Key Take Aways from Annual Review – Hot Issues in Federal Contracting

by Barbara Kinosky

  • Centre News, Government Contracting

It was great to see so many of you at Annual Review. For those who missed it, we have the keynotes on-demand. Here are some of the key take aways.

Kevin Plexico, from Deltek, gave his always great market outlook for federal contractors. He said there is a higher barrier to entry now in the federal space because of more emphasis on compliance. There will be no growth in the Army, HHS and FBI budgets. The IT sector is growing faster than products. Big on every agency’s agenda is supply chain risk management, AI and the proposed CMMC rule at DoD. Kevin predicts that we will see more joint ventures under the SBA mentor protégé program and more IDIQs.

Joanne Wojtek, Program Director for NASA SEWP, took questions from the audience about the upcoming RFP recompete. She skillfully parried questions about how to change the RFP and told everyone to ask those questions when the RFP comes out. Joanne said she adds five new companies a day to SEWP. SEWP is the biggest vehicle for IT spend in the federal government.

Stephanie Shutt, Director of Operations and Innovations, at GSA, spoke about the ongoing consolidation of GSA Schedules as GSA enters Phase III of consolidation. On her agenda is getting the GSA Schedules platform off the mainframe and into the cloud. Another 2024 priority is continuing TDR and some catalog expansion.

I spoke about FAR proposed rules standardizing contractual requirements for cybersecurity and reporting of incidents. That rule would require contractors to report cyber breaches within 8 hours. It includes an annual certification from contractors on compliance and indemnification requirements for contractor cyber breaches.

The GAO report to Congress on protests shows an increase of protests last year of 22 percent. Much of that is because of the often protested NIH CIO-SP4. The sustain rate was 31% which is higher than normal because of the NIH protests. The number that I really think is important is the effectiveness rate, which is when the agency takes corrective action on a protest. It was 57% last year up from 51% the previous year. As a government contracts attorney, I always prefer early corrective action on a protest, over a sustain that takes 100 calendar days and lots of briefing (which costs clients more money).

That’s all I have for now. I have a protest to file by Friday so I am watching the clock and then I can exhale. I hope everyone has a great weekend.