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The Final Days of Shay Assad

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Putting aside the internal politics at issue here, I am extremely skeptical concerning the figures DCAA reported on defective pricing.  Also, the authors of this article do not seem to understand the defective pricing concept.  It is easy for DCAA to make defective pricing findings, but hard for contracting officers to find the evidence necessary to support a defective pricing claim.   

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Guest PepeTheFrog

ah, journalism

the article's narrative (theme, angle, bias, opinion, propaganda message) complains about the revolving door from industry to the Pentagon, but briefly mentions that 

"By the time Donald Trump entered the White House in January 2017 with promises of dramatic savings in military contracts, Shay Assad had already spent more than a decade in government negotiating exactly that. He started his career working on contracts at Raytheon and moved to the Pentagon in 2004, where he quickly rose through the ranks, earning a reputation as one of the government’s most hard-nosed negotiators."

got any more background on that time when "He started his career working on contracts at Raytheon"? or is that not helpful for the narrative? no details needed? what's the relative timeline of Pentagon service versus defense industry employment? how long is a start of a career? was he near retirement age at the end of the "start" of his career at Raytheon?

FYI, he was a top Raytheon executive, known for being a tough negotiator on behalf of Raytheon (not the government!), and there was also an incident that some people have described as a scandal at Raytheon

after this "start" of his career, he moved to government as a "price fighter" or "profit hunter" on behalf of the government, which mystified those who knew him from the private sector

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Retreadfed:

Quote

I am extremely skeptical concerning the figures DCAA reported on defective pricing.  Also, the authors of this article do not seem to understand the defective pricing concept.  It is easy for DCAA to make defective pricing findings, but hard for contracting officers to find the evidence necessary to support a defective pricing claim.   

I've added a law firm's explanation of Defective pricing  and I've added a little blurb by another firm focused on DCAA.

As Yogi once said about a baseball game, "It ain't over till it's over."   That's one way of looking at whether questioned costs ever become defective pricing.

 

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On 10/1/2019 at 11:46 AM, Retreadfed said:

It is easy for DCAA to make defective pricing findings, but hard for contracting officers to find the evidence necessary to support a defective pricing claim.   

Its always helpful to have the DCAA auditor participate in discussions with the contractor.  The auditors personal input is important in everyone better understand positions. While the auditor won’t sign off or formally agree to any settlement, it’s easier for the CO to document and sell the settlement position to any agency reviewers 

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1 hour ago, bob7947 said:

Retreadfed:

I've added a law firm's explanation of Defective pricing  and I've added a little blurb by another firm focused on DCAA.

As Yogi once said about a baseball game, "It ain't over till it's over."   That's one way of looking at whether questioned costs ever become defective pricing.

 

Bob, that first link "Defective Pricing" is a wonderful resource! Thanks for providing it.

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18 hours ago, bob7947 said:

I've added a law firm's explanation of Defective pricing  and I've added a little blurb by another firm focused on DCAA.

The DoD IG has historically been critical of the amount of defective pricing audits done by DCAA.  As a consequence, there has been a long standing agreement between DCAA and the IG that DCAA would devote 7% of its audit effort toward defective pricing audits.  If DCAA does make a defective pricing finding that is supported by the contracting officer, if that finding is appealed, the government has the burden of proving the elements of a defective pricing claim.  Although there is a rebuttable presumption that defective pricing caused an increase in the contract price, this rebuttable presumption only comes into play if the government can show that defective pricing occurred in the first place.  In this regard, one of the primary documents DCAA uses to show reliance is the PNM that the CO prepares.  It is not uncommon for the PNM to contain boilerplate language saying the CO relied on the cost or pricing data submitted, when in fact, the government actually relied on other data to determine price reasonableness.  I know of one case in which DCAA relied on such language and pursued a significant and complex DP audit only to have the CO say that there was no reliance when the CO received the audit report.  As a consequence, DCAA contemplated asking the contracting activity to reimburse it for the costs of the audit.  Thus, it would be beneficial to all parties if CO's would be more careful in the way they write PNM's.

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56 minutes ago, Retreadfed said:

I know of one case in which DCAA relied on such language and pursued a significant and complex DP audit only to have the CO say that there was no reliance when the CO received the audit report.  As a consequence, DCAA contemplated asking the contracting activity to reimburse it for the costs of the audit.  Thus, it would be beneficial to all parties if CO's would be more careful in the way they write PNM's.

Good advice. Are you referring to the "engine competition" case?

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2 hours ago, Retreadfed said:

I know of one case in which DCAA relied on such language and pursued a significant and complex DP audit only to have the CO say that there was no reliance when the CO received the audit report.  As a consequence, DCAA contemplated asking the contracting activity to reimburse it for the costs of the audit.  Thus, it would be beneficial to all parties if CO's would be more careful in the way they write PNM's.

I agree with you, Retread!  It would also be beneficial if many KO’s and other designated government negotiators knew more about negotiating those pricing actions that are supposed to be based upon cost impacts, incurred costs, etc. , as well as writing their PNM’s for those actions. . 

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1 hour ago, here_2_help said:

Good advice. Are you referring to the "engine competition" case?

I don't recall the procurement, just the incident.

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The media reporting on this reminds me of how they lionized a former Army CO many years back because she had made notes in the margins about why a contract was improper and then obviously signed the contract.  Of course, all they did was expose her as an incompetent fraud who failed to perform the most basic responsibilities of her job, but hey, it made the Bush administration look bad, so no worries!

"She wrote that the original "emergency" contract should be limited to one year, with no options after that. She says when she got the final contract back, it was unchanged. So she wrote her reservations on it in ink." 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/18/AR2005101801796_4.html?tid=a_inl_manual

It's probably worth noting that the protagonist in this little fantasy teaches at a community college, and is not highly thought of....

https://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=1898096

 

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7 hours ago, REA'n Maker said:

The media reporting on this reminds me of how they lionized a former Army CO many years back because she had made notes in the margins about why a contract was improper and then obviously signed the contract.  Of course, all they did was expose her as an incompetent fraud who failed to perform the most basic responsibilities of her job, but hey, it made the Bush administration look bad, so no worries!

"She wrote that the original "emergency" contract should be limited to one year, with no options after that. She says when she got the final contract back, it was unchanged. So she wrote her reservations on it in ink." 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/18/AR2005101801796_4.html?tid=a_inl_manual

It's probably worth noting that the protagonist in this little fantasy teaches at a community college, and is not highly thought of....

https://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=1898096

 

She was the Chief of Contracting and PARC for the Corps of Engineers. An outsider brought in by a new Chief of Engineers who’s primary mission was to bust up the so called Good ol’ Boy Nepotism network. Diversity was lacking back then. 

Diversify was his strict order during his tenure. All higher level promotions and appointments within the various Districts and within the several Division level offices were sent up to HQTRs for the Chief of Engineers (Commanding General) or his Staff to select from the candidates.  

Some good things resulted as well as some huge catastrophes.

Reverse discrimination against many otherwise highly qualified white males became quite evident, too.

That’s all that I will say about that time period. 

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Wow, I just read the article from the beginning. A lot of it is very accurate. When I wrote my post above, I didn’t know that the writer used the same terminology concerning her being hired as part of Gen. Ballard’s personal mission to bust up the “good old boy network”.

I will say that Bunny was always very cordial with me when I encountered her in conferences or when I would visit HQ and interact with her in meetings. 

However, there was an obvious disconnect between Contracting and the  Programs, Office of Counsel, Engineering and Construction Directorates. It was very difficult for us to get much of anything out of HQ that required coordination between the mission Directorates and Contracting. That was frustrating for many of us trying to execute programs and trying to get Corps-wide policies and procedures updated. 

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The amazing thing is that even after 15 years, nothing she asserted has been shown to be remotely true, nor was there any actual professional attempt on her part at the time to support her belief that sole-source was not appropriate (i.e., market research).  All that stuff about Haliburton overcharging for fuel (which was never substantiated) had nothing to do with her so-called objections to the original award strategy.

The EEO settlement she received had nothing to do with the validity of her claims, but of course the media used their Jedi powers to conflate the two in the mind of the reader.

 

"These aren't the droids you're looking for"

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I don’t disagree with you concerning the contract award. And General Carl Strock was a personal friend of mine. We worked together back, when he was a Captain,  on the construction of the Tenn Tom Waterway. He was an outstanding project engineer on an outstanding Railroad Bridge and Trestle relocation project. I was not personally aware of instances of racism or discrimination against her.  I would have great doubts concerning any discrimination by general Strock, but there may have been instances at the staff level.

 I might be mixing up my gulf wars but I think that the defense logistics agency took over fuel distribution from that contract, didn’t they?

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3 hours ago, joel hoffman said:

I might be mixing up my gulf wars but I think that the defense logistics agency took over fuel distribution from that contract, didn’t they?

I believe DLA Defense Fuels took that over once kinetic operations* in Iraq concluded. 

And to your point, the contract in question was for restoring Iraqi oil production, not providing fuel.  So the overcharging allegation was unrelated anyway.

* Coolest. Term. Ever.

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