World's longest, most expensive shopping list

Monday - 6/11/2012, 2:00am EDT

Fact. Your (and my) Uncle Sam takes in more money than any person, place or thing on Earth.

Unc also spends more in a week than the Baltic republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia do in a matter of years.

Size, no matter what you've heard, counts.

Which is why Federal News Radio's special report on acquisition, Inside the World's Biggest Buyer: How $500 Billion Dollars Can Be Spent Better, which launches today, is going to be worth your time. And mine too. Because...

  • You may be one of the people at the IRS, Treasury or the Department of the Interior who collect most of the money.

  • Or you are part of a critical contracting and acquisition team that helps keep the government doing its job, without going broke in the process.

  • Or you may be a Defense Department, Homeland Security of Department of Veterans Affairs type who spends on, what we hope and pray, are worthy projects. From defending the troops (and the homeland) to taking care of wounded warriors.

  • You may be a contractor struggling to do business with the government, or an established outfit that is worried about budgets cuts, sequestration (whatever that is) or changing priorities. Or...

  • You may be in the middle. One of those people who depend on or allocate goods and services that come from outside of the government. Whether you are a Forest Ranger, an FBI agent or an astronomer with NASA, the equipment you need to do your job is critical. As are the people who get and maintain it.
So think big picture. Put yourself in it and enjoy this week's special series Inside the World's Biggest Buyer about a critical, but little-understood part of our government. Enjoy.

INSIDE THE WORLD'S BIGGEST BUYER PART 1: AGENCY ACQUISITION

Introduction: Inside the World's Biggest Buyer

Strategic sourcing: Pennywise but pound foolish?

Column: Quick wins show the benefits of DoD's Rapid Acquisition Program

Flexible contracts, customer service key to NIH's GWAC success


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

By Jack Moore

Babies under three months old typically don't respond to the famous peek-a-boo game. But now some scientists say it's evidence that newborn babies intuitively understand quantum mechanics. The science describes the behavior of electron and photon particles, which are distributed throughout space in a wave formation. In other words, according to Live Science, "particles are neither here nor there, but both places once (and everywhere in between). And you thought little baby was just being cute!


MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO

Inside the world's biggest buyer
The federal government takes more than $1 trillion per year to operate, with nearly half of its operating budget spent on the acquisition of goods and services. Congress, executive branch political leadership and career federal managers all agree federal acquisition needs to be a lot more efficient and effective. In the weeklong special series, Federal News Radio takes a look at acquisition from every perspective: agency, industry, workforce, oversight, and suspension and debarment.

GSA ridding schedules of deadwood
The General Services Administration is introducing the new Demand Based Model that will focus resources on the products and services agencies need and want the most. GSA plans on closing two schedules and parts of 14 others to new offerors. GSA also will cut vendors who do little or no business on the schedule to help reduce administrative costs.

OPM survey to help agencies make tough budget decisions
As budget pressures increase and agencies must make tough decisions on programs to keep or to cut, employee morale and opinion may be the wild card in the effort. So much so that the Office of Personnel Management changed its annual Employee Viewpoint Survey, said agency Director John Berry.

NWS could furlough 5,000 employees to cover budget shortfall
The National Weather Service said it will have to furlough as many as 5,000 employees for 13 days - unless Congress allows the agency to move around funds within its budget. NWS, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, faces a $35.5 million budget shortfall in funds for field operations, according to the union representing NWS employees.