Associations representing federal contractors in the defense, aerospace, and professional services sectors are pressing for an end to the ongoing government shutdown and providing resources to assist affected members.
As shutdowns of the federal government have become more common, associations representing federal contractors have grown better prepared to support their members with each new occurrence.
Cases in point in the current partial shutdown, now entering its third week: The National Contract Management Association, the National Defense Industrial Association, the Aerospace Industries Association, and the Professional Services Council are highlighting the impact on their sectors.
AIA President and CEO Eric Fanning, for example, said the shutdown could do long-term damage to important aerospace industry work.
“Essential science, space exploration, and air traffic control modernization work is being delayed, decreasing industry’s ability to invest in our nation’s future,” he said last month in a news release. “This is no way to run a business—or a government.”
Meanwhile, as they pressure Congress and the administration to reopen shuttered agencies, NCMA, NDIA, PSC, and other groups are offering resources including frequent updates, webinars, and detailed contingency plans to help affected companies survive the shutdown and navigate a more divisive and uncertain political environment.
“There is a tiredness from our members in preparing for and dealing with the shutdowns,” PSC Vice President and Senior Counsel Alan Chvotkin told Federal News Network in late December. “How many times can you say be careful, we might have a problem?”
The ripple effects reach beyond the companies that federal agencies contract with directly, Kraig Conrad, NCMA’s CEO, noted in comments to Government Executive this week.
“Many on the contractor side may have clarity, but they have a concern because they have subcontractors,” Conrad said. “If you’re a small contractor, this could be a big deal because you may not have the resources and working capital to survive. So there’s even less clarity.”
In a “shutdown survival guide” listed on NCMA’s resources page, Alba Aleman, CEO of the IT and business services contractor Citizant, Inc., offers five tips for surviving the shutdown, including taking care of employees and customers until normal operations are restored.
“Dig deep into your well of generosity and act in alignment with your business values,” Aleman wrote. “No matter what you are hearing on the news, please remember that there are NO WINNERS during a government shutdown, but if we all do our own part and carry our own share of the responsibility… it lightens the load and protects everyone’s ability to continue to serve.”