STREAM OF EXECUTIVE ORDERS MAY CAUSE MARKET CONFUSION
Recently-issued Executive Orders on everything from “Made in America”, to secure supply chains, payment of fair wages, and more may have government contractors and their customers wondering what will change, when changes will be implemented, and what they will be. Indeed, if your company hasn’t been paying attention to the string of orders that have the potential to impact procurement, you are behind the curve. See the list here: https://www.federalregister.gov/presidential-documents/executive-orders/joe-biden/2021. This is a particularly important time for contractors to be aware of what’s happened so far, and what has yet to happen. You also can’t always take your customer’s word for it, either, as they may be as confused as you are. The bottom line is that no real changes have yet to take effect and likely won’t for several months. The Biden Administration implemented a 60-day moratorium on new regulations that runs through March 20th. Provisions of Executive Orders (EO’s) need to be turned into rules before becoming effective. Those rules will fill in details on the “how” factor on such issues as whether the Buy American Act exception for COTS IT remains in place, supply chain requirements, and other policy directives more broadly covered in an order. At least one company we know has been asked by a customer to certify that it meets a new EO standard. No company can do this yet, however, because there is no new regulatory standard to meet. Make sure you know the difference between what has been proposed and what has actually been implemented. Watch this space and watch modifications to your contracts to understand how your company will be impacted. Remember, too, whether a contract modification is sent to implement a policy change or some other matter, NEVER sign and return it without reading and understanding it first.