Key Takeaways from Government Calls

Key Takeaways from Government Calls

INSA routinely participates in calls with IC and DoD government agencies to provide insights and help inform policies. Summaries of these calls can be found below. Check back frequently, as this page will be updated after each policy call.

May 15 | OSD Industrial Policy Call 

Key Takeaways

  • DPC is trying to understand COVID-related challenges throughout the supply chain. It would like insights regarding subs/suppliers coming to members with 3610 requests or other COVID-related cost impacts. Please submit insights to covid@insaonline.org
  • DPC is wrapping up draft detailed guidance on 3610 implementation
    • It will make the guidance available to industry associations on the night of Monday, May 18
      • Companies will be able to provide input via OSD's early engagement portal up until COB Friday, May 22
  • OSD has identified two more banks accepting PPP applications from new clients
    • Farmers State Bank (IL)
    • Quantum National Bank (GA)

May 13 | Webinar: Doing Business with DOD, with DPC Acting Deputy Director Kim Herrington

This discussion addressed:

  • Keeping companies working during COVID-19
  • Expanding telework opportunities for contractors
  • Increasing/Improving liquidity (cash flow)
  • Understanding Section 3610 of the CARES Act
    >>>Read the full summary

May 8 | OSD Industrial Policy Call

Key Takeaways

  • Next DAU/DOD Office of Small Business Webinar is Wednesday, May 13 at 3:00pm
    • Speaker: Kim Herrington, Acting Principal Director, Defense Pricing and Contracting (DPC)
    • Topics to be discussed
      • Companies working during COVID-19
      • Expecting telework opportunities for contractors
      • Improving liquidity and cash flow
      • Implementation of Section 3610

May 4 | OSD Industrial Policy Call

Key Takeaways

  • INSA encouraged DOD to allow reciprocal use of IC/DOD SCIFs to enable companies to make more efficient use of secure spaces regardless of which agencies certified them
  • DPC published a memo on May 1 regarding the process for developing a Draft DOD Process for Section 3610 Reimbursement. Industry will be able to provide input through the Defense Acquisition Regulations System (DARS), Early Engagement site once the draft document is posted on or about May 11, 2020. The target date for release of a final plan is by May 22, 2020.

April 30 | DHS Call with Industry Associations

Key Takeaways

  • Return to Work
    • DHS has an interagency Return to Work council working on the issues that must be addressed to bring government employees and contractors back to work safely
    • DHS has decided to follow OMB's April 20 guidance memo M-20-23. This directive provides the flexibility needed by agencies to manage health and safety issues in the context of geographic differences between jurisdictions (e.g., state-level stay-at-home orders and rules regarding quarantines, school closures, etc.)
    • Major issues that the Return to Work for employees (and contractors)
      • Geographically safe environment for employees( and contactors)
      • Safety and health of employees (and contractors) on government sites
      • Availability of PPE—It is not yet clear whether government or companies will be responsible for providing PPE, as needed, to contract employees
    • The amount of notice contractors can expect for return to work will vary by site but will likely approximate one week. Companies  should begin planning now for how to manage a return to work
  • Implementation of CARES Act Section 3610
    • DHS has adopted OMB's interpretation that CARES Act provisions are effective on March 27 (the date on which the legislation was enacted) rather than on January 31 (the date on which a national health emergency was declared). To pursue reimbursement claims for activities pre-dating March 27, companies should discuss resolution, which could include equitable adjustment, with their CO/COR. Decisions will be based upon each contract's requirements, terms, and conditions.

April 29 | DOD Industrial Policy Call

Key Takeaways

  • Treasury is accepting applications for loans under Section 4003, including $17 billion available for companies that are critical to maintaining national security.
    • Companies applying before 5/1 at 3pm will get expedited handling; applications submitted afterwards will be considered at Treasury's discretion and subject to availability of funds. The application form is online.
    • To be eligible, companies must be
      • Performing under a "DX"-priority rated contract or under the Defense Priorities and Allocations System regulations (15 CFR part 700); or
      • Opening under a valid top secret facility security clearance under the National Industrial Security Program regulations (32 CFR part 2004).

April 24 | OSD Industrial Policy Call

Key Takeaways

  • On Wednesday, April 29 at 3:00 pm, DOD and SBA will host a webinar on the threat of adversarial capital to small businesses.
  • DOD has identified three banks that will take on new clients to help with PPP applications.
  • Clearance investigations/adjudications and on-boarding are moving forward. At least 40% of fingerprint stations are still open to some degree.
  • DPC will post additional 3610 implementation FAQs by end of day.
  • Slides from this week's DOD/SBA webinar on cybersecurity for small businesses during the health crisis are available online.
  • NDIA's small business survey results are publicly available. A second-round survey will ask about small firms' experiences with PPP and other CARES Act resources.

April 20 | DASD/Industrial Policy Call with Industry

Key Takeaways

  • DPC posted additional FAQs on 3610 implementation on Friday 4/17/20 (available here)
  • DHS released version 3.0 of its critical infrastructure workforce guidance on 4/17/20 (available here)
  • OSD/IP will host a live webinar focused on cyber and cyber hygiene Wednesday, April 22 at 11:00am (Details TBD)

April 17 | OSD Industrial Policy Call

Key Takeaways

  • DOD is planning two more small business webinars
    • Wednesday 4/22 at 11:00 am – Cyber Security: Protecting Small Businesses in COVID Environment
    • Wednesday 4/29 at 11:00 am – Trusted Capital and Foreign Investment Related Defense Companies
  • DPC has issued a memo regarding the redeployment of at-risk contractors from Afghanistan
  • DPC expects to update its 3610 implementation FAQ every Friday

April 16 | Weekly Call with DHS Office of the Chief Procurement Officer/Industry Groups

Two key topics of the call: 

  1. DHS will use the “Commercial Solutions Opening Pilot Program" to procure innovative commercial items, products and technologies to address COVID-19. It will operate like an OTA-type procurement and be open for proposals until August 31, 2020.
  2. Regarding implementation guidance for section 3610 of the CARES Act, DHS has nearly finalized their position with the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and OMB. DHS Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa will issue an unclassified guidance letter to industry in the days ahead.

Takeaways:  

    • DHS is unlikely to issue generic, across the board changes to contracts. DHS feels that each situation deserves an individual look at the facts involved and a decision that works best for both parties.
    • No separate funding will be provided for CARES related expenses. The available funding for each contract remains what it was before the crisis. DHS urges each contractor to work with their respective CO and COR to resolve specific issues on a case by case basis.
    • DHS strongly urges contractors to create distinct line items for costs related to COVID impacts.
    • Government has expanded authorities to examine contractor records and internal company documents.
    • Other solutions are available within existing contract language if CARES doesn’t apply well to an issue or situation.
    • Effective dates for claims will depend upon when the impact affected the contractor, not necessarily using OMB established dates.
    • CARES claims are considered to be reimbursements, thereby no fees will be allowed in claims.
    • Direct and Indirect Labor will be reimbursed together with other OMB allowed costs.

April 15 | OSD Industrial Policy Call

Key Takeaways

  • The military Services have been asked to provide contractors with base-level information about COVID infections.
  • To avoid potentially overwhelming in-theater medical capabilities, USFOR-A and CENTCOM have ordered the redeployment of at-risk total force members from Afghanistan.  Civilian personnel and contractors who meet WHO criteria – anyone older than age 60 or who has pre-existing heart/lung/immune conditions – will be redeployed to CONUS.  Approximately 1,000 out of 24,000 contractors may qualify.  DOD will fly these personnel to an initial CONUS location; firms will be responsible for flying them onward to a point of residence.
  • DHS/CISA has released guidance regarding safety practices for non-healthcare workers, including in the DIB, who may have been exposed to COVID. The guidance has been posted on the CDC and CISA websites.

April 13 | OSD Industrial Policy Call

Key Takeaways

  • DPC issued 3610 implementation guidance and FAQs on Thursday 4/9.
    • It will continue to update FAQs and will accept industry input regarding revisions
  • Firms should send financial/operational vulnerabilities to the Industrial Base Council (POC: DASD Santos) for weekly decisions on dispersal of funds to fragile DIB companies
  • DPC is monitoring progress payment issues with DCMA and DFAS.  DFAS average time for payment is 20 days after date of invoice.
  • Starting the week of April 20, DLA and NDIA will host a webinar on COVID-era supply chain challenges related to weapons systems/readiness support.

April 8 | Summary of COVID-19 Related Calls with IC and DoD Agency Leaders

The key takeaways below are highlights from calls with:

  1. Senior ODNI officials to discuss staffing challenges, billing concerns, and steps to facilitate industry’s continued support to government missions.
  2. The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy and other industry associations. Topics discussed include the implementation of section 3610 of the CARES Act, efforts to support small business contractors, and efforts to accelerate the pace of progress payments.
  3. OSD and USAF officials regarding the DIB support of critical space missions.

Key takeaways: 

  • On April 2, ODNI issued guidance on the implementation of Section 3610 of the CARES Act. On April 8, DOD released its FAR/DFARS Class Deviation on Section 3610. OMB is expected to issue its guidance soon.
  • Defense Pricing and Contracting (DPC) has issued 15 memos and formal guidance documents to address COVID-related contacting challenges. These documents are posted at https://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/pacc/cc/COVID-19.html.
  • Given DHS/CISA’s designation of the DIB as part of the essential critical infrastructure workforce, DOD and the National Governors’ Assoc. are working to allow DIB workers to continue working, despite stay-at-home orders in some states.
  • OSD and SBA hosted a webinar on Wednesday, April 8, to troubleshoot and clarify issues related to PPP (paycheck protection program).
  • Every week, a defense industrial base council will assess uses of DPA Title 3 investment funds to assess whether such funds can help keep fragile companies viable. If you have questions about the availability of such funds, please contact the office of the DASD for Industrial Policy or pass queries through INSA at COVID@insaonline.org.
  • A Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF), led by Stacy Cummings, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, has been established to integrate DOD, HHS, DHS, and FEMA support for COVID-related requirements.
  • JATF has created a portal where companies can propose solutions to government needs, with an initial focus on medical and pharmaceutical requirements. The landing page for the JATF is https://www.acq.osd.mil/jatf.html.
  • DOD will develop FAQs on section 3610 implementation and has welcomed questions from industry that can inform the development of this guidance. If you would like to submit questions or suggestions, please send them to INSA at COVID@insaonline.org.
  • IC agencies are taking steps to continue clearing and on-boarding personnel despite a range of obstacles. Agencies have flexibilities to waive some requirements and undertake some actions digitally that are normally undertaken in-person. The IC continues to approach security in a “badge-agnostic” manner that treats federal employees and contractors the same.

In all our outreach efforts, INSA has consistently reiterated the following three messages:

  • Industry needs uniform, consistent guidance across DOD and the IC on the implementation of Section 3610 and other measures intended to facilitate contract execution and continue payments to contractors, as it is not feasible to modify tens of thousands of individual contracts across the government.
  • Contractors should be paid in full for time in which their employees are unable to execute their contracts.
  • Agencies should authorize a shift in both classified and unclassified work from government to contractor facilities to reduce population density, and should permit telework wherever possible.

If you have questions or comments about the USG’s COVID response and how INSA can advocate more effectively for industry, please contact us at COVID@insaonline.org.

Caroline Henry

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