The Department of Energy (DOE) conducted some housecleaning during October by issuing the following: (1) an acquisition letter reemphasizing the mandatory use of STRIPES; (2) an acquisition letter revising requirements for employee benefits cost studies; (3) a deviation reinstating, and making permanent, whistleblower protections for contractor employees; and (4) a deviation streamlining the approval process for overtime compensation for training and education. Federal contracting spending in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 dropped to $430 billion, down 9.1% from the $473 billion spending level in FY 2016. The big loser was the Department of Defense (DOD), which saw its contract spending drop 18%, from $297.7 billion to $243.5 billion. The biggest dollar increase winner was the Department of Veterans Affairs, which saw its spending increase 14% from $22.7 billion to $25.8 billion. The biggest percentage increase winner was the Peace Corps, which saw its spending increase 68%, from $62 million to $103 million. The following are the largest agencies’ FY 2017 spending versus their FY 2016 spending:
Vol. XVIII, No. 11
DOE Addresses Contracting Issues with Acquisition Letters, Deviations
FY 2017 Spending Down 9% to $430 Billion
DOD Negotiating MOUs with UK, Finland
SBA Updates NAICS Codes for WOSB Program
with Acquisition Letters, Deviations
STRIPES is DOE’s acquisition instrument writing, award, and administering system. STRIPES streamlines instrument creation and standardization with its automated processing, uniform construct rules, and established clause databases. STRIPES includes clause databases for the latest Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), DOE Acquisition Regulation (DEAR), corporate clauses, and local clauses. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Corporate clauses are used to address situations and issues on a department-wide basis; local clauses address site-specific circumstances.) STRIPES uses templates to “select” which clauses from a particular clause database (FAR, DEAR, corporate, local) should be considered for inclusion by contract type (for example, cost-reimbursement, fixed price, construction, management and operating [M&O], etc.).
On January 30, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs (see the February 2017 Federal Contracts Perspective article “President Trump Orders Regulatory Freeze”). In response to Executive Order 13771, DOE established a Regulatory Reform Task Force to review six focus areas, including contractor human resources requirements, for ways to improve laboratory/contractor efficiency and decrease costs.
The Task Force identified for elimination an automatic reporting requirement that is imposed when the cost study established threshold is exceeded. Also, the Task Force recommended that the employee benefit cost study comparison process be improved by applying geographic adjustment factors and replacing the per capita comparison approach with the percent of payroll comparison approach for health related costs.
The Deputy Secretary approved the recommended changes, so contracting officers must take appropriate actions, including bilaterally modifying existing contracts, to incorporate the revisions to the DOE Corporate Clause DOE-H-2001, Employee Compensation: Pay and Benefits, specified in Acquisition Letter 2018-02 no later than December 31, 2017.
While the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council (CAAC) is processing a change to the FAR to reflect the permanence of the FAR 3.908 whistleblower protections, this deviation does the following:
The deviation does the following:
The Department of Energy (DOE) conducted some housecleaning during October by issuing the following: (1) an acquisition letter reemphasizing the mandatory use of STRIPES; (2) an acquisition letter revising requirements for employee benefits cost studies; (3) a deviation reinstating, and making permanent, whistleblower protections for contractor employees; and (4) a deviation streamlining the approval process for overtime compensation for training and education.
Federal contracting spending in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 dropped to $430 billion, down 9.1% from the $473 billion spending level in FY 2016.
The big loser was the Department of Defense (DOD), which saw its contract spending drop 18%, from $297.7 billion to $243.5 billion. The biggest dollar increase winner was the Department of Veterans Affairs, which saw its spending increase 14% from $22.7 billion to $25.8 billion. The biggest percentage increase winner was the Peace Corps, which saw its spending increase 68%, from $62 million to $103 million.
The following are the largest agencies’ FY 2017 spending versus their FY 2016 spending:
|Department/Agency||FY 2017 Spending||FY 2016 Spending|
|Health and Human Services||24,775,365,872||24,000,453,263|
|National Aeronautics and Space Admin istration||17,257,343,033||17,275,432,463|
|General Services Administration||11,474,929,496||10,345,493,624|
|Agency for International Development||5,273,426,265||4,656,445,660|
|Social Security Administration||1,563,696,601||1,275,038,121|
|Housing and Urban Development||1,378,798,056||1,016,574,179|
|Environmental Protection Agency||1,275,068,568||1,363,331,523|
|Office of Personnel Management||782,210,321||936,263,981|
|National Science Foundation||466,267,212||419,776,373|
|Securities and Exchange Commission||384,578,333||419,312,948|
|Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation||304,823,366||326,787,350|
|Nuclear Regulatory Commission||196,744,318||209,146,944|
|Broadcasting Board of Governors||174,998,321||159,325,339|
|National Archives and Record Administration||154,469,260||164,107,258|
|Federal Communications Commission||118,719,966||99,448,637|
|Small Business Administration||116,413,843||104,643,231|
The DOD is requesting that industry provide comments regarding its experience in public defense procurements conducted by or on behalf of (1) the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), and/or (2) the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Finland as DOD contemplates negotiating proposed Reciprocal Defense Procurement Memoranda of Understanding (RDP MOU) with the ministries.
DOD has entered into RDP MOUs with 27 “qualifying countries,” primarily European Union countries, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries, and other allies such as Australia, Egypt, and Israel (see DFARS 225.003, Definitions). The purpose of RDP MOUs is to promote rationalization, standardization, and interoperability of conventional defense equipment with allies and other friendly governments.
RDP MOUs generally include language by which the parties agree that their defense procurements will be conducted in accordance with certain implementing procedures. These procedures relate to: (1) publication of notices of proposed purchases; (2) the content and availability of solicitations for proposed purchases; (3) notification to each unsuccessful offeror; (4) feedback, upon request, to unsuccessful offerors concerning the reasons they were not allowed to participate in a procurement or were not awarded a contract; and (5) provision for the hearing and review of complaints arising in connection with any phase of the procurement process to ensure that, to the extent possible, complaints are equitably and expeditiously resolved.
Based on the RDP MOU, each country affords the other country certain benefits on a reciprocal basis consistent with national laws and regulations. The benefits that the United States accords to the products of qualifying countries include: (1) evaluating offers of qualifying country end products without applying the price differentials required by the Buy American statute and the Balance of Payments Program; and (2) customs, taxes, and duties are waived for qualifying country end products and components of defense procurements.
Both the UK and Finland have been listed as “qualifying countries” in the definition of “qualifying country” in DFARS 225.003(10), and offers of products of the UK and Finland, or that contain components from these countries, would continue to be afforded the benefits available to all qualifying countries. Also, this means that U.S. products would be exempt from any analogous “Buy UK” and “Buy Finland” laws or policies applicable to procurements by the Ministry of Defence of each country.
While DOD is evaluating the UK’s and Finland’s laws and regulations in this area, DOD would benefit from U.S. industry’s experience in participating in these countries' public defense procurements. Therefore, DOD is asking U.S. firms that have participated or attempted to participate in procurements by or on behalf of the UK's Ministry of Defence or Finland's Ministry of Defence to let DOD know if the procurements were conducted with transparency, integrity, fairness, and due process in accordance with published procedures; if not, to explain the nature of the problems encountered.
Also, DOD is interested in comments relating to the degree of reciprocity that exists between the U.S. and the UK and Finland when it comes to the openness of defense procurements to offers of products from the other country.
Written comments must be submitted no later than November 20, 2017, by either: (1) mail: Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy, Attn: Patricia Foley, 3060 Defense Pentagon, Room 5E621, Washington, DC 20301-3060; or (2) email: email@example.com.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is updating the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes authorized for use in the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract Program (WOSB Program). The update is necessary to reflect the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) NAICS revision for 2017 (NAICS 2017), which created 21 new industries by reclassifying, combining, or splitting 29 NAICS 2012 industry codes. These changes affect eight (8) of the NAICS 2012 codes designated for use under the WOSB Program. (For more on NAICS 2017, see the September 2016 Federal Contracts Perspective article “OMB Issues 2017 Version of the NAICS.”)
Subsequently, the SBA adopted OMB’s NAICS 2017 into its table of small business size standards, effective October 1, 2017 (see the October 2017 Federal Contracts Perspective article “SBA Adopts NAICS 2017 For Size Standards”).
To align the WOSB Program with OMB’s NAICS 2017 and SBA’s adoption of NAICS 2017 for its size standards, SBA is amending the NAICS codes eligible for use under the WOSB Program (including those limited to Economically Disadvantaged WOSBs [EDWOSB]) as follows:
|NAICS 2012||NAICS 2017|
|333911||Pump and Pumping Equipment Manufacturing||WOSB||333914||Measuring, Dispensing, and Other Pumping Equipment Manufacturing||WOSB|
|333913||Measuring and Dispensing Pump Manufacturing||WOSB||333914||Measuring, Dispensing, and Other Pumping Equipment Manufacturing||WOSB|
|512210||Record Production||WOSB||512250||Record Production and Distribution||WOSB|
|512220||Integrated Record Production/Distribution||WOSB||512250||Record Production and Distribution||WOSB|
|517110||Wired Telecommunications Carriers||EDWOSB||517311||Wired Telecommunications Carriers||EDWOSB|
|517210||Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellites)||WOSB||517312||Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellites)||WOSB|
|541711||Research and Development in Biotechnology||WOSB||541713||Research and Development in Nanotechnology||WOSB|
|541714||Research and Development in Biotechnology (except Nanobiotechnology)||WOSB|
|541712||Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Biotechnology)||WOSB||541713||Research and Development in Nanotechnology||WOSB|
|541715||Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Nanotechnology and Biotechnology)||WOSB|
For more information on the SBA’s WOSB Program, go to http://www.sba.gov/wosb.
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