You know the story. The government creates artificial intelligence—badda bing badda boom—you’re fighting Arnold Schwarzenegger in a post-apocalyptic battle for the planet. It’s a tale as old as 1984 (and still being told).
But it doesn’t have to be that way. The Department of Defense asked the Defense Innovation Board to prepare a report called “AI Principles: Recommendations on the Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence by the Department of Defense” or as I call it a Terminator avoidance plan.
It’s not too soon to start thinking about those New Year’s resolutions. Along with other personal goals, federal contractors might want to add a cybersecurity resolution to their list. The Department of Defense has drafted a cybersecurity certification that will be finalized in January 2020. Starting next fall, contractors will have to be certified in order to submit proposals on defense solicitations. Read on for some of the highlights.
The proposed National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020 introduces new pathways for certain Department of Defense software acquisitions. These proposed software acquisition pathways would be separate from the traditional Department of Defense acquisitions process, and contain sweeping streamlining functions, especially within their supervisory structure. If passed, this new pathway could have a significant effect on how defense agencies acquire software.
The draft 2020 National Defense Authorization Act includes a number of provisions that will affect government contractors, especially small business contractors, including the three provisions featured in this post. Read on for how the 2020 draft NDAA impacts annual small business reporting by the SBA, cybersecurity training for small businesses, and evaluation of past performance to focus on workforce development.
Congress has long had concerns that Department of Defense procurements did not act fast enough to get innovations in the hands of our nation’s warfighters. Section 804 of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act addressed this concern by requesting the creation of procurement pathways for rapid prototyping and rapid fielding. To achieve this aim, a “middle-tier” DOD procurement pathway was created. The roll-out of this middle-tier pathway has been complicated and GAO recently decided to look at why.
The Department of Defense awarded contracts to an average 30,806 small businesses each year in fiscal year 2016, 2017, and 2018. A proposed rule to update the DFARS may lead to these same businesses receiving payments from the government, or prime contractors, within 15 days of invoicing.
The proposed rule is found at 84 FR 25225. It was published on May 31, 2019 and comments close on July 30, 2019 if you’d like to put in your two cents.
GAO recently released a snapshot of 2018 fiscal year federal spending. Although it is a very high-level review, it provides some interesting information for government contractors. Among the highlights are the fact that federal discretionary spending has increased year over year and competitive contracts are becoming less common among defense agencies. GAO also identified four key high-risk acquisition areas that it is monitoring.
It’s dry stuff, but never fear, we read it for you. Here’s a quick summary of the findings.