Government Contracting: Key Developments in May 2024

May 29, 2024

GAO Clears Final Protest, FBI’s $7B IT Services Contract Set for Award

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has cleared the last hurdle for the FBI’s $7 billion IT Supplies and Support Services (ITSSS-2) contract by denying the final pre-award protest. This decision allows the FBI to award the multiple-award blanket purchase agreement, a critical step forward for the agency’s IT infrastructure.

  • GAO rejected Computer World Services Corp.’s protest, the last pending challenge against the FBI’s ITSSS-2 contract.
  • Previous protests by SMX, General Dynamics IT, Ernst & Young, and Qbase were dismissed following corrective actions by the FBI.
  • The FBI initially announced delays in awarding the contract until late May due to the protests.
  • GAO supported the FBI’s stance that Computer World Services misinterpreted the solicitation requirements.
  • ITSSS-2 aims to provide a comprehensive range of IT services and supplies through a blanket purchase agreement.
  • The contract has faced multiple pre-award protests, delaying its progress since its inception in 2020.

The resolution of these protests paves the way for the FBI to enhance its IT capabilities significantly. Government contractors should stay vigilant as the ITSSS-2 contract moves forward, potentially heralding new opportunities and heightened competition in the federal IT services market.

Senate Proposes $32 Billion AI Funding Boost Amid Legislative Roadmap Unveiling.

In a landmark move, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and a bipartisan group of lawmakers have unveiled a $32 billion AI policy roadmap. This initiative aims to bolster American innovation while laying the groundwork for future AI regulations, which are critical for government contractors navigating the evolving technology landscape.

  • The Senate AI Working Group’s roadmap proposes $32 billion in annual funding for non-defense AI innovation.
  • Focus areas include supporting U.S. innovation, addressing workforce impacts, safeguarding against AI risks, and enhancing national security.
  • Recommendations call for increased funding to entities like the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.
  • The roadmap encourages the development of comprehensive federal data privacy laws and transparency requirements for AI systems.
  • Emphasis on mitigating risks related to AI-generated election content and protecting intellectual property rights.
  • Calls for collaboration between Senate committees and external experts to refine AI standards and best practices.

This ambitious funding proposal underscores the Senate’s commitment to maintaining the U.S.’s competitive edge in AI technology. For government contractors, this roadmap signifies both opportunities for new contracts and the necessity to adapt to upcoming regulatory changes, ensuring compliance and leveraging AI advancements for federal projects.

NASA Opens Bids for $444M COSMIC Facility Support Contract

NASA has announced the opening of bids for the Combined Operations, Services, Maintenance & Infrastructure Contract (COSMIC), a substantial $444 million contract to provide facility support services at two key space centers on the Gulf Coast. This eight-year COSMIC contract presents a significant opportunity for government contractors specializing in logistics, engineering, and safety services.

  • Contract Scope: The Combined Operations, Services, Maintenance & Infrastructure Contract (COSMIC) includes logistics, environmental, safety, health, and engineering services.
  • Target Locations: Services are required at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and the Marshall Space Flight Center’s Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana.
  • Proposal Deadline: Bids are due by June 11, with the contract expected to be awarded by December 5. The new contract will commence on July 1, 2025.
  • Incumbent Contract: The previous contract, held by Syncom Space Services, a joint venture involving BWX Technologies and PAE (now Amentum), had an original ceiling of $1.2 billion, later increased to $1.6 billion.

This new contract presents a lucrative opportunity for government contractors to engage in NASA’s critical infrastructure and operations support. With its focus on two major facilities, the COSMIC contract underscores NASA’s commitment to advancing space exploration and innovation, making it a pivotal moment for stakeholders in the aerospace industry.

Virginia’s Scaling4Growth Program Now Accepting Applications for 2024 Cohort

The Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD) is now accepting applications for the 15th cohort of the Scaling4Growth program. This initiative, designed to help small business owners transition from entrepreneurs to CEOs, kicks off in July 2024 and runs through December 2024 in Richmond, VA.

  • Program Overview: Scaling4Growth, Virginia’s iteration of Interise’s StreetWise MBA program, provides practical business education and networking opportunities.
  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • Must be a Virginia-based business.
    • In operation for at least three years.
    • Annual revenue between $250,000 and $10,000,000.
    • At least one full-time employee besides the owner.
    • The majority owner (51% ownership or more) must participate.
    • Certified as a SWaM business by the Virginia Department of SBSD.
  • Program Structure: Classes meet every other Thursday from July to December 2024, with mandatory attendance and approximately 3-5 hours of weekly homework.
  • Program Benefits: Participants will develop a three-year strategic growth plan, connect with other CEOs, and gain access to contracting opportunities with government and anchor institutions.
  • Success Metrics: Alumni of the program have seen significant benefits, including revenue growth, profitability, and increased job creation.

This program represents a valuable opportunity for Virginia-based small business owners to gain the skills and networks necessary to scale their businesses.

Interested entrepreneurs should apply online by visiting the Scaling4Growth application page to join a community dedicated to business growth and success.

Key Impacts of the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act on Government Contractors

The 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) introduces significant changes impacting government contractors, particularly in areas like acquisition policies, supply chain resilience, and AI integration. President Biden’s signing of the NDAA marks a pivotal moment for defense contractors seeking to align with new government priorities.

  • The NDAA aims to expedite the Department of Defense (DOD) procurement of goods and services, allowing for faster acquisition of mission-critical products and easier entry for commercial companies.
  • It simplifies the acquisition process under FAR Part 12 by reversing the burden of proving commercial status, reducing administrative burdens.
  • A pilot program will analyze and monitor supply chains for key weapons platforms, encouraging the use of AI to enhance data analysis capabilities.
  • The act increases the use of AI to improve data analysis and supply chain monitoring, aligning with the administration’s goals for innovation and responsible AI use.
  • It imposes new conflict of interest requirements for contractors working with foreign adversaries, especially those linked to China and Russia.
  • New provisions enhance support for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs) and require SBA certification for SDVOSB status.
  • The NDAA extends temporary inflation relief authority for contractors, allowing economic price adjustments consistent with FAR Part 16.
  • Enhanced cybersecurity protocols include prohibitions on procuring goods from Chinese military companies and the requirement for domestic sourcing for major defense acquisition programs.

The 2024 NDAA brings a host of changes designed to streamline procurement, bolster supply chain resilience, and enhance the role of AI in defense operations. Government contractors must stay agile and align their processes to meet these new requirements, ensuring they remain competitive and compliant in this evolving landscape.

 

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