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Everything posted by bob7947

  1. 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 noticed it tonight. Alan, thank you for the comment. It added a bit of cheer to my Christmas in 2023.
  2. Vern: I have one comment. You suggest I suggest that the CO decision get one oversight appeal and that be limited to the appropriate board of contract appeals. You get the COFC out of the protest process. Don't let them back in at the end. With the COFC you get the CAFC and SCOTUS.
  3. Defense Contracting Workforce Development and Continuous Learning. Issued today.
  4. Acquisition Research Program Newsletter: October 20, 2023
  5. This topic is now subject to Rule 17 which is quoted below. This topic was posted on Friday of last week. It will be locked at the COB on Friday of this week unless the Original Poster (OP) responds to those tryng to help the OP.
  6. THE NASH & CIBINIC REPORT presents: Evaluator Working Papers and Notes: What To Do With Them? by Vernon J. Edwards -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  7. Every once in a while, you read something that amazes you. In this case, the Aerospace Industries Association provided something special in its letter to Congress complaining about a needless annual event. See what you think.
  8. 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 stillness. Nature was waiting for something. As we approached our hotel in Huntsville, there were people on second floor balconies looking towards the southwest. What was that about? We went straight to dinner that night and knew something was wrong but we didn't know what it was. In the restaurant, the television was turned to a channel that had only white noise. Everyone was watching it. Later, I found out they were using the Weller Method of TV-Tornado Detection. We asked the waitress: what's going on? "Three tornados went north of us and hit Jeff and Toney." Jeff and Toney were small villages just north of Huntsville. We quickly finished dinner and I went back to my room to watch the weather on a local television station. The guy doing the weather was just finishing his coverage of a tornado that went south of Huntsville. Tornado to the north of us, tornado to the south of us, and the night was still young. As I noticed a storm on the television near Decatur pass over the Tennessee River, the weather guy said the worst was over and returned us to the regular programming. Decatur is southwest of Huntsville and Huntsville is northeast of Decatur. In between them is the Huntsville International Airport. But what about that tornado that just crossed the Tennessee River? I didn't have to wait long for an answer. Within minutes, the weather guy was back on television telling us about the tornado that was taking aim on the Huntsville Airport. He showed us the hook pattern in the storm that indicated it was a tornado and then reported that the tower at the airport had been evacuated and a tornado was crossing the runway. The weather guy still didn't mention Huntsville and we were directly in the tornado's path. I wasn't waiting for the weather guy. That tornado had Huntsville in its crosshairs and I wasn't waiting for the weather guy to tell me. I looked around the room and saw the bathtub and two sofa cushions I could use. I jumped in the bathtub and put the cushions over my head. Then I waited. Finally, the weather guy said that the tornado was on University Drive. I was on University Drive too! Then the power went out. I slipped down into the bathtub and waited to die. I continued to wait for a few minutes. Then I got tired of waiting and looked out the window. As I looked out, I could see power generators exploding on the top of Monte Sano mountain which was in back of our hotel. The tornado missed me by 1/4 mile but mowed though Huntsville just east of me. I had survived the 1974 Super Outbreak of tornadoes that stretched from Ontario, Canada to Alabama. One police officer, who saw the tornado that went through Huntsville, said it was one large tornado and two smaller ones on each side of the main tornado. They flew in formation and left devastation behind. All through the night, I heard ambulances. It's not a good feeling. I knew Huntsville had been hit hard but I didn't know how bad it was. The next day, we went to MSFC where some windows were blown out of the Administration building. Some furniture was on the ground and there were long white sheets of what looked like cloth hanging out of some of the windows. After work, we found a place to eat on University Drive and passed by a 1,000 foot-wide path of destruction left by the tornado. It was on both sides of the street. I remember a hotel that looked much like the Tourway Inn where I stayed. This hotel was demolished but a flimsy free-standing yellow wood wall was left standing. The tornado sent several things through the wall that I could identify. For example, I could see the outline of a bathroom sink that passed through the wall. Don't ask, much like the cork-screw sign post, I still can't figure it out. Over the weekend, I drove up to Monte Sano mountain. From the street, I could see a path cut through the trees. The cut was cleanly done as if the tornado was giving the woods a manicure. It even took the tops of the trees with it. At the end of April, I drove home to Maryland. I can remember several things about my drive to Huntsville but I cannot remember one thing about the drive home. Maybe, I was just glad to get home.
  9. Thank you, Joel. There are 5 parts of the story now. A sixth will follow and then, maybe, a seventh which would be a summary.
  10. Contractors and offerors have the legal right granted them by federal law to protest an award and dispute a contracting officer' decision. You all know that! You CANNOT penalize them, for them employing their rights. If a government agency is going to use any device to punish an offferor or contractor for using their legal rights, you better have a cause that can hold up in some legal forum. For example, look at this from the Administrator, OFPP, entitled Protests, Claims, and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as Factors in Past Performance and Source Selection Decisions. I hope your evaluations and preformance ratings do not include any type of punisment in them. On the other hand, if someone is extremely abusive and disruptive, even GAO managed to ban one protester for a year, if I remember correctly.
  11. I remember, by law or regulation, that an agency is not allowed to penalize a company because it protests a procurement or disputes a contracting officer's opinion. It's probably in law.
  12. This Appropriations decision is discussed by the Architect of the Capitol's Inspector General in the Audits Section of the Home Page. Architect of the Capitol—Purchase and Use of Motor Vehicles, B-333508, September 7, 2023
  13. Acquisition Research Program Newsletter: September 8, 2023
  14. There has been a question asked of the original poster. Rule 17 is in effect.
  15. This morning CMS identified the first 10 drugs that would be subject to contract negotiations for prices in the Medicare program. Is there anyone here invoved in this new program?
  16. I was thinking this phrase comes from another phrase "two bites at the apple." My memory is telling me that may come up in sealed bidding. A bid, unlike an offer is meant to be final. You don't get a second bite at it. GAO uses the same logic as in "claim preclusion." They just don't call it that (at least I never noticed it.) So, where does "two bites at the apple" come from in a judicial proceeding?" I looked that up. "The first use of “two bites at the apple” in a judicial opinion did not come until the 1922 case of McCoy v. Tolar, in which the Supreme Court of Mississippi held that a party was not entitled to a new trial just because they had failed to offer available proof at the first trial." (Source: Noah Chauvin's How Lawyers Eat Apples.) There you are: Legal theory is based, in some part, on idioms.
  17. I don't know but here is A Guide to the Rulemaking Process by the Federal Register.
  18. 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 there was the French kid selling peanuts in one of the nearby shopping malls. Me with a Philadelphia accent and him with a French one. I bought a bag of the peanuts. The SRM Contractor Selection The Solid Rocket Motor (SRM) solicitation was for a Cost-Plus-Award-Fee procurement and the offerors in the table below were ranked according to technical factors in the following order. Although, the first three offerors were rated very good the numerical score favored Lockheed by 4 points. However, the Source Evaluation Board (SEB) evaluated Thiokol as the lowest most probable cost performer by $122 million on this estimated $800 million procurement. The SEB submitted its written report to the NASA Administrator who was the Source Selection Official (SSO) Score Overall Adjective Rating Lockheed 714 Very Good Thiokol 710 Very Good UTC 710 Very Good Aerojet 655 Good After selecting Thiokol, the SSO issued a selection statement that read A protest was inevitable and Lockheed protested. My Work Evaluating Offerors' Proposals and NASA's Evaluation As I look back now, I believe my 3 months in Hunstville was supposed to be little more than a learning experience or a training exercise. GAO was big on getting its auditors to experience field work and this was problably my chance. I had graduated from college in May 1971 and now I was in Huntsville in the Spring of 1974 effectively delaying the Space Program. GAO took pride in calling itself Congresses' Watchdog. With my lack of experience I, at best, was a Watchpuppy. In the beginning, I didn't know what a work breakdown structure (WBS) was nor did I know how a learning curve worked. And I surely didn't know how to build a solid rocket motor. By the end of my stay in Huntsville, I had memorized every WBS of manufacturing labor in both Thiokol's and Lockheed's proposals, understood Lockheed's Best & Final Offer with its troubling and unsupported learning curve projection, and knew enough to run the other way as fast as I could if someone mentioned ammonium perchlorate in my presence. Each member of our small audit team had a section of the offerors' proposals to study. I had to study the manufacturing labor hours section of the two proposals and then NASA's evaluation of them. In studying the two proposals, I noticed that one offeror presented manufacturing hours and quality assurance hours separately and the other presented them as one. However, they came out roughly the same. When I looked at NASA's evaluation of the offerors' presentation of labor hours, there was no mention of the differences. I was looking for precision and there wasn't any. After I finished my analysis, my Audit Manager from Washington arrived for my presentation to NASA's evaluators. I discussed in detail, from the smallest WBS to the largest, what the NASA evaluators had missed. In the end, I told the NASA evaluators they had compared apples to oranges in their evaluation. Here is what GAO wrote in its bid protest decision. In English, that meant that NASA did not make any adjustment to either offerors' cost. It accepted them as proposed. Then there was Lockheed's Best and Final Offer (BAFO) which reduced its estimated costs based on a learning curve adjustment. Learning curves are based on the theory that the more times you do the same task, the less time it takes you to do the task as one gains experience at it. In the protest decision, GAO wrote GAO was being kind. However, NASA accepted Lockheed's BAFO as submitted. What About Those O-rings Well, it comes from an offeror's technical proposal. I don't remember which offeror but we were having a discussion with a NASA evaluator. It was a drawing that showed the SRM before it was ignited and then after ignition. After ignition the sides of the SRM expanded and the O-rings were shown holding the gasses within the SRM. I was amazed that the O-rings could withstand that pressure. That drawing remains etched in my brain. GAO's and NASA's Decision After about 6 months, GAO issued its bid protest decision on June 24, 1974. GAO's decision lists 25 bullets. The first one said Within hours of GAO's bid protest decision, NASA chose not to reconsider its selection decision and moved ahead with the Shuttle Program. Copyright © 1998 - 2023 Wifcon.com LLC
  19. 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 Motors 1+2 1973 - 1981 54 108 3 1981 - 1988 385 770 Total Planned Flights & Motors 439 878 I cannot remember what time of day I placed the Space Shuttle example in my course for GAO Auditors but it always was after a break. I had to prepare myself for it. Perhaps, my voice would break. Perhaps a tear would roll down my cheek while my voice was breaking. It wasn't an act. It's happening now. My first question to the class was: How many flights did NASA plan for the Space Shuttle in each year? The guessing usually started at around 20 but before it reached 50 I would chime in with 50. The second question was: How was the program sold to Congress? It was Cost Per Flight. The more flights you plan, realistic or not, the lower the cost per flight, realistic or not. Of course, the last question was: How do you fix problems on a tight budget? After that, I simply looked into the eyes of the class members. I didn't have to say anything, the answer was obvious. If you want a complete aswer to that question, I suggest reading: Truth, Lies, and O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster, by Allan J. McDonald and James R. Hansen, Mar 11, 2012. Years Covered Actual Flights Actual Motors 1973 - 1981 2 4 1981 - 1988 25 50 1989 - 1995 46 92 1996 - 2000 28 56 2001 - 2005 13 26 2006 - 2011 21 42 Total Flights & Motors 135 270 Now, take a look at my 2nd table. Let's see how NASA measured up to the solicitation's planned schedule. I'll start with Increments 1 and 2 from the solicitation in the first table. The solicitation planned for 54 flights between 1973 - 1981. During that period, it actually achieved 2 flights. For increment 3 which appears to be full scale production during the years 1981 - 1988, the solicitation planned for 385 flights. During that period, NASA actually achieved 25 flights. We might as well look at the entire program schedule. The solicitation planned for the program to last from 1973 to 1988 (15 years) with 439 flights. It actually lasted between 1974 and 2011 (37) years with 135 flights. The simple facts are that the Space Shuttle Program missed, by a huge margin, the delivery requirements laid out in the solicitation for the SRMs and without the SRMs, the Shuttle was going nowhere. The solicitation requirement was for about 1 flight each week during production for about 7 years. I was going to descibe how the 2,200 tons of the Shuttle was going to be built by different contractors and shipped to Florida for assembly but why belabor the point. The best NASA could do was about 6 or 7 flights a year--not 1 per week. The solicitation was issued in 1973 and since then no agency, no contractor, no country, nor the entire planet Earth has been able to come close to such a requirement for manned space flight. Richard P. Feynman recognized it in 1986 as a bogus requirement. The bogus requirement had its cost per flight purpose needed for Congress but meeting the requirement was an impossibility. Just read the quote I added from the Packard Commission in Part 3. So, how do we judge the Space Shuttle program against a bogus requirement? That too is an impossibility. Decide for yourself. _______________________________________________________________________ The source for the totals in the second table is from Wikepedia.com's List of Space Shuttle Missions Copyright © 1998 - 2023 Wifcon.com LLC
  20. ULTIMA SERVS. CORP., Plaintiff, v. U.S. DEP'T OF AGRIC., et al., Defendants., 2:20-CV-00041-DCLC-CRW, July 19,2023. Court's Conclusion: SBA Releases Interim Guidance to 8(a) Program Participants in Light of Ultima Servs. Corp. v. Dep’t of Ag. ruling.
  21. I've noticed that posters believe it is easier to add raw links to posts instead of descriptive links. Take a look. FAR 13.004 Legal effect of quotations. or https://www.acquisition.gov/far/part-13#FAR_13_004. To add a link all you have to do is add the text 13.004 Legal effect of quotations Highlight the text with your cursor, dump the text into your post, click the "link" icon, dump the https info into the space, and save.
  22. Below is Rule 16. 16. Abbreviations are to be kept to a minimum--preferably none at all--so that others can interpret a post and respond to it intelligently. I've read the Original Post again and it may be that the Procurement Integrated Enterprise Environment (PIEE) and/or the Clause Logic System (CLS) might have a glitch in it.
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