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This week, the Department of Labor (DOL) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memo directing all agencies to designate “agency labor advisers” who are responsible for advising agencies on “Federal contract labor matters.”  FAR Part 22 contemplates the appointment of “agency labor advisors,” and requires contractors to contact them about potential labor

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On December 19, 2022, DoD issued a DFARS proposed rule that seeks to (1) implement the data-rights portions of the May 2, 2019 Small Business Innovation Research Program and Small Business Technology Transfer Program Policy Directive (SBIR/STTR Policy Directive), and (2) impose significant changes to technical data and computer software marking requirements.  The SBIR/STTR portion of the proposed rule follows DoD’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking issued on August 31, 2020 (see 85 FR 53758) and incorporates the eight written public comments that DoD received. The proposed changes to marking requirements go beyond the SBIR/STTR Policy Directive and respond to the Federal Circuit’s decision in The Boeing Co. v. Secretary of the Air Force, 983 F.3d 1321 (Fed. Cir. 2020).

Continue Reading DFARS Proposed Rule on SBIR/STTR Data Rights and the Marking of Unlimited Rights Data

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On December 27, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Preventing Organizational Conflicts of Interest in Federal Acquisition Act (S.3905) to strengthen the current rules relating to identification and mitigation of organizational conflicts of interest (OCIs) in federal acquisition. The Act focuses on updating the current FAR provision, Subpart 9.5, to provide clear definitions, examples

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The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, signed into law on December 23, 2022, makes numerous changes to acquisition policy. Crowell & Moring’s Government Contracts Group discusses the most consequential changes for government contractors here. These include changes that provide new opportunities for contractors to recover inflation-related costs, authorize new programs for small businesses, impose new clauses or reporting requirements on government contractors, require government reporting to Congress on acquisition authorities and programs, and alter other processes and procedures to which government contractors are subject. The FY 2023 NDAA also includes the Advancing American AI Act, the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2023, and the Water Resources Development Act of 2022, all of which include provisions relevant for government contractors.

Continue Reading FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act: Key Provisions Government Contractors Should Know

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On December 23, 2022, the Department of Defense (“DoD”), General Services Administration (“GSA”), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”) extended the comment period on the proposed rule, “Disclosure of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate-Related Financial Risk,” from January 13, 2023 to February 13, 2023.  As we summarized previously, the proposed rule would, if

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On December 1, 2022, Department of Defense (DoD) Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III announced the establishment of the DoD Office of Strategic Capital (OSC).  The mission statement of the OSC is to build an “enduring technical advantage” for the United States by helping partner contractors with private investment to develop national security critical technologies, including those related to advanced materials, next-generation biotechnology, and quantum science.  OSC will coordinate with existing organizations such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), which promotes acceleration of the military use of commercial technologies.

The OSC intends to offer what it characterizes as “patient” extended-term capital to help contractors obtain financing between the early laboratory-testing and prototyping phases and the full-scale development of products that can be used by the DoD warfighter.  In addition to traditional vehicles like contracts and grants, this investment will likely take the form of loans and loan guarantees.

Continue Reading Department of Defense Establishes Office of Strategic Capital to Enhance Investment in National Security Critical Technology

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On October 28, 2022, the Department of Defense (DoD) amended the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) by issuing two final rules related to contract cost and pricing.  Specifically:

  • Requiring Data Other Than Certified Cost or Pricing Data – DoD issued a final rule to implement a section of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 National
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In Doubleshot, Inc., ASBCA No. 61691 (July 19, 2022), the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (“ASBCA”) granted the contractor’s motion for partial summary judgment, denying the Government’s claim for unallowable costs to the extent that it was based on missing or unsigned employee time cards.  The ASBCA held that the contractor was not required to maintain time card records to support the allowability of labor charges beyond the retention period specified in the contractor’s cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts (including applicable time extensions). 

The contracts incorporated both the Audit and Records – Negotiation clause (FAR 52.215-2) and the Allowable Cost and Payment clause (FAR 52.216-7), which grant the Government the right to examine the contractor’s records reflecting all claimed costs and reduce payments for amounts that are unallowable.  Following the contractor’s delayed submission of two final indirect cost rate proposals, the Defense Contract Audit Agency (“DCAA”) did not begin auditing the proposals until eight months after the contractual obligation to maintain records had expired.  DCAA then questioned the contractor’s labor costs for which there was no time card support, even though the contractor was able to demonstrate that it paid its employees.  The Government’s claim and the contractor’s appeal followed. 

Continue Reading Too Late: Government’s Failure to Timely Audit Did Not Extend the Contractor’s Document Retention Obligations

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On September 15, 2022, the Biden Administration issued a new executive order (“EO”) and accompanying fact sheet, designed to sharpen the current U.S. foreign investment screening process as administered by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS” or the “Committee”). [1] This EO is the first to specifically identify certain additional national security factors for CFIUS to consider when evaluating transactions involving foreign investors. 

While the EO does not expand the jurisdiction of CFIUS or establish new requirements, the EO formally directs CFIUS to focus on transactions that could give foreign parties access to U.S. technologies, data, or critical supply chains that the Biden Administration has identified as important for maintaining U.S. economic and technological edge. The EO does not mention any specific country, but underscores the threat posed by inbound investments “involving foreign adversaries or other countries of special concern,” which may appear to be only economic transactions for commercial purposes but could “actually present an unacceptable risk to United States national security due to the legal environment, intentions, or capabilities of the foreign person, including foreign governments involved in the transaction.” [2]

Continue Reading Biden Administration Announces Presidential Directive on Sharpening Foreign Investment Screening by CFIUS

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As outlined in our prior client alert, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (the “OFCCP”) published a Notice in the Federal Register to federal contractors of a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request for disclosure of Type 2 Consolidated EEO-1 Report data submitted by all federal contractors and first-tier subcontractors from 2016 until