EXPANDING THE ACQUISITION WORKFORCE, SMALL BUSINESS USE, AMONG ACQUISITION PRIORITIES
Expanding the acquisition workforce is a top priority for major agency acquisition officials, even if it means creating alternative pathways for training and certification, according to a group of federal acquisition leaders. The remarks came during the Coalition for Government Procurement’s Fall Conference and collectively paint a picture of the issues contractors can expect to shape their market. Defense Pricing acquisition head John Tenaglia was candid in saying that DOD would ideally like to have complete knowledge of a company’s supply chain, especially for critical systems and programs. On a related note, Jeff Koses of GSA commented that his agency is keeping a close eye on what Congress may do in terms of semi-conductor legislation. Neither of these issues should come as a surprise to contractors as supply chain security and integrity have emerged as critical issues since the early days of the COVID 19 pandemic showed that federal agency needs weren’t always at the top of the priority list for suppliers. Small business issues continue to be a priority in federal acquisition, as well. This includes potentially increasing the scope of the 8(a) program, an initiative that the panel, which also featured Angela Billups of the VA, and DHS’ Paul Courtney, said that they would need help from industry to achieve. The panel also stated that socio-economic issues, particularly those related to the environment and sustainable acquisition (see related article above) will be increasingly important factors in acquisition decisions. It is unclear how the desire to add small businesses while increasing burdens on contractors will unfold. Contractors, in any case, should understand how their market is changing and what that means in terms of adapting to succeed.