A significant portion of the report released last week is devoted to improving the federal acquisition workforce’s professionalism and competency.
The Professional Services Council (PSC) issued the report, consisting of a set of recommendations to the next President of the United States to improve the operations, effectiveness, and efficiency of the government. The PSC is an industry association representing technology and professional services businesses.
Among the recommendations made in the PSC publication, entitled “PSC 45: An Agenda for the Next President of the United States,” is a call for the federal government to improve tradecraft in services acquisition by:
- Creating standards for the acquisition workforce that are widely recognized and adopted across multiple domains (government, industry, and academia) as a framework for best practices.
- Creating programs and services to help people enter into and progress within the contract management profession. The desired outcome is for the contract management profession to be recognized as a career field in which education, professional development and advancement opportunities exist for long-term practitioners as well as recent entrants into the profession.
- Making wider use of special hiring authorities to bring highly skilled practitioners from industry into government.
- Focusing Contracting Officer incentives on program outcome/mission success to minimize risk avoidance strategies that might make the contracting process simpler but that won’t achieve the desired results.
- Amending the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act to give OFPP statutory authority over the entire acquisition workforce, including clear authority and responsibility over program managers.
- Creating a clearly defined career path for program management in the civilian agencies.
- Instituting new acquisition workforce requirements to include mandatory cross-functional rotations and training.
- Creating an “Acquisition Excellence Council” with responsibilities including redesigning and restructuring the federal acquisition training system and developing a common evaluation and assessment process.
- Aligning acquisition workforce requirements and certifications to the type of acquisition the employee will be conducting.
Other recommendations made in PSC’s report have to do with: using technology and new business models to modernize government’s service delivery; improving government operations to better compete globally; and building a better engagement model to bring the best ideas and solutions from industry into government.