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Graduate Level GovCon Textbook

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#1 jvanhorne

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:27 PM

I need suggestions for a graduate school text on government contracts. I teach an on-line graduate level course about half of which is devoted to government contracts. When I started teaching this course several years ago, they were using the Nash & Cibinic Administration of Government Contracts text. Of course, I was left with no textbook coverage of the award process so I lobbied for a different text. (Asking students to also buy the companion Award text would have been asking a bit too much.) The one I found, which was eventually accepted, was the American Bar Association's Government Contract Law text, which at least covered everything albeit in a form like a detailed outline. Now the university informs me that the book is not only out of print, but there are not enough copies available for the next semester of my class. So I need recommendations for a text that covers the entire government contracting process (from CICA to the Contract Disputes Act so to speak) at a level appropriate for students that may some government experience (many of them do) or no government experience. Suggestions gratefully accepted!

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#2 Vern Edwards

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 10:14 PM

The kind of book you seem to be looking for may not exist. Here are three suggestions.

Government Contracts Guidebook, 4th, 2011 - 2102 ed. by Steven W. Feldman, which is published by Thomson Reuters. The main problem is that it costs $315. The publisher describes it as follows:

This guide is a comprehensive, easy-to-use reference on government contracting, helpful to novices and seasoned professionals alike. It takes you through every step of the contracting process in chronological order, from getting the contract to getting paid. The latest supplement updates will be integrated into the text for easy reference.


I know the author and he's excellent, but the price is a big obstacle. You might be able to negotiate a discount with the publisher.

Government Contracts in A Nutshell, 5th (2011), by Keyes and Feldman. More affordable at $38.00, but it may not be detailed enough. It's described as follows:

Summarizes the Federal Acquisition Regulation System (FARS), improper business practices and personal conflicts of interest, publicizing contract actions, outsourcing/privatization, and competition requirements. Addresses acquisition plans, contractor qualifications, contract delivery, and performance. Explains socio-economic policies, commercial items, options, sealed bidding, and negotiation. Reviews general contracting requirements, intellectual property, cost accounting standards, cost principles, financing, protests, disputes, and appeals. Explores research and development contracting, construction and architect-engineer contracts, inspection and warranty, value engineering, delays, suspension of work, modifications, subcontracting, and government contract termination.


You might also look at Government Contracting: Promises and Perils (ASPA Series in Public Administration and Public Policy), by William Sims Curry (CRC Press, 2010). $70.00.

A guidebook through the minefield of government contracting and procurement, Government Contracting: Promises and Perils describes the dangerous practices commonly applied in the development and management of government contracts and provides advice for avoiding the sort of errors that might compromise their ability to protect the public interest. It includes strategies for increasing profits for government contractors, rather than incurring burdensome costs, through compliance with government mandated subcontracting and financial management systems. Drawing from his indepth investigation of government agencies across the country, the author examines present-day scenarios that regularly lead public servants and government committees to manage contracts with tools that are less than optimal and to select contractors that may not be the best qualified. He then delineates practical processes, contracting documents, and contract management tools to mitigate detrimental outcomes and alternative approaches to supplant the imperfect methodologies.


I haven't read the book, but the table of contents looks promising. It seems to take a critical approach and is not merely expository.

#3 jvanhorne

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 08:57 AM

Thanks so much for the input, Vern. The Feldman book is definitely too expensive for most students. I have actually been giving some thought to the Nutshell book. The Curry book does look interesting and I will check it out. Is anyone familiar with Understanding Government Contract Law by Terrence M. O'Connor (Pub. Date: February 2007)? The price is reasonable and it seems to be geared to contract professionals.

#4 jvanhorne

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:46 AM

I looked at the table of contents for the Curry book. It seems to have a heavy emphasis on ethics and risk management from the CO perspective. The O'Conner book seems to cover the topics in a more general fashion and may be a better choice for a class text. From the samples on Amazon, the O'Conner book appears to be quite readable. I'm still open to other suggestions.

#5 Nathan

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 10:48 AM

3rd edition of the Government Contract Guidebook (2006) is available starting at $65 on Amazon. That's more reasonable for students to pay and would likely still contain most of the information found in the 4th edition (correct me if I'm wrong).

#6 APHIA85

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 09:32 PM

We used Government Contract Law in the Twenty First Century by Tiefer/Shook among others in my Master program at Florida Tech.




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