New rules around the corner for WOSBs and EDWOSBs

On May 11, 2020, SBA finally published its regulations to implement a statutory requirement to certify Women- Owned Small Business Concerns (WOSBs) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business Concerns (EDWOSBs) participating in the Procurement Program for Women-Owned Small Business Concerns (the Program). The current self-certification process remains available until October 15, 2020. Beginning on July 15, 2020 (the effective date of this rule), contracts currently awarded to WOSBs/EDWOSBs who are self-certified may continue but, if a recertification requirement is triggered (e.g., within 120 days of the end of a 5-year contract), the company must represent that it is a certified WOSB or EDWOSB in order for the award to continue to count towards an agency’s WOSB goal. For new WOSB/EDWOSB set-aside contracts, a concern must be able to demonstrate that it has applied for certification before the date it submitted a bid, and that it has not previously sought and been denied certification. For new WOSB/EDWOSB sole-source contracts, a concern must already be certified at the time it seeks to obtain the sole-source contract. In both situations, the concern must be certified prior to award. There are several ways that a business may become certified, including through a no-cost application submitted to SBA. Companies may begin submitting applications for certification beginning July 15. Between now and July 15th, certified WOSBs must download their documentation that is currently in the WOSB Program Repository. In addition, concerns that are owned and controlled by women certified through the 8(a) BD Program, concerns that are third-party certified, and concerns that were subject to a program examination or status protest and received a positive decision in the three years prior July 15th will all be considered certified. If you would like more information on this program, or any other Federal Government contracting questions, we are here to help. Just contact us through our website, FerliseAssociates.com or call 732-380-7739.

COVID-19

As each one of us now serves as a foot soldier in the war against COVID-19, we at Ferlise and Associates want to encourage all our friends and readers to stay informed and follow the health and safety guidelines so that we may defeat this common enemy as quickly as possible. While we all transition to a new way of doing business, we want you to know that we have at your disposal decades of experience in Federal Government contracting and are always available to answer your questions.

Stay well!

Your friends at Ferlise and Associates.

Small Business Just Got a Little Bigger…Maybe

Effective January 6, 2020, a small business may use a 5-year lookback to calculate its revenue for a “receipts-based” NAICS code. However, if a 3-year lookback is more beneficial, it may use that instead…at least until January 6, 2022. After this two-year transition period, all small businesses will use the 5-year lookback period.

SBA to examine disconnect between Joint Ventures and Agency Facility Security Requirments

SBA is finally looking into the disconnect between its Joint Venture (JV) rules and Agency Facility Security Clearance requirements. Many of you may have run into this problem. Your JV is is the “prime offeror” and the agency’s solicitation requires the prime to have a facility security clearance. Your JV (being a separate legal entity) is “unpopulated” and cannot qualify for a facility security clearance since the clearance is dependent upon the personnel who will be monitoring/administering the security requirements. Technically, you fail to meet the solicitation requirement and a decision by GAO (ProTech Services USA, LLC , File: B-417484, Date: July 19, 2019) agreed with the agency on this point. (The decision involved SBA because the protester claimed that the determination was one of “responsibility” rather than a material requirement of the solicitation.) However, each of the members that make up the JV do have facility security clearances. To remedy this problem, SBA has asked for comments on how best to remedy this problem in its proposed rule regarding merging the 8(a) and All Small Mentor Protégé Programs (https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-11-08/pdf/2019-23141.pdf). The SBA recommends that either the JV itself or the “lead” venturer could hold the required clearance. If you are a small business “protégé” in the SBA’s Mentor-Protégé Program, this may not be much help since you are the lead venture and may not have the required clearance. However, the SBA added that if “security” is ancillary to the principal purpose of the procurement, the non-lead partner, e.g. the Mentor, could possess such a clearance and satisfy the requirement. If you want to weigh in on this issue with SBA, you have until January 17, 2020. For any questions on Joint Ventures or Mentor-Protégé Programs, please give us a call at 732-380-7739.

Former CECOM Attorney Joins F&A

We are very pleased to announce that Susan Harbort has joined our team!

Prior to joining Ferlise and Associates, Susan was a Department of the Army civilian attorney for 30 years. Susan has significant experience in all aspects of the source selection process, protests before the Government Accountability Office and Court of Federal Claims, as well as Agency level protests, contract claims and appeals, and contract administration issues.  Susan most recently served as a Business Law Division Chief, serving as the senior legal advisor to PEO IEW&S and CECOM ILSC.

Welcome aboard Susan!

WOSB/EDWOSB proposed rule

On May 14th, the SBA published a Proposed Rule to amend its regulations to require Woman-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) and Economically-Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs) to be certified by either SBA, other Federal Agencies, a State government, or a national certifying entity approved by SBA in order to be awarded a set-aside or a sole-source contract.  Currently, WOSBs/EDWOSBs are permitted to self-certify and can continue to self-certify for contract awards that are not set-aside or sole-source.

The text of the proposed rule can be found at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-05-14/pdf/2019-09684.pdf with comments due by July 15, 2019. 

If you have any questions about this program, please contact us at FerliseAssociates.com or (732) 380-7739.

Two F&A Associates Join the CECOM Hall of Fame

Mark Sagan and Dave Sharman were elected to the Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) Hall of Fame, and will be inducted at a ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Grounds on May 1st. They join F&A founder Victor Ferlise in the Hall of Fame, who was part of the inaugural class of inductees.

Mark was a central player in the Army Legal Community for 32 years, culminating in his service as CECOM Chief Counsel. During his tenure, Mark was recognized as the “go to” attorney within the Department of Army and was frequently hand-picked to participate in the most complex and politically sensitive matters where his expertise and counsel were relied upon with absolute confidence by DA and DoD senior leaders in connection with the Army’s most critical, complex, and controversial multi-billion dollar programs. Mark’s work was a key component in the Army’s ability to successfully field systems that vastly improved warfighter survivability, as recognized by his selection to the Hall.

Following his service as a Marine, Dave served 31 years as an Army logistician, finishing as Director of the CECOM Logistics and Readiness Center (LRC). As the Command’s senior leader for logistics, he was responsible for not only the management of over 2000 military and civilian employees, but also the creation of the vision, strategy and implementation plans necessary to achieve an integrated enterprise approach to logistics sustainment for all the Army’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) weapon systems. David’s achievements during his various positions in the LRC were outstanding and have made a lasting impact on CECOM in the areas of national inventory control point, national maintenance point, security assistance to allied nations, production and industrial base management and planning, integrated logistics planning, and field technical assistance with a global footprint encompassing over 20 countries and 100 plus sites.

Congratulations Mark and David!

Enhanced Postaward Debriefing Rights

On March 22, 2018, the Department of Defense (DoD) published a Memorandum entitled “Enhanced Postaward Debriefing Rights.” This was issued to implement paragraphs (b) and (c) of Section 818 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 which amended 10 USC 2305(b)(5) and 31 USC 3553 (d)(4).

This memo requires the DoD to include more information in the debriefings than currently given. Specifically, the Government must provide a redacted copy of the Source Selection Decision Document and give the unsuccessful offeror an opportunity to submit additional questions within 2 days after the debriefing. The debriefing won’t be considered concluded until those questions are answered in writing, and they must be answered within 5 days. This provision is applicable to small business awards between $10 Million and $100 Million or for any contract (regardless of size of the business) valued over $100 million.

The memo also warned DoD agencies that it must suspend contract performance upon receipt of a GAO protest: within 10 days after the date of award, or 5 days after the debriefing if no additional questions are posed, or 5 days after the written answers are delivered if additional questions are asked – whichever is later.

For help crafting debriefing questions or a discussion about whether or not to protest, please feel free to contact us.

Senior VA TAC Engineer joins F&A!

We are pleased to announce that Chris Swenarton has joined our team!

Prior to joining Ferlise and Associates, Chris functioned as a Program Manager (PM) for the VA’s Technology Acquisition Center (TAC).   In that role, Chris served as the Source Selection Evaluation Board (SSEB) Chair and as the Technical Factor Chair for numerous high dollar value, mission critical Information Technology (IT) acquisitions at the TAC to include T4 and T4NG.   Chris also managed the development and deployment of numerous cloud-based IT solutions to address the VA’s massive compensation claims backlog.   These innovative IT solutions digitized all paper-based claims documentation, improved the accuracy of claims rating decisions, and reduced the backlog by over 85%.

Prior to his years at the VA, Chris supported the Department of the Army for over 25 years.   His experience includes serving as Acting Director for the CERDEC’s Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate (S&TCD) where he managed a workforce of over 400 employees in the development and testing of battlefield communications technologies.   Chris also served as the Deputy PM for Tactical Radio Communications Systems (TRCS) and as Chief of the Technical Management Division for three unique PM offices:  TRCS, Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems (FATDS), and Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T).

Chris has received numerous civilian awards and decorations, most notably the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service and the Fort Monmouth Employee of the Year.  He holds a Bachelor’s of Chemical Engineering from Villanova University (1984) and a Masters of Computer Science (1992) from Monmouth University.

Welcome aboard Chris!