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Acquisition Reform ― It’s Soylent Green!

In the 1973 futuristic mystery thriller Soylent Green there’s an exchange between Detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) and Hatcher (Brock Peters):   Det. Thorn: Ocean's dying, plankton's dying . . . it's people. Soylent Green is made out of people. They're making our food out of people. Next thing they'll be breeding us like cattle for food. You've gotta tell them. You've gotta tell them!   Hatcher: I promise, Tiger. I promise. I'll tell the Exchange.   Det. Thorn: Y

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Is “Neutral” Neutral?

BLUF: No. Or, just maybe, it depends. [For those of you who are unfamiliar with BLUF, it stands for “Bottom Line Up Front”. If you’re required to give presentations to high ranking officials on a repetitive basis, you learn their foibles. Some will listen patiently to your entire presentation, no matter how tedious. Others always jump to the Conclusion slide, just so they’ll know what’s coming. For the latter, we would put the conclusion on the first slide after the title slide to save ti

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Experience is the teacher of all things.

Experience is the teacher of all things. ― Julius Caesar, Commentarii de Bello Civili (Commentaries on the Civil War), (c. 52 B.C.). In a previous Blog, I said: What am I suggesting by that? In acquisitions exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold past performance shall be evaluated, unless waived by the contracting officer. (FAR 15.304( c )(3). In addition to, and separate from, past performance the source selection should evaluate “Experience.” Past performance deals with how

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Laxity in Lexicography

In acquisition we have a tendency to use a number of “nonexistent" words and terms. Well, that might be overstating the issue somewhat, so let’s try again. In acquisition we have a tendency to use a number of terms that are not defined in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), but are in the FAR. I have no particular problem with that. However, I do have a wee bit of a problem when people in our business use terms as if they were in the FAR, even though they are not there. My concern is

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FAR Eliminates Truth in Negotiations Act (TINA)

Federal Acquisition Circular (FAC) 2005-73, effective May 29, 2013, eliminated the Truth in Negotiations Act (TINA). Now that I have your attention, the FAC did not eliminate the TINA. What the FAC did was to rename The TINA “Truthful Cost or Pricing Data”. This was just one of a number of changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) that resulted from positive law codifications. Let’s discuss positive law codification of Public Laws 107-217 and 111-350 which were recently incorporat

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Comparison of Major Contract Types

Remember the old TV commercials for toys that began, “Be the first on your block . . . ,” and then inserted the name of some new toy, doll, gun or game? Well, you can forget about that in this case. For those of you who have not already done so, I’m recommending that you consider downloading a document that has already been downloaded more than fifty thousand times since published on the web, and nearly four thousand times since it was last updated in January 2014. [As of today, the precise n

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Misunderstanding the Missing Words

This post is not really so much about misunderstanding the missing words, but the misunderstanding that is created by the missing words when read or hear "All contractors must be treated the same" or "All offerors must be treated equally", or such similar sentences. It is the part that should come after, but in many cases does not, that concerns me. In the GAO Bid Protest Annual Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2014 (B-158766, GAO-15-256SP), November 18, 2014, Susan A. Poling, General Counse

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April Fools’ Day in Federal Acquisition

Had you ever speculated on why April Fools’ Day seems to be such an important day for federal acquisition? After all, consider some of the regulatory and policy issuances on that day: The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) became effective on April Fools’ Day (1984). The Federal Aviation Administration became exempt from the FAR on April Fools’ Day (1996). The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) memorandum on “Protests, Claims, and Alternative D

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Emptor Cautus

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