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MBrown

Do you have a frustrated Performance Standard?

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On what seems a very frequent basis, folks within the acquisition community are bombarded with new rules, regulations and policies. However, FAR 1.102-2( B ) speaks to the matter of minimizing administrative operating costs.

"(1) In order to ensure that maximum efficiency is obtained, rules, regulations, and policies should be promulgated only when their benefits clearly exceed the costs of their development, implementation, administration, and enforcement. This applies to internal administrative processes, including reviews, and to rules and procedures applied to the contractor community."

While I recognize the non-mandatory nature of the operative "should", I am curious as to whether anyone believes this provision relegated to nothing more than some inconsequential page filler. If SO or if NOT, why?

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MBrown,

I wonder if your question was somewhat rhetorical? I mean, we all know that the FAR Councils promulagate rules that are inartfully written and contain ambiguous language. Why do they do it? Because they can and nobody is looking over their shoulders, pointing out opportunities for improvement. Because politics play a role.

The public is invited to provide comments and some of those comments are cogently critical, but the rule-makers seem to delight in ignoring the public input and moving ahead with their planned rule-making.

I was thinking about this recently, in looking over the public comment and the FAR Councils' responses with respect to FAR Case 2008-020 (FAC 2005-52, May 2011). Here's an example of what I mean --

Comment: One respondent recommends rescinding the proposed rule and

revising the approach to determining adequacy. The respondent states

that the approach taken to set forth a description of an adequate final

indirect cost rate proposal and supporting data fails to improve the

process and unnecessarily creates additional and very significant

process and administrative problems.

Response: The rule will provide uniformity and consistency.

Further, the information is not new and should be readily available

from the contractor's books, records, and systems.

I could rant and rave about why that response was wildly inappropriate, but suffice to say that it has become clear that the requirements being discussed are not readily available from contractors' books, records, and systems -- and that they are becoming a signficant source of increased indirect costs for the contractors I work with. And that's just one example out of many -- just see the comments and responses to the fairly recent DFARS "business systems" rule-making.

So that's why.

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The acquisition regulatory process is broken and cannot be fixed. That is why we need well-educated, well-trained, and professionally competent contracting personnel in both government and industry. Unfortunately, the acquisition education, training, and personnel systems are also broken.

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