Jump to content
The Wifcon Forums and Blogs

jonmjohnson

Request for Assistance

Recommended Posts

Colleagues....I was wondering if I may be able to get some assistance with a study that I am looking to conduct.  Here is the synopsis...

Path Dependency exists in the contracting field.  It is human nature to look at buying through the lens of how you conducted buy's before.  It is also organizational nature to structure buys and activities as they have approved before.  My question is why does the behavior of path dependency exist in federal contracting.

Here is where I need some potential assistance.  I am looking for run-on sentences taken from FAR that appear as they are actually paragraphs.  LONG sentences that are constructed fairly complicatedly.

My hypothesis is that procurement people, and those that provide the oversight for them (so some CO/KOs, legal counsel, and IGs) cannot identify the major parts of speech in these kinds of regulations, therefore they do not understand FAR, therefore they go the route that had been done before whether it is applicable to the buy they are facing or not.

This is not my idea.  I had actually taken this from Vern when in one of his classes as a baseline activity.  It struck me then and now that this could be used as a way to do further study for academic purposes.

If COs prove capable of being able to do so then it would indicate ability and capacity, meaning there is something else going on in the environment and we can eliminate that as a cause of path dependency in contracting.  The problem may lie with legal or other oversight bodies.  I would not mind giving the same test to managers, directors, and others involved in the procurement execution and oversight process.

If, on the other hand, it is true that there are not many people capable of identifying the basic parts of speech in such regulations the implication could be mutli-fold.  It could mean that the skills that are needed are not being met by folks hiring or for the policy that squeezed out liberal arts majors with degrees in history, English, and philosophy (3 subjects that are language intensive rather than business intensive).  It could mean that the policy field has made overly-complicated what could be expressed in plain language. Skills gaps could exist anywhere in the chain of a procurement who have need and access to regulations that shape activities (CS, CO, Directors, reviewers, Legal, IG), and finding out where those gaps exist could also be interesting to explore.

Anyone willing to help can feel free to either post onto this website their recommended sentences taken from FAR (if allowed by the moderator), message me via this platform, or you can email me directly (jon.johnson@vt.edu).

Further...your thoughts on this matter are also welcomed and I thank you in advance.  If you are in the DC area, your reward will be a cold pint, warm cup of Joe, or any other drink I can buy you.  If outside of DC....I will owe you one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, jonmjohnson said:

 I am looking for run-on sentences taken from FAR that appear as they are actually paragraphs.  LONG sentences that are constructed fairly complicatedly.

There appear to be some gems in this oldie:

I

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you apso.  I will look those over.  

Let me clarify...I am looking for a sentence where identifying the noun. verb, direct object is not simple to identify.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jon:

You are looking for a sentence in which it is difficult to identify the grammatical subject, the predicate, and if the direct object, if there is one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think we discussed in another thread about how these breakdown structures can conceal how complicated a sentence can be.  My eyes cross a little when I read this:

Quote

 

52.227-1  Authorization and Consent (Dec 2007)

(a) The Government authorizes and consents to all use and manufacture, in performing this contract or any subcontract at any tier, of any invention described in and covered by a United States patent—

(1) Embodied in the structure or composition of any article the delivery of which is accepted by the Government under this contract; or

(2) Used in machinery, tools, or methods whose use necessarily results from compliance by the Contractor or a subcontractor with (i) specifications or written provisions forming a part of this contract or (ii) specific written instructions given by the Contracting Officer directing the manner of performance[.] the entire liability to the Government for infringement of a United States patent shall be determined solely by the provisions of the indemnity clause, if any, included in this contract or any subcontract hereunder (including any lower-tier subcontract), and the Government assumes liability for all other infringement to the extent of the authorization and consent hereinabove granted.

 . . .

 

 

I emphasized and bracketed a period which I frankly do not understand.  Are they not capitalizing the following word by mistake?  I'll assume not for now. UPDATE: another online FAR has this as a comma, not a period.

In sentence form (as opposed to breakdown form) it looks much worse:

Quote

The Government authorizes and consents to all use and manufacture, in performing this contract or any subcontract at any tier, of any invention described in and covered by a United States patent embodied in the structure or composition of any article the delivery of which is accepted by the Government under this contract; or used in machinery, tools, or methods whose use necessarily results from compliance by the Contractor or a subcontractor with specifications or written provisions forming a part of this contract or specific written instructions given by the Contracting Officer directing the manner of performance[.] the entire liability to the Government for infringement of a United States patent shall be determined solely by the provisions of the indemnity clause, if any, included in this contract or any subcontract hereunder (including any lower-tier subcontract), and the Government assumes liability for all other infringement to the extent of the authorization and consent hereinabove granted.

Noun: Verb: Direct Object::

The Government: authorizes and consents to: all use and manufacture of any invention

Is that right?

Edited by apsofacto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

apsofacto,

My paper FAR from CCH shows the period and a capital letter.  Yes, the period and capital letter are correct.

I note that I have also noticed a few instances where electronic versions and paper versions of the FAR differ.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the text from the Federal Register in which the clause was published, 72 FR 63045, 63065, November 7, 2007. It was copied from the pdf of the actual Federal Register page. It matches the official version in the published volumes of the Code of Federal Regulations. Those are the versions that count. Those are the versions to which you should refer when you spot such apparent and suspected anomalies. Online versions, the CCH version, and the Thompson Reuters version are not prima facie evidence of the law. I have found a number of typos in the CCH version over the years.

Quote

AUTHORIZATION AND CONSENT (DEC 2007)

(a) The Government authorizes and consents to all use and manufacture, in performing this contract or any subcontract at any tier, of any invention described in and covered by a United States patent—

(1) Embodied in the structure or composition of any article the delivery of which is accepted by the Government under this contract; or

(2) Used in machinery, tools, or methods whose use necessarily results from compliance by the Contractor or a subcontractor with (i) specifications or written provisions forming a part of this contract or (ii) specific written instructions given by the Contracting Officer directing the manner of performance. The entire liability to the Government for infringement of a United States patent shall be determined solely by the provisions of the indemnity clause, if any, included in this contract or any subcontract hereunder (including any lower-tier subcontract), and the Government assumes liability for all other infringement to the extent of the authorization and consent hereinabove granted.

As you can see, there is a period after "performance" and the T in the following "The" is capitalized.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to Ji and Vern for resolving!  Works better that way. 

This is now much shorter, but may still meet Jon's needs:

Quote

The Government authorizes and consents to all use and manufacture, in performing this contract or any subcontract at any tier, of any invention described in and covered by a United States patent embodied in the structure or composition of any article the delivery of which is accepted by the Government under this contract; or used in machinery, tools, or methods whose use necessarily results from compliance by the Contractor or a subcontractor with specifications or written provisions forming a part of this contract or specific written instructions given by the Contracting Officer directing the manner of performance.

Best of luck, Jon!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vern...you are correct.  Subject-verb-direct object.

Apso...spot on with what I am seeking.  Can you think of any piece of regulation (preferably within FAR) where the subject, verb, direct object relationship is less clear or buried within a complicated sentence structure?  I will be concentrating on this this weekend and will share some that I dig up as well.

Thank you both Gentlemen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jonmjohnson,

I once tried a software program called Virtual Thread that analyzes writing for readability. I entered the text for the provision at FAR 52.215-1 and it identified ( c )(3)(iv) as the least readable paragraph:

Quote

If an emergency or unanticipated event interrupts normal Government processes so that proposals cannot be received at the office designated for receipt of proposals by the exact time specified in the solicitation, and urgent Government requirements preclude amendment of the solicitation, the time specified for receipt of proposals will be deemed to be extended to the same time of day specified in the solicitation on the first work day on which normal Government processes resume.

I count 75 words and one sentence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

predicate:

will be deemed to be extended

If [something], and [something], the time specified for receipt of proposals (SUBJECT) will be deemed to be extended (PREDICATE) [to this].

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I was told of a language processing tool run by IBM's Watson and inputted Don's sentence to see if an engine doing text analysis through natural language processing could identify the subject of the sentence.  Nope....here is the engine:  https://alchemy-language-demo.mybluemix.net/  

Engines like this only as good as the programmers who builds them.  Attorneys should not worry about their jobs...just yet.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×