Budget cuts, sequestration and the winding down of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan caused an 11 percent decline in last year's federal contract spending compared to the previous year.
Individual federal contractors will likely face increased conflict of interest scrutiny under a proposed regulation. Currently the Federal Acquisition Regulation limits the definition of personal conflict of interest to those performing jobs closely associated with inherently governmental acquisition work.
The Air Force thinks it's paying more for its goods and services than it should and wants to put pressure on its contractors to reduce costs in their supply chain. Previously, when the Air Force negotiated contracts, much of it went to prime contractors, but now 60 to 70 percent of that is subcontracted, said the Air Force's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Contracting Wendy Masiello.
About 40 percent of all contracts awarded by the Defense Department in fiscal 2013 were through noncompetitive contracts, says an April 16 Government Accountability Office report. With those contracts, the DoD tends to bundle them under a class justifcation rather than justifying why there was no competition for each contract, the report says.
Acquisition experts see a March 13 Defense Department memo directing its contracting officers to seek prices lower than the general schedule as redundant and as a sign that contracting officers aren't getting the training they need. The Federal Acquisition Regulation already says that contracting officers shall seek a price reduction when the order exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold of $150,000.
The General Services Administration will create an online repository containing data on much agencies have paid for particular goods and services, an April 9 GSA blog post says. The GSA will develop the Common Acquisition Platform – an online platform to guide agencies through the total acquisition process, GSA's Federal Acquisition Service head Tom Sharpe said in the blog post.
Six years of audits and investigations by the State Department office of inspector general turned up $6 billion worth of contracts with missing or incomplete files. In a March 31 report (pdf), the OIG says contract management is a major challenge for the department and "creates conditions conducive to fraud."
The General Services Administration failed to assess the negative impact that the Office Supplies 3 strategic sourcing contract would have on small businesses, an April 3 Small Business Administration analysis says.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has not gone far enough in cutting the costs of goods and services obtained through vendor contracts nor has it established a formal strategic sourcing program to help find potential savings, according to Justice Department auditors.
Agencies are letting noncompetitive contracts awarded on the basis of "unusual and compelling urgency" run past the one year limit they're not meant to exceed.