A federal court has forced the General Services Administration to forgo the award of the largest information technology (IT) Government -Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) in recent memory. Alliant (valued at $50B) was awarded earlier this year and subsequently protested by the losers. See the following Next Gov link:
More than 60 companies have spent millions marketing, forming teams and preparing proposals for this program. It is now likely that it will be totally re-competed.
The federal court agreed with the protesters that the past performance award criteria for the Alliant contracts was fatally flawed. At the heart of the protest is the performance of a polling firm contracted by the GSA to conduct past performance ratings. The firm turned out to be totally unfamiliar with the Alliant Program Technology and delivered results the GSA foolishly trusted and the court ruled were unfair.
The GAO has also noticed a disturbing trend in government outsourcing of proposal evaluations to outside firms who have serious influence conflicts in performing objective determination of winning companies as revealed in this Next Gov Article:
IBM has been suspended from further federal government contracts, apparently due to violations of the Federal Acquisition Regulation tolerated by the EPA under IBM’s contracts valued annually in excess of $1.5 B per year.
Add the above to the sorrowful performance history of federal government contract administration in high technology, homeland security and Iraq military support projects that this blog has covered in detail and there is one inescapable conclusion:
Our domestic procurement contracting agencies are woefully lacking in expertise to administer the billions entrusted to them.
We must downsize the agencies in charge of these wasteful boondoggles, reform federal government acquisition, reassess our priorities and establish qualified professionals in the government ranks who can be trusted to spend public monies professionally and autonomously.
The best way to do this is to pull the budget purse strings shut until an agency can demonstrate the expertise, the plans and the objectives that Congress mandates. It may grind the government to a halt in certain quarters but a pause is in order before the machine collapses from waste, fraud, abuse and incompetence.
Why continue to drive a broken vehicle until it collapses and runs us into the ditch?