Addressing Misconceptions to Improve Communication with Industry during the Acquisition Process

This week the Comment takes a break from identifying current policies that are problematic to focus on a recent development that should have positive impact on the acquisition process. On February 2, 2011, Dan Gordon, Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy, issued a memorandum to the CAOs, SPEs and CIOs entitled “‘Myth-Busting’: Addressing Misconceptions to Improve Communication with Industry during the Acquisition Process.” The memorandum can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/procurement/memo/Myth-Busting.pdf. The Coalition supports this important initiative to improve government-industry communication. I encourage all our members to read the memorandum.

Balanced, productive government-industry communication is vital to conducting acquisitions that provide the best value to the government and save the taxpayer’s money. The “Myth-Busters” memorandum eloquently states this acquisition fundamental:

Access to current market information is critical for agency program managers as they define requirements and for contracting officers as they develop acquisition strategies, seek opportunities for small businesses, and negotiate contract terms. Our industry partners are often the best source of this information, so productive interactions between federal agencies and our industry partners should be encouraged to ensure that the government clearly understands the marketplace and can award a contract or order for an effective solution at a reasonable price.

The Coalition fundamentally believes that effective government-industry communication empowers contracting officers to make better business decisions. Effective communication also enables industry to provide better solutions to meet the government’s needs. Sound decision making and improved solutions lead to successful contract performance and save the taxpayer’s money. Indeed, the Coalition was founded on the principle that information sharing between government and industry is vital to the success of the procurement system.

True to our roots, each year the Coalition holds the Excellence in Partnership Awards honoring acquisition professionals and organizations from both government and industry. This year the Coalition will present a new award, The Myth-Buster Of The Year, to the individual 11

and/or organization that effectively breaks down unnecessary barriers to industry-government communication.