In the wake of last month’s successful Spring Conference, the Coalition again expresses our thanks to our Keystone members, Booz Allen Hamilton, General Dynamics Information Technology, HON and AllSteel, L-3 STRATIS, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP,  and Northrop Grumman.  Thank you to our luncheon sponsors, CBRE and Deloitte Consulting.  And, of course, thank you to all our speakers and attendees, the thoughtful, engaging dialogue among and between the speakers and the attendees made the Conference special.  It was a true demonstration of the value of government-industry communications.  If the Spring Conference is any measure, the importance of embracing and continuing the Myth-Busters campaign cannot be overstated.  As such, this blog post sets forth a Myth-Busters do to list of items discussed at our Spring Conference.

  • During the course of his Keynote address Congressman Denham asked attendees for recommendations and input regarding GSA’s operations.  The Coalition will be coordinating with our membership and then reaching out to his office to begin a dialogue regarding GSA’s central role.
  • Jan Frye, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Acquisition and Logistics, Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA), outlined the VA’s communication and outreach efforts with regard to industry.  The Coalition lauds Deputy Assistant Secretary Frye and the VA for this important communication initiative.  As we have previously discussed with our members, the Coalition is establishing a VA Subcommittee as part of the Healthcare Committee to enhance the ongoing Myth-Busters conversation on issues of mutual concern.
  • Steve Kempf, Commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), detailed the key policy and operational issues that the Next Generation Schedules initiative will address including pricing, data reporting, contract structure and contract scope.  Commissioner Kempf also invited comment and feedback from the attendees.  The Coalition is addressing  key structural and operational issues impacting the schedules program including Other Direct Costs (“ODCs), the role of the Price Reduction Clause, and the outdated pricing policies and procedures.  With regard to ODCs, the Coalition is seeking a comprehensive meeting with the GSA key stakeholders (Acquisition Management, Legal Counsel, ITS, and GSS) to discuss the way forward.
  • During his Keynote Address, Shay Assad, Director of Pricing, Department of Defense (DoD), raised several key procurement issues.  Director Assad expressed interest in the Coalition’s survey regarding the costs associated with contract duplication.   The Coalition will present the results of the survey to DoD, GSA, and OMB.  With regard to DoD’s proposed change in the commercial item definition eliminating the “of a type” language, Director Assad specifically asked for the Coalition’s views and the Coalition is preparing additional comments.  Finally, Director Assad discussed DoD’s desire that GSA establish a pilot schedule for cost reimbursement contracts and orders.  The Coalition strongly supports the addition of cost reimbursement capability to the schedules program as it would play a significant role in reducing unnecessary contract duplication.  This can be accomplished via a new Special Item Number (SIN) to the appropriate schedules.  The Coalition looks forward working with GSA and DoD on this important initiative.
  • Most importantly, the Coalition strongly supports the Myth-Busters campaign.  Communication and exchange of ideas between government and industry is vital to improving our procurement system.  Through the Myth-Busters campaign the Coalition is highlighting the need for simplicity and certainty in the procurement rules.  Simplicity and certainty reduce costs for all.  Complexity and uncertainty increase costs for all.

Finally, I would like to thank my staff, Aubrey Woolley, Sandy Arce, Roy Dicharry, Melissa King, Denise Mileski and Rod Rendely for all their hard work on the Spring Conference.  They did a great job!  A special thanks to Bill Gormley, Chairman of the Coalition, for all his support.