Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Will the Newly Created "Defense CAS Board" Survive?

We ended last week's blog with a news article about the CAS (Cost Accounting Standards) Board's upcoming meetings and the agenda topics for the Board's November and January meetings (see CAS Board Meeting). Today and tomorrow we want to take a closer look at two of the agenda topics for their potential impact on small Government contractors.

Agenda topic #4 reads as follows:
Review of Section 809 Panel Recommendation on Defense Cost Accounting Standards Board (Defense CAS Board). The Board will discuss the analysis and recommendation made by the Panel (in Volume 2 of its report) to repeal the provisions in Section 820 of the FY 2017 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) that created the Defense CAS Board. See Section 820(b), which amends title 10 by adding a new section 190.
Section 820 of the 2017 NDAA had several purposes:

  • Revive the Cost Accounting Standards Board
  • Establish a Defense Cost Accounting Standards Board (Defense CAS Board), and
  • Privatize some of the audit work being performed by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA)

With respect to item no. 2, the Defense CAS Board enumerated duties include (see Defense Cost Accounting Standards - Part 2 for more detailed information):

  1. review cost accounting standards established by the CASB and recommend changes to such cost accounting standards to the CASB
  2. has exclusive authority with respect to the Department of Defense to implement such cost accounting standards to achieve uniformity and consistency in the standards governing measurement, assignment, and allocation of costs to contracts with the DoD, and
  3. shall develop standards to ensure that commercial operations performed by Government employees at the DoD adhere to cost accounting standards that inform managerial decision-making.

Last June, the Section 809 Panel (officially the Advisory Panel on Streamlining and Codifying Acquisition Regulations) issued Vol. 2 of this three volume report. In that report, the Panel recommended abolishing the Defense CAS Board (even before it had a chance to organize). Concerning the Defense CAS Board, the report concluded:
Creation of the Defense CASB is an attempt to solve the problem of the non-functioning CASB. Adding another regulatory organization is the wrong solution. Government and industry representatives who spoke with the Section 809 Panel expressed they do not support creation of a Defense CASB. Stakeholders are concerned by the many unanswered questions raised by creating this board, including whether the new board will be biased toward DoD issues, and if the two boards will create competing sets of CAS. Creation of a Defense CASB would almost certainly be counter-productive.
We're not sure what the current CAS Board might discuss with respect to its new sibling, the Defense CAS Board other than give credence to and endorse the recommendation of the Section 809 Panel. The creation of the Defense CAS Board was statutorily derived so another statute will be necessary to abolish the Board. Its not something that the CAS Board can do on its own.

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