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Government Contracts Blog

Welcome to the Holland & Knight Government Contracts Blog, featuring news, observations and analysis related to government contracting. We tackle not only the "hot" topics receiving widespread attention within the government contracting community, but at times lesser-known topics or unique perspectives that we hope will be of interest to our readers.

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The U.S. Department of Defense (“DoD”), Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) recently issued a report highlighting its work conducted in Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2018. The report provides statistics on the number of audits, evaluations, and investigations completed in FY 2018, summarizes the DoD’s top management challenges for FY 2019, and provides an outline of the OIG’s planned activities in FY 2019.
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The 2019 NDAA and a supply chain bill passed soon thereafter (the SECURE Technology Act) foretell significant changes to how government contractors will be required to monitor their supply chains. The provisions include requirements to voluntarily disclose vulnerabilities, prohibitions on utilizing certain Chinese companies for contractor deliverables, and the establishment of a new Federal Acquisition Security Council that will be able to recommend the exclusion of companies that pose an unreasonable supply chain risk.
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March 1, 2019
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The 2019 NDAA contains several provisions reforming commercial item contracting. As discussed below, these changes include: (1) revision of the definition of commercial items for purposes of federal acquisition statutes; (2) limitations on the applicability to U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) commercial contracts of certain provisions of law; (3) modifications to procurement through commercial e-commerce portals; and (4) review of federal acquisition regulations on commercial products, commercial services, and commercially available off-the-shelf items.
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February 27, 2019
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Protesters remained active and fairly successful in their challenges to agencies' procurement actions at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2018, while protests at the Court of Federal Claims spiked.
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February 21, 2019
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The 2019 NDAA contains several provisions reforming the security clearance process that are aimed at reducing the substantial backlog in security clearance investigations.  
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February 19, 2019
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The 2019 NDAA contains important changes that impact many aspects of government contracts. In this post, we discuss Section 822, which has the potential to affect contractors pursuing bid protests for U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) procurements.
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February 15, 2019
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It's official – the longest federal government shutdown in history is over, at least for now. For contractors whose work and payments were affected by the shutdown, the questions now are: what can we get paid for and how do we get it? As with so many things, the short answer is: it depends. Because contracts were affected (or not) in a variety of ways, and because there are a number of different methods – formal and informal – by which work might have been interrupted contractors need to address these questions on a contract-by-contract basis.
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January 28, 2019
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The 2019 NDAA contains significant changes that will impact many facets of government contracting. In this post, we discuss the Sections of the 2019 NDAA that affect small businesses. As discussed below, these changes include: (1) the codification and reauthorization of defense research and development rapid innovation program; (2) the establishment a Department of Defense small business strategy; (3) the improvement of prompt payment of small business contractors; (4) the increased participation in the SBA microloan program; (5) the extension and amendment of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/ Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs; (6) the funding for procurement technical assistance program; (7) the creation of a commercialization assistance pilot program; and (8) the increasing of opportunities for employee-owned business concerns through SBA loan programs.
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In December 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) statistics for its civil False Claims Act (FCA) and fraud cases from the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2018 (Fiscal Year 2018). The DOJ reports it recovered $2.8 billion in settlements and judgments for Fiscal Year 2018.
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As the government shutdown potentially moves into a second month, many government contractors who are not receiving payment from the Federal Government may soon encounter the issue of what to do with employees they can no longer afford to pay, but are here on nonimmigrant visas, such as the H-1B visa for highly skilled workers. This issue can be quite complicated, and while it is best to seek legal advice from an attorney on each individual case, some broad themes are important to understand.
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January 17, 2019
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No cabinet department stands more in the center of the federal shutdown drama than my old employer, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Indeed, the issue at the shutdown's heart – President Trump's proposed border "Wall" – would be a DHS appropriation. And arguably the shutdown impact most immediately felt by the American public has been the rising tide of delays at airports, as Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners – forced to work without pay – have begun to stay home "sick" in growing numbers.
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January 15, 2019
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The U.S. government's partial shutdown impacts government contractors across the spectrum. What many contractors may not realize is that the shutdown has an additional impact on small businesses because the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is among the many agencies that have been closed. This means that both the small business loan and government contracting functions of the SBA are affected by this shutdown.
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To ring in the new year, we have an important update on the Small Business Runway Extension Act. Effective Dec. 21, 2018, SBA issued an internal notice that the Small Business Runway Extension Act is not effective until its rulemaking is completed. Instead it is Small Business Administration (SBA)'s view that the three-year trailing average for size eligibility based on revenue remains in place for now.
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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently published a report on the federal government implementation of the Buy American Act. The Buy American Act of 1933 is one of several statutes implementing a preference for federal agencies to procure domestic items and products.
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December 26, 2018
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With less than a day before appropriated funding runs out for some federal agencies, confidence in avoiding a potential shutdown is waning. Because of that, contractors should exercise prudence and immediately begin preparations for a potential shutdown.
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December 21, 2018
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The U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) recently dismissed a protest by a state licensing agency (SLA) challenging the elimination of its proposal from the competitive range under a solicitation issued pursuant to the Randolph-Sheppard Act.
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December 19, 2018
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President Trump signed a bill into law that changes the look-back period for determining small businesses' size status from three years to five.
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More than five years after Congress directed the Executive Branch to change the way small business contract performance requirements are calculated, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council announced significant steps today to adopt these new requirements.
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The overuse of the Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) source selection process (see FAR 15.101-2(a)) has drawn criticism from both industry and government over the last few years. While LPTA offers a streamlined source selection process, it handcuffs the government and obligates it to select the lowest-priced vendor even if a much better solution is available for a nominal additional cost. LPTA is most properly used when the agency can clearly define the requirement, the risk of nonperformance is minimal and there is no value to the government in paying a higher price for better-than-acceptable performance.
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December 4, 2018
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On Nov. 27, 2018, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) issued Class Deviation 2019-O0001, which, effective immediately, requires contracting officers to consider the use of fixed-price contracts, including fixed-price incentive contracts. The class deviation arises from section 829 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (2017 NDAA), which established the preference for fixed-price contracts.
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