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White House Announces New Actions to Support Small Business: ‘Shop Small Today,’ The Hill

On November 25, the Biden administration unveiled new actions intended to increase support for small businesses. In a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, the administration listed three top actions. Read more here.

Executive Order (EO) 14111, Interagency Security Committee

On December 1, the Executive Office of the President published an EO establishing the Interagency Security Committee. The Committee is charged with establishing policies and standards for security, evaluating existing standards, developing a strategy to monitor implementation of standards, ensuring agency compliance, and taking action to enhance the quality and effectiveness of security for federal facilities. One year after the order and biennially, the Committee will need to provide a summary report to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The EO is available here.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Safety and Mission Assurance Services (SMAS) III Presolicitation

On November 27, NASA released a revised draft RFP for administrative support for research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences (except nanotechnology and biotechnology). Per FAR 19.5, this is a total small business set-aside. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center solicits offers for a cost plus fixed-fee, indefinite delivery indefinite quantity, single-award contract with a five-year ordering period and one 6-month option period. The ceiling value is $226 Million. Offers are due January 2, 2024, at 8:00 am ET. More information is available here

Extension of Deadline for Comments on Interim Rule Implementing Federal Acquisition Supply Chain Security Act (FASCSA) Orders

On October 5, Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration issued an Interim Rule amending the FAR to implement supply chain risk information sharing and exclusion or removal orders consistent with the FASCSA and a Final Rule. The deadline for submitting comments on the interim rule is being extended from December 4, 2023, to February 2, 2024. The Extension is available here

Department of Defense (DOD) Memorandum: Covered Applications (“TikTok”) Added to Governmentwide Commercial Purchase Card Prohibited Purchase List 

On December 5, the DOD issued a memorandum adding the “covered applications,” meaning TikTok or any successor application or service developed or provided by ByteDance Limited, or an entity owned by ByteDance Limited, to the Governmentwide Commercial Purchase Card Prohibited Purchase List, to align with FAR clauses prohibiting the presence or use of covered applications. The full memorandum is available here.

Government Accountability Office (GAO) Office of Inspector General (OIG)’s Semiannual Report to Congress

On November 29, the GAO OIG released its Semiannual Report to Congress for the period of April 1, 2023, to September 30, 2023. In its report, the OIG discusses its Strategic Plan for FYs 2021 to 2025 which addresses support to combat fraud, waste, and abuse and promotes efficiency, integrity, and effectiveness in GAO. The report also provides a description of the Biennial Work Plan that outlines GAO’s methods for identifying priority issues and managing workload and resources. OIG notes that reporting and transparency within GAO improved and applauds GAO for taking active steps to mitigate risk. The full report is available here

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Notice of VA Acquisition Regulation (VAAR) 809.507-1 and 852.209-70

On December 5, VA published a Notice regarding VAAR provision 852.209-70, Organizational Conflicts of Interest and VAAR 809.507-1, Solicitation provisions. The VAAR provisions require offerors on solicitations for management support and consulting services to advise, as part of the offer, whether award of the contract might involve a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest, and to disclose all relevant facts regarding the conflict or potential conflict. The information is used by the contracting officer to determine whether to award a contract\ or, if a contract is to be awarded despite a potential conflict, whether additional contract terms and conditions are necessary to mitigate the conflict. The Notice is available here. Comments close January 4, 2023.

Reorganizing Government Acquisition for the Digital Age, Government Executive

The General Services Administration recently reorganized its Federal Acquisition Service, replacing its regional structure to a more centralized structure. Read more here.

Air Force Must Recall Legal Search Deal After RELX Protest, Law360

The U.S. Air Force must end a licensing agreement to access Thomson Reuters’ legal databases, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said, after determining that Reuters’ databases didn’t fit the terms of a contract seeking legal research platforms. Read more here (subscription required). 

Upcoming Government Contracts Presentations

WEBINAR: Unlocking the Secrets of Debriefings, Government Evaluation of Proposals and Protests, January 25, 2024, Katherine B. Burrows and Eric Valle. Read more here.

WEBINAR: Navigating the FAR/DFARS: The Most Confusing and Little-Known Clauses, January 31, 2024, Lauren Brier and Annie B. Hudgins. Read more here.



Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

On December 4, OMB issued a memorandum to provide updated guidance and deadlines per the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA). The memorandum outlines the following: (1) increasing coordination with and visibility of continuous diagnostics and mitigation capabilities, (2) internet of things, (3) requirements for reporting, and (4) incident reporting requirements. The full memorandum is available here

Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report, Cybersecurity: Federal Agencies Made Progress, but Need to Fully Implement Incident Response Requirements

On December 4, GAO released a report to evaluate Federal agencies’ capabilities to respond to cyber incidents, the extent agencies prepared for cyber incident response, any challenges, and any effort to address those challenges. GAO found that Federal agencies have improved their preparation and response to cyber threats. Specifically, GAO identified improvements in agencies’ abilities to detect, analyze, and handle ransomware attacks and data breaches. GAO also noted that agencies “have not met the federal requirements for event logging – i.e., ensuring that cybersecurity incidents are tracked and that these tracking logs are appropriately retained and managed.” GAO recommended that Federal agencies “fully implement requirements to log cybersecurity events, and more.” Read more here. The full report is available here.

Department of Defense (DOD) Special Report: Common Cybersecurity Weaknesses Related to the Protection of DOD Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) on Contractor Networks

On December 4, DOD released a special report outlining common cybersecurity weaknesses. The report outlines 24 open recommendations from previous audit reports aimed at addressing cybersecurity vulnerabilities among DOD contractors, including common weaknesses in the cybersecurity protocols of DOD contractors who process, store, and transmit CUI. One of the most prevalent weaknesses identified in this report was the failure of DOD contractors to enforce multifactor authentication and lack of strong passwords. Read more here. The full report is available here

Upcoming Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Presentations

PM WEBINAR: Protecting Our Nation’s Data: Cybersecurity Compliance for Government Contractors, January 4, 2024, Isaias “Cy” Alba, IV and Daniel Figuenick, III. Read more here.



U.S. Appeals Ruling Blocking $15 Federal Contractor Minimum Wage, Bloomberg Government

The U.S. Department of Labor is asking a federal appeals court to reverse a ruling blocking the agency from enforcing a $15 minimum wage for federal contractors in three Republican-led states. Read more here (subscription required). 



FTC Votes to Streamline Investigations Into AI Products, NextGov/FCW

In a 3-0 vote, the Federal Trade Commission approved a resolution that will let agency staff issue certain demands when investigating artificial intelligence-based services and products for potential market violations. Read more here.