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

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 Industry Struggles With Ever Changing Acquisition Rules

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

Every now and then, the FAR Councils issue a Federal Acquisition Circular (FAC) – an update to the Federal Acquisition Regulation implementing a number of changes. Often these changes are rather pro forma. But occasionally, you get a Circular with many different (and interesting) issues. FAC 2005-67, issued in late-June 2013, with rules becoming effective in June and July 2013, is one such circular. We thought it would be helpful to highlight five of these rules that raise interesting and timely issues, especially where they may signal additional changes yet to come.
Continue Reading Lots of Little Things – FAR Updates from the Federal Acquisition Circular

By: David S. Gallacher

2011 was a banner year for U.S. export control laws. The Obama administration has vowed to streamline and reform the bloated U.S. export control system – promising to build "higher walls" around a narrower universe of goods and technologies requiring export licenses. Following is a summary of ten of the key reforms to U.S. export laws that took place (or were proposed) in 2011. 
 


Continue Reading 2011 Year In Review: Export Controls and Promised Reforms

By David S. Gallacher

While Vice President Biden was busy touting Summer 2010 as the “Summer of Recovery” and the economic effects of the February 2009 Stimulus Act (a.k.a. the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Recovery Act, ARRA, the Stimulus Act, etc.), the gears of the regulatory process ground steadily onward. Throughout the summer, the White House Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) issued updated policy guidance implementing the ARRA requirements, and the rule-makers in the FAR Councils remained hard at work updating and (hopefully) finalizing the regulations implementing the finer details of the Recovery Act. Despite the fact that the ARRA funding officially expired on September 30, 2010 (meaning that any unobligated ARRA funds will now revert to the federal treasury to be saved or spent another day), the Government spent its summer fine-tuning the regulations. As the sun begins to set on the Recovery Act, and as the Summer of Recovery fades into the past, we summarize here some of the key features of the final Recovery Act rules promulgated over the last few months. 
 


Continue Reading Bidding Adieu To The “Summer of Recovery”: Changes To ARRA Buy American And Reporting Requirements

Effective October 1, 2010, the final rule amending FAR subpart 15.4 expands government contracting officers’ ability to obtain cost or price-related data for all contracts, including currently exempted commercial-items contracts. The amended rule is intended to clarify the FAR’s definition of “cost or pricing data” and to make the definition consistent with that used in the Truth in Negotiations Act (“TINA”) (10 U.S.C. §2306a and 41 U.S.C. §254b). The final rule’s effect, however, may increase both a government contractor’s disclosure requirements and its False Claims Act vulnerability.
Continue Reading Redefining Cost Or Pricing Data

By Townsend L. Bourne

The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council issued a final rule on August 30, 2010 adjusting acquisition-related thresholds for inflation as set forth in section 807 of the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005. 75 Fed. Reg. 53129. Section 807 dictates that acquisition-related thresholds must be adjusted for inflation every five years using the Consumer Price Index for all-urban consumers. Pub. L. No. 108-375, 118 Stat. 1811 (2004). This section does not allow for adjustments to thresholds contained in the Davis-Bacon Act, the Service Contract Act of 1965, or Title III of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979.
 


Continue Reading Inflation Adjustment Of Acquisition-Related Thresholds In The FAR

The FAR Councils issued an interim rule, effective October 14, 2009, revising the circumstances under which services not offered and sold commercially can still qualify as commercial services. This is important for a couple of reasons, but probably most importantly, because commerciality can eliminate the requirement for the submission of cost or pricing data and can limit the amount of Government contracting requirements to which a company is subjected. The new interim rule now permits a Contracting Officer determination of commerciality even where services are not offered and sold competitively in substantial quantities in the commercial marketplace. 
 


Continue Reading Reining in Use of “Of A Type” Commercial Service Contracting

The final rule mandating E-Verify for federal contractors became effective on September 8, 2009. The lawsuit that stayed implementation of E-Verify since January ended with the district court’s granting of the Government’s motion for summary judgment. As long as Congress continues to fund E-Verify, it should remain a permanent fixture of federal procurement.


Continue Reading Trust, but E-Verify: A Cheat Sheet for Mandatory Employment Eligibility Verification by Federal Contractors