This bill has been introduced by Mac Thornberry (Republican, Representative for Texas’s 13th congressional district) on Jun. 7, 2017 and passed in the House and the Senate.
H.R. 2810 authorizes and prioritizes funding for the Department of Defense (DoD) and military activities and construction, and prescribes military personnel strengths for Fiscal Year 2018. The bill authorizes $613.8 billion in base funding, including a $28.5 billion increase above the President’s budget for essential readiness recovery. Further, the bill authorizes an additional $10 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations fund (OCO) for base requirements, and an additional $64.6 billion in the OCO fund to cover contingency operations. When factoring in $7.5 billion for mandatory defense spending, a total of $695.9 billion is authorized to be appropriated.
The bill for FY18 Reflects a number of additional reforms including, Reforming the Depart of Defense, Acquisition Reform, Purchasing Commercial Goods, Contact Auditing and Acquisition Code, etc. For instances, the bill calls for additional oversight by requiring increased specificity in funding requests for service contracts. Under the legislation, requests for service contracts will be submitted through the DOD budget process, forcing the Pentagon to analyze actual needs and spending patterns, similar to the process employed for weapons systems. By specifying contract requirements early enough to have them validated, awarded, and the funding secured, Congress will have more oversight and enabling efficiencies.
Commercial-off-the-shelf goods which are currently purchased by the Pentagon through a contracting process or from the General Services Administration might also be influenced. A recent GSA Inspector General report revealed that for IT products alone, GSA rates were 13% higher than those on the open market. Under the legislation, DOD would have the ability to buy commercial goods using online commercial sites like Amazon, Staples, Grainger, or various other retailers.
Besides, the H.R. 2810 authorizes funds to increase the size of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Army Guard and Reserve, Naval and Air Reserve, and Air Guard. In addition, the bill full funds the 2.4% pay raise troops are entitled to under law, and blocks the President’s ability to reduce troop pay while extending special pay and bonuses for service-members. Any reduction of inpatient care for military Medical Treatment facilities locations outside the U.S. is prohibited.
Till now, the bill has passed by the Senate with changes not in the House version and has been send back to the House to approve the changes.
“Defense Contractors Could Face Pay-Back Clause for Losing Bid Protests” Nextgov, October 10, 2017. Retrieved from nextgov.com
The Senate’s version of the House of Representative’s (H.R. 2810) National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) 2018, contains provisions that could make it more difficult for companies to protest contract awards, particularly those made by defense and military agencies.
Specifically, § 2340 of the NDAA proposes to “require contractors who file bid protests with the Government Accountability Office on a contract with the Department of Defense to pay to the Department of Defense costs incurred for processing a protest at the Government Accountability Office and the Department of Defense when such a protest is filed by a party with revenues in excess of $100 million during the previous year where all of the elements of such protest are denied” by GAO.
The provision would also require incumbent contractors that protest a follow-on contract award “to have all payments above incurred costs withheld on any bridge contracts or temporary contract extensions awarded to the contractor as a result of a delay in award resulting from the filing of such protest.” The protesting companies are spared paying fees only if GAO “upholds any of the protest grounds” or if the contract in question is scrapped.
According to GAO data, bid protests have increased significantly across the government over the past decade. In fiscal 2008, bidders filed 1,652 protests; in fiscal 2016, they filed 2,789.
In a September 7, 2017 letter addressed to Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro asked the Senate Armed Services Committee chair and ranking member to delete the provision.
In his letter, Mr. Dodaro said GAO “expresses no view on the policy of imposing protest processing costs on certain contractors whose protests are denied,” but rather takes issue with the provision because it would require GAO to implement new procedures and collect data it currently does not need, nor have. In addition, Mr. Dodaro expressed concern “that assessing costs associated with processing covered defense protests could involve GAO in federal court litigation concerning both the application of the requirement to pay costs” and the amount of costs to be paid.
Full text of the current version of the NDAA 2018 can be found here.