Taking over as editors of Holland & Knight’s Government Contracts Blog has been a labor, but it has been a labor of love. Like the rest of the Government Contracts Team, we are passionate about staying on top of the latest trends and exploring where the industry is headed. Thank you for reading and we wish you a productive and successful 2018. –Mary Beth and Eric

As 2017 comes to a close and we look forward to 2018, we reflect on an unprecedented year in the government contracts industry. From a new administration to threatened shutdowns and new cybersecurity requirements, there was plenty to study and write about. Each of the following issues will inform critical decision-making as we head into 2018.

New Cybersecurity Requirements

As we previously discussed in our blog, the new DFARS clause imposing cybersecurity requirements on DoD contractors must be complied with by December 31, 2017. Among other things, the new requirements include a security plan, compliance with NIST 800-171, and a 72 response if there is a cybersecurity breach.

Early in 2018, our blog will feature multiple posts analyzing the new DFARS provision and will include insight from cybersecurity professionals.

Further Developments with the False Claims Act Post-Escobar

The direction of the False Claims Act is always changing and that’s more true than ever post-Escobar. Our blog has featured numerous posts from our Government Contracts and White Collar Defense and Investigations teams. They include:

As events warrant, we will be posting additional blogs regarding the False Claims Act and related issues.

New E-Commerce Buying Platform

Congressman Thornberry shook the government contracts industry when he released a proposed bill that would have created a new e-commerce platform. The platform eventually made its way into the 2018 NDAA, but it will now have a phased-in approach that will preserve a lot of the regulatory requirements government contractors must currently meet.

Changes Ahead for the Government Contracting Industry in the 2018 NDAA

Once implemented by regulations, the 2018 NDAA will dramatically change the way contractors do business. We posted a series of blogs examining the 2018 NDAA. They include changes to bid protests, the new e-commerce platform, further restrictions on the use of LPTA, the new mandate to use private accounting firms to perform incurred cost audits, procurement fraud reporting, acquisition workforce improvements, and the treatment of intellectual property.

Stay tuned for additional blog posts on these topics when the proposed regulations are released that will implement these statutes.

Labor Challenges Remain for Contractors

Despite the end of the Blacklisting Rule, labor challenges remain for government contractors, including sick leave requirements implemented during the Obama administration. New split wage determinations add to potential compliance headaches.

A Look Ahead to 2018

Emerging technology will play a growing and significant role in the government contracts industry. Soon after the new year, we will post a blog entry regarding the potential impact of blockchain on the government contracts industry. Also, after an abnormally long period of dormancy, we should expect regulatory activity to pick-up. Regulations implementing various statutes (including one regarding the use of LPTA) are on-deck. Perhaps the long-awaited regulations regarding Organizational Conflicts of Interest will finally drop?

In addition, government funding expires in January and the United States is expected to hit its debt limit in the spring. Each of these disruptive events poses unique challenges to the government contracts industry and, as noted above, contractors should start preparing now.

Finally, as mentioned above, the new cybersecurity regulations sweeping across the government contracts industry will have a profound impact on how all contractors treat data. We will be posting a series of blogs relating to this issue (looking at it from various angles) in the first quarter of 2018 utilizing the combined resources of our Government Contracts and Cybersecurity and Privacy practices.

Thank you for reading and we look forward to exploring thought-provoking issues in 2018 that we hope will be worthy of your time.