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United States Businesses Technology

How Dumb Policies Scare Tech Giants Away From Federal Projects 143

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-get-what-you-pay-for dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A study published in March found that that the reason why the U.S. government has sub-par IT programs is because leading commercial IT companies established in the U.S. aren't involved in government contracting. Either the government holds closed bidding, essentially stifling competition to its own disadvantage, or prospective companies are put off by the cost-prohibitive regulations associated with government acquisition given the low returns (less than 10% as compared to 20% or more in the commercial world). The dysfunction that results has been documented by the Government Accountability Office: of 15 Department of Defense IT projects studied, 11 had cost increases (one of which was by 2,333%), 13 had schedule slippages (one of which was by six years), and only three met system performance goals. If the U.S. wants to lead other governments in technical capabilities by tapping into the technology being developed within its own borders, then some say that instead of exemptions and workarounds such as was applied with Healthcare.gov, a complete rebuild of the whole acquisition program would need to be implemented."
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How Dumb Policies Scare Tech Giants Away From Federal Projects

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  • Cost Plus (Score:3, Informative)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @07:33PM (#46954755)

    There's also the lovely open-ended cost plus contracts that force everyone to dramatically underbid in order to win them. The lucky winner gets to write their own checks and rob the government blind.

  • by icebike (68054) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @09:34PM (#46955515)

    Government routinely pays a lot more than what they could purchase the same item for at Walmart. I've seen it with my own eyes. A government agency can only buy from a vendor approved for the project, after 400 pages of paperwork to get approved. The vendor charges $150 for a widget. Walmart charges $30 for the same widget. The vendor buys the item for $30 and sells it to the government for $150. To avoid HAVING a juicy contract at all, government agencies should be able to just use Walmart.com.

    The paperwork just to get on the bidders list can be enormous. So much so, that our company just told any government bidders to go through on of our resellers, because we were not going to jump through all those hoops. Suddenly, a short track paper work trail was available. Still not interested. (We had been down that way before, and wasn't really any shorter.) We got the sales anyway, just had to give our resellers their cut, which was less costly than the paperwork.

  • I used aircraft parts as an example, and the likelyhood that the correct parts are made on the same assembly lines in China as the 30 cent Walmart versions is vanishingly small.

    Actually the chances of them being made on the same assembly line is pretty high. The difference of course is that the line that has to "have" the certification, they'll use a higher grade material and take random samples for stress testing to ensure that it's right. They may even go as far as x-raying the materials before it goes through processing, and after to look for material defects.

    I used to work in heavy industry back oh 15 years ago now. The stuff we sold went to the US military, and was used for scraping your ICBM's(particularly the minutemans). Everything had to be checked like that before it went out, but the differences were trivial in terms of what we sold to the general public and what went to the military.

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