Cloud of sequestration looms over DC region

Five weeks before another round of deep Defense Department cuts is set to go into effect absent action from Congress, budget analysts and elected leaders throughout the region are renewing concerns about the Washington area’s reliance on Pentagon spending and the need to advance private sector growth in its place.

20131112_193738No state is more reliant on defense spending than Virginia, where it affects nearly 13 percent of the commonwealth’s economic output, tops nationwide, and provides the basis for 11 percent of jobs, third in the nation.

D.C. and Maryland also rank in the top 10 in Defense Department spending among states, with 6.9 percent and 5.8 percent of their output relying on defense respectively, according to a department report released last year.

In some ways Virginia is still reeling from automatic spending cuts known as sequestration that took place in 2013. The state’s gross domestic product had zero growth in 2014, according to a recent Department of Commerce report, third worst among states.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/digger/wp/2015/08/23/cloud-of-sequestration-looms-over-d-c-region/

‘Tis the season for multiple award contracts

Call it what you want — the “budget flush,” “federal Black Friday,” or the “federal holiday spending season” — but the government’s unofficial spending deluge is underway.

Selected GSA eBuy StatsFor more than four decades, federal agencies have been federally mandated to spend all of their allotted budget or face having it taken away. From August through the end of September have traditionally seen the heaviest spending by federal agencies.

“There are 55 shopping days left this year,” Bill Gormley, president and managing partner at the Gormley Group, said in a conference panel at a Bloomberg Government conference in McLean, Va. The next three months will see the heaviest spending of the year for federal agencies, he said.

Keep reading this article at: http://fcw.com/articles/2015/07/15/multiple-award-contracts.aspx

White House objects to Defense bill contracting provision empowering service chiefs

In a Tuesday (June 2, 2015) statement threatening a veto of the Senate Defense authorization bill, the White House objected chiefly to off-budget war funding and the continuing of sequestration.  But it also took aim at lawmakers’ plans to empower the military service chiefs in weapons acquisition and at smaller provisions affecting the contractor community.

US Capital 2As both chambers of Congress begin floor consideration of the $612 billion fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, the veto threat “strongly” objected to a Senate provision in section 843 designed to alleviate procurement delays prompted, as the Armed Services Committee report put it, by “multiple, duplicative reviews within the Office of the Secretary of Defense and services.” The bill would decentralize decision making on weapons system milestones for service-unique programs and limit documentation of approvals.

The administration called that plan “inconsistent with the secretary of Defense’s exercise of authority, direction, and control over all of the DoD programs and activities.  Since DoD’s founding, the secretary of Defense has served as the principal assistant to the president in all matters relating to DoD and subordinated the departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to the secretary’s authority.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2015/06/white-house-objects-defense-bill-contracting-provision-empowering-service-chiefs/114382

Senate defense bill lays out acquisition reforms

The Senate’s version of the $612 billion 2016 defense authorization bill that cleared committee on Thursday treats shortfalls in the acquisition system as a national security threat while pressuring the Pentagon to accelerate planned reductions in headquarters personnel.

US Congress“This is a reform bill,” said Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz. “It tackles acquisition reform, military retirement reform, personnel reform, headquarters and management reform. This legislation delivers sweeping defense reforms that rise to the challenges of a more dangerous world. We identified $10 billion of excess and unnecessary spending from the defense budget, and we are reinvesting it in military capabilities for our warfighters and reforms that can yield long-term savings for the Department of Defense.”

The headquarters staff cuts and purchasing reforms differ slightly from the House version of the bill, which passed that chamber on Friday, May 15, 2015.

“An acquisition system that takes too long and costs too much is leading to the erosion of America’s defense technological advantage, which the United States will lose altogether if the department continues with business as usual. In short, our broken defense acquisition system is a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States,” a committee summary said.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/defense/2015/05/senate-defense-bill-lays-out-acquisition-reforms-hq-personnel-cuts/113113

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