It is time for a top-to-bottom review of the acquisition process.
I take no joy in writing this article, but it is a desperate plea for improvement.
From 1995-2001, I worked for the Department of the Army as a contract specialist procuring advanced communications and electronics systems, equipment and services.
The first contract I ever negotiated was valued at over $3 million opposite an emerging company from Massachusetts. I had just finished my four-week Contracts 101 training in Virginia, and I was eager to put my newfound knowledge of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), and Army Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (AFARS) to work on behalf of the Army and the American taxpayer. Then reality set in. Despite being armed with this new knowledge and skill, I was hamstrung by a procurement system so vast, complex and rigid it would make Kafka blush.
Throughout the course of my next seven years with the Army, we were promised acquisition reform, enhanced efficiencies, paperless transactions and less red tape, particularly in connection with the procurement of commercial items and services.
Since leaving the Army, I have focused my practice primarily on commercial contracts in a variety of industries, ranging from media and entertainment to digital advertising and technology. Increasingly, however, I have been handling more government contracting issues for our clients, including negotiating contracts for prime and subcontractors and handling diligence and regulatory issues in connection with mergers and acquisitions. It never ceases to amaze and disappoint me how different these commercial contracts are to federal contracts. The commercial process is still so much faster and efficient; the contracts are generally much shorter and less complex; and the parties are able to navigate contentious issues through negotiations rather than having to abide by a panoply of opaque and largely wasteful regulations.
Keep reading this article at: https://www.afcea.org/content/absurdity-government-contracting