Senator to propose wage increase for federal employees

The world is currently in harsh and crucial times. But we still have hard working employees that would work to see the change and greatness of the American country. Employees can often be overlooked even when they are breaking their backs at their designated jobs. With their hard work they still get little pay but Senator Brian Schatz is trying his absolute best to give federal employees a raise in the next year to come. “This time the bill would give civilian federal employees an average 3.2% pay raise in 2022”. This increase in payment will tremendously affect employees. But many challenges have risen in fulfilling this task.

When the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates, or FAIR Act is brought up to congress it gets overshadowed with other problems such as funding for IT modernization for companies, increased federal contracting opportunities for small businesses, and the case of firing Social Security Administration Commissioner Andrew Saul and Deputy Commissioner David Black. “From my current seat on the appropriations committee, it’s going to take resources. We’ve dealt with budget caps over the last ten years and when your choice is between programs that impact families and IT systems, sometimes IT systems have not won out.” The government is in a strenuous place of having to choose where the money goes and how to continue budgeting, but people are working hard on letting this legislation be brought to light and getting passed. “Cardin, Van Hollen, Blumenthal, Kaine, Warner, Brown, Hirono, Baldwin, Merkley, Sanders another who sponsored this legislation in an effort to help those who keep the country running every day,”. The FAIR Act assists federal employees that have been damaged to the core by the pandemic where they get the opportunity to rising costs in health care, housing, and higher education.

During such a jarring time, federal employees continued to risk their lives and serve their country even in a global pandemic. They continue to be selfless and active during their duties. Sen. Brian Schatz highlights these key points in justifying why they deserve an increase in pay. The FAIR Act will show these front-line heroes how much they are valued and respected for their work.

Author: Joyce Divo


Covid-19 successes set new changes and expectations for federal acquisition community

It is clear, Covid-19 has caused major impacts everywhere, including in the federal acquisition community. The ongoing pandemic has allowed federal acquirers to review their skills and come up with complete and innovative technological implementations that may allow them to succeed in the near future. These new adopted implementations will pave a new way on how they do business within the community. The new level of expectations has skyrocketed over the course of the years. Leaving many to become unsettled.

The Food and Drug Administration’s director, (Andrew Jernell) states, “We have a lot of young people, they’re comfortable with this, and they’re going to want to move and use these tools to procure these things.” There is a large demand for changes within business practices, especially since new tools and resources were discovered and utilized since the oncoming of Covid-19. Despite the changes seen, there obstacles and hurdles to cross. This leads to a bigger rise in demand for new innovation while the fear remains the strategic business goals and growth strategies will not be met by those acquiring businesses.

The following evidence provides additional insight of problems that occurred when trying to find solutions in time. “At the Defense Department, acquisition officials were tasked early in the pandemic with assisting the Department of Health and Human Services with emergency procurements of medical supplies and personal protective equipment. But without deep knowledge of the medical device industry, officials realized they needed new ways to quickly determine which firms could actually fulfill orders and which could not.” Although this difficulty occurred in the end, they were eventually able to find a solution adapting new tools such as commercially-available supply chains that proved to be valuable enough. This solution worked out so greatly that it was adapted as an ongoing strategy.

In the end despite the bombarding issues with Covid-19, federal business acquirers were able to take advantage of this problem and find new ways to reach their goals of success. Adapting new tools and innovations to make changes within businesses. Even though expectations of changes were on the rise many were able to meet these expectations and develop plans that will benefit them greatly in the future.

Author: Robinson, Amiyah


GSA, DHS to address shortcomings in contractor assessments

In the world of federal contracting, the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) is well known. For some contractors, their CPARS ratings are critical, as they essentially reflect the quality of work done on government contracts. The General Services Administration and the Department of Homeland Security are taking a look at the process and plan to improve upon it.

According to Mike Smith, a former DHS director, “We think there is a clear appetite for Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS), but contracting officers and industry also know the current CPARS process is broken. I think OFPP hears it from contracting officers that it’s burdensome, and they hear from contractors that it’s not resulting in fair and accurate ratings.” On the other hand, there are many in the industry that believe that contractive officers to not take the time to accurately assess contractors, often grading them satisfactorily due to a desire to lessen their own burden.

GSA and DHS both have different plans to improve the CPARS assessment process. DHS is trying to address these shortcomings by applying artificial intelligence tools to the CPARS process. For GSA, it’s a matter of whether contracting officers pick up on the ability for vendors to provide self-assessments on specific projects. GSA senior procurement executive, Jeff Koses, issued a memo in February promoting the use of vendor self-assessments as one step in the overall CPARS process.

Ultimately, many in the federal contracting industry believe that the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) needs to get more involved. Though GSA and DHS are looking to improve upon the CPARS process, OFPP can issue a government-wide memo on increasing confidence in the CPARS or even steps to take for bettering the process. This initiative will ultimately help small business, as it will help contracting officers feel more comfortable issuing awards based on increased accuracy and confidence in these assessments.

Author: Paul McVeigh


DoD Worries: Supply Chain, Heavy Spending, Fewer Prime Contractors

The following is a summary of a conversation between Senior Bloomberg reporter Travis Tritten and Tom Temlin of Federal Drive:

It is said that over the last decade, there has been kind of this stunning decline in the number of prime vendors out there. A 36% decrease. You have also seen the defense budget climb pretty significantly. Defense spending is up 18%. And what we’ve seen is that the bottom lines of companies are growing. A smaller pool of companies are getting a bigger piece of the Pentagon’s funding pie.

We don’t have the indigenous, domestic technical ability that we need as the military adopts these cutting-edge technologies, like artificial intelligence. The military is trying to modernize and it needs this tech know-how, what you find a lot in these midsize and smaller companies, to accomplish this type of modernization. They are finding it harder and harder to get these companies on board. Therefore, it has created a system that is weak, you don’t have the technical know-how and also you have fewer companies competing for contracts. This creates challenges with the lack of competition that keeps prices down. Resulting in taxpayers paying more for these contracts.

Manufacturing is really the hard problem of the defense industrial base. You saw the last acquisition chief as she was leaving, in January, she warned about the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing, right. This is a huge long-term trend. The United States has lost a lot of these domestic abilities, these manufacturing capabilities. This is a difficult problem, because it’s much greater than just the Pentagon, although the Pentagon suffers greatly.

Biden has his deputy defense secretary in place, Kathleen Hicks, and she has mentioned that she is concerned about the consolidation of the defense industrial base. One of the issues for the Biden administration, is they do not have their top people in place yet. We’re still waiting for nominees and for a Pentagon acquisition chief to be named. That is the true point person in the department for these types of issues. It is believed at this point the administration does not have a fully executable game plan that is fully formed. This is going to be a pressing issue, and they’re going to need to get on it once they get somebody in place.

The reason that this is so concerning is because we depend on a lot of this stuff from China. And China is our main competitor, as the Pentagon always says it’s the pacing threat. When you have your main competitor in the world, who has the capability of producing this stuff, and you’re dependent on it for your defense supply chain and puts you in a really difficult situation, strategically, that’s just untenable. It’s something that needs to be addressed. There has been this rising alarm over and over of China’s involvement in the supply chain.

Author: Patrina Philips