The goal of Government Procurement is to stimulate thought and discussion on significant issues in the profession, to foster collaboration and community, and to encourage creative solutions to common challenges. In that spirit, this issue of Government Procurement presents a hypothetical scenario describing a challenge that procurement professionals might face in the course of their careers.
If you feel moved to respond — and we hope that you do — we’ll publish your comments in an upcoming issue of Government Procurement.
You are a senior civilian contracting officer who reports to the chief of information technology (IT) procurement for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The IT procurement chief has asked you to represent him in a meeting of high-level functional specialists within DHS, who have been called together by the Deputy Secretary of DHS to discuss a very serious strategic problem.
Smugglers have demonstrated on more than one occasion that they can stop Coast Guard ships and other watercraft “dead in the water” by taking control of the vessels’ onboard operating systems, including those systems not directly connected to the Internet.
After consulting with everyone in the room except you, to elicit their thoughts on what can be done practicably to resolve the problem, the Deputy Secretary turns to you and says: “Well, Mr. Senior Contracting Officer, I haven’t heard one practicable solution yet. Can I count on you to help preserve the Coast Guard’s ability to execute its mission?”
How do you respond to the Deputy Secretary? Remember: she’s looking for solutions that are practicable — that is, practical and possible — no “boil the ocean” solutions will be entertained. Even if she likes your high-level explanation of your solution(s), you know she is going to press for details.
Government Procurement welcomes your feedback.
Send letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org or Government Procurement, 6151 Powers Ferry Road NW, Suite 200, Atlanta GA 30339, Attn.: Bill Wolpin. We reserve the right to edit all letters for clarity, brevity, grammar, punctuation, syntax and style.