Defense could use new 'best value' competition method under proposal

The Defense Department could use a controversial "best value" method for public-private job competitions under a legislative proposal now before Congress.

The measure would allow Defense to use "best value," and not cost, as the deciding factor in competitions that decide whether federal jobs should be contracted-out to the private sector. A centerpiece of new outsourcing rules created by the Office of Management and Budget, the "best value" method allows noncost factors such as technical performance and reputation to be factored into outsourcing decisions.

Current rules-specifically, Title 10, Section 2462 of the U.S. Code-mandate that job competitions at Defense be decided on the basis of cost, although Defense has managed to hold a kind of "best value" competition before. In its recommendations for the fiscal 2004 Defense authorization bill, the Pentagon urged Congress to amend Section 2462 so job competitions at Defense could be decided by "best value."

"Enactment of this section would improve the DoD's procurement processes by ensuring that Defense considers quality, as well as cost, as a selection factor," a summary of the provision stated. "It would also allow DoD to take advantage of the newly revised OMB Circular A-76 when it is finalized, which, for example, would allow for best value cost-technical tradeoff source selections for information technology functions."

Joe Sikes, Defense's director of competitive sourcing and privatization, said the provision would simply allow the department to use a procurement method that has been endorsed by the General Accounting Office. "We think it gives us more flexibility to make smart decisions," he said.

But a coalition of federal and private sector labor unions oppose Defense's move. Federal unions have long argued that the "best value" selection process is rigged to favor private contractors and will end up wasting taxpayer money.

"At the behest of contractors who are disappointed at winning less than one-half of public-private competitions, Section 824 of the legislative recommendations submitted by DoD calls for the end of objective, cost-based public-private competitions," said a March 19 letter from 13 labor organizations to the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and Sen. John Warner, R-Va. The American Federation of Government Employees helped orchestrate the letter.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.