Incomplete contractor info made it difficult for DoD to determine noncompetitive contract prices

The Defense Department had trouble determining reasonable prices for noncompetitive contracts because some contractors wouldn’t share pricing information, according to an Aug. 12 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

GAO-GovernmentAccountabilityOffice-SealNormally, DoD relies on competition to ensure that it pays a reasonable price for its goods and services. But for noncompetitive contracts, DoD relies on other methods including information from previous contracts or from the contractors themselves, GAO says in the report.

The DoD requested pricing information from contractors for 12 of 32 noncompetitive agreements in GAO’s sample. For the remaning 20 contracts, DoD felt it already had enough information to make sure it was getting a reasonable price.

Keep reading this article at:

DHS audit: School district awarded $50 million in disaster funds without competition

A Homeland Security Department (DHS) audit found that a northeast Kansas school district awarded $50 million in federal disaster funds to rebuild facilities following a 2008 tornado without using a full and open competitive process.

DHS logoHowever, the DHS inspector general said it deferred to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision that the costs were “fair and reasonable for the work performed” under government regulations that allow for exceptions, according to the June 24 report released publicly last week.

Still, IG said the agency had better options and should remind Kansas of its responsibilities to make sure grant recipients are aware of federal regulations and monitor such activities to ensure compliance. It also said the state, which administered the funds, should also inform the Chapman, Kan., school district that it must comply with procurement requirements otherwise future FEMA reimbursements could be at risk.

Keep reading this article at:

Why commercial acquisition is hard for government

If one were to ask the average citizen if the government should buy more like industry, most would probably say yes.

So why then has commercial contracting by the government struggled to catch on?   In this article NCMA Executive Director Michael P. Fischetti addresses this question.

Theoretically, the U.S. federal government encourages buying commercial whenever practical. Passage of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA) in 1994 included the government’s stated preference for commercial items. As stated in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), agencies shall determine whether commercial or nondevelopmental items are available to meet their needs, acquire them when available, and require contractors at all tiers to incorporate them as components. This can have worthwhile affects, such as minimizing acquisition lead time and reducing the need for detailed design specifications, expensive product testing, or government-funded research and development. The government can keep current, as commercial products or services will conform to industry trends and standards and reduce government-specific tailoring that increases cost.

Keep reading this article at:

3 ways to make government a smarter shopper

It is time to rethink federal acquisition, particularly as we move into a new era of governing—one that is focused on delivering public service for the future. 

There is a groundswell of energy around making procurement a more efficient and outcomes-driven process.

American Flag 2Forward-looking agencies are not simply improving the acquisitions function, they are strategically aligning acquisitions with the organizational strategy, creating holistic business units focused on a highly engaged workforce, total cost of ownership and predictable outcomes.

Taking three major steps can help agencies fundamentally transform federal acquisition.

Keep reading this article at:

Pentagon trying to make its $400 billion fighter jet cheaper to fly

As the F-35’s expected price tag settles around $165 million per plane, DoD is trying to trim the much larger operations-and-maintenance bills to come.

The Pentagon, which has spent the last four years lowering the purchase price of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, is now taking aim at the costs of flying it.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

The headline-grabbing $400 billion price tag for developing and buying 2,443 U.S.F-35s is less than half the cost of operating, maintaining, and upgrading all of those jets for the next half-century. In March estimates, various Pentagon offices put the total of those expenses at $859 billion and $1 trillion.

Top program officials met this week with executives from the companies that are building the F-35. The annual summit had a new venue — Norway, not the jet’s Fort Worth assembly line — and a fresh agenda: having largely moved beyond nagging design and production problems, the group discussed the future of the world’s most expensive weapons program.

Keep reading this article at: