Bumps in spending from the federal government have a way of drawing in the bad actors. There’s always someone in the crowd making more work for the government and drawing criticism for the industry. Earlier this month, Aaron Stephens pleaded guilty to rigging bids on military contracts for five years. He allegedly gave false impressions of competition, in order to drive government payments over $17.2 million. Stephens is looking at 10 years in prison and a potential fine for $1 million. While the industry benefits from contractors, the federal government has had to put the Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF) in place to combat antitrust crimes and other fraudulent schemes that impact the procurement process. Unfortunately, as we all remember from our school days, it’s always the one bad actor who makes it worse for the entire class.
Attorney General Merrick Garland stated that the DOJ’s Antitrust Division has been busier than it’s been in the last 30 years. Now is the time for your internal antitrust and legal training. Train your staff on how to spot potential violations, and if you see anything that could currently malign an employee (as well as the company), take action to mitigate and report. The Antitrust Division has a Leniency Policy that under certain conditions, can reword self-reporting.
Microsoft reports laying off over 10,000 employees. The tech giant says the current economic landscape was one driver. But they also call out the need to make adjustments following hiring sprees in the early pandemic days. Microsoft hasn’t clarified on where the 5% reductions in force will be made.
12,000 people get cut at Google in latest round of layoffs. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, told its staff in a memo that they’re facing a different economic reality. The company cut staff supporting experimental projects and doubled its AI staff. The layoff impacted 6% of its workforce.
“It is clear that Alphabet is not immune from the tough economic backdrop, with worries about a U.S. recession growing,” said Susannah Streeter, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
With their recent award supporting the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), Serco has plans to hire 120 employees in year one of the contract, growing the team to nearly 200 employees by the second year. Serco has been supporting the F-35 Program for many years with other contracts, providing process improvement, technical and cost analysis support for F-35 production, sustainment, and affordability offices.
“Serco is excited and honored to have the opportunity to support the F-35 program and its Joint Program Office,” said Tom Watson, Serco Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer. “The delivery and sustainment of this next generation strike fighter and its cutting-edge technologies are relied on by the United States and our allies. We look forward to the opportunity to support this important mission and capability.”
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Opportunity to Watch
Stratolaunch LLC and Purdue University have established a partnership dedicated to accelerating the time required to design, build, test, and fly hypersonic vehicles. Stratolaunch will establish the Stratolaunch Advanced Programs Office at the Convergence Center in Purdue’s Discovery Park District in West Lafayette, Indiana to ensure the goals of their collaboration will be rapidly achieved. The office will be led by an experienced advanced design director with support staff that will offer opportunities for student internships.
Stratolaunch recently funded a one-year collaborative research project with four Purdue faculty experts and their graduate students to explore and establish a foundation of best-in-class computational and experimental capabilities, which can be used to create the most comprehensive suite of flight-validated air vehicle design optimization tools.
“I’m excited for our partnership with Purdue because of the positive implications it has for streamlining our nation’s hypersonic design capabilities,” said Dr. Zachary Krevor, CEO and president at Stratolaunch. “Reducing development and test timelines of hypersonic vehicles is paramount to achieving critical leap-ahead technologies.”