Letters to the Editor
Acquisition reform needs time Your Oct. 20 editorial "Procurement reform: A learning curve " written in response to a recent General Accounting Office decision sustaining a protest was right on the money. There is still too much talk today about whether the goals of acquisition reform can be met without the elimination of protests - according to one school of thought - or a return to a protest world featuring a General Services Administration's Board of Contract Appeals-type of forum - according to another school of thought. To your credit you did not use the GAO decision as a springboard for supporting either position. Instead you pointed out that training education and periodic adjustment are the keys to future success.
Only time will tell whether the full promise of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act the Clinger-Cohen Act and Professor Steven Kelman's administrative efforts will be realized. One thing is certain however. Without a serious commitment to education and training that make clear to the government's acquisition cadre acquisition reform's potential for innovative approaches as well as its outer limits and without the willingness of acquisition professionals to recognize when an innovation is not working and to revamp as necessary acquisition reform will end up being more of a slogan than a reality.
Ronald BergerRetired GAO Associate General Counsel for Procurement LawRockville Md.