AS NEW BURDENS MOUNT, WHERE IS INDUSTRY’S VOICE?
The list of new and soon-to-be burdens government contractors are saddled with continues to grow, but industry so far has remained largely silent. It’s time for that to change. Extra costs for industry absolutely translate into extra costs for government. Timelines grow and the implementation of new systems is delayed. Read the headlines of Defense News or Defense One these days and you’ll see that the need for real acquisition reform isn’t just an academic pursuit. Companies should not just “go with the flow” with such high potential stakes in play. Contractors played a significant role in acquisition reform a generation ago. Industry executives weren’t shy about telling Congress or the Executive Branch what was wrong and in providing proposals on how to fix it Reforms, however fleeting, were real. As Dan Henninger said last week in the Wall Street Journal, however, “..the big-government Democrats- today led by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus – defeated that self-reform movement.” Henninger could have added “in spades”. “Reform” today often means adding to the list of hurdles both contractors and their government counterparts must clear in order to conduct all but the easiest acquisition. Industry needs to find its voice and not be shy about pointing out that there is absolutely no such thing as a free socio-economic lunch. Similarly, there are other real costs to an over-burdened and understaffed acquisition process, not the least of which is national security. Contractors are stakeholders here and have a responsibility to speak up when costs soar and barriers to market entry grow. Every contractor has real jobs in actual states and Congressional districts to which actual Senators and Representatives should listen. There is no time like today to ensure that industry’s voice is heard and that a plea for some, dare we say, common sense is pursued.