On October 25, 2023, the Department of Defense (DoD) published a Proposed Rule amending the Department of Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) and permanently authorizing the DoD Mentor-Protégé Program (DoD MP Program). In addition, the Proposed Rule makes several changes to the program—the most prominent of which include (a) lowering barriers to entry and (b) adding additional benefits for prospective mentors and protégés. Before we dive in to the Proposed Rule, a brief history of the DoD MP Program is in order.Continue Reading DoD Mentor-Protégé Program Solidified under Proposed Rule
In what is quickly becoming an epic saga centered around the repercussions from the Ultima Servs. case, 8(a) program participants should have received a direct communication from the Small Business Administration (SBA) on Monday (August 21), providing direction on next steps regarding social disadvantage eligibility determinations. As that communication stated, if your firm’s 8(a) eligibility was based on an individual or individual(s) who relied upon the rebuttable presumption of social disadvantage, the firm will now be required to submit a social disadvantage narrative. (Entity-owned firms, such as firms owned by Indian tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, or Native Hawaiian Organizations, will not need to submit narratives; nor will 8(a) participants who previously established their social disadvantage through submission of a social disadvantage narrative.) Each owner claiming disadvantaged status must submit a narrative. This is all consistent with our previous coverage on this topic. What is new, however, is that there is now some more specific guidance on timing and how this process is going to play out.Continue Reading The Continuing Saga of 8(a) Social Disadvantage Eligibility
For those of you eagerly awaiting news on the recent shake-up of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 8(a) program, I have updates! (For those of you who have not been following, you can catch up on the legal context and background here.) Consistent with industry predictions, SBA will now require all applicants and certain existing 8(a) program participants to submit a social disadvantage narrative and prove social disadvantage by a preponderance of the evidence. Entity-owned firms, such as firms owned by Indian tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, or Native Hawaiian Organizations will not need to submit narratives; nor will 8(a) participants who previously established their social disadvantage through submission of a social disadvantage narrative. For any company that previously relied on the rebuttable presumption, though, you have some work ahead of you. Read on for more detail.Continue Reading SBA Confirms Social Disadvantage Narrative Is Required for 8(a) Program Participants
The Government Accounting Office (GAO) recently issued MiamiTSPi, LLC-Reconsideration, an important decision concerning a procuring agency’s obligation to consider, when evaluating a joint venture, the experience of not only the joint venture itself but also the individual joint venture partners. While many contractors have historically viewed this regulatory requirement as an advantage—allowing small, protégé joint venture partners to rely on and leverage the experience of their “big” joint venture partners—this new opinion turns that thinking on its head. Here, GAO held that an agency’s favorable evaluation of a joint venture’s “Similar Experience” was unreasonable (and the reconsideration of the award therefore required) because the agency did not consider the joint venture’s failure to submit examples of the managing member’s individual past experience.Continue Reading Blessing or Burden? GAO Decision Casts New Light on Joint Venture Experience
In a previous post, we mentioned the April 27, 2023 Small Business Administration (SBA) Final Rule, which made a number of revisions to the Small Business Regulations. A few of those revisions relate to the Ostensible Subcontractor Rule, a topic that has confused contractors for years. The Final Rule seeks to clear up that confusion, or at least some of it. Specifically, the Final Rule revises 13 CFR 121.103(h) to (1) clarify how the Ostensible Subcontractor Rule applies to general construction contracts and (2) provide guidance on the utilization of the DoverStaffing factors in determining whether a subcontractor is an “ostensible subcontractor.”Continue Reading Ostensible Clarity: SBA Rule Addresses Ostensible Subcontractor Rule in General Construction Contracts and DoverStaffing Factors
On April 27, 2023, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a final rule, finalizing a September 9, 2022 proposed rule, and making a myriad of changes to the Small Business Regulations. Those changes are effective at the end of this month, on May 30, 2023. We will be covering a number of those changes in upcoming posts. But for now, we’re focusing on a change that will make some contractors very happy and other contractors very worried: real, negative consequences for small businesses that fail to comply with 13 CFR 125.6, which governs subcontracting limitations for small business set-aside contracts over the simplified acquisition threshold (presently defined in FAR 2.101 as $250,000).Continue Reading Small Business Contractors Rejoice or Repent: Final SBA Rule Adds Teeth to 13 CFR 125.6 Subcontracting Limitations
Act Seeks to Cut Strings Between U.S. Small Businesses and China, Russia, and Other Countries of Concern
Small businesses that rely on the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs to fund their research and development projects were left on the edge of their seats this September as the reauthorization of those programs hung in the balance. Fortunately, on September 30, 2022—the date on which the programs were set to expire—President Biden signed the SBIR and STTR Extension Act of 2022 (the Act). The Act, which reauthorizes the SBIR and STTR programs until September 30, 2025, is the result of several months of protracted negotiations in which Congress questioned whether the programs provide enough protection against ties between China and other foreign countries of concern and program awardees. These concerns were amplified following reports that state-sponsored Chinese firms were targeting companies funded by the programs and, in some cases, that China was the true beneficiary of the awards, not the United States. This prompted intense scrutiny of the programs, which are intended to fund US startups and small businesses to stimulate technological innovation and meet federal research and development needs, and placed the reauthorization of these programs in jeopardy. Ultimately, however, Congress was able to reach an agreement to reauthorize the programs, but not without some major national security reforms to ensure that American intellectual property remains protected from foreign influence.Continue Reading SBIR/STTR Extension Act Preserves Innovation Programs, But Comes With a Bite
The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council has returned from an extended vacation to publish a final rule to align the FAR with similar subcontracting regulations implemented by the Small Business Administration more than a half decade ago. McCarter & English Government Contracts and Global Trade co-leaders Franklin Turner and Alex Major and Senior Associates Cara…
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!
Although many of us have canceled vacations during this (unusual) year, summer is nevertheless upon us. While we wholeheartedly recommend firing up the grill and enjoying the sunshine in the coming months, companies planning to enter into joint venture (JV) agreements to compete for Government contracts should first make sure that they set aside some time to consider the impacts of proposed changes coming to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). These changes have the potential to create significant opportunities for both veteran Government contractors and new entrants to the federal marketplace who might consider competing for procurements through JV agreements.
Continue Reading Proposed Rule Introduces Critical Changes for SBA Contractors