Acquisition

Industry pushes to reform procurement

Robin Lineberger, Deloitte

Deloitte's federal services CEO Robin Lineberger is co-chairing a commission to recommend procurement strategies to Congress.

A group of industry experts plans to give lawmakers ideas on smart procurement strategies as agencies continue to expand their purchases of IT services.

The Professional Services Council announced on Jan. 25 that it has launched a new commission to review what it considers systemic barriers to efficiency and innovation in government procurement.

“Our objective in forming this commission is to articulate the ways in which the government can align the federal acquisition process for services—such as IT or engineering services—with program outcomes to create a sustainable acquisition ecosystem,” said Robin Lineberger, CEO of federal government services at Deloitte and co-chair of the commission. A full report to Congress is expected by April.

A large percentage of the federal acquisition workforce is nearing retirement, which could leave  an overextended and underexperienced corps of procurement officers struggling with increasingly complex IT projects. Looming budget cuts only add to that challenge.

"In light of this problematic combination of forces and concerns, and the consistency of those concerns over an entire decade, we believe it is the right time for a serious reassessment of how the federal acquisition workforce is educated and trained," according to a PSC survey on acquisition policy released in December.

At the same time, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee delved into the complications of IT procurement in a Jan. 28 hearing. It restarted discussions on fine-tuning IT investment strategies and how agencies go about purchasing IT services.

Testifying at the hearing, former Rep. Tom Davis said the government struggles because of an insufficient procurement process and acquisition workforce. He said the system’s objective should be geared toward getting the best deal, but many side initiatives distract agencies.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the committee’s ranking member, said the government needs to spend wisely on IT while not forgetting federal employees. Indeed, he said, the acquisition community needs the tools necessary to effectively oversee increasingly complex systems from beginning to end. The committee also heard from Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel and David Powner, director of IT management issues at the Government Accountability Office.

The commission seeking to address those concerns includes 17 members of PSC's board of directors, and is expected to hold meetings throughout February and March. Throughout the process, the commission will seek input from stakeholders and experts, including PSC member companies, federal officials and others with common interests.

About the Author

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

The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.

Featured

  • Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump at a 2016 campaign event. Image: Shutterstock

    'Buy American' order puts procurement in the spotlight

    Some IT contractors are worried that the "buy American" executive order from President Trump could squeeze key innovators out of the market.

  • OMB chief Mick Mulvaney, shown here in as a member of Congress in 2013. (Photo credit Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

    White House taps old policies for new government makeover

    New guidance from OMB advises agencies to use shared services, GWACs and federal schedules for acquisition, and to leverage IT wherever possible in restructuring plans.

  • Shutterstock image (by Everett Historical): aerial of the Pentagon.

    What DOD's next CIO will have to deal with

    It could be months before the Defense Department has a new CIO, and he or she will face a host of organizational and operational challenges from Day One

  • USAF Gen. John Hyten

    General: Cyber Command needs new platform before NSA split

    U.S. Cyber Command should be elevated to a full combatant command as soon as possible, the head of Strategic Command told Congress, but it cannot be separated from the NSA until it has its own cyber platform.

  • Image from Shutterstock.

    DLA goes virtual

    The Defense Logistics Agency is in the midst of an ambitious campaign to eliminate its IT infrastructure and transition to using exclusively shared, hosted and virtual services.

  • Fed 100 logo

    The 2017 Federal 100

    The women and men who make up this year's Fed 100 are proof positive of what one person can make possibile in federal IT. Read on to learn more about each and every winner's accomplishments.

Reader comments

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 IT Headhunters

I’ve worked with Government IT Contractors, I can tell you there have been many positive things information technology contractors have accomplished: combating terrorism, cleaning up the environment and managing vast amounts of critical data. Many of us work hard to add value for the government agencies we work for. But I do agree Congress should institute safeguards to ensure that taxpayers stop wasting billions of dollars on bloated contracts. Than Nguyen http://www.insourcegroup.com

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group