Federal Contracting, Procurement and National Security

Procurements conducted by the federal government use different rules and methods than those in the commercial sector. The federal government relations professionals at Barnes & Thornburg have the knowledge and experience to identify opportunities, understand requirements and successfully guide companies through the procurement process.

Our team has a track record of identifying, creating or shaping business opportunities in the national security sector. We are often called on to identify an agency’s or department’s requirement, find the funding for the requirement, and develop a contracting vehicle that allows the client to have the opportunity to fulfill the government’s need. Our defense, aerospace and national security professionals have extensive experience using a range of contracting vehicles, including General Services Administration schedule contracts, broad agency announcements, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contracts, firm fixed-price contracts and cost contracts.

In addition to understanding the current rules for government contracting, our attorneys and advisors are deeply involved in ongoing efforts to reform government contracting practices by removing statutory barriers that prevent clients from competing for government contracts.

Our team regularly interacts with members of Congress and their staff, including in congressional leadership and those who serve on committees with jurisdiction and oversight of procurement, national security and government contracting. These committees include, but are not limited to, the Senate and House Armed Services, Appropriations, Budget and Veterans Affairs Committees, as well as the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Government Affairs, and the House Homeland Security and Oversight & Government Reform Committees.

The range of services we provide include counseling on small business issues, bid protests, contract disputes, corporate compliance, internal investigations, and export controls issues. Additionally, Barnes & Thornburg attorneys and advisors can provide traditional and focused legal services in the following areas:

  • Guide clients interested in the Department of Defense’s renewable energy and energy savings performance contracts
  • Assist in navigating the complex policies involving government depots and contractor logistics support
  • Advise on ethics issues, such as procurement integrity, “revolving door” rules, quality assurance, and product conformance
  • Provide guidance on U.S. export controls and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CIFIUS) review process
  • Counsel clients on global anti-corruption and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
  • Advise on corporate transactions involving government contractors
  • Negotiate contracts with government clients, team members, prime contractors, subcontractors, and vendors
  • Represent clients in government contract disputes, including contract disagreements, requirements, entitlement to payment, cost allowability and allocation, alleged cost mischarging, defective pricing, CAS noncompliance, threatened terminations for default, and termination for convenience settlement claims
  • Represent clients submitting claims to recover funds owed under government contracts or subcontracts
  • Litigate before boards of contract appeals and federal or state courts
  • Assist with corporate internal investigations, related reporting and voluntary disclosures, and global settlements
  • Advise clients regarding the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS), Direct Commercial Sales and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programs, along with the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s policies
  • Respond to audit reports and recommendations of the Defense Contract Audit Agency and provide guidance on General Services Administration Federal Supply Schedules
  • Advise on the provisions of and disputes regarding the Buy American Act, Trade Agreements Act, Truth in Negotiations Act and Freedom of Information Act
  • Represent clients in civil, criminal and administrative actions arising from schedule contracts 
  • Represent clients in the defense of criminal, grand jury, civil enforcement, Civil False Claims Act (FCA) and congressional investigations
  • Counsel clients on matters involving fraud investigations and suspension and debarment
  • Assist clients in obtaining security clearances and handling denials of clearances
  • Develop and implement congressional advocacy campaigns that protect and obtain funding for client interests, and advocate for changes to law for the benefit of clients and industry groups. When necessary, work to discourage passage of harmful changes to law which are adverse to client interests.
  • Assist clients in dealing with the substantive and political complexities of congressional oversight hearings and investigations.
  • Work regularly with laboratory leadership and line-level personnel at the National Institute of Standards and Technology regarding research and development of industrial consensus standards and emerging manufacturing technologies. Projects have included cyber security of election systems and electric power grids, advanced metallic coatings and nanotechnologies.

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