GAO: To Get More Competition DoD Should Act Earlier in Acquisition Process

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* The US Government Accountability Office is trying to figure out why DoD and the services issue so many noncompetitive contracts and task orders. The agency thinks that recently-introduced rules that kick in when only one offer is received apply too late in the acquisition process. GAO notes that: “DOD’s one-offer rules do not require contracting officials to engage with the vendor community to learn why vendors chose not to submit offers. However, contracting officials chose to do so in two sample cases, and in one case, based on this information, changed the acquisition strategy to allow for recompetition sooner than planned.” * Compete, but not too much! Congressman Michael Michaud [D-ME] was delighted to hear from (now former) acting defense undersecretary Christine Fox that the Pentagon would make sure to procure athletic shoes only from American manufacturers. (Bob Works has just been sworn in as the new defense undersecretary.) Horn of Africa * The US signed a new 10-year lease to sustain its Camp Lemonnier base in Djibouti. May 8 update: this appears to be a 30-year lease. Better Armed Windows * The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) developed tougher transparent ceramics through high pressure sintering of nanopowders: NRL […]

* The US Government Accountability Office is trying to figure out why DoD and the services issue so many noncompetitive contracts and task orders. The agency thinks that recently-introduced rules that kick in when only one offer is received apply too late in the acquisition process. GAO notes that:

“DOD’s one-offer rules do not require contracting officials to engage with the vendor community to learn why vendors chose not to submit offers. However, contracting officials chose to do so in two sample cases, and in one case, based on this information, changed the acquisition strategy to allow for recompetition sooner than planned.”

* Compete, but not too much! Congressman Michael Michaud [D-ME] was delighted to hear from (now former) acting defense undersecretary Christine Fox that the Pentagon would make sure to procure athletic shoes only from American manufacturers. (Bob Works has just been sworn in as the new defense undersecretary.)

Horn of Africa

* The US signed a new 10-year lease to sustain its Camp Lemonnier base in Djibouti. May 8 update: this appears to be a 30-year lease.

Better Armed Windows

* The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) developed tougher transparent ceramics through high pressure sintering of nanopowders: NRL | Scientific paper.

Russia Casts Its Shadow from Europe to Asia (Not Bad for a “Regional Power”)

* Deutsche Welle: Russia steering unrest in Ukraine.

* SpaceNews on sanctions against Russian firms operating in the space sector:

“It’s only natural that U.S. government authorities responding to heightened tensions with Russia would move to curtail activities that could benefit its military. But it’s possible that, in the realm of space – virtually all U.S. space technology remains classified as weaponry – the sanctions will inflict as much pain on United States and its allies as they do on Russia, perhaps even more.”

* The CSIS think tank notes [PDF] that Russia is making its own pivot to Asia.

* Separately General Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, Commander of USPACOM’s air forces, recently discussed US strategy in the Indo-Pacific region at a CSIS event. He noted how Russia has been increasing its long range flights and naval activity in Asia/Pacific. Video below:

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