Surprise, Surprise, Congress Does Listen — Well, Kind Of

An Analysis of NDAA Section 846’s Online Marketplace Provisions

There has been a lot of speculation about the future of commercial items purchasing within the federal Government since Representative Mac Thornberry circulated his “Section 801” proposal to hand over the bulk of DOD COTS purchasing to one or two existing online commercial marketplaces. (See Section 801 article HERE). Industry groups mobilized, companies called their legislators, and the media contributed several stories describing the wide spread criticism of the House NDAA proposal. To the surprise of many, however, the Senate seems to have heard industry’s concerns – or at least some of them. Continue Reading

Achieving Cyber-Fitness In 2017: Part 5—Cyber Incident Reporting And Response

Reprinted from The Government Contractor, with permission of Thomson Reuters. Copyright © 2017. Further use without the permission of West is prohibited. For further information about this publication, please visit http://legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com, or call 800.328.9352.

As discussed in parts 1–4 of this series, the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement cybersecurity clause, Safeguarding Covered Defense Information and Cyber Incident Reporting, mandates contractor compliance with the security controls in National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-171 by December 31. DFARS 252.204-7012. Continue Reading

Industry Struggles With Ever Changing Acquisition Rules

Note: This post was originally published in the October 2017 issue of the National Defense Industrial Association’s National Defense magazine.

Recent studies show that the percentage of overall research and development spending sponsored by the government has dropped sharply over the last 50 years.

Whereas government funding accounted for 67 percent of R&D in 1964, it accounted for 23 percent in 2015, a 44 percent reduction. For the government, this is not a salutary development. Increasingly, “state of the art” is being defined by the commercial marketplace, without government participation and often without its access to the resulting technological advances. Continue Reading

Travel Ban: Déjà Vu All Over Again, Again

On September 24, President Trump issued a “Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats.” Most people know it better as Travel Ban 3.0 or EO3 (for “Executive Order #3”), the President’s third attempt to impose travel restrictions on nationals of certain countries who seek to enter the United States. If it feels like you’ve seen this movie before, that’s because you have. Continue Reading

FCPA Accounting Provisions Have Teeth: Halliburton to Pay $29.2 Million to Settle FCPA Charges

Along with the anti-bribery provisions, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) contains accounting provisions that apply to publicly traded companies. These provisions require that companies maintain and adhere to internal policies that manage risk and ensure that accurate financial records are maintained. There is no bribery requirement for there to be a violation of these provisions. There is also no foreign conduct requirement. All that is required is that a company have a policy in-place and circumvent that policy to obtain some business advantage (no matter how small). The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) often initiates investigations based on allegations of foreign bribery, but resorts to the accounting provisions when the alleged bribe cannot be proven (because an internal policy violation can almost always be found and the SEC does not want a company to get off scot-free). Continue Reading

Whatever Happened to the FCPA’s Foreign Conduct Requirement – How the FCPA is Being Used to Police Domestic Conduct and Internal Policy Violations

As its name implies, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) was designed to prevent U.S. companies from engaging in foreign bribery. The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”), the U.S. Government agencies charged with enforcing the FCPA, have made great use of the FCPA in this regard. They have secured more than $5 billion in settlements over the past five years. This success has resulted in more expansive views of the FCPA’s reach and innovative arguments to find liability when the alleged misconduct occurred entirely within the U.S. The apparent preference for the FCPA in these situations over other potentially applicable laws is likely due to the ease with which an FCPA violation may be proven. An internal policy violation is all that is needed. Continue Reading

Achieving Cyber-Fitness In 2017: Part 4—Subcontracts, Joint Ventures And Teaming Agreements

Reprinted from The Government Contractor, with permission of Thomson Reuters. Copyright © 2017. Further use without the permission of West is prohibited. For further information about this publication, please visit http://legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com, or call 800.328.9352.

Our “Cyber-Fitness” series thus far has focused on a contractor’s individual obligations and best practices for compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation and Defense FAR Supplement cybersecurity rules. But cybersecurity is not an insular discipline, disconnected from the relationships that contractors have with third parties. The acts and omissions of third parties can compromise information furnished to them as members of a contractor’s supply chain, and those same third parties can also compromise the contractor’s systems. Continue Reading

The Travel Ban – A Quick Update

The Supreme Court’s decision on June 26 to take up the travel ban cases this fall, and in the meantime partially lift the injunction on the President’s travel ban, has created renewed uncertainty for certain travelers. Statements by the Departments of State and Homeland Security have brought some clarity, though many remain confused. Continue Reading

FINRA Fetes Emerging Blockchain Technology at Industry Conference

Blockchain technology (“Blockchain”), also known as Distributed Ledger Technology, stands poised to transform the future of the financial industry. Generally speaking, Blockchain enables the creation of a continuously growing ledger of transactions that is resistant to alteration and ensures the integrity of new transactions through a system of checks-and-balances built into the system’s code. The combination of its speed, versatility, and built-in security features lend the technology well to applications in the financial industry. In a timely effort, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) recently gathered top U.S. financial regulators and industry stakeholders to participate in its 2017 Blockchain Symposium. In a series of engaging discussions, panelists hashed out the potential benefits and pitfalls of the dynamic technology. Continue Reading

Change Is Upon Us: An Analysis of the Section 801 COTS Provisions of the 2018 NDAA

In the words of Taylor Swift, “This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.” While I suspect Ms. Swift was not writing about Section 801 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018 when she tweeted this inspirational prognostication, she might as well have been – although, admittedly, it probably would not have generated quite so many re-tweets. In any event, if you have not done so yet, you should give it a read (Section 801 that is; not Ms. Swift’s tweets). Continue Reading

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