Although I think that procurement does need to be reviewed, we seem to be missing the real issues of the healthcare.gov failures.
What happened with healthcare.gov is symptomatic of federal IT, in which feds continue the “big bang” approaches to buying. Until leadership understands this is a fool’s errand, we can expect more healthcare.gov, and subsequent waste of hundreds of millions of dollars with little to show for the investment. Agile, load testing, system engineering, etc. are all buzzwords, as little is being done to effectively bring IT capability and innovation with software development into the federal space.
These skill sets simply do not exist at the federal level internally, and many qualified companies are shut out because they do not have the access and the marketing muscle like the larger firms (e.g. the normal cast of characters, or the “IT Cartel” Vivek Kundra mentioned).
We need to realize these problems are not so much about the rules and regulations, but the purposeful inflexibility federal leaders put into federal IT to propagate empire building and jobs programs for themselves, in addition to large companies and their Congressional influencers (lobbyists).
If capability was desired, we would have real accountability, carefully crafted requirements that are achievable within budgetary and scheduling constraints, and real opportunities for commercial firms and small businesses, in particularly, with innovative solutions to transform the federal IT landscape.
However, ignorance is bliss, and profitable.