Continuation from Part 1: What to Expect in 2017. A New Era Begins.
The focus of our previous post was on 3 major subjects:
1 – Will an extremely divided congress come together with a new administration, set aside their differences, and do their job as representatives of the American people rather than their respective parties?
2 – Donald Trump and the Republican agenda bullet points. What were the main areas of focus during Trump’s campaign? And what has he done so far to follow through on those promises?
3 – Ultimately, what will this all mean for changes in federal government programs? Where will there be cuts in spending, and where will additional money be allocated?
Beginning with the first subject, it’s pretty clear that Democratic and Republican members of congress have decided to represent their respective parties above the people. And the tension has only gotten worse between the two sides. Democrats haven’t accepted Trump as President of the United States, and have made it their mission to delegitimize his election to office for a variety of reasons (some certainly deserve attention). Whether it be the investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia during the election process, or a series of accusations including racism, sexism, bigotry, climate change denial, nationalism, fascism, you name it. A vicious campaign is being led by the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters in which they are seeking the ultimate impeachment of Trump. In addition to this, Democrats have protested against the confirmation of Trump cabinet appointees including Jeff Sessions, Rex Tillerson, Betsy Devos, Ben Carson, and Scott Pruitt, as well as the highly-publicized nomination of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
On the other side of the isle, Trump and the Republican party have done their best within the first three months of house and senate majority to try and pass every policy initiative they have been holding in their pockets for the past 8 years during the Obama administration. Everything from the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, to Immigration reform, to the Keystone Pipeline, to the withdrawal from TPP and attack on NAFTA, to the re-evaluation of NATO membership, to energy policy and the re-emergence of coal mining, to foreign relations with China, Russia, Syria, and North Korea, and the list goes on and on. Perhaps they were a bit overambitious for the first few months. With such a hard, aggressive line on so many sensitive issues, it has left the American public a bit nervous and weary of what appears to be a government in total disarray.
For those who have seen the pendulum swing back and forth over the years through different leadership, ideological shifts, social movements, and times of war and peace, this is quite clearly a movement that has repeated itself throughout history. In an article by Lily Rothman in the November issue of Time Magazine, she says, “Such a change was built into the system. The men privy to the deliberations that first placed Thomas Jefferson in the White House would have remembered living under monarchy, a form of government that is defined by a straight line, that of heredity. The new democracy that they had built, with every protection against dynasty that they could think up, was meant to be different. And in the hundreds of years since, that process has generally continued, with political parties growing, dying and handing the reins to one another. That’s how a pendulum works: All along, as the mass goes as far as it can in one direction—even if that direction is a good direction—the energy is growing that could one day pull it to the other side.” (Full article HERE).
Setting aside the emotions and the fierce rhetoric of it all, what does it all mean for the federal contracting landscape? What policies have been enacted and people put in powerful positions that will cause change in spending behavior? Here are some events that have occurred that are worth noting:
- Secretary of Defense James Mattis has the rare opportunity for DOD reform. As Stan Soloway states in his article in Washington Technology: “… the secretary’s directive comes early in an administration that has already made clear its willingness to rapidly and aggressively challenge a range of orthodoxies. While some of those challenges have generated considerable debate, Mattis knows he can count on, and will need, strong support from above, if and when he opts to pursue forward-leaning reforms that really disrupt traditional models.” (Read Full WT article HERE)
- Trump proposes $54 billion increase in defense spending. An excerpt from a February article in FCW says, “A preliminary “budget blueprint” from the White House adds $54 billion to current levels of defense spending for a projected military budget of $603 billion for fiscal year 2017. Civilian agencies will see a $54 billion cut under the plan, “the largest proposed reduction since the early years of the Reagan administration,” budget director Mick Mulvaney said a Feb. 27 White House press briefing. (See article in FCW HERE, and additional write up in Washington Business Journal HERE)
- “… Trump’s administration has proposed cutting $1.23 billion this fiscal year from research funded by the National Institutes of Health, according to a White House document sent to congressional appropriators.” Among the cuts in this realm are PEPFAR (a worldwide initiative to help people with HIV and AIDS), the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation for biology, information science and engineering, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. (See full article in Bloomberg HERE)
- Science Applications International Corp. CEO Tony Moraco told analysts last month, “President Donald Trump’s administration is ushering in a ‘slightly more favorable business environment for the private sector,’” (Read Full Washington Business Journal article HERE)
- In early March, Trump stated once again that “he’ll lead the biggest U.S. Navy build-up since the Reagan administration… Trump vowed to build the 350-ship fleet Republican defense hawks have long sought and reverse decades of fleet contraction which has yielded today’s battle force of 272 ships.” (See full Navy Times article HERE)
- Foreign conflict on the rise. Earlier this month, Trump ordered missile strikes on Syria in response to a highly publicized chemical weapon attack on civilians (read more HERE), US forces in Afghanistan struck an Islamic State tunnel complex in Afghanistan with a bomb known as MOAB (read more HERE), and Pence warns North Korea that the US will not hesitate to use military force if necessary (read more HERE).
- Just this week, the US Air Force sent a handful of F-35 jets to Europe. “As we and our joint F-35 partners bring this aircraft into our inventories, it’s important that we train together to integrate into a seamless team capable of defending the sovereignty of allied nations,” Gen. Tod D. Wolters, commander of US Air Forces in Europe, said in a statement. (See full write up on CNN HERE) Notably after Lockheed chief executive Marillyn Hewson recently said this about Trump’s involvement in the deal for 90 F-35 aircraft “We were in discussions … and he helped accelerate that along, and I think he put a sharper focus on price and how we would drive the price down,” Hewson told reporters at a Lockheed media event in Arlington, Va. “So he absolutely did contribute to us getting to closure on that.” (Full article from The Hill HERE)
Needless to say, circumstances seem to be changing on a weekly and even daily basis as this new administration takes hold, and new events around the world unfold. Follow our Prime Insights blog series as JAMIS Software Corporation and our industry partners help federal contractors navigate this dynamic landscape. And to learn more about how JAMIS can help you manage the full government contract lifecycle with a world class ERP system, read more HERE.