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Oct 15, 2012

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Comments

Dfens

When your contracting system does not work, then pretending like "competing" a contract will improve things is nothing but a joke on top of a joke. Proposals are nothing but a pack of lies. Sure, you can get 3 or 4 or 10 proposals if you want. The proposals that lose will be the proposals that tell the truth. So what have you gained by all the effort to compete the contract? All you've done is rewarded the best liar. Sure, slap yourselves on the back for that, you've really done us all a favor.

The Joint Strike Fighter was competitively bid. One airplane wouldn't do a vertical take-off, despite years of assurances it would. The "winner" is just a piece of crap. How much money did that save us? None. The program continues to careen out of control. Aerial Common Sensor program was competitively bid. One company bid a foreign built airplane that was half big enough to do the job, the other company bid an American built plane that was one quarter big enough. Thanks for making sure we got to spend a bunch of money evaluating those proposals.

Competitively bidding for a pig in a poke is stupid. All it really amounts to is smoke and mirrors to hide the bigger problem. Our government should never pay a for-profit company for promises. It is an obvious conflict of interest. The more promises the government pays for, the more lies it receives. The government should only pay for-profit companies for delivered goods. All development expenses should either be covered by the for-profit companies themselves, or the development should be performed by government design bureaus such as NASA, the Air Force, and the Navy all at one time had. You remember those times, back when NASA was sending men to the Moon, the Air Force was designing aircraft to break the sound barrier, and the Navy had 500+ formidable ships, not 250 tin cans floating in the water.

Scott Amey

Thank you Govconmaven and Carly! I have heard about the bridge contracts issue, but stalling to use urgent and compelling is a new one. Thanks for the comment and the FOIA request tip.

On the issue of hourly rates paid to IT specialists - is that the hourly rate paid to the contractor, which would be a fully burdened rate, or is that the hourly rate paid to the contract employee? I would love to hear more on that subject (scott@pogo.org). We have an interest in this subject, if you have time to talk:

http://www.pogo.org/pogo-files/reports/contract-oversight/bad-business/co-gp-20110913.html

carly

I am a retired contracting officer who worked for several agencies. One tactic that everyone needs to be aware of that agencies use with frequency is "urgent and compelling" and this is done to avoid competition. The VA used it by delaying the development of procurement requirements and then when the deadline of the current contract was about to expire, guess what, urgent and compelling basis to award a new contract to the VA's favorite vendor. A tactic used by the Forest Service is to also allow contracts to get to the end date and then extend the current contracts by another year, which again avoids competition and the favorites are kept. Many of these actions remain "hidden" that is not posted on FedBizOps so vendors are unaware these activities are happening. As another note, I know that when I worked at the Forest Service, we were paying hourly rates for IT specialists that exceeded the hourly rates we paid for VA doctors. There aren't enough IG's to detect this fraud waste and abuse. I hardly met an IG in 30 years.

GovConMaven

Good job Scott.

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