CONTRACTORS FACE BRAVE NEW WORLD ON SUPPLY CHAIN VETTING AND INFO SHARING
Your company, an established government contractor, is approached by a new company with a potentially great technology solution. Does it, though, present a supply chain risk that federal customers can’t use? You think it might and provide a new government supply chain review board information. It turns out, though, that the company is legit. They’re now suing you, though, because you reported them as a potential risk. Sound like we’re jumping ahead to Halloween? Not really. This is exactly the scenario government contractors could find themselves in when trying to navigate the government’s changing secure supply chain rules. A new interim rule, created by the passage of the Federal Acquisition Supply Chain Security Act of 2018, gives the government a variety of tools to exclude an inappropriate company from contracting with the federal government if there is a potential supply chain risk. Similarly, government contractors are encouraged to share information on potential secure supply chain risks, including information on problematic companies. Contractors may, however, face lawsuits or other legal action if the information doesn’t pan out. Talk about a Catch 22. Federal contractors have to be increasingly careful about the partners they use in their federal supply chains, but also must take care to make judgements only on well-founded information. Someone once said that government business is not a “go it alone” proposition. This is indeed the case here. Make sure your firm works with outside legal and other help to navigate these increasingly tricky waters.