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Mike Twardoski

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  1. Thanks for sharing, Vern. The story is similar in industry, at least from what I've seen. One of first things my program lead said to me when I joined the company 2 years ago is that ~50% of our workforce is going to retire in the next 3-5 years. And the number of folks I've seen leave since has only reinforced that notion. Perhaps because of this, there's a huge focus on mentoring at my place. As for me, who happens to fall into that 0-4 years of Government Contracting experience bucket, I've embraced that focus. I'm getting so many great insights from my seasoned colleagues. That experience shouldn't go to waste once they leave. In fact, the more I learn, the more I enjoy this field. Granted, does the increasing number of new folks slow things down? Of course, and it always will. But if you make good hiring decisions, and nurture that talent, processes will begin to accelerate eventually. At least I hope so.
  2. I've attended a couple of webinars this week on the topic, and the prediction on enforcement seems to be similar to how FAR 52.223-6 Drug-Free Workplace is enforced...which from my view, isn't all that much. We shall see. I've heard my Government counterparts lament that they're busier than ever (for both COVID and non-COVID related reasons), so adding enforcement to the plate would seem to be very low priority. There aren't any reps or certs yet, so presumably, the Government will have to take a contractor's word for it when it comes to attesting its workforce is 100% vaccinated. Consequences for non-compliance? Seems like potential negative CPARS, Past Performance hits, and the possibility of whistleblowers coming to the fore.
  3. Listened to the first 2 episodes, and I'm hooked. Thanks for sharing, Don!
  4. True, but when >40% of the country as a whole isn't fully vaccinated, requiring industry to be 100% within 2 months seems unreasonable to me. Mind you, I have no beef with the spirit of the EO. I'm not a part of that >40% of the population, so it doesn't impact me on a personal level. I just think there's going to be some fierce pushback based upon my own observations. Agreed! How are PCOs going to enforce this?
  5. My company is worried as well. The DoD deviation was just released, and we're bracing for it in coming awards and mods. There's a fear that PCO's will go all in on this deviation apply it to every award and mod they issue. And I get it, given the tone of the EO. But, requiring all covered contractor personnel to be vaccinated within 2 months seems an ambitious mandate, diplomatically speaking. Feel like there's going to be some fierce pushback from industry on this...
  6. You summed it up far better than me! I finished the book last week with the sense that another contributing factor in the AI & military capabilities gap is the discord between DoD and Silicon Valley. That's certainly concerning. A recent issue of Contract Management contained an article about the Air Force putting some of their procurement folks into pseudo-internships with leading tech companies. Perhaps that is what it will take: greater active engagement, at least at the DoD/Industry level. Now all you have to do is fix Congress.
  7. This is interesting. I'm finishing up The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare, by Christian Brose (former Staff Director of the Armed Service Committee and Senior Policy Advisor to John McCain). The author's primary point of attack is how DoD needs to more AI and less platform-based systems, and needs them yesterday to compete with China. I guess someone is listening, even if this probably represents a fraction of a fraction of what the author's calling for. Not to hijack the thread, but I'm interested to hear if anyone else has read this book, and what their thoughts are on DoD's alleged stubbornness in adopting AI.
  8. Thanks, Neil. I was thinking about the undefinitized path, but hadn't thought about making it an FFP CLIN. Not a bad idea at all I appreciate the insights!
  9. Thanks for the follow up questions, Neil. The contract structure is primarily FFP (hardware), with some CPFF (engineering tasks) and Cost-only (ODC) line items. The customer routinely issues task orders for engineering tasks & ODCs off this contract using the CPFF & Cost line items to fund them. The contract contains multiple options, so new line items for each of these types have been rolled into the contract every year. The odd thing is we're approaching the final option year, so the timing of this internal cap of $10K is curious to say the least.
  10. Neil, the short answer is yes, the ODCs are for materials/components. I can't speak for how the contract was negotiated, but this $10K internal cap is new to me (and apparently the customer, too, after years of putting funding >$10K for years, no questions asked). Traditionally, our company would work up a draft task order, or simply send over a written request for more ODC funding, a brief justification for the funds, and the customer would put those funds on the task order with minimal delay. The funds would be drawn from ODC CLINs that regularly contained obligated funds well over $10K. In other words, there wasn't any negotiating involved for ODCs. We asked, and we received. The customer is hinting that the only viable path for ODCs >$10K is the PIO CLIN route, which is decidedly NOT as streamlined as the "ask and ye shall receive" route. Granted, that route is probably now closed forever, but I'm trying to look for a similar path.
  11. Provisioned Item Order (PIO). The contract allows the customer to purchase up to $10M worth of material under the PIO CLIN.
  12. I'm on the industry side working on a fairly large (~$700M) production contract that includes engineering services and Other Direct Costs (ODC) work, which the Govt customer routinely uses to issue Tasking Orders to investigate issues with the hardware. However, the customer recently notified us they now have an internal cap ($15K) on how much ODC on a given TI, which is far below what's been obligated on the latest exercised ODC CLINs. In the past, the customer had no issue issuing us more than $15K for ODCs to buy components, material, travel, etc. But because many of these items have exceeded that threshold in the past, and will presumably continue to do so in the future, the customer has hinted we may need to look at a PIO buy for purchasing these tasking-related components going forward. Are there any other methods for troubleshooting the issue? My concern is going the PIO route would require negotiation, which would obviously create a greater delay as opposed to a straight purchase using ODC funds. There's nothing in the contract that mentions the $15K limit per TI.
  13. I know I'm a little late to the party here, but I really enjoyed this story. Thank you, Bob! Btw, I'm now reading Skunk Works by Ben Rich, which I've devoured over the last a day or so. What a time to be involved in government contracting.
  14. Thank you, Neil! The contract does contain FAR 52.248-1, so this is something I'll raise with my program. Appreciate the insight!
  15. Thanks, Neil. The customer is the Government, and the PCO is working across multiple Government programs. Unfortunately, the conversations I've had with my PCO asking that very question, and my PM doing the same with her counterpart, hasn't seemed to produce much headway.
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