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MAPPS Nixes Government Competition in UAV

Posted By John Palatiello, Thursday, February 12, 2015

We’ve previously reminded MAPPS members, “if you see something, say something”. If you see a Federal procurement that violates the Brooks Act or a government activity that duplicates or competes with the private sector, bring it to the attention of MAPPS staff so we can work with the agency in question to assure that all applicable laws and regulations are followed.

MAPPS staff does this to defend the free market, promote the private sector geospatial community, and stand up for the rights of our member firms.

When a situation is brought to the MAPPS staff’s attention, the matter is evaluated, the agency in question is contacted, and the laws and regulations that are being violated are raised. All of this is done in the name of MAPPS; the identity of the firm that contacted the staff is kept in strict confidence.

Recently, a member notified the MAPPS staff that a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) district office had issued a notice in Federal Business Opportunities (fedbizopps) proposing to purchase a UAV (Solicitation W9126G-15-S-0007).

MAPPS staff contacted the responsible USACE officials and noted that prior to purchasing any aircraft, a Federal agency is required to comply with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-126 (section 6.b.).

That Circular says before the Government acquires aircraft, it must comply with OMB Circular A-76 to assure that the private sector cannot provide Government aircraft or related aviation services more cost-effectively than the Government. (see particularly the Circular's Revised Supplemental Handbook's Appendix 6, Aviation Competitions). This aircraft cost-comparison requirement is also in Federal management regulations 41 CFR 102-33.80 and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 48 CFR 7.3 Contractor Versus Government Performance.

USACE did not follow these rules. Upon receiving the MAPPS inquiry, a review was conducted, and as a result, the procurement has been canceled.

A small victory for MAPPS. USACE is a valued client to many MAPPS members firms. MAPPS staff and USACE staff at headquarters in Washington, DC as well as surveying, mapping and geospatial staff in several districts, have a very cordial and cooperative working relationship. The USACE has always been very responsive when MAPPS staff raises these situations, and as an agency, is vigilant to assure its personnel follow Federal rules.

So, when you see something, say something. MAPPS will go to bat for you and keep your identity confidential. In an economy where you’re counting every dollar, it’s good to know you can count on MAPPS.

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