All in Procurement

Gene L. Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) gave a presentation on November 2010 titled Acquisition Reform Challenges Facing Government. Referring to GAO’s strategic plan, Dodaro’s presentation addressed large-scale acquisitions as “targets of opportunity,” repeating the often-heard criticism that “… much of the government’s major investments have faced persistent cost and schedule growth.” His analysis is a very intelligent review of the challenges involved in reducing acquisition costs. Here I suggest an approach he doesn’t discuss but which is based on concepts he presents.
According to the report 5 teams to tackle Gates call to improve efficiency, five Pentagon teams will focus on identification of Pentagon cost savings based on affordability, incentives, contract terms, metrics, and service contracts
I’m having an interesting discussion with colleagues about how to justify investments in collaboration-supporting technologies (e.g., blogs, wikis, and private social networks) when the business processes they support are numerous and spread across multiple participants who may not always share common goals.
That’s one of the reasons I’m concerned about how President Obama’s proposed changes to Federal procurement rules might tip the scales even more in favor of the issuance of fixed price contracts in situations where insufficient detail on requirements and available budget aren’t readily available to potential bidders.
The report Six Practical Steps to Improve Contracting by Dr. Allan V. Burman, Adjunct Professor, George Mason University, is based on a series of discussions co-sponsored by The IBM Center for the Business of Government and George Mason University concerning government procurement practices.