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About this blog

This blog is managed by Bob Antonio, the Owner of Wifcon.com. It includes link to news items on contracting and the blogger's comments

Entries in this blog

The Fixed-Price Incentive Firm Target Contract:  Not As Firm As the Name Suggests

The Fixed-Price Incentive Firm Target Contract:  Not As Firm As the Name Suggests At the end of 1976, I met the Director of the Procurement Control and Clearance Division of the Naval Material Command in Arlington, Virginia.  The Director was a legend of the contracting community and any significant Navy contract had to be approved by his office prior to award.  I was there because of a controversy involving a contract to acquire a new class of nuclear cruisers.  Th

bob7947

bob7947 in fpif-ft

Dear Editor: I am Eight Years Old

That was how Virginia O'Hanlon began her letter to the Editor of The Sun in 1897.  The Editor's response to Virginia is the most read editorial that was ever written  That is not exactly what this entry is about.  However, four years ago I did some research on Virginia and found the room where Virginia wrote her letter.  You can read about it in the brief entry shown below. What caught my eye was the comment from Alan to my earlier entry.  The comment was written in 2021 and I first notice

bob7947

bob7947 in Christmas

Lockheed Propulsion Company, Thiokol Corporation, B-173677, June 24, 1974 - Part 6: April 3, 1974

One of the things I first noticed when we drove from Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to our hotel was a sign post that looked like a corkscrew with a road sign on top.  Someone told me:  "A tornado did that."  How could wind do that?  I was about to find out.  It was April 3, 1974.  When we left MSFC after work, there was a strange feeling in the air.  One that I have never forgotten.  In fact, I stll feel if it is there after all of these years.  There was no wind, no noise, just a sti

bob7947

bob7947 in Part 6

Lockheed Propulsion Company, Thiokol Corporation, B-173677, June 24, 1974 - Part 5: Apples and Oranges and O-Rings

What did I do in Huntsville, Wifcon? For the 3 months in 1974 that I was there, I worked, drove around the Huntsville area in my 1971 240Z and began collecting and reading books.  I'm looking at one of the those books now.  It's still in my library:  Will Rogers, The Man and His Times by Richard M. Ketchum.   One of my colleagues from Atlanta took me to see "Contractors Row," in Huntsville which is a group of federal contractors and subcontractors lined up together on the same street.  Then

bob7947

bob7947 in Part 5

Lockheed Propulsion Company, Thiokol Corporation, B-173677, June 24, 1974 - Part 4: Truth or Consequences

Using the Solid Rocket Motor requirement from the solicitation that appears in Part 3 of this article, you can see that NASA may have been thinking of Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) for Increments 1 and 2 and Full Scale Production (FSP) for Increment 3.  In FSP, NASA planned 385 Space Shuttle flights between 1981 and 1988 or a little more than 1 Space Shuttle flight per week. Solicitation Increments Years Covered Planned Flights Planned Mo

bob7947

bob7947 in part 4

Lockheed Propulsion Company, Thiokol Corporation, B-173677, June 24, 1974 - Part 3: Selling the Program

On September 12, 1962, President Kennedy told us  On July 16, 1969, after a tumultuous decade, we, NASA, its contractors, and astronauts met President Kennedy's challenge, landed on the Moon and returned safely to Earth.  But, what were we ready to do after that?  While I was waiting for Captain Kirk to send us into warp drive much of the nation wanted a break.  There was a national letdown.  NASA's budget was put under pressure and they were asked to work more closely with the Department

bob7947

bob7947 in Space shuttle SRM

Lockheed Propulsion Company, Thiokol Corporation, B-173677, June 24, 1974 - Part 2: I Arrive in Huntsville

My road to Huntsville was simple enough, drive through Tennessee, pass into Alabama, and find the Tourway Inn on Memorial Parkway.  Those were the exact directions given to me.  "Find the Tourway on Memorial Parkway."  I had a paper fold-up map to find Memorial Parkway.  So it was drive up and down Memorial Parkway to find the Tourway.  There, I would meet our staff from the Atlanta Regional Office and they would fill me in on our work.  This was my first trip into the deep south, and with my Ph

bob7947

bob7947 in Lockheed Part 2

Lockheed Propulsion Company, Thiokol Corporation, B-173677, June 24, 1974 - Part 1: You're Going to Huntsville

It was Friday, February 1, 1974, when out of the blue, my supervisor asked me: Do you have anything against going to Huntsville, Alabama for a week?  The person that asked that question was the one that I needed to file my paperwork for promotion.   I immediately said no and asked when do I go?  Monday was the answer.  Since it was Friday and I was in Washington, D.C, I had a couple of days to get going and hundreds of miles to drive.  Stunned, I left my office space amd began walking around the

When The Last Dinosaur Turns Out the Lights!

In the middle of July 2023, Wifcon.com will begin its 25th year online, if I'm still alive and functioning.  I'm Bob Antonio, I'm Wifcon.com, I'm 73 years old now, and I started Wifcon.com in 1998, before many of you were born.  I'm well but I am mortal.    Over the years, I've met a handful of you in person including Vern Edwards, Ralph Nash and Joel Hoffman.  Others I've met by accident include a Procurement Executive at the Department of Commerce when I was a member of the workaday world

bob7947

bob7947 in Dinosaur

Wifcon.com: My Legacy; My Albatross

Shortly after we celebrate our country's independence on July 4, 2013, Wifcon.com will end its 15th year on the internet. With much help from the Wifcon.com community, I've raised a growing teenager. When I started, I was 49 and my hair was so thick that I often shouted ouch or some obscenity when I combed it. Wifcon.com has existed in 3 decades and parts of 2 centuries. During that period, I've updated this site for every work day--except for the week or so when I called it quits. I remember th

robert_antonio

robert_antonio

Why Not an Insider? Lesley Anne Field as Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy

I only add the quote about Gene Dodaro to show that Actings can effectively manage organizations.  He's been running GAO for 12 years now.  I was relieved to see that an insider was finally made the Comptroller General.  Someone that knew the agency, someone that could hit the ground running, someone that could get the job done.  That's enough about Gene, this entry is about the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and its next Administrator. I'm feeling a little nasty this morning because

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet, Three Times Higher Than The Tallest Mountain

Many years ago, as a teen, I noticed a magazine on a barbershop table with an incredible black airplane on the cover. Huge engines on each side of a delta wing and a long thin fuselage with a cockpit near the front. I never forgot that airplane, it was an SR-71 Blackbird. Fifty-five years later, I wrote a brief article about the first Blackbird -- the A-12. It's the fastest and highest flying jet airplane that was ever built. Everything about the A-12 was incredible. A requirement was developed

bob7947

bob7947 in article

We Did It, Let's Quit!

Last week, I posted an article on the Wifcon Forum in which Dr. Mark J. Lewis, the Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Modernization provided some thoughts about defense projects.  The article was entitled Risk Aversion Impedes Hypersonics Development.  Within the article was a 44- minute video that includes, in part, his discussion of the race for hypersonic weapons systems.  I listened to the video and found it interesting.  The article itself started with this quote: I liv

bob7947

bob7947

Yes Virginia, You Are Honored with a Plaque

Each year about this time, I read an editorial by Francis Pharcellus Church that was published in The Sun on September 21, 1897. The editorial is in response to a letter written by eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon.  Now, this entry is not about the contents of the editorial but I will add my favorite part of the editorial: Mr. Church's prose is beautiful.  He died in 1906 and Virgina died in 1971.  Check out the brief description of the two in Wikipedia.  In her letter to The Sun, Virgini

bob7947

bob7947

The Guy Lacks Initiative

I've been reading some discussions from the Contracting Workforce Forum.  As some of you know, I abhor the use of management phrases like "cool kids organizations."  What the hell is a "cool kids organization?"  Is it an excuse for something?  I spent my working career listenting to the latest meaningless phrases like that.  I was around when the words Human Capital became popular.  The words Human Resource preceded it.  If you look at the definition for capital and resource, you will see they a

bob7947

bob7947

Congress Passes Too Much Acquisition Legislation

In 1972, the Commission on Government Procurement wrote that Congress should limit its acquisition legislation to fundamental acquisition matters and let the Executive Branch implement Congress's policies through specific acquisition regulation.  If Congress had listened, it would be passing less acquisition legislation, doing a better jub of fulfilling its oversight responsibility of acquisition activities, and the FAR Councils would be performing their regulatory duty to implement Congress's a

bob7947

bob7947

A Contracting Officer In The Midst Of A Maelstrom

In early 1977, Gordon Wade Rule (Rule) sat in a chair in a corner of a conference room at the Naval Material Command reading a document that I had prepared about his negotiations on the CGN-41, a nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser.  Days earlier, I was among a group that was briefed by a staff member of Admiral Hyman Rickover (Rickover), the Director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program.  Although, the briefing was supposed to be about the CGN-41 negotiation, we were treated to a 3-hour l

bob7947

bob7947

A Visit From the FAR Council -- 2016 Update

At the end of calendar year 2014, I analyzed the number of Federal Acquisition Circulars (FACs) issued by the FAR Council, by month, from 2014 through 2000.  I had mentally noticed that the Council had a penchant for issuing FACs in December so I wanted to see if the actual numbers matched what I thought was happening.  The numbers did!  My mind was still working.  So this year, I updated my 2014 analysis. Well, in 2016 and 2015, the Council was quite merry in December.  They issued 2 FACs durin

bob7947

bob7947

GAO's Most Prevalent Reasons for Sustaining Protests--2016 Update

The Competition in Contracting Act of 1984 requires the Government Accountability Office (GA0) to report to the U. S. Congress annually when government agencies fail to fully implement its bid protest recommendations. GAO has posted these reports on its website since fiscal year (FY) 1995. Initially, these reports provided little information but by FY 2004, GAO published its "Bid Protest Statistics" covering FY 2004 through 2001. I have added every one of these reports to the fiscal year numbers

bob7947

bob7947

Could Lucy Ellen Find Happiness at DPSC?

On June 20, 2015, Vern Edwards introduced us to F & F Laboratories, Inc., ASBCA 33007, 89-1 BCA ¶ 21207 (Sept. 14, 1988). In early 1986, the Defense Personnel Support Center (DPSC) awarded a contract to F & F Laboratories, Inc. (F & F) for "starch jelly bars" as part of the military's abandon ship ration procurement. F & F offered its commercial jelly bar as part of its proposal and it was incorporated into the contract documents. Unfortunately, the commercial product didn't fit

bob7947

bob7947

DIVAD Versus 60 Minutes

Yesterday, Don Mansfield posted an article entitled Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession. After reading the digest of the article and bristling at some of the jargon used, I can report on what was written in simple language. It is: under some circumstances Army officers can accept a lie as truth. Why single out Army officers? I won't. The truth is that humans can accept a lie as truth. I've written about that before. The article made me remember an episode of 60 Minutes

bob7947

bob7947

The Contract for "Pook Turtles"

No, they are not candy; no they are not turtles. However, they did have an iron shell. Pook Turtles were designed by Samuel M. Pook and were the "City Class" of armored gunboats that sailed the Mississippi and its tributaries beginning in early 1862. They were called Pook Turtles because people thought they looked like turtles. The seven ships were the USS Cairo, Carondelet, Cincinnati, Louisville, Mound City, Pittsburg, and St. Louis. The recovered remnants of the USS Cairo now rest at the N

bob7947

bob7947

Why GAGAS Should Make You Gag

For those of you who are not familiar with the auditing world, GAGAS is the acronym for Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards and it is written and maintained by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Compliance with GAGAS is mandatory for an auditor during the conduct of an audit and a memo noting compliance with GAGAS should be in the auditor's assignment folder for each audit. Although I was a member of the auditing community during my career with the GAO, I also viewed myse

bob7947

bob7947

The Government's Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing

The long-standing principle that the federal government had the same implied duty of good faith and fair dealing as any commercial buyer was put in jeopardy by a 2010 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Precision Pine & Timber, Inc. v. U.S., 596 F.3d 817 (Fed. Cir. 2010). There a panel of the court adopted a narrow rule seemingly limiting application of the principle to situations where a government action was “specifically targeted” at the contractor or had the ef

Ralph Nash

Ralph Nash

Offer and Acceptance, Contracting Authority, Etc.

In Thomas F. Neenan, as Trustee of the Thomas F. Neenan, Sr., Revocable Trust, v. U. S., No. 11-733C, August 22, 2013, you are taken through some of the basics of federal contracting. How many basic points can you identify in this 10-page opinion? I've listed those that I identified below: 1. Offer and acceptance, unconditional offer, preliminary negotiations. 2. Change in ownership, death of party, trust agreement. 3. Pattern or practice. 4. Contract specialist's authority, integral

bob7947

bob7947

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