8:56 am, July 12, 2014

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  • Take away the conflicts of interest first especially from Capitol Hill and Pentagon
    Honest Broker
    (1) Take the politicians out of the loop or its back to business as usual of taking care of their buddies. (2) Take away the post Govt job bribes away from the contractors, so retiring senior folks don't try to influence the acquisition decisions. (3) Put credit cards back in hands of project leads, and then publicly prosecute offenders with real jail time and fines. (4) Insource talented labor, 2011 Bad Business report from POGO.ORG showed an average of 1.83 times savings over contracting services out. The Govt should always outsource for products to help grow our manufacturing, but they should have kept the services work inhouse so they could make smart decisions about what to buy. Conflicts of interest will always cloud judgement, so they should be priority one.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Most Acquisition Managers DO Think for Themselves!
    CSForest
    Acquisition Managers don't work in a bubble. We can & do think for ourselves all the time; we just aren't always allowed to EXECUTE the way we think things should done. Consider that contracting officers are not techincal, and technical folks are not savvy about contracts. At my command, my job is to try to bridge that gap, as a technical person working acquisition. But ultimately, it is the contracting community who has the LEGAL responsibility for managing a technical contract; and it's their butts on the line when they don't follow some law or regulation. So, what I see happen all the time (including with BBP 1.0) is: Mr. Kendall issues a directive memo/regulation. The Service Acquisition Executives (SAEs), aka ASN RDA, try to interpret the new regulation & issue "guidance" (or write their own Service regulation/memo); and their interepretation (in my personal experience) is they are typically more retrictive (not less), even when they could be less restrictive. The local command then takes the original OSD-level policy/guidance, along with the Service-level policy/guidance, and they do their own interpretations & develop guidance and processes/business rules that we actually execute against. This last step is ALWAYS more restrictive than anything issued by OSD or the SAE, especially when it's regarding contracts processes. Toss in the fact that we have to comply not only with DoD 5000 but for contracts we also have to comply with FAR/DFAR & Service "Acquisition Regulations" (aka NMCAR), and us Acquisiiton Managers are effectively not allowed to think for ourselves ... Most of the time, it's not worth the time or effort needed to get permission to do things differently. I weigh that decision almost every day in my job ... do we "conform" & get it done quickly, or do we "fight it" to do it most efficiently/effectively? To make "fighting it" worth it means the more efficient/effective manner (that doesn't conform to local policy) has to have a savings in time/money/resources sufficient enough to warrant the significant extra time it will take to get approval (months & months typically), and also have to be worth burning a few bridges along the way sometimes too ... All the while, you'll also have to be defending your budget & restructuring because your budget was hit because you didn't execute the contract as scheduled! Conforming may not be ideal, but frequently it likely means being able to get the job done (contract awarded) in a reasonable timeframe; even if the end result isn't as efficient/effective. Sometimes, having a contract awarded is better than not having it awarded at all; or having it awarded 2 years late because you "fought" the system. Consider that we have hundreds, if not thousands of people above us (in some form fashion or another) telling us what we can or cannot do in order to comply with some law/regulation or another. Trying to fix that will take more than just fixing DoD 5000 ... FAR/DFAR/NCMAR also need fixing.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • My hat is off to Contracting Officers trying to do it right
    Honest Broker
    I served as the Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR) to help determine the best proposal based on technical merit and price. We were pretty successful at getting out contracts in a reasonable amount of time, but the politicians had to change to rules so they and their buddies could get rich. One major shift was dropping the mandate for Govt employees to wait for 2 years before working for one of our contractors and that's when it all went downhill. I actually had a Department Head trying to force us to take on $9M from another agency with no funding to pay for our time and the work had no benefit for our organization. In 6-8 months, that Dept Head was working for that company. What really bothers me is that we changed from mandated labor rate tables to cost plus fixed fee, so now the contractor can pay 6-figures to these unscrupulous individuals. In 2011 POGO.ORG subpoenaed the US Govt for both civil servant salaries and benefits along with awarded contract rates, so they could see if the outsourcing did bring costs down. They found that even with a life time of civil service benefits, it was on average 1.83 times cheaper and in high tech jobs up to 5 times. I can empathize with you trying to follow the rules to have open and fair competition because that is exactly opposite of what the folks want up on Capitol Hill.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }