Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

HOW THE PENTAGON CONTRACTS ITSELF INTO A CORNER

Government Computer News (GCN) carried a story on the difficulties experienced with, "Performance-Based Contracting". The process was made part of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) in an attempt to pre-establish at contract award those discrete outcomes that determine if and when a contractor will be paid.

Interestingly enough, the article splits the blame for the difficulties right down the middle, stating the government typically has problems defining what it wants as an end product or outcome and looks to contractors to define it for them. More than willing to do so, the contactors detail specific end products or outcomes, set schedule milestones and submit competitive proposals.

The winner is selected based on what the government thinks it needs at the time to fullfill its requirement and a contract is negotiated. Once underway, the government decides it wants something else (usually a management-by-government committee phenomina with a contractor growing his product or service by offering lots of options).

The resulting change of contract scope invalidates the original price and schedule, so a whole new round of proposals and negotiations must occur with the winner while the losers watch something totally different evolve than that for which they competed. The clock keeps ticking and the winner keeps getting his montlhy bill paid based on incurred cost or progress payments.
The link to the GCN ariticle is below and is yet another indication of how government keeps getting bigger by incompetancy:

http://www.gcn.com/online/vol1_no1/42691-1.html

Latch onto the 1980's HBO Movie, "The Pentagon Wars", a humorous but remarkably true story of the design and development of one of the costliest weapons systems ever to grace the Pentagon Budget, the "Bradley Fighting Vehicle". The movie starred Kelsey Grammer as the Pentagon General who led the government establishment sponsoring the vehicle program. The profusion of design and performance specification changes and other difficulties which plagued the program for years was hilariously but accurately portrayed in the film. It was nominated for an Emmy.

Further details on The Defense Industrial Complex see the following posting:

http://rosecoveredglasses.blogspot.com/2007/02/warped-priorities.html

5 comments:

workshop said...

I think that the Military Industrial Complex reflects and intensifies the failures of our economy as a whole. In every field of endeavor, profit - which is an abstraction - is put ahead of all other factors, including and especially the general wellbeing of the community.

And even profit is construed in the short term and narrowly.

War clearly harms the community in most cases, but to the corporate bottom line, war is like a cornucopia of good. That makes no sense in human terms, but it makes nothing but sense in an abstract world defined by 'profit'.

FLC said...

The Pentagon is going to whisk you away in the middle of the night if you keep putting up posts like this.

Jose Abreu said...

Mr. Larson you have no idea how much I appreciate the work that you and other patriots are doing. It's a shame what the MIC is doing to our freedoms and our economy. The people are waking up nonetheless and we will soon have Bush and his cronies in Gitmo getting a taste of their own medicine.

Lady Broadoak said...

Hi, Ken .. it's been too long since I said howdy. Sorry.

I see that you've put a comment up on Sibel! Great! I think it really important that we hang together and give her some support, as I have an idea of how hard they might lean on her now that the lid is coming off. I wrote about it on OpEd News.

Finally, at long last the economic damage is coming to light! Not the full whack is known, but itsa comin ; I think by October when they can't float the US Treasury anymore.

Check out the George Washington blogspot - I think he is truly onto something. BANKRUPTING OUR FUTURE is a great slogan to expose the whole BIG mess. the clusterfuck.

I forgot to write this - by my ex (of whom I no fan, but he IS a good attorney) has an immigration law practice and at least he knows which lawyers to refer someone to.
Look up Borene law firm; perhaps some people in the VA home can benefit. He knows about veterans.

You doing something about that turkey Bill O'Reilly? Let's make him sleep under a bridge, shall we?

Your ebuddy,
Virginia
ps, as a matter of fact, the HIGHER profile we are the less we whist being whisked off in the middle of the night! The neocons just can't keep us with us ALL!!

tammyswofford said...

I would love to see you cover the cost of DARPA's prosthetic program. The cost of some of these new microchip technology-based bionics will benefit our amputees, but my guess is the R&D and applications costs are soaring out the ceiling.

Tammy