The following is an exert from my book on federal procurement dynamics;
What guides and directs the U.S. Federal Government acquisition professionals like contracting officers and program managers during the process or dynamics obtaining services and supplies? I am always reminded of the Saturday morning show; I watched during my youth, School House Rock, and episode called, “ I am Bill.” The character explained the process of a bill becoming a law. This chapter will not be, so in depth on the board topic of governance.In 1998, International Social Science Journal first noted the term Governance theory, which addresses the rule of law.e.g., criminal, common, and civil. For this publication, we will only cover acquisition governance.
Additionally, I discussed governance theory and procurement dynamics in my research. In 1998, International Social Science Journal commented on governance theory, which addresses the rule of law, i.e., criminal, common, and civil but also addresses financial management of budget controls like cost estimation. In 2012, Congressional Research Service (CRS), noted procurement dynamics of U.S. Federal Government contracting starts with identifying an obligation, developing an independent government cost estimate, deciding what is the most appropriate means to procure the item or service and complete this acquisition. Additionally, CRS recommended the use of U.S. Federal Government cost estimates in the procurement dynamics or process, deciding the most appropriate means to procure the item or service and complete this acquisition.
In many case studies, GAO noted price efficiency and procurement dynamics associated with U.S. Federal Government service contract costs and cost estimating. Also, The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) provides regulations for all U.S. Federal Government executive branch agencies on the topics of cost estimating, cost overruns, and U.S. Federal Government service contract costs.
In 2009, GAO also noted, an essential part of government policies is procurement dynamics or processes in the essential need for cost estimating tools. Cost estimation is essential, valuable, and enriches U.S. Federal Government acquisition systems in developing annual budgets and determining resource requirements at vital points. I hope my thoughts start connecting the steps in the U.S. Federal Government procurement process.
In 2013, Washington Law Review noted, the procurement process or dynamics, acquisition workforce professional should try to obtain a good value or “On cost and on time” methodology. Furthermore, governance refers to the balance of responsibilities and policymaking between all participants.
In 2008, Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management stated, Contractual Governance (CG) or contract theory undertakes that a contract should be drafted with all the necessary terms and clauses to alleviate unethical conduct and limit transactional vagueness by providing a clear and concise description of what is expected of both parties. Furthermore, Rational Governance (RG) is based upon societal dynamics, which includes an expectation that promotes standards of elasticity and intellectual discussions. Additionally, RG uses bilateral information exchanges to protection against exchange risks and simplify the enforcement of contracts. From my experience, acquisition workforce professional, e.g., Contracting Officers, Contract Specialists, Program Managers, and Vendors struggle with Stoke’s governance theory, plus GC and RG theory within procurement dynamics and the possible relationship. For example, in 2011, CRS commented that U.S. Federal Government statute and regulation notes there must be three or more bidders to obtain a competitive model in an acquisition strategy. Also, CRS states, CICA 1984 and 48 CFR ~Chapter 6 defines competition by adding the variable of full and open. DOD’s Better Buying Business Practice 3.0 elaborates that the federal government obtains a better value by allows competition in acquisition strategies.
Now that we talked about governance as a whole let's drill down to governance in federal acquisition. Of course, without a particular law authorizes or codifies a process then federal acquisition regulations cannot be developed. The Federal Acquisition Regulations or the FAR provides fifty-three chapters of pre-award, award, and post-award procurement dynamics, e.g., commercial, costing, and simplified acquisition procurements. One particularly important thing which always remembers, the FAR is for all US federal government executive branch agencies and does not cover judicial and legislative branch entities. This will be covered in another chapter on what authorities judicial and legislative branch uses for procurement dynamics.
Okay back to the FAR, the first two chapters cover the basic understanding of the sections, subsections, and structures within the regulation and provide essential definitions. For example, FAR, Chapter 2, only a contracting officer can obligate dollars for services and commodities. In Chapter 2, I will cover additional specific types of requirements. Depending on acquisition workforce professional, they would like specific chapters in the FAR, for example, FAR 19, Small Business Specialist, and Contracting Officer Representative, FAR 42.
There are specific thresholds that are stated all throughout the FAR but change regularly, especially over the few years, so I will not be stating threshold like GPC threshold, because as we talk, the National Defense Act (NDAA) of 2019 adjusts the micro-purchase threshold to a higher level. This publication will articulate procurement processes what is other people call business processes to help you understand procurement dynamics.
Contracting officer (KO) need to have specific authority complete any process in procurement dynamics, for example, limiting competition FAR 6 or FAR 19. Always remember, you will talk to a lot of individuals in the acquisition process, but the KO is individual that obligate federal tax dollars for any requirement. Another important part of the process is an entity that assists contractors, agencies, KOs, and other acquisition professionals interpret governance. For my experience, laws, and regulations in some incidents are written in an ambiguous manner. Government Accountability Office or GAO, provide regular interpretations of the FAR, through bid protest or other similar processes. There many days over the past 35 years, I have read various bid protests documents to help me understand wordings in a law or regulations. of course there are other entities like the U.S Supreme Court provide interpretations to laws. GAO provides educational publications to assist all acquisition professionals like their market research guidebook of 2015. Throughout this publication you will see many interpretations from GAO on procurement dynamics, for example, In 2014, GAO published a cost estimating an assessment guide provides instruction in understanding to all acquisition workforce professionals. In this guidebook, GAO recommends 12 essential practices of cost estimating which include: inclusive, well documented, precise and trustworthy estimations.
Most acquisition professionals contact with GAO is typically through their litigation, protest, and claims processes. On any given day, I am usually arousing their bid protest documents to assist me and my understanding of specific acquisition regulations. For example, In 2014, GAO noted, to analyze variance a U.S. Federal Government employee needs to be able to deliberate cost and schedule variance to develop cost estimates or IGCE ’s.