CBCA Rules Contractor Under GWAC Task Orders Properly Submitted Claims to the Agency Ordering Contracting Officer Instead of the Procuring Contracting Officer

In a case of first impression, the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (“CBCA”) ruled that a contractor performing task orders issued against a government-wide acquisition contract (“GWAC”) properly submitted its claims to the Agency Ordering Contracting Officer (“OCO”) instead of the Procuring Contracting Officer (“PCO”). The case – Sotera Defense Solutions, Inc. v. Department of Agriculture, CBCA 6029, 6030, 2019 WL 1977388 (Apr. 25, 2019) – involved two task orders issued by the Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) to Sotera Defense Solutions, Inc. (“Sotera”) for the provision of information technology (“IT”) support services at agency locations throughout the country. The USDA issued the task orders against a GWAC awarded by the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”). A GWAC, as explained by the CBCA in its decision, is defined by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) as a “task-order or delivery order contract for [IT] established by one agency for Governmentwide use.” Continue Reading

Veterans Are First at the VA Following New Class Deviation Implementing Recent Federal Circuit Mandate

In its most recent attempt to strike the appropriate balance between the Veterans First and AbilityOne programs, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) issued on May 20, 2019 a class deviation to the VA Acquisition Regulations (“VAAR,” 48 C.F.R. Chapter 8), instructing contracting officers to conduct a “Rule of Two” analysis before procuring from the AbilityOne Procurement List. Continue Reading

The Future of COTS Procurement: Top 10 Questions from GSA’s Section 846 Phase 2 Report

On May 2, 2019, the General Services Administration (“GSA”) and the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) finally released their Phase 2 Implementation Report (the “Phase 2 Report”) for “Procurement Through E-Commerce Portals,” as directed by Section 846 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (“FY 2018 NDAA”).[1]

GSA/OMB offered a sneak preview of the Phase 2 Report at an Industry Day held on December 12, 2018, during which GSA/OMB revealed their intent to proceed with a proof of concept contract utilizing only the E-Marketplace model. Industry pushback against a single model proof of concept was both quick and severe and, coupled with the lengthy delay issuing the Phase 2 Report, many wondered whether GSA/OMB were reevaluating their proposed approach. Continue Reading

Feds Focus on Individuals in Evaluating Corporate Compliance Programs

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Controls (“OFAC”) both issued guidance regarding their expectations for corporate compliance programs. Both documents are geared towards establishing more rigid frameworks for assessing compliance programs. A common theme among both pieces of guidance appears to be the identification and allocation of responsibility to individuals, especially management. Additionally, the fact that the agencies released their guidance within days of each other could be read as a clear signal from federal authorities that they are serious about increasing their focus on individual accountability for corporate wrongdoing. Continue Reading

How to Prevent or Defend Against Business Crimes, including Trade Secrets and Human Trafficking

The C-Suite rarely wants to consider, much less worry about, the impacts of criminal conduct on their business. The reality is, however, companies can and do get pulled into criminal and quasi-criminal enforcement actions as both victims and (albeit unintentional) perpetrators. Two areas of criminal conduct that perhaps do not receive the amount of C-Suite attention they deserve are internal trade secret theft and human trafficking. Continue Reading

New York DFS Consumer Protection and Financial Enforcement Division: New Name, New Look, Old Mandate

On April 29, 2019, just months into her new job at the New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”), acting DFS Superintendent Linda Lacewell announced a significant reorganization within the financial and insurance regulator. The new Consumer Protection and Financial Enforcement Division (the “CPFED”) combines seven previously separate divisions and units – Enforcement, Investigations and Intelligence, the Civil Investigations Unit, the Producers Unit, the Consumer Examinations Unit, the Student Protection Unit, and the Holocaust Claims Processing Office – under a single executive deputy superintendent. Lacewell appointed Katherine Lemire, a former state and federal prosecutor, to head the newly-minted division. Continue Reading

New Executive Order To Further Restrict Business with Huawei and Other Foreign Adversaries Engaged in Cyber Espionage

On May 15, 2019, President Trump issued an Executive Order (“EO”) targeting activities of certain foreign telecommunications companies based in hostile countries. Entitled “Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain,” the EO declares a national emergency based on a Presidential finding that “foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services … in order to commit malicious cyber-enabled actions” rising to the level of “an unusual and extraordinary threat to national security.”[1] As a result, the EO allows the Federal Government, led by the Secretary of Commerce, to bar U.S. companies from doing business with foreign entities it determines are contributing to the threat. For more on this issue, see our Global Trade Law blog posting hereContinue Reading

The Government’s Playbook – Your Guide to Uncle Sam’s Negotiating Techniques

If you follow professional football, you are familiar with the message generally given to an aspiring player just before he is cut – “Coach wants to see you.  Bring your playbook.”  The playbook, that step-by-step guide to on-the-field success, is something that teams guard zealously.

Not all teams, however, maintain the secrecy of their playbooks, and the U.S. Government is a case in point.  The Government actually publishes its playbook of bargaining techniques recommended for its contract negotiators.  Like the Commandments Moses brought down from Mount Sinai, the Government playbook consists of 10 Rules.  These Rules can be found in Chapter 6 of Volume 5 of the DoD’s Contract Pricing Reference Guides.  The Rules are all reasonable and, in many ways, predictable. Because “Forewarned is forearmed,” here they are – Continue Reading

“Internet of Things” Guidance to be Added to Cybersecurity Requirements for Agencies and Federal Contractors

In 2019, cybersecurity has become top-of-mind for most federal government contractors and agencies that share sensitive information.  In addition to updated Department of Defense guidance and procedures for evaluating contractors’ compliance with cybersecurity requirements, as well as an increase in Department of Defense cybersecurity audits, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) council also has promised a new FAR clause that will require compliance with NIST SP 800-171 security controls for civilian agency contractors that receive or create Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). Continue Reading

SEC Issues Risk Alert on Customer Privacy Safeguards

Earlier this month, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) took a break from its recent focus on digital assets and the Best Interest fiduciary standard to publish a Risk Alert encouraging investment advisers and broker-dealers to revisit their policies and procedures relating to Regulation S-P (“Reg S-P”) (17 C.F.R. Part 248, Subpart A), which sets out requirements designed to protect customer information and records. The Alert highlights several key compliance issues identified by the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) during exams completed in the past two years. Continue Reading

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