As Sequestration goes into effect, everyone will have something to talk about. And, everyone will want to blame someone. Some will blame the Democrats. Some will blame the Republicans. Some will blame the President. There will be plenty of blame to spread around. I think every American will feel the pain before this is over. It is just human nature to blame someone when we feel pain. I read an article this morning about the Program Manager for the Joint Strike Fighter blaming the government contractors that are building the F-35 for taking advantage of the government. Some of his accusations imply a distrust of the value of what the government is receiving for the money they are expending on the program. Certainly there is a lot of truth in what Lt. General Bogdan says. But if you get the chance, look at the article from the link above and read some of the excellent comments to the article. I find the one comment about the way the government purchases items like this fighter very interesting. Yes, the government pays well for the development of the airplane on a cost plus basis, but this comment to the blog indicates that manufacturing contracts for the government are difficult to make work. I saw another blog this week where the blogger was criticizing the DCAA for not doing enough audits (they are way behind and raw statistics show an average of 2 audits per year per auditor). Then one of the comments on the blog was from a DCAA auditor that got a little defensive, stating that he had done 5 audits and saved the taxpayers over $20M in those 5 audits. The auditor went on to state that all contractors were "padding" their proposals.
So the blame game goes round and round. I disagree with the DCAA auditor that most contractors are "padding" their proposals. Maybe his sample was so small (only 5, and obviously very large corporations) that it is skewed somewhat. The contractors that we see are not padding their proposals and most are struggling just to make sure they keep up with everything required of them by the mountains of regulations that come along with a government procurement. That is a daunting task for a small contractor. Even for a large contractor, there are so many regulations that it is difficult to avoid "stepping out of bounds" on a few inadvertently. I hope we can get past the blame game soon. If you are a small contractor and feeling the pressure I described above, please give us a call and we can help.