The theme this week is Congress, reflecting work completed or in progress as the Senate joins the House for August recess. House majority leader Steny Hoyer has admitted what we've already come to expect: a continuing resolution is basically "inevitable," which explains why the House isn't pushing harder to get appropriations bills finalized. In other funding news, Hoyer is pushing for more money in the Technology Modernization Fund, which the Senate zeroed out in its appropriations bill. There is a wide range of appetites for revolving funds, as discussed in last week's newsletter. The Senate is not a fan, while House members seem more appreciative of their value. Despite the skepticism of funds like the TMF, three new projects were recently awarded from existing money.
Our top story is the AGILE Procurement Act of 2022, a bill introduced last week in the Senate to mandate that the federal government procure more commercial products and services, specifically technology, and to support the acquisition workforce in doing so. This short bill is somewhat light on specifics and reads like a collection of good ideas, such as identifying and removing barriers to entry for small/nontraditional technology businesses. On the workforce front, it pushes for more training on IT acquisition and innovative procurement methods, plus new paths for hiring junior and mid-career acquisition professionals. One specific detail worth noting is the proposed expansion of commercial solutions opening, which would expand the agencies able to use the authority, raise the threshold to $25 million, and remove its status as a "pilot" program.
In research, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has released its yearbook of data analyzing global defense spending. For the first time, the total is over $2 trillion.
We have several interesting acquisition headlines for you to peruse, but want to highlight that there's a job opening for the Director of DHS's Procurement Innovation Lab. And we at NPS are also hiring for an innovative acquisition leader to lead in the classroom and through research!
Our latest symposium panel video covers contracting strategies, chaired by John Tenaglia, Principal Director of Defense Pricing and Contracting.
This Week's Top Story
Bill to streamline federal agency tech acquisition introduced in Senate
John Hewitt Jones, Fedscoop
Senate lawmakers introduced a new bipartisan bill intended to improve agile technology acquisition within the federal government.
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Wednesday introduced the AGILE Procurement Act.
The legislation would require the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the General Services Administration to streamline the ability of the federal government to purchase commercial technology and to provide specific training for IT and communications tech acquisition.
It also marks the latest attempt by Senate lawmakers to pass laws to mandate the upskilling of the federal government acquisition workforce. Last year, lawmakers in the chamber passed a bipartisan bill designed to improve federal employees’ understanding of the threats and opportunities presented by artificial intelligence, although the legislation has yet to be advanced by the House.