After decades working with commercial customers, Deloitte’s Janet Foutty is taking on a new challenge as leader of the consulting company’s Arlington-based federal practice.

Compared to banks and retailers, the federal government is a very different place, where budgets are planned years in advance, technology adoption is relatively slow and talent can be more difficult to attract, Foutty acknowledged. But she said the government’s commitment to its mission gives her optimism.

Foutty said she sees opportunity, particularly in applying Deloitte’s commercial expertise in areas such as health care, retail and banking. For example, its financial experience can be useful to places such as the World Bank and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

While Deloitte is seeking to keep costs down, she said the company is also walking away from certain solicitations, particularly ones using the “lowest price, technically acceptable” model, which means the government isn’t necessarily seeking the best value but instead the cheapest bid that meets the solicitation’s requirements.

“The idea of acceptable is just not the way we think about the world,” Foutty said.

Northrop promises more international work

As U.S. defense spending declines, more and more contractors are seeking international work. Count Falls Church-based Northrop Grumman among them.

James F. Palmer , the company’s chief financial officer, said at a Cowen & Co. conference in New York last week that the company plans to expand its work abroad — even if it means buying foreign companies.

“One of the highlights of our 2013 results was growth in our international business,” Palmer said. “International growth is a focus for us as we look forward — whether it’s through organic growth or through acquisitions, such as our deal to acquire the Qantas defense services [unit] down in Australia.”

(The contractor’s Australian subsidiary agreed to buy Qantas Airways’s defense services business last year).

Palmer said that foreign sales opportunities today feel “more real and potentially nearer-term” than in the past, in part because a shrinking defense budget means the U.S. military may be relying more on allies. Allies then feel motivated to ensure they have interoperable equipment.

“The whole economic situation, as well as the maturity of our products and our country’s willingness to consider reforms to export control laws, all have become much more favorable to those opportunities,” Palmer said.

ManTech opens S.C. facility

Fairfax-based ManTech International said last week it has opened a facility in Charleston, S.C., to support the nearby Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command.

The company said the 12,000-square-foot facility includes a software lab, demonstration areas and conference rooms. ManTech will be working on database development, vehicle command and control systems analysis, 3-D modeling and network design, among other activities.

GAO denies Lanmark protest

The Government Accountability Office has rejected a protest filed by Vienna-based Lanmark Technology against a Marine Corps task order awarded to Stafford-based Corps Solutions for range and training area support services.

Corps Solutions had received better ratings but proposed a higher price of $16.9 million, compared to Lanmark’s $13.1 million. The contracting officer decided Corps Solutions’s proposal was “significantly superior,” warranting the higher price.

Lanmark argued the evaluations of both proposals were unreasonable, but the GAO disagreed.