DoD wants vendor input on unnecessary costs

Tuesday - 2/22/2011, 4:55pm EST

By Jared Serbu
Reporter
Federal News Radio

The Pentagon is asking its vendors to help it narrow down unnecessary and costly parts of the acquisition process as it seeks to reform and streamline the way it buys goods and services.

A notice published in last Thursday's Federal Register asks contractors to draw on their experiences working with DoD to identify practices, policies or regulations that increase costs to industry - and consequently the government - but don't add value to a contract.

Vendors provided DoD with a list of 500 suggestions for reducing "non-value-added costs" last summer, and the department is now looking to refine the lessons it took from those suggestions. Many of them were incorporated into a September memo issued by Ashton Carter, undersecretary for Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics, laying out DoD's Better Buying Power initiative, the notice said.

The invitation for suggestions warns industry, however, that not all regulations can be reasonably seen as non-value-added. Many of the laws and regulations governing DoD acquisitions represent "persistent American values," the memo stated.

"It is not reasonable to count all costs associated with core laws governing defense acquisition as non-value added, but data on the costs of technical and administrative decisions within the statutory framework and on particular aspects of the laws would help the efficiency Initiative move forward," the notice stated.

The notice asks for comments to be submitted by March 31. It assures vendors that any proprietary information they submit as part of the request will be used only in DoD's internal policy deliberations, and will be treated as exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests.

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