Department of Commerce
Agency Plan Excerpts
The U.S. Department of Commerce received $7.9 billion in ARRA funding. This investment includes funding for business development, innovative research, construction projects, expanding broadband services, and other programs that will create jobs in a broad range of occupations and industries and spur economic activity.
• The Economic Development Administration received $150 million to provide grants to economically distressed areas across the Nation to generate private sector jobs. Priority consideration will be given to those areas that have experienced sudden and severe economic dislocation and job loss due to corporate restructuring. Funds will support efforts to create higher-skill, higher-wage jobs by promoting innovation and entrepreneurship and connecting regional economies with the worldwide marketplace.
• To ensure a successful 2010 Decennial Census, the Bureau of the Census received $1 billion to hire new personnel for partnership and outreach efforts to minority communities and hard-to-reach populations, increase targeted media purchases, and ensure proper management of other operational and programmatic risks.
• The National Institute of Standards and Technology received a total of $610 million, including:
$220 million for NIST laboratory research, measurements, and other services supporting economic growth and U.S. innovation through funding of such items as competitive grants; research fellowships; and advanced measurement equipment and supplies;
$360 million to address NIST’s backlog of maintenance and renovation projects and for construction of new facilities and laboratories, including $180 million for a competitive construction grant program for funding research science buildings outside of NIST;
$20 million in funds transferred from the Department of Health and Human Services for standards-related research that supports the security and interoperability of electronic medical records to reduce health care costs and improve the quality of care;
$10 million in funds is provided to help develop a comprehensive framework for a nationwide, fully interoperable smart grid for the U.S. electric power system.
• The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration received $830 million with $230 million slated for habitat restoration, navigation projects and vessel maintenance; $430 million for construction and repair of NOAA facilities, ships and equipment, improvements for weather forecasting and satellite development; and $170 million to be used for climate modeling activities, including supercomputing procurement, and research into climate change.
• The National Telecommunication and Information Administration received $4.7 billion to establish a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program for awards to eligible entities to develop and expand broadband services to rural and underserved areas and improve access to broadband by public safety agencies. Of these funds, $250 million will be available for innovative programs that encourage sustainable adoption of broadband services; At least $200 million will be available to upgrade technology and capacity at public computing centers, including community colleges and public libraries; and up to $350 million of the BTOP funding is designated for the development and maintenance of statewide broadband inventory maps.
• $650 million for the TV Converter Box Coupon Program to allow NTIA to issue coupons to all households currently on the waiting list, to start mailing coupons via first class mail and to ensure vulnerable populations are prepared for the transition from analog-to-digital television transmission.
Competition on Contracts
The following represents the historical competition achievements reported to OMB for the past 5 years in the annual Competition Advocate Report:
FY 2004 – 68% of available dollars competed
FY 2005 – 75% of available dollars competed
FY 2006 – 76% of available dollars competed
FY 2007 – 79% of available dollars competed
FY 2008 – 78% of available dollars competed
Thus far in FY 2009, 91% of available dollars have been competed.
At this time 84% of contract dollars are anticipated to be awarded on a competitive basis. Only 1% has been identified as being planned to be awarded with other than full and open competition and it is planned that this acquisition will be a directed 8(a) set aside. For fifteen percent of the planned acquisition dollars, the acquisition strategy is undetermined at this time. Market research is on-going for these acquisitions to assist with reaching the appropriate acquisition strategy decision. This projection is based on acquisition plans that have been developed by Department of Commerce bureau’s receiving ARRA funds. The management oversight process in place for both ARRA-funded and non-ARRA funded acquisitions, specifically addresses whether or not an acquisition will be competed and, if competition is not planned, the basis for that decision is scrutinized to ensure the decision is supported by market research and the decision is documented to clearly identify the justification for processing on other than a full and open competition basis. DOC is conducting program reviews of planned ARRA acquisitions which specifically address acquisition strategy. Any acquisition planned to be other than full and open competition will be fully scrutinized by the Department’s Investment Review Board. The Office of Acquisition Management will be monitoring all acquisition awards to monitor execution
The following represents the historical record of dollars awarded on a fixed priced basis as recorded in FPDS-NG:
FY 2004 – 63% of contract dollars awarded on a fixed price basis
FY 2005 – 67% of contract dollars awarded on a fixed price basis
FY 2006 – 68% of contract dollars awarded on a fixed price basis
FY 2007 – 60% of contract dollars awarded on a fixed price basis
FY 2008 – 56% of contract dollars awarded on a fixed price basis
What is not reflected in these numbers is the increasing number of contracts that are a combination of both fixed-price activities and other than fixed price activities ($32.7M in FY 2004 vs. $320.1M in FY 2008). Using a combination type contract allows those elements of complex acquisitions that are appropriately priced on a fixed-price basis to do so while also utilizing other contract types (cost reimbursement, time and material, labor hour) where appropriate based on the specific requirement under that contract. There is no system that gathers information on the breakdown of these combination contracts, so it is not possible to parse out those dollars awarded on a fixed price basis under a combination type contract without a 100% review of every contract awarded in this manner.
Based on acquisition plans at this time, 67% of planned acquisitions are to be awarded on a fixed-price basis. Additionally, 14% of planned acquisitions dollars will be awarded on “combination” contracts where some contract line items will be awarded on other-than-a-fixed-price basis and other contract line items will be awarded on a fixed-price basis. Less than 1% is planned to be awarded on a time and materials basis, 10% will be awarded on a cost-reimbursement basis and 8% of planned acquisitions dollars have not yet been classified by planned contract type. Market research and requirements development is on-going which will inform the decision on contract type.
DOC is conducting program reviews of planned ARRA acquisitions which specifically address acquisition strategy. Any acquisition planned to be other than fixed price will be fully scrutinized by the Department’s Investment Review Board. The Office of Acquisition Management will be monitoring all acquisition awards to monitor execution
DOC has existing accountability mechanisms in place which are being used to review plans, progress and performance results for ARRA funded activities. Additionally, DOC has put in place ARRA specific mechanisms for oversight of ARRA implementation activities.
1) Department Investment Review Board (IRB) is responsible for conducting investment reviews and assisting Department management by identifying programs and projects that merit review; and providing findings and recommendations from investment reviews to DOC for resolution. The IRB serves as the senior oversight board in the investment review process and provides for Department oversight of program performance through the objective review of progress and assessment of pertinent measurable data tied to total life-cycle investment planning, budgeting and execution.
Membership consists of the senior manager for all department level offices as well as bureau representation and subject matter experts.
The IRB has already scheduled for initial review the ARRA programs that have received significant funding. While many of these programs already existed and were already in the IRB review cycle, DOC chose to increase the level of review due to ARRA funding.
2) Senior Management Council (SMC) provides leadership and oversight for internal control assessments under OMB Circular A-123 Management’s Responsibility for Internal Control. The SMC is co-chaired by the Deputy CFO and the Director, Office of Management and Organization, and is composed of all bureau Chief Financial Officers, the Chief Information Officer, and the heads of Human Resources, Acquisition Management, Budget and Administrative Services offices. The Department also has a Senior Assessment Team (SAT) which is responsible for conducting day-to-day A-123 activities, including review, documentation, and testing of internal controls. The SAT is composed of representatives from bureaus and offices that have a material impact on DOC’s financial reporting.
The SAT was tasked to: identify the programs that will receive the ARRA funding; re-evaluate the risk assessment based on the new dollars coming in to the programs; determine if the programs will follow existing procedures or new procedures; determine if the existing controls will be sufficient to handle the new projects; test any new controls that will be put in place; and evaluate any non- routine processes to determine if the processes should be modified.
3) ARRA Working Group (WG) - The Department has formed several cross-bureau, cross-function work teams to plan and implement the Recovery Act across DOC. Our Departmental Work Team structure is as follows:
The Senior Accountable Official (SAO) and associated staff are responsible for overall coordination and management at the Department level of ARRA implementation. The SAO oversees the ARRA WG which provides senior oversight and management to all sub-groups. The ARRA WG consists of the Recovery Implementation Steering Committee the Bureau Points of Contact (POC) Group and the team leads for the work groups for reporting, transparency and NEPA. The ARRA WG is composed of senior managers from all Department-level Offices as well as a senior manager from the Office of Inspector General, who provide proactive advice and education. Members of the Steering Committee are responsible for providing guidance in their area of responsibility as well as coordinating communication and activities. They, in turn, work with the functional offices within each bureau to support specific activities.
The Recovery Implementation Bureau POC Group consists of a single senior manager from each of the bureaus receiving funding. These bureau POCs are responsible for coordinating and managing bureau efforts with Departmental efforts. Each bureau has its own internal team working on bureau-specific activities and oversight, and the bureau POC is the communication and management liaison to the Department.
Program Plans | Number of Programs: