GovExec reports that some 180 companies have responded to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) pre-solicitation notice, inquiring about “prototype wall structures” for President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the Mexico border. Construction and engineering firms from 41 states have responded to the notice since it was published on Friday. GovExec notes that prominent firms such as Raytheon and Caddell have responded.
In the first of its two-part series on defense acquisition, Federal News Radio looks at the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Better Buying Power (BBP) initiative, the program designed to incrementally improve acquisition outcomes. The story notes that BBP was designed better acquisition from within, rather than through sweeping changes like legislation.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has sustained the protest of Pitney Bowes, Inc., which argued that the terms of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) request for quotation (RFQ) were unduly restrictive. According to the report, the IRS included technical specifications in its RFQ for mail inserter/folder machines that were unnecessary, and which Pitney proclaimed amounted to a sole-source selection.
Governing looks at how the State of Ohio revamped its procurement process to open up its market to smaller, innovative companies, and is now seeing the practice adopted by other states. According to the story, the State was looking to contract with a company to provide some data analytics, but discovered there were more than 100 firms with the capability that wouldn’t bid on the contract. “To help attract the smaller guys, (Ohio CIO Stu) Davis got the state to streamline the procurement process by creating a request for proposal that prequalifies companies to provide analytics according to a range of disciplines, such as fraud, auditing, risk management, public safety and so on. The prequalifying RFP speeds up the entire bidding process, meaning high-impact data analytic projects could be operating without the usual six- to nine-month lag time it takes to qualify a vendor.”
Hiring Freeze Causing Contracting Concerns
David Berteau, president and CEO of Professional Services Council, talked with Federal News Radio about the impact of the federal hiring freeze. Berteau notes that the freeze does prohibit any “attempt to circumvent” the freeze by contracting work out. He said part of the difficulty at the moment is a lack of clarity on what constitutes an attempt to circumvent. “So the concern that we’ve seen on the part of some programs and some contracting officers, is the question of ‘How much evidence will I need to have that I am not circumventing the intended effects.” Berteau said he’s seen a wide range of reaction to that concern.