Who’s the boss in government contracting?

he management structure of government procurement, where one of every six federal dollars is spent, has remained generally unchanged for many years, even as the volume and percentage of products and services performed by agencies has evolved to today’s outsourced, dependent model. One continuing characteristic of this model is decentralization.

For example, since its creation in 1971, governmentwide acquisition policy responsibility rests with the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), residing within OMB. It helps shape the policy and practices governing over $500 billion of annual contract obligations. It does so with a very small budget and staff and relies on interagency cooperation to develop policy and workforce development planning in the form of memos, circulars, guides, or reports. OFPP chairs the FAR Council, consisting of senior procurement executives from GSA, NASA, and DoD (the largest contracting agencies at its creation), to manage cases (changes to the FAR) from civilian and defense agency councils, extensively relying on agency-provided “teams” for assigned subject areas. In addition, OFPP oversees the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI), chairing its “board of directors” (agency procurement executives) to ensure training priorities are addressed, including development of a professional acquisition workforce. OFPP’s mandate relies on words like “collaborate,” or “assist” in describing its role over other civilian agencies. FAI itself has a small staff and relies on other, better-funded agencies, to develop training programs and schools, as well as private contractor-approved providers.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/story/government/acquisition/blog/2015/01/16/government-contracting-leadership/21858713/

Former security contractor CEO agrees to pay $4.5 million to settle civil claims

Keith Hedman, 55, of Arlington, Virginia, the former chief executive officer of a Virginia-based security contracting firm, Protection Strategies, Inc. has agreed to pay $4.5 million to settle civil claims relating to his involvement in a fraudulent scheme to create a front company to obtain contracts through the Small Business Administration’s Section 8(a) program.  The Section 8(a) program allows qualified small businesses to receive sole-source and competitive-bid contracts set aside for minority-owned and disadvantaged small businesses.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after the settlement agreement was signed by both parties. “The civil settlement illustrates the importance of not stopping at a criminal resolution when a defendant has pled guilty to fraud against the government,” said U.S. Attorney Boente.

The settlement resolves civil claims against Hedman relating to the criminal plea entered by him in U.S. v. Hedman,1:13cr74. According to court records, in or about 2001 Hedman formed PSI, which was approved to participate in the 8(a) program based on the 8(a) eligibility of its listed president and CEO, an African-American female. When the listed president and CEO left PSI in 2003, Hedman became its sole owner, and the company was no longer 8(a)-eligible.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.alexandrianews.org/former-security-contractor-ceo-agrees-to-pay-4-5-million-to-settle-civil-claims/

 

DoD IG: Some Defense contract audits rely on inaccurate pricing data

The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), which provides audit and financial advisory services to the Defense Department, hasn’t advised contracting officers on proper cost and pricing data, according to a recently released report from DoD’s inspector general.

As part of the IG’s oversight responsibility of the agency, it evaluated a cross section of 16 DCAA contract audits completed between October 2011 and February 2013.

The review included five audits of forward-pricing proposals as well as 11 audits of incurred cost proposals and other audit types, the report says. The IG identified one or more significant problems associated with 13 of the 16 audits.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/dod-ig-some-defense-contract-audits-rely-inaccurate-pricing-data/2014-11-04

DFARS sets time DoD contractors have to request information release

Defense Department contractors must now submit requests to release  fundamental research from a project 10 days before doing so, an addition to the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) says.

The DFARS says a DoD contractor can’t release to anyone outside its own  organization any unclassified information pertaining to the contract or the  program related to the contract unless the information was already in the public  domain or a request for approval is granted. Requests for approval should  identify the specific DoD information to be released, the medium to be used and  the purpose for the release.

The change regarding fundamental research was previously published as part of  a proposed  rule proposed in 2011 having to with safeguarding unclassified DoD  Information. Under the previously proposed rule, contractors would have had 45  days to submit the request before the information is to be released.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/rule-change-reduces-time-dod-contractors-have-request-information-release/2013-08-12

Boeing told to repay DoD after charging $2,286 for $10 part

The Pentagon’s purchasing agency says Boeing Co. (BA) must refund $13.7 million in excessive prices charged on spare parts, including a $10 device for which the defense contractor charged $2,286 apiece.

The Defense Logistics Agency “is seeking a refund from Boeing,” spokeswoman Michelle McCaskill said in an e-mailed statement. “The refund will be for the full $13.7 million identified” and will be requested by July 31, she said.

The agency overpaid about $1.3 million for 573 of the aluminum “bearing sleeves” used on an aircraft’s main landing-gear door that should have cost $10 each, the Pentagon’s inspector general said in an audit labeled “For Official Use Only.”

Wasteful spending resulted from agency personnel failing to negotiate good deals or to perform adequate oversight, and from Boeing’s failure to pass on savings it won from subcontractors, according to the complete audit report. A summary of the findings was reported by Bloomberg News on June 7.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-19/boeing-told-to-repay-after-charging-2-286-for-10-part.html

Longtime whistleblower at the Defense Contract Audit Agency keeps discontent alive

The Defense Contract Audit Agency has racked up its share of detractors over the years, being accused everything from slow processing of reports to leniency toward contractors who overbill the government.

But perhaps its most insistent critic is neither the Government Accountability Office nor a peacenik advocacy group, but one of its own auditors. George Duggan, a Northern California certified public accountant who has spent 25 years with DCAA, has been blasting his superiors since the 1990s, landing him more than once in the role of whistleblower in a Federal Claims Court and before the Merit Systems Protection Board.

Under Director Patrick Fitzgerald since 2009, DCAA has implemented a range of reforms, chief among them the importation of fresh management blood and a risk-based triage strategy for focusing on audits most likely to return money to the treasury. But Duggan insists the agency — and its overseers in the Defense Department Inspector General’s Office — could do better.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/defense/2013/05/longtime-dcaa-whistleblower-keeps-discontent-alive/63027/?oref=national_defense_nl.

Pentagon’s internal feud over contract auditing takes a new twist

The ongoing dispute over the quality of work at the Defense Contract Audit Agency took a new turn on Thursday with the release of a Defense Inspector General’s Office report criticizing the professional judgment used in DCAA assignments dating back to 2010 and earlier.

The March 7 report — which the deputy IG acknowledged was delayed for two years while the office’s staff focused more on DCAA hotlines than audits — covered quality assurance reviews on 50 DCAA reports completed in the first half of fiscal 2010.

“DCAA did not exercise professional judgment in performing 37 (74 percent) of the assignments reviewed,” the IG team concluded. “The abundance of non-compliances with standards identified in the 37 assignments evidenced the need for improvements in the area of competence at DCAA.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2013/03/pentagons-internal-feud-over-contract-auditing-takes-new-twist/61772/?oref=govexec_today_nl 

Defense auditors’ focus on riskiest contracts lacks plan, GAO finds

The controversial move by the Defense Contract Audit Agency to more selectively perform incurred costs audits lacks an implementation plan, a time frame and performance metrics, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

Three years ago, DCAA’s newly installed Patrick Fitzgerald began refocusing resources and revamping audit procedures and training to stress quality over quantity. This type of triage meant raising by tenfold the threshold dollar amounts that trigger incurred cost audits of fixed-priced and cost-type contracts.

Though “this initiative appears promising,” GAO found, DCAA “has not fully developed the measures by which it will assess whether the initiative reduces the backlog in a manner that protects the taxpayers’ interests. Specifically, DCAA does not have a plan for how it will determine whether key features of the initiative, such as the revised risk criteria and the revised sampling percentages, should be adjusted in the future.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/defense/2012/12/defense-auditors-focus-riskiest-contracts-lacks-plan-gao-finds/60306/?oref=govexec_today_nl.

Acquisition workforce unprepared for challenges of sequestration

Most federal acquisition professionals are not prepared to quickly renegotiate contracts or handle other responsibilities if automatic budget cuts take effect next month, according to a survey released Monday, Dec. 17, 2012.  

Sequestration — the automatic spending cuts required if Congress and the White House fail to agree on a deficit reduction plan by Jan. 2 — would require acquisition employees to quickly renegotiate, cancel or change the scope of contracts. Of the 40 federal officials surveyed, including senior acquisition executives, contracting professionals, congressional staff and representatives from the oversight community, 60 percent said those skills were weak or nonexistent in the acquisition workforce.

Sequestration “will present a host of issues, such as contract terminations. There is the potential for millions in broken contracts, so this is a critical area,” one survey respondent said.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20121217/ACQUISITION02/312170004/Acquisition-workforce-unprepared-challenges-sequestration?odyssey=nav%7Chead.

See survey at: http://www.pscouncil.org/i/p/Procurement_Policy_Survey/c/p/ProcurementPolicySurvey/Procurement_Policy_S.aspx

Hold lifted on Army acquisition chief’s nomination

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, removed the last road block to the lengthy process of confirming Heidi Shyu as the Army’s top acquisition official.

Shyu has served in the role since May 31, 2011 since Malcolm O’Neill, the former Army acquisition chief, resigned and recommended his deputy, Shyu, take over. The Obama administration waited until this past February to officially nominate Shyu.

The Army has since had to work with Cornyn and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who each placed a hold on her nomination for separate reasons.

Coburn held up the nomination because he was upset about the sluggish pace of the Army’s Improved Carbine Competition. He released his hold in August.

That left Cornyn as the sole barrier between Shyu and the confirmation of her nomination. He released his hold on Sept. 21st after the Defense Department agreed to investigate an arms dealer that supplied the U.S. Army with Mi-17 helicopters while also dealing with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Read this article at: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2012/09/21/hold-lifted-on-army-acquisition-chiefs-nomination/