contractors to maintain adequate security of defense information that is “processed, stored or transmitted” on their network (ibid)

According to Arrington, 300,000 contractors need to get CMMC certified within the next five years. She said, “we have thought carefully about this, and making cybersecurity foundational to acquisition wasn’t something that we just thought “Let’s do it one time.” It has to be an enduring capability.” (ibid)

Questions concerning CMMC certification? Give us a call.