Highlights from Recent Events
September 12, 2017 Executive Briefing
On Tuesday, September 12th, SECAF held its annual program year kickoff event with an Executive Briefing by Rob Levinson of news giant Bloomberg and Kevin Robbins of the strategy consulting firm Wolf Den Associates. The topic du jour was the key legislative issues for small and mid-size government contractors in the coming year, and strategies to deal with them.
Mr. Levinson began with a summary of the recent Budget deal on the Hill where a bipartisan vote approved a Continuing Resolution to keep the government operating through December and action to push the Debt Ceiling issue until Spring. Both he and Mr. Robbins commented that while the CR inhibits new starts, there's often potential to add scope and runway (period of performance) to existing contracts, and that this can sometimes be a good strategy for small businesses to initiate 'new' work while under the CR restrictions.
Mr. Levinson outlined the government's near-term focus on the hurricanes in the Atlantic and the immediate requirement for disaster relief via FEMA and HUD. Mr. Robbins explained that while there's a focus on the reconstruction work that's needed, there are a broad variety of second order efforts in infrastructure and technology support that are needed as well. Of note, Mr. Levinson pointed out that funding for Hurricane Andrew in 1992 is still being administered by a government office, so there can be some very long-term potential.
Next, Mr. Levinson turned to the 2018 Budget. While the President has stated his desire for significant growth in the DoD budget, this in fact is only 3% higher than the Obama Administration's budget proposal, which has hawkish Republicans unhappy. Mr. Levinson expects that like most legislation, there will be a balancing of less DoD growth and reduced cuts to the civilian agencies in a final Budget bill.
Mr. Levinson highlighted the continuing strong interest on the Hill for cyber security, personnel security, and the hiring of younger talent in the Federal government. He and Mr. Robbins also discussed the general contracting trend away from agency-specific IDIQ vehicles and towards the large government-wide vehicles like GSA, GWACs, OASIS, and others, as well as the growing interest in the use of OTA (Other Transaction Authority).
Audience participation was strong and peppered both Mr. Levinson and Mr. Robbins with questions driving to specific actionable strategies for their businesses. The three big take-aways included: 1) scope/runway adjustments, 2) second order activities supporting hurricane relief efforts, and 3) the increasing use of large government contract vehicles.