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SmallGovCon Week In Review August 12, 2019 – August 16, 2019

It’s back to school week here in Lawrence. Kind of like parents doing a back to school shopping spree, the federal government’s spending calendar is also seeing more activity. The fourth quarter of the government’s fiscal year regularly sees a big spike in government spending. Here is a roundup of some interesting happenings in government contracting world, including the draft STARS III IT solicitation for small businesses and new IRS procurement methods. GSA announces STARS III IT con

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

One Protest Spoils the Bunch

GAO recently dismissed several bid protests to an $82 billion procurement because of the actions of a company that had already lost its protest. In AECOM Management Services, four different companies protested the U.S. Army’s logistics civil augmentation program procurement for various “Setting the Theater” services for the Army’s Northern Command, Southern Command, African Command, European Command, Central Command, Pacific Command, and Afghanistan. The services included, but were

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Years after Expiration of Mentor-Protege Agreement, Joint Venture Still Small Based on Status as of Proposal Date

SBA regulations say that size is determined as of the date an offeror submits its initial proposal, with price. On its face, this rule seems pretty straight forward. But what happens if the initial proposal was filed six years ago? And what if the joint venture that submitted the proposal has since expired? Following OHA’s recent logic, the proposal-date rule stands even in these unique circumstances. The case at issue is Global Dynamics, LLC, SBA No. SIZ-6012 (June 18, 2019). Global Dyn

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Contractors Beware: Government Bans Certain Telecommunications Equipment Effective August 13, 2019

Cybersecurity is a key concern of the federal government, which means that it should be a key concern for federal contractors, too. To address a perceived cybersecurity risk, the 2019 NDAA prohibited the government from buying telecommunications devices produced by certain companies—namely, Huawei Technologies, ZTE Corporation, or any of their subsidiaries. In a proposed rule announced this week, this ban will be effective beginning August 13, 2019. According to the interim rule, the

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Ignorance is Bliss? Not When it Comes to Timely Filing of Protest, Says GAO

Ignorance is bliss, right? Not always. In the world of government contracting, GAO recently dismissed a protest because its initial agency protest was not timely filed, reminding the protester that ignorance of the law is no excuse. In Best Practices Group, B-417768 (July 30, 2019), the VA had issued a solicitation for a contractor to maintain a VA Medical Center’s cancer registry database, with proposals due on May 13, 2019. The protester, BPG, submitted a timely proposal, but on June

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review August 5, 2019 – August 9, 2019

Thanks to my colleague Matthew Schoonover for handling week in review duties last week. After a week spent camping in the mountains of Colorado, I returned rested and with a newfound respect for bears, moose, and other wildlife. Please enjoy this week’s roundup of federal government contracting news. There are some interesting stories in here about new IT contracting initiatives from GSA schedules, NASA, and the IRS; an increase in federal tech contracts; and DOD acquisition reform.
 

GAO: Proposal Strengths Must be Based on Solicitation Criteria, Not Merely Benefit to Government

Agencies often find unanticipated, innovative content in offerors’ proposals. And unsurprisingly, those proposals are often the ones selected for award. But a recent GAO decision reminds us that all strengths an agency assigns must be supported by the stated evaluation criteria. In other words, the solicitation must thoroughly inform offerors of these evaluation criteria, and the agency must equally evaluate offerors under them. An offeror’s proposal should not get extra credit for proposing th
 

ASBCA Awards Contractor Compensation for Extra-Contractual Changes

Contract changes, particularly in the construction context, can be flash points for the Government and a contractor. In some cases, the Government will assert that the contract requires the contractor to perform certain work; the contractor, pointing to the same (or another) contractual provision, will argue that the contract does not require it. These diverging positions can often lead to contentious litigation. If you’ve ever found yourself in this position (or perhaps find yourself th
 

Don’t Forget to Submit Invoices on Time, Says ASBCA

The government can find many reasons to try and reject a claim. Don’t give them any easy reasons to reject if you can help it. One of those reasons to try and avoid–sending invoices late. In PROTEC GmbH, ASBCA No. 61185, 19-1 B.C.A. ¶ 37351 (2019), the ASBCA considered the appeal of a claim by PROTEC to have the Army pay invoices for equipment maintenance and repair at an Army garrison. The contract “required PROTEC to submit an electronic on-call emergency report within two days o
 

GAO Disagrees with SBA: Consolidation Analysis Not Required for BPAs

No, the government isn’t trying to figure out how it can bundle home and auto coverage to save on its insurance premiums. Instead, “consolidation” in the federal government contract context refers to the action of collecting requirements being performed under discrete small business set-aside contracts into a single procurement. Before an agency may consolidate contracts, it must consider the impacts the proposed consolidation will have on small business participation. Recently, however, GAO was
 

SmallGovCon Week In Review July 29, 2019 – August 2, 2019

Can you believe it’s already August? Pretty soon, kids will be heading back to school . . . and agencies will begin their fiscal year-end buying spree. In the meantime, we hope you’re enjoying some summer serenity. Let’s ease into the weekend with the SmallGovCon Week In Review. In this week’s edition, we’ll explore the government’s growing contracting spend, the government’s planned move away from SAM.gov, an IT procurement fraud ring, and more. KC-area contractors looking for cy
 

GAO Examines Requirements for Sole-Source Contracts

Sole-source awards can make many contractors feel left out of the loop of the procurement process. GAO in the past has upheld that sole-source contracts are allowable so long as the agency has a reasonable justification for the sole-source contract. Recently GAO re-examined what constitutes a reasonable “justification and award” for a sole-source contract.   In Wamore, Inc., B-417450 et al. (July 9, 2019), GAO examined a sole source contract issued by the Army requesting precision aeri
 

GAO: Conversion of Sealed Bid to Negotiated Procurement Doesn’t Cure Untimely Protest

As seasoned government contractors know, an impropriety in a solicitation’s terms must be protested before the deadline to submit an offer. If the protest is submitted after the solicitation’s response deadline, the protest will be dismissed as untimely. GAO recently held that this rule holds true when an agency converts a sealed bid (under FAR part 14) to a negotiated procurement (under FAR part 15). In Cashman Dredging & Marine Contracting Company, LLC, B-417213.3 et al. (July
 

The Role of Small Business Innovation in America’s Space Program

The Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship recently held a hearing focusing on the role small businesses will play in NASA’s renewed focus on going back to the Moon and then on to Mars. We have recently touched on the growing impact space exploration is having on small businesses, and vice versa, but this dedicated hearing prompts a closer look at the opportunities small businesses will have for working on space exploration. Two NASA representatives spoke at the hearin
 

SmallGovCon Week in Review: July 22 – 26, 2019

We’ve been enjoying summer out here in Lawrence. And many of our Koprince professionals are taking a little time to themselves for summer vacation. We hope our readers are able to do the same thing! Whether you’re getting back from a vacation or working regular hours, here’s our weekly roundup of interesting news from the federal government contracting to keep you updated on what’s been happening lately. This week in the federal government contracting world, there is some interesting news, i
 

GAO: Agencies Must Explain Cost Realism Evaluation Determinations

GAO recently held in ATA Aerospace, LLC, B-417427 (July 2, 2019) that agencies are required to explain how offerors’ proposed labor hours and prices are, or are not, in line with historical data from predecessor contracts when conducting cost realism evaluations. ATA Aerospace protested the award of RFP No. FA9453-18-R-0003. The RFP sought a number of services to support the goals of the Air Force’s Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate, Integrated Experiments and Evaluation D
 

U.S. Government to Ditch the DUNS

Earlier this month, the GSA announced a new Unique Entity Identifier Standard for Federal awards management. The new standard will go into effect December 2020. It will replace the current DUNS number system as the official identifier for all businesses contracting with the U.S. Federal Government. This should make registering to do business with the federal government a little easier, but the proof will be in the roll-out. The GSA’s Office of Systems Management, Integrated Award Enviro
 

GAO Report: Agencies Need to Improve Data on Construction Contract Changes

Many federal construction contractors know that contract changes can be frustrating business. Changes can be unilateral or bilateral. They can stress a contractor’s finances. They can delay the overall project. And they can result in animosity between the agency and a contractor. Fortunately, GAO has shined some light on the problems in the contract change process. Indeed, in a recent report, GAO concluded that agencies, particularly the Army Corps of Engineers and GSA, need to develop bette
 

SBA Announces Increases to Receipts-Based Size Standards

Make sure to check your NAICS code size standards based on receipts, because SBA is increasing them across the board on August 19 to give small businesses more time to grow. On July 18, the SBA announced it will increase monetary-based industry size standards (meaning receipts-based and assets-based size standards). This change is a result of adjustments for inflation that the SBA makes every five years. These rules will go into effect August 19, 2019. The size standards that will be adj
 

SmallGovCon Week in Review: July 15 – 19, 2019

We’ve been getting a lot of the dreaded “Excessive Heat Warnings” this week. If you’re in the same boat, please stay cool out there. An alternative to going outside could be staying in the air conditioning and reading up on some interesting government contracting news. This week in federal government contracting news, please check out noteworthy updates on cyber provisions in the NDAA, securing the supply chain, and possible changes to Buy-American rules for steel, as well as many other stor
 

“We Don’t Do Option Year Challenges,” Says GAO

Most federal contracts are structured with a base period with a number of option periods that can be exercised at the agency’s discretion. But what happens if an option year goes unexercised? Recently, a disappointed contractor attempted to challenge the agency’s decision not to exercise an option before GAO. Unfortunately, GAO was not receptive. Arch Systems, LLC, B-417567 et al. (July 2, 2019), involved a task order procurement conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services (
 

House Passes 2020 NDAA

On Friday, July 12, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. While this passage may lead to an uncharacteristic political fight over appropriations, contractors will be watching whether the U.S. Senate and House bills ultimately agree upon the less politically-charged sections likely to impact their businesses. The House and Senate bills both include a lot of the same provisions, including some that we’ve written abo
 

2020 NDAA to Create New Acquisition Pathways for DOD Software Contracts

The proposed National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020 introduces new pathways for certain Department of Defense software acquisitions. These proposed software acquisition pathways would be separate from the traditional Department of Defense acquisitions process, and contain sweeping streamlining functions, especially within their supervisory structure. If passed, this new pathway could have a significant effect on how defense agencies acquire software.  The proposed Natio
 

CVE Verification Pointer: Remember to Provide Truthful Information

In government contracting—as in life—it’s important to be honest. And in our experience, most government contractors are honest. Where a contractor is dishonest or untruthful, it can face significant sanctions. So it was in a recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision, in which the OHA considered the cancellation of an entity’s SDVOSB status. In CVE Appeal of Afily8 Government Solutions, LLC, SBA No. CVE-125-A (2019), the OHA affirmed the cancellation of Afily8’s SDVOSB verification
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