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jonmjohnson

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  1. jonmjohnson

    Missing Clauses?

    Colleagues - For some reason I am having a hard time finding if either FAR 52.242-17 or 52.243-1 are incorporated into the GSA Schedules Contracts. I looked through the IT70 solicitation (Solicitation and Regulations Incorporated by Reference) as well as the Professional Services 00CORP agreements and don't seem to see them in either. I have seen them there in the past but don't appear to see them now. 1) Are the still there and I am just daft? 2). Have they been removed? (I realize they could be removed and I could still be daft) If the latter does anyone have an indication as to why?
  2. jonmjohnson

    January 2018 Volume 1 Report

    Here is another article associated with this effort: https://warontherocks.com/2018/04/failures-of-imagination-the-militarys-biggest-acquisition-challenge/
  3. jonmjohnson

    Real Contracting Pros

    This conversation relates to this article as well: http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2018/3/6/new-undersecretary-vows-to-shake-up-pentagons-acquisition-system I can't say I am terribly optimistic about these prospects (trying to be less cynical but it gets more difficult by the day), but maybe the structural change (having nobody to overrule his interaction with Mattis and Shannahan based on an org chart) will help with these prospects. The problem that he will run into is the path dependent nature of federal contracting personnel. The cadres of COs (as well as management and oversight) have been conditioned differently than what the new Undersecretary now expects. People have been contracting scared, or engaging in (structurally) cumbersome contracting for many years. It is going to be very difficult to get to a point where the operations can function without the oversight.
  4. jonmjohnson

    Has strategic sourcing gone too far?

    Strategic Sourcing is not a vehicle. It is a behavior. It is what you do and how you do it...not the vehicle in and of itself. From the private sector point of view, strategic sourcing is an activity geared towards driving down costs (not prices per say.....but costs) to maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace (Lacity, M. C., & Willcocks, L. P. (1998). Strategic sourcing of information systems: perspectives and practices. John Wiley & Sons, Inc..). The best definition I can find identifies strategic sourcing as initiatives that include: Supply Based Rationalization (which means reducing the total number of suppliers to which a firm does business); Commodity Management (which matches corporate needs of parts and materials with the changing capabilities of the supply base); Spend Consolidation (which involves an increased dollar spent on purchases from an individual supplier); Global Sourcing (which involves exploiting global markets for improved capabilities, such as low-cost labor for the manufacturing of labor-intensive parts); Establishing Sole-Source Agreements (the act of purchasing a product or family of products from one supplier); Long-Term Agreements (establishing a relationship with a supplier where there is an understanding that buyer-supplier relationship will extend over several years or indefinitely); and Just In Time (JIT) Purchasing (which is aimed at minimization of supply lead time). (Rossetti, C., & Choi, T. Y. (2005). On the dark side of strategic sourcing: experiences from the aerospace industry. The Academy of Management Executive, 19(1), 46-60.) All of these activities working in concert, achieve the results by which companies are able to reduce costs, reduce the amount of in-house labor needed to conduct business, and thereby increase profits of the firm. This is the private sector model....in the public sector rather than increasing profits it is meant to creating efficiencies of budget and execution. That being said, in government we have bastardized the term a bit. Today strategic sourcing is defined by the government as “a fact-based analytical process used to reduce direct spend and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), while improving mission delivery” and was established to “improve the federal government acquisition value chain, increase socio-economic participation and ultimately lower total cost of operations and/or ownership for strategic sourcing vehicles.” (reference for this definition is no longer available, but it was retrieved from https://strategicsourcing.gov/ on 3/08/15). As you can see from the definitions, there is a significant different between private sector strategic sourcing, and public sector strategic sourcing. One is specific while the other is intent-laden. For example, when assessing total cost of ownership agencies need to look into operational costs, which include their internal transaction costs (how much does it cost us to buy) and administrative costs (how much does it cost us to manage). We don't do this. Further, strategic sourcing hinges on the ability to consolidate spend, which is a function of a consolidated budget. Few budgets are consolidated, in large federates agencies like DHS, DOD, or any other multi-bureau cabinet level agency, therefore strategically sourcing your assets will not take place. BPAs are not strategic sourcing vehicles, especially if they are multi-award BPAs. They are promissory notes that prices will not rise, but there is no economies of scale when doing 100 buys of 100 rather than 1 buy of 10000. Budgets aside, each group suffers from "special snowflake syndrome". Even internal within a large federated agency CO's and Program personnel will do what they can to maintain their "purview" of their units buying and behavior, which means any difference with a requirement will negate an agency's ability to strategic source their goods. You cannot strategically source without standardizing what is bought. The government has taken a vehicular approach to strategic sourcing rather than a structural/behavior based approach, and vehicles don't in-and-of themselves change behavior. 2 cents.
  5. jonmjohnson

    Truth Decay

    An article by one of my favorite modern day thinkers: Nassim Taleb "The Facts are True, the News is Fake: How to Disagree With Yourself" https://medium.com/incerto/the-facts-are-true-the-news-is-fake-5bf98104cea2 ~ JJ
  6. jonmjohnson

    Truth Decay

    So based on what has transpired during the course of this thread, what is to be made of the current situation related to the SOTU speech given last night, WaPo's choice of headlines, and the state of our media? What are the facts associated with the speech? Was the speech factually represented, or is this an article on the"reaction" to the speech? How did WaPo originally present that from a headline perspective? What was the reaction to the headline? How did the paper respond to the reaction? Why? What can we conclude from this?
  7. jonmjohnson

    Truth Decay

    So according to the article there was a credibility problem associated with news during the following decades: 1880-1890, 1920-1930, 1960-1970, and 2000-2010. That means that a credibility problem was perceived as often as a non-credibility problem. 8 decades where credibility of the media was in question, and 6 (1900-1910, 1940-1950, 1980-1990) where perceived credibility of the media was less of a problem. Maybe RAND is asking the wrong question. Maybe they should be looking at what factors lead to a perceived increase of credibility with journalistic institutions. So media/journalism as it relates to politics and politicians (and some argue political parties themselves) has been perceived as less worthy of trust more often than worthy of the pedestal that some place on the profession. When speaking at an event I posed the same question to a group of supply-chain professionals as Vern was stating earlier, which is don't pay any attention to the noise created by the media as it is meant to sell papers/secure viewers...not to inform or educate. All the world is a stage, and all the men and women are merely players (As You Like It, Act II Scene VII), so even Shakespeare had an appreciation for (if not tendency towards) a level of cynicism. So the question that some of the respondents to this posed is "where do I then get my information if no source can be trusted"? That takes time and attention, reading often, thinking often, and tossing aside that which is irrelevant but is made to look relevant as an appeal to either attract or retain readership/viewership. If one views the news in a detached fashion, you find yourself reading and watching less. Because much of what passes for news is either nonsense or does not impact me directly, I toss it aside and give it little to no thought. Making mountains out of molehills is a wonderful way to attract attention, but it also desensitizes one from when you are looking at a mountain. Maybe it is better to be uninformed rather than misinformed. Just some thoughts.
  8. jonmjohnson

    Truth Decay

    Vern...as usual thanks for the reference. I like de Botton's work and did not know about this one. Looking forward to getting it.
  9. jonmjohnson

    Truth Decay

    Jamaal...I would love to get a pre-read of your article (feel free to message me for my email if needed). Aside from Kahneman, Herbert Simon coined the term "satisfycing" when it comes to decision making where no optimal solutions are evident. Also look into his work on "bounded rationality" (decision making with partial information due to lack of time and bandwidth). Each of these pieces influenced Kahneman.
  10. jonmjohnson

    Truth Decay

    Pepe, interesting that you bring up Nassim Taleb "Intellectual yet idiot". RAND considers the push back on GMO to be an ignorance of the facts, however Taleb believes that the industry is utterly shortsighted on the long term, immeasurable effects of GMO. https://medium.com/incerto/the-logic-of-risk-taking-107bf41029d3 Vern...thank you for anchoring this in the classics. I had forgotten about Socrates who made a living (ok...a meager one, but he lived till he died) poking those who considered themselves "experts" and calls for the banishment of the poets (or rhetoricians) (Apology & The Republic).
  11. jonmjohnson

    Truth Decay

    Just started reading this RAND report and am finding it interesting enough to share. Makes me also wonder about "Truth Decay" in federal contracting but will finish reading it before pulling on that thread. Sharing in case others find this topic interesting as well: https://www.rand.org/research/projects/truth-decay.html
  12. Khuggart...please feel free to contact me offline. Jon.johnson@gsa.gov. I am familiar with this and can advise.
  13. Bob...thank you for posting this. This will be a very interesting read.
  14. jonmjohnson

    Basic Question

    Vern/jj...so I read the same as you, and I am concluding that although there are some vehicles that are not identified in the regulation, so long as you have permission from the vehicle owners then it can be done. At least there is nothing stated in regulation that would prohibit this in practice, and it appears allowable based on 51.102(c)(5). This is not an uncommon practice for agencies that leverage managed service providers in federal IT to grant FAR 51 authority, however there may be some vehicles that could possibly be used than the ones mentioned within 51.102(c)(1-4). For example, cloud services can be acquired via GSA Alliant, NASA SEWP, and NITACC. What about hard line telecommunication/network services? That can be had by Networx/EIS. Would these be examples of a "government supply source" without being considered a (mandatory) "source of supply"? This later point I just found interesting. Why use the terms interchanably? “Source of Supply” appears pretty specific in FAR Part 8 “Required Sources of Supplies and Services”, and it appears to be what people jump to when they allow for FAR 51 buying authority. That being said, FAR Part 8 is specific to “required sources” for first consideration, meaning that there are other sources that exist. I raise this because I think FAR 51 authority is going to be a trend in federal contracting particularly for federal IT. Agency’s are being asked to tighten belts, and the supply of COs/KOs are not going to be able to keep up with the demands of CIO offices. As agencies modernize their IT infrastructure and operations, IT program offices and contracting shops are going to have a difficult time keeping up with the demands and expectations. This may be all for nothing and just a thought exercise. Just thinking thinks. Thanks Vern and jj.
  15. jonmjohnson

    Basic Question

    Don't have one.
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