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Dan Gordon: Acquisition Workforce Needs More People, Training

2 mins read
Dan Gordon

In a Dec. 19 speech, Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel contended that implementing across-the-board standards for the federal government’s procurement of cloud computing services could improve communications between the government and private sector.

ExecutiveGov broke down the hour-long speech, here.

Dan Gordon, who has served as administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy since 2009, recently told Federal News Radio that better communication with industry can also help the federal government form better solicitation requirements.

Gordon is leaving the White House at the end of December to become the associate dean for government contracts law at the George Washington University Law School.

Gordon told Roger Waldron that poor requirements have been hurting information technology projects and causing them to run behind schedule and over budget.

“We weren’t listening to industry enough,” he said.

CACI International Inc. President and CEO Paul Cofoni recently told ExecutiveBiz in an interview that such “arm’s length” distance between the private and public sectors is a major deterrent to governing efficiently in tight budget environments.

When he arrived at OFPP, Gordon said he found a federal government acquisition workforce that was significantly under-invested in, despite a “tsunami of spending” in the 1990s.

Gordon said he has focused on promoting an acquisition workforce with more people and more training, pointing to the creation of the Defense Acquisition University and the Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy as evidence of forward momentum.

In February, the OFPP started a “mythbusters” campaign, aimed at dispelling falsehoods surrounding agency-vendor communication. It started with a memo from Gordon intended to improve communication between agencies and contractors. OFPP now requires agencies to submit a vendor communication plan.

“If you need to, take five lawyers from your agency with you, but have the meetings,” Gordon said of his message.

Despite gains, “budget pressures on the Hill will put much of that progress at risk,” said Gordon. “The good news is, this isn’t a partisan issue.”

According to the Washington Business Journal, a second “mythbusters” campaign focused on contractors is in the works.

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