The 8(a) Program: Our New Handbook is Available

The 8(a) program can be a powerful accelerator for those small businesses eligible to participate; however, these benefits come with substantial strings attached. As such, the fourth volume of the Koprince Law LLC GovCon Handbooks discusses this unique and heavily regulated program.

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GAO: We’re Not Wrong, But Our Original Recommendation Was Not Right

Whenever GAO issues a bid protest decision, some parties are happier than others. In limited circumstances, however, an unhappy party may petition GAO to reconsider its decision if the outcome was based on errors of either fact or law. It is extremely rare for GAO to reverse itself during a reconsideration request. That may explain why in a recent reconsideration decision, GAO maintains that its decision was correct based on the facts presented to it, but GAO nevertheless modified its recommendations substantially in the face of new facts. As a kicker, GAO also took away its recommendation that the agency pay protester’s attorney fees.

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NNSA Does Not Utilize Unique Contractor-Exclusion Authority, GAO Finds

It comes as little surprise that when it comes to nuclear security, the FAR’s full and open competition requirements take a backseat. To this end, Congress temporarily granted the Department of Energy authority to exclude contractors from nuclear weapons and security system procurements to preserve the integrity of the supply chain. A recent GAO report, however, reveals the Department of Energy is not utilizing this unique procurement authority.

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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 asked to determine whether consolidation analyses are required for Blanket Purchase Order (“BPA”) procurements, and its decision did not adopt the SBA’s position.

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“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.

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Proprietary Information Proper Basis for Restricted Solicitation Terms

While the overarching goal of the federal procurement system is to provide as many opportunities for competition as possible, there are those instances where the unique circumstances of a procurement require limiting the pool of offerors. In a recent decision, GAO determined that the need for proprietary maintenance information was a sufficient reason to limit competition.

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