Top Army contracting official says oversight is too burdensome to promote cutting edge technology

The Defense Department acquisition process has become burdensome, leaving the Army behind in technology development, said Heidi Shyu, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology at an April 21 Center for Strategic and International Studies event.

Heidi Shyu,  Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology
Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology

Since 2011, the Army research, development and acquisition account declined at a rate twice as fast the Army budget declined, Shyu said. RDA makes up 18 percent of Army topline budget. That’s $23.1 billion of the total $126.5 billion budget. About four years ago, RDA made up 23 percent of the topline, Shyu said.

“We’ve definitely taken our hit,” she said.

But even with that, the DoD and Congress could do more to help promote development of the most advanced technology, Shyu said.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/top-army-contracting-official-says-oversight-too-burdensome-promote-cutting/2015-05-04

Contractors had access to personal data without required training, background checks

Federal contractors without background checks, non-disclosure agreements or required privacy training were able to access sensitive data from Army childcare subsidy payment applications that they were hired to process, the General Service Administration’s inspector general said in an April 27 report.

GSA logoThe IG said it published the report because GSA recently said it had agreed in principle to get more Army funding to hire up to 50 more contractors.

“While our evaluation is in progress, we are issuing this management alert report due to the serious nature of these findings and the risks associated with permitting new contractors to work with sensitive information, including PII [personally identifiable information], without having completed initial background investigations, completed required training, and having executed non-disclosure agreements,” the report said.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernmentit.com/story/gsa-ig-contractors-had-access-personal-data-without-required-training-backg/2015-04-28

Civilian Army official charged in bribery case

An Army contracting official was charged on Jan. 28, 2015 with trying to extort a half-million dollars in bribes from two executives of a Fairfax, Va., company after a months-long sting operation in which one of the executives wore a wire.

James Glenn Warner, 44, of Manassas, Va., appeared briefly in federal district court in Alexandria, telling a judge that he could not afford a lawyer after prosecutors informed him he was being charged with bribery. He was ordered detained until another hearing Friday.

Detailed in a 34-page criminal complaint by FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Pollack, Warner’s alleged misdeeds and efforts to avoid detection range from cunning to comical. He initially communicated his demand on a note tucked inside a restaurant menu and at one point patted down one of the executives for a recording device, according to the affidavit. But he missed it and was caught on video discussing bribe money, according to the affidavit.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/civilian-army-official-charged-in-bribery-case/2015/01/28/803e6b34-a723-11e4-a06b-9df2002b86a0_story.html

House lawmakers call for OFPP to issue reverse auction guidance

House lawmakers are pressing the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to update the Federal Acquisition Regulations to detail how best agencies should use reverse auctions.

Reps. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) and Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairmen of the Veterans Affairs and Small Business committees, respectively, wrote to Anne Rung, OFPP administrator, Dec. 4, asking for a FAR case to be opened immediately to address reverse auctions.

“As you may well know, while our two committees recognize that reverse auctions, when properly used, may deliver savings to the taxpayer, we have long been concerned that some are misusing this tool to evade competition and compliance with other procurement regulations,” Graves and Miller wrote in the letter obtained by Federal News Radio.

Graves and Miller highlight findings from the December 2013 report from Government Accountability Office as well as recent GAO bid protest decisions detailing agency struggles with reverse auctions.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/517/3765084/House-lawmakers-call-for-OFPP-to-issue-reverse-auction-guidance

Pentagon gets better grip on spending for services contracts

Defense Department managers in fiscal 2013 came in $500 million under spending limits on contract services required by the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, a watchdog found, an improvement over the previous year, when departmental caps were exceeded by $1.72 billion.

pentagon-sealBut more precision and consistency in multi-year data are needed to “budget and manage contract services spending,” the Government Accountability Office reported on Dec. 11, 2014. Of all Pentagon components, only the Army broke the limits on the services contracts that the congressional Armed Services committees determined were needed to maintain the proper balance between the civilian and contract workforces.

The Army, auditors found, exceeded its spending target “due to inaccurate budget estimates and weaknesses in planning by not soliciting inputs on commands’ contract services spending plans.”

Keep reading this story at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2014/12/pentagon-gets-better-grip-spending-services-contracts/101154