Weekly Update for Government Contractors and Commercial Businesses – October 2021 #2

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LABOR & EMPLOYMENT

DOD Guidance for COVID-19 Vaccination Attestation, Screening Testing, and Vaccination Verification
The Department of Defense published a memorandum that provides updated guidance for implementing additional force health protection and workplace safety measures as directed by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force regarding COVID-19. Read more here. Related reporting from Federal News Network is available here.

USAID: Implementation of EO 14042 on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors
The U.S. Agency for International Development gave a webinar to share information on its revised policy directive on award requirements to implement Executive Order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors. The slides are available here. A recording of the webinar is available here.

DOD Implementation of EO 14042 on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors in Other Transaction Agreements
The Department of Defense (DOD) released a memorandum that applies the requirements of Executive Order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors, to Other Transaction Agreements (OTAs) and requires agreements officers to insert a clause identified in the memorandum into OTAs. The memorandum is effective immediately, though DOD has not given a timeline on when contracting officers will issue bilateral modifications to modify existing agreements to incorporate the COVID-19 safety Federal Acquisition Regulation clause. Read more here.

NASA Update on FAR Clause 52.223-99, Ensuring Adequate COVID-19 Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) published an update on its incorporation of the Federal Acquisition Regulation Clause 52.223-99, Ensuring Adequate COVID-19 Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors, in all of its contracts. As of October 15, 2021, 97.5% of the modifications to SEWP contracts have been finalized. Read more here.

Supreme Court Won’t Block Vaccine Mandate for Maine Healthcare Workers
The Hill reported that the Supreme Court left intact a vaccine requirement for Maine healthcare workers, denying another legal challenge seeking to block COVID-19 vaccination mandates. Read more here.

OSHA Warns States that Have Not Yet Adopted Healthcare COVID-19 Rules
Bloomberg Law reported that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is warning Arizona, South Carolina, and Utah that they risk a federal takeover of their worker safety programs unless they adopt a federal standard protecting healthcare workers from COVID-19. Of the 21 states with worker safety agencies approved by OSHA, these three states were the only ones that did not adopt the federal standard or their own version after it was issued June 21, 2021. Read more here.

Upcoming Labor & Employment Presentations

WEBINAR: Construction Webinar Series: Building Compliance: Construction Industry Concerns Under FCA, November 9, 2021, Cy Alba and Sarah Nash. Read more here.

WEBINAR: An Update on Workplace Policy, November 18, 2021, Sara Nasseri. Read more here.

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Could Become a Factor in Winning Government Contracts
Government Executive reported that the Biden Administration is considering changes to federal procurement that would bolster its “whole-of-government” approach to tackling climate change. The White House released a report titled, “A Roadmap to Build a Climate-Resilient Economy,” which furthers a climate change-related executive order President Biden signed in May. The report—which aligns with climate adoption and resilience plans major federal agencies released on October 7, 2021—lays out a roadmap for long-term efforts to build climate resilience throughout the U.S. economy. Read more here.

Secretary of Defense Statement on the DOD Climate Risk Analysis
The Department of Defense (DOD) published a statement from Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III regarding the DOD Climate Risk Analysis. Secretary Austin explained that the DOD Climate Risk Analysis lays out a path to incorporate security considerations into DOD activities at a strategic level, serving as an important first step in understanding national security risks posed by climate change. Read more here. The DOD Climate Risk Analysis is available here.

GSA Expects to Issue Polaris Solicitation by December 21, 2021
FedScoop reported that the General Services Administration (GSA) is expecting to issue a solicitation for the Polaris IT government-wide acquisition contract by December 21, 2021. According to FedScoop, senior GSA contracting officer James Mitchell outlined the expected timeline and launch of the contract while speaking at a digital workshop for prospective contractors. FedScoop further reported that GSA expects proposals for the contract will be due within 40 to 60 days after release of the solicitation. Read more here.

JWCC Cloud Contract Providers Will Have to Adhere to FedRAMP-Like Cybersecurity Regime
FedScoop reported that cloud providers selected for the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC) contract will have to pass a cybersecurity test similar to the one for the FedRAMP contract. The JWCC replaces the now-cancelled Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract for an enterprise-wide cloud service. It will be a multi-vendor, multi-cloud offering that will pull resources from cloud hyperscale companies like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and others. Read more here.

GSA Blog on New Reports in SAM.gov
The General Services Administration (GSA) shared information regarding improved Reports in SAM.gov. Specifically, GSA’s blog post—a follow-up to its recent post with general updates on SAM.gov—provides information on the following reports:

  • List of Federal Procurement Data System Users Report;
  • Fiscal Year 2020 Small Business Goaling Report; and
  • United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and Agreement on Government Procurement Report.

Read more here.

Government to Transition from Use of DUNS Numbers to Unique Entity IDs
The General Services Administration reported that, by April 4, 2022, the federal government will transition away from the use of the DUNS Number and toward a new Unique Entity ID as the primary means of entity identification for federal awards government-wide. If you are registered in SAM.gov, you will have been assigned a new Unique Entity ID, which is viewable in your SAM.gov entity registration record. It is also now possible to obtain a Unique Entity ID from SAM.gov as a stand-alone request. Read more here.

GSA Wants a Real Person Associated with Every SAM Registration Before End of Fiscal Year
Nextgov reported that the General Services Administration (GSA) is working to eliminate fake and anonymous account managers in SAM.gov and that GSA’s Integrated Award Environment is consolidating various procurement websites and tools under a single site under SAM.gov. The new site includes the entity registration process previously housed on the old SAM.gov, including obtaining the unique identifier required for any organization doing business with the government. Per Nextgov, officials expect to kick those plans into full gear this year. According to an informational slide deck obtained by Nextgov, the identity proofing process—administered through GSA’s single sign-on program, Login.gov—looks to prevent unauthorized access to entity registration accounts and, specifically, access to sensitive data that could harm or damage an entity. As part of the process, administrators will be asked to submit an image of their state-issued photo ID, Social Security number, and a valid phone number. Read more here.

FedRAMP Releases Updated Agency Authorization Playbook
FedRAMP released an updated Agency Authorization Playbook to better reflect how the initial agency authorization process has evolved. The Playbook provides a compilation of best practices, tips, and step-by-step guidance for agencies seeking to conduct initial FedRAMP Authorizations or reuse FedRAMP Authorized Cloud Service Offerings. Read more here.

Agencies Get New Guidance for Securing Mobile Devices on International Travel
Federal News Network reported that an interagency panel prepared new guidance for securing government mobile devices when employees travel overseas. The Federal Mobility Group’s “International Travel Guidance for Government-Furnished Mobile Devices” draft report outlines the risks to smartphones and tablets abroad, as well as best practices for securing them. The draft report is open for public comment through the end of December. Directives in the report would impact some government contractors. Read more here.

VA Adopts New Artificial Intelligence Strategy to Ensure Trustworthy Use of Technology for Veteran Care
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published a press release, which explains that, as part of VA efforts to explore the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the delivery of healthcare and benefits, the VA has implemented a new AI strategy to serve as a guideline for ethical use of the technology throughout its enterprise. Read more here. The VA AI Strategy is available here.

Threshold for Obtaining Certified Cost or Pricing Data for Subcontracts and Price Adjustments
The Department of Defense published a class deviation that revises and supersedes Class Deviation 2022- O0001, which was issued on October 5, 2021. The new class deviation seeks to correct the TINA threshold expressed in deviated Federal Acquisition Regulation clauses from the previous class deviation and will remain in effect until it is incorporated into the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement or otherwise rescinded. Read more here.

Information Security Controls: Cybersecurity Items
The Bureau of Industry and Security published an interim final rule and request for comments that outlines the progress the U.S. has made in export controls pertaining to cybersecurity items, covers revised Commerce Control List implementation, and requests information about the impact of these revised controls on U.S. industry and the cybersecurity community. Specifically, the interim final rule establishes a new control on these items, along with a new License Exception Authorized Cybersecurity Exports that authorizes exports of these items to most destinations. The interim final rule is effective January 19, 2022. Comments are due December 6, 2021. Read more here.

Upcoming Government Contracts Presentations

WEBINAR: Construction Webinar Series: Building Compliance: Construction Industry Concerns Under FCA, November 9, 2021, Cy Alba and Sarah Nash. Read more here.

WEBINAR: An Update on Workplace Policy, November 18, 2021, Sara Nasseri. Read more here.

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