In Percipient.ai v. United States, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit may have triggered a legal “Big Bang” moment in government procurement law. The case centered on whether the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act’s (FASA) “task order bar” could suppress claims alleging violations of 10 U.S.C. § 3453, which mandates a preference for commercial products. The Panel’s interpretation of the Tucker Act’s definition of “interested party” expanded the universe of standing, allowing prospective subcontractors to exert gravitational influence in legal challenges regardless of their role as indirect offerors. At the risk of offending real physicists, from a legal perspective, the Percipient.ai v. United States decision looks to expand a universe of legal scrutiny. Like the cosmic forces that shape galaxies, the Percipient.ai decision may shape the parameters of government contracting jurisdiction and procedural fairness in the procurement process.Continue Reading Big Bang?: The Federal Circuit, Percipient.ai, and Expanding Jurisdiction

Each year, Congress presents us in Title VIII of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) a potpourri of procurement reforms, changes, and additions. Some are effective immediately, while some are bound for rulemaking and regulation and surface years from enactment. Some require analyses, reports, and studies which have no immediate impact but provide a roadmap that can and should be used by government contractors in their business planning. Finally, some provisions of the NDAAs just wither away and have no impact whatsoever. Nineteen days before the Trump Administration ended, the US Senate followed the US House of Representatives in overriding the President’s veto of the William (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (H.R. 6395) (FY2021 NDAA), making it law on January 1, 2021.  Happy New Year! As for its Title VIII, the FY2021 NDAA is no different from its predecessors in its procurement potpourri. Here’s a tour of key provisions you oughta know.
Continue Reading Here to Remind You of the Key Provisions of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act – You Oughta Know!

FEMA Seeks All Comers to Supply Government with COVID-19 Supplies

Through its website, the Federal Emergency Management Association (“FEMA”) is encouraging the private sector to step up and support the agency in its response to COVID-19 in a variety of ways. In pertinent part, the website solicits donations of medical supplies and equipment, refers businesses with nonmedical good and/or services that can help the response to the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) Procurement Action Response team, and provides guidance to hospitals and healthcare providers in need of medical supplies.Continue Reading FEMA Opens a Door and Closes a Window: A Primer on FEMA’s Broad Efforts to Obtain and Retain Medical Supplies to Combat COVID-19

On March 31, 2020, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment issued a memorandum attaching a class Commercial Item Determination (CID) promulgated by the Defense Contract Management Agency Commercial Item Group (DCMA CIG) identifying as commercial items specific products and services needed by the Department of Defense (DoD) to address the COVID-19 pandemic (Memorandum).  The Memorandum is specifically intended to “allow contracting officers maximum flexibility” in awarding critical contracts for supplies and services needed for the DoD to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Memorandum is expected to facilitate the award of “urgent commercial item procurements,” and the class CID is specifically “limited to the information pertaining to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.”
Continue Reading Commerciality in the Time of Coronavirus—DCMA Issues New Class Commercial Item Determination and Guidance