By Stephen Tobin

In 2021, the DOJ announced its Civil-Cyber-Fraud Initiative, which focused on contractors who fail to follow required cybersecurity standards. The initiative is aimed at accountability for knowingly providing deficient cybersecurity products or services, knowingly misrepresenting their cybersecurity practices or protocols, or knowingly violating obligations to monitor and report cybersecurity incidents and breaches.

Continue Reading DOJ Is Taking Cybersecurity Seriously; Contractors Should Too

The System for Award Management (SAM) is the official website for registering to do business with the U.S. government, such as competing for federal procurement contracts. Under FAR 52.204-7, “an Offeror is required to be registered in SAM when submitting an offer or quotation, and shall be registered until time of award, during performance, and through final payment of any contract …resulting from the solicitation.” In the recent GAO protest of TLS Joint Venture, LLC (TLS), the awardee of a Navy contract for custodial services learned the hard way that maintaining active registration in SAM from the time of its initial offer until the agency’s award of the contract is a strict requirement, and that non-compliance can produce harsh results.

Continue Reading What in the SAM Hill Happened to My Contract?

Construction law is a complex field that intersects with various other industries and legal fields, one being the maritime industry. In nearly twenty years of practicing construction law, I have often experienced the connection between these sophisticated areas of law and the implications of each on various projects, such as the construction of docks, breakwaters, piers, bridges, dredging and beach nourishment projects. In this blog post, we will explore the intricate relationship between these two legal realms by diving into a primer on maritime liens.

Continue Reading Navigating the Waters Beyond Construction Law: Unveiling the Ties Between Construction and Maritime Liens

Sanford Federal, Inc., the selected awardee for a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA) contract, learned the hard way that a contractor simply cannot ignore a size protest, regardless of its actual merit.

On August 8, 2023, the VA issued an RFQ for boiler plant safety device testing, calibration and inspection for one of its facilities in Arizona. The RFQ was set aside entirely for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and assigned NAICS code 238290, Other Building Equipment. The corresponding size standard for this code was $22 million in average annual receipts. The VA received two timely quotes and selected Sanford for the award. The non-awardee, Caldaia Controls, Inc., filed a protest with the contracting officer asserting that Sanford was not a small business because it received significant contract awards between 2019 and 2023, which, when averaged, exceeded the procurement’s applicable size standard. The contracting officer forwarded the protest to the cognizant SBA Area Office (Area Office).

Continue Reading An SBA Public Service Announcement: If You See Something, Say Something

In Steiner Construction Co., Inc., the Government Accountability Office (GAO) upheld the U.S. Coast Guard’s (USCG) award of a $1.19 billion small business set-aside shipbuilding contract to a business concern that was later determined to be other than a small business. The protestor argued that the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Hearing and Appeals (OHA) decision to vacate an earlier SBA Area Office’s size determination that found the awardee to be an eligible small business concern required that the USCG terminate the award.

Continue Reading It’s No Big Deal: How a Non-Small Business Won a Small Business Set-Aside Contract

On December 26, 2023, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) published the much anticipated proposed rule for the revamped Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) 2.0 Program.

Following growing concerns within DoD that contractors were not consistently implementing the cybersecurity requirements of DFARS 252.204-2012, DoD responded with the creation of the CMMC Program in 2019 to move away from a “self-attestation” model of security. The CMMC Program’s purpose is for contractors and subcontractors to demonstrate that Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) being processed, stored, or transmitted is adequately safeguarded. CMMC builds from existing cybersecurity requirements by requiring that contractors and subcontractors undergo Self-Assessments, Third-Party Assessments, or Government Assessments, as required, to ensure that mandated information protection requirements have been implemented.

Continue Reading Happy New Year From DoD – The Proposed CMMC Rule Is Here

On October 3, 2023, the FAR Council released two proposed rules for federal contractor cybersecurity requirements that relate to cyber threat and incident reporting and information sharing (case 2021-017) and standardizing cybersecurity requirements for unclassified federal information systems (case 2021-019). Both proposed rules not only provide new requirements for federal contractors to follow but also provide new definitions and contract provisions for information and contract technology and federal information systems contracts.

Continue Reading New Proposed Cybersecurity Rules Mean Big Changes for Federal Contractors

A contractor recently learned the hard way that if you open an email from an agency regarding a debriefing, you must read it closely and in its entirety, or you may face the consequence of missing the time to protest the agency’s action.  

In the Matter of Infotrend, Inc. (Infotrend), the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a request for proposal for the award of multiple indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity government-wide acquisition contracts for IT services, known as Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners (CIO-SP4). Specifically, NIH sought proposals to provide IT solutions and services for health, biomedical, scientific, administrative, operational, managerial, and information systems requirements. The acquisition evaluation was to be carried out in multiple phases, the first of which involved offerors submitting a self-scoring sheet with points based on the offeror’s representations concerning its experience and other capabilities. Per the solicitation, “[o]nly the highest rated offerors will advance to phase 2 of the evaluation.”

Continue Reading You’ve Got Mail—A Lesson on Timeliness for Bid Protests

The Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA) recently issued a decision regarding a contractor’s claim for increased performance costs due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Notable about this case is the contractor’s invocation of a July 2, 2020 Department of Defense (DoD) memorandum concerning the financial consequences on contractors with firm-fixed-price contracts lacking an economic price adjustment clause during “historic and unprecedented challenges” in the wake of the pandemic’s onset. Continue Reading ASBCA Says “Not So Fast” to Contractors Seeking Relief from Pandemic Impacts

On August 19, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published a notice regarding a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) for all Type 2 Consolidated Employer Information Reports, Standard Form 100 (EEO-1 Report), filed by all federal contractors, including “first-tier subcontractors,” (covered contractors) from 2016-2020. Continue Reading OFCCP Issues September 19 Deadline for Federal Contractors to Object to Disclosure of EEO-1 Data