By Steve Kelman

Blog archive

Common Ground with POGO?

Chris Dorobek kindly sent me in England both POGO's blog on my FCW column on buying commercial and also his response regarding POGO's astounding misrepresentation of his communication with them. (If you can't trust POGO to get the simple things right, one wonders how much one should trust them with the intricacies of federal procurement policy.)

There was a famous incident during the Cuban Missile Crisis when Khrushchev more or less simultaneously sent President Kennedy one letter filled with bluster, invective, and propaganda, and another that was conciliatory. President Kennedy decided to ignore the first letter and respond to the second. The rest is history.

I will adopt the same approach to the POGO blog.

I am heartened that POGO agrees that it is important for the government to have access to commercial items. In the early 1990's six of the ten largest semiconductor firms in the US refused to sell items to the Defense Department if certified cost data was requested. I will therefore assume that POGO agrees that the impact of procurement rules on the willingness to do business with the government on the part of firms that sell predominantly into the commercial and not the government marketplace needs to be taken into consideration.

Second, I am heartened that POGO agrees with the standard for obtaining certified cost data established in the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act is a good one, and does not seek to return to the pre-FASA regime when requests for certified cost data for commerical items were routine. This is the FASA standard: when buying commercial items sole-source, the government first must try to establish price reasonableness in other ways than through certified cost data. Only if there is no other way to establish price reasonableness for such items should the government as a last resort ask for certified cost data. Clinger-Cohen changed the standard in FASA to an outright ban on obtaining certified cost data for commercial items, a position the Clinton Administration never endorsed.

POGO, agreed? Best Steve Kelman

Posted by Steve Kelman on Jun 19, 2007 at 12:08 PM


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