DoD and Industry Program Interactions: Are We Postured for the Right Outcomes?
DEFENSE ACQUISITION UNIV FT BELVOIR VA
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While much has been written regarding government and contractor interactions, including statutory and policy guidance, there is no single one size fits all model governing this important relationship. There are, however many dynamics, events, and lessons learned that both parties should consider in the context of a program office environment. Government-industry interaction typically begins in a pre-award environment where a notice of a potential contract opportunity e.g., sources-sought synopsis, request for information is published online on a website like www.FedBizOpps.gov. Organizations may also hold periodic conferences to alert industry of upcoming projects and points of contact. It s important to note that industry often will be aware of the opportunities well in advance of the first official communication of the requirement to industry. Companies not only track the Department of Defense budget process but also maintain liaison with various requirements organizations to understand the future pipeline of needs that may fall within their corporate domain. The pre-award phase of interaction is critically important since it lays the foundation for future acquisition outcomes. This foundation is documented with the acquisition strategy and Request for Proposal RFP. Program managers PMs should invest their full attention to these documents and ensure that even minor errors and inconsistencies are resolved. I remember one program on which we issued several RFP amendments to correct errors we should have caught upfront but were in a hurry to get on contract. Fixing these errors and the associated proposal due date revisions ended up costing us a lot more time and effort than if we had allocated more front-end time to ensure we had a quality RFP. While DoD program offices often are very busy in this preaward phase with internal actions such as developing the acquisition strategy and RFP, communication with industry should be a priority.
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