BY BORIS HERTSLET
A new year is here and with it come some changes in federal contracting.
One of the biggest changes for federal contractors and grantees is the retirement of the DUNS number. December 2020 is the target date for the implementation of the new Unique Entity Identifier, the government issued replacement for DUN & Bradstreet’s proprietary DUNS number.
Currently, contractors and grantees register for a DUNS number with DUN & Bradstreet, a private company. The new UEI will be issued directly from the federal government via its System for Award Management.
Speaking of SAM, its cousin, beta.sam.gov, recently absorbed the Federal Business Opportunities website. However, the automatic email feature from FBO was not absorbed into the new “contract opportunities” section of beta.sam.gov. The powers that be are aware of this and the automatic email feature should be restored in 2020.
beta.sam.gov will see more traffic in 2020 as it continues its mission of combining a dozen procurement-related federal websites into one. Eventually, beta.sam.gov will drop the “beta” and become the new SAM website. This could happen in 2020.
When it comes to the Department of Defense, the Northern Mariana Islands, especially Tinian, should see a major uptick in federal construction spending. In the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, DOD requested $316 million and Congress authorized $45 million for three major airfield related projects in Tinian.
DOD has been consistently requesting over $100 million in construction funding for projects in Tinian in the last few years and we should finally see some shovels breaking ground in 2020.
For Guam, the 2020 NDAA saw DOD request a little more than $400 million and Congress authorize almost $300 million in construction funding. This is a slight uptick in annual DOD construction spending on Guam. Major projects include the Machine Gun Range, Munitions Storage Igloos, EOD Compound Facilities and a Bachelor Enlisted Quarters.
With respect to small business certification from the Small Business Administration, the major changes for 2020 affect the HUBZone certification program. Most of the changes concern the percentage of employee and residency requirements. These really have no effect on Guam or CNMI-based businesses, as our entire area is a HUBZone and none of our local employees are commuting to work from non-HUBZone areas.
Starting Jan. 6, the SBA’s five-year receipts average became the rule for determining whether a company is a small business or not. The previous rule used a three-year receipts average. The SBA wants to make sure no business gets unfairly penalized by this new calculation, so businesses can choose the more favorable calculation method of the two until Jan. 6, 2022.
Currently, the Women-Owned Small Business certification is a self-certification that requires a lot of effort on the part of a federal agency’s contracting department to verify details.
The SBA wants to change this. In May 2019, the SBA issued a proposed rule and the comment period closed in July. Hopefully, by the end of 2020, the SBA will make the WOSB certification an official SBA certification like the HUBZone or 8a certifications.
Finally, cybersecurity is all the rage. DOD is working on a cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification for all federal contractors and subcontractors. In the fall of 2020, DOD should start issuing solicitations that will require contractors and subcontractors to have a specific level of cybersecurity protocols in place.
Currently, five levels have been identified and DOD expects most of its solicitations to require only the minimum level (Level 1) certification. The CMMC is constantly evolving, but there should be a complete framework issued January 2020.
Guam PTAC counselors are familiar with all aspects of federal procurement and can assist you with you any of your questions or concerns. Best of all, Guam PTAC services are free of charge. To learn more about government procurement or to contact one of our procurement counselors, please visit our website: www.guamptac.com. mbj
— Boris Hertslet is the program manager for the Guam Procurement Technical Assistance Center. He can be reached at [email protected].