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Oct 29, 2009



Clinton and Gingrich's so called "acquistion reform" of the '90s have resulted in the biggest boon to contractors of all time. COTS or the so called "commercial off-the-shelf" provisions have resulted in nothing but pure taxpayer rape while changing the miliary contracting approach from paying profit only for products to paying for process has resulted in development cycles exploding in both cost and time. Don't break your arm patting yourselves on the back, POGO. I've been in the business 20 years and all I've seen is continuous decline in the defense industry. Maybe if you'd pull your head out of whatever orifice it's in, you'd see the same thing.

By the way, what's your official position on the $1.5 billion Boeing flushed down the toilet on the C-130 AMP program after winning by buying a government official? Another great result of your "acquisition reform?" Before that, Boeing would have only made a profit if they'd won the production phase of the program. As it is, they made $150 million and we, the taxpayers you're supposed to be watching out for, got nothing. Same thing happened with Crusader. B-2 - $34 billion in development - 20 airplanes. Nice. F-22 - $68 billion in development - 180 airplanes. Yeah things are just friggen great.


My experience - 33 years in DoD contracting - Attained Certified Professional Contracts Manager (CPCM) in 1993

During the Clinton years, Acquisition Reform resulted in the Federal Acquisition Reform Act and the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act. Contracting and Acquisition professionals were handed the keys to Uncle Sugar's fast car...buying became easier because the purpose of rewriting the procurement regulations was to make it easier to do business with the Government and to make sure that contractors and the Government were a 'team'. Instead of a commercial item being "substantial quantities being sold to the general public", we got 'if it starts out military and COULD be used by the public, then it can be bought under FAR Part 12'--is it run on the same production line as other commercial products? Well, contractors tell the buyer that they don't have to get certified cost/pricing data from subcontractors because gee whiz, that tank engine is being purchased from the same company who makes tractor engines. Gosh, doesn't that mean that the engine is commercial??? And what about the MRAPs? How commercial are those vehicles?

Then, enter into the picture, vice-president Al Gore's National performance review. Suddenly, agencies were looking at who was 'value added'. Contract pricers were NOT value added nor were Production specialists. At my agency, we were all converted to buyers!!! Turned out to be great for me but now, in 2009, the skill of contract pricing is sorely needed.

Meanwhile, in the DoD's quest to "grow" management, they are so focused on education (let's pay for master's degrees for every 23 year old who hits the doors) that management is disenfranchising the 'old dogs' with practical knowledge.

Unfortunately, I can see the writing on the wall...the solution that the Administration will come up with is more education!!! Our mid-level managers do not have a sound base in how to write a good contract for the Government. Most of them do not know what's entailed in closing out a contract....that's important because if one has not gone through the grief of closing out (or defective pricing) a crappy contract, one cannot appreciate the need to CLIN the contract appropriately, document the contract, etc.

While there are increasing "contract file reviews", those reviews are at the organizational level. There are no real consequences for an individual buyer for sloppy work.

This new rule that all contracts over so much value must go on a "multiple award IDIQ", yikes. Since so much of management is 'afraid' to make a decision, any decision....I've been trying to get my contracting people to make an award using FORSCOM's FIRST contract since last November 24th!!!! Even though it's not supposed to be a source selection, management is too afraid of getting a bum contractor that the buy has become a 'source selection wannabe' with a source selection plan, criteria, etc.

Instead of improving the Defense Acquisition workforce, DAWIA only gave management a way to get rid of some of the best source of acquisition talent, the upward mobility programs.

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