A nexus for government, industry, and academia
to explore issues in government contracting
At a Glance
Building Resilience: The Defense Industrial Base in an Era of Great-Power Competition. A webinar hosted by The Heritage Foundation to discuss Jerry McGinn's essay in the 2021 Index of U.S. Military Strength. January 27, 2021, 2:00 PM – 2:45 PM ET REGISTER
In an article by Scott Tong, "Biden plans federal board to surge COVID-19 testing," Executive Director Jerry McGinn provides insights on the use and potential impacts when the US president invokes the Defense Production Act. [1/5/2021]
Education & Training
|Senior Fellows - Affiliated Faculty - White Papers - Commentaries||GovCon Courses - GovCon Minor - Graduate Certificates - Career Advancement - Executive Development||Industry Discussions- GovCon Confereences - Media Outreach - Alumni & Partners|
Wow, what a year. COVID has deeply impacted all of us this year and I profoundly hope that we can vanquish it early in the New Year. Our work at the Center, meanwhile, continued throughout the pandemic and remained centered around our three lines of effort: research, education and training, and collaboration. My background overseeing the Defense Production Act in the Department of Defense helped to position the Center to conduct timely research and commentary on the COVID response, some of which we describe below.
To highlight just a few of our other initiatives, we published numerous commentary pieces; expanded our White Paper series; and held events on COVID, Intellectual Property as it pertains to government contracting, cybersecurity, and budgetary challenges for the government contracting community. We also held our annual Government Contracting conference, which we co-hosted with Defense Acquisition University, although this year it was virtual and in three modules in early October, November, and December. It was an outstanding event that we look forward to holding in person in the coming years.
Fondest wishes to all for a joyful Christmas and Holiday season and I look forward to seeing many of you (hopefully in person soon!) in the New Year!
Fall 2020 Conference
Videorecordings Are Ready for You!
Links to the videorecordings on all of the Conference Modules -- Resiliency, Acquisition Procurement, and Operations -- are available on the Conference page of this website.
Managing Obsolescence: New DoD Instruction for a Chronic Problem
Webinar, December 2, 2020
Post-Webinar Resource Links
Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Ms. Ellen Lord, signed out DoD Instruction (DoDI) 4245.15, DoD DMSMS Management Instruction, on November 5, 2020. This is first DoD-wide policy on obsolescence/DMSMS since 1974 (!) and looks to “establish and implement risk-based, proactive DMSMS management throughout the life cycle of all DoD items.” This was a timely discussion about the new DoDI and its implications for the entire government contracting community! See our Events page for complete information.
Center Report - COVID-19: Federal Contracting Response and Industry Impact
We are excited to release our latest COVID-19 report: COVID-19: Federal Contracting Response and Industry Impact
November 5, 2020 | Webinar Videorecording Link
The Center is pleased to provide this videorecording of the discussion on intellectual property (IP) in today’s government contracting marketplace. Center Senior Fellow James Hasik brought together a stellar group for this webinar: Richard Gray, Shay Assad, Bill Elkington, and Kelly Kyes.
Center Updates for September & October 2020
The Center is happy to share program activities for the months of September and October. Yes, it has been that busy and we would not have it any other way. The 2nd Annual Government Contracting Conference is going well!
Videorecordings Are Ready for You!
Links to the videorecordings on Resiliency and Acquisition &Procurement are available on the Conference Website.
Operations, the third and final module of the 2020 Conference module, will be held on December 8. Agenda topics include:
See the Conference website for updates on speakers.
Center Update for August 2020
Here is the latest summary of Research, Education & Training, and Collaboration efforts by the Center. This update is provided as a PDF and as an email that can be shared. For ongoing updates, Join our Email List.
The DoD Budget Process: The Next Frontier of Acquisition Reform
On August 19, 2020, Bob Daigle, Bill Greenwalt and Katharina McFarland provided a frank and open conversation about a constructive proposal by Eric Lofgren, Center Fellow, to address the next frontier of acquisition reform: The DoD budget process.
Considering their expertise in this area, and their willingness to share during a discussion of 1 and a half hours, the Center could not have asked for more:
OTAs & Everything Else
On August 11, 2020, the Center co-hosted a Special Edition of the Acquisition Talk Podcast series hosted by Eric Lofgren on breaking down barriers to entry in government contracting. Eric, also a Fellow at the Center for Government Contracting, interviewed procurement expert Benjamin McMartin of the Public Spend Forum on the past, present, and future of contracting using Other Transactions Authority. Here is a link to the Webinar Recording. And here is a link to view Center Webinars.
Center Announces New White Papers on Intellectual Property & the DoD Budget Process
These papers are timely and informative. Jim Hasik’s focused analysis of pricing the federal acquisition of intellectual property rights comes up with some surprising results, and Eric Lofgren’s ambitious proposal for refocusing Department of Defense budgets toward mission-driven objectives is truly thought-provoking. We very much look forward to feedback from across the community and ideas for future topics.
No. 4. The Value of Intellectual Property in Government Procurement Auctions – [PDF]
James Hasik, Ph.D.
No. 5. The DoD Budget Process: The Next Frontier of Acquisition Reform – [PDF]
For complete information, see the White Papers page on this website.
Center Update for July 2020
Center Report: COVID-19 Response — Contract Data Update
This report provides updates on and trends in:
Center Report: COVID-19 Response — Contracting with Speed
This report, April 22, 2018, focuses on the performance of FAR and non-FAR authorities in the response to date.
Center Report: COVID-19 Response — Executive Update
Here is our April 8, 2020 update on the COVID-19 response for your consideration. This report updates on and trends in:
Center Report: COVID-19 Response — An Initial Review
Here is our March 25, 2020 initial review of the COVID-19 response for your consideration. This report provides updates on
Webinar: COVID-19 and Implications for the Government Contracting Community
March 30, 2020
As the impacts of COVID-19 continue to grow, there are important implications for companies, firms, and agencies across the government contracting community. George Mason and industry experts discussed these and other important issues during these profoundly challenging times:
For list of panelists and background information, please see the Webinar COVID-19 post on the Center's Blog Site.
Addressing Issues in the Public Health Supply Chain
Francis Rose, host of Government Matters, interviewed Jerry McGinn, Executive Director of the Center for Government Contracting at George Mason University, to discuss problems with depending on countries like China in the public health supply chain. The interview provides insights into the global nature and just-in-time manufacturing for supply chain management, the nature of the issue with manufacturing in China [transparency and trust in the partnership, and not about just building in the United States], how the $1B funding in the CARES Act can respond for improving manufacturing for public health needs, and signs that a change in the business relationship is starting to emerge. [April 29, link, timestamp - 12:31]
Rebuilding a Secure Supply Chain
Business Insider published a Commentary by Jerry McGinn in which he describes how we can learn from the current response to COVID-19, prioritize vulnerabilities, and use the CARES Act and the Defense Production Act to build resilience in our supply chains. Business Insider, April 14 [link]
The Defense Production Act and how it can be used
Jerry McGinn, Executive Director at the George Mason University Center for Government Contracting, explains how the Defense Production Act, if implemented, could aid in the coronavirus response. Government Matters, March 25, 2020 [Video Link]
Don't take the national security contractor workforce for granted
John Hillen, Chairman of the Center's Advisory Board, makes a strong argument to support the workforce that is vital for the GovCon industry. "Poor workforce decisions will undermine a critical national security asset," says John. "Keep both [government and industry] workforces intact and motivated during crisis moments. Washington Technology, Commentary, March 23, 2020 [link]
Sending in the cavalry: How the Defense Production Act can assist during the COVID-19 crisis
Jerry McGinn has written a Commentary in The Hill that provides a history and use of the Defense Production Act since it was enacted. He also offers insights regarding the application of DPA to combat coronavirus. The Hill, March 19, 2020 [link]
Media Mentions: Defense Production Act (DPA) to combat COVID-19
With the decision to invoke the Defense Production Act by President Trump, many are looking for answers on what this could mean in the fight against COVID-19. Jerry McGinn, with direct experience in the operations and resources available under the DPA, is responding to numerous members of the press.
Commentary: Contracts, the Law and Coronavirus
James Fontana, the managing member of Dempsey Fontana, PLLC, and a member of the Center's Advisory Board, has written a timely article for Washington Technology on the possible impacts of the coronavirus for government contractors. This information will be of particular interest to government subcontractors. [Link, Washington Technology, March 16, 2020]
Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) Event Recap: Next Steps for Industry and Government
The Center partnered with the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce on March 12 for an important event on DoD's new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). Ms. Katie Arrington, the DoD Chief Information Security Officer, gave a tour de force presentation about the rationale behind CMMC 1.0 and how DoD will implement it over the coming months. Here is the presentation link.
A few takeaways from the session for your consideration:
Engaging and Succeeding in Negotiations: Empowering Women at the Bargaining Table
In this female-led program, you’ll identify the barriers preventing you from confidently engaging in and succeeding at negotiation. Participants will also increase their ability to generate creative solutions that better meet the needs of their teams and organization. In this interactive program, Professors Suzanne de Janasz and Mandy O'Neill will help you hone your skills as a negotiator and learn tactics to successfully navigate conflicts and negotiate the optimal terms for yourself, your team, and your organization. Check back soon for program dates! Click this Program Link for full details. This is one of many offeofferings by the School of Business Executive Development program, http://business.gmu.edu/executive-development/.
Congress may be turning against recently confirmed CMO role for DoD
Tom Temin, host of Federal Drive on the Federal News Network, spoke with Jerry McGinn, Center Executive Director, on recent reforms related to the Chief Management Officer position at the Department of Defense. Here is the link to the twelve-minute podcast. The podcast was taped on January 29, 2020.
University Researchers: M&As That Drive Efficiency Provide the Most Value
The M&A research conducted by Center Affiliated Faculty member Brett Josephson continues to attract attention. Jane Edwards with ExecutiveBiz wrote an article highlighting the key conversation and the challenge behind decisions to acquire a company: Do you buy for access or efficiency? [Article, January 16, 2020]
Structuring leadership at the Defense Department
Jerry McGinn, executive director of the Center for Government Contracting at George Mason University, discusses possible changes to management leadership at the Pentagon, and the future of the CMO position. [link]
These are the M&A deals that Wall Street likes the most, according to new research
Brett Josephson, an Affiliate Faculty member of the Center and Assistant Professor of Marketing for the School of Business, shares interesting research on mergers and acqusitions in government contracting and which M&As offer the most value to the company. “But we actually found the biggest bang for the buck was buying for efficiency, not buying for new access,” said Josephson. It is worth the read. [Carten Cordell, Washington Business Journal, Government & Regulations, January 15, 2020]
Crafting policy for Middle-Tier Acquisitions
Eric Lofgren, research fellow at George Mason University, discusses procurement policy changes at the Pentagon, and what it could mean for rapid acquisition efforts. Government Matters, January 14, 2020 [link]
Will the Space Force control its own destiny?
Eric Lofgren has written a Commentary for DefenseNews on the organizational structure for the new Space Force with interesting implications for acquisition. [Defense News, Dec. 26, 2019, article]
Center for Government Contracting Appoints Research Fellow
The Center for Government Contracting has appointed Eric Lofgren as a Research Fellow to conduct research, writing, and lead initiatives on business, policy, regulatory, and other issues in government contracting.
Lofgren is a researcher and podcaster specializing in government acquisition of major systems. He manages the daily blog Acquisition Talk and produces a podcast with the same name where he speaks with leading experts in the field. Before joining the Center for Government Contracting, Lofgren was the emergent ventures fellow at the Mercatus Center at Mason. Prior to that, he was a senior analyst at Technomics Inc., supporting cost estimates, policy development, and economic analyses for the Defense Department’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office. [Announcement]
Does the Pentagon need a chief management officer?
Jerry's latest commentary piece in Defense News for your consideration. [DefenseNews, January 15, 2020, Article]
Our First Program Year
It has been an amazing first year for the Center! From our January launch reception, we’ve been moving out to implement our vision—to be a nexus for government, industry, and academia to address the business, policy, and regulatory issues impacting the $500B+ government contracting community. Our 2019 work centered around our three lines of effort: research, education and training, and collaboration. To highlight just a few of these initiatives, we published numerous commentary pieces and launched our White Paper series; we started a Government Contracting Minor to help educate the future workforce; and we held events on foreign direct investment, the education of naval leaders, and budgetary challenges for the government contracting community. We also held our inaugural Government Contracting conference, which we co-hosted with Defense Acquisition University, in early October. With an overflow crowd of senior presenters and participants from government, industry, and academia, it was an outstanding event that we look forward to holding on an annual basis in the coming years.
We also added twelve new members to our Advisory Board and held Alumni happy hours to engage graduates across the community. We hope that you can join us as we conduct our program next year and please let me know if you would like to get involved in our work!
The complete recap of our 2019 program is provided on this website — Report.
Fond wishes to all for a joyful Christmas and Holiday season and I look forward to seeing many of you in the New Year!
Budgetary Opportunities and Challenges for GovCon Programs
The Center for Government Contracting was pleased to partner with the Association for Corporate Growth to co-host an event, Budgetary Opportunities and Challenges for GovCon Programs, on December 11. The recurring cycle of continuing resolutions and budgetary uncertainty creates significant turbulence for both company executives and government program managers. The start of programs can be delayed, development programs can be disrupted, and the sustainment of critical capabilities can be significantly impacted. Beyond these near-term impacts, the cyclical nature of spending over time has led to repeated boom or bust periods that also lead to increased inefficiencies and cost in the development and delivery of programs.
The discussion panel, pictured above, included Jennifer Taylor, Senior Fellow, Center for Government Contracting; Jeff Bohling, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Defense Group, Perspecta; Alan Stewart, CFO, Peraton; and Chris O’Donnell, DASD, Platform and Weapon Portfolio Management. Jen, the panel moderator, wrote a Center White Paper as background to the discussion. The paper, "The Cost of Saving Money: The Negative Impact of Roller Coaster DoD Funding," is described on this website.
Media Mention — Center White Paper Series
Congrats to Sumeet Shrivastava — A WashingtonExec 2019 Top CEO to Watch
The Center for Government Contracting at George Mason University’s School of Business has released the first three research papers in a series examining challenges in the government contracting industry.
“The Center for Government Contracting White Paper Series is a central focus of our mission to inject ideas into the government contracting ecosystem and identify potential solutions for challenges facing the community,” said Executive Director Jerry McGinn, PhD. “We are excited to launch this White Paper Series with these three reports, and we look forward to feedback and ideas for future topics.”
In releasing these White Papers, the Center gratefully acknowledges the works of its Senior Fellows who produced them:
Additional information is provided on this website, under Research, White Papers.
Another Successful Mason Alumni GovCon Happy Hour
Many thanks to the George Mason alumni who joined us for our latest GovCon happy hour. As anticipated, it proved fruitful for the attendees – as a chance to connect and share with other alumni and to hear about Center programs and plans. We look forward to another happy hour in the Spring.
Confronting the Challenges Facing Today's Government Contracting Community
2019 Government Contracting Conference, Oct. 3, 2019
From left: John Hillen, Roger Krone, Maury Peiperl, Jim Woolsey, and Jerry McGinn.
The School of Business' Center for Government Contracting and Defense Acquisition University cohosted a first-time conference geared toward the government contracting community on October 3 at the Washington Marriott Metro Center. The Conference offered Fireside Chats with Roger Krone, Chief Executive Officer of Leidos; Ellen Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, and Representative Denver Riggleman (R-VA) with a perspective from the Hill; and four panels on New approaches to Federal contracting; Intellectual property and supply chain security; Small business policy trends; and Workforce challenges for government and industry.
Post-Conference Media Reports
School of Business: Government Contracting Conference Highlights Continuing Challenges and Need for Increased Government, Industry, and Academic Collaboration, Robert Appel, October 21, 2019
Inside Defense: Section 809 panel chair warns against ‘abuse’ of other transaction agreements, Justin Doubleday
Inside Defense: Lord says key acquisition reforms near completion, Tony Bertuca, October 4, 2019
Washington Technology: Leidos CEO shares insights on his commercial strategy
Government Contracting Conference — Media Buzz
Graduate Programs Develop Talent Pipeline for New Amazon HQ and Local Businesses
Shortly after the announcement by Amazon that their newest headquarters will be located in Northern Virginia, George Mason University announced an initiative to bolster research and develop more high-tech talent through a large-scale expansion of its Arlington Campus. This move will rapidly increase the number of highly skilled graduates for Amazon and other regional employers. “Amazon coming to our area is a symbol of the transition that Washington, D.C., is making, transitioning from a primarily federal government town to a primarily business and tech town with a significant portion that has a technology focus,” says Dean Maury Peiperl. “It’s very clear that in our regional economy, the government slice has stayed constant and the business slice has grown.” [Announcement]
Specialization Is Key for Government Contracting Industry Success
Brett Josephson, assistant professor of marketing, has studied government contracting since he was a PhD student. In recently published research, Josephson—together with Ju-Yeon Lee, assistant professor of marketing at Iowa State University, and Babu John Mariadoss and Jean Lynn Johnson, associate professors of marketing at Washington State University—recommended that companies focus on specialization. Damian Cristodero, November 4, 2019. [Announcement]
Washington Technology: Why government services M&A deals seem to breeze through antitrust reviews
In an article written by Ross Wilkers, senior staff writer for Washington Technology, Jerry McGinn shared insights on why service firms seem to have an easier time in gaining government approval of their mergers and acquisitions. [Article]
FedTech — Government Reset
Jerry McGinn was included in a panel discussion led by Wylie Wong, a writer with FedTech Magazine, on the long-term effects of the government shutdown on federal technology projects. The topics discussed included IT modernization projects, procurement, cybersecurity and contracting. [Article, Summer 2019]
Commentary: In Praise of the Revolving Door
James Hasik, Senior Fellow at the Center for Government Contracting, has written a piece for Defense News. [July 24, 2019, Article Link] Jim offers his thoughts of a plan "To Reduce Corporate Influence at the Pentagon.
Executive Director’s Commentary on Navy’s Education for Seapower Study on the Future Education of Navy Leaders, June 19, 2019 [Article Link]
New Advisory Board Members
School of Business Opens Registration for Executive MBA in National Security
The Executive MBA in National Security provides professionals interested in working in national security, the defense industry or government contracting space the competencies and knowledge to benefit their careers and long-terms goals. Focusing on national security and defense industry government contracting, a participant can complete the program in 16 months. [Program Description]
Center for Government Contracting Appoints New Advisory Board Members
The Center for Government Contracting at George Mason University’s School of Business has appointed nine new Advisory Board members. “These additional appointments continue our efforts to diversify the composition of the center’s board, from small to large firms, whether products or services, and with business and government representation,” said Center Executive Director Jerry McGinn. “These new members add to the rich ecosystem of thought leadership to help drive future center research and events on topics of great interest to the GovCon community.”
New members of the Center for Government Contracting board are:
Scott Hine is serving on the Board in his personal capacity. His service does not reflect the activities or opinions of the Department of Energy or the federal government. [Press Release]
Transatlantic Industrial Interests and the Risk of Technological Gap in the Defense Sector
Jerry McGinn, executive director of the Center for Government Contracting at George Mason University’s School of Business, was invited to speak and participate in a discussion led by The German Marshall Fund of the United States. The discussion was held as part of an on-going Transatlantic Security Task Force project in Paris, France, from April 8–9, 2019. The theme of the discussion was U.S. Strategic Priorities and the New Terms of the Transatlantic Defense Partnership.
This program underlined the key challenges that will continue to frame debates on the transatlantic defense cooperation in an increasingly complex political and strategic environment. Jerry’s paper addressed the panel topic: “Transatlantic Industrial Interests and the Risk of Technological Gap in the Defense Sector.”
Media Mention — "Ripe for engagement: George Mason's 'GovCon' center targets massive
Industry Discussion — CFIUS Modernization: Implications for Government and Industry, with Heath Tarbert, Assistant Secretary for International Markets, U.S. Department of the Treasury — April 5, 2019. Secretary Tarbert shared insights on the reasons for recent reforms in the CFIUS process, including a pilot program regarding controlling investments and the process of identifying emerging and foundational technologies.
Alumni Happy Hour — Why we look forward to these events
The most recent Happy Hour for Alumni, held March 20, brought together alumni, faculty, and members of the Center's Board of Advisors. The chance to network and share ideas and interests has proven to be a highly sought after event. The background of the attendees ranged from junior, mid-level and senior practitioners in the industry. A point of pride for the Center is that this event attracts all Mason alumni who work in the GovCon industry, from the Business School, to Schar, and the Law Center.
Korn Ferry, Perspective — In search of 'cleared' talent
Jerry McGinn joined a discussion with Jon Barney, a senior client partner with Korn Ferry's Aerospace and Defense practice and a member of the Center's Advisory Board, on the challenge for technology companies to find "cleared" employees to add to their workforce. The article includes suggestions are how to hire and employ workers in face of this challenge. [February 29, 2019, article]
Federal News Network — New government contracting center aims to fill independent research, education void Jerry McGinn, executive director of the Government Contracting Center, talks to Executive Editor Jason Miller about the center's three-pronged approach to research, education, and collaboration. Interview Link. This February 20, 2019 interview also appeared in on ExecutiveBiz Blog.
Center for Government Contracting Launch Reception: A reception was held on January 30, 2019 to celebrate the launch of the School of Business Center for Government Contracting. The great crowd of attendees manifested our vision to be a nexus for government, industry, and academia to address issues in government contracting. Pictured above, from left to right: Sumeet Shrivastava, Maury Peiperl, Jerry McGinn, John Hillen, and Jerry Grossman. [Reception Photographs]
Can the shutdown lead to better government? A Commentary by Jerry McGinn and John Hillen in Washington Technology on January 22, 2019 that examines how government and government contractors are managing the shutdown and keys for the future. [link]
Government Matters: Interview with Jerry McGinn on how the public and private sectors are navigating the shutdown, and mitigating issues that could arise, January 17, 2019 [link]
Shrivastava GovCon Scholarship Recipient Committed to Serving Community as CPA, Business Owner: Karen Crosswhite, a Master of Science in Accounting student at the George Mason University School of Business, is the first student to receive the Shrivastava GovCon Scholarship. Crosswhite is also the founder of BAS Accounting Services, a small Certified Public Accountant firm located in Ashburn, Va. Sumeet Shrivastava, EMBA ‘94 and president and CEO of ARRAY established the scholarship. Shrivastava is also a member of the School of Business Dean’s Council and GovCon Advisory Council. In addition to providing funds to the scholarship awardee, the Shrivastava GovCon Scholarship includes a mentorship component. Crosswhite will receive support from the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Center for Government Contracting. [announcement]
Have you seen our FALL 2018 Report on Center activities? Here is the link.
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