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FAR-flung 1102

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  1. Please take care. Some who read only the discussion above might see the phrase "per the JTR" used in its given context, and mistakenly assume that the JTR applies to contractor travel...well, it doesn't. Look at the introductory paragraphs of the JTR and you'll see for yourself...it's too plain to miss (and the exception noted there barely dilutes the general rule). Knowing this about the JTR shouldn't stop us from doing what we aim to do, however. Notice that Joel Hoffman was discussing "JTR rates" and "JTR limits" with evident care to avoid the confusing phrase "per the JTR". He's on to something... See also the careful phrasing of the Cost Principle FAR 31.205-46 --Travel Costs. for a more lengthy example along the same lines.
  2. You do realize that what you have posed is a kind of Rorschach test. I suppose that you hope to learn the general tilt of the land. Keep in mind, however, as ji20874 indicated that many conditions people encounter and comment on are local and can be avoided in the long run. My own observation is that novelty seeking fits well with almost all jobs I've had in the career field. I can imagine others in the same positions being content doing as much as 80% routine work. In contrast if more than half my effort becomes routine then I start looking at how to increase depth/breadth of the effort I make or the responsibilities I seek and accept in the current or next position.
  3. Despite what I see or perhaps be cause of it, I feel to opine...It's real work...this trying to learn the business ...both top down and bottom up, as well as inside government and out. Doing this real work generally results in real rewards...partly intrinsic and partly tangible. My suggestion to all is, as much as you can stand it, make habits in life of listening, tackling responsibility, raising standards and expectations wherever you go, and contributing to the success of others by often sharing something useful and new. Do this...and in a way that spirals up, I hope you'll discover more folks intent on filling the void by practicing these things...some (perhaps.many) of them will stick around in this field of work a little longer and have an elevated sense of community with those fellow travelers who also find the journey to be much more than just memorable.
  4. The deadline will change if the big dog says so (it's a really big dog!). The new deadline will be at the same time whatever day the big dog wakes up.
  5. We might need to extend our deadline for some reason that we don't yet know. If that happens the new deadline will be at the same time on the next day we do business.
  6. I think we as a profession have barely nibbled at the plain language buffet so far. Here is a link to an example of plain language being used to explain comlicated stuff; Einstein's General Theory of Relaivity "using only the ten hundred words people use the most often": https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/the-space-doctors-big-idea-einstein-general-relativity
  7. I don't know if this is for DoD, but you may want to check out the DoD FMR on this topic. The latest version I have at hand is: 10_04_Jul10.pdf
  8. One thing to keep in mind with lengthy contracts involving transfer of capital assets in addition to recognizing the wasting value capital assets (which will be a primary concern of the contractor) is a capital asset's residual value at contract end. How this is handled differs according to situation at hand. Privatization efforts for utilities and housing involve analysis of wasting assets and their residual value. FAR Part 41 regulated utility service contracts already consider capital contribtion, so this tends not to be an issue with regulated utilities. Typical commercial leases involve competition and a lease vs buy analysis which should highlight any problems on this front. Incidentally, energy savings contracts don't present the same concern over residual value since there is no transfer of government assets (the improvrments remain government property). Unlike all of the above, a first time or innovative effort at a long term contract involving capital assets (in lieu of a simple fee for service where the government retains the asset) may be difficult to fund (constraints of fiscal law on capital contribution) and may suffer for falling outside of any existing regulatory or established privatization review process. Government shouldn't want to transfer assets to a contractor without considering the residual value at the end of the contract, but it may, ironically, be more difficult for government to fund the effort when giving formal recognition to the residual value of capital assets. Not doing so can be a very expensive mistake.
  9. Vern, 1) Yes, its reasonable. It;s a demonstration that a job candidate can perform in the waters in which the service contractor must swim to effectively compete for so many of the potential awards. A lot of service acquisitions have become essay contests. 2) I would accept the challenge. 3) I will think I did well on the essay, but have a high degree of uncertainty about the accuracy of that opinion.. After the interview, my uncertainty may lesson and I will probably think I did well overall. On the job, I expect that I will do very well.
  10. jonmjohnson , What you and the author of the article describe is a limited portfolio of applications for Blockchain solutions. Hype, to the extent that it exists in any corner, does not alter the basic observation, simply put, that Blockchain should be applied only by those who understand it and only in areas where it will work. In considering the application I have suggested for Blockchain, your points remind me of the old saw about Microsoft products...these are “features not bugs”. Yes, there is essentially only one way to apply Blockchain and only one reason to do it. So, look at that one way and examine that one reason for an accountability system (accounting for every acquisition dollar within the confines of DoD)...to me such a forced fit is a major part of the appeal and not a fatal flaw. This system is not to be all things to all people. I remember learning once that when Army went to implement the standardized GFEBS finance system, they figured that they were replacing 64 different legacy systems. A forced fit in DoD finance is nothing new. Are you convinced Blockchain wouldn’t work well as an accountability system within DoD?
  11. Vern, I think this one’s to me not FrankJon... Yep,it’s a conceptual thing. I m saying that something is missing. Like a lot of stuff, the missing parts may not be obvious until and unless we see what the thing can’t do. My point is that the view of competitive advantage that you have subscribed to scarifices or gives up something else which may be very valuable...This need not be the case. I have tried to describe the term’s other implications, but I have failed. I’m not fatigued, but I’m not effective either. Thank you all for entertaining these thoughts.
  12. Static vs. Dynamic Analysis Snap Shot vs. Moving Picture Long Run vs. Short Run Considerations Transactional vs. Strategic Analysis That last distinction includes opportunity for recognition that a business can better succeed over its competitors over time. Are we willing to consider what happens over time? Vern, it seems to me you are sticking to an analysis of the transaction and not what happens to the business over time. Why do so? I do so because I want insight into what keeps a business competitive and in business. When looking for analysis tools I’m not quick to exclude tools and techniques that may help. I’m looking to learn something I don’t already know...broadening my considerations, reversing or revising the assumptions and playing with definitions are all part of the tool box. I want a big tool box. It seems that making and advocating Policy positions is different...that’s where we narrow our considerations considerably; we use a few quality tools. Policy requires decisions and advocacy and by implication, if not in fact, choosing winners and losers...hopefully with the opportunity for feedback and revision, since the feedback loop is the most important part of any iterative process.
  13. Retreadfed, These two ideas ((1) "the ability to conduct effective, timely, TINA sweeps" and (2) "Litigation avoidance as a competitive advantage in the marketplace.") seem very clear to me and I am not sure why they may not seem clear to others. My first guess is that treating them specifically will not help, but that discussing a possible difference in our viewpoints might. I think some others may treat the word string competitive advantage in serial fashion where I see it as a single term ( a composite or term of art). When treated as two separate words "competitive" remains a strict qualifier which then minimizes the word "advantage"..such a reading would lead one down a certain alley...I can visit that alley, but I know another one that has a certain advantage I'll now discuss (pun intended). Instead, I understand the composite of these two words "competitive advantage" to be a term itself; it is a valuable concept and an analysis tool...Valuable and specialized enough, I guess, to call it a "term of art." For this reason I am unconcerned about using the term in the limit case of a single source...this because in many instances, this very limit case was a precise aim of the business' pursuit of a competitive advantage...and as a result is sometimes the short run result of a business' successful focus. If none of that helps them maybe we could next look at the various kinds of competitive advantage to see the term at work. There are many kinds of competitive advantage...I started with a mention of just two examples: patents and data rights both may form the basis on which a business may legally hold rights that exclude or limit the competition it faces in the marketplace. I think it is one of the most valuable ideas for the proprietors of any business to know what sets their business apart in the marketplace in general and in an individual transaction in particular. Of course there are other concepts, market forces, and constraints to consider, but competitive advantage is an important one .
  14. Vern asks the questions; “How can there be a competitive advantage if there is no competition? Why is it too hard for you to explain?  How long do we assume stasis? Does anyone take issue with the idea that the ability to deliver a sole source solution is a competitive advantage for a business and is subject over time to pressures of the marketplace? Compettve advantage is a useful analytical tool and is in my view not misapplied here. Monopoly, competition, competitive advantage, barriers to entry, the principle of substitution.... conceptually this is pretty basic B-School stuff. Think patents, data rights and a myriad of other real world situations...should we fail to recognize, or disregard the useful concept “competitive advantage” or perhaps insist that it be renamed before discussing the short run case of its limit (upper bound) which is monopoly or sole source? I don’t think so.
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