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Saturday 15 Dec 2018 | 06:36 | SYDNEY
Saturday 15 Dec 2018 | 06:36 | SYDNEY

All government procurement disasters are alike



22 October 2013 08:26

Economist James Kwak dissects the procurement mess that is the Joint Strike Fighter project:

Big, custom projects are unique by definition, so they are sold as promises, not as finished products. Every vendor promises the same thing, so the one who promises to do it at the lowest cost often wins; when the project turns out late, bad, and over budget, too many executives have too much invested in its success to admit defeat...

...The underlying problem is that government technology procurement is the province of a handful of big contractors and a handful of officials at the agencies who do the buying, and neither side has any real incentive for things to change...

...Most likely, there were just not enough people in the chain of command who had enough understanding of technology to realize that things were going horribly wrong, which is a pretty clear management failure on the part of the administration.

Actually, Kwak was writing about what has gone wrong with the Obamacare website, but the arguments just seemed so familiar.

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