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White Paper Series 

This White Paper Series will be a central focus of our work to inject ideas into the government contracting ecosystem and identify potential solutions for vexing challenges facing the community. We are very excited to launch this White Paper Series and we look forward to your feedback and ideas for future topics in this series.

No. 1. Unintended Consequences of Small Business Contracting, Craig Reed [PDF]

No. 2. Pricing Intellectual Property in Defense Competitions: Toward Theoretical and Practical Advice for Government Officials and Government Contractors, James Hasik [PDF]

No. 3. The Cost of Saving Money: The Negative Impact of Roller Coaster DoD Funding, Jennifer Taylor [PDF]

No. 4. The Value of Intellectual Property in Government Procurement Auctions, James Hasik [PDF]

No. 5. The DoD Budget Process: The Next Frontier of Acquisition Reform, Eric Lofgren [PDF]

The Center welcomes comments and suggestions for additional topics of research. These ideas may be sent to govcon@gmu.edu.

 

No. 1. Unintended Consequences of Small Business Contracting – [PDF]

Craig R. Reed, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, Center for Government Contracting

Craig has over 35 years of experience in government contracting leadership roles, working in firms providing systems, solutions, and services to the U.S. Federal Government across defense, intelligence, and Federal Civilian agency markets. From the paper:

The Small Business Runway Extension Act . . . brings to light the broader issues surrounding set-aside contracting policies. While the social and economic objectives of small business policy are certainly admirable, they may not be rational from an economic or technical standpoint and may have unintended consequences in terms of job creation, value creation for their founders/owners, and mission effectiveness.

In this examination, Craig provides recommendations for other ways to achieve similar social policy objectives while mitigating the adverse effects of these unintended consequences, and he suggests areas for further research.

No. 2. Pricing Intellectual Property in Defense Competitions: Toward Theoretical and Practical Advice for Government Officials and Government Contractors – [PDF]

James Hasik, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, Center for Government Contracting

James Hasik has been studying global security challenges and the economic enterprises that provide the tools to address them for decades. From the paper:

The ownership of the intellectual property (IP) underlying the design of complex weapon systems has been at issue—between governments and their contractors—for over a century. In the United States, federal policy has directed several cycles of attention, both positive and negative, on the relative need to acquire these IP rights.

James has designed a model of defense procurement competitions to examine the difference on pricing IP between the government and government contractors, and how that difference can be reduced.

No. 3. The Cost of Saving Money: The Negative Impact of Roller Coaster DoD Funding – [PDF]

Jennifer Taylor
Senior Fellow, Center for Government Contracting

Jennifer Taylor is a recognized civil–military relations and security sector institutional capacity building expert. She most recently served as professional staff on the Section 809 Panel evaluating federal acquisition regulations. From the paper:

In the current configuration, the peaks and troughs of defense procurement obscure the true causes of cost increases and inefficiencies. The current cycle of temporarily cutting defense budgets only to suffer increased costs on the backend of those cuts is inefficient and shortsighted.

Jennifer details the effect of these budget swings on readiness for Department of Defense operations as well as the impact on the contractors who engage on these efforts.

In releasing these White Papers, the Center also gratefully acknowledges the work of its Senior Fellows who wrote them. Through research, writing and discussion, Center Senior Fellows champion matters of interest to the government contracting community. These Fellows add a rich practitioner component for the School of Business to better understand and support the GovCon industry.

No. 4. The Value of Intellectual Property in Government Procurement Auctions - [PDF]

James Hasik, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, Center for Government Contracting

James Hasik has been studying global security challenges and the economic enterprises that provide the tools to address them for decades. Overview of the paper:

The IP stakes are high, for “if government holds the IP rights too tightly, exercise of power can damage industry’s incentives for innovation, potentially limiting the flow of those innovations to the military.” On the other hand, if the government fails to leverage its rights, it can leave money on the table in follow-on awards for the same materiel.

Where the government owns the IP rights to their designs, even sole-source incumbents might be expected to use limit-pricing—maintaining lower margins than expected—to discourage further competitions, maintaining at least some of that margin. To test this proposition, Hasik undertakes a focused comparison of two recent programs by Oshkosh Corporation for military, medium-weight trucks: the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) for the US Army and the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) for the US Marine Corps.

His findings suggest the opposite: prices can rise sharply after competitively awarded contracts expire, whether the government owns the IP rights or not. Thus, securing advantageous pricing over the long-term through IP rights requires a credible threat by government to move away from sole-source, follow-on awards.

No. 5. The DoD Budget Process: The Next Frontier of Acquisition Reform [PDF]

Eric Lofgren
Fellow, Center for Government Contracting

Eric Lofgren performs research on business, policy, regulatory, and other issues in government contracting.

Behind the flurry of defense management reform in the last half of the 2010s lies the desire for speed and agility. Tremendous change has come to policies on acquisition, contracting, requirements, and workforce. Remaining untouched is the next frontier of acquisition reform: the budgeting process.

The landscape is starting to change.

  • In May 2020, the Space Force released a report to Congress arguing that it's “most important” recommendation was to consolidate budget line items into capability portfolios.
  • The FY 2021 budget request also featured the first use of a "colorless" appropriation for software programs.
  • Impacting these efforts is the specter of the border wall reprogramming, causing Congressional appropriators to move away from budget flexibility.

In this paper, Lofgren charts a course for the future of budgeting informed by the history of government's financial management. He argues that budget lines should be consolidated by mission-driven organizations, enabling senior leaders to exercise portfolio management. The new scheme should result in greater levels of transparency and accountability.