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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.

WHETHER GOVERNMENT CAN ACCURATELY REPORT DATA OR NOT, CONTRACTORS MUST

A recent Government Accountability Office report highlighted problems – sometimes significant – that federal agencies are having meeting the disclosure requirements of the DATA Act.  The Act requires agencies to disclose all of their non-classified expenditures, including procurement and grant information.  The information from several agencies is incomplete and less than accurate.  There are two take-aways here for government contractors. First, it’s important to understand that federally-supplied information may not be as reliable as you would like it to be.  Make sure you have other sources to make use of when conducting business planning.  Second, even though your federal customer agency may not have accurate spending records, this does not absolve you from contract requirements mandating that you keep accurate, current and complete information.   Regardless of whether the Schedules TDR program moves forward, Schedule contractors must still accurately track and remit Industrial Funding Fee collections.  Similarly, other Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contracts require contractors to track and submit spending and other usage data.  The government relies on contractor supplied data in many instances and the GAO report may be one indication as to why.  While “the cat ate my data” might work for federal agencies, failure to abide by the terms of your federal contract could have substantial implications for your company. 

DIAL DOWN THE NOISE AND STAY FOCUSED ON MISSION

Will there be a shut-down?  How about a new CR into the 2018 calendar year?  Is my customer agency getting a new political?  It’s easy to get distracted right now with so many unanswered questions, but the fact remains that the government is open for business and that things are getting done.  Lose sight of that and your firm could be behind the business development 8 ball Read more