Somehow, this has something to do with the "Peter Principle", which goes like this: employees get promoted to their level of incompetence, usually ending up at the management level. I think, since the managers can no longer shine through their own competence, they have to give out awards to share or get in the limelight, whether their underlings are trully competent and deserving of the award or not. And the cycle repeats itself. The incompetent giving out awards to the heirs of the throne! I believe that's why government became the place with so many incompetent Contracting Officers.