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bob7947

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  1. Last night Vern and I reminisced about federal contracting regulations. We finally mentioned the Buy American Act and I remembered a 50% add on to a competitive price and another one of 12 percent. That's it. I once knew how to use it. I thought to myself that it would be interesting to see how Congress and the Presidents perfected the Buy American Act over the course of about 50 years. I made a couple of searches and voila I found two items. One by GAO in 1978 and one by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in 2022. Here are GAO's: The Buy American Act from April 1978 and CRS's The Buy American Act and Other Federal Procurement Domestic Content Restrictions from November 2022. I had thought it might be a good subject to write about and then I thought about the subject of competition which is even bigger. For example, the first procurement law was passed in 1792 (1 Stat. 234) that required the Postmaster General to advertise notice of a procurement in newspapers at least 6 weeks before signing a contract. Future Congresses perfected that law in 1809, 1829, 1842 and 1860. By 1842, the Congresses had laid out the features of advertising (1) public notice of the need, (2) sealed offers, (3) public opening of bids and (4) award to the low bidder. Over the years, with the help or hindrance of others, those features became Formal Advertising which few of you may remember. In 1984, Congress passed the Competition in Contracting Act which renamed Formal Advertising as Sealed Bidding.
  2. Emerging Policy and Practice Issues (2022)
  3. Microsoft has been secretly testing its Bing chatbot ‘Sydney’ for years For all of it's testing on Bing it now has 5% of the market.
  4. Some companies are already replacing workers with ChatGPT, despite warnings it shouldn’t be relied on for ‘anything important.’ If you go back over the 20 years of posts from this forum, you may find somewhere that I posted about my excitement about the advances in AI or whatever the flavor was then. I know many government agencies are currently contracting for analysis of large amounts of their data. I'm sure they have a purpose for that contracting. I guess chatgpt is the latest version of ai. Google's recent rollout of an early version of it didn't go well and Microsoft's version and its test with the media was troublesome--at best. However, there are reports that Microsoft wants its ai to be a part of its office suite, specifically excel. Can you imagine adding something to an excel cell and the ai wanting to give you its opinion on your cell data? Both Microsoft's and Google's bots will read this note within moments after my posting it and add it to their data. Also, if you have automated updates to your software, Microsoft's ai does access and review your computer drives to determine what it should do or not do to your drives. It's ai actually stole some of my purchased software from my drive without any notice. Instead, I received an icon to its online store in its place. Well thank you ai. Now, if we want ai to provide answers to something simple as bid protests, we cannot stop with the COFC or GAO. We must look at appeals from the CAFC, COFC and SCOTUS, at least. But how will ai distinguish between an affirm or a remand. Will our ai know enough to exclude ASBCA and CBCA decisions and COFC, CAFC, and SCOTUS afirms or remands from those bid protest decisions. We will just have to teach our ai carefully. Recently, I posted a GAO bid protest decision on an ATT procurement. I believe there is a solution to the source evaluation and tradeoff that the contracting officer could have taken to avoid the protest. Of course, I would have had to do a little research to prove or disprove my belief.
  5. It appears this poster visited the forum once and hasn't returned.
  6. In the middle of July 2023, Wifcon.com will begin its 25th year online, if I'm still alive and functioning. I'm Bob Antonio, I'm Wifcon.com, I'm 73 years old now, and I started Wifcon.com in 1998, before many of you were born. I'm well but I am mortal. Over the years, I've met a handful of you in person including Vern Edwards, Ralph Nash and Joel Hoffman. Others I've met by accident include a Procurement Executive at the Department of Commerce when I was a member of the workaday world. That's it. I've simply been the man behind the curtain. I'm writing this because I want to share some of my thoughts about the changes in contracting that I've noticed. Wifcon.com started when Steve Kelman was the Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP). He was a vibrant leader who tried to make changes in procurement policy and tried to connect directly with contract specialists. One of the ways he connected with contract specialists was through a discussion board. When that discussion board died in 1998, Wifcon.com started its own Discussion Forum immediately. Many, if not all, of OFPP's users moved to Wifcon.com's Discussion Forum. Yes, if you look at Wifcon.com's Discussion Archives, you will notice that some discussions are over 20 years old. It seems to me that in the early years of the Wifcon Forum there were more seasoned contract specialists participating. I'm really not sure. On the other hand, there are many more industry members using the Wifcon Forum. Although the Wifcon Forum is viewed about 250,000 times a month, the users are mostly quiet with only a handful participating regularly. As the regular posters age and disappear, I don't know who will replace them. Participation is the lifeblood of discussion forums. Without active participation, discussion boards die. To try to enhance the Wifcon Forum, I have started adding specialized blogs that can provide feeds to Wifcon.com. In that way, I can provide them with silent and unpaid advertising while providing information to you. Wifcon.com's Home Page and its daily update preceded the Discussion Forum by a few days in 1998. When I began the Home Page my goal was to provide important information faster to you than was available from other sources. In many cases, I have done that for most of Wifcon.com's life. At first, there was a good deal of information to publish. However, over the years, agencies published less and less useful information. Where OFPP was once vibrant in 1998 it is now comatose. It hasn't had an Administrator for years and I don't even check it anymore. Contracting information has always taken a back-seat to most anything else but the goveernment seems to have forgotten what it is altogether. Why pay attention to contracting with only hundreds of billions of dollars spent annually, with the defense of the nation depending on it, with the pandemic defeated by it? Forget us at your own risk. With the exception of the Departments of Defense and Energy, information from agancy sites is hard to find. To counter this lack of information, I have had to search for more and more sources to find contracting information. Since Wifcon.com is a one-person show, that additional time to find sources takes more and more of my time and I only have so much time in a day. In 2008, Wifcon.com stopped for a week. I decided to quit. Instead, I converted it to a commercial site and accepted advertising. Until then, I paid all costs myself. The advertising increased until the pandemic and the business slowdown reduced advertising throughout the economy. I've lost advertisers as have some of the largest companies in the United States. I'm still covering my costs to maintain the site and now pay myself about $.10 (ten cents) an hour for my effort. That's down from a high of about $.25 (25 cents) an hour. Someone once told me that Wifcon.com was a labor of love. Maybe it's just a bad habit. Over the next couple of months and before Wifcon.com's 25th anniversary, I hope to convert the outdated--non-discussion board--software to a current software that looks attractive. At that time, I will reduce the number of site pages from the current hundreds of pages to something manageable. Currently, the advertising on the Discussion Forum conflicts with the software used to operate the Forum. I also hope to hire someone to fix the flaws in the Disscussion Board software and to correct its conficts with my advertising. Before I end, I want to thank my former and current advertisers, especially Vern Edwards, who also contributes articles for publication on the Discussion Forum and has written wonderful Articles over the years for Wifcon.com's main site. If you see something posted from him, read it, study it! Also, I would be remiss if I didn't thank the regular posters on the Disscussion Forum. Without them and all posters, the Discussion Forum would die. I cannot keep it alive, only you can. I just wish some of the thousands of lurkers would participate before it is gone. There are times when I think of myself as a dinosaur from another era. I can neither explain to you nor to myself why I maintain this site. There are others you will find more interesting and knowledgeable on the Discussion Forums. However, I know they are aging as I am and they are mortal too. Take advantage of them while you can. Myself and the regular posters that you see on the Discussion Forum have one thing in common. We are all here to share our knowledge with those who ask and we do it for free. We have done that from the start of Wifcon.com. Quite often, I see a poster thanking those that respond to their question on the Discussion Forum. I like that and appreciate that.
  7. I read this sustained protest decision before I posted it on the Home page. Now, you try and read AT&T Corporation, B-421195, B-421195.2, Jan 17, 2023. What do you think?
  8. I've posted this for someone but I cannot respond to any questions. Maybe someone can answer it. ------------------------------------------------------------- What is the correct numbering for block 1 (Data Item No) for CDLRs greater than 09? Normally for Data Item No higher than 09, the third and fourth positions, under block 1, would be assigned a numeric character. For example, A010, A011, A012, etc... In accordance with PGI 204.7105 (B) "The second, third and fourth positions contain the alpha or numeric character serial numbers assigned to the line item when using a single letter exhibit identifier. Due to the format example provided in PGI 204.7105 (B) (3) (i) (Two-position serial number for double letter exhibit identifier), clarification is needed to determine the correct nomenclature for CDRLs. Based on the PGI table listed, CDRL A010 should be A00A, A011 should be A00B, etc... Please share your thoughts on the proper block 1 Data Item No for CDRLs greater than 09.
  9. Vern: The purpose of the bill is To direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . . . It's clear that the author intended HHS to run this program. Also see Section 2(e). Then there is the and in coordination with . . . . In government, I think it is acceptable to let the other Secretaries know about the program and let them coordinate whatever that means. From Section 2(a) the Secretary of HHS shall establish a program of entering into partnerships with eligible domestic manufacturers. The word partership bothers me because I would feel that is different from a contractual relationship. However, since partnership isn't defined I'm going to use contractual relationship and partnership as the same. Next is 2(b) about the Contractual Purchasing Agreements. We can substitue a contractual relationship that the government is currently using such as a BPA. But then there is entering into contractual purchasing agreements with eligible domestic manufacturers to implement the partnerships. It's clear that the author considers contracts to be a subset of partnerships. That has to be cleared up with the author and the staff who wrote this thing. I'd try to persuade them that they meant some type of multiple award IDIQ contracts. 2(c) is up to the offerors that want to be partners (multiple award IDIQ contractors). If none do, well . . . . Vern, you are correct, I don't see any changes to the FAR or HHSAR. They would need a Program Director (or whoever HHS would call them now) to write up a little program statement. Easy peasy. The bill will probably die a quiet death in the House before the end of January. By the way, I believe a new law authorized HHS to negotiate prices for Medicare drugs. I wonder how that will go? Yes, the Inflation Reduction Act made the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Program. Without reading the article yet, I wonder what effect this will have on VA's contracting program.
  10. I'm looking through all of the fine pieces of legislation that have been proposed by the U. S. House of Representatives in January. I'll do the same for the U. S. Senate later. I came across the proposed The Domestic SUPPLY Act of 2023. Imagine you are a member of the FAR Councils. What do you do with it if it is enacted into law? It does refer to subsection (a)(2) of section 8302 of title 41. Do you need to stick it in the FAR or HHSAR or what? There are some terms such as Contractual Purchasing Agreements, Eligible Domestic Manufacturers, Qualified Personal Protective Equipment. What do you do with them? There are processes too. What do you do with those?
  11. In his opinion, Judge Tapp wrote "In contract cases, parties do not get what they deserve, only what they successfully negotiate." In the quote below, he lists the 5 counts in the contractor's complaint. See Schneider Electric Buildings Americas, Inc. v. U. S., No. 21-788, January 18, 2023.
  12. Yesterday, GAO published a sustained protest decision Spatial Front, Inc. B-420921.2, B-420921.3, Dec 21, 2022. I had 2 immediate thoughts when I read the decision. They are Can we fairly eliminate not within the FSS contract issue in a protest? Accepting GAO's examples of items not within the FSS contract as facts, are you convinced that they are material ? Even if you do not comment, there is still something you can think about it your work.
  13. Is it true, no potential large procurement can go un-protested? Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation (W58RGZ-21-R-0084) (GAO docket) Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, Asks the U.S. Government Accountability Office to Review the U.S. Army’s Decision on the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft Contract. (News release)
  14. I've seen a number of questions and discussions about minimum and maximum quantities ordered under a requirements contract here. On December 20, 2022, the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals heard a dispute on such a case -- Grand Strategy, LLC, CBCA 6795, December 20, 2022.
  15. H.R.7776 - James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 Became Law on 12/23/2022 Now, for the Important Information.
  16. This is an opinion by Judge Solomson of the Court of Federal Claims. It may save a potential protester thousands of dollars just by reading it. It takes about 15 minutes to get the idea. 1 Ginn Grp., Inc. v. United States, 159 Fed. Cl. 593, 608 (2022) (alteration in original) (quoting Andersen Consulting v. United States, 959 F.2d 929, 932 (Fed. Cir. 1992)); see also Caddell Constr. Co. v. United States, 129 Fed. Cl. 383, 403–04 (2016). This Court similarly observed in a recent decision that a plaintiff’s “questions” regarding the conduct of a procurement “do not substitute for the evidence necessary to succeed on the merits.” Ahtna Logistics, LLC v. United States, -- Fed. Cl. --, 2022 WL 17480642, at *1 (Fed. Cl. Nov. 28, 2022) (describing “prejudice on the merits” as “an issue, in this Court’s experience, to which plaintiffs all-too-often do not pay sufficient attention, usually at their own peril”). -------------------------------------------------------------- Ekagra Partners, LLC v. U. S. and Paradyme Management, Inc., No. 22-1038C, December 21, 2022
  17. In truth, I didn't know Saturday, December 17, 2022 was Wright Brothers Day. But it was That reminded me of a wonderful and educational piece written by Vern Edwards in 2002 for Wifcon.com. It is titled The True Story of the Wright Brothers' Contract (It’s not what you think.)
  18. In July 2023, Wifcon.com will begin it's 25th year.
  19. The program seeks to provide commercial B2B online shopping capabilities for agency Government Purchase Card (GPC) holders for the purchase of routine, commercial items. The solicitation package closely aligns with the Request for Information released earlier this year under notice ID 47QSCC22N0007, and with the draft RFP released under notice ID 47QSCC22R0028.
  20. It will be 25 in July 2023 just after Independence Day.

  21. House Passes National Defense Authorization Act on 12/8/22. One down, one to go. The Library of Congress cannot even keep of with the paperwork. Let's see if the Senate can pass H. R. 7776 today. I just finished checking and the Senate is not scheduled to be back until 12/12/22.
  22. H. R. 7776 - Water Resources Development Act of 2022 Now it is labeled H. R. 7776 the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 The first bill was for something other than an NDAA. Apparently, H. R. 7776 was highjacked and is planned to be the NDAA for FY 2023. The Chairmen and Ranking Members from the House and Senate Armed Services Committees grabbed H.R. 7900 and S. 4543--two versions of an NDAA--squished them together, hijacked H. R. 7776, amended that bill, and renamed it as the one above. When time is available, conferees are named and they negotiate a conference report and both Houses of Congress vote on it, approve the conference report and send it the White House for signature to make the finished bill a Public Law. H. R. 7776, the agreement between the Chairmen and Ranking Members will probably be substituted for negotiations between conferees of both houses and H. R. 7776 will be passed by both houses. Then off to the White House. There are plenty of perfections to contracting law in Title VIII but H. R. 7776 needs to be passed in about 2 weeks without running into any obstacles. It probably won't get derailed, but I think it's too early to look at any of the bill's provisions.
  23. The Army calls it the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft. Two questions. After you see it, what would you call it? (See it at DefenseNews) How long will it take for the protest to be submitted? Army announces Future Long Range Assault Aircraft contract award.
  24. The Nash & Cibinic Report, Volume 36, Issue 12 By Vernon J. Edwards Addendum by Ralph C. Nash Numerical (“point”) scoring/rating systems have long been used as a proposal evaluation technique. Once upon a time the use of such systems in the source selection process was common. But after a number of bid protest decisions in the 1970s and 1980s involving numerical scores, some agencies began to restrict or even prohibit their use and mandated the use of adjectival and colorrating schemes instead of numbers. Please Read: Numerical Scoring In Source Selection: Lessons To Be Learned
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