Chairman’s Corner: September 2017

Following a trip to Arizona, my parents returned home with a dream. That dream was to open up and run a western wear store. My father had previously built up a grocery business with his brothers, but he was ready to take on a new challenge.

In 1962, my parents founded Howard and Phil’s. They would face tumultuous financial times. They put in countless hours of work to keep operations afloat. They sacrificed a great deal.

I would eventually join my parents in their efforts to grow their business. After years of hard work and overcoming a number of obstacles, those efforts started to pay off. Howard and Phil’s was not an overnight success, but eventually it grew to include 52 stores with over 500 employees.

I had the profound opportunity to watch as my parent’s achieved the “American Dream.”

I thought of my parents on Monday as our country celebrated Labor Day, a day that honors the American Labor Movement. To me, it also signifies the right we have in this country to work. We are fortunate enough to work in whatever space we choose. We all have the capacity to achieve our own American Dream.

That being said, these dreams do not come easy. There will be setbacks. It will take perseverance, courage, and hard work in order to see success. These attributes were applied when we started the McKeon Group and it is how we go about our work each and every day. And the best part of our job is helping others achieve their own American Dream.

Another Shutdown Showdown

Congress works best on what is often referred to as “regular order.” Regular order would dictate prompt action on the Nation’s annual obligations to fund the basic operations of the Federal government with the provision of new funding and authorities as of October 1, the start of the next fiscal year.

Doing so affords the Congress its constitutional oversight responsibilities over the Executive Branch. However, when it comes to the annual appropriations process, what should be regular has become predictably irregular.

The first year of a new administration does pose many challenges to the Congress’ legislative agenda and the appropriations process. And in its efforts within a very compressed timeframe to return to regular order, the House was able to pass four appropriations bills in a so-called “Security Omnibus” just before the August recess.

The remaining eight bills are expected to be considered as one “omnibus” during the week of September 4. However, the Senate remains embattled with its own budget debate, rendering passage of any of its own appropriations bills nearly impossible. So, as Congress reconvenes this week with so few legislative days left ahead of the new fiscal year, the Nation once again must endure the rhetoric, and possibility, of a government shut-down. This is where the process continues to fail.

This has unfortunately become regular order. There is no appetite to shut down the government in any year, and this year is no different. But, the border wall, immigration, tax reform, and the debt limit will surely consume headlines and command much of the attention in Congress in this final month of fiscal year 2017. As such, the President has proactively presented the Congress with his own proposal to keep government funding flowing through mid-December. But, it is the Congress who will determine the terms and conditions of government funding moving forward.

The new regular order has seen Congress functioning in this manner each and every year. Make no mistake, this has a cascading and detrimental effect on private industry, starting from the largest of firms all the way down to small business enterprise. It also impacts local economies, communities and American families. All would agree that this method of governing inhibits and constrains the industrious and inspirational drive of innovators as well as the hard working people in cities and towns across the U.S. who want to go to work, send their children to school and know that Congress is meeting their most basic obligation.

Presidential Executive Order on Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States

A key initiative undertaken by the Trump Administration is to issue a Presidential Executive Order for the expressed purpose of assessing and strengthening the manufacturing and defense industrial base and supply chain resiliency of the United States. This is an issue that is gaining increasing importance for the Department of Defense and its ability to ensure that it has the materials that the Defense Department will need when the next world crisis erupts. To better understand this, it is important to take a look back so we can understand the need for a forward-looking effort such as this.

In CY 2001, we entered into a war in Afghanistan as a direct result of the attack on the homeland on 9/11. Up to that time the United States military was trained, manned and equipped to fight a war in Europe or Asia against a near peer adversary that would allow us to make use of our advanced technology and weapons. The war we entered into started with our Special Operations personnel riding on horseback, fighting a somewhat unsophisticated enemy, while directing bomb strikes with JDAM “smart bombs”. As the war progressed and we entered the Iraqi theater the industrial base in America began a rapid and broad expansion in both low-tech and hi-tech materials to support the war. Everything from small arms ammunition production to the development of the MOAB, new uniforms and camouflage, to body armor and vehicle armor, IED detection and advanced medical treatment equipment to keep the battlefield wounded alive long enough to make it to a medical facility greatly reducing overall casualty rates. Contracts for big business, small business and their associated subcontractor supply chains were plentiful and financially rewarding. Companies were re-investing in technology, advanced were rushed to the battlefield as soon as practical and all were benefiting from the serge.

As always happens we changed Administrations and the policies for pursuing the war and the pace at which it was to be pursued changed. With the change, there began a slow but steady reduction in the amount of materials that were being consumed by the Defense Department. With the slowdown companies were forced to reduce their operations. The impact on big business was noticeable but the impact on small business and newly emerging businesses was catastrophic. The attitude across the Department was one of ‘indifference’ to the struggle of businesses who had grown to support the department with key material items. They now found the Department unwilling or unable to provide the on-going support necessary to insure their continuation as a viable business entity. Some key material supplies have been identified and picked up in sustainment programs, but most have not and if they were not able to find a corresponding opportunity in the commercial sector they simply went away.

The Trump Administration has recognized that our industrial capacity to wage war has been diminished by the actions of the Department of Defense and has chosen to take actions that we have not seen in past Administrations to improve the overall readiness of the force through industrial base sustainment. In the Executive Order, the President has highlighted the following:

The loss of more than 60,000 American factories, key companies, and almost 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000 threatens to undermine the capacity and capabilities of United States manufacturers to meet national defense requirements and raises concerns about the health of the manufacturing and defense industrial base.  The loss of additional companies, factories, or elements of supply chains could impair domestic capacity to create, maintain, protect, expand, or restore capabilities essential for national security.

What is clearly understood by those in the manufacturing sector is that once an item is no longer procured, even at a reduced rate, the supply chain for that item will be significant altered. If the item relies on components that require long lead times the significance of the loss is magnified. Even when federal contracts state the importance of acquiring an item as a high priority; if the manufacturer is unable to re-establish the supply chain because the resource needed has been diverted to commercial requirements the Department can insist on its priority but if the resource is simply not available the Department will be deprived. Some supply chain companies exist solely to manufacture a piece or part or special tooling needed for the military supply chain. They are the very first to feel the impact of a reduction in military procurement.

Section 2 of the Order directs:  

The “Assessment of the Manufacturing Capacity, Defense Industrial Base, and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States.  Within 270 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretaries of Commerce, Labor, Energy, and Homeland Security, and in consultation with the Secretaries of the Interior and Health and Human Services, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Director of National Intelligence, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, the Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, and the heads of such other agencies as the Secretary of Defense deems appropriate, shall provide to the President an unclassified report, with a classified annex as needed, that builds on current assessment and evaluation activities, and:

(a) identifies the military and civilian materiel, raw materials, and other goods that are essential to national security;

(b) identifies the manufacturing capabilities essential to producing the goods identified pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, including emerging capabilities;

(c) identifies the defense, intelligence, homeland, economic, natural, geopolitical, or other contingencies that may  disrupt, strain, compromise, or eliminate the supply chains of goods identified pursuant to subsection (a) of this section (including as a result of the elimination of, or failure to develop domestically, the capabilities identified pursuant to subsection (b) of this section) and that are sufficiently likely to arise so as to require reasonable preparation for their occurrence;

(d) assesses the resiliency and capacity of the manufacturing and defense industrial base and supply chains of the United States to support national security needs upon the occurrence of the contingencies identified pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, including an assessment of:

(i) the manufacturing capacity of the United States and the physical plant capacity of the defense industrial base, including their ability to modernize to meet future needs;

(ii)   gaps in national-security-related domestic manufacturing capabilities, including non-existent, extinct, threatened, and single-point-of-failure capabilities;

(iii)  supply chains with single points of failure or limited resiliency, especially at suppliers third-tier and lower;

(iv)   energy consumption and opportunities to increase resiliency through better energy management;

(v)    current domestic education and manufacturing workforce skills;

(vi)   exclusive or dominant supply of the goods (or components thereof) identified pursuant to subsection (a) of this section by or through nations that are or are likely to become unfriendly or unstable; and

(vii)  the availability of substitutes for or alternative sources for the goods identified pursuant to subsection (a) of this section;”

The importance of having a discussion with those Federal agencies that you do your procurements business with cannot be overstated. It is important that your contracting folks reach out to their federal counterparts and that pass along the impact and importance of understanding how your business works and why this issue is important to the overall health and financial stability of your company. That is what this Executive Order is looking to gather data on… and it is incumbent on industry to make sure the right data is pushed up rather than waiting for it to flow down.

The McKeon Group of experts in government procurement and contracting is available to you to assist with any requirements you may have in this regard.

Next Steps for U.S. Cyber Warriors

Last month, President Trump announced U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) would be elevated to a “Unified Combatant Command,” allowing it to be of equal stature as other Unified Commands that oversee all military operations in various regions of the world, such as Pacific Command (PACOM). The President’s decision makes Cyber Command, formerly a subordinate unit under U.S. Strategic Command, the 10th unified command in the U.S. Department of Defense. This command was first opened in 2009 as a result of an order by then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. [1]

Trump’s desire to stand up this command was known since before his inauguration when he vowed to do so and mentioned his desire to increase its capacity and lethality. In his statement, the President said this unification of Cyber Command “will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our Nation’s defense.”

The President did make a significant increase in his 2018 Fiscal Year request for a total of $647 million for Cyber Command, which was a 16 percent increase from the previous year.

Currently the NSA (National Security Agency) and U.S. Cyber Command are overseen by Admiral Mike Rogers in a dual-responsibility post. A portion of Trump’s recent announcement was also an order to Secretary Mattis to conduct a review of whether Cyber Command should be split from NSA or not. There was little opposition to unifying Cyber Command but there appears to be much more disagreement over whether Cyber Command should be a complete separate entity from the NSA. Many believe that both CYBERCOM and the NSA should be able to operate independently from one another, but it is important that the Executive Branch work with Congress to carefully craft and take the proper steps to separate these two organizations in a careful and intentional manner.

NSA is responsible for picking up signals intelligence; like phone calls, emails, web traffic etc. Cyber Command is the military’s offensive and defensive cyber operations organization that protects all Department of Defense networks and conducts foreign operations in the cyberspace against other nation-states and non-state actors alike.

With this announcement, President Trump has fulfilled a requirement by law declared in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2017 to elevate Cyber Command.

  1. “Trump Administration Elevates Cyber Command, Eyes Split From NSA.” Morning Consult. August 21, 2017. Accessed September 01, 2017.

Chairman’s Corner: July 2017

“Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight.”

We recited that poem every night. Following our nightly ritual, my mom would have us “wish” for our father’s safe return in our prayers. Like many little boys during World War II, my brother, Joe, and I yearned to see our dad come home.

Last week was Independence Day. There were parades, fireworks, and barbecues. People flocked to pools and parks. Many of us had the day off. We celebrated the adoption of the Declaration of Independence with our family and close friends.

However, not everyone was afforded that same luxury.

With hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops stationed oversees, their families were left with a vacant chair at the July 4th dinner festivities.

There are so many American children who will, tonight, make a similar “wish” like I did all those years ago in hopes of seeing their parents return home safely. They, along with their parents, are making a selfless sacrifice to ensure our safety and freedoms.

I spent time over the 4th of July holiday thinking about those brave men and women. It is no secret that during my time in Congress I focused on education and defense. Further assisting the military families is one of the reasons I continue to work and fight here in Washington.

I am, and will forever be, grateful for all of those who serve and protect this country.

BRAC, Dead on Arrival?

Each year when Congress begins its budget discussions, the idea of closing bases and downsizing the Department of Defense’s (DoD) domestic infrastructure footprint seems to always resurface. This year is no different, the President’s 2018 Fiscal Year (FY) budget request asked for another round of BRAC (Base Realignment and Closures) beginning in 2021. This Administration like the one before sees BRAC as a necessary step in freeing up billions of dollars to be used in other ways for the U.S. Military.

On June 12th, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis testified before Congress that it should allow another round of domestic military base closings beginning in 2021. These types of proposals to close unnecessary bases have been offered by previous administrations of both parties and continue to be rejected by Members of Congress who have mobilized to save bases in their districts that pour large amounts of money into the local economies. To put into perspective the cost of this excess space, Secretary Mattis said that up to $2 billion could be saved annually with another round of BRAC to close the extra infrastructure space DoD claims to have that it does not need. The Department says it has more than 20% base capacity above its current needs. Secretary Mattis tried to get his point across to the House Armed Services Committee with various statistics of what could be bought with that $2 billion. “We forecast that a properly focused base closure effort will generate $2 billion or more annually – enough to buy 300 Apache attack helicopters, 120 F/A-1Ee/F Super Hornets, or four Virginia-class submarines.”

Once again, another President’s request for a BRAC round was quickly shot down by lawmakers from both parties. With few exceptions, the Department of Defense cannot close installations in the United States without permission from Congress. Since the end of the Cold War, the only way the Congress has allowed these closures to happen is through an independent commission.

As there seems to be very little appetite within Congress for another round of BRAC, there does remain influential Members of Congress who do support the closures, like Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), and Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA).

In the House Armed Services Committee’s “Chairman Mark”, Chairman Thornberry blocked the President’s request for another round of BRAC but did say that he was not opposed to another round if there is enough data provided to justify it.

The Senate Armed Services Committee also refuted the Trump Administration by adding Section 2702 to their version (S. 1519) of the NDAA that states: “SEC. 2702. PROHIBITION ON CONDUCTING ADDITIONAL BASE REALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE (BRAC) ROUND. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize an additional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round.”

At this point in time, there are two amendments that have been filed to be offered to the 2018 House NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) when it goes to the House floor that address BRAC. One by a strong proponent of another BRAC round, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), which would strike the provision in the bill prohibiting BRAC and establish a new process. The second was offered by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), which would remove the provision barring a new BRAC round entirely.

A BRAC round beginning in 2021 is Dead on Arrival in this year’s NDAA, but we know that each year that passes without closures or downsizing means that the Department of Defense will be that much adamant for it this time next year. The McKeon Group will maintain continuous tracking of this important issue if further developments occur through the floor amendment process in either the House or Senate.

National Budget Priorities: Time to Repeal Sequestration

By Buck McKeon

Congress is currently holding hearings on various department budget requests submitted by the President. As congressional committees consider how to spend federal dollars for Fiscal Year 2018 with the debt ceiling limit looming, it’s a good time to reflect on what the spending priorities are for the federal government.

When the Framers established the Constitution, they defined those spending priorities in Article One, Section Eight. Among the most paramount is our nation’s defense: “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.”

In an attempt to balance the budget, Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). The act was intended to prevent the sovereign default that could have resulted from the 2011 United States debt-ceiling crisis. The BCA created a special joint select committee, known as the ‘Super Committee,’ to pass a deficit reduction bill. The goal was to cut $1.5 trillion over 10 years to avoid larger across-the-board cuts that would automatically kick in (sequestration). These austere spending caps were put in place to motivate Congress to act. However, the Super Committee failed and sequestration went into effect. Not a pretty moment for Congress.

Since enacted, BCA cuts have weakened our national defense. Where it hurts our military the most is what the brass call ‘Readiness and Reset.’ Readiness means being ready to fight around the clock. It requires qualified personnel, on-going training, refueling, ammunition, and maintenance. Defense Secretary Mattis said before a congressional hearing, “For all the heartache caused by the loss of our troops during these wars, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of our military than sequestration.”

Today, the U.S. is dealing with more threats than ever before. These include Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and the fight against ISIS and global terrorism.
The Pentagon is struggling with how to address these threats while their budgets continue to shrink. It means our military is being asked to do more with less.

Military service chiefs have pleaded with Congress to fill readiness gaps caused by repeated Continuing Resolutions and budget cuts. The Administration rightly requested a $30 billion supplemental for 2017 to address the problem. They only received $21 billion.

A recent report uncovered that 62% of the Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet fighters are unfit to fly because of maintenance and repair issues. In the Marine Corps, an astounding 208 of 281 (74%) of aircraft were not ready for combat in December 2016.
All the services are facing similar problems.

The Army is short helicopters, missile systems, and necessitates 10,000 more active duty soldiers with another 7,000 for National Guard and Army Reserve requirements. “Readiness will remain the number one priority,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said at an event.

The Air Force is facing a massive shortage of pilots and maintenance personnel. Air Force Secretary Wilson told reporters, “The first thing is readiness; we’ve got to restore the readiness of the force.” At the end of Fiscal Year 2016, active and reserve components were short 1,555 pilots, including 1,211 fighter pilots. The cost to train a fifth-generation fighter pilot is around $11 million. “A 1,200-fighter pilot shortage amounts to a $12 billion capital loss for the United States Air Force,” she said.

Both parties have blamed the other for the tough consequences of sequestration. However, the BCA passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan majorities. The time for blaming has passed. National security is an American issue. It shouldn’t be politicized nor should defense funding priorities be hostage to increased funding of non-defense programs.

It’s time for congressional leaders to separate partisanship from defense budgeting and approach the process in a more practical, predictable, and solutions-based manner. Stable and foreseeable budgets facilitate better planning and help to lower costs for expensive systems.

It’s time to repeal the BCA. Our military leaders and the great men and women who serve under them must be provided the resources they need – when they need it – to get the job done. We at least owe them that much.

Will School Choice Be Expanded by the New Congress?

The Trump Administration has consistently made it clear that their top priority in education is expanding school choices for parents and their children. While the school choice movement has been around for decades and many states have implemented state-funded programs, President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have moved the issue to center stage. Now, the focus is on what changes, if any, the new Congress is willing to make.

1. Appropriations:

DC Opportunity Scholarship Program Reauthorized: The FY2017 omnibus appropriation passed in May 2017 reauthorized the District of Columbia (DC) Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) voucher program — the only K-12 voucher program funded with federal dollars. SOAR, originally signed into law by President Bush in 2004, provides funds for low-income D.C. families to support traditional public schools, public charter schools, and opportunity scholarships to private schools. The Obama administration had proposed to phase out the program and opposed its expansion and reauthorization. The SOAR program is now authorized at $45 million. DC reports that about 1,200 students – 97 percent are African-American and Hispanic – currently participate in the program, and the average family income is under $22,000 per year.

President’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY2018) Budget Proposal: On May 23, 2017, the White House announced its budget for the coming fiscal year. Among the changes to the U.S. Department of Education budget were specific provisions to support school choice. The FY2018 budget added:

  • Title I Funding: A record $1 billion increase was proposed in the Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to support a specific program — the Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS) program. FOCUS supports the establishment and expansion of systems within public school districts to use weighted funding formulas based on student characteristics and allow the combined local, State, and Federal funds allocated for students to follow them to the school of the family’s choice. The program builds on a new pilot program included in ESSA which allows up to 50 school districts to adopt a weighted student funding formula that would combine federal, state, and local dollars into a single funding stream tied to individual students.
  • Competitive Grants: $250 million is provided for competitive awards through the Education Innovation and Research program to provide scholarships for students from low-income families to attend the private school of their parents’ choice.
  • Charter Schools: $168 million is added to the charter school program currently authorized under ESSA.

2. Tax Reform and School Choice Authorization Bill(s): The Congress is also considering options through new authorizing bills that could provide states with flexibility to use funds to provide vouchers and other funding portability to attend schools that families choose, as well as expanding tax-advantaged education savings accounts and/or tax credits for contributions made directly to private scholarships.

  • Tax Reform: Congress is working on a tax reform bill that could include funding for new tax credits for individual and corporate contributions to scholarship programs, education savings accounts or both to provide school choice funding options to individual families.
  • Stand Alone Bills: Members of Congress have introduced individual bills in the House and Senate and while these bills are less likely to be considered due to the challenge of passing stand-alone legislation, one or more could be used as the basis for the structure of provisions placed into the tax bill or to guide policy making in the FY2018 or future funding measures. Bills such as: H.R. 610; H.R. 691/S. 235, Creating Hope and Opportunities for Individuals and Communities through Education (CHOICE) Act; and, S. 1294, Native American Education Opportunity Act are several of the bills introduced this year that create block grants for vouchers, opportunities for tax credits and/or target specific populations of students such as Native American Indians or military families.

While the Administration is still working on the details of its proposals and Congress has not yet acted on those it has introduced, the Administration’s public stance has set big expectations – using terms like ‘most ambitious expansion of education in our nation’s history’ and ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’. Now, we’ll see if Congress has both the political will and the votes to deliver.

Three Steps to Stabilize Your Agency’s Budget

We recently starred down the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018, but Congress and the President have yet to reach an agreement on the full Federal FY’18 budget. Though there are differing perceptions on what final agency budgets will turn out to be, most agree that civilian budgets will bear deep cuts in this fiscally hawkish political environment. The McKeon Group offers three key steps for agencies to prepare for the coming budget woes:

1. Prioritize your agency’s programs from first to last. Base the rating on efficacy and how closely each program aligns with the mission. As a leader of your agency, it is your primary responsibility to champion the agency mission. Scrutinize the ancillary, duplicative, and scope-creeped programs that are not inherently under the agency’s purview. Allot budget accordingly.

Even President Obama highlighted this in his 2011 State of the Union Address: “There are twelve different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least five different entities that deal with housing policy. Then there’s my favorite example: The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in freshwater, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they’re in saltwater.”

Shrinking budgets demand a more efficient use of resources and, in some cases, handing over some authority to another agency that can streamline processes and programs.

2. Secondly, there are billions in improper payments that can be recovered and reallocated into the current fiscal year’s coffers to help cover budget shortfalls. There is a right and a legal way to recover those misspent funds.

Last year, federal agencies admitted to over $145 billion in improper payments. Yet, most have done little to successfully recover those taxpayer monies. Most duplicative payments, overpayments, or fraudulent payments are recoverable for up to three years. This means your recovery potential is actually three times what you submitted in your 2016 Performance & Accountability Report (PAR). When recovered, agencies can retain up to 45% of the money and reallocate those funds into the same fiscal year.

As an example, the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program under the Department of Education misspent $3.9B last year. Multiply that by three, then multiply by 45% and Ed now has an ‘extra’ $5,265,000,000 of their own funds to spend. Or, take plan B and suffer a 13.5% budget decrease.

Federal Law (IPERA and IPERIA) clearly states that if an agency is deemed noncompliant for three or more consecutive years for the same program or activity, then the agency must submit to Congress reauthorization proposals for those programs or activities, along with proposed statutory changes that may bring the agency into compliance. Thus, the burden is entirely on your shoulders if you don’t want to give Congress a legal reason to not re-authorize your non-compliant programs.

3. Thirdly, fill your gaps. If you don’t have the agency staff you require, cut and paste the parameters of another agency’s internship program onto your letterhead and quickly onboard college students. Hopefully, this will initiate your first success toward the ultimate HR gap fill when Baby Boomers retire.

Take the time to train each Program Manger the art of procurement. Don’t wait two years to get what you need in a full Request for Proposal (RFP), then deal with the protest, then rebid it, and then have GAO finally approve the incumbent vendor. Forget that! Determine what you need and procure it via a GSA Schedule e-buy or pre-competed GWAC or IDIQ. Empower your teams to offer suggestions where efficiencies can be implemented and reward the top two savings suggestions with a reasonable bonus.

Agencies are being compelled to do more with less. By prioritizing your program foci, refilling the agency’s coffers with recaptured funds, and cross-training current and future staff to be more dynamic, we can meet that goal.

Your Agency’s Budget Has Been Slashed. Now What?

On May 23rd, the White House released its proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY 2018). Although it is just a proposal, Congress uses this blue print as a starting point to develop its annual spending bills for all mandatory and discretionary programs. The discourse between Congress, the Executive Branch, and the public about how to spend federal dollars is now underway within a compressed timeline.

The House and Senate are required to reach agreement on all required appropriation bills before October 1st, the beginning of the new fiscal year. However, in recent years this has become increasingly difficult. Congress has relied on funding band aids, known as Continuing Resolutions (CRs), to keep the government running until a final spending bill (or separate bills) is agreed to and signed into law by the President.

While Congress debates the whole FY 2018 budget, you may be paying attention to a specific department’s budget – Defense, Education, Labor, Energy, Justice, Homeland Security, etc. In the President’s budget request, most agencies have taken reductions ranging from 12%-18% due to sequestration requirements and other additional cuts proposed by the Administration, with the goal of a balanced budget in 10 years.

Available federal funds for agencies remain constrained because out of the $4 trillion spent annually, President Trump has taken off the negotiation table nearly all the $2.4 trillion currently spent on Social Security ($940 billion), Medicare ($600 billion), defense ($600 billion), and interest on the debt ($270 billion). What’s left are the agencies that make up what is called non-defense discretionary spending. This means Congress must make some tough decisions.

For most, navigating the federal budget process is complicated and challenging. To be successful in any degree, it requires effective and resourceful representation. The
McKeon Group is the firm that brings to bear the experience, expertise, and unique ability to reach the power players in Washington. We strategically advise and assist our clients to:

Understand the Congress’ timeline and process
Develop a guiding strategy to influence legislative and executive branches
Create partnerships and alliances on and off Capitol Hill
Provide access to meet with key decision-makers

The McKeon Group is committed to helping our clients work with Congress to achieve desired authorization and appropriations outcomes. Our team will ensure your budget priorities make it across the finish line.