DOD program manager: Know Army needs before bidding

The Defense Department’s Enterprise Information Systems program's new managers are focused on reducing the number of contract protests and speeding the award process.

Gary Winkler, the new program executive officer, said he plans to trim protests by selecting companies that know the Army's needs. He also urged companies to hold off on their protests.

“We’re seeing too many protests,” he said in a speech at a luncheon hosted by AFCEA’s Washington chapter.

Winkler, who started as the program’s leader in October, said the program will check out the top three bidders on a contract to see what they offer for meeting its requirements.

“We will no longer give nonexpert players the time to get smart during a procurement,” he said. He added that small businesses won’t be left out under his new policy.

The key is for companies to know where the Army wants to go and its strategies and policies for getting there, he said.

"Protest only when we do something stupid," he told companies. "Don't soak us."

Reducing the number of bid protests will help the Army award contracts faster, Winkler said. He plans to speed the process in part by eliminating draft requests for proposals.

“Draft RFPs make it hard for all of us,” he said.

Program managers and contracting officers can define a contract’s requirements without issuing a draft, he said. Managers and officers must work closely together, instead of sending requirements back and forth until they are defined.

Overall, he said purchasing should not be the program's main job, but it should use current contract vehicles to ease the burden.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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