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2012 Greater Washington GovCon awards announced

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Elliott Branch, the Navy’s deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and procurement, has been named Public Sector Partner of the Year as part of the 10th Annual Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, Professional Services Council and Washington Technology announced Friday.

The award honors “the leadership, innovation and commitment to excellence of the individuals and businesses in the region’s government contracting sector,” the group said in a news release. The awardees helped government contracting and acquisition officials execute a myriad of missions at home and abroad, PSC President Stan Soloway said during a gala honoring award recipients Thursday night.

“These partnerships will become all the more critical as we rise to meet the nation’s almost unprecedented budgetary and security challenges,” he said.

Contractors and company executives who received awards this year are:
Contractor of the Year (less than $25 million): Octo Consulting Group, Inc.
Contractor of the Year ($25-75 million): Blue Canopy Group, LLC
Contractor of the Year ($75-300 million): CALIBRE Systems, Inc.
Contractor of the Year (greater than $300 million): Sotera Defense Solutions, Inc.

Executive of the Year (less than $75 million): Greg Baroni, Chairman & CEO, Attain, LLC
Executive of the Year ($75-300 million): Tony Jimenez, Founder, President & CEO, MicroTech
Executive of the Year (greater than $300 million): Richard Montoni, President & CEO, MAXIMUS

Dr. J. Phillip London, chairman of the board of CACI International, was also inducted into the Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards Hall of Fame for career achievement and long term contributions to the industry.

The nominations period for the 11th annual awards will open in early 2013.

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Energy Dept. wins SmartPay innovation award

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The General Service Administration awarded this year’s SmartPay 2 Innovation award to the Energy Department for its use of an electronic payment system that will better track individual purchase orders, J.P. Morgan bank announced Thursday.

The Energy Department was the first agency to use J.P. Morgan’s Single-Use Account for SmartPay charge card purchases with CH2M-WG Idaho, one of its major contractors, according to a news release.

Instead of CH2M-WG Idaho using a general account number for all of  its charges, the Single-Use Account issued a unique, 16-digit account number for each payment that CH2M-WG made to its vendors. This allowed the contractor to pay its vendors faster, better track where payments are going and increase payment security, according to J.P. Morgan’s global commercial card division.

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DoD awards $750 million intelligence training contract

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Nine companies have been awarded spots on an intelligence training contract worth $750 million over five years, the Defense Department announced today.

Out of 24 proposals submitted, nine awards were made on Oct. 26 to:
BAE of McLean,Va.
Battelle Memorial Institute of Columbus,Ohio
Booz Allen Hamilton of McLean,Va.
Cyberspace Solutions LLC of Reston,Va.
Intrepid Solutions Services Inc. of Falls Church,Va.
Prescient Edge Corp. of Falls Church,Va.
SAIC of McLean,Va.
Six 3 Intelligence Solutions of McLean,Va.
SRA of Fairfax,Va.

The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract will expire Nov. 30, 2017, according to the announcement. Work will be performed in Washington DC; Quantico, Va.; Norfolk, Va.; Ft. Huachuca, Ariz.; Ft. Jackson, SC; Willow Grove, Pa.; Oak Ridge, Tenn.; West Davis Monthan AFB, Ariz.; and elsewhere as required.  The Defense Intelligence Agency’s Virginia Contracting Activity is managing the contract.

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Three more sentenced for involvement in federal contract fraud

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Three men were handed down prison sentences this week for participating in a scheme to defraud the government of more than $20 million through Army Corps of Engineers contracts, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Harold Babb, the former director of contracts at Eyak Technology LLC, was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison on federal charges of bribery and unlawful kickbacks, according to a news release.

Babb admitted that he paid Army Corps of Engineers program manager Kerry Khan in return for Khan’s approval on contracts and subcontracts to EyakTek and Big Surf Construction Management, an EyakTek subcontractor, the release said.

James Miller, the owner of Big Surf Construction Management LLC, was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison, the release said.

Khan also allegedly approved fictitious and fraudulently inflated invoices worth $850,000 submitted by Alpha Technology Group, company president Robert McKinney told the Justice Department. Alpha Technology kept about $246,000, and the rest allegedly was passed on to Khan directly and through a company controlled by one of Khan’s family members, the release said.

McKinney was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison.

Upon completion of their prison terms, Babb, McKinney and Miller will be under supervision for three years.

Twelve people, including Khan, have pled guilty to charges related to the fraudulent use of Army Corps of Engineers contracts, and the investigation is continuing, the release said. Army Corps of Engineers program director Michael Alexander, who also allegedly took bribes from contractors in exchange for access to government contracts, was sentenced in September 2012 to a six-year prison term. The other defendants are awaiting sentencing, the Justice Department said.

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Contractor fraud puts troops at risk, investigation finds

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Security measures intended to prevent the placement of  roadside bombs on a major highway in Afghanistan were  improperly installed, the  Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in a safety alert last week.

The “culvert denial systems” were designed to prevent insurgents from placing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in roadway culverts, according to the alert, which was sent to the commanders of the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.

“Through our preliminary investigative work, we estimate that a large number of culvert denial systems might have been falsely reported by Afghan contractors as complete when, in fact, the denial systems were not installed or were installed in a defective manner, rendering them ineffective and susceptible to compromise by insurgents seeking to emplace IEDs,” the SIGAR said in the Oct. 10 alert.

Officials identified an undisclosed location of particular concern for potential threats, “however, we are concerned that this problem may be more widely spread throughout Afghanistan,” the alert said.

The SIGAR has been working with the anti-corruption Task Force 2010 and U.S. Central Command Joint Theater Support Contracting Command on the investigation.

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Contractor group seeks stellar performers in procurement

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The Coalition for Government Procurement is taking nominations for this year’s Excellence in Partnership Awards, which honors acquisition officials who have made significant strides in promoting and using multiple-award contracts. 

Nominations are accepted for the following categories through Oct. 1:

For contractors and government agenncies that have developed significant innovative solutions resulting in savings through sound acquisition planning and development, and well defined contracting requirements:
Contractor Savings Award
Government Savings Award (Civilian)
Government Savings Award (DoD)

For individuals or offices that facilitated open communication between government and industry during the acquisition process and effectively breaking down communication barriers to create a collaborative procurement environment:
Myth-Busters Award (Civilian)
Myth-Busters Award (DoD)

Lifetime Acquisition Excellence Award: Presented to an individual in the procurement community for delivering best-value solutions and who has demonstrated a long-term commitment to improving the federal acquisition system.

Best Veteran Hiring Program (Government): Presented to a government agency for promoting and executing a robust and successful veteran hiring program to the benefit of men and women in uniform.

Best Veteran Hiring Program (Industry): Presented to a government contractor for promoting and executing a robust and successful veteran hiring, teaming or subcontracting program to the benefit of men and women in uniform.

Award winners will be honored during the coalition’s upcoming fall conference Oct. 24-25 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott. If you have any questions, please email events@thecgp.org.

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Group ranks Congress on privatization votes

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A coalition of businesses pushing for the privatization of government work ranked Congress this week on votes that would have invited more competition between the public and private sector.

“We are seeing an unprecedented level of government expansion into numerous activities that should be left to the private sector,” John Palatiello, president of the Business Coalition for Fair Competition, said at a news conference at the National Press Club on Thursday. “In our free enterprise system, government should be the umpire, not the opposing team.”

The coalition’s report lists how each member of the U.S. House and Senate voted on legislation, amendments and procedural actions — 10 in each house — that would have allowed private companies to compete with government workers or impeded companies’ competition for federal contracts.

Among the Senate actions members were scored on were amendments that would have repealed the previously enacted government-run healthcare law and allowed private companies to compete with the Postal Service. Key House votes included amendments that prevented the executive branch from requiring companies to disclose their political contributions as a condition of winning government contracts and that would have removed restrictions on agencies’ use of OMB Circular A-76 public-private cost competitions.

Not surprisingly, Republican leaders, such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Rep. Paul Ryan, who is presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate, agreed with the coalition’s position on key votes. On the other hand, Democratic leaders, such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi,  received goose eggs.

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Boeing awarded $1.9 billion to expand Navy’s air fleet

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The Navy has awarded a $1.9 billion order for more aerial reconnaissance and sub-hunting aircraft to Boeing, the agency announced Friday.

The  low-rate initial production award for 11 P-8A Poseidon aircraft is a modification to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive-firm contract and follows two orders last year for 13 aircraft. The fleet will ” bolster the service’s anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities,”  Boeing said in a news release today.

Boeing has delivered three of the P-8As, which are based on the company’s 737-800 commercial airplane, the company said. The Navy plans to purchase 117 to replace its P-3 fleet.

Most of the work will be performed at Boeing’s facility in Seattle, Wash.

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Combat trauma training practices under scrutiny

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Members of Congress are calling for a federal investigators to look into a defense contractor’s use of animals in training exercises.

The group asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate Tier 1 Group for “live tissue training,” which uses animals to train service members on the treatment of combat-related injuries.

The Agriculture Department issued a warning to Tier 1 last month after previously citing the company for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act during training exercises in May and last August. The company did not use the right type of anesthesia on live animals during a training exercise and did not properly monitor animals to ensure that the drugs did not wear off during the exercise, according to USDA documents.

One of the citations was prompted by a fairly graphic video released by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights advocacy group, showing training participants cutting limbs off goats with tree trimmers and stabbing them with scalpels under the direction of Tier 1, members said in the Sept. 11 letter.

During the training, goats are seen moving or moaning, and participants ask for more anesthetic. While participants are not wearing military uniforms, PETA says it received the video from a whistleblower within the Coast Guard.

Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif. and one of the 11 members who signed the letter, sponsored a bill that would phase out the military’s use of live animals in trauma training and require the use of human-based simulation models. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate.

Given Tier 1’s past violations, the company may have violated the terms of previous military contracts, members said.  They also believe there may be enough evidence to terminate a $1.7 million Navy training contract awarded to the company in May and permanently debar the company.

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Defense contractor pays $1.15M to settle theft claim

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Defense contractor Paragon Dynamics Inc. has agreed to pay $1.15 million to settle allegations that it improperly obtained bid and proposal information for National Reconnaissance Office contracts, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.

Paragon Dynamics, a software research and development firm based in Aurora, Colo.,  allegedly obtained bid and proposal information from competitor Raytheon Corp. in fiscal 2009, while Raytheon was competing on National Reconnaissance Office contracts, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado said in the news release. The NRO is in charge of designing, launching and maintaining America’s intelligence satellites.

A Paragon Dynamics employee with access to a Raytheon facility in Aurora allegedly used his access to obtain entire drafts of Raytheon’s proposals for two separate contracts, according to information from the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s office.  The  employee allegedly faxed part of a proposal to the president of Paragon Dynamics, who sent the information to another corporation that Paragon Dynamics was teaming with in a competition to win the NRO contract, according to the government’s claims.

“When companies cheat in the bidding process for government contracts by stealing the work of their competitors, they face strict penalties,” said John Walsh, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado. “Corporate espionage erodes the trust we have in our public procurement system, and the Department of Justice will hold cheaters accountable for their actions.”

As part of the agreement, NRO’s inspector general reached a corporate integrity agreement with Paragon Dynamics, according to the news release. Paragon Dynamics was awarded $3 million in defense contracts in 2012, according to data from the Federal Procurement Data System.

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