While the military’s budget may be funded, other federal agencies are running late with payments to defense firms, an audit shows that a statewide system could have saved Oregon more than $1 billion over the last two years, and HHS is standing up an AI contract other agencies can use. All this and more in Public Spend Forum’s Weekly Roundup for January 11, 2019.
As the government shutdown continues, defense firms and industry advocates are beginning to worry that the pause in business could eat into companies’ cash flow. Because while the military’s budget may be funded, other federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security—which includes the Coast Guard as well as Customs and Border Protection—are running late with payments to defense firms. “Every day the shutdown lasts, the impacts grow and become more difficult and more expensive to fix,” said AIA President and CEO Eric Fanning. “It’s time to get these dedicated public servants back to work.”
While a handful of Oregon state agencies are already piloting e-procurement, an audit shows that a statewide system could have saved more than $1 billion over the last two years, enough to close the 2019-21 budget gap. “Oregon’s state agencies spend about $8 billion each biennium purchasing goods and services. This amount represents approximately 10 percent of the state budget,” Brown noted at the time. “Creating efficiency in procurement brings a tremendous opportunity to save money, opening up more state funds to be spent directly on education or critical social services that help Oregon’s families.”
The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) shared services organization is planning to establish a new contract vehicle that will offer artificial intelligence, automation, and other emerging technology services. The Program Support Center which offers more than 40 shared services for all federal agencies as a fee-for-service provider issued a request for proposals this week for Intelligent Automation/Artificial Intelligence solutions, services, and products for a pending indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract. HHS has also tried to leverage emerging technologies for more acquisition efficiencies with its HHS Accerlate initiative, which recently earned an authority to operate to test its solutions on live acquisition datasets
Certainly, at least since the 1990s, there has been interest in and around the contracting community in the difficulties new entrants, particularly small businesses, face in participating in the federal marketplace. Steve Kelman shares some surprising evidence on what really gives would-be contractors pause.