The good news for contractors trying to make a living under the Trump Administration is that defense and homeland security spending are poised to increase. That can create opportunities for companies selling both solutions and products. The challenges are that the Administration has made clear its intent to deep-six programs and contracts that it believes don’t work, or merely duplicate existing functions. There is also a continued element of uncertainty in the market as there is a scarcity of senior political appointees who typically carry out the Administration’s policies. It is critically important that contractors understand how this Administration is changing the ways agencies function. Your favorite contract method or foreign aid program could be cancelled. That civilian agency support contract you’ve had for years could be in jeopardy. Worse, there may be few people you can speak to in the agency that can tell you what’s going on. Successful companies are those that have the capability to see the forest for the trees. A straight tactical approach to federal business may not work well in this environment. Step back. Read industry trade publications. Attend conferences. Assume change and be prepared ahead of time. The FY’18 market will have opportunities, but the “where” and “how” will be different.
The Department of Defense announced last week the creation of the Undersecretary for Research and Engineering to help speed the development of cutting edge technologies and embrace an element of risk so that caution doesn’t hold back the creation of promising new solutions. “In order to deliver new and needed capability to the warfighter, USD(R&E) will take risks while pushing the technology ‘envelope,’ testing and experimenting and being willing and allowed to fail when appropriate,” a Pentagon report stated. At the same time, the agency is creating a new Undersecretary for Acquisition and Sustainment. This person’s role will be to encourage the DOD acquisition community to match the boldness of the research side by using streamlined acquisition methods to get the new technology into the hands of warfighters more quickly. The new positions are the expected outcome of the planned break-up of the current office of Acquisition Technology and Logistics. The timing and urgency of the changes indicate that DOD leaders want to move out quickly. This is potentially great news for contractors who work with DOD on the development of new technologies.
We’ve spoken often about Category Management and the Trump Administration’s desire to eliminate duplication. Lest anyone doubt that these efforts are real, OMB issued a memorandum last week directing all federal agencies to use a new DOD contract, even though it technically won’t start until October 1st, for all package shipping. This could well be the first “shot across the bow” at trying to mandate the use of only certain contact vehicles in each Read more
The long-anticipated, multi-billion Enterprise Information Services (EIS) telecommunications contract made its much-anticipated award decisions Friday, with letters going to ATT, Verizon, Level 3, Century Link and others. The contract will become GSA’s main vehicle for the delivery of traditional and cloud telecomm services, as well as technology and professional services that are related to telecommunications. A mix of traditional telecomm and newer market players submitted proposals to GSA. Agency buyers are certainly anticipating the ability to choose from Read more
Government contract protests are up 17% since 2012, according to a recent article by NCMA Executive Director Michael Fischetti in the Federal Times. That’s no surprise since total federal spending is down since that time. Contractors want to ensure that they have made every effort to get fair consideration for an award or, if they’re an unsuccessful incumbent, extend work during a protest to keep revenue up while planning for a transition. The traditional concern of Read more