GAO: DOD Should Clarify Criteria for Using LPTA

Over the last few years, SmallGovCon has covered the Congressionally-mandated march away from use of lowest-price technically-acceptable procurements at the Department of Defense. But although Congress has restricted when DOD might use LPTA criteria, the Department has not followed this mandate.

A recent GAO report highlights DOD’s struggle. As of September 2018, DOD has not yet revised its regulations to reflect certain statutory restrictions against LPTA awards and, as a result, DOD contracting officers believe they are not yet required to follow these new requirements.

Candidly, I’m not so sure. But in any event, GAO’s report issued a couple of recommendations to help DOD fully implement the restrictions against LPTA procurements.

Let’s take a look.

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Section 809 Panel Achieves $1 Coin Clause Removal

If, like us, you spend your days reading through the FAR, you might suppose that there are opportunities to streamline the regulations. Congress agreed, at least for DOD acquisitions, and as part of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, created the Section 809 panel, an independent advisory panel on streamlining acquisition regulations. The panel is working to improve many aspects of acquisitions law, including, as we’ve written about, the definition of subcontract.

A recent, small (but helpful) recommendation was the elimination of a FAR clause involving the $1 coin.

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SBA Proposes Big Changes to the HUBZone Program (Continued)

Big changes could be coming to the HUBZone program. On October 31, the SBA published a proposed rule that, if adopted, would bring clarity to the HUBZone regulations. Yesterday, we posted about proposed changes to the HUBZone certification, compliance, and protest processes.

In this post, we wanted to bring you up to speed on some of the more substantive revisions to the way HUBZone employees are defined and counted under the proposed rule.

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Who’s the Ombudsman? Proposed FAR Rule Requires Clarity

When GAO lacks jurisdiction to hear a protest over a task or delivery order, contractors have the right to complain to an ombudsman. Implementation of the ombudsman right, however, has been haphazard at best.

Last week, the DoD, GSA, and NASA–the entities comprising the FAR Council–proposed a rule to help alleviate this issue for IDIQ contracts.

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GAO Fends Off ‘Killer Tomato’ Protest

I always knew my legal career would some day overlap with my love of terrible movies, before-they-were-stars trivia, and naval warfare. Today is that day.

When I saw that GAO had dismissed a “killer tomato” protest, several things came to mind. First, I thought, wait, are they talking about “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes“? Then I though, wait, wasn’t George Clooney in that—and didn’t he have a terrible 80’s mullet? Naturally, my curiosity got the best of me. I clicked.

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SBA Proposes Big Changes to the HUBZone Program

The SBA’s Historically Underutilized Business Zone program intends well—by directing awards to contractors in regions that have been passed by economically, the federal government has tried to lift these areas up. But the HUBZone program has exacting regulations, which (ironically) have helped cause it to be an underutilized tool for contracting officers. This could soon change.

On October 31, the SBA published a proposed rule that, if adopted, would bring clarity to the HUBZone regulations. In this post, we wanted to bring you up to speed on some of the more substantive proposed changes regarding certification requirements and the HUBZone protest process. Changes to employee definitions and requirements will be handled in another post.

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GAO: VA’s Compliance Oversight of Subcontracting Limitations Needs Improvement

Recently, the GAO issued a report discussing the VA’s Veterans First Program, made at the request of several members of Congress. The report focused on addressing ongoing implementation challenges regarding compliance with the Rule of Two following the Kingdomware decision.

One of the key challenges facing the VA is ensuring that SDVOSBs comply with the limitations on subcontracting. According to the GAO, the VA’s oversight needs improvement.

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