DISA drops $16 billion contract after controversy

The Pentagon has pulled back its plans to award a$1.6 billion contract re-up to VMware after several companies protested the award in February.

The Defense Department’s cancellation of its joint enterprise licensing agreement with VMware allowed the Government Accountability Office to dismiss bid protests filed by Amazon Web Services, Citrix, Nutanix and Minburn Technology Group.

Those four companies contended the re-up was an improper sole-source request for cloud services that would have given VMware an unfair edge for DOD’s growing cloud demand.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/emerging-tech-blog/2015/03/disa-drops-16b-contract-after-controversy/107631

IG: Navy and Marine Corps reasonably justified IT contracts with little or no competition

The Navy and Marine Corps reasonably justified about $220 million worth of IT contracts that were solicited without full and open competition, says the Defense Department’s inspector general in a report issued Jan. 23.

The IG reviewed 66 Navy and Marine Corps IT contracts that used “other than full and open competition” to procure technology services, with 34 being sole-source contracts and the other 32 limiting competition in some way.

The 34 sole-source contracts were valued at $151.5 million, with the rest coming in around $70 million, the report says.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernmentit.com/story/ig-navy-and-marine-corps-justified-it-contracts-little-or-no-competition/2015-01-26

Air Force to reshape ‘cost curve’ via targeted acquisition reforms

The Air Force is kicking off a series of targeted acquisition initiatives that its leaders hope will bring in more competition, cut out internal bureaucracy and ultimately lead to faster, cheaper procurements.

Deborah Lee James, the secretary of the Air Force, announced the plans under an overall banner she dubbed “Bending the Cost Curve.” She described the initiative as a series of actions that are complementary to DoD’s Better Buying Power initiative — but more specific and tailored than the DoD-wide project.

James said the changes, which the service developed after a months-long series of roundtables with industry groups, will help the Air Force do a better job of communicating with its existing vendor base, welcoming new firms into the fold and removing bureaucratic processes that seem to serve little purpose other than to slow things down.

“We are simply too slow in all that we do,” she told the Atlantic Council Wednesday evening. “Here’s one horrifying factoid: We currently average 17 months to award a contract in situations where we already know there’s only one supplier who can do the work.”

To tackle costs on its major systems, the Air Force will institutionalize a new program that will attempt to make price more of an independent variable in the service’s decisions about precisely what it wants its weapons systems to do.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/395/3781054/Air-Force-to-reshape-cost-curve-via-targeted-acquisition-reforms

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

White House releases Georgia Tech-influenced national manufacturing roadmap

Leaders from Georgia Tech participated in the release of the President’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP 2.0) final report, a one-year endeavor to outline a roadmap to secure U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson served on the 19-person AMP 2.0 Steering Committee and numerous faculty and staff put in many hours serving on various workstreams that focused on different aspects of manufacturing competitiveness.  This effort builds on the original AMP which kicked off in 2011 and ended in 2012 and also included Georgia Tech as one of a select few universities invited by the White House to participate.

Presidential SealBoth President Obama and Commerce Secretary Pritzker attended the out-brief from the AMP Steering Committee on Oct. 27, 2014 in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, and Georgia Tech Provost Rafael Bras represented Georgia Tech.

“The Georgia Tech community should be proud of the role that our team played in influencing this important report,” said Georgia Tech President Peterson. “Manufacturing has been central to Georgia Tech’s mission since its founding and we’re honored to add our collective experience and expertise to help grow the manufacturing economy in our country.”

Building upon the report, Obama announced a series of executive actions to strengthen U.S. advanced manufacturing, including a $300 million investment in the emerging technologies of advanced materials including composites and bio-based materials, advanced sensors for manufacturing and digital manufacturing.  Read about the multi-agency and private sector effort > 

Following the White House meeting, Georgia Tech researchers were invited panelists at a briefing hosted by the Innovation Policy Forum of The National Academies to discuss the report’s recommendations for enabling innovation, securing the talent pipeline and improving the business climate for manufacturing. Georgia Tech’s Tom Kurfess, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, addressed the report’s findings for enabling innovation, specifically on developing technologies to build a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). Jennifer Clark, Director of the Center for Urban Innovation at Georgia Tech, spoke on Improving the Business Climate and recommendations related to Scale-up Policy. The U.S. has been the leading producer of manufactured goods for more than 100 years, but strengths in manufacturing innovation and technologies that have sustained American leadership in manufacturing are under threat from new and growing competition abroad.

The AMP 2.0 report identifies the role of the Executive Office of the President in coordinating the federal government’s advanced manufacturing activities and defines responsibilities for Federal agencies and other Federal bodies in implementation.