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Jul 24, 2008


Scott Amey


IDIQs might have been good idea in theory, but, in reality, they have been prone to abuse. First, IDIQ award are not contracts for specific work. Rather, they are agreements by the government to award an unspecified amount of future work to approved contractors - the federal acquisition equivalent of a hunting license. These used to be called qualified products lists, which were always frowned upon prior to “acquisition reform” because they necessarily limited competition for work to approved vendors. Requirements for competition on such awards are extremely weak, effectively allowing billions of dollars worth of noncompetitive contracting. Section 803 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 (Pub. L. 107-107) has tried to make the process more competitive, but the civilian agencies (and even DOD) have been slow to follow. Second, the process allows agencies to steer contracts to any favorites on the approved list and therefore the best deals might be missed. Third, the IDIQ contract vehicle has exploded through the years and less risky contracting types should be looked at to better protect the public and provide greater transparency. We should urge Congress and the White House to post all contracts, task/delivery orders, grants and other financial assistance, and federal lease agreements online so that the public has a real sense of federal spending.


I always viewed IDIQ contracts as being good for contractor competition and giving the government more options. Can you explain your view of IDIQs as being negative please?

IDIQs enable the government to select a limited pool of contractors (following an open competition) who will further bid on each task order. The pool is typically picked based on a mixture of ability and price, and then best bids in the final task order tend to be based on price (as all contractors *should* be equally capable).


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