Federal Circuit Affirms Sole-Source Justification

Not too many government contracting disputes make it to a federal court of appeals—the level just a step below the U.S. Supreme Court. The most notable recent examples would probably be the Federal Circuit’s decision in Kingdomware Technologies (which, as SmallGovCon readers know, was ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court in 2016) and the D.C. Circuit’s decision Rothe Development (which the Supreme Court declined to consider).

But recently, the Federal Circuit issued a decision of note to government contractors. In AgustaWestland North America v. United States, the Court issued guidance on what constitutes a “procurement decision” and upheld the Army’s decision to buy helicopters on a sole-source basis.

Let’s take a look.

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DoD Small Business Contracts Have Dropped 70% Since FY 2011, Acquisition Reform Panel Says

The number of DoD small business contract actions has dropped almost 70 percent since Fiscal Year 2011, even as the total number of small business dollars increased significantly.  This is one of the important new findings from an acquisition reform panel’s initial report.

The Advisory Panel on Streamlining and Codifying Acquisition Regulations–better known as the Section 809 Panel–recently released the first in an anticipated three-volume series of reports on ways to potentially reform and improve DoD acquisitions.  The report, which clocks in at a whopping 642 pages, includes a detailed section on DoD small business acquisitions–and suggests that DoD’s focus on achieving dollar-based small business goals has obscured the fact that far fewer small businesses have been awarded DoD contracts in recent years.

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Thank You, 8(a)s!

I am back in Lawrence after a wonderful three days at the National 8(a) Association 2018 Small Business Conference in Nashville.  I was part of a great panel on Wednesday on the SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protege Program, and spent a lot of time on the trade show floor talking about government contracts with 8(a)s, government leaders, and large businesses.

A big “thank you” to Ron Perry, Paula Arevalo, and the rest of the National 8(a) Association for inviting me to participate in this fantastic event.  Thank you, also, to everyone who attended my panel or stopped by the Koprince Law LLC booth to say hello.  It was great to see so many familiar faces and make many new connections.

I’ll be sticking close to home in February, but head to sunny Florida in early March for the APTAC Spring Conference.  PTAC counselors, I look forward to seeing you there!

Small Business GAO Bid Protests Are Less Successful, RAND Study Says

GAO bid protests filed by small businesses are (statistically speaking) less likely to succeed than protests filed by large contractors, according to the RAND Corporation’s recent bid protest study.

The disparity isn’t the result of discrimination against small businesses, but rather a product of other factors: primarily, the motivation to protest, the understanding of the protest system, and access to legal counsel.  RAND raises an important point, but offers no fair and easy solution.  Perhaps, given that protests overall are “exceedingly uncommon,” a solution isn’t needed–but it’s wise to think about whether there are ways to help small businesses become better educated about bid protests.

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VA Proposes Elimination of SDVOSB Ownership & Control Rules

The VA has formally proposed to eliminate its SDVOSB and VOSB ownership and control regulations.

Once the proposed change is finalized, the VA will use the SBA’s regulations to evaluate SDVOSB and VOSB eligibility, as required by the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

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Government Contracts Joint Ventures: Our New Handbook is Now Available

I am excited to announce the publication of Government Contracts Joint Ventures, the first in a new series of new government contracting guides we’re calling “Koprince Law LLC GovCon Handbooks.”  Packed with easy-to-understand examples and written in plain English, Government Contracts Joint Ventures should help you maximize your understanding of this important option for pursuing federal contracts.

What does the Handbook contain?  I’m glad you asked.

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Not Reading the PWS is a Bad Idea, ASBCA Confirms

Here at SmallGovCon, we often write about nuanced, complex government contracting legal issues.  This isn’t one of them.

The moral of today’s story comes straight from the personal superhero files of Captain Obvious: not reading the performance work statement in your own contract is a pretty bad idea.

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