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Fear & Loathing in Contracting

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Posts posted by Fear & Loathing in Contracting

  1. It looks like the essence of this all (stated by ji20874, Joel Hoffman, etc..) is that many contracting situations (and this is one of them) are complex, situation dependent, and chock full of grey areas. Whenever I get wind of blanket actions/directions pertaining to the deeply qualitative scenarios associated with my area of work (DoD Major Weapon Systems) my knee jerk reaction is to: (1) cringe; & (2) look for the litany of unintended complications that may/will arise. Often times, it turns out to be fairly manageable, but my point is: as a KO one cannot just auto-react. You really need to think about everything and if needed/available- talk to other KO's, supervisors, etc., especially when the stakes are high such as they have been as of late.

  2. One quick clarification- not my intent to disparage all policy jobs as "dead end." Considering that I spent some time in policy, it is not obviously not dead end.

    My overall point though I believe still holds: the threat of losing your warrant is a considerable deterrent and usually sufficient. The inability to obtain a warrant in the 1102 job series precludes one from many opportunities. What remains is policy, procurement analysis, cost & pricing, etc..

  3. KO's serve as a check and balance to requiring activities. I believe we are a "Government Partner" but not really a "Business Partner." Our job is not to keep the customer happy at all cost and give them what they want. Our job is to ensure they do things properly and get what they need. Sounds trite, is often espoused, but it really is the truth. It also can be pretty darn challenging when you know you are doing the right thing that will in the end be best for everyone while everyone is mad at you.

    Jail? Only times I have seen this is for highly egregious behavior, always uniformed, always OCONUS, and nearly always for incredibly blatant and stupid stuff.

    Costing you? That is a more distinct possibility- but again- very rare.

    I would think for most KO's- the threat of a career killing warrant yank leading to a dead end policy job is a sufficient deterrent- and this DOES happen hence why a true deterrent.

  4. Overall- I feel the more rotation the better. Before looking to do outside the Gov though, it needs to happen inside first. Despite what is being espoused- not really happening though. Not just talking about inside Gov contracting (although should be the priority). Should also occur with different customer organizations.

    I have actually moved (not rotated but took a job) quite a bit- private and public- but I sure hit a lot of resistance at times. Ironincally, I had no issues between public and private. It was all within the Gov. The immediate folks you work never want to let you go (worse problem though if the opposite I guess..). If you have the constitution and persistence- it can be invaluable. Takes some nerve though. Gov folks are very security oriented and while they might be OK rotating- actually leaving the Government and 100% entering the private side, and then eventually repeating in reverse- can be daunting.

    One hugely valuable result for me is that I can very quickly get inside the heads of the contractor negotiators as I served in their role for many years. Not sure a simple rotation would have gotten me to that level though. This is where the crux problem lies though= considerable time is required to truly understand the private side but the longer you are there... the greater potential for conflict of interest and "going native." I avoided conflicts of interest by always laying everything out on the table and never working anywhere I had a prior hand in. You follow your skills rather then your organizational contacts.

  5. This is very tough to address in a short posting. In essence, you always want to try and achieve a balance between objective metrics and any qualitative factors impacting them. One starts with the 1st in order to create baselines: (1) consistent measurements across your staff; & (2) as starting points for each individual's level of performance. Then adjust based upon qualitative factors. Example: are PALT issues due to slow 1102 performance, challenging customers, outside circumstances, etc.

  6. I understand it to be per action or per function (such as for closeout or funding de-obligation).

    Just be careful. Even though it is a limited warrant, it is still a warrant. I say this while watching them proprogate amongst the less experienced and ambitious 1102's working around me. Once you have the ability to sign for the Government, your CLM risk is high whether it is $5 million or $50 million. It is always a concern of mine that trade-off risk may be in play with the issuance of these limited warrants: a reduction in upper management work process pressure against an increase in career risk for newer folks in the field.

    Keep in mind: it may sound counter-intuitive, but I feel there is more risk with lower dollar awards. Reason: less reviews.

  7. My answer is: yes. I would do it all over again. While of course it is important to look at the level of job security of which you are comfortable, growth potential, etc.. it really comes down to whether you enjoy or gain satisfaction from at least 51% of what you do. Personally, I do- but everyone is different.

    I like the balance between the specific and general aspects of this profession. As an 1102, one has the ability to dig into certain areas of interest, while also having the luxury of being able to move around through a broad field. This is not an option for many other types of professionals. I think back to my now retired father who worked over 40 years in DOD as a nuclear engineer. His field was hyper-focused on a very specific subject matter and he had very little ability to move around. He was OK with this, but I am different- and thus chose a much different field.

    In essence, I would do it all over again- but that is me. Everyone has to assess from their own perspective.

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