Acquisition Reform in the 1990s: Lessons from a By-Gone Era for Today

This guest post by Allan Burman, President of Jefferson Solutions and former Administrator, Office of Federal Procurement Policy in the Office of Management and Budget, is part of a longer series on government reforms over the past 30 years and lessons for future leaders.


Six Practical Steps to Improve Contracting

The IBM Center and George Mason University co-sponsored a series of breakfast seminars over the course of 2008 with a series of acquisition experts who constituted the Acquisition Reform Working Group. They believed that whoever won the election, contracting issues would be on the front burner. With the passage of the Stimulus Bill, having an effective federal contracting function will be critical to the success of the Bill.

The Role of Contractors in Government: Have We Gone Too Far?

There has been a longstanding recognition that the federal government does not have enough employees with the requisite skills to meet every agency need. Agencies obtain real advantages in employing contractors that can offer specialized skills to handle short-term requirements. Moreover, using a competitive selection process helps to bring both efficiency and innovation to address government needs.

The Role of Chief Acquisition Officers: What Should They Be Doing?

The Service Acquisition Reform Act (SARA) Legislation of 2003 (41 U.S.C. 414) established new positions of Chief Acquisition Officers to oversee Federal civilian agency acquisition operations. The expectation was that the CAO would be highly placed in the agency, advising the agency head on business strategy and focusing on acquisition in the broadest sense of the term. Many would argue that the CAO position has not lived up to its promise.

The Multisector Workforce: How Can We Manage It Better?

Over the last 15 years federal government managers have relied on a much broader and more diverse set of personnel for carrying out agency missions, with private sector contractors assuming a much greater role than in the past. A key question is what are the implications of this shift to a multisector workforce for how federal agencies accomplish their missions. A more robust human capital planning process is needed to address multisector workforce issues.

Performance-Based Acquisition: What is the Problem?

Since the early 1990's, the federal government has been moving toward a more results oriented, performance-based management environment. Under performance-based acquisition (PBA), agencies tell the contractor the results they want, not how to do the work and then measure whether or not the results are achieved. Uneven adoption of PBA techniques appears to be partly due to holding contracting accountable for a program responsibility, as well as a lack of staff expertise.

Interagency Acquisitions: What is the Problem?

This brief discusses the beginnings of interagency acquisitions and how this tool leverages an agency's expertise and cuts costs. It also discusses a decline in the usage of this tool and a series of recommendations on how interagency acquisitions can be better utilized. contracting

Post Award Contract Management: Who's Minding the Store?

This insight brief provides the necessary steps agency management must take to recognize the critical role that contract management plays in accomplishing agency missions.Contracting


The Acquisition Workforce: What Agency Chief Operating Officers Need to Do

Learn how agencies can put in place or enhance core processes to make the acquistion functions operate as effectively as possible.

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