Saturday, March 4, 2017

Drain the Pentagon Procurement Swamp

Disneyland East we used to call it.  That humongous five sided office building from WWII times, filled with civilian bureaucrats, who soak up a good slice of the military budget themselves, and spend the rest of it.  With a giant 100,000 page set of "procurement regs", containing paragraphs tailored to jack up the price of everything the services buy. 
   We could save a lot of money, at least 10%, maybe 50% of the cost of military procurement, by burning ALL those procurement regulations.  And then fire all the civilian bureaucrats.  For a military budget,of some $600 billion, we are talking saving anywhere between $60 billion and $300 billion.
    Replace those 100,000 pages of cost jackup regs with just a few simple ones.
1.  Always obtain THREE bids for anything, even super high tech weapons systems.  If you cannot get three bidders, do without.
2.  Never do "cost plus" contracts.  Always push for "firm fixed fee" contracts.   Settle for "cost plus fixed fee" contracts only when the product is badly needed and you cannot get firm fixed fee contracts..
3.  Avoid gold plating the specifications.  In all possible cases, procure standard commercial items, using the commercial specifications common to industry.  Make the specifications public for review by possible bidders, bloggers, and the press.  Make the requirements testable features of the completed product, not directives to use over priced mil-spec parts in manufacture. 
 4. And on the subjective side, qualify all bidders.  For instance on an aircraft contract, clearly Lockheed, Boeing, Northrup, and Grumman,  are qualified, they have track records of building aircraft going back to before WWII.  Whereas AC/DC Power Supply and Storm Door Company is not qualified, they have never built so much as a toy aircraft, and nobody has ever heard of them.  You cannot give a contract to an unqualified bidder, they will be unlikely to actually deliver the product, but they will most certainly, spend all the money.

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