- As a contracting officer, it is important that you understand your customer and the role technology, acquisition logistics, budget, the program office play in acquisitions. Also, explain the difference and historical evolution in contracting methods of the public and private sectors. Please explain each of the roles (public and private sector) and how you would reach out to each in order to create a team environment. (500 words)
- (Thoroughly and within 500 words) address the topic, as well as, comment (100 words) on at least 3 other members of the class.
The acquisition career field is responsible for fulfilling a customer’s need, which might entail developing something state-of-the-art to answer a military requirement for the very first time. This requirement, most likely, would use the latest technology and would need to be highly reliable in extreme environments. An acquisition strategy will be created and will provide a summary description of the customer’s requirement, which the acquisition is intended to satisfy. An evolution acquisition strategy is an acquisition strategy that defines, develops, produces or acquires, and fields an initial hardware or software increment (or block) of operational capability. It is based on technologies demonstrated in relevant environments, requirements, and demonstrated manufacturing or software deployment capabilities. Technology plays a key role in the acquisition strategy since acquiring the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art technology is essentially the goal of the acquisition career field. Having the latest technology equips our military with the latest tools to properly establish ourselves as a global superpower. Technology takes the customer’s requirements and/or technology breakthroughs and translates those needs or opportunities into products that can assist the warfighter to better fight, communicate or train. 5Logistics also plays a key role in the acquisition cycle, because logistics describes how the federal government will be able to obtain and operate the latest technology. Logistics are the nitty-gritty details of how our customers are going to get what they paid for. There are many differences between doing business with the private sector and public sector. A corporation in the private sector must answer to it’s stockholders/shareholders while an agency in the public sector must answer to the public interest and general welfare. While organizations in the private sector are driven by profit, the agencies in the public sector are driven by accomplishing their missions. And while competition runs rampant in the private sector, public institutions are driven by the knowledge that they are funded through taxpayer dollars, and thus work in a monopsonist market. Some of the historical influences that have played a part in how the federal government does business with the private sector include world events, national events, technological improvements, congressional actions, and the American public. When we talk about world events influencing the acquisition process, we mainly talk about how wars how wars necessitate the need for equipment, personnel, and supplies. National events, such as bombing, and natural disasters have influenced the acquisition process at home. Technological Improvements, such as posting our bids online, and “Reverse Options”, also influence the acquisition process. Congress’s laws and regulations impact how we conduct business with contractors. And, finally, the American public lobbies their congress representatives, to keep a base in their state and to do business with certain vendors to procure certain goods or services. The history of contracting started with our founding fathers even before the Revolutionary war, and was carried on when they created the government in 1789, and has evolved since then from an informal business to a formal industry.
The private sector is a part of the economy that is run by individuals and companies and is not under the direct control of the government. The goal of the private sector is to maximize profit. It acts in the best interest of stockholders, individuals that have partial ownership of a firm. The private sector is made up of various firms who are all in competition with one another to earn the most profit and satisfy their customers. Lastly, it provides most of the employment in the developing world. The public sector is the part of the economy that is controlled by the government. It consists of publicly funded agencies or enterprises, such as the police and the military. The role of the public sector is to provide goods and services that are not or cannot be provided by the private sector. Furthermore, national events in the United States and world events throughout history have affected the acquisition process in both the public and private sector. For example, the possibility of war influences what resources are acquired for operations during war. In addition, national events in the United States such as bombings and natural disasters have changed the role and objective of federal agencies. Other influences on the acquisition process are congressional actions, or the passing of laws. In 1776, the United States became an independent country. At the start of the country, there was no contract control because citizens acted as both government officials and merchants. The lack of structure allowed for easy corruption and people used private funds for self interest. This behavior called for separation between government and contract interests and a system was implemented in 1781 by Robert Morris. Later, the United States Constitution of 1789 gave the federal government legal authority to engage in contracts with the private sector. Throughout time more laws were passed which created structure in the acquisition process but made contracting with the public sector difficult. Some of the laws intended to protect the government from fraud, protect worker’s rights, and prevent contractor overcharging. Overall, the laws specified what was and was not allowed in regards to contracting. Later a shift was seen and the government began to show less restrictions and willingness to ease the contracting process with the private sector. This is seen with the evolution from the Buy American Act of 1933, which discouraged American companies from seeking foreign produced supplies, to the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994, which established policies for acquiring commercial items and simplified the acquisition process. This proves that the national and world events along with congressional actions have changed what items are bought and how they are bought. Other factors that play a major role in acquisitions are technology and logistics. Acquisitions, Technology, and Logistics (AT&L) is a community that has a mission to keep up with changing technology in order to provide for the military. The Department of Defense (DoD) relies on the ATL community for its four main phases: research and development, production, operation and maintenance, and disposal. As a contracting officer, I would reach out to my customers in both the private and public sector and learn more about them. This would better help me understand what their objectives are and what things they would need to meet their objectives and fulfill their mission. I would then utilize AT&L to ensure I’m providing the latest technology and skills towards their projects.