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here_2_help

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Everything posted by here_2_help

  1. SIg Sauer

    After 10 years and being the poster child for a failed acquisition system, the Army picked the successor to the Beretta. "Sig Sauer Inc., Newington, New Hampshire, was awarded a $580,217,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the Modular Handgun System including handgun, accessories and ammunition to replace the current M9 handgun. Bids were solicited via the Internet with nine received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 19, 2027. Army Contracting Command, Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (W15QKN-17-D-0016)." My questions are about choice of contract type. The award notice, quoted in full above, says the contract type is FFP. Pentagon press releases touted the "cost control" of the FFP contract type. My first question is that the quantities must be fixed. The quantity of handguns, accessories and ammunition must be fixed. So this is just the first contract and there will be more to follow, because ammunition (among other things) gets consumed. Where's the cost control in that? My second question concerns the comment in the award notification that indicates there will be "orders" under the FFP contract. Apparently the contract is not currently funded (even though awarded) and will be funded via "orders." Orders for what? Either the contractor provides the quantities or it doesn't. Based on the use of "orders" to establish funding and (apparently) quantities, I'm wondering if the contract is really an FFP type? Is there a better contract type description, found in FAR Part 16, that should have been used? I may be wrong in all this and, if so, I'd appreciate being set straight.
  2. Contracting Officer Misconduct

    Google "Quimba Software" and see what you get at both the CoFC and ASBCA. The company also used to have a website, not sure if that's still around.
  3. A very long time ago we followed SBA direction and thus achieved an "Outstanding" rating for our socioeconomic reporting system. We identified the small business spend (by category) in each indirect pool and allocated that spending to our government contracts for the summary reporting. Each indirect pool/base has a required government participation analysis (see 52.216-7(d)(2)(iii)(H)). We used those percentages to allocate the indirect small business spend by category. For example, if the government participation in the G&A expense pool was 10%, then we said that 10% of the G&A small business spending, by category, was allocable to our government contracts. Everybody was happy with our approach. But as I noted, that was 20 years ago. Things move slowly in government contracting ... but not that slowly. I can't state with certainty that what worked in the mid-nineties would be accepted today.
  4. FACs and FAR Cases

    Joel, I'm not going to argue with you except to point out that your post started with "So ..." which I interpreted to mean "If not them, then whom?" If that was an incorrect interpretation of your post, so be it.
  5. FACs and FAR Cases

    Joel, Your post presumes the Councils are competent to do the items you list; I don't agree. I don't think there is any value-added and I would do away with them, completely.
  6. FACs and FAR Cases

    I question whether the FAR Councils, especially the DAR Council, serves any useful purpose other than do what the USD (AT&L) or the Director, Pricing, tell them to do.
  7. Procurement Swamp Article

    Vern, I didn't really miss the political dimension, I just ignored it. As I was typing my post criticizing (somewhat) "incremental" improvements, I thought it would only be fair for me to offer something that I thought would be more than an incremental improvement. So I did. Do I think my approach has a chance of being implemented by Congress? Of course not. But I felt I should offer something. Yes, government participation should be a factor in my proposed innovation. Perhaps--as you suggested--the most important point. I agree! So let's make it happen ... you get on Rocinante and I'll follow. Where's that windmill for us to attack? Sancho Panza
  8. Procurement Swamp Article

    The thing of it is that the improvements noted above are simply incremental improvements that do not address fundamental process flaws. Incremental improvements are fine! For example, if you have a fever, taking aspirin will lead to an incremental improvement and you will feel better. Unfortunately, taking aspirin will not address an underlying infection. To treat the infection, you need something stronger. Let me propose something: Instead of applying contract requirements (e.g., CAS, Davis-Bacon, Buy American, etc.) by contract type and dollar value, why not consider applying them to categories of contractor? For example, let's make "non-traditional defense contractors" (yes, that's a thing) exempt from pretty much everything and just enter into a UCC contract. Let's exempt small businesses from CAS and D-B and SCA and Buy American. (Small businesses still need to comply with CAS through FAR Part 31. Let's end that.) Let's layer on requirements as the contractor grows and matures. By the time the contractor is in the Top 100, it should have to comply with the whole enchilada. Just a thought.
  9. Procurement Swamp Article

    Did anybody else read Ms. Bales' written testimony to the HASC Subcommittee (available on WIFCON Home Page)? In it, she called for more headcount (and presumably more budget) in order to continue to shrink DCAA's backlog of unperformed audits.
  10. Layers Upon Layers

    http://archive.defense.gov/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=1467 I strongly urge everybody to read this 2010 speech in full (link above).
  11. Contracting Scandals

    Compensation and promotion are obviously two time-honored approaches. For a government workforce, I would make public acknowledgement another vector of incentivization. In the military, people are written up for medals. Why not a similar approach for the civil service that supports the military? Do the same for civilian agencies. Write people up, submit nominations for medals or whatever, have the nominations scrutinized and confirmed. Then publicize what the winners did well, hold a public ceremony and give them a medal or a certificate or something similar. Make sure their peers know why the award was awarded. Make sure as many people as possible know why it was earned. Spread the word. Annually, hold a conference for all winners of the acquisition medal of excellence (or whatever you want to call it). Give them a tough problem to solve and tell them to solve it. If they do, publicize that as well. If they don't then maybe the problem cannot be solved short of legislative means. None of this is rocket science. It's how organizations have achieved excellence for a hundred years or more. P.S. I'm not talking about one or two Hammer Awards. I'm talking about commendations and ribbons and medals and certificates, awarded to a lot of people who are doing the right thing for the right reasons. Have different grades of award depending on what the nomination says. If a leader of a certain department can't find anybody to nominate, or if the nominations are consistently rejected for lack of substance, then that points to a different problem that needs to be solved. P.P.S. Don't discount compensation and promotions, neither of which the Federal government does well in my opinion.
  12. Contracting Scandals

    Vern, 1. Yes, you need to screen and select better. You need to educate better. You need to develop your high potentials earlier and better, and fast track them. You need to identify your weak performers and move them out of critical positions more quickly. 2. You need to incentivize correct behavior better, and punish incorrect behavior more strongly and publicly. For example, if a CO chops off on a DCAA audit report without using independent business judgment (TM) to evaluate it, or if a CO abdicates approval of a business system to DCAA (both recent cases) then should that CO continue to hold a certificate of appointment? If the CO's supervisor and managers all blessed those decisions, should they continue to hold their positions? 3. The workforce is absolutely not as good as it can get. The leadership is absolutely not as good as it can get. We need more and better. PLUS we need more and better internal controls and knowledgeable investigators. I am not impressed with the DODOIG either; I would advocate a complete revamp of that function as well. (Since we're dreaming ....) 4. Yes, tip of the iceberg. Ask any compliance person. It starts with "tone at the top". Or as somebody once told me: "As above, so below."
  13. Contracting Scandals

    Government contracting is not an enterprise separate from the people who practice it, and from the supervisors and managers who review and approve the practitioners' decisions. As always, it's about people. People are the first line of defense against fraud, waste, and abuse. In any large group you find a Bell curve distribution. If we assume the mean is "ethical" then in any large group you will find some people a couple of deviations away from the mean. Same thing if we assume the mean is "knowledgeable" or "well trained" or even "intelligent". In every organization, you need robust internal controls and a top-notch internal review function. Not because of the folks who are at the mean of the distribution, but because of those who are a couple of deviations away from it. Unfortunately, you need the other stuff (including business systems) because of the small fraction of people who are way over on the distribution tail--lacking in integrity and knowledge and expertise. When you get a confluence of people in the same organization, from the bottom to the top of the decision cycle, all of whom are way over on the distribution tail--and you couple that weak with or non-existent internal controls--then you get Fat Leonard.
  14. Contracting Scandals

    I just read today (in the LA Times) about a (now former) Deputy City Treasurer in the City of Compton who managed to swipe $3.7 million over six years by "skimming" cash receipts sent to City Hall. He reported the correct value of cash received, but deposited slightly less. Sometimes he took only $1,400 per month, other times much more. Over six years. Allegedly. The data was there all along. All anybody had to do was compare cash receipts reported as revenue to cash receipts deposited in the bank. Apparently, nobody did.
  15. Utilizing Option to Extend Clause 52-217-8

    Okay -- then infrastructure support. Fine. That category accounted for 6% of GFY 16 service spending at civilian agencies, according to GAO.
  16. Utilizing Option to Extend Clause 52-217-8

    So what classification would you give it in FPDS-NG?
  17. Utilizing Option to Extend Clause 52-217-8

    80 percent of all procurement dollars are spent on services at civilian agencies, according to GAO. The largest category of acquired services (for both DOD and non-DOD agencies) is "professional support services".
  18. Utilizing Option to Extend Clause 52-217-8

    Am I the only one wondering why mail room support services requires a sole source award?
  19. Some of the least value-added courses may, in fact, lead to increased critical thinking and analytical skills. Or, liberal arts studies are still some of the best places to learn critical thinking and analytical skills. Plus writing skills. Or, education for education's sake is still something to which I aspire.
  20. CPSR driven by FAR 52-244-2?

    bulgheroni, The majority of people here are Federal employees or former Federal employees. Why do you think that they would have insight into data that was NOT provided to the Federal government during a review? You think the contractor that decided to not provide the data would call the intentional omission to the attention of government reviewers? I highly doubt it. Consequently I think you're asking the wrong people and you shouldn't expect an answer. That said, there are former CPSR reviewers out there, employed by consulting firms. For example, Jean Labadini (former Director of the DCMA CPSR Group) is currently a consultant. I am not endorsing her; there are others who have the same or similar knowledge. Why don't you hire somebody who might know the answer to your question and then pose it to that person?
  21. New Chief Judge for COFC

    Vern, did you see her very recent decision regarding sanctions applied to the government attorney in this matter? https://ecf.cofc.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2016cv0829-68-0
  22. Request for Equitable Adjustment, Continued

    Retreadfed nailed it. Oftentimes the contractors are in protracted negotiations and they hope they can get a resolution. They tend to believe that filing a claim is the nuclear option.
  23. Request for Equitable Adjustment, Continued

    If I get input into the bill, can I request that the full value of a UCA definitization proposal be paid, on an interim basis, if the agency has failed to definitize within 180 days of receiving it? (Note that's not 180 days after the UCA was awarded, as required by statute. Nobody seems to pay attention to that. It's 180 days after the contractor submits the definitization proposal.) From this side of the table, it's hard to understand the government's failure to take action to definitize once there is a proposal and a proposed price. I've had a client or two that has had to wait many months to definitize; meanwhile, they are not permitted to bill 100% of their incurred costs. The impact to cash flow can be crippling.
  24. CPSR driven by FAR 52-244-2?

    bulgheroni, I have no authoritative guidance to give you, except to say that the FAR is not contractually enforceable. Only contract clauses are contractually enforceable. Vern wrote a piece on that concept recently, and you can find it on WIFCON because reprint rights were graciously shared.
  25. CPSR driven by FAR 52-244-2?

    That's an interesting position, and one I have not seen before. If I understand the position correctly, if your company is selected for a CPSR, contracts lacking the 52.244-2 clause would not be included in the CPSR universe of transactions for review. I suppose, legally, it's not wrong. I'm just wondering what the business driver is here. Does your purchasing system distinguish between the two types of contracts? Do you do things differently, depending on whether or not you think the Government will be looking over your shoulder? Do you, in effect, have two purchasing systems--one for contracts subject to review and another for contracts not subject to review? If you are treating the two sets of contracts differently, are you missing opportunities to aggregate demand and to obtain volume discounts? Are you creating excess/residual material because you can't share between contract sets?
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