GovCon Expert Kevin Plexico: Biden Administration’s Impact on Federal Government Contractors

Kevin Plexico, senior vice president of information solutions at Deltek and 2021 Wash100 Award winner, has published his latest article as a member of Executive Mosaic’s GovCon Expert program

GovCon Expert Kevin Plexico wrote about the impact the current administration is having on federal government contractors since the exchange of power earlier this year in Jan. 2021.

In the article, Plexico shared his insights into how executive orders have and will impact the government contracting (GovCon) industry, the shift in new leadership across the federal landscape and government as well as the new initiatives influencing the sector and what’s next for the rest of 2021 and beyond. 

“Bringing transparency and insights to government contracting is one of Deltek’s missions for our customers. They are constantly delving into questions, like those related to the Administration Transition, on a one-to-one basis for customers as well as for the masses. Their tireless work is the backbone of the GovWin IQ solution,” GovCon Expert Plexico explained.

You can read Kevin Plexico’s latest GovCon Expert article below: 

How the Biden Administration is Impacting Federal Government Contractors 

By Kevin Plexico

Government contractors are by and large eager to better understand how the policies and priorities of the Biden Administration will impact them and their business. In a recent, highly-attended webinar I co-hosted with Deltek Director of Federal Market Analysis Deniece Peterson, Early Insights on the New Administration, we asked our audience which topic they were most interested in learning more about: Executive orders that will impact government contracting, political appointees and new agency leadership, new policies, programs and initiatives or all of the above. 

More than half of the audience said they need more information on all of the above. 

Bringing transparency and insights to government contracting is one of Deltek’s missions for our customers. They are constantly delving into questions, like those related to the Administration Transition, on a one-to-one basis for customers as well as for the masses. 

Their tireless work is the backbone of the GovWin IQ solution, as our analysts find the patterns and trends that define business success in the government market, and present them to the public in the form of in-depth research reports and informative webinars – many of which can be found in our Administration Transition Resource Hub, available to the public and hosted within our GovWin IQ platform

Here is a brief look at some of the answers to questions our customers are asking related to the new Administration. 

Executive Orders – What’s Their Impact on Government Contractors?

We’ve seen a very long list of executive orders being rolled out by the Biden Administration, many of which happened just a few days after the inauguration. Some of these orders do not directly impact government contractors but are still worth keeping an eye on, while others are more closely tied to policy and purchasing efforts. 

For example, federal agencies have been asked to take a closer look at how climate change impacts procurement and the way they do business, with an executive order on tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad that centers on climate as a critical element of both national security and foreign policy. 

More broadly, the initial executive orders that affect contractors have covered a number of themes, including: 

COVID-19 response efforts driven by data

Building a long-term pandemic workforce

Ensuring the public health supply chain

Additional support for state agencies

In most cases the actions of the new Biden Administration have mapped closely to campaign priorities. The primary focus within the first 30 days of the new Administration was largely to make urgent strategic shifts in a number of key areas (e.g. COVID response, immigration, climate, etc.). 

This maps closely to the findings that our research team uncovered in its Impact of the Administration Transition, 2020-2021 report, which examined the transition environment, the new administration’s priorities, the fundamentals of the transition process and the impacts it creates on the federal contracting market. 

What Are the Implications of New Political Appointees and New Agency Leadership?

As of March most of the Biden Administration’s key agency appointees have been confirmed by the Senate. However, a good number of the deputies and other senior leadership members have not been fully on board. When those senior members are able to get through the committee, it will enable the implementation of more policy efforts. 

This is one area where the best advice may be to “watch this space.” Contractors should expect new rules and guidance as agencies assess and/or implement the ongoing executive action requirements and new leadership becomes more anchored in and ramped up. 

How Can You Navigate New Policies, Programs and Initiatives?

As I previously mentioned, most of the new policies and programs that the Biden Administration put into place thus far are closely tied to their original campaign. Of the new initiatives and policies that the new Administration has rolled out, one worth looking at that has piqued the interest of most federal contractors is the “Made in America” program. 

“Buy America” guidance is not new. What’s new is the ask of agencies to review and consider eliminating agency actions that do not align with “Made in America” laws (i.e. all statutes, regulations, rules, and executive orders relating to federal financial assistance awards or procurement, including those that refer to “Buy America” or “Buy American”). 

A key part of the overarching program is the establishment of a “Made in America” office within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which will be tasked to: 

Update the “Made in America” waiver process

Create a new, public website with status of and justification for agencies’ waiver requests for waivers

Determine reasons for cost advantages of foreign-produced goods (i.e. a result of dumped steel, iron, or manufactured goods) 

What Comes Next?

We are still relatively early in the era of the Biden Administration. The 2021 administration transition will continue to change the dynamics in the government landscape with new priorities and agency leadership, which will have near and long-term implications for budgets and the contracting landscape. Some existing acquisition and operational reform initiatives will remain, while others will evolve as the new administration continues to take ownership and advance its innovation agenda

At Deltek, we will continue to track the latest developments coming out of the Biden administration to help government businesses of all sizes accelerate their growth strategies. Companies that want to stay up to date can leverage our resource hub as a source providing information on the executive orders, new policies and appointees that will be most relevant to federal government contractors.

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