Friday, February 22, 2013

How to revise our military procurment

According to Aviation Week that is.  Everyone knows that US military procurement is a mess.  It takes too long, puts on too much gold plate, and costs too much.  Aviation Week has been around a long time and knows the ins and outs of procurement and where the bodies are buried.  They have five recommendations for improvement.

1.  Permit the few remaining prime contractors to merge.  There aren't many left, (Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, and Northrup-Grumman?).  They would all merge together in a heartbeat if the government would let them.  Downside for us taxpayers, no more competitive bids, there would be only one qualified bidder on all jobs.  The industry would love that.

2. Drop the 8(a) goals for small and disadvantaged defense contractors.  This is the first time I heard of this one.  Sounds like crony capitalism at work for favored contractors.

3.  Drop the 50-50 rule requiring half of military maintainance to go thru the military depots.  Good idea.  Air Force depots were huge, slow, and did terrible work.  Plenty of stuff shipped to us from depot was defective on arrival.  Repair work ought to be done on a competitive bid basis. Low bidder gets the job.  If the depot can bid low  fine, if not (the likely case) private industry gets the work.

4.  Publish an official list of critical future technologies, cyber warfare, UAV's, reconnaisance, etc.  Not sure if this is so critical.  Sounds like a plea for the government to convince industry suits to back certain projects. Not sure if that's such a good idea.  A government list is no more likely to be right than an industry list. 

5. Make the loser pay in contract award disputes.  It takes for every to get a project going, 'cause no matter what the contract awarding agency does, figure that the loser will sue just on general principles.  That's gotta add a couple of years delay on every job.  If the loser had to pay court costs, he would be less willing to sue, or at least only sue when he had a strong case. 

Well, I can go alone with numbers 2,3, and 5.  I am against  number1.  Number 4 doesn't strike me as terribly important.

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