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Commission on Wartime Contracting Recommendations


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#1 FSCO

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 11:04 AM

The report has been out for close to two weeks. What are some of your thoughts on the recommendations that the Commission made? In particular, what are everyone's thoughts on how to implement the recommendation regarding elevating the role of contracting officials?

#2 Vern Edwards

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 10:49 PM

There are 15 recommendations in the Final Report. Are you asking about #6 and #7, which come at the end of Chapter 5?

When they say "elevate" they mean create a new bureaucracy. Their most specific idea, which is to establish a new J10 directorate in the joint staff, just calls for a new bureaucracy, which they follow by calling for more leadership and less bureaucracy.

I oppose any call for strengthening the chief acquisition officer position, because that is just another presidential appointee, and it is well-known that presidential appointees are the weakest part of the federal bureaucracy.

The call for more emphasis on services contracting is another call for more bureaucracy.

Generally, the report is very shallow. After I read it I felt that I had wasted my time. That seems to be the opinion of most of my colleagues.

#3 longhornjoe

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 12:21 PM

Does anyone believe any of these recommendations have even a slight chance of getting implemented? I do believe there is a lot of traction to require foreign contractors to consent to US jurisdiction as a condition of award (12.2). Other recommendations, not so much IMO.

#4 Cajuncharlie

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 08:02 AM

Having worked overseas for many years, for both US and foreign contractors including overseas subsidiaries of US companies as well as truly foreign owned companies, and dealt with them both as a prime and sub on US government projects on both sides of the table, my thoughts are mixed. My views are limited by my personal experience, but I do have some, including work in contingency situations.

Adding another level of contracting bureaucracy above the working level in country would be useless, or worse, for the reasons that Vern noted, among others. How would the contract specialists and officers on the ground be helped by having more bosses?

The proposed requirement for foreign contractors to consent to US jurisdiction is problematic. Many foreign contractors, at least before the boom days in Iraq and Afghanistan, disregarded the bulk of the terms and conditions and homed in on the basics: what must I do or provide, and how will they pay me. They generally considered that host country common law would prevail because they could bring disputes to host country forums, which often had a dim view of any jurisdiction but their own. More recently such forums have begun to give more weight to the express terms agreed by the parties, but that view must overcome a long tradition of belief that the foreign (non-host country standard) parts of a contract don't count.




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