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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Acquisition issues take center stage at ACQUIRE show

The Professional Services Council and Grant Thornton will be releasing their biennial Acquisition Policy Survey on Thursday at ACQUIRE.

It’ll be the heart of a panel discussion among PSC and Grant Thornton executives.

While the report won’t be released until the panel discussion, I do have its title: Aligning for Acquisition Success: Overcoming Obstacles to Results.

I also can share the issues that are explored:

  • Workforce
  • Budget
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Access to Innovation
  • Oversight and Compliance

The report is produced every two years, and this is its eighth edition. It is based on a survey of federal acquisition professionals. Federal employees from senior leaders to front-line contracting officials are interviewed to produce the results.

If you think about the breadth of time these surveys cover, it has been a remarkable ride for the federal market. During the first eight years (comprised of four reports), federal spending grew significantly. But the last six, not so much.

At the same time, the early reports tracked the shrinking of the federal acquisition workforce during those first eight years, but the numbers have recovered somewhat over the last six years.

Unfortunately, one trend that hasn’t changed since the reports began is the instability of the budget process. I don’t think I can count the number of continuing resolutions and the amount of brinkmanship that has driven so much of the market uncertainty. You know the budget section will dive deep into those issues.

Each of the reports also tries to look forward, and this year, there is the special attribute of 2016 being an election year, so I expect the transition to be a topic during the panel discussion that will accompany the release of the report.

The PSC-Grant Thornton panel will feature David Berteau, president and CEO of PSC, Alan Chvotkin, PSC executive vice president and counsel, and Philip Kangas, a principal at Grant Thornton. The panel is Thursday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

What I’ve always found valuable about this report are the insights into what the government is thinking. Each section includes key takeaways. I think I’ll focus on the communication and collaboration section and the budget section, once the report is released. The compliance and oversight section also will be of interest to me.

But those are my biases. You, of course, are free to follow yours.

Click here for more on ACQUIRE and how you can attend. PSC is our founding partner on the show, which is produced by Washington Technology's parent, 1105 Media, and our sister publication, FCW.

Washington Technology also will be hosting a series of small business industry days. Read more about that here.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jun 03, 2016 at 9:29 AM

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