Air Force Lags in Competitive Contracts

The Air Force’s “low and declining rates of effective competition for service contracts” has researchers perplexed. A Sept. 30 study conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) found that of the 15-percent decline in the rate of competition for USAF services since 2008, only four to five percent ?could be explained by shifts in the contracting portfolio or data reclassification. The study was based on data from the Federal Procurement Data System and showed the Air Force rates of effective competition for services contracts lags behind the Army and Navy. “This is solely an issue with Air Force contracting,” states the report, which also acknowledges that the “data is surprising” because the Air Force is generally seen as being the DOD leader in improving tradecraft in the acquisition services. “A declining rate of effective competition does not necessarily mean that the Air Force is paying more or getting lesser performance quality from its services contracts, but it is a possible warning sign that warrant[s] further inquiry,” states the report.