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The Office of Personnel Management ordered federal agencies to start fully complying with three executive orders altering federal workforce policy after a federal court lifted an injunction that had blocked their full implementation. In an Oct. 4 memo, OPM Director Dale Cabaniss reinstated guidance dating back to July 2018 that ordered agencies to update OPM and the White House on the status of collective bargaining agreements and current negotiations in order to put the three executive orders in effect.  Read More



The head of the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service has resigned his position after a little over two years to take a position in the private sector. FAS Commissioner Alan Thomas resigned on Oct. 2 and GSA Senior Advisor Julie Dunne will serve as acting FAS commissioner beginning Oct. 15.  Read More



Despite stop-gap funding, with another potential government shutdown looming next month, activist groups are pushing for legislation to protect low-wage federal contractors, a group they say can least afford to lose income but has the fewest protections. When Congress struck a deal to fund the government following a 35-day shutdown earlier this year, it included a provision that guaranteed federal employees back pay in all future shutdowns.  Read More



At the end of last week, the House of Representatives passed a seven-week continuing resolution with a 301-123 vote, taking a step towards avoiding another government shutdown at the fiscal year deadline. The CR would fund agencies at 2019 levels through Nov. 21, buying lawmakers more time to negotiate over several full-year appropriations bills.  Read More



A whistleblower exposed how the Army lost possession of six government-purchased fuel trucks, indicating that improper contracting procedures -- which cost the service about $1.34 million – were to blame. The Office of Special Counsel sent a letter to the White House and Congress in the middle of last week, which included a June 2018 Army report which made the matter public for the first time.  Read More



Review by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has determined that several federal agencies illegally spent money during the government shutdown earlier this year. GAO warned that future violations could result in penalties including fines and jail time. The GAO’s review followed an unusual decision by the Trump administration during the record-setting shutdown, instructing agencies to continue funding a variety of functions typically suspended during a lapse in appropriations.  Read More



The Defense Department recently released a draft of the unified cybersecurity standard model which contractors must follow: the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification framework. Katie Arrington, DOD’s chief information security officer for the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, announced the CMMC framework during a panel discussion at the Intelligence and National Security Summit.  Read More



The Department of Health and Human Services plans to test Accelerate, it’s blockchain-based acquisition portal, at some point this Fall. HHS is aiming for a rollout by the beginning of the year. Accelerate is first blockchain-based program in the federal government to receive the “green light” of an authority to operate certification. Jose Arrieta of Health and Human Services, in remarks at a recent tech summit, announced that HHS has been working on developing microservices for the agency’s blockchain and artificial intelligence-infused acquisition portal.  Read More



On Aug. 9, the General Services Administration sent out a request for information for the next phase of its government wide IT acquisition contract for small business vendors or Streamlined Technology Acquisition Resource for Services (STARS). The Draft Solicitation synopsized the STARS programs as part of their Governmentwide Acquisition Contract by saying “GSA’s GWACs provide the federal government access to a wide range of information technology (IT) services-based solutions.  Read More



In 2018, federal contract spending increased for the third straight year to $559 billion, a 9% increase over 2017 spending and the highest level since 2010, when agencies spent $562 billion. Among the departments with the biggest gains in contract spending in fiscal 2018 were: Defense, Energy, Homeland Security and Transportation. Some of the top markets were weapons, professional services, aircraft parts and technology.  Read More



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