Letter: Several readers say McCain lacks understanding on contracts issue

Cost-plus contracts needed in R&D work
Regarding "McCain wants to end cost-plus contracting": I wonder if McCain understands what he is saying.  Cost-plus contracts are an appropriate mechanism when costs can't be estimated with certainty.  It is an important acquisition tool, particularly for [research and development] efforts.

Cost-plus contracts are a tool that fit better in certain circumstances than fixed-price contracts.  Banning cost-plus is like banning wrenches.  You could still get work done using pliers and hammers, but it would be cheaper and more effective to use the right tool for the job.

Of course, cost plus percentage of costs is a bad contract type, but that has been banned for decades.  McCain's proposal demonstrates either ignorance about contract administration or a willingness to politicize it.  Either one is not a good sign.

Carl Henn


McCain and aides don't understand contracting
Regarding "McCain wants to end cost-plus contracting": It is clear that Sen. McCain has little if any understanding of government contracting and procurement. And it is also very clear that his aides are likewise ill informed and uneducated in government contracting.

Moreover, Sen. McCain does not see or has not taken the time to see the obvious reasons for the use of contract types other then firm fixed-price [contracts].

Before he "shoots" from the hip again regarding government contracts because it sounds good, his people need to do their homework to help him develop a real and coherent understanding regarding government contracting and procurement.

Joseph J. Harrison
Retired


No cost control in suggested fix
Regarding "McCain wants to end cost-plus contracting":  Obviously Sen. McCain doesn't understand why we have cost-plus contracts. The vendor should not have to assume all of the risk because the government doesn't have the specifics of what they would like to have done on a program nor all of the funding.

Those types of contracts are to protect businesses and not cause them to go bankrupt and put us in the current situation our economy is in now. We are not nonprofit organizations and want to be treated fairly. We have families to feed just like everyone else.

We don't all have seven homes that we can't remember we own. Doing work on a contract where the requirements are not well defined doesn't allow you to be able to perform the contract as firm fixed price, not to mention any time there is a change to the requirements it allows the vendor to go back to the government and say we can do it but for more money, so in effect you're still not controlling costs.

Anonymous


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