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It's Scary.

Posted by Vern Edwards, 21 January 2010 · 1,732 views

The opinion pages of the January 12 edition of The Washington Post contained a guest column by Paul C. Light entitled, ?The Real Crisis in Government.? http://www.washingto...0011103255.html In that column he makes an important point: our government is no longer competent enough to guarantee ?the faithful execution of our laws.? Everyone should read that column, because the biggest threat to our safety and well-being today is not Al-Qaeda, but our own incompetence.

Our government depends on contractors to do its work, and I see incompetence at work in contracting almost every day. It is pervasive at all organizational levels, in policy and in all phases and tasks of contracting operations. A recent, low-level example can be seen in C&B Construction, Inc., Comp. Gen. Dec. B-401988.2, http://www.wifcon.co...en/4019882.pdf:

[T]he contemporaneous record provides no information to explain the point scores given to C&B. Although the source selection decision briefly mentions positive aspects of Aquatic?s quotation, it provides no comparison to C&B, and does not indicate that the source selection authority understood the price difference here, or made a decision that the perceived technical merit of Aquatic?s quotation justified paying a higher price?

Additionally, the record shows that the Forest service used an evaluation factor (equipment) that was not disclosed in the solicitation, and which had the effect of reducing the significance of the cost/price factor?

In our view, the explanation offered by the Forest Service in response to the protests cannot overcome the failure of the contemporaneous record to provide any explanation of the evaluation of C&B (other than point scores) on which the agency could make a reasoned selection decision.

How can any contracting office make such a mistake today? For even worse incompetence, and at a higher level, see Navistar Defense, LLC; BAE Systems, Tactical Vehicle Systems LP, Comp. Gen. Dec. B-401865, http://www.gao.gov/d...dpro/401865.pdf. And need I mention the Air Force's conduct of the tanker competition more than a year ago? (They still have not released the new RFP.) Such foul-ups are avoidable, and they are not even the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

The most desperate need in contracting today is to develop a competent workforce, but I don?t know who is going to do it or how.

I plan to write more about this in the near future, but in the meantime everyone should read Paul Light?s column in The Washington Post and his book, A Government Ill-Executed.

It?s scary.

There's also Outsourcing Sovereignty by Paul Verkuil which I enjoyed. It looks like it has a new cover too. http://www.cambridge...n=9780521686884
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It's been scary for some time now.
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Read the C&B Construction decision. All that for a 45,000 dollar procurement.
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