Trump reorganization could improve federal procurement

President Donald Trump's executive order is a timely, necessary step to improve procurement operations and service to the American people.

This column was originally published on Roger Waldron’s blog at The Coalition for Government Procurement and was republished here with permission from the author.

This week, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order on a “Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch.” The order directs the “Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director) to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies, … components of agencies, and agency programs.” This order is a timely, necessary step to improve procurement operations and service to the American people.

Roger Waldron discusses this story on Federal Drive with Tom Temin

Within 180 days of the date of the Executive Order, the head of each agency is required to submit to the director a proposed plan to reorganize the agency, as appropriate, in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of that agency. Importantly, pursuant to the order, the director must “publish a notice in the Federal Register inviting the public to suggest improvements in the organization and functioning of the executive branch and shall consider suggestions when formulating the proposed reorganization plan.” Further, within 180 days after the closing date for receipt of the public suggestions, the director must submit to the President an executive branch reorganization plan, which “shall include, as appropriate, recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs, and to merge functions.”

The Coalition’s members are encouraged about this level of collaboration and we look forward to providing suggestions regarding governmentwide procurement operations. In particular, we hope to address General Services Administration’s role in governmentwide programs and how its acquisition channels can deliver best value mission support for customer agencies and the American people. The Coalition will provide its recommendations on the future of GSA given its unique statutory role in providing shared procurement services across government. Among the GSA matters to be addressed:

  1. Category management
  2. Commercial item contracting
  3. Restructuring of the Multiple Award Schedules program, IT GWACs and OASIS
  4. Inconsistency in procurement approaches across GSA procurement operations

The Coalition also looks forward to making recommendations about opportunities at the Veterans Affairs Department to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of procurement programs that support veterans’ health care.

More broadly, the Coalition will provide feedback and recommendations for the future organization and structure of interagency contracting with an eye toward reducing unnecessary contract and e-Tool duplication. We also will provide recommendations to establish procurement centers of expertise (e.g. FEDSIM) as shared services for customer agencies that can compete for work across government. Along these lines, we will promote giving program managers across government the discretion to select the appropriate procurement center of expertise to conduct procurements on their behalf. Striking the right balance between leveraging shared services versus agencies’ unique procurement needs can be addressed through investment in procurement centers of expertise and flexible, dynamic, governmentwide markets for commercial services, products and solutions.

Finally, the executive order provides an opportunity to significantly reduce procurement rules, regulations and reporting requirements that increase transactional costs, raise barriers to commercial solutions and stifle innovation. Right now, this hodgepodge of compliance requirements hamstrings the procurement system, thereby reducing efficiency, effectiveness, and real accountability. The result: we are spending millions to save pennies!

The Coalition looks forward to sharing its recommendations and working with all stakeholders to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of procurement operations.

Roger Waldron is the president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, and host of Off the Shelf on Federal News Radio.

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