Customer Service for Defense Contractors

October 15th, 2020 by admin No comments »

What sort of customer service is required when working on very important defense contractor projects? Well believe it or not customer service can make or break your company and many Military Career Men and Women are pretty hardass these days and so you better give them satisfaction and customer service or you will be sorry. The defense contractors and the military must work as a seamless team.

The Military needs the efficiencies of the free market and really that is how we won World War II anyway we simply out produced the bad guys. How? By allowing our teams and free markets to work towards the common cause to win the war of course and it obviously worked too.

Customer service for defense contractors is a key consideration also in getting no-bid contracts which are often awarded on-the-fly for something very important, which does not have time to go through the bidding process of 90 days to send out these solicitations.

Project managers would be well advised to work closely with their counterparts on the military side and stay in constant contact with their needs. This is the minimum they should do to enhance customer service. If the United States military is to receive the benefit of the efficiencies of free markets then the free market military and industrial complex corporate defense contractors need to keep communication free-flowing. And isn’t that what customer service is all about? Please consider this in 2006.

How Defense Contractors Request A Security Clearance

September 25th, 2020 by admin No comments »

How Personnel Security Clearances are Granted

The Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO) processes security clearances for organizations falling under the NISP. According to Executive Order 12968-Access to Classified Information, employees should not be granted access to classified information unless they possess a security clearance, have a need to know the classified information involved, received an initial security briefing and have signed a nondisclosure agreement.

The Facility Security Officer (FSO) is a position that the defense contractor must appoint during the FCL approval process. The FSO implements a security program to protect classified in information. They also request investigations for employees who require a security clearance. What this means is, all cleared contractors must appoint an FSO. It could be the business owner in a small organization or an employee with an additional duty. The primary qualifications of an FSO are to be a US Citizen and have a PCL at the same level as the FCL. It is possible for an FSO to be the sole employee in the company.

The contractor and DSS have joint responsibilities with the PCL process as they do with the FCL process. When the FCL is being granted, key employees should complete a Questionnaire for National Security Positions, also known as Standard Form (SF 86). Part of the process includes ensuring that the applicants are US Citizens. They should submit the application to the FSO who then submits applications to DISCO. An investigation is conducted and the central adjudication facility (CAF) makes a security clearance determination. The determination is then entered into the Joint Personnel Adjudication (JPAS), the Department of Defense provided system where security clearance information is stored. Other government organizations may have different systems. Once entered into JPAS, the FSO can grant access based on need to know and the clearance level.

The SF 86 is the main area the applicant can affect the speed of the security clearance process. A properly filled out application form is the key. Incomplete or inaccurate information is the number one cause of clearance delays. Names, addresses, telephone numbers, and dates of birth for relatives should be gathered as background research. Fortunately the SF 86 form is online and requires only filling out once. When a clearance is up for renewal, the applicant can log in their SF 86 and make updates.

DSS and FSOs use JPAS to update personnel information. This system allows instantaneous updates of records as well as notification of access, denial or revocation of clearances. At the time of this writing, there are more than 89,000 users of JPAS and 23,000 are from defense contractors.

Not everyone investigated is guaranteed a security clearance. In some instances a clearance can be denied, revoked or suspended. The employee’s background is investigated thoroughly for the initial clearance and again every five to fifteen years while maintaining a clearance and depending on the required security clearance level. In the event that a security clearance is denied, suspended or revoked, DSS will also notify the FSO. The FSO will then deny access to classified material to that employee and update JPAS.

The personnel security clearance investigation

Prior to granting a security clearance, DSS will ensure the proper security clearance background investigation is conducted. Two primary types of investigation included the Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) and the National Agency Check with Local Agency Check and Credit Check (NACLC).

The SSBI is the most detailed investigation and is used to process TOP SECRET (TS), and Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) clearances. The FSO initiates the security clearance request with DSS through JPAS. The FSO notifies the employee to begin the application by filling completing Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) Standard Form 86 (SF 86) to verify employment. The federal investigator verifies the information by interviewing references, employers or others who have known the subject socially or professionally. The investigator may use names identified on the SF 86 and as discovered during the course of the investigation. To facilitate an efficient investigation, applicants should complete the SF 86 accurately and completely.

The SSBI will also cover periods of employment and education institutions attended. The applicant should be accurate about the attendance and degrees, certificates or diplomas credited and list contacts or references as completely as possible. Other areas subject to investigation include places of residence, criminal records and involvement with law enforcement and financial records. The investigators may contact those with social and professional knowledge of the applicant, and divorced spouses.

The NACLC is required for SECRET and CONFIDENTIAL levels of security clearances. Investigations are conducted to determine suitability for a clearance, fingerprint classification and a background check using a search of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) database. Investigators also conduct a credit check based on residence, employment and education locations. The investigation will also cover law enforcement issues at all locations listed on the SF 86. Once assigned a case, investigators will use the submitted request to research factors about the employee’s life to help determine suitability. The suitability is assessed by a trained adjudicator based on an approved background investigation.

The granted security clearance is honored across agencies and no additional investigations should be conducted to access classified information at the same level or lower of the PCL. If an employee has a security clearance granted by any agency with an investigation meeting the same or higher requirements, access to classified information can usually be granted without further investigation.

Ways Defense Contractors Try To Cheat The Government

August 11th, 2020 by admin No comments »

The False Claims Act allows litigation when two parties do not deal with one another in good faith. Currently, the most common occurrence of this is in the government and defense contractor relationship. When it comes to military weaponry and warfare, there are very specific stipulations and ways of billing that must be followed or else fraud has been committed. Defense contractor companies, one would think, may find fraud too intimidating when the government is involved, but the reality is that it happens quite often. Just how are many of these firms attempting to defraud the government? Well, for starters, they:

Cross Charge Government Sources

The cross charge is born from two very specific payment methods that the government uses to fill these contractors demands. On the one hand, there is a fixed fee paid for the overall project. No matter how long the project takes, that one fee stands unchanged. There is also a cost plus form of payment that the defense contractor will collect. Cost plus incorporates the actual cost of production of the final product. Some companies will take the hours worked on the fixed price portion and attribute those hours to the finished price of the cost plus contract, thus inflating their numbers and getting a larger profit at the expense of the government. This is not considered a good faith agreement.

Substitute Products

Some defense contractors will enter into jobs where the specific parts to be used are not spelled out, and they will obtain parts from an unauthorized source. As a result, they end up making a lesser quality product at the original price that was quoted while going behind the government’s back.

Account Costs Creatively

When a defense contractor knowingly and willfully charges the government parts of a private contract, they can profit from the government while lowering their prices to meet the demands of private contracts over their competitors. This results in an unfair advantage that makes the defense contractor very difficult to compete with.

Cutting Corners and Inflating Prices

All government jobs come with a deadline that must be met in order to properly complete the transaction. Sometimes the defense contractor will knowingly cut corners or inflate prices associated with the project to get the government to extend deadlines, pay more for a product, and generally defraud.

When it comes to lethal weaponry, there is understandably a large degree of red tape to cut through. After all, a poorly constructed product can cost many lives and result in unnecessary damages. Good faith is of the utmost importance when dealing with these projects on both sides, so it is important to get things right the first time and deal with each other fairly and in good faith.

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My First Year As A Defense Contractor

March 13th, 2020 by admin No comments »

My first year as a defense contractor taught me about patience. As the Global War on Terrorism starts to wind down, my company as well as other were finding ourselves in situations where government auditors were discovering acquisition missteps in award processes. Millions of taxpayers dollars were being held up along with hundreds of contractor jobs, some of them for veterans. Most of the time the delay was due to a paperwork error or paperwork needed by the contracting officer which there delays the product or service getting to the war fighter immediately. But with this being an election year and the President’s emphasis on Cyber Security, information technology awards are receiving careful scrutiny within the acquisition community of the Department of Defense. The acquisition process is under so much scrutiny lately that any Service does not want attention for an infraction for awarding a multi-million dollar contract over several years for a major program that is probably under discussion in Congress. Plus the Department of Defense has been on a war footing for over 11 years so pulling back and releasing military, civilians, and even contractors tied to weapons systems that are no longer needed or cut from the budget becomes part of this overall process. So as you prepare or even start the process of shutting down operations, close units, mothball facilities, relocate units back to the United States the operations tempo to support missions either in defensive or offensive character will remain static until that mission is no longer required or relocated. Stress therefore starts taking its toll on all those supporting that mission that there are less tools, people, money, facilities, and overall support to continue to keep that operation at the sustained level of performance in previous budgetary cycles. There is only one quick answer to this problem.

It has always been said in the Department of Defense that people are your most valuable resource so when your most valuable resource is in decline you buy it. Here is where veterans with all their experience can and do help fill the gap as defense contractors and save the day for the Department of Defense. Veterans are hired by defense contractors for two reasons and only two reasons. First, for their connections within the Department of Defense that could help with potential leads for future proposals and second, their expertise in the military or skill they performed. This will be invaluable when writing proposals when the time comes for the company to go after that contract work up for bid. The delay comes when a contracting officer receives proposals from vendors and all the contingency offers have been made to veterans newly retired from the military or even defense contractors who have lost the contract and have accepted a contingency offer from a potentially new vendor, the process could take 60 days or longer. Then it could take a couple of weeks to get everyone on board if it’s a larger contract like processing everyone into the system before they work let alone seeing their first paycheck. My first year has been educational and inspiring as a defense contractor. But it also has been a road of bumps too and sometimes I had to question if this is what I really wanted to do. Seeing this process from both sides, I understand why a defense contractor would have so much patience.

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Marketing, Promoting and Advertising Your Business

February 28th, 2020 by admin No comments »

One thing that goes without saying in today’s business world, is that regardless of the nature of your home based business, a website is an absolute MUST. Whether you have a product or service to sell, whether local or global, your business will go nowhere fast if you don’t have an online presence. If you need internet marketing help, you’ve landed on the right article. I’ll give you some home based business marketing ideas that will help you promote your business successfully.

The first step is choosing a domain name and getting it registered. You can build your own website (if you have the time) and host it yourself or you can have everything done by another company (if you have the money). Either way, you have many options and tools at your disposal that can align with your business plan and budget. Also note that you can still start your own home based business even if you don’t have a product or service to sell. There are thousands of individuals and companies that have products you can sell for them while earning a commission, called affiliate marketing.

Of the many business marketing strategies known to man, internet marketing is, hands down, the best strategy to use for promoting a home based business as it is the cheapest method and has the potential for reaching millions of people all over the globe. Driving traffic to your site through online resources is like killing two birds with one stone. You can tackle print advertising by writing articles and publishing them to directories and ezines and by submitting ads to the many available (and most of them free) classified ad sites. Online media advertising encompasses writing press releases and distributing them to press release sites. One of the biggest and most popular online advertising trends today is via social media advertising through sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn where you build relationships with your customers. Forums and communities are also great ways to build relationships which helps promote your home based business in the long run. Simply Google your market or industry with the word ‘forum’ or ‘community’ behind it and search for one or two that seem to be the best fit for you.

All of these methods of online advertising contribute to search engine optimization (SEO), which is to say improving your online visibility and escalating in the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Your goal is to claim the #1 spot in the organic search results (the results on the left, not the right side which are paid ads). This is where your traffic will come from. If you are 800 in the list of search results, no one is ever going to see your site because very few people have the time or patience to scroll through 800 search results. Research shows that people typically won’t even scroll past 4 or 5 search results, let alone 800.

Can you grasp the importance of internet marketing for any business? If you are new to the internet marketing phenomenon and don’t know exactly where to start, there are many great programs or systems online that walk you through every aspect of marketing your online business. A lot of these systems were created by online entrepreneurs who have spent thousands of their own dollars trying to figure it all out over the years and finally DID. Their sacrifices have made it easier for newbies to become successful at their own online home based business. If you are new to running your own home based business, I recommend you find a great system (do your research, read reviews, ask questions in forums) and start marketing your home business from there. Don’t waste the time and money that so many of us have in going it alone, without a proven system, as it will just set you back further and hinder your progress.