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REA'n Maker

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  1. I did the same thing except there were three SA IDIQs segregated by geographic region. We used one core evaluation team with regional SMEs to supplement each eval as needed.
  2. As usual, Vern is technically correct regarding my earlier comments and his points are valid. This is why I don't come to WifCon for personal validation. 🤣 My attempts at brevity were unfortunately more obtuse than I intended, AKA, "poorly worded". The argument is similar to or resembles the one for personal services, as it describes a scenario whereby due to a thinly-written PWS/SOW the actual intent is "we'll tell them what to do when they get here". Of course the CO should care. Commander Data is not real. No one can work 24/7 at 100x normal human speed. Yet. My point is that the government's job is not to focus on FTE gaps in an FFP environment (other than security & qualification-level stuff). No LH contract allows what I described. However, in practice LH contracts perversely incentivize CORs to place too much attention on counting heads because looking at timecards is much easier than reviewing deliverables, and it happens more often than not.
  3. This argument is basically for personal services. If the FFP contractor is providing the required services who cares if it's 1 or 100 FTEs doing it? Maybe they've got Commander Data on staff who can work 24/7 at 100 times the speed of a normal human. The Labor Hour "argument" is lazy, allows the COR to do nothing but count heads and approve invoices based on butts in seats, and requires much more pre- and post- award audit support. It also does not encourage efficiency and innovation. Anyone who makes that "argument" for LH should be banned from Federal contracting forever.
  4. I have sat on my criticisms of NCMA and its authors for years because at least the authors are attempting to add to the contracting body of knowledge, which is more than I can say with my snarky and opinionated bloviating. I fondly recall the days when I would lounge in the waiting area outside the SES's office to read the latest NCMA magazine (also the days when we had to share the one desktop computer with a public internet connection if we wanted to do any market research. True story. That's not a joke man). Writing has been overtaken by Commenting. (Irony Alert)
  5. As a manager, one of my greatest epiphanies was how the prestige of their degree had zero to do with performance, attitude, or ability of an individual in the workplace. Some of the smartest, most well-read, articulate people I've ever worked with went to Community College, and one guy, no college (former AF enlisted tech sergeant who liked to read and learn. He was Apple employee #150 or something like that). The common thread of course was that they didn't have the financial resources to attend college, so they adapted and overcame obstacles to obtaining a formal higher education. THAT'S a skill that transfers 100% to the workplace.
  6. My experience is that NCMA exists primarily to lend credibility to non-certified (DAWIA, FAC-C) contractors who need something on their resume to qualify as Government procurement support personnel. As a private sector PM, I was constantly confounded by people claiming a CPCM cert was a "FAC-C/DAWIA equivalent". Nothing could be further from the truth. I've seen "NCMA Fellows" literally escorted off the client site for incompetence (not when I was PM though...). The NCMA magazine is also mainly filler and sadly lacking in substance. I used to work with one of their recurring authors. Her articles are always the same: cut-and-paste from the FAR, re-word it slightly, present that re-wording as "analysis", and then state the obvious conclusion that any GS-7 trainee could figure out from reading the FAR. The fact that the editors allow such shoddy work just turns me off to the whole enterprise. How you can allow an article in a professional magazine with no attribution or citation is positively criminal in my mind. It's basically one person's opinion masquerading as professional discourse and doesn't reflect well on the profession at all. But that's just my opinion. Now excuse me while I go back to yelling at clouds.
  7. That's been my understanding of how it works. When you have "Place of Performance Unknown at Award" (in my case, "nationwide") the CO literally cannot provide wage determinations without the contractor requesting them. The DOL site certainly makes it sound like federal contractors have a responsibility to comply with WD's regardless of whatever their contract may or may not say. It makes sense: would DOL want to adjudicate terms of a contract every time they cite a vendor for SCA violations related to that contract? Probably not. (e.g., I have a branch chief who considers himself God's Gift to Contracting and therefore has granted himself the exclusive right to make up T's & C's and insert them in random places throughout a contract. I have no doubt he's re-written SCA clauses to fit his demented worldview. This guy thinks 16.505 Orders against a SA IDIQ is 'source selection' so I wouldn't put anything past him.) My point being that DOL needs a straight line to enforcing WD's that doesn't rely on a winding path through contracts of questionable legal sufficiency. There's also the 'living document' principle similar to a QASP in that it's expected to change and as long as you have the proper QA clauses in the contract which reference the QASP, the fact the actual source document is not incorporated into the contract is irrelevant. The burning question in my mind is why DOL doesn't just publish the rates publicly and why my contract doesn't just say "comply with the published rates". What is the point of playing hide-the-ball with DOL wage determinations? My "nationwide" wage determination files were so big they almost broke the internet when we tried to email them to the vendor. So 1990's.
  8. Just the growth in the 52.212-5 required "commercial" clauses is enough to make you want to give up on any hope of better days to come.
  9. So now presumably the concept of "unenforceable clauses" will be taught in CON 090. And Pfizer has just admitted they had zero data proving that vaccinations slowed the spread of the virus which was the alleged impetus behind the entire EO. This is why we can't have nice things.
  10. It's important to understand that most contractors don't have closets full of Engineers with price tags attached to their foreheads waiting to be deployed, who are then chosen based on how well their price tags fit the contract. Even when I worked for IBM, we assumed there was going to be targeted hiring taking place for a big contract even though we had 100,000 staff to choose from. The Rule of Thumb at the time was to sub out any position <$100/hr, so there are also issues of rate floors below which a firm is losing money (IBM literally used smiley faces on P&L reports regarding individual rate margins on specific personnel: frowny faces were the money-losers). Sometimes the contractor just has to take that $300 rate for the internationally-recognized PE with 20 years of experience out of their margin, which is still cheaper than failing to deliver. So as Vern says, it's a very complicated issue and goes straight to the risk assumed by both parties - how to balance the need to provide qualified personnel while also remaining "fair and reasonable" pricing in the proper context. Neither contracting party has an interest in using substandard personnel just because they are cheap, and no one can be forced to work for a particular wage (something many COs seem to forget after decades as Feds) so it's a delicate balance of risk and reward. Now that I'm wearing my CO hat again, If I was still with DoD I would be engaging with DCAA, but because I'm not with DoD anymore, it's definitely a problem when you don't have someone who can look at a vendor's books and make a reasonable judgement based on experience and recognized benchmarks. In short, it's an art as much as a science, and a lot of judgement is involved. For the CPFF SA 16.505 Order I just awarded I was lucky enough to have audited base year rates (such as they were...) as a basis for reviewing escalations, which somehow averaged only 5% since September 2021(!). Considering the Federal Reserve is showing 7% wage growth year-over-year, that analysis was fairly straightforward. As a contractor, I liked to think about the process as akin to drawing a best-fit line through your aggregate personnel cost/rate projections and then managing the contract so as to beat those projections.
  11. It's worth noting that the portion of the GDP devoted to defense spending has dropped since Eisenhower's warning. A lot: U.S. Military Spending/Defense Budget 1960-2022 | MacroTrends Also, as a grad of the GWU Public Policy program, I can also add that there was a sea change during and after WWII whereby the Government moved from being a maker of things to a buyer of things, which was viewed with great trepidation at the time. Doesn't discount anything he had to say of course, but context is important. (Ike had zero combat experience at the time he was appointed Supreme Allied Commander. I didn't know that until a couple days ago.)
  12. "Amusing" doesn't even begin to describe it. Regarding lawyers: "it is unfair to judge the entire profession by five or six hundred thousand bad apples." "These cases are often handled by informal but effective sanctions. For example, if you fail to pay your exorcist, he could have you repossessed." That is positively EPIC! 😆🤣🙄
  13. So keeping the current suppliers with the revised terms was in the best interest of Airbus and therefore has objective value. Makes sense to me.
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