Department of Defense

Use Best Practice and Open Competition in Acquisition

Mandate Open Competition. Issue: use of traditional systems integrators and now the reduced number of contract vehicles, has inadvertently and unintentionally limited the options available to DOD to contract necessary work in support of its customers and mission. These limited options have caused the continual use and re-use of a select number of traditional systems integrators. These systems integrators by their business practice limit the use of standards and technological approaches they employ. The cascading affect limits DoD access to advanced technological solutions, standards based systems, and best practice. An example of how this problem occurs is; with the TRICARE Evaluation, Analysis, and Management Support (TEAMS) IDIQ vehicle. TEAMS consist of over 23 awardees, to include 8 small businesses. The most significant awardees are the dominant participants in federal contracting, and in many cases these integrators are also the developers. These companies dominate the systems integrations business performed annually within DOD. The drawback in practice to employing such a reduced set of contract vehicles managed by a traditional set of systems integrators is that it limits options for DoD acquisition, development and procurement work.

Legacy systems integrators, based on the inherent nature of their business and business models, are by design, function, and business need, slow in the adoption of best practice, open standards and solution sets which constitute state-of the-art technologies and approaches. The result is significant cost overruns (Billions) and lack of real solutions. These solutions are many times readily available in commercial industry. This is counterintuitive to the mission of the DoD.There has been ample data that DoD programs have not been efficiently developed through the near exclusive use of traditional Defense contrators as indicated in numerous GAO reports (GAO, April 2006, p5). Best Practice and Open competition SAVES MONEY

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Idea No. 7520