Clearly there will be a change in administration after November 8, 2016. Even if the party does not change, many things still will. Let’s look at how that will impact you as a small business and federal contractor.
Knowing that some of the top people will change – cabinet-level secretaries and so forth – acquisition decision makers will become more tentative leading up to the event. They know that anything that does carry over into the next administration will potentially get a further review.
You could go through all the hoops for your program today – an RFP, proposals, approval, moving forward through the chain of command, etc. – and then all of a sudden it’s a new administration and the whole thing has to happen all over again. Especially if we’re looking at a new party.
New leaders will want to review all programs to make sure they’re in keeping with their politics, their situation, and the promises they made to voters.
So there are a couple of things you should do in self-defense. One is to expect that things are going to take longer, and there may be a substantial move to the right as the new admin, policies and practices take hold.
The second thing is that existing programs should be guarded zealously. Make sure that you’ve got the attention of your program’s government officials, and that they clearly understand why your program is in place and what it’s meant to do.
That’s because what almost always happens at the start of a new administration – particularly with a change of party – is that everything goes through zero-based justification. The onus is on you to defend why you are doing this, the policy and practice behind it, and show how you interact with the public and other allies (foreign affairs, military relationships, etc.).
Know that if a program is relatively more popular with one party than another and there’s a chance of change to a new party, it’s time to really begin contingency and risk planning because something may change dramatically.
We see these effects every eight years. Generally it starts right about now, in the buying season before the election, and then continues somewhat into the buying season after the election (2017).
Policies change when leadership changes. Will you be ready?