Does FITARA guidance go far enough in optimizing software licenses?

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee recently held a hearing titled Government Accountability Office’s “Duplication Report at Five Years: Recommendations Remain Unaddressed.”

At the hearing, Beth Cobert, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, testified. She was questioned by committee member, Rep. Tammy Duckworth, from Illinois’ 8th District, who honed in very quickly on the subject of software license optimization:

“I noted that better management of software licenses is an area where savings can be achieved.  Can you please help me understand in OMB’s view how agencies can better manage their software licenses?  Specifically, I’d like to hear how OMB believes agencies should inventory that software to see how much of it is actually deployed to end users, and how much of what’s deployed is actually being put to use.”

US CongressMs. Cobert’s response illustrates the depths of the federal government’s lack of progress in controlling waste due to poor software license management practices. In her testimony, Ms. Colbert noted that the government is developing a system for managing and inventorying its software licenses, which are procured on a highly decentralized basis.

She noted that the recently passed Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act legislation will give the federal CIO more authority in getting agencies to better coordinate and consolidate their buying.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/technology-news/tech-insider/2015/05/why-fitara-guidance-needs-address-software-license-optimization/111814/

Many projects in Pentagon’s emerging tech program still stuck in development

A Defense Department program that funds emerging technology development isn’t actually transitioning enough of that technology out of the research phase, a new Government Accountability Office report suggests.

pentagon-sealBy the end of the 2014 solicitation, DOD’s “Rapid Innovation Program” will have awarded contracts for about 435 projects, after receiving 11,000 white papers on proposed technologies from businesses. Congress devoted about $1.3 billion to the program in appropriations, according to GAO.

RIP projects have included technology that could improve manufacturing of one part of a thermal battery insulation system, which could potentially grow the lifespan of missile power sources. Another project is a hand pump designed to filter and purify water on the battlefield.

In a recent audit of 44 RIP projects from the 2011 fiscal year, GAO found that only 22 were transitioned to a government acquisition program, a military user, a prime contractor or eventually commercialized. Other DOD tech programs have higher transition rates, often between 55 and 85 percent, the report said.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/2015/05/many-projects-pentagons-emerging-tech-program-still-stuck-development/112216

Pentagon employees used Government charge cards for gambling and ‘adult entertainment’

A not-yet-released Defense Department investigation has found civilian and military employees used government charge cards to make more than $1 million in purchases at casinos and to pay for escorts, according to an internal report

The Pentagon’s inspector general, as first reported by Politico and confirmed by a department official, found Defense employees used the cards for gambling and “adult entertainment” in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, New Jersey. The IG initiated the review in 2014 in accordance with the 2012 Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act.

Govt Charge CardIn the one-year period beginning July 1, 2013, Defense cardholders made 4,437 transactions totaling more than $950,000 at casinos using their government cards. Employees made an additional 900 transactions totaling nearly $100,000 at “adult entertainment establishments.” The Pentagon said this represented a small fraction of the total transactions on department-issued cards, coming to less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the charges.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/oversight/2015/05/pentagon-employees-used-government-charge-cards-gambling-and-adult-entertainment/112186

Advocacy group accuses SBA of misapplying law on small business set-asides

As it celebrates National Small Business Week, the Small Business Administration is facing renewed accusations that its efforts to reserve work for small contractors have been distorted by accounting tricks and misapplication of the law that permits large companies to win the awards.

Public Citizen, the nonprofit that pushes an anti-corporate view of trade, the environment, campaign finance and product regulation issues, released a report on Wednesday saying SBA “may be flouting the law,” perhaps for political reasons.

public citizenThe study of controversies over the SBA-coordinated program to help federal agencies meet the goal of 23 percent of purchases from small businesses draws on the work of the Petaluma, Calif.,-based American Small Business League, which has long battled SBA and the Defense Department over the definition of a small business. But the league, Government Executive has learned, does not think Public Citizen’s conclusions go far enough.

The SBA’s claims “that the government has met or nearly met a requirement to make 23 percent of its purchases from small businesses are misleading and rely on methodologies that conflict with federal law and regulations,” argued the report by Taylor Lincoln, research director for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2015/05/advocacy-group-accuses-sba-misapplying-law-small-business-set-asides/112240

Simplified acquisition threshold to $500,000? House proposes huge increase

The simplified acquisition threshold would increase to $500,000 under the version of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act currently before the U.S. House of Representatives.

SAT - May 2015If the House proposal ultimately becomes law, the simplified acquisition threshold would more than triple from its current $150,00 level.  Such a dramatic increase in the simplified acquisition threshold could affect nearly all federal contractors – especially small businesses.

Under federal statute, the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT) is set at $100,000.  However, the law also requires an adjustment for inflation every five years.  Because of the inflation review, the FAR was adjusted in 2010 to raise the threshold to $150,000, where it remains today.

Section 854 of the proposed 2016 NDAA would strike the $100,000 statutory threshold and replace it with a $500,000 threshold.  The revised threshold would still be subject to inflation-based adjustments.  Additionally, the proposed 2016 NDAA would increase the micro-purchase threshold from $3,000 to $5,000.

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/statutes-and-regulations/simplified-acquisition-threshold-to-500000-house-proposes-huge-increase/