FirstNet Expects Protest Decision “Within Days” 

FCW reports that FirstNet, the effort to create a national broadband network to connect public safety officers at every level of government, expects a decision “within days” regarding a protest of its first major contract. FirstNet had expected to make an award for the $6.5 billion contract in November after vendor Rivada Mercury filed a protest lawsuit. According to Washington Technology, AT&T told the Securities and Exchange Commission in December that it believed it was the sole remaining bidder in the competition.

How Compliance Can Get in the Way

Former Office of Federal Procurement Policy Administrator Steve Kelman looks at a recent report from the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, which wrote critically about whether defense officials consistently complied with rules about assessing contractor performance. Kelman notes that the way compliance is positioned by the IG, it’s as if it is a rule that has to be followed, rather than an opportunity to drive value. As he writes it: “The message from above should not be ‘this is an unpleasant task, but one we need to force you to do.’ It should be, ‘What a great opportunity for us to help our organization!’ ”

Prototyping “Worth a Thousand Meetings”

Small Business Administration Chief Information Officer Maria Roat spoke with FCW about the need to encourage innovation in government, highlighting several pilot programs, and arguing for the use of prototyping in acquisition. “A prototype is worth a thousand meetings,” she said. “Try something—see what happens. If it doesn’t work, that’s OK.” Roat also said that often innovation is treated as something that throws out the old way of doing things, but that often it just means finding a way to tweak what exists to improve its performance.

Do Innovation Efforts Treat Some Contractors Unfairly?

Dave Wennergren, executive vice president of the Professional Services Council, talked with Tom Temin of Federal News Radio to talk about the “danger” of innovation when it comes to the “treatment of federal contractors.” The two discussed the work done at the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), the Pentagon’s innovation shop, and similar outfits. But Wennergren expressed concern that the emphasis on innovation may mean that some contractors are able to move more rapidly through acquisitions, whereas other firms are still tied up “in the old way of doing things,” creating disparity.

Rear Admiral Latest to Be Charged in “Fat Leonard” Scandal

Retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Bruce Loveless and eight other high-ranking Navy officers are the latest to be charged for accepting luxury travel, elaborate dinners and services of prostitutes from the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), Leonard Francis. The massive bribery scandal has ensnared a number of Naval officials, who conspired with Francis to provide sensitive information in exchange for the gifts. Though many have either pleaded or been found guilty, the charges above are still alleged.

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