Magazine article National Defense

Past Performance System Raises Eyebrows

Magazine article National Defense

Past Performance System Raises Eyebrows

Article excerpt

Past Performance

Earlier this year, the department issued its Past Performance Guide that is designed to help both industry and government understand and use the system. Specifically, the guide was designed to articulate key techniques and practices for the use and collection of past performance information. In addition, the guide would serve as a source-selection tool and encourage the use of innovative techniques in acquiring the best-value goods and services.

With the implementation of this reference tool to evaluate contractor performance, questions have surfaced regarding the ultimate confidentiality of past-performance information once obtained and certain inconsistencies with the application of the source-selection tool. NDIA is working alongside the Defense Department to ensure that the Past Performance Guide is implemented properly, while ensuring the fair treatment of NDIA corporate members. NDIA has surveyed its members regarding the specific problems or shortcomings of this tool and will be meeting with the appropriate senior officials at the Defense Department to address the issue.

Public-Private Competition

Currently, the federal government follows OMB Circular A-76 as its blueprint for conducting public-private competitions for the provision of goods and services. This policy, administered by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), requires federal agencies to submit a list of services that are commercial in nature. A-76 provides an overview of the procedures for determining whether a service is commercial in nature and the methods federal agencies should use for awarding a contract. To facilitate implementation of A76, OMB periodically has requested that agencies submit a list of services that meet these criteria. In the past, such requests have been ignored.

Unfair government competition with the private sector in the area of commercial activities or inherently non-governmental functions led to last year's enactment of the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act (FAIR), (PL. 105-270). The FAIR Act mandates that the goods and services deemed commercial in nature should be open to competition. However, the FAIR Act does exempt activities which are inherently governmental functions, including those (1) critical to national security; (2) where the private sector has failed to meet government needs or functions; and (3) where the government has demonstrated best value to the taxpayer.

The key requirement of the FAIR Act is an annual agency submission of a commercial activities inventory. The first inventory was submitted by agencies to OMB by June 30. Once the inventories are released (at press time, they were expected to be made available by the end of September), they are subject to appeals by both unions and private industry.

NDIA has requested corporate members' input on their experiences with government competition for commercial activities.

Veteran-Owned Small Business

House Small Business Committee Chairman Jim Talent, R-Texas, introduced HR 1568, the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999, in order to provide technical, financial and procurement assistance to veteran-owned small businesses. …

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