ExecutiveGov’s round-up of news you need to read to stay up to speed on federal policy impacting the government-contracting community.
Carter Says ‘No’ to Automatic Suspension for Indicted Contractors
Testifying before the Commission on Wartime Contracting, the Defense Department’s top acquisition chief said the Pentagon disagrees with the panel’s recommendation to automatically suspend indicted contractors.
“There is a potential unintended consequence of turning suspensions and debarments from tools to protect the government’s interest into tools that automatically punish contractors,” he said, according to a Government Executive report. “Such an approach may have a chilling effect on contractor cooperation in identifying and fixing real problems, including those that affect the health and safety of our personnel.”
Gov’t to Ease Restrictions on Defense Exports?
The Washington Post reports the government is easing restrictions on defense exports, a move that has received strong support from the defense industry, which likely views sales to foreign markets as a way to boost revenue as U.S. spending declines. The proposed changes would also protect key technologies to maintain the nation’s competitive edge.
Administration’s Open Gov Efforts Underwhelming, Watchdog Group Says
The executive director of The Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit open-government advocacy organization, said the administration’s action on open-government goals in 2010 was “tremendously disappointing” and 2011 was shaping up much the same.
“It seems like there’s been more promises made than reality delivered and we’re disappointed,” said Ellen Miller, who took the administration to task for the lack of usable information posted to Data.gov.
Federal Technology Efforts Triumph Too
Center for American Progress scholar and government procurement specialist Pratap Chatterjee talked up the ways technology has triumphed in the federal sector, summing up a recent conference convened by CAP on the 25-point federal IT management reform.
The takeaway from that conference and the highlight of recent federal best practices: “Significant cost savings are possible if agencies share best practices: moving to cloud and light technologies, buying smarter, collapsing redundant layers of governance and ramping up training of IT program managers.”
Federal Agencies Pinching Pennies in Shadow of Budget Battles
Even before the current short-term spending bill exhausts itself April 8, federal agencies are clutching agency purse strings tight, holding back on doling out funds ahead of likely further cuts, The Atlantic reports.
“Thanks to the three short-term government funding bills that have passed since the start of fiscal 2011, … agency budget officers have had to be conservative with their funds, in some cases holding off on hiring new employees to fill vacancies and slowing down grants or other contracts that require up-front government funding,” The Atlantic reports.
Spot the Differences in Health IT Strategy Update
Wonder what’s different in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s update of its five-year strategy for health IT and electronic-health-record adoption? Keith W. Boone, a standards architect for GE Healthcare, put together a helpful table highlighting how the strategy, which was first published in 2008 under a different health IT coordinator and under a different administration, has been updated.
Manufacturing Decline’s effect on National Security?
House Intelligence Committee member Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) said the Intelligence Community will likely put together a National Intelligence Estimate — an exhaustive threat assessment — on what the decline in U.S. manufacturing means for national security, according to the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy blog.