In "Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927," published in 1998, John Barry painted a compelling picture of the long-lasting changes that resulted not only from the great flood, but also from the ways in which the government responded to it and handled the recovery.
From the Section 1423 panel on services acquisition to the Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment Project, from the Quadrennial Defense Review to the deputy secretary of defense's "Acquisition Roadmap," there are an unusually large number of reviews of acquisition policy and practices. So many hearings -- but how much has been heard?
Recently, a Professional Services Council member company went through a contentious audit at one of its customer agencies. The audit centered on the company's billings for subcontractor costs, an increasingly common area of debate.
In recent weeks, Congress has taken action on significant acquisition policy issues based solely on a sound-bite-quality debate.
Over the last decade, we have seen a gradual elevation of the acquisition profession's stature in civilian agencies. The latest development is an important new policy memo from Federal Procurement Policy Administrator David Safavian that, among other things, directs the establishment of education and certification requirements for civilian agency acquisition professionals. Safavian's initiative is probably the most significant and challenging step yet taken in this process.
If ever the times demanded a culture of real innovation, that time is now. Tight budgets, ever-expanding missions and extraordinary human resource challenges have created unique and unrelenting tests for federal agencies.
At the sentencing of former Boeing Co. executive Mike Sears, who pled guilty for his role in the Darleen Druyun case, U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty announced the formation of a new procurement-fraud task force. This is just the latest example of how ethics in government contracting has drawn the spotlight as never before.
Later this month, the General Services Administration inspector general is expected to release the first of two reviews of the GSA Client Support Centers as required by the 2005 defense authorization bill. They follow the December 2004 report on the centers, done by the GSA IG, on the recommendation of GSA Administrator Stephen Perry.
The extraordinary financial and human capital challenges facing the federal government will be with us for many years. Because their dimensions and impacts are so significant, it is more important than ever that agencies have access to a wide range of innovations that will let them do much more with much less.
The "Get It Right" program launched by Stephen Perry, administrator of the General Services Administration, is designed to instill greater discipline in the management of GSA's multiple-award schedules and governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs).