NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER COULD IMPACT ACQUISITION POLICY OFFICIALS
President Trump’s Executive Order (EO) reclassifying certain federal policy workers as “at will” employees could impact people at GSA, DOD, and elsewhere that create and advise upon acquisition policy. The order, which created “Schedule F” for federal workers, is highly controversial. Its implementation is being threatened with both legal and legislative action. The confusion and concern could have a definite impact on the pace of pending FAR cases and other acquisition policy changes as agencies better define who will be covered by the new classification. The timing of the EO may also compound delays that would otherwise occur at the end of a four-year term as appointees change over and priorities shift. Similarly, officials may elect to take no action on any major policy move anticipating a change in the White House or the ultimate cancellation or nullification of the EO. Delays can both benefit and harm industry. There are multiple pending FAR cases, for example, that have to do with secure supply chain issues, most of which would add new burdens to contractors. On the other hand, cases that seek to remove obsolete requirements or clarify ambiguities will be as well. Policy changes to GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule, such as the implementation of a non-priced Schedule, may also be impacted. It is difficult to underestimate the impact of the EO on policy workers of all types. Career federal workers feel that their jobs are at risk if they implement a change that harms a politically-connected constituency. Contractors that follow policy changes and work with such officials should monitor this situation closely and take potentially high-running emotions into account when discussing policy matters.