Surely many contractors have had their issues with Government oversight from time to time. One of those oversight organizations is the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA). DCMA performs contract administration services for DoD and other Federal agencies and a limited number of foreign governments. Within DCMA is an IT (Information Technology) Directorate whose program managers, contracting officers representatives (CORs) contract specialists, and contracting officers are involved in awarding and administering DCMA IT service contracts. It seems that DCMA cannot effectively administer their own contracts.
Details of the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) are beginning to emerge but are no where near complete as representatives introduce amendments to the proposed legislation almost daily. If past years are an indication, we won’t see the 2019 NDAA signed into law until late fall.
Small businesses will certainly welcome this item tucked away into the current version of the proposed 2019 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) – accelerated payments.
The Federal Government does a pretty good job of meeting its small and disadvantaged subcontracting goals. (See, for example, Proposed Legislation to Increase Small/Minority/Disadvantaged Subcontracting Goals). Prime contractors have not been doing as well and some of the blame has been pinned on Government contracting officers for inattention to what their prime contractors are doing.
It is the Government’s policy to try to resolve all contractual issues by mutual agreement at the contracting officer’s level without litigation. Often times, it does not seem like this is the Government’s policy at all. There are a few contracting officers out there that fancy themselves as the supreme authority on contractual matters and rebuff any attempts at compromise or resolution. Likewise, there are contractors out there that view any questions or queries from Government officials as personal attacks on their character and integrity. When these two meet, there is little hope of resolution so contracting officers issue their final decision and contractors submit claims.
Contractors are required by contract to have codes of ethical conduct, sound internal controls in business systems used in Government contracting, and procedures to detect and prevent fraudulent activities. Segregation of duties and levels of approvals are controls that will help prevent fraud. However, conspiracies (two or more people acting in concert to override existing internal control systems) are much more difficult to detect and tend to go on for a long time.
The Government filed a motion to dismiss a claim filed by Cooper/Ports America (CPA) with the ASBCA (Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals) because the company was not the contractor within the meaning of the Contract Disputes Act at the time the claim accrued.
DoD issued a final rule last week that makes contractors and subcontractors subject to approval, review and audit by DoD officials when identifying a contractor-approved supplier of electronic parts.
DCMA (Defense Contract Management Agency) has an ombudsman to investigate contractor complaints against maladministration. This ombudsman is not exactly a specific person but an email address that serves the same purpose.
Last month, the Defense Department issued a class deviation to the FAR that will raise the threshold for certified cost or pricing data from $750 thousand to $2 million (see TINA Threshold Rises to $2 Million on July 1st 2018). This class deviation was made to comply with Section 811 of the 2018 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act).