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Government Contracting: Defense Authorization Bill Cleared for Passage

Written on December 16, 2019

The House and Senate Armed Services Committees have also reached an agreement on the FY’20 Defense Authorization bill. This major piece of legislation outlines how the Department of Defense will spend the money appropriators provide. The Department will be authorized to spend more than $730 billion for Fiscal Year 2020, including money to create a new Space Force. An additional $5.3 billion was added for disaster relief for areas hit hard by recent hurricanes and tornadoes. Authorizers side-stepped the issue of border wall funding to reach an agreement, making it the responsibility of appropriators. Key acquisition-related provisions include the creation of a separate pathway for software acquisition, with the intention of compressing the timeframe for initial software development to a year or less. This approach would use a continuous delivery model, something that has been long-embraced by the private sector. The authorization bill also orders the DOD CIO and Chief Data Officer to create policies to migrate the military’s applications to the cloud. Another provision would allow companies to compete for Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contracts even when their ownership stakes are mostly made up of venture capital investments. SBIR projects have increased in popularity over the past several years as a key way to attract non-traditional contractors offering innovative solutions. The bill also formally blocks any merger between the Office of Personnel Management and GSA, a move that had come under increasing criticism. See more details on the FY’20 defense bill here 

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