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Shutdowns are ALWAYS possible – So Learn to Acquire Despite the Threats

“There is always a possibility of a shutdown or a continuing resolution. In reality we are used to this in government and especially at DHS we have processes and procedures in place. We are built for emergencies. Overtime you get better at pre-positioning contracts and educating the workforce for these budgetary times,” said Nick Nayak.

Nayak is the Chief Procurement Officer at the Department of Homeland Security. He sat down with Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program for an extended interview about the biggest challenges in 2012 and a preview of the contracting world in 2013.

“The workforce challenge should always be there for any leader. You should always be thinking of recruiting, developing and retaining. At DHS, 30% of our employees have between 1-5 years of experience. 20-25% are at retirement eligible age, or soon to be. But what we noticed in 2012 is that people are not retiring as quickly as they did in the past. Teleworking is a big reason for that. It allows employees the chance to work a more flexible schedule so they aren’t retiring as early as before,” said Nayak.

BYOD, Mobility, Cloud

“These advances are changing the way acquisition professionals are doing their jobs. And it should. We should always have one eye on technology and one eye on the business model. Somebody is always thinking about how to use technology to do something better, faster and cheaper. And they should be. And we in government need to understand that it can save money and be secure we should do it,” said Nayak.

Pace of Change

“The pace of technological changes is really fast. The issue becomes when you are buying technology, is factoring in the transition cost. How quickly will it be until you have to buy the next thing?” said Nayak.

Develop a Strategic Plan

“At DHS we’ve developed a 3 year strategic plan. It’s got 4 main priorities. 30 initiatives and 66 metrics. You have to be able to say this is how we measure success. You need ways to compare,” said Nayak.


“The tendency for any regulation or rule is to add or and grow. At some point it’s good to take a look at all of this. The best way to buy something is to think about how you personally buy things. You research the best product find a deal and go buy it. That model doesn’t work very well with piles of regulations. Some of the regulations are good and necessary, but we need to re-investigate some of them,” said Nayak.

Preview for 2013

  • Less spending and less people to manage those contracts
  • Less companies in the marketplace. But those companies remaining will be the strongest
  • Unknown legislation. Even new legislation on something like immigration can have ramifications
  • Every year almost there is a technological breakthrough – likely there will be another in 2013

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