Army, Air Force acquisition chiefs to step down

The departures of William LaPlante and Heidi Shyu will likely leave the Air Force and Army without permanent procurement leaders until 2017.
Dr. William A. LaPlante, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition
Dr. William A. LaPlante, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition
Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics & Technology
Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics & Technology

The top acquisition officials from the Air Force and Army announced they will step down in coming weeks, becoming the latest top Pentagon leaders to depart as President Obama begins his final year in the White House.

William LaPlante, the Air Force acquisition head, announced his departure in an email to staff last week. He will leave at the end of November, defense officials said. Heidi Shyu, the Army acquisition head, will retire at the end of January, according to an email she also sent to her staff last week.

Keep reading this article at:

OMB memo looks to lessen ‘earned value’ certification burden

In a memorandum issued late last month by Office of Federal Procurement Policy Administrator Anne Rung, the Obama administration wants to make at least one certification process a bit easier for chief acquisition officers and senior procurement executives.

OFPPIn the Oct. 23, 2015 memo, the Office of Management and Budget said federal agencies can enter into reciprocity agreements that recognize the Earned Value Management System certifications granted by other agencies.

“Agencies are encouraged to enter into reciprocal agreements with other agencies and to post their EVM processes and procedures on their public websites,” said the new guidance.

Keep reading this article at:

‘If I knew then …’

This is part of a recurring series sponsored by Federal Times, where former federal leaders reflect upon the lessons learned since leaving government.

If I Knew ThenIf you knew then what you know now … How would you have partnered with industry differently?

When agency needs arise, in order to ensure fairness and equitable consideration, lengthy and detailed requirements are crafted and sent to the industry. However, this often leads to bad outcomes. In order to mitigate protest risks, requirements are increasingly specific and fixed, but they leave very little if any room for industry to offer alternate, compelling approaches to solve the stated problems. As a result, many innovative and compelling solutions don’t even make it past the first gate, and the government suffers as a result. It also reinforces a cycle of inertia, whereby since government employees don’t see those innovative solutions, they keep asking for what they know, and as a result, continue to get the same traditional approaches and solutions.

If I had to do it over again, I would find ways to re-think how government partners with the industry.

Keep reading this article at:

GSA settles discrimination suit with blind contractors

Three blind federal contractors who sued the General Services Administration (GSA) over a website that they said was not accessible to the visually impaired have settled with the agency.  

SAM logoA lawyer representing the contractors announced the settlement on Nov. 12.

“This is an excellent result not only for our clients, but for the blind community as a whole,” said Lewis Wiener, co-chair of Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and partner at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, in a statement.

The 18-month lawsuit began when the contractors found that one of GSA’s websites, the System for Award Management or, was not accessible for the visually impaired and prevented the trio from maintaining their contractor status.

Keep reading this article at:

OPM’s credit-monitoring contract violated the FAR

A contract to provide credit and identity monitoring services to millions affected by this summer’s hack of the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM) was made in violation of federal acquisition rules, according to a ruling from OPM’s inspector general, found in an Oct. 30 memo to acting OPM director Beth Cobert.

OPM“We determined that the [Office of Procurement Operations] did not award the Winvale contract in compliance with the FAR and OPM’s policies and procedures, which led to the OPO selecting the wrong contracting vehicle,” the memo, from OPM IG Patrick McFarland’s office, said.

“While we are unable to determine whether the issues we uncovered are significant enough to have impacted the award of the contract to Winvale Group LLC, and its subcontractor, CSIdentity, it is evident that significant deficiencies existed in the OPO over the contract award process.”

Keep reading this article at: