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DoD official pushes back against contracting 'myths'

Nov. 18, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
Pentagon procurement official Shay Assad sought to dispel what he said were myths that the Defense Department's contracting workforce is untrained and unprepared. 'Our workforce today is healthier and stronger than it has been in the last 10 years or so,' he said.
Pentagon procurement official Shay Assad sought to dispel what he said were myths that the Defense Department's contracting workforce is untrained and unprepared. 'Our workforce today is healthier and stronger than it has been in the last 10 years or so,' he said. (Staff)

Pentagon procurement official Shay Assad sought to dispel what he said were myths that the Defense Department’s contracting workforce is untrained and unprepared.

“Our workforce today is healthier and stronger than it has been in the last 10 years or so,” said Assad, who oversees pricing for the department.

Some of the myths he addressed included:

■ Reports the contracting workforce is shrinking. Assad said it has grown by nearly 24,000 people over the last five years through a combination of additional hiring by the services and through in-sourcing.

■ Reports DoD is not hiring enough experienced contracting officers. He said that DoD has focused on having 35 percent of its contracting workforce have industry and business experience — that number is about 34 percent today.

■ Rumors the Defense Department is moving toward lowest-price, technically acceptable contracts. Assad said that only one major program falls under that category and that LPTA is less than 2 percent of DoD purchasing and that he is not pushing to increase that number.

Assad said at the National Contract Management Association’s annual government contract management symposium in Washington that the Defense Department is working on a number of initiatives to forge better contracts and get better prices, including:

■ Growing the Contract Business Analysis Repository, which provides contracting officers business information about contractors instantaneously instead of months. About 1,000 contracting employees have access to the system, Assad said.

■ Stepping up training of contracting employees with better curricula and more funding.

■ Creating 11 integrated cost-analysis teams across DoD that provide accurate pricing information to contracting employees.

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