In This Issue

Government

Closing the Science & Technology Gap: Increasing Non-Federal Participation in the Intergovernmental Personnel Act Mobility Program through Ethics Reforms

The United States military is losing its technical edge to adversaries like China and Russia.1 What the Department of Defense (DoD) is doing about it is no secret — acquisition rules are being bent, and every effort is being made to embrace nontraditional defense contractors.2 But with the stakes as high as they are, the DoD needs to go further and bend the federal ethics rules to its favor.3 By doing so, participation in public-private exchange programs like the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) mobility program will drastically increase, and the U.S. military will have unbridled access to the nation’s top scientists.

Private Defense

Private Prison Management Needs Reform: Shift Private Prisons to a True Public-Private Partnership

Shane Bauer spent four months as an undercover prison guard in order to better understand the inner workings of the private prison system in the United States.1 As a journalist, he was not sure what to expect from his new job, but his findings are telling: “The inmates are violent, with stabbings a regular occurrence. The guards are demoralized — too outnumbered, understaffed, and underpaid to create a genuinely safe environment. The facility regularly experiences all kinds of other issues, from failing to provide adequate medical care to inappropriate sexual relationships between guards and inmates.”2

Federal Government

We Still Don't Know What a "Public Building or Work" Is, and When Does the Government Join the Party?

It seems logical to want the same pay for performing the same job in the same place. That is why the Davis-Bacon Act was created.1 However, the well-meaning Act contained ambiguous terms that left room for confusion that continually gets in the way of construction workers earning the money that they deserve. To make matters worse, a recent court decision not only failed to clarify any ambiguities within the Act but went so far as to erase any progress made by prior decisions.2

Natural Resources

Bringing the Spirit of "Konbit" to Disaster Relief: Reforming USAID Procurement to Promote Partnership Between Donors & the Local Community in Haiti1

In 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti, killing about 200,000 people, rendering several million people homeless, and causing $7.8 billion in damages.2 As an already low-income, less-developed country, this earthquake absolutely devastated Haiti and exacerbated the issues surrounding development that Haiti had been dealing with for decades.3 This earthquake thrust Haiti into the world spotlight and foreign countries, organizations, and individuals all wanted to help.4 While the world had good intentions, the aid given was, at times, actively unhelpful and wasteful.5 Because the donor community did not connect and partner with the Haitian community, there was a disconnect between what the Haitian people needed and what the world provided.6

Government

Leveraging the Department of Defense’s Other Transaction Authority to Foster a Twenty-First Century Acquisition Ecosystem

Twenty-four years ago, the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis began when the People’s Republic of China initiated an aggressive series of military exercises aimed at intimidating Taiwan (also known as the Republic of China) in the leadup to Taiwan’s elections.1 The People’s Republic of China’s military held live-fire missile drills and mock amphibious assaults in an apparent threat to invade the island of Taiwan.2 The small island nation would have been overwhelmed in any military conflict with China.3 In response, President Bill Clinton sent two U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier Groups, along with an amphibious assault ship, into the Strait of Taiwan.4 The massive show of naval power forced the Chinese military to back down, and the situation in the Strait of Taiwan eventually stabilized.5 The Chinese military recognized that the U.S. Navy’s capabilities significantly outmatched their own, even right off the coast of the Chinese mainland.6 In this crisis, the United States demonstrated that it could credibly deter aggression because of its military superiority.

Courts & Judiciary

The Sovereign Acts Defense & Agency Deference: The 2019 Dentons "Gilbert A. Cuneo" Government Contracts Moot Court Competition

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims had original jurisdiction over the instant dispute pursuant to 41 U.S.C. § 7104(b)(1) (2018) and 28 U.S.C. § 1491(a)(1) (2018) because this is a challenge to a federal agency’s final adverse decision on an express contract to procure services. This Court has jurisdiction over the instant dispute under 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(3) because this is an appeal from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims’ final decision. The Appellee filed a timely notice of appeal after the U.S. Court of Federal Claims rendered a final decision on the instant dispute. See Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(1)(B)(i).

Courts & Judiciary

The Sovereign Acts Defense & Agency Deference: The 2019 Dentons “Gilbert A. Cuneo” Government Contracts Moot Court Competition - Government Brief

On September 18, 2012, ACB Construction, Inc. (ACB) appealed from the final decision of a Contracting Officer (CO) in the United States Court of Federal Claims (COFC). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1491(a)(2) (2012) (the Tucker Act), the COFC has jurisdiction over all issues arising under the Contracts Disputes Act (CDA), codified at 41 U.S.C. §§ 7101–7109. See 41 U.S.C. § 7104(b)(1) (2012). As a claim arising under the CDA, ACB’s appeal of the CO’s final decision was properly filed in the COFC. See id. That court reviews such claims de novo. See id. § 7104(b)(4).