Having been inside the funding process in the government contracting industry (both large and small business) for over 40 years through many administrations and much frustration, Ken Larson can discuss with some credibility a major weakness in the huge machine we call the federal government, the one year budget cycle.
Here is his take on the matter, which recently received a “Best Answer” Rating on the “Linked In” web site:
“About mid-summer every agency begins to get paranoid about whether or not they have spent all their money, worried about having to return some and be cut back the next year. They flood the market with sources sought notifications and open solicitations to get the money committed. Many of these projects are meaningless.
Then during the last fiscal month (September) proposals are stacked up all over the place and everything is bottle-necked. If you are a small business trying to get the paperwork processed and be under contract before the new fiscal year starts you are facing a major challenge.
Many companies go out on risk to continue multi-year procurements with no guarantee on paper that they will get the funding from the government in the new year due to the backlog. In October the flood gates open and everything is “Plussed-Up”. This process must be changed as we scale down the size of the federal machine.
Let’s face it. We are broke and we are operating on credit here. The stimulus is just that - our children's future credit bills. We should be able to plan five years out and fund accordingly. Most well managed organizations do and with the size of this machine right now I agree with the others who have commented here that it is almost impossible.
We are about to pump "Stimulus" money (really credit with huge coat tails) in the billions into this already preposterous machine and we expect reasonable management? They do not have the infrastructure, the capability or the inclination to manage it. They will outsource the job to companies who can perform the process, establish the IT and lend a hand.
I have hundreds of SCORE clients right now who are getting in line to get qualified to become federal government service contractors in these fields. I don't blame them. They will get the first money injection to keep the GAO happy and prop up the agency heads that will be overwhelmed.
We will be forced to give up the annual budget cycle. It has become a ludicrous exercise we can no longer afford and our government is choking on it.”