Air Force action is on the mark

The Air Force took bold and decisive action last week when it suspended one of its Desktop V vendors until some delivery problems had been corrected. The firm since has been reinstated and end-of-year ordering continues apace.

The incident left Monday morning quarterbacks discussing whether the service had overreacted and used a nuclear weapon to solve what the vendor insisted was a small problem. We believe the Air Force acted smartly.

The suspension sent a message throughout industry that the Air Force intends to actively manage the performance on the contract and will use all means at its disposal to deliver products as promised. There are still many in government who recall when the Standard Systems Center either didn't have or chose not to use the clout of calling a "time out" when deliveries fell behind.

In the case of Desktop V the Air Force has sent a clear signal to users and sellers that it intends to deliver on its promises and will require vendors to deliver as well. The users who are required to order from this contract have a right to expect first-rate service. Although no one likes being made the example we believe this action is another sign of how the world of government contracting has changed. At least we hope it is.

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