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My agency would like to take a "pro-active" step to request a waiver to the new DoD Final Rule "Service Contract Surveillance (DFARS Case 2008-D032), see http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/2010-9884.htm. We are largely an R&D producing agency and our leadership is trying to reason that many of our contracts are not performance based and therefore, would not require a QASP. A tasker has gone out to write reasons why we should be granted a waiver. Has anyone got any compelling argument that would qualify?

Appreciate any input

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Guest Vern Edwards

Any argument would depend on the kind of R&D you're doing -- Basic Research, Applied Research. Advanced Technology Development, Advanced Component Development and Prototypes, or System Development and Demonstration, and RDT&E Management Support. Generally, basic and applied research do not not lend themselves to measurable performance standards, because you don't know what you are going to be able to find out. But, in theory, work in some of the more advanced categories and management support might be susceptible of performance-basing.

Any argument to the effect that generic "R&D" is not susceptible to a performance-based approach won't go over well with fanatical performance-based true-believers.

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Well, OFPP acknowledges that R&D may not lend itself to outcome-oriented requirements in this policy memo.

http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/Docs/policy/co...equirements.pdf

I pulled the report that the letter is referring to and got a lot of great stuff. I appreciate the response. I wonder why then, if the study clearly shows that some types of contracting cannot lend themselves to PBSA, that they would come out with this final ruling. What has changed?

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Any argument would depend on the kind of R&D you're doing -- Basic Research, Applied Research. Advanced Technology Development, Advanced Component Development and Prototypes, or System Development and Demonstration, and RDT&E Management Support. Generally, basic and applied research do not not lend themselves to measurable performance standards, because you don't know what you are going to be able to find out. But, in theory, work in some of the more advanced categories and management support might be susceptible of performance-basing.

Any argument to the effect that generic "R&D" is not susceptible to a performance-based approach won't go over well with fanatical performance-based true-believers.

I agree. There are different stages of R&D and different forms that would be easy to write metrics for but for DoD to come out with this final rule is puzzling to me, given the preceding data collected on this subject. What has changed since 2003 when the Interagency Task Force on Performance Based Acquisition completed their report?

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