Only several months into the new administration, many government contractors are surely curious about the new trends unfolding.

There are several factors currently at play in reshaping the government contracting landscape:

  • Executive orders (EOs).
  • New political appointees and agency leadership.
  • A host of new policies, programs and initiatives.

Let's examine how these factors may alter the government's priorities and its procurement processes, and what that means for contractors and their businesses.

Executive orders

Beginning shortly after the inauguration, the new administration began rolling out a series of executive orders. While not all of these EOs directly related to government contractors, several have the potential to greatly impact this sector. 

The EOs most likely to affect government contractors have largely covered COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts, immigration policy and climate change. For instance, federal agencies are now tasked with examining the impact of climate change from their procurement processes.

Government contractors should ensure their operations meet the updated needs of these agencies. In some cases, contractors with sound sustainable processes can potentially leverage this aspect to their advantage.

New political appointees and agency leadership

Along with the new administration comes a host of new political appointees and agency leadership across the federal government. However, while many of these people have been confirmed for their roles, there are still many deputies and senior leadership members still awaiting confirmation.

As this transition occurs, many government contracting bids and awards might be placed on hold. Even once all the federal agencies are up and running at full capacity, there might still be a waiting period as the new leadership reviews current rules and guidance and updates them accordingly.

Some government contractors may find themselves in a holding pattern as they wait for confirmation of appointees and leadership, along with implementation of updated rules and guidance.

Changes to policies, programs and initiatives

In addition to EOs and new appointments, there are also plenty of policy changes and initiatives underway.

The updated "Made in America" program is most likely to affect government contractors. While "Buy American" has long been a focus for federal contracts, the new administration has refined the program further.

Now, all agencies must review all actions, and consider eliminating any of them that do not align with the "Made in America" initiative. This means all federal financial assistance awards and procurement will need to follow all statutes, rules, regulations and EOs that refer to the "Buy American" or "Made in America" program.

To this end, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is establishing a new Director of Made-in-America Office to oversee the implementation of this program. This new Made-in-America Office will:

  • Increase oversight of waivers to domestic preference laws.
  • Connect new businesses to contracting opportunities.
  • Direct a cross-agency review of all domestic preferences.
  • Increase domestic content requirements.
  • Find ways to close current loopholes in how domestic content is measured.
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Domestic government contractors may potentially see more awards and procurement opportunities with this new initiative.

IT overhaul and improved cybersecurity

Many governments still rely on outdated and inadequate information technology (IT) infrastructure and cybersecurity programs. Plus, recent high-profile incidents, such as the SolarWinds hack, have drawn heightened attention to these critical aspects of the government.

Although signed into law back in 2017, the Modernizing Government Technology Act continues to play a vital role in overhauling and updating the IT and cybersecurity of different government agencies.

Government contractors specializing in digital, mobile and cloud technologies, or software, data analytics and more can potentially tap into the $74.8 billion worth of contracts involving IT products and services.