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Congratulations to the participants of the Dentons “Gilbert A. Cuneo” Government Contracts Moot Court Competition

Dentons’ Government Contracts practice congratulates the winners and participants of the 16th annual Dentons “Gilbert A. Cuneo” Government Contracts Moot Court Competition. On April 7, our Washington, DC office hosted the reception and awards ceremony after the competition’s final round. Named after one of our practice founders, and a pioneer in the field of government contracts as a legal practice area, this competition has become a hallmark of George Washington University Law School and is something of which we are very proud. Over the years, a number of Dentons lawyers have been participants in and winners of the annual competition. Jessica Abrahams, Dentons’ Government Contracts practice leader, together with Dana Pashkoff, one of the editors of this blog and GW Law Government Contracting Industry Advisory Board member, welcomed GW Law School students, faculty, alumni, sitting judges and government contracts practitioners. Jessica Abrahams and Katherine Veeder (a former moot court winner) delivered remarks on the history of the moot court competition and our market-leading Government Contracts practice.

2016 moot court judges and finalists

cropped winners 2016 moot court winners2016 moot court - Jessica Dana Pashkoff and Steve Schooner 2016 moot court

Congratulations to the participants of the Dentons “Gilbert A. Cuneo” Government Contracts Moot Court Competition

2016 Business Systems Webinar Series

Dentons government contracts lawyers and the Public Contracting Institute (PCI) will present this business systems series addressing the expanding requirements of the business systems rules. The Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) Business Systems Rule outlines requirements for contractor compliance

This series, valuable to both Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Energy (DOE) contractors alike, will provide important guidance for any contractor seeking to improve its internal business system compliance and prepare for system self-assessments, and will help contractors prepare for and respond to government system reviews. This series will address the six covered business systems (including the systems covered by the DOE rule), and will feature guest speakers discussing practical insights and lessons learned from business system reviews.

Fourth Tuesday of the month

12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

January 26 – Business system administration and recent developments

February 23 – Accounting systems

March 22 – Estimating systems

April 26 – Purchasing systems (including counterfeit parts)

May 24 – Property/Earned value management system (EVMS)/Materials management and accounting system (MMAS)

For more information, or if you would like to attend a course (complimentary to Dentons’ clients), please reach out to Sofia Abraham Mendoza at sofia.mendoza@dentons.com. All webinars offer CLE credit. They are recorded and available to watch online for one year after the live date.

2016 Business Systems Webinar Series

2016 Financial Forum Series

Join Dentons government contracts lawyers for a Public Contracting Institute (PCI) webinar series involving the most current industry analysis in government contract cost accounting from a team of leaders in the field with unparalleled experience. For both contracting officials and private practitioners, these exclusive webinars offer the latest developments, hot topics and the unique opportunity to “ask the authorities.”

Second Tuesday of the month

12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

January 12 – Pricing requests for equitable adjustment and pursuing claims

February 9 – Subcontractor, travel and legal cost reasonableness

March 8 – Preventing, investigating and reporting accounting issues: The mandatory disclosure rule

April 12 – Incurred cost submissions and Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) audits: Strategies, trends and areas of focus

May 10 – Compensation cost allowability: Select compensation costs

June 14 – Principles of fiscal law and government contracts-related funding issues

September 13 – Application of cost accounting standards (CAS) and modified CAS coverage: CAS 401, 402, 405 and 406

October 11– Full-CAS coverage: Disclosure statements and allocation of direct and indirect, home office, general and administrative (G&A) and selected costs

November 8 – Developments in cost and pricing issues: A year in review

For more information, or if you would like to attend a course (complimentary to Dentons’ clients), please reach out to Sofia Abraham Mendoza at sofia.mendoza@dentons.com. All webinars offer CLE credit. They are recorded and available to watch online for one year after the live date.

2016 Financial Forum Series

2015–2016 Cybersecurity Compliance and New Developments Series

Dentons government contracts lawyers and the Public Contracting Institute (PCI) presents this  new webinar series addressing cybersecurity requirements for federal government contractors. This six-part series, useful to both large and small contractors alike and at both the prime and subcontract level, provides important guidance for contractors who are seeking to ensure compliance with the government’s rapidly expanding cybersecurity requirements. Contractors learn about the statutory and regulatory requirements applicable to contractors, including key agency-specific regulations; cyber requirements applicable to owners and operators of critical infrastructure, including the defense base; best practices for cyber breach investigation and response; and recent and future cyber developments, including the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) efforts to establish a government-wide system for identification and protection of controlled unclassified information. The series is an invaluable resource for contractors who want to ensure compliance with existing cyber obligations while best positioning themselves competitively for future developments in the government contracts industry.

This series is taught by lawyers from our government contracts practice in tandem with lawyers from our global privacy and security practice. A schedule of the sessions is below.

First Tuesday of the month

1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET

November 3, 2015 – Overview of the cyber legal and regulatory maze

December 1, 2015 – Critical infrastructure cybersecurity, Executive Order 13636

January 5, 2016 – The Department of Defense (DOD) network penetration clause

February 2, 2016 – Breach investigation and response

March 1, 2016 – The NARA rule/SP 800-171

April 5, 2016 – Cybersecurity outlook: Predictions on cyber policies in federal procurement

For more information, or if you would like to attend a course(complimentary to Dentons’ clients), please reach out to Sofia Abraham Mendoza at sofia.mendoza@dentons.com. All webinars offer CLE credit. They are recorded and available to watch online for one year after the live date.

2015–2016 Cybersecurity Compliance and New Developments Series

Jim Williams, Former Manager of the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Integration Office, Joins Dentons’ Premiere Aviation Team

James “Jim” H. Williams has joined Dentons as a Principal in the Firm’s Public Policy and Regulation Practice. Mr. Williams brings to Dentons more than 25 years of experience in the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”), where he most recently served as the Manager of the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) Integration Office. Mr. Williams was instrumental in expanding unmanned military and commercial aircraft access to US airspace and served as the FAA’s spokesperson on all UAS-related issues.

During his distinguished career at the FAA, Mr. Williams led the agency’s lifecycle management of all FAA communications systems, oversaw the implementation of the Safety Management System, and managed the team that developed, procured, and installed air/ground communications systems. Before moving to the FAA, Mr. Williams began his career at NASA’s Johnson Space Center after earning his BA in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The addition of Mr. Williams bolsters Dentons’ highly-regarded aviation and transportation practice as it expands capabilities in the US to serve global aviation and aerospace clients. Under the leadership of Partner Mark A. Dombroff, the aviation and transportation practice advises clients in litigation, regulatory, administrative and enforcement matters, security, employee-related issues, National Transportation Safety Board investigation, as well as emergency preparedness and response.

For more information on Mr. Williams and Dentons Aviation team, please see the Firm’s July 27 Press Release. On August 20, Dentons will host A conversation with Jim Williams, a webinar. Media are invited to attend and should contact Lisa Sachdev for more details.

Jim Williams, Former Manager of the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Integration Office, Joins Dentons’ Premiere Aviation Team

FMS — A DoD interim rule would alter indirect offset cost reasonableness evaluations

The Department of Defense (DoD) issued an interim rule Tuesday amending DFARS 225.7303-2 to instruct contracting officers to accept all indirect offset costs imposed in Foreign Military Sales (FMS) acquisitions as reasonable without performing a cost reasonableness analysis. This new rule should reduce transaction costs for contractors, as it removes some DoD oversight from FMS offset agreements and, therefore, obviates the need for data calls and other effort that contractors provide as support for the contracting officer’s reasonableness evaluation.

Many governments require foreign defense contractors to “offset” the value of a procurement through any number of transactions intended to turn at least some of that value back around to benefit domestic economic activity. These transactions may directly support the overall defense project, or they may be “indirect offsets” wholly unrelated to the underlying procurement. Though the United States does not impose offset requirements in its own contracts, it allows foreign nations to request through the FMS program both direct and indirect offset requirements by including them in the FMS Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) and related DoD contract.

Until now, U.S. contracting officers were required by FAR parts 15 and 31 to determine price reasonableness regarding all aspects of FMS contracts, including indirect offset costs. Recognizing that these contracting officers have little or no insight into the pricing of indirect offsets – which are negotiated directly between the contractor and the foreign government – the interim rule eliminates this price reasonableness determination. Now, contracting officers are to deem reasonable “all offset costs that involve benefits provided by the U.S. defense contractor to the FMS customer that are unrelated to the item being purchased under the LOA,” so long as the contractor submits a signed offset agreement or other documentation showing that an indirect offset of a certain dollar value is a condition of the FMS acquisition. Contractors must remember that the interim rule applies only to indirect offsets, and contracting officers will continue to scrutinize direct offset costs for reasonableness in accordance with FAR part 31.

Sparked by a “recent and foreseeable trend” of increasingly complex indirect offsets desired by FMS customers, this rule will go into effect immediately to “allow DoD contracting officers to finalize pending negotiations for FMS contracts to support U.S. allies and partners, and maintain bilateral relationships.” However, the Defense Acquisition Regulations System is accepting comments until August 3, 2015 before issuing a final rule.

FMS — A DoD interim rule would alter indirect offset cost reasonableness evaluations

Government Contracts

Government contracting offers lucrative opportunities for businesses that know how to take advantage of them. To navigate this intricate but rewarding field, you need a legal partner who understands how agencies function, how Congress thinks, how Washington works and what awarded contracts mean.
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Government Contracts

Phillip Seckman

Phillip Seckman

Denver

Denver

Better Buying Power 3.0 Initiative: Important Potential Effects on Contractors

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics recently issued a directive on the implementation of Better Buying Power (“BBP”) 3.0, the latest iteration in Under Secretary Frank Kendall’s effort to increase the productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of Department of Defense (“DoD”) procurement. While BBP 3.0 reinforces prior BBP initiatives more than it reinvents them, the directive indicates a stronger emphasis on innovation, technical excellence, and product quality. Many of the new initiatives could have significant impacts on the acquisition process.

Though a number of BBP 3.0 initiatives are aimed at increasing DoD access to commercial innovation, some may have a more constrictive effect. For example, in an effort to “increase the productivity” of contractor Independent Research and Development (“IR&D”) programs, BBP 3.0 calls for the creation of new guidelines requiring both DoD endorsement prior to project initiation and continuous oversight through annual written reports. With regards to contract pricing, the BBP 3.0 directive seeks to prevent contractors from taking into account promised future IR&D expenditures when bidding for competitive procurements. The directive also proposes development of a revised DoDI 5000.02 increasing cybersecurity responsibilities to better protect unclassified technical data throughout product lifecycle, including down through the supply chain. Though driven by an important goal, this may restrict technology transfer between primes and subcontractors and increase costs devoted to cybersecurity.

BBP 3.0 also attempts to facilitate increased utilization of commercial items through workforce training on non-traditional procurement vehicles – such as FAR part 12 and Other Transaction Authority (“OTA”) – coupled with potential legislative or policy changes. The latter, however, will likely be in conjunction with ongoing efforts to add a new section to DFARS part 215.4 entitled “Evaluating Price Reasonableness for Commercial Items,” which, based on a February memorandum by DPAP Director Shay Assad, we expect to encourage Contracting Officers to more frequently request “other than cost and pricing data” when making price reasonableness determinations for commercial items.

Whether BBP 3.0 will succeed in tapping into the commercial sector’s well of innovation remains to be seen. Industry should continue to closely monitor these initiatives as they are implemented across the defense acquisition marketplace.

Better Buying Power 3.0 Initiative: Important Potential Effects on Contractors