On the Christian Doctrine: how deep does the “religion” go?

Some of you may know we’re designing a training course to help suppliers sell software solutions to the government. We’ve talked to folks on both sides to identify pro tips from contracting professionals and guidance from business development gurus to make the course applicable & practical.

We touched on one finding in another (very popular) thread, Should Government “Flip The Table” And Start Focusing On Commercial Practices?. The specific topic deals with the government’s requirement for certain software solutions to have an Authority to Operate (ATO) before they can be purchased by the government. 

We’ll discuss ATO and its implications for suppliers in Module 2, Preparing to Sell. But I’m posting this morning to solicit thoughts from the community for a track in Module 1, Intro to the Federal Marketplace, on selling in accordance with procurement integrity and ethics rules. 

My question (which I’m getting to, I swear) relates to every contracting nerd’s favorite fundamental case law, the Christian Doctrine. For those unfamiliar, the Christian Doctrine essentially states that the principles of public law may be “read in” to a government contract even if that contract doesn’t specifically include the appropriate clause. Read more from my friend and former colleague, Tom Reid.

With that understanding, and with the recognition that ATO procedures have extended to most (all?) cloud-based solutions, could ATO requirements be “read in” to a contract if they weren’t expressly required in the solicitation but were otherwise part of the buying agency’s stated policy?

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Frank McNally
Director, Learning & Content Development
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Replies

  1. Thanks Spence! I think you’ve captured the essence of the Christian Doctrine in your reply. It primarily deals with matters of long standing public policy, vice evolving treatments like ATOs.

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    Frank McNally
    Director, Learning & Content Development
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    ——————————————-
    Original Message:
    Sent: 01-30-2017 09:23
    From: Spence Witten
    Subject: On the Christian Doctrine: how deep does the “religion” go?

    I would hope that the Christian Doctrine is applied, er, judiciously, only when there is a clear case of contractual error on the Government’s side that goes against decades of established practice. With the ATO example, even when considering FedRAMP, there are lots and lots of examples where the Government has chosen to look the other way and deploy solutions – particularly SaaSs – without the proper accreditation. And of course there are countless systems in the Government operating under expired ATOs or that deployed without ever receiving an ATO. So I would hope the Christian Doctrine wouldn’t apply for an example when ATO requirements are so spotty / inconsistently enforced. 

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    Spence Witten
    Director of Federal Sales
    Lunarline
    ——————————
    ——————————————-
    Original Message:
    Sent: 01-27-2017 10:23
    From: Frank McNally
    Subject: On the Christian Doctrine: how deep does the “religion” go?

    Some of you may know we’re designing a training course to help suppliers sell software solutions to the government. We’ve talked to folks on both sides to identify pro tips from contracting professionals and guidance from business development gurus to make the course applicable & practical.

    We touched on one finding in another (very popular) thread, Should Government “Flip The Table” And Start Focusing On Commercial Practices?. The specific topic deals with the government’s requirement for certain software solutions to have an Authority to Operate (ATO) before they can be purchased by the government. 

    We’ll discuss ATO and its implications for suppliers in Module 2, Preparing to Sell. But I’m posting this morning to solicit thoughts from the community for a track in Module 1, Intro to the Federal Marketplace, on selling in accordance with procurement integrity and ethics rules. 

    My question (which I’m getting to, I swear) relates to every contracting nerd’s favorite fundamental case law, the Christian Doctrine. For those unfamiliar, the Christian Doctrine essentially states that the principles of public law may be “read in” to a government contract even if that contract doesn’t specifically include the appropriate clause. Read more from my friend and former colleague, Tom Reid.

    With that understanding, and with the recognition that ATO procedures have extended to most (all?) cloud-based solutions, could ATO requirements be “read in” to a contract if they weren’t expressly required in the solicitation but were otherwise part of the buying agency’s stated policy?

    ——————————
    Frank McNally
    Director, Learning & Content Development
    ——————————

    0
  2. I would hope that the Christian Doctrine is applied, er, judiciously, only when there is a clear case of contractual error on the Government’s side that goes against decades of established practice. With the ATO example, even when considering FedRAMP, there are lots and lots of examples where the Government has chosen to look the other way and deploy solutions – particularly SaaSs – without the proper accreditation. And of course there are countless systems in the Government operating under expired ATOs or that deployed without ever receiving an ATO. So I would hope the Christian Doctrine wouldn’t apply for an example when ATO requirements are so spotty / inconsistently enforced. 

    ——————————
    Spence Witten
    Director of Federal Sales
    Lunarline
    ——————————
    ——————————————-
    Original Message:
    Sent: 01-27-2017 10:23
    From: Frank McNally
    Subject: On the Christian Doctrine: how deep does the “religion” go?

    Some of you may know we’re designing a training course to help suppliers sell software solutions to the government. We’ve talked to folks on both sides to identify pro tips from contracting professionals and guidance from business development gurus to make the course applicable & practical.

    We touched on one finding in another (very popular) thread, Should Government “Flip The Table” And Start Focusing On Commercial Practices?. The specific topic deals with the government’s requirement for certain software solutions to have an Authority to Operate (ATO) before they can be purchased by the government. 

    We’ll discuss ATO and its implications for suppliers in Module 2, Preparing to Sell. But I’m posting this morning to solicit thoughts from the community for a track in Module 1, Intro to the Federal Marketplace, on selling in accordance with procurement integrity and ethics rules. 

    My question (which I’m getting to, I swear) relates to every contracting nerd’s favorite fundamental case law, the Christian Doctrine. For those unfamiliar, the Christian Doctrine essentially states that the principles of public law may be “read in” to a government contract even if that contract doesn’t specifically include the appropriate clause. Read more from my friend and former colleague, Tom Reid.

    With that understanding, and with the recognition that ATO procedures have extended to most (all?) cloud-based solutions, could ATO requirements be “read in” to a contract if they weren’t expressly required in the solicitation but were otherwise part of the buying agency’s stated policy?

    ——————————
    Frank McNally
    Director, Learning & Content Development
    ——————————

    0
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