Last month, I was honored to speak on the Contractor Performance Assessment Rating System (CPARS) at the 60th Annual National Contract Management Association (NCMA) World Congress, the single largest gathering of federal contracting professionals in the country. More than 2,200 contracting professionals come together to contribute to and learn from other thought leaders, establish new, and build upon current relationships between government and industry.
This year’s World Congress Co-chairs, Wendy Masiello, Lt Gen (Ret) and Bruce Tackett introduced the focus of this year’s event; shaping acquisition to modernize, become more adaptive, and remain connected. Keynote speakers, Suzanne Vautrinot, President of Kilovolt Consulting, Inc. and Duncan Wardle, Former Disney Executive, both focused their attention on creative ways to achieve compliance and innovation.
One of the topics of the event was the Department of Defense Section 809 Panel recommendations; specifically, one of the more controversial small business set-aside recommendations. As David Drabkin, one of the Section 809 Panel Commissioner explained, “We [the Section 809 Panel] did not recommend doing away with small business set-asides; we merely recommended removing the requirement for small business set-asides under the one category of ‘readily available.’” Charlie Williams, another Panel Commissioner, also explained one of the goals of the Panel, as outlined in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), was to “review the acquisition regulations applicable to DoD with a view toward streamlining and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the defense acquisition process and maintaining defense technology advantage.” And to that end, Mr. Drabkin added, “we need to understand the nature of the Warfare we’re fighting today and, if we don’t change the way we do acquisition, we’re at risk of our enemies overtaking us because our enemies don’t have to go through the same level of bureaucracy.”
In the end, developing relationships and staying in the know is the key to success in the federal market. The relationships initiated and developed, along with the knowledge shared and gained at this year’s World Congress, will undoubtedly prove to be the difference between success or failure within the federal market.
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