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Vern Edwards' Blog

The Definitions Contest: The Winner

Posted by Vern Edwards, 05 September 2014 · 1,722 views

Who won?
I received entries from the following Wifcon members:
Just Me
Here_2_Help also submitted one, but it was received after the deadline.
The entries were posted for all to see. I also posted my own definitions.
With help from a couple of friends I reviewed t...

Recommended Reading

Posted by Vern Edwards, 13 July 2014 · 1,802 views

An assortment of books that I've looked at during the past year and that you might find to be of interest. Listed within each category by date.
1. The Art of Thinking Clearly , Dobelli (2013)
An informal, nontechnical, anecdotal presentation of good thinking practices. Short chapters with titles like: "Why You Shoul...

Status of the Contest and My Definitions

Posted by Vern Edwards, 30 June 2014 · 1,174 views

We are evaluating the entries and will announce a decision later this week. Thanks to all who made submissions. In the meantime, here are my definitions of the 20 terms.
1. audit (as in proposal audit )
Audit (n. ) means an examination of a contractor’s records in order to verify information provided by the contractor in a proposal,...

Enter the contest! Win a book!

Posted by Vern Edwards, 22 May 2014 · 3,450 views

I am launching a contest. I will give a copy of The Government Contracts Reference Book , 4th ed., by Nash, O’Brien-DeBakey, and Schooner, published by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business and The George Washington University Law School, to the Wifcon member who writes the best set of definitions of the 20 terms (words and phrases) listed below. The R...

What is a contract? What is contract management?

Posted by Vern Edwards, 28 March 2014 · 3,996 views

What follows is a draft that I have written for general descriptive and explanatory purposes on the topics: "What is a contract?" and "What is contract management?" It is intended to be brief and introductory in nature. The intended audience is contract managers, prospective contract managers, and personnel managers in both the public and private sectors...

Introducing Emptor Cautus

Posted by Vern Edwards, 24 March 2014 · 1,311 views

We have a new blogger at Wifcon, who calls himself Emptor Cautus. Since I've known him for 40 years, he asked me to write an intro for him, and this is it.
E.C. will remain anonymous, which is a good sign. He retired from Government service after a 30+ year career in which he held several high level posts, and he is still working in the field, so I...

Is the contract for supplies or for services?

Posted by Vern Edwards, 13 February 2014 · 4,013 views

The DAU Director for the Center for Contracting, Mr. Leonardo Manning, posted a short, one-paragraph blog entry on February 10 entitled, “Is your Acquisition a Supply or a Service?”

It's interesting, but it doesn't analyze the problem in enough detail. It's more complicat...

Exercising Options: There is more to it than just the FAR.

Posted by Vern Edwards, 26 January 2014 · 7,376 views

In Government contracting under the FAR, a contract option is an offer contained in a contract that Government can accept in accordance with its terms, and that the contractor cannot revoke, until the acceptance period has expired. See also the definition of option in FAR 2.101.
The recent Federal government budget problems and the government shut...

Resume Padders Wanted (Not)

Posted by Vern Edwards, 27 December 2013 · 2,669 views

In a hearing held on November 14, 1973, before the Subcommittee on Priorities and Economy in Government of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, the late, great Elmer Staats, Comptroller General of the United States and member of the special Commission on Government Procurement, told the late, great Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin of his high ho...

Barney Klehman

Posted by Vern Edwards, 18 June 2013 · 6,230 views

Barney Klehman, my friend of more than 30 years, died at his home sometime during the weekend. His office called to tell me. I was working outside when the call came. I knew something was wrong when I saw the look on my wife’s face as she came out to get me. She said Barney’s office had called with news. I was apprehensive when I went to the p...

Just do it!

Posted by Vern Edwards, 06 June 2013 · 2,157 views

This morning I came across an article of Department of Defense news dated June 4, 2013, with the headline: “People at Center of Defense Acquisition Process, Official Says.” It describes an interview with the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition in which that official emphasized that people are at the heart of the Better Buying Power...

THINK! (maybe)

Posted by Vern Edwards, 28 May 2013 · 3,053 views

On April 24, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics issued a memorandum about implementation of the “Better Buying Power” initiative, phase 2.0. You can find it at:http://bbp.dau.mil/ Sigh , another acquisition improvement memo.But, reading the thing, I came upon this interesting paragraph:“Think”...

Can a CO update the clauses in an existing contract when the FAR changes or when exercising options?

Posted by Vern Edwards, 01 November 2012 · 15,526 views

Two of my students, who work for a very large government contractor, told me that the contracting officers (COs) who administer their contracts unilaterally update contract clauses from time to time when they add funds to the contract or when they exercise options. They wondered if that was okay.It's not okay.More than a few people believe that the go...

REAs and Claims: Is There A Difference?

Posted by Vern Edwards, 23 August 2012 · 21,212 views

Despite the plain language of the FAR definition of claim and an overwhelming amount of case law, many contracting practitioners falsely believe that claims and requests for equitable adjustment (REA) under a contract clause are categorically different, that a contractor must submit an REA before it can submit a claim,  and that there can’t be a cla...

A Master of Science Degree in Government Contracting?

Posted by Vern Edwards, 19 August 2012 · 4,230 views

The George Washington University has announced a program for a Master of Science in Government Contracting. http://business.gwu....gc/program/.  I knew this program was in the works, and it is a good thing, but the curriculum is a disappointment. Here it is:There is a link on the webpage to the course descriptions.  Basically, what they have done is sl...

Enough, already!

Posted by Vern Edwards, 02 August 2012 · 3,032 views

I’m going to show some self-restraint here and not say that I hate Congress. This morning’s Government Executive   email reported that some representative from Florida on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee "spoke out" about GSA bonuses and conference spending -- “GSA hammered on outrageous bonuses, conference s...

Policy will not fix acquisition.

Posted by Vern Edwards, 19 July 2012 · 5,736 views

A Minor League Kerfluffle Steve Kelman and I have been involved in a minor league kerfluffle over a comment I made in response to a blog post he wrote entitled, “A new way to use past performance in contracting.” He proposed a new contracting incentive. Here is how he described it: I commented, “I cannot tell you how awful I think the...

An agenda for the new OFPP Administrator

Posted by Vern Edwards, 28 June 2012 · 2,801 views

We have a new Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) Administrator, The Honorable Joseph Jordan.Most OFPP Administrators served about two years and didn’t do anything that had much of a lasting remedial effect on a system with which no one is very happy. Appointees have had a variety of qualifications. If I remember rightly, only two had ever w...

Experiments in Service Contracting?

Posted by Vern Edwards, 01 March 2011 · 4,905 views

Show of hands: How many of you think that the government can reduce costs under  cost-reimbursement service contracts by tripling the number of government personnel involved in contract administration?Steven Kelman, Harvard professor and former OFPP administrator (and the best one we?ve ever had), has proposed an ?experiment? to do just that in the Februa...

Is contracting an intellectual pursuit? Are contracting officers intellectuals?

Posted by Vern Edwards, 22 February 2011 · 3,521 views

What follows is the text of a speech I gave on January 13, 2011, at the Conference for Journeymen held by the Air Force Space Command, Space and Missile Systems Center, the organization with which I started my career in 1974, when it was the Space and Missile Systems Organization (SAMSO) of the Air Force Systems Command. Several people have suggested that...

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