6 priorities for the new OFPP administrator

Daniel Gordon will face a full-slate of issues and initiatives as the new administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. Here is a wish-list based on interviews with industry experts and observers. Note: The interviews were conducted before Gordon's nomination was announced.

  • Be open to industry and ask for its feedback.
  • Deal fairly and evenhandedly with industry and policy reforms. 
  • Encourage innovative approaches to acquisitions. 
  • Address the growing number of contract protests. 
  • Break down the two bodies of government acquisition — defense agencies and civilian agencies — by having them use the same definitions and approaches to contracting. 
  • Focus on the acquisition workforce. Train contracting officers, contracting officer’s technical representatives and program managers to improve the overall procurement process, from solicitation to contract closeout.

Reader Comments

Thu, Oct 8, 2009

What Mr. Gordon could bring to the table is a perspective that is not all industry or all government. The pendulum swings across the continuum from "we cannot trust industry" to "industry is our partner" are destructive. Mr. Gordon could try bringing government AND industry into a state of equilibrium. The only way to achieve win-win outcomes is through cooperation. But cooperation is not achieved when government doesn't think it has to be deeply involved because "industry is our partner" nor when government adopts the adversarial posture that "industry is out to take advantage of us." Mr. Gordon will find both perspectives deeply embedded in the President's conflicting statements and guidance. Clearer, more transparent, and fair signals about the government-industry relationship are needed, both in speech and in implementation.

Tue, Oct 6, 2009 Jack Friery San Diego

"Address the growing number of contract protests" is an awfully ambiguous ststement. Do we want fewer or more protests? My vote, although it may be counterintuitive, is that there be more protests. Too many acquisitions are conducted via task orders under IDIQ contracts, and most of those are not subject to protest. Unless we open that system to public scrutiny, I think the system will inevitably drift to inside dealing and the threat of bribes and kickbacks. As Justice Brandeis said, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."

Tue, Oct 6, 2009 Steve Meltzer

These are the same issues and goals we solved 20 years ago. We need people who understand how we solved these issues in the past and learned how to move forward. Former Director of GSA's Federal Computer Acquisition Center

Tue, Oct 6, 2009 mafatrifo

One of the most important one: be Open to industry and ask for its feedback. We 'the user" can help to bring light to the areas that will be more value added to focus on FIRST. What will be the mechanism to solicite this input? Small businesses are a wealth of qualified individuals with experience and insight. Responding to RFPS should be a lot simpler than it is now-

Tue, Oct 6, 2009 Bruce E. Sullivan

Encouraging innovative approaches to acquisition should include reengineering the process that allows the hundreds if not thousands of duplicative multiagency contract vehicles (including GWACs, ID/IQ, and Federal Schedules). While these vehicles save the ordering activity time, as long as there are competing government vehicles, the benefits of government-wide strategic sourcing will not be achieved.
Additionally, OFPP needs to address the inaccessibility of these vehicles to the hundreds of thousands of card holders who could be appointed as ordering officials. Although acquisition resources are expected to be increased, it will take years for these new individuals to become fully productive. By moving the ordering authority out of the contracting office to appointed ordering officials with purchase cards, the contracting officers can immediately turn their much needed attention to the more critical and complex contract actions. A single portal (Amazon.gov?) should be developed that would become a search engine for de-centralized ordering officials to find their needed supplies. Ordering officials do not need to be limited to the micropurchase threshold since these vehicles would already meet all of the Federal Acquisition Regulations such as publicizing, competition, pricing, and the inclusion of clauses, provisions and certifications. As with GSA Advantage, the engine should allow ordering officials to identify and direct the purchase to small businesses
I am encouraged by what I am hearing from the new Administration. They are trying to move creativity back into the government so that the changes that are needed to make our acquisition process more effective and efficient will be realized. However, changes such as these will threaten many rice bowls so OFPP must be not only an active player but must lead in a collaborative effort within the acquisition community that will bring real change to the acquisition process.

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