Chair Force Engineer

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Failin' Parsons Project

The media is making a big deal about sub-standard work performed by The Parsons Corporation in building the Baghdad police academy. Sadly, this failure of oversight in the defense acquisition bureaucracy is pervasive. I've met too many high-ranking government civilians who are far too happy to grab their ankles when it's time to determine a contractor's award fee. They say that I'm too young to be so cynical. I think that they're too old to be so naive.

When a contractor signs up to fulfill a contract, that company gives its word that it can deliver precisely what the government wants on the schedule that the government dictates ahead of time. If they know they can't do the job, they shouldn't agree to the contract. If they fail in making an honest attempt to meet specs, the contractor should at least let the government know that fact in a timely manner. Contractors who can't deliver should be punished harshly. The problem is that the government wants to maintain good relations with contractors and believes that award fees send a political message.

It's time we start getting tough, resolute people in the acquisition bureaucracy who won't put up with sub-standard work on the part of lazy contractors.