By David S. Gallacher

Those familiar with Government contracting know at least a little bit about the elusive and fickle regulatory requirements for Independent Research and Development (“IR&D” or “IRAD”) costs. IR&D is a means by which the U.S. Government supports a Contractor’s independent R&D efforts. By reimbursing a Contractor’s independent R&D costs, the Government long has hoped to advance the state of the art without stifling a contractor’s innovation under the weight of a federal bureaucracy, while simultaneously banking on the fact that the U.S. Government also will benefit from the technology advancements. But two recent developments may change the essential nature of IR&D, making it less “independent” and more “dependent” on Government rights and oversight. To quote Bob Dylan – “the times they are a changin’.” 
 

Continue Reading The Times They Are A Changin’ – Independent Research and Development May Not Be So “Independent” Any More

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

By Jessica M. Madon

Effective September 29, 2010, the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council (“FAR Councils”) issued an interim rule amending the FAR to implement sections of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (“CISADA”), signed into law on July 1, 2010. 75 Fed. Reg. 60254 (Sept. 29, 2010).
 

Continue Reading Implementation Of CISADA: New FAR Requirements

After a decade of increasing appetite for defense dollars, the Pentagon appears to have stepped on a scale and decided to make some changes. Following-on from the Department of Defense’s June 2010 announcement regarding changing its procurement business models, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Ashton Carter, recently unveiled their proposed procurement changes intended to redirect $100 billion over the next five years. Like the lifestyle changes made by contestants on television’s “The Biggest Loser,” the proposed measures, referred to collectively as a “wide ranging Efficiencies Initiative,” are an attempt to demonstrate to Congress that the Department can trim the fat, tighten the belt and use its hefty $700 billion annual budget in a healthier way.
Continue Reading Can DoD Be “The Biggest Loser”? Gates Unveils DoD’s New Fiscal Diet Plan

By John S. Tobey

On April 22, 2010 the Defense Acquisition Regulation Council proposed to amend the Defense Acquisition Regulation Supplement (“DFARS”) to provide uniform guidance and tighten existing requirements for organizational conflicts of interest (“OCIs”) by contractors in major defense acquisition programs.  See 75 Fed. Reg. 20,954 (April 22, 2010). The proposed rule implements section 207 of the Weapons System Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 (the “Act”) (Pub. L. 111-23), which directs the Secretary of Defense to revise the DFARS to provide both uniform guidance and tighten existing requirements related to OCIs to ensure that advice from contractors comes from sources that are objective and unbiased. The Act also authorizes limited exceptions to ensure that the DoD has continued access to highly qualified contractors.
 

Continue Reading DoD Issues Proposed Rule Providing Guidance On Organizational Conflicts Of Interest

By John W. Chierichella and Marko W. Kipa
Legal Times
10-08-2007

Reform is not always popular among those who enjoyed the old regime. The current push to strip away protections afforded to contractors participating in commercial-item acquisitions illustrates this struggle – and why the reforms were valuable in the first place.

Continue Reading Rolling Back Past Reforms