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Vern Edwards' Blog

The Worst Thing That Has Happened To Contract Management?

Posted by Vern Edwards, 17 January 2016 · 809 views

I just read an online column in which the author (1) asserted that the government neglects contract performance management to its detriment and (2) called for the devotion of more resources to that acquisition function. I don’t know on what basis the assertion was made or whether it is true, but I would not be surprised to learn that it is. My impre...

A response to a call for comments

Posted by Vern Edwards, 04 December 2015 · 1,387 views

I just read a very strange blog entry by Steven Kelman, former OFPP administrator, writing at Federal Computer Week online on November 20. The title of the entry is: “Improving statements of work to improve contract management.” You can access it at:
https://fcw.com/blog...etter-sows.aspx .

Part III - The Trainees Discuss Decision Analysis With Mr. Ewing

Posted by Vern Edwards, 04 June 2015 · 2,282 views

Alice Wonderly has read the article given to her by Mr. Ewing. She shared it with other trainees in her program and they’ve discussed it, but they have questions. So Alice telephones Mr. Ewing to set up a meeting.
Alice: Hi Mr. Ewing. I read the article you gave me and I wonder if you’d have some time to talk with me about it. I wro...

Part II - A Contracting Trainee and Her Supervisor Discuss Source Selection Evaluation Factors

Posted by Vern Edwards, 06 May 2015 · 2,274 views

Alice Wonderly, a contracting trainee, is walking back to her cubicle after talking with her OJT supervisor, Mr. Sagesse, a contracting officer with an unlimited warrant. She has been tasked with developing a source selection plan and has been given an old one from which to cut and paste. But she wants to understand what she’s doing. She especially...

A Contracting Trainee And Her Supervisor Discuss Source Selection Evaluation Factors - Part I

Posted by Vern Edwards, 03 May 2015 · 2,342 views

Alice Wonderly, a contracting trainee, has been given the job of “putting together” a source selection plan and has some questions for her supervisor, Mr. Sagesse, a contracting officer with an unlimited warrant.
TRAINEE: Hi, Mr. Sagesse. May I come in?
SUPERVISOR: Hi Alice. Of course, of course. Always happy to talk t...

The Definitions Contest: The Winner

Posted by Vern Edwards, 05 September 2014 · 2,806 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 · 3,004 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 · 1,802 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 · 4,634 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 · 5,785 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 · 1,952 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 · 7,721 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 · 16,314 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 · 3,228 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 · 7,028 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 · 2,709 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 · 3,944 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 · 21,124 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 · 29,525 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 · 5,358 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...