Life after the Brooks Act

As we move into the brave new world of life after the Brooks Act we hear from many companies about how buying and selling computer gear has become easier. Still no one expected this new world to be perfect and we have not been disappointed in that prediction.

It is a lot easier to award a contract or a task order than it is to manage it or to make certain the government received what was ordered in a timely fashion. The jury is still out on how well some of the mega-contracts will be administered. A scramble is under way to make sure no highly visible vehicles run out of control.

Similarly we do not yet seem to have a good grasp of how to make certain programs work together - a battle ASD C3I Emmett Paige Jr. and DISA director Gen. Al Edmonds are currently fighting. Nor do we have a good way of measuring how well a company has performed on past contracts. In this age of consolidation and aggregation failure can be too easily deflected with the announcement that the offending company no longer exists.

OMB director Frank Raines indicated in his recent memo that the executive budget managers will link budget requests directly to the performance of agency programs. In theory there should now be fewer examples of funds endlessly supporting projects that are over budget and behind schedule.

While we have some idea now of how to measure the successful award of a contract we still need to work on measuring how well government and industry perform after the award.

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