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Winning the Battle without Losing the War: Partner Milt Johns on Bid Protests

September 25, 2017

FH+H Partner Milt Johns explored key issues an individual should consider when filing a bid protest during his GOVCON University Lunch Series on Sept.  21 (see full recording here).

“Why protest?”  is the most important question to consider, according to Mr. Johns.

“We probably file one out of every three potential protests that are presented to us by clients,” Mr. Johns said. “The other two-thirds of the time, frankly, we’re focusing on that ‘Why not file?’ issue. What is going to be in the client’s best interest? Sometimes the answer is you’re better off not protesting. We work through those issues with our clients to come to the best decision.”

Mr. Johns also discussed if an individual or business can file a protest without the help of a lawyer.

“The answer is yes, [but] I always say I wouldn’t recommend pulling your own tooth,” Mr. Johns said. “Could you do it? Sure, if you had a handful of aspirin … and a pair of pliers, you could extract a bad tooth. But you probably don’t want to do that.”

Beyond gaining the expertise of a lawyer, Mr. Johns explained working with a law firm to file a bid protest is necessary to access procurement documents.

“Even if you have an in-house attorney … they will not be admitted to the protective order,” Mr. Johns said. “Those documents can’t be shared with the principals.”

To learn about other issues to consider when filing a bid protest, watch Mr. Johns’ full presentation

FH+H Hosts Veteran Entrepreneurs for Pitch Competition and Mentoring

September 19, 2017

FirstWave, Bunker Labs, and Capitol Post bring veteran-owned start-ups and investors to The Forge at FH+H.

FH+H hosted more than one hundred veteran entrepreneurs and investors at the FH+H Forge for the FirstWave Pitch Competition on Friday, September 15.  The event was run by Bunker Labs and Capitol Post and sponsored by FirstWave.

The event included business pitches from five veteran-owned start-up companies: True Made Foods, Armaments Research Company, re:3D, Tokken, and ORCA. Outside judges included David Jones, Bull City Ventures; Ben Britt, Route 66 Ventures; Steven Witt, DataTribe; Scott Campbell; Wes Blackwell, Angel Investor; Doug Doan, Hivers & Strivers; and Kay Parry, Square 1 Bank.

Winning first place and a prize of $10,000 was Samantha Snabes, cofounder of re:3D Inc., which is a company that aims to provide large-format 3D printing at an affordable price.

FirstWave is comprised of service academy graduates who are also executives and professionals with a superior track record of career progression and good citizenship. Each year, FirstWave members gather for a leadership weekend to provide education and inspiration on three leadership themes of business, community, and military service. The weekend also leverages FirstWave member networks, resources, and energies to help a non-profit organization that supports military members or their families. For 2017, FirstWave chose to work with Bunker Labs and Capitol Post.

FH+H is proud to have hosted FirstWave, Bunker Labs, and Capitol Post and join them in supporting veteran entrepreneurs.

See the FH+H FirstWave Pitch Competition album for pictures of the event.

Partner Milt Johns Explains How to Certify as a Veteran-Owned Business

September 18, 2017

Partner Milt Johns discussed the Veteran Business Certification Process during a webinar on Sept. 18 as part of a government contracting video series.

Mr. Johns explained the history and laws surrounding the process, requirements and eligibility for certification, and issues businesses may face when certifying.

View a recording of the webinar here.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Marks Official Open of New FH+H Headquarters

September 11, 2017

FH+H celebrated our headquarters' relocation to Tysons, VA, as well as the opening of Chisel, the DC area's first coworking space for lawyers, during an Open House and Ribbon Cutting event on Sept. 7.

The newly finished office, located at 1751 Pinnacle Dr. Suite 1000 in Tysons, is 10,500 square feet with 23 private offices, 32 desks, a quiet room, five conference rooms, four telephone booths, and more. The new workspace also includes The Forge, a sizable event space and kitchen/bar area.

“We are very excited about the new Tysons office, in part because it gives us the space and resources to better meet client needs,”FH+H Managing Partner Tom Craig said. “It also aids in our efforts of attracting and recruiting the top attorneys in the DC area.”

See the FH+H Open House Facebook album for pictures of the event, and go to our events page to register for upcoming events. 


Partner Rich Gross Accepts General Counsel Position at Janus Global Operations, LLC

September 01, 2017

FH+H Partner Rich Gross recently accepted the position of General Counsel at Janus Global Operations, LLC, an international stability operations company located in Lenior City, Tennessee.

"The new position was an incredible opportunity, with a chance for my wife and me to both be closer to our families, but the decision was made difficult by the great team I'm leaving behind at FH+H,” Mr. Gross said. “This is an amazing law firm, and that made the decision tough. I'm going to miss it!"

JGO Chief Executive Officer Matt Kaye said Mr. Gross is a great addition to the company's management team because of his previous “success in implementing strategic plans at the highest levels of business and government.”

“Our work is carried out globally in some of the world’s most difficult environments and situations,” Kaye said in a press release. “These responsibilities require a … general counsel of exceptional ability … We’re very pleased to have [Mr. Gross] join us.”

FH+H wishes Mr. Gross success in his next venture.

Partner Dave Jonas Leads Conversation On Nuclear Non-proliferation Law

August 31, 2017

FH+H Partner Dave Jonas highlighted key issues surrounding nuclear non-proliferation law during his Outlooks on the Law Luncheon on Aug. 30 in The Forge, our firm's event space.

Mr. Jonas has extensive experience in national security issues and is recognized as one of a handful of experts worldwide on nuclear non-proliferation law.

"Nuclear non-proliferation law is the means used to stop or limit proliferation by use of law, treaties, export controls, international organizations, and other non-military measures. Counter-proliferation, on the other hand, is using military force to stop proliferation," Mr. Jonas said. "Israel has been active in this regard, bombing Iraq's Osirak reactor in 1981 and Syria's Al Kibar reactor in 2007. It can be very effective, except that states generally don't appreciate being bombed."

During the discussion, Mr. Jonas cited the Pressler Amendment as a law that intended to stop proliferation. The amendment was sponsored by former U.S. Senator Larry Pressler, who attended the lunch with Mr. Jonas, and it focused on reducing the risk that Pakistan would possess nuclear devices.

To read more about Mr. Jonas' background in nuclear non-proliferation law, read his bio here.

Counsel Phillip Carter Publishes Essay in Foreign Affairs Magazine

August 24, 2017

FH+H Counsel Phillip Carter wrote an essay titled "What America Owes Its Veterans" for the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs, a magazine covering foreign policy, economics, and global affairs.

Read the excerpt below, or find the full article here.


What America Owes Its Veterans
A Better System of Care and Support
By Phillip Carter - Foreign Affairs 

Each year, the U.S. military recruits some 175,000 young Americans. At the heart of its pitch is a sacred promise to take care of those who serve — what President Abraham Lincoln described in his second inaugural address as the national duty “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.” Today, this promise is enshrined in the ethics of each service: members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard pledge to never leave a fallen comrade behind. After their service, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) works to fulfill this same promise on behalf of a grateful nation, enabled by a budget larger than those of the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the entire U.S. intelligence community combined.

Most national security discussions focus on strategy or policy. To the extent that ways and means get considered at all, the talk tends to center on weapons systems, budgets, bases, and buildings. These matter, but people matter, too. Service members are an irreplaceable component of U.S. national security. And because the United States relies on an all-volunteer force, how the country treats its troops during and after their service matters when it comes to sustaining this critical component of national strength.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq saw incredible advances in body armor, battlefield medicine, and medical evacuation, all of which dramatically improved the likelihood that soldiers would survive injuries. Deaths from nonbattlefield injuries and illnesses, historically far more deadly than combat, have also fallen greatly, thanks to aggressive public health efforts and fitness requirements for troops. In this respect, the United States is keeping its most sacred pledge to those it sends into harm’s way: to bring them home. 

End excerpt. Read the full article here

Senior Counsel Dean Popps Joins Ucore Advisory Board

August 21, 2017

FH+H Senior Counsel Dean Popps recently joined the Ucore Rare Metals Inc. Advisory Board.

Mr. Popps' has served as the U.S. Army’s top procurement official as the Service Acquisition Executive (SAE) and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (Acting).

“Dean brings prodigious experience, business and government acumen to Ucore,” Ucore President and CEO Jim McKenzie said in a press release. “We look forward to implementing Dean’s insights into major customer development, supply chain architecture, strategic product-positioning and public awareness.”

Steven Izatt, President and CEO of IBC Advanced Technologies and member of Ucore Advisory Board, said Mr. Popps’ “vision and insight” will be beneficial to the team.

“Dean’s extensive experience in planning, procurement and distribution of strategic materials to government and industry fits exceptionally well with our positioning as a preferred domestic supplier of metals critically important to the competitive future of the US,” Izatt said.

Mr. Popps is also a board or advisory member of Eutelsat America Corporation, Millennium Corporation, and the Strategic Materials Advisory Council, and he has previously concluded successful director's positions with IAP World Services, Global Integrated Security Services United States, and Hunter Defense Technologies.

Partner Milt Johns Aids Small Business in Federal Claims Court Bid Protest

August 21, 2017

Partner Milt Johns, on behalf of  GOV Services Inc., a small, disadvantaged business filed a bid protest suit in the Court of Federal Claims  on Aug. 15. The suit alleges the National Institutes of Health (NIH) fabricated an emergency situation in order to improperly award janitorial services contracts to a corporation on a sole-source basis.

The NIH said it hired Akima Support Operations LLC on a sole-source basis to avoid a gap in service after another janitorial services company suddenly walked off the job. GOV Services argued the other company had been forced off the job by NIH, and thus the emergency was NIH’s own creation.

In just one of several disputes related to this issue, the Government Accountability Office found the NIH had wrongly delayed taking corrective action and should reimburse GOV Services for the costs of its initial protest at the GAO.

GOV Services is now asking the Court of Federal Claims for an order that it is entitled to bid for the disputed work under the Small Business Administration’s section 8(a) regulations.

 “Our client simply wants a level playing field and an ability to compete for work according to fairly implemented procedures and regulations,” Mr. Johns said.



Partner Rich Gross Discusses the AUMF Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee

July 25, 2017

FH+H Partner Rich Gross testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 26 regarding the authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against terrorists.

Mr. Gross said he hoped to offer a military legal practitioner's view on the AUMF to the committee.

"I continue to believe the 2001 AUMF contains adequate legal authority for the use of military force against [ISIS] ... I recognize, however, that reasonable minds disagree on this point, with some voicing criticism of the decision to rely on the 2001 AUMF as the domestic legal authority to conduct military operations against ISIS."

He continued to say he believes "it would be prudent for Congress to enact a new AUMF to specifically address the threat of ISIS and other terrorist groups, for a variety of reasons."

To learn more about Mr. Gross' opinion on the AUMF, view his testimony here by skipping to the 45 minute mark, or read his full statement here.

Other witnesses included former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Mathhew Olson, and their testimonies can also be found on the Foreign Affairs Committee's website.

Above photo via the Foreign Affairs Committee's video of the hearing.