Suspensions and debarments are (and should be) rare. Suspensions and debarments can be the result of a variety of mistakes or transgressions by an organization (see FAR 9.406-2 for some examples). The government’s decision to consider debarment is not taken lightly by government or industry.
The suspension and debarment process can be seen as ineffective because it takes significant resources and can result in less competition by making contractors ineligible for contracts. In addition, the government has to invest significant resources in to understand the circumstances at the ground level to make a clean decision to suspend of debar a contractor.
To address these and other issues, the government has made greater use of Compliance Agreements as an alternative to suspension and debarment. Compliance Agreements are effective and fair because they do not remove contractors from the competitive process.
The Independent Monitor provides oversight on the government’s behalf, while also guiding the contractor on how best to restore the government’s confidence in its ability to responsibly perform on government contracts. We focus on assisting contractors with establishing or improving their government contracting compliance program in order to correct the issues that led to the administrative agreement, build policies and procedures to minimize the potential for future issues, ensure ethical behavior, and ensure compliance with all government requirements, including any Administrative Agreements.
Rather than just provide general ethics oversight, we deploy a team of former Contracting Officers to provide oversight, as well as ethics guidance and integrated training to ensure you progress in implementing and achieving the commitments required by an Administrative Agreement or Consent Decree.
Our responsibility is to observe, review and report to the government whether the contractor is in compliance in all respects with the Administrative Agreement, with applicable government contracting laws, rules, and regulations ensure that is seeking, entering into, and performing government contracts responsibly and with integrity.
Our oversight and Independent Monitoring responsibilities include acting as your initial Corporate Ethics Monitor, monitoring your compliance with any Administrative Agreements or other federal contracting requirements. Skyway’s specific Independent Monitor activities include the list below.
- Observe and review on an ongoing basis and to report to the Contractor regarding; contractor’s ongoing compliance in all respects with the Administrative Agreement
- Ensure contractor’s implementation and management of the Contractor Responsibility Program
- Monitor contractor’s compliance with the Administrative Agreement, as well as contractor’s compliance with applicable government contracting laws, rules, and regulations and whether contractor is seeking, entering into, and performing government contracts responsibly and with integrity
- Serve as a resource to the contractor to ask questions related to compliance with performance under specific government contracts and government contracting requirements in general, including, but not limited to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement (DFARS)
- Report our findings, concerns and recommendations to contractor and government (normally semi-annually)
To fulfill those responsibilities, the Skyway team will apply our Independent Monitor Review Process (IMRP). This section provides an overview of the IMRP, as well as the Skyway team members and the specific activities we conducted throughout this initial Assessment Phase.
We actively monitor and reviews the effectiveness of the monitored company’s contracts, compliance, and ethics programs, policies, and procedures and makes recommendations to address issues of concern and to provide fair and objective reporting the results to the Government on a routine basis. To do so, we use our Independent Monitor Review Process© (IMRP) (outlined in the table below).
After the initial Assessment Phase, we provide a list of Key Risk Areas, Active Watch Items, and MFR (i.e. Memo for Record) items. These three focus areas are the basic output of the IMRP process. They provide a framework from which the contractor (and the government) can see a path back to being a responsible and effective contractor (i.e. not risking debarment).
Key Risk Areas: These require immediate attention and are often the basis of the issue(s) that led to the risk of debarment. These require immediate action from the contractor.
Active Watch Items: These include situations that create risk to the contractor’s ability to remain compliant with the Administrative Agreement. However, these do not reach the level of Key Risk Areas because 1) we have confirmed that the contractor is actively addressing these areas and 2) the impact to the contractor’s ability to perform ethically is not as widespread with these items as with the Key Risk Areas. We anticipate that the contractor will effectively mitigate or eliminate these Active Watch Items by the end of the Target Review Phase of the IMRP (see table).
MFR (Memorandum for Record) Items: These are items that present lower risk to the government or the contractor. However, these are still significant enough to track in order to ensure their impact does not grow. While these items are low probability risks, low impact risks, or both, the Skyway team continues to observe and report on them until we are confident that the contractor has either mitigated or eliminated them.
The Skyway Independent Monitor Team
- President, Skyway Acquisition Solutions
- Contracting Officer for US Air Force and US Special Operations Command
- Co-Host, Contracting Officer Podcast
Mr. Jans has held contracting officer warrants with unlimited signing authority in multiple positions within the Department of Defense (DOD). Over his career, he was competitively selected for both the US Air Force’s Copper Cap Training Program and the Career Broadener Program. Both of these targeted DOD training programs are designed to accelerate the experience and knowledge of high-performing professionals in the DOD contracting and acquisition field.
Mr. Jans’ 16 years of experience inside the DOD made him an expert in government acquisition. He has hands-on experience with a variety of acquisition regulations including the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), the Defense FAR Supplement (DFARS), and the Special Operations Command FAR Supplement (SOFARS). He has competed, awarded and/or administered contracts in a wide variety of industries, from aircraft and space systems to facilities and tactical vehicles. In addition to his hands-on experience, Kevin has extensive credentials in the contracting and source selection field. He is a Certified Federal Contracts Manager (through the National Contract Management Association). He is also DAWIA Level III-certified in Contracting and Level I certified in Program Management by the Defense Acquisition University. He has written and reviewed over 1,000 contracts valued from $7,700 to $882 Million. Mr. Jans has personally led or supported over 100 competitive source selections.
In addition to his contracting officer experience, he served as a Procurement Analyst for multiple government agencies. In that role, he provided review and approval authority for some of the most complex contracts at the base-level (Patrick Air Force Base), the command-level (for Air Force Space Command) and the agency-level (HQ, US Special Operations Command). His experience as a Procurement Analyst adds to his technical review and oversight capabilities as an Independent Monitor because he understands the process of awarding and managing contracts, as well as the process of providing review and oversight to them. The latter is a critical skill when providing Independent Monitor services.
Mr. Jans now leads a team of former contracting officers who provide a variety of targeted training and consulting services, including The Contracting Officer Podcast. Mr. Jans has provided his contracting expertise in a variety of areas, including as an expert witness, an independent monitor, and even advisory services to investment banking professionals. His expert depositions and Expert Reports are consistently submitted as evidence based on his depth of knowledge and ability to apply the principles of federal contracting.
Kevin’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinjans/
- Military Contracts Consultant, Skyway Acquisition Solutions
- Contracting Officer with US Marine Corps, US Navy, Joint Contracting Command-Iraq/Afghanistan
- Master Sergeant, US Marine Corps, Retired
Mr. Small has 26 years’ experience in government contracting for the Department of Defense. He was a Contingency Contracting Officer from December 1994 to August 2009 while serving as an active duty Marine. Mr. Small’s military career as a Contracting Officer culminated in a 13-month combat deployment to Fallujah, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served as Chief of Contracting, Regional Contracting Center – Fallujah under dual commands: I Marine Expeditionary Force – Forward and Joint Contracting Command-Iraq/Afghanistan. During this period, Mr. Small’s dynamic leadership style directly contributed to the successful management of Regional Contracting Center – Fallujah and the nine contracting officers he led. He oversaw the award of over 1,750 commodity, service, and construction contracts totaling over $240 million in support of over 27,000 Operating Forces within Al Anbar Province, Iraq.
After retiring from the US Marine Corps where he served 20 years of honorable service, Mr. Small served as Assistant Program Manager for Contracting, PEO-C4I, SPAWAR. At PEO-C4I, he advised Program Managers and monitored contract performance for Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAP) and Major Automated Information Systems (MAIS). Mr. Small holds an MBA from National University and is DAWIA Level-III certified in Contracting and Level-II certified in Program Management from Defense Acquisition University. He is a graduate of University of California San Diego, Rady’s School of Management, Veterans Ventures Program, and a graduate of SERVICE2CEO, which is provided by Fokcus Mentoring and The Rosie Network in San Diego, California.
Troy’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/troy-a-small-b57a49158/
- Program Manager, Skyway Acquisition Solutions
- Contracting Officer with US Air Force and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)
- Co-Host, Contracting Officer Podcast
Mr. Schauer spent 15 years as an Air Force civilian in the contracting field (1102) working in a variety of positions ranging from hands-on Contracting Officer to policy staff to supervisory roles supporting national security missions. He has direct experience as the contracts lead for multiple source selections and sole source negotiations for major Air Force systems, including the C-32, C-37, C-17 and C-130J program offices as well as extensive duties at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). He ended his civilian Contracting Officer career as a GS-15 responsible for a team of contracts professionals acquiring national security space systems.
Paul entered industry as the Director of Contracts for a small company, managing contracts and procurement through the transitioned from small to large business, eventually being acquired by a major defense contractor. During this time, he oversaw the entire contracting process from pre-award to contract closeout, ending his tenure with direct P&L responsibility for a $135 million line of business. He is a Certified Professional Contract Manager from the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) and is DAWIA Level III-certified in Contracting through Defense Acquisition University.
Paul’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-schauer-81b09249/
- Contract Management and Compliance Consultant, Skyway Acquisition Solutions
- Contracting Officer, US Air Force, Defense Health Agency and Department of Energy
Mr. Hargett spent 12 years on active duty in the U.S. Air Force as a contract specialist. In addition, his contracting experience includes serving with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Contractor, Defense Health Agency as well as leading a team of contracting professionals in the Department of Energy. As a Contracting Officer, he led integrated product teams and source selection teams to issue requests for proposals and award contracts for projects valued at more than $80 Billion. In addition to his source selection experience, he was responsible for the oversight of highly complex and high-value contracts in healthcare, defense supply, services contracts, and energy-related products and services. His DOD experience includes oversight responsibility for DOD’s TRICARE Managed Care Support Contract valued at over $25 Billion. While at the Department of Energy, he led the acquisition office with cognizance over the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.
Most recently, Mr. Hargett served as Director of Subcontract Management at TriWest Healthcare Alliance where he stood up the office and led subcontract administrators and managers charged with performing various subcontract oversight functions with a total managed portfolio exceeding $1 Billion. Charlie holds an MBA from University of Phoenix and a Masters in Acquisition Management from American Graduate University. He is also DAWIA Level III-certified in Contracting and Program Management by Defense Acquisition University.
Charlie’s LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/charleshargett/