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Readers react: Obama ponders contract reforms

Several readers have responded to an FCW report that the Obama administration planned to review the government's use of so-called cost-type contracts (such as cost-plus and performance-based contracts).

Along the same lines, we noted that the new stimulus package requires the use of fixed-price contracts "to the maximum extent possible" (you can read the full article here).

And all of this comes on the heels of Candidate Obama's promises to reduce the government's reliance on contractors.

What does it all mean? Here are some excerpts from readers' comments:

* I believe that all contract types serve a purpose and are appropriate for use in the right situations. While I agree that additional work can be done on the front end to better define requirements, FFP is not an appropriate contract type for every requirement for a multitude of reasons. And yes, cost type contracts are sometimes used for the wrong reasons. I really believe that education and training is needed for the acquisition workforce so that contract types are used in the right situations and are administered, managed and monitored appropriately and most effectively.

* One way to build up the acquisition workforce is to return to "grow your own" workforce. Going back to having GS-1105s would be a better way to find future acquisition employees. They learn the job from the bottom on up and work on their degree at the same time. If they can't perform the work, don't keep/promote them. Hiring college graduates doesn't mean that the person wants or can do the job.

* There should still be plenty of work for contractors. The key here is to ensure that the "tail" is not making the decisions for the "head." The early assumption was that all government workers needed to know is how to manage and oversee the contract. What was forgotten, much to the contractor's benefit, is that it takes time to grow, through application and experience, many of the skills and knowledge needed to fully understand the requirements and whether outside help is appropriate or needed.

And finally:

* Great. Now we will have government employees building fighter planes.

Posted by John Stein Monroe on Mar 02, 2009 at 12:14 PM


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