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Challenge.gov

Welcome to the official hub for federal prize and challenge competitions!
Challenge.gov is a listing of challenge and prize competitions, all of which are run by more than 100 agencies across federal government. These problem-solving events include idea, creative, technical and scientific competitions in which U.S. federal agencies invite the public's help to solve perplexing mission-centric problems.

Challenge and prize competitions are one path that federal agencies take to drive innovation.

More than 740 challenges have been run in the federal government since Challenge.gov launched in 2010, but competitions date back several centuries. Did you know, for instance, that the 1927 Orteig Prize for fueled Charles Lindbergh's famous transatlantic flight? An architectural competition conceived the U.S. Capitol's landmark design, too. There are so many examples of competition spurring innovation.

Learn more at challenge.gov  
UPCOMING EVENTS
3/13/17
Acquisition Hour: Information Management for Federal Contractors
Webinar 

3/14/17
Acquisition Hour: Introduction to Certifications Available to Woman Owned Businesses
Webinar
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3/13/17
Developing your Market Materials for Government Sales
Milwaukee
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3/21/17

Responding to Federal Government Opportunities
Iron Mountain, MI
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Civilian Agency Acquisition Council (CAAC) Letter  
 
The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council (CAAC) (which is responsible to update the FAR) recently issued CAAC Letter 2018-02, which allows civilian agencies to issue class deviations to the FAR so they can start to use the new increased micro-purchase threshold and simplified acquisition threshold immediately.  The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (NDAA FY 18) increased the micro-purchase threshold to $10,000 and the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT) to $250,000.  While that sounds like excellent news, it can create a lot of confusion until the FAR is actually updated to reflect the new thresholds.  We currently do not know if any agencies will request a class deviation.  Until the FAR is updated, we may see individual agencies with different threshold amounts for the micro-purchase threshold and the SAT.  We may also see individual contracting officers making their own interpretation of the current law.  Prime contractors and subcontractors need to be aware of what dollar amount is associated with references to the SAT in their contracts.  More information on the CAAC's policy is available at the following link.   https://www.acquisition.gov/sites/default/files/page_file_uploads/CAAC%20Letter%202018-02.pdf

Revise and Streamline VA Acquisition Regulation To Adhere to Federal Acquisition Regulation Principles (VAAR Case 2014-V002)

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) adopts as final the proposed amendments to VA regulations. This rule-making prescribes five new Economic Price Adjustment clauses for firm-fixed-price contracts, identifies VA's task-order and delivery-order ombudsman, clarifies the nature and use of consignment agreements, adds policy coverage on bond premium adjustments and insurance under fixed-price contracts, and provides for indemnification of contractors for medical research or development contracts. This document adopts the proposed rule published on March 13, 2017, as a final rule with five technical non-substantive changes.

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FY2019 DOD Budget Proposal 
 
DOD Comptroller David L. Norquist; Army Lt. Gen. Anthony R. Ierardi, the Joint Staff's director of force structure, resources and assessment; and service budget officials announce the FY 2019 defense budget request at the Pentagon, Feb. 12, 2018. https://www.defense.gov/News/Special-Reports/0218_Budget/source/GovDelivery/ 
 
NIST Releases Draft Report on IoT Cybersecurity Standards; Comments Due April 18 
 
On February 14, 2018, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a draft of its  NIST Interagency Report 8200 (NISTIR 8200), which is intended to inform policymakers and standards participants in developing and implementing cybersecurity standards in and for IoT devices and systems.  At a high level, the draft report is intended to:
  • provide a functional description for IoT (Section 4);
  • describe several IoT applications that are representative examples of IoT (Section 5);
  • summarize the cybersecurity core areas and provides examples of relevant standards (Section 6);
  • describe IoT cybersecurity objectives, risks, and threats (Section 7);
  • provide an analysis of the standards landscape for IoT cybersecurity (Sections 8 and 9); and
  • map IoT relevant cybersecurity standards to cybersecurity core areas (Appendix D).
  LEARN MORE 
 
SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative

If you're ready to take your existing business to the next level, now's the time.  SBA is recruiting for the Emerging Leaders executive training program now.  In this free, 100 hour program, you will network with other business owners and learn the fundamentals of finance, HR, legal and other business skills.  The final deliverable is a 3-year growth plan.

More than 100 Wisconsin businesses have participated, with some seeing growth rates of over 60 percent in a year, dramatically increased hiring, and other success.  The ideal applicant with be a CEO with these qualifications:
  • Business at least 3 years old
  • $400,000 in revenue
  • At least one employee besides the owner
Apply by April 2--classes begin in mid-April.

Learn more at www.sba.gov/emerging leaders , or contact Shane Mahaffy at darryl.mahaffy@sba.gov  or 414-297-1455.  


Other Transaction Authority: A tool in the toolbox

Last week, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued a five-year, $950 million award to REAN Cloud to provide cloud adoption services to DoD agencies. DoD utilized its Other Transaction Authority (OTA) for the $950 million award as a follow-on to what was originally an OTA award to REAN for migration services valued at approximately $6 million.

The OTA process enables DoD to enter into agreements with industry and/or academia to provide research and development or prototyping work. In particular, the OTA process provides a means for DoD to access nontraditional vendors, such as those who have not engaged in cost contracting for a period of time. These agreements are not contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements, and they are generally exempt from the rules and regulations found in the FAR or DFARS. Recently, Congress expanded this authority for DoD.

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Stay Up to Date on Foxconn News

The state has launched a new website for updates on the Foxconn project.

"We will soon break ground on Foxconn's $10 billion advanced manufacturing campus in Racine County, and we're starting to see a flurry of activity surrounding this once-in-a-generation project," said Governor Walker. "This new website and upcoming informational meetings will help ensure that Wisconsinites receive the most up-to-date and accurate information possible about the project."

The new website includes:
  • An overview of the Foxconn project, including details of the project and answers to some frequently asked questions;
  • Details on the Wisconsin Supply Chain Marketplace, which enables companies seeking to do business with Foxconn to register to get connected to the company;
  • Sign up to be notified of bidding opportunities as the project progresses under the public construction info signup page; and
  • Construction updates on the project itself, as well as nearby roads and highways.
The upcoming informational sessions for construction contractors will provide the latest details on the timetable for construction on both the Foxconn facility and the public infrastructure related to the project. The information provided at those meetings will be most relevant to businesses that could possibly support construction, including contractors and subcontractors, and companies providing related services and materials.

Learn more at http://wisconnvalley.wi.gov/Pages/Home.aspx


Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Joint Industry Days and Federal Agency Forum (JIDFAF)

This year's SAME Joint Industry Days and Federal Agency Forum 2018 - hosted by the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Chicago and Lake Michigan Posts - is scheduled for April 9 and 10, 2018 at Hilton Northbrook, IL.  This is a MUST ATTEND event for businesses in architecture/engineering, construction, environmental and related trades.

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