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Vern Edwards' Blog



What is a contract? What is contract management?

Posted by Vern Edwards, 28 March 2014 · 934 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 · 473 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 · 1,209 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?”
 
https://dap.dau.mil/...gs/default.aspx

 
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 · 1,462 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 · 1,724 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 · 5,491 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 · 1,737 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 · 2,008 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 · 9,929 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 · 13,188 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 · 3,387 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 · 2,601 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 · 4,731 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 · 2,235 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 · 3,334 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 · 2,767 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...


Debriefings Continued

Posted by Vern Edwards, 13 December 2010 · 2,009 views

I had an interesting exchange about my last blog post with a very thoughtful Wifcon member who is an attorney. The member advocated attendance by lawyers at debriefings and made a good argument based on assertions about certain special skills and capabilities of lawyers. I want to post my last reply to the member. I am not quoting the member's comment...


Should government attorneys attend debriefings?

Posted by Vern Edwards, 06 December 2010 · 2,195 views

At the Nash & Cibinic Roundtable this past December 2 and 3 in Washington, DC, an issue came up that has bothered me for many years. The issue is the role of the government contract lawyer in the contracting process. Specifically, what role does the government contract lawyer play in debriefings of unsuccessful offerors? During a discussion of debrief...


There's so much we have to know.

Posted by Vern Edwards, 30 August 2010 · 3,979 views

Reading some of the Wifcon posts of last week, it occurred to me that a lot of people are busily doing things that they don?t know much about. That has occurred to me many times over the years, but this past week has been an especially ignorance-rich environment.Some of us at Wifcon Forum talk by phone among ourselves about posts, and we are often astonis...


What is the United States Code and what is in it?

Posted by Vern Edwards, 18 August 2010 · 2,042 views

Contracting officers are charged with ensuring that contracts are awarded in compliance with the law. See FAR 1.602-1(B). Consider, for example, FAR 6.101(a):QUOTE 10 U.S.C. 2304 and 41 U.S.C. 253 require, with certain limited exceptions (see Subparts 6.2 and 6.3), that contracting officers shall promote and provide for full and open competition in solici...






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