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FOCUS, BE REALISTIC, AND PLAN – THREE THINGS CONTRACTORS SHOULD BE DOING NOW

There’s a tendency to try and cram everything into the end of the calendar year right now.  Here are some tips to help you to make the most of your time without having to take that double-dog dare.  Try not to get distracted about a shutdown: Yes, we are looking at a possible shutdown if Congress doesn’t pass a new spending bill by midnight December 8th.  Congress will have an entire week, though, before then to get it together after they return from Thanksgiving break.  Understand that some of your customers will be distracted by the possibility of a shutdown, but Read more

CIO’S SEE FITARA GRADES SLIP, BUT ARE ANY AROUND TO GET THE REPORT CARD?

Data center consolidation and software licensing are the two largest areas where federal CIO’s and their staffs need to make progress, according to the latest round of FITARA report cards released this week.  “Since the last scorecard, 3 agencies’ grades increased, 15 agencies’ grades stayed the same, and 6 decreased”, according to Representative Will Hurd (R-TX), a leading Congressional supporter of improved federal IT operations.  At the same time, however, Read more

MAIL BAG: THE DEVIL IS IN THE E-MAIL

Sometime reader A. Fonzerelli of Milwaukee, WI writes:  “I’ve heard you say that it’s important to keep an e-mail record of discussions with my CO, but I thought e-mail could also cause trouble.  Which view is right?”  It is important to remember that e-mail is a tool, A. And, just like any tool, it can be used to build or destroy things (just see some of my weekend projects).  It is, indeed vital for contractors to keep a record of discussions with CO’s and other government people on Read more

E-COMMERCE COMING TO DOD AND OTHER AGENCIES

Commercial e-commerce is coming soon to your DOD customer, and eventually to all government buyers, thanks to legislation agreed to last week in the Fiscal Year 2018 Defense Authorization bill.  The final version of that bill does contain a provision, now Section 846, for the creation and implementation of at least one commercially-based platform through which DOD buyers will be encouraged to make commercial item purchases.  The final version, though, differs in many ways from House-passed language formerly known as “Section 801”.  The new provision allows GSA to take a deliberative approach to the creation and roll-out of the Read more

WILL TALK OF GOVERNMENT SHUT-DOWN BECOME A SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY?

Tax reform  efforts continue, but seem to have driven a wedge between the House and Senate.  Democrats insist on “Dreamer” legislation before year-end, potentially holding up agreement on any long-term spending measures.  The Trump Administration, some say, is difficult to read as its positions change.  These realities, coupled with the December 8th end of the existing Continuing Resolution, have people talking more about a possible December shut-down.  While there’s still lots of time for a deal on appropriations to be struck, partisan wrangling on other issues like immigration and tax cuts could, indeed, create a divide that makes it impossible to get a spending bill passed.  The best outlook right now is for another short-term CR that would take the government into the calendar year.  Whether this will happen without the political showmanship of a shut-down, however, is hard to predict.  Sometimes legislators want the image more than the outcome.  The best thing for contractors to do is discuss possible shut-down scenarios with their government customers now.  Don’t be concerned about being the first to bring up the subject.  Every agency has already discussed this topic at some level and, with less than a month to go, must pay increasing attention to the “what if” scenario in order to be prepared.  You should be as well.  The best time to do that is now, when your clients and contract managers haven’t been sent home.  You may not need to act on whatever plan you devise, but at least you will have a plan if you need it.