The FAIR Institute launched a new oped series today called FAIR Point of View Series with a paper by David Litman titled “A call to restructure the acquisition workforce”…
The paper advocates for the creation of a single acquisition job series that encompasses at least three functions, “program management, contracting and a new function called requirements management.”
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Litman brings up some very interesting points; however, it will be difficult to make the “paradigm shift” away from award of contracts (referred to as “phase 2” based on historical precedent and focus on appropriations). Recent audits are now evaluating if the government has maintained its fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers and has “gotten the best value,” which comports directly into proper administration of the contract, although it is certainly integral to have accomplished proper pre-award/planning aspects of the procurement and to have substantiated the price reasonableness of the contract award. It does seem that COTRs/CORs take a little “hit” in the paper. I have found many of these individuals to be highly competent, engaged, but “buried” in a myriad of other responsibilities/contracts. I think that the idea of a single, acquisition series may have its efficacy, however, we need to ensure that (1) we have sufficient talent, skill sets, human resources (2) there is a robust, intuitive electronic acquisition and contract writing system which is used throughout government and (3) the issue of acquisition integrity and ethics is highlighted.