White House wants to build digital-savvy contracting corps

The Obama administration is building a special squad of digital-savvy contracting officers to help agencies procure technology more effectively.

U.S. Digital ServiceThe new team will be modeled on the U.S. Digital Service, a similar effort to get more technologists into the ranks of government but will be staffed by existing agency contracting officers who undergo specialized training, Anne Rung, the administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing this week.

Agency contracting offices often write exhaustively detailed statements of work that are often hundreds of pages long — and ask the same of companies when they submit proposals, Rung said.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/2015/06/white-house-wants-build-digital-savvy-contracting-corps/115183

Learn more about the U.S. Digital Service at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/digital/united-states-digital-service 

Military chiefs say they’re often blindsided by acquisition problems

Interviews with 12 current and former military service chiefs reveal strong dissatisfaction with their Pentagon acquisition colleagues, who too often change the requirements for weapons systems or demand additional capability, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

pentagon-seal“Some current and former service chiefs said that because they lack visibility into programs, they are unable to influence trade-offs between requirements and resources,” said the watchdog in a report released Thursday. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps chiefs said they are “frequently caught by surprise when cost, schedule, and performance problems emerge in programs.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/defense/2015/06/military-chiefs-say-theyre-often-blindsided-acquisition-problems/115177

IG: USPS doesn’t know if it saved money renegotiating contracts

The Postal Service renegotiated contracts with its largest suppliers as a way to save money, but never tracked the results of the initiative to see if it actually saved anything, says a June 4 USPS inspector general report.

USPS logoIn fiscal 2009, USPS began an effort to renegotiate contracts with over 218 of its largest suppliers.

The Rapid Renegotiation Initiative, or RRI, identified cost savings the Postal Service could pursue in those contracts to improve its financial position.

Through the RRI, the supply management workers at USPS negotiated with the suppliers to reduce what it paid for goods and services and to limit the scope of the contract work.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/ig-usps-doesnt-know-if-saved-money-renegotiating-contracts/2015-06-10

Weather Service paid retired exec half a million to consult

In a maneuver some would call “writing your own ticket,” a top National Weather Service executive announced his retirement and then set himself up to perform the same work as a consultant, raising his pay by $43,000, according to the Commerce Department inspector general.

National Weather Service NOAABefore his contract was terminated in 2012, the official also collected a $50,000 housing allowance and allegedly pressed for the agency to hire a relative, according to a summary of the investigation. The total cost to the government: $471,875.34.

The Commerce IG did not name the “senior official,” but The Washington Post recently identified him as former deputy chief financial officer P. Donald Jiron. His lawyer, Matthew Kaiser, said, “Mr. Jiron has not done anything wrong” because he acted “at the direction of and with the approval of his supervisor at all times.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2015/06/weather-service-paid-retired-exec-half-million-consult/114718

July courses focus on pricing skills and small business programs

Two courses that are fundamental to the federal contracting process are being offered in the month of July by The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech.

CON 170 Understanding Seller PricingThe first course is CON 170: Fundamentals of Cost & Price Analysis, and is being offered July 6-17, 2015. This course begins with an in-depth review of the government’s market research process and provides instruction to help students understand and analyze contractor pricing strategies. Students will learn to accomplish Cost-Volume-Profit analysis, calculate contribution margin estimates and develop cost estimating relationships in order to accomplish an effective price analysis of a bid or proposal. Students will practice face-to-face negotiations.


CON 260B LessonsThe second course is CON 260B: Small Business Programs, a 3-day course being offered July 21-23, 2015.  This course Covers the intricacies of the government’s Small Business Programs which are designed to maximize the participation of small businesses in prime contracts and subcontracts. Instruction covers selection of appropriate acquisition strategies, the SBA’s role in the award decision-making process, subcontracting requirements, and assistance available to small businesses.  As a bonus, the course includes a review of on-line course CON 260A.

These courses are designed for federal acquisition officials and industry professionals alike.  Both courses also meet Defense Acquisition University standards.

DAU logoThe courses are being offered at Georgia Tech’s world-class Global Learning Center in Midtown Atlanta. More information and registration details can be found by clicking on the course titles above.