Letter: Innovation is overrated

Regarding "Acquisition leaders concerned about eroding workforce"

Why does your magazine go to Stan Soloway time and again for information? He used to work for the Defense Department and his work was not brilliant. Why don't you get information from some real thinkers on the subject and not special interest groups with only one message to send: "How do I give away more taxpayer money faster without anyone asking questions?"

Soloway says we need more innovation. What an absurd thing. He has no idea the innovation we are seeing at the working end of procurement. We have innovation coming out of our ears and it is what is keeping us from having an accountable procurement process. If people want accountability, they have to have stability. You can't measure or evaluate a moving target.

What procurement needs is someone to read the rules Congress has set before us and then hold some feet to the fire. Everyone in industry wants an accountable government that gets the best value for their tax dollar.

Unfortunately, we get people like Soloway representing businesses who have brought us innovation [by] not enforcing the Buy American Act so our jobs and national security can go overseas to slave labor while maximizing contractor profits.

Innovation, like contracting out government services, which typically fail because they were ill defined.

[Innovation] in contract law, [where] ambiguity is resolved in favor of the contractor, meaning the government has to pay despite receiving nothing but grief for our time.

Innovation, like the specialty metals act violations that gave us everything from inferior grade 8 bolts to illegally mined precious metals being used in military equipment.

[Innovation, like the] illegal substitutions being made because we had innovation like removing inspectors from contractors plants, self-oversight programs and direct submission policies under alternate release procedures and certificates of conformance that aren't worth the paper on which they are written.

We need more oversight, more control, less innovation and more stability in the process.

Saying less innovation is the third rail of procurement, but it's the truth. Contracting and acquisition hasn't changed. We still need the right item at the right price and on time. So-called innovation has damaged those principals while assuring the risk falls on the government instead of the contractor.

There's no time like the present, [with a] diminishing market in America, to hold fat to the requirements and let contractors weed out who is and isn't capable through competition. We should stop coddling the people who say "oversight cost too much, I can't take it anymore." Well, let them find other customers. Let's stop selling national defense and security down the river of contractor profitability. We can develop new contractors and we can nationalize the defense industry.

Let the big boys go their way.


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