By Norma Morant
Acquisition professionals from the Defense Contract Management Agency Baltimore and DCMA Northrop Grumman Baltimore attended a symposium, “The Legal Challenges in DoD Contracting,” at Fort Meade, Maryland, on Jan. 24.
The symposium was sponsored by the U. S. Attorney’s Office and the Defense Criminal Investigative Services. The keynote speakers included Robert Hur, U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland, and Dermot O’Reilly, DCIS director. The topics covered included procurement and contract fraud; bribery and public corruption; counter-proliferation; civil remedies; and Supreme Court legal updates.
Felicia Felder, a DCMA Baltimore industrial specialist, said she was glad she attended the symposium.
“The real-world cases shared by the keynote speakers underscore a pervasive culture of blatant disregard for the law,” said Felder. “I was shocked by the cautionary tales of the few who chose to make unethical choices about responsible stewardship while in a trusted position.”
Shawnte Watson-Jones, a DCMA Baltimore cost and price analyst, also attended and said it was important for acquisition professionals to make sure the government gets the correct products or services per the contract requirements.
“We must remember that 1102s (contracting job series) are the eyes and ears of the federal government,” said Watson-Jones. “Specifically, if you see something, say something. Non-disclosure agreements are not enforceable when you’re reporting fraud.”
Watson-Jones said the presenters reminded attendees to make sure they complete the annual form OGE 450 correctly. The form is from the Office of Government Ethics and is known as the Confidential Financial Disclosure Form.
“If you don’t report money from any type of other jobs you may have on your OGE 450, you are making a false statement,” she said. “The presenters reminded us that we can report anything suspicious to our federal agency or call the Department of Defense Inspector General hotline.”
DCMA also has a similar hotline that employees can call, 844-551-2067.
Nicole Dorsey, a DCMA Baltimore administrative contracting officer, said the symposium enforced to her that it’s important to be vigilant when doing her job.
“Something as small as hunches can lead to large successes and holding violators accountable,” said Dorsey. “All of us who attended found the sessions both interesting and enlightening and we now have a new lens through which to view potential fraudulent conduct.”
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