GovCon March Madness: FY19 Scouting Reports

FY2018 wasn’t a slam-dunk, but it did end with a rebound as the 115th Congress passed the most on-time spending bills in two decades right before the start of FY2019. A few were optimistic enough to think that the then-lame-duck Congress would have enough to muster the last few spending bills to finish funding the remaining quarter of the Federal Government, but all we got were a few Continuing Resolutions (CR) and the longest [partial] Federal Government shutdown ever. The Government Contracting Industry finally received a small alley-oop reprieve from the broken budget process on February 15, when Congress passed a multi-billion-dollar spending package into law avoiding shutting down a quarter of the Federal Government - again.

One of the most frustrating parts of Government Contracting is the uncertainty of what a new fiscal year brings. Most of our jobs are spent speculating, wondering, and waiting for the Administration and Congress to make decisions on high that impact every element of our Industry. And that’s how it’s always been. But in recent years, with the influx of pseudo-experts on social media platforms, conflicting information is running amuck.

But good prognosticating needs to be a combination of this type of hearsay with actual data. And that’s where we come in. We have been listening to Government decision makers and those with their hands on the Programs. We have been tracking the data, the publicized facts and listening attentively to all sides. We did this so that we can give you, the GovCon Business Development Professional, a GovCon FY19 Scouting Report [aka ]Cheat Sheet to lessen the blow of those dreaded pipeline meetings that await you in spring months - and maybe equip you with a solid GovCon bracket with winning opportunities.


According to the Demand Progress Education Fund, Discretionary Appropriations spending is up 10% over the last decade, when adjusted for inflation. Biggest winners are historically Homeland Security (+15.8%), State & Foreign Ops (+23.7%), and Defense (+16%); and the biggest losers have historically been Financial Services & General Government (-10.3%), CJS (-7.8%), and Legislative Branch (-7%).

And FY19 is shaping up to be no different.

To put FY19 into financial context - a total of $1.23T has been officially allocated to the 12 Appropriations Committees.

Here are the amounts from least to greatest (by Committee): Legislative Branch ($4.8B), Agriculture ($23B), Financial Services ($23B), Interior & Environment ($35.6B), Energy & Water ($44.6B), State & Foreign Ops ($46.2B), Homeland Security ($49.4B), Commerce & Science & Justice ($64.1B), Transportation & HUD ($71.1B), Military Construction & VA ($97.1B), Labor & HHS & Education ($178.1B), Defense ($606.5B).

Source: First Branch Forecast

Source: First Branch Forecast

To make matters more interesting, outside of expected Q4 FY spending sprees, the Federal Government discretionary spending peaks during the months of March and April every year. This influx makes March Madness more than college basketball…

In the spirit of the season, The Pulse will release four GovCon Scouting Reports to help you get a bid into the big dance. Each scouting report highlights the pertinent stats of our various Federal Agency “Players” as well as a budget breakdown of their initiatives. With these reports you can be confident taking place in center court to tip-off your sales goals in your favor.

The Pulse of GovCon