Acquisition reform ramps up early in 2016

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry is wasting no time in his efforts to build on last year’s reforms to the defense acquisition system. 

House Armed Services CommitteeLess than a year after he launched his opening salvo in a new round of changes, Chairman Thornberry previewed the year ahead with a recent hearing and a presentation at the National Press Club.

Chairman Thornberry plans to circulate draft reform legislation and incorporate the finished product into the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  Emphasizing (once again) the themes of agility and innovation, the hearing featured the senior acquisition executives from each of the military departments.  Chairman Thornberry expressed particular interest in finding ways to support their drive for greater flexibility in experimentation and prototyping.

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Cost and price analysis takes center stage in March

The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech is offering a course spotlighting the Fundamentals of Cost & Price Analysis in government contracting.

To see details or to register, click here.  The 10-day course is scheduled for Mar. 14 through 25, 2016.

The Academy’s comprehensive course begins with an in-depth review of the market research process, and provides instruction to help students understand and analyze contractor pricing strategies.

Attendees learn to accomplish cost-volume-profit analysis, calculate contribution margin estimates, and develop cost estimating relationships in order to accomplish an effective price analysis pursuant to FAR Subpart 15.4.

After learning the basic elements of price and cost analysis, students will build and defend a pre-negotiation objective, including a minimum and maximum pricing objective with a weighted guidelines assessment.

Cost and price analysis is part of a plan of total market surveillance designed to understand the relationship of market forces on the acquisition of technology, products and services.
Cost and price analysis is part of a plan of total market surveillance designed to understand the relationship of market forces on the Government’s acquisition of technology, products and services.

This course is ideal for new hires in the contracting career field.   In addition, for government contractors, this course provides invaluable insights into the government contracting decision-making process.

Student performance is assessed by graded exams on math fundamentals and applied course material as well as an exercise for student participation and completion of negotiations.

CON 170 – Fundamentals of Cost & Price Analysis is Defense Acquisition University-equivalent training that satisfies the FAC-C and DAWIA certification programs. For more information or to register, please visit:

4 collaboration tips for government teams

A recent survey of 200 North American business professionals who manage or participate in projects found that people waste nine weeks per year to poor project collaboration.

The irony is that the sheer number of online tools to help with collaboration, such as applications, social media and intranets, often hinders teams instead of helping them.

In fact, the study revealed that the average team member uses about five different tools to manage projects. One-third of respondents also said no one in their organization uses the same tools.

It’s no wonder teams are finding it difficult to get on the same page.

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Meet the Air Force’s new acquisition system

The U.S. Air Force simply can’t afford to continue business as usual and expect to maintain air, space, and cyberspace superiority.
Deborah Lee James
The author of this article is Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force.

That’s why one year ago, I launched a series of new activities designed to reduce cost and acquisition times while increasing innovation under the Air Force’s Bending the Cost Curve initiative, or BTCC.

By dedicating ourselves to partnering with the defense industry, taking bold actions within the Air Force, and continually measuring results, we are leading the way in creating a 21st Century acquisition system that truly fosters innovation and harnesses the full potential of American ingenuity. While there is still much work to be done, we’ve made a lot of progress in the last year. So, now is a great time to review what we’ve accomplished, discuss what hasn’t worked, and chart a course for the future.

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DFARS final rule clarifies application of Afghan taxes to contractors

The Department of Defense (DoD) has issued a Final Rule intended to clarify that U.S. defense contractors and subcontractors performing work in Afghanistan, including work on contracts below the simplified acquisition threshold and for commercial items, are not subject to Afghan taxes. 

DFARSThe rule updates the tax provisions of the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to reference the Bilateral Security Agreement signed by the U.S. and Afghanistan in 2014, which was much more explicit in its exemption of U.S. contractors from Afghan tax obligations than assorted prior agreements between various United States agencies and the Afghan Government, which arguably included similar exemptions.

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