Editorial

The latest delay in awarding the Air Force's massive Desktop V contract drove home the fact that streamlined, fast-track procurements still have a long way to go.

Delays in large requirements purchases are not specific to the Air Force or the Desktop program. IWS/LAN, the Social Security Administration's $1.1 billion networked computer buy, also has been beset by scheduling problems.

Government purchasers have the most to lose. As award dates slip into the late spring, buyers will have less time to assess available products before orders are placed in the busy government buying season. Any protest will only exacerbate the problem.

Given recent developments, we have to ask if the heady days of large requirements contracts have come to an end. Other vehicles, including GSA's schedule program and various government- wide acquisition contracts, often provide agencies with less expensive, faster alternatives to major agency-specific buys. The Federal Aviation Administration recently canceled the follow-on to its office automation contract in favor of other governmentwide vehicles and its own, more modest procurements.

The Air Force should be congratulated for its pioneering role in streamlined procurement. But if the government expects large contracts like the Desktop buys to work, it needs to figure out a better way to keep programs on schedule and get technology into users' hands faster.

Featured

  • FCW PERSPECTIVES
    sensor network (agsandrew/Shutterstock.com)

    Are agencies really ready for EIS?

    The telecom contract has the potential to reinvent IT infrastructure, but finding the bandwidth to take full advantage could prove difficult.

  • People
    Dave Powner, GAO

    Dave Powner audits the state of federal IT

    The GAO director of information technology issues is leaving government after 16 years. On his way out the door, Dave Powner details how far govtech has come in the past two decades and flags the most critical issues he sees facing federal IT leaders.

  • FCW Illustration.  Original Images: Shutterstock, Airbnb

    Should federal contracting be more like Airbnb?

    Steve Kelman believes a lighter touch and a bit more trust could transform today's compliance culture.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.