Jump to content
The Wifcon Forums and Blogs

Recommended Posts

Federal employee submissions to the Administration are quite interesting, and include:

-Federal-wide Acquisition System:

Rather than each Federal entity continuing to buy and maintain its own acquisition system, which typically cost several million dollars to purchase plus millions more in ongoing maintenance of each system, the Federal Government (OMB or another entity) could purchase on behalf of all Agencies and Departments a Federal-wide web-based version available to all federal contacting entities. This would save millions of dollars, create large economies of scale and increase efficiencies for every Federal entity.

-Sign bills with only one pen

To limit the signing of a bill by the president with one papermate (or simliar "normal" less than a buck) ink pen. Wouldn't that be a good start to stop waste?

-Acquisition Regulation Changes

Instead of the constant onslaught (daily/weekly) of regulatory changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulation, make changes only on a quarterly basis. Except for any action that is deemed urgent to save lives and/or significant cost to the Government.

-Use of CCR system for Do Not Pay

The latest Government wide initiative to ensure the Government does not use contractors on the various Do Not Pay list are now being asked to create interfaces to yet another system to compare vendors. The Government has already been mandated to use Central Contractor Registration (CCR) file as the bible of vendors and requires these vendors to register and annually confirm that registration so if we used CCR as our government wide Do Not Pay list every agency wouldn't have to create another file transfer containing PII data to another system being created to combine the 5 lists at Treasury. I attempted to get OMB to look at this as a possibility early in the process but they felt the Treasury solution to collect the files and have agencies bounce vendor files and a payment file against their consolidated database was a better option. If we have GSA manage this as part of the SAM refresh project, we could manage vendors in one system

- Ensure Section 508 Procurement Clauses are in the base contract

Our constant challenge with acquisitions and 508 compliance is that Section 508 is not part of requirements. The largest impediment to the implementation of Section 508 in the current requisition process is the absence of Section 508 clauses in base contracts. The most critical action required is to make sure the correct applicable Section 508 clauses are in the Contract/Requests for Proposals and Statements of work. This is the only way to hold the vendor to compliance. If the critical language is not in the contract, vendors charge a considerable amount of extra money to bring the product to compliance. By ensuring Section 508 clauses are in the contract the Agency can save money. According to a case study by Pressman (2005), it is expensive to retrofit software to meet accessibility standards. The cost of revision is estimated to be one to six times greater during development than during the design phase and sixty to hundred times greater after release.

So Section 508 should be part of the requirements and should not be an after thought.

-Rewrite the FAR

-Digital contracts and electronic signatures

-Defense Acquisitions Clearinghouse

The Department of Defense needs a Centralized Defense Acquisitions Clearinghouse to examine "ALL" requirement packages prior to solicitation. The purpose of this entity will be to determine whether or not contracting actions are being duplicated.

For example, there have been instances in our agency where Division, X, awarded for PM X, the exact same effort that Division Y, awarded for PM Y. A Defense Acquisitions Clearinghouse would be able to identify efforts that are similar and can be combined, or efforts that can be ordered from previous efforts.

The Savings would be significant in that the workload caused by dual efforts would be reduced; RDT&E and administration costs(developing and processing contracts) would be less; and economies of scale increased (the cost per unit should fall as the scale of the combined efforts increase output).

It will be interesting which, of the currently 7,884 ideas, is the final one selected for implementation. Stay tuned...!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for some afternoon entertainment with reading delight! :blink:

Wish they'd let industry chime in though--several of us "dirty scummy" contractors might have some good ideas too that the Feds don't see amongst themselves!

I think my favorite so far is (saying that they are trained well):

STOP Highering Contractors

"In the Federal services we have pretty much trained personnel to fulfill any type of work that could present itself. So why on earth would we overpay a company typically made up of previous federal or state employees to do the same work they were sometimes doing right before they quit or was released from their federal or state funded job?" Blah blah blah...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Vern Edwards

It is not true that there are "daily/weekly" changes to the FAR. Not even close to true.

There is much to be said for a Federal-wide acquisition system for some things. In fact, that is what GSA was supposed to be when it was created in 1949. However, it won't happen because such large scale systems do not provide good "customer service," which is why we have agency specific systems. That's the same reason we won't get a centralized DOD clearing house.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Vern Edwards

From the above posted link:

For agencies procuring over $100M worth of recurring services annually, develop performance based PWS templates and standards for service contracts through an open, consensus-based process (similar to the process used by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for the LEED rating systems), which is led by the agency with voluntary input from industry, contractors, Government Contracting Officers, customers, subject matter experts, and other interested parties on all aspects of the services to be procured. This will leverage the best ideas from all stakeholders, utilize commercial standards and practices to the greatest extent possible, and create more usable, understandable, and legally enforceable contracts.

No, it won't.

There is no new thing under the sun. The Air Force invented the modern approach to performance based contracting in 1979 and issued a regulation about it -- AFR 400-28. OFPP adopted that regulation in 1980 as OFPP Pamphlet No. 4, which is available at the Seven Steps website. After a while, the Air Force noticed that contracting offices were having trouble writing performance work statements and making the idea work, so it developed a number of Air Force-wide templates and made them separate "volumes" to AFR 400-28. Didn't matter. Contracting offices still had trouble. The Air Force eventually abandoned AFR 400-28 as impractical. Performance-based contracting might have died a decent death if OFPP had not revived it in 1991 and then pushed it during the second half of the 1990s.

The post quoted above goes on to say:

Anyone who’s had the unfortunate experience of dealing with poorly written service contracts, know what happens. Much of the Government’s and contractor’s time, energy and effort that could otherwise be directed towards the actual services to be performed, are instead misdirected towards the back and forth of interpreting, clarifying, correcting, and debating the terms and conditions of the contract itself. This is the “opportunity cost” of a poorly written contract. Time, effort, and precious resources are wasted, and quality of service, timeliness, and customer satisfaction often take a back seat. This will save money, and greatly improve service contract results.

Again -- no, it won't.

Contracts for long term and complex services are hard to write because of the inherent nature of such services. Any attempt to specify such services in objective, measurable detail will fail. Services require adoption of a conceptual approach to contracting that the government seems unable to grasp, much less master. Despite millions spent on seminars, websites, handbooks, training and failed attempts, PBC has not proved out. The fault in not with the people who have tried to implement it, but with the concept itself. However, it has its advocates and it appears that they will not go away quietly, no matter how many facts and how much evidence anyone produces to show that their idea is fundamentally flawed.

Anyway, when someone starts saying things like "leveraging the best ideas from all stakeholders," my eyes, they start to fade.

For a different approach to PBC, one more attuned to the realities of long term and complex services, if not to government capabilities, read this, beginning on page 353: http://www.dau.mil/p...45_complete.pdf

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Yes, I've seen this before and "Relational Contracting” is a truly great concept that merits consideration, and could well be applied to BOS facility service contracts. This is the kind of contract I administer and had in mind ($250M 10yr BOS contract). With BOS service contracts you do have an ongoing, long-term relationship, and therefore really do need to have a good working relationship with the other party. "Relational Contracting” takes the idea of "partnering" to a whole new level, and would require a much different mindset then many folks in Government contracting now have, which could be a good thing. As Albert Einstein said, “We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”. But "Relational Contracting” would be a quantum leap from where we are now with the “Performance-Based” BOS service contracts that I administer. I’ll spare you the details, but there’s a really good Guide to Specification Writing for U.S. Government Engineers by John Oriel, NAWCTSD on the NAVAIR website. The BOS contract that I administer probably breaks every spec writing rule in the guide, along with several more. If we could start with a decently written contract to begin with, then we’d be well ahead of where we are now and I do believe it would save time, energy and resources. If we could take that small step first, then it may be possible to that quantum leap to "Relational Contracting” in the future.

As always, I appreciate your thoughts and reply.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Vern Edwards


I agree that relational contracting is a quantum leap. I doubt we'll ever see it. I know I won't live that long.

If only our policy types were more scholarly and would look at the research on buying services that's been done since the 1980s and the literature that it has yielded. So much valuable and insightful information. It might take us to another level. But they aren't and won't.

Thanks for the reference to the guide spec. I'll definitely look at it.


Link to comment
Share on other sites



For those that believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit cares about such matters: Pray and check out the community of Faith at Work at https://connections.usda.gov

Tag words: energy resources procurement all agencies all federal agencies efficiency

Comment: would you please be so kind to advise why you have used PROCUREMENT as a tag for your submission? I'm not sure how the two connect?

Response: Gladly. Procurement is the act of procuring, or obtaining or getting by effort, care, or the use of special means.

That effort, care, or special means for the acquisition of goods or services involves Philippians 4:6 -- Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Comment: Well the fact is that I am unable to take a requisition and petition it to God. I don't know how he would supply the computers, the software, the office furniture, the vehicles, the aircraft, the ships, and the many other things needed.

In the Government, which this venue serves to find cost savings, the "effort, care, or special means" used to acquire goods and services is in compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulations and supplemental Departmental regulations.

I do not get anxious about procurement - it is my job, my career not my life. Also, I do not think God is listed in CCR, and not sure how Treasury would pay God should God provide the goods and services needed.

Do you at all think God created people to serve one another? Maybe that is how the Government should procure things, from other people (that God created) and by their talents in creating and providing things and services.

By the way, I cannot access the link you posted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Create New...