QUESTION:Explain the acquisition cycle and process make sure to include any related ethical or moral issues.
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The acquisition process starts by determining there is a mission need for a product or service and according to our textbook this is part of the acquisition planning phase. This involves the Program Manager (customer) working with the Contracting office to determine requirements for that product or service that will meet their needs. Market research is conducted to ensure that there are vendors out there that can supply their product and service. That information along with other documentation that specifies the requirements and actions that need to be performed, will be submitted to the Contracting office.
The next step in the acquisition process involves solicitation. This step involves soliciting the requirement information out to vendors and then evaluating the responses received to figure out which one will best meet the needs of the customer and provide the best value to the government. In my previous experience, regardless who the PM may favor, the contract will still go through full and open competition.
The selection and award of the contract is conducted once the customer choses a vendor that meets their requirement. This step involves the Contracting office notifying the vendor of the selection via official contract documentation. Once all the terms are agreed upon and signed by both parties, the contract is official.
The final step in the acquisition process is contract performance and administration. This involves all parties: the Contracting office, the PM/customer, and the vendor to ensure the successful performance of the contract. The Contracting office and customer will monitor contract performance and compliance. The vendor will work with the customer on delivery schedule and acceptance. Once all items are received or work is the complete, the vendor will submit an invoice for payment and when that is final the contract will be complete.
Understanding the Acquisition Cycle and Process
In the Acquisition Process, Need is what gets the ball rolling. Identifying who needs what, whether or not it needs a contracted supply or service. Many aspects of the DOD or government are self-sustaining. However, sustaining large quantities or large amounts of services and supplies to complete the mission may be beyond the limits of self-sustainment. This is also where Ethics start. Ethical decision must begin here. Looking at the correct moral and legal obligations for the Taxpayer and the end user. Is the contract going to benefit them, is it ethical to provide a contract, and is it ethical to provide the contract with the bidders or contractors provided? Understanding the Need and the Ethical dilemmas to start will help to keep a successful contract, and provide a less stressful process throughout.
In the Pre-Award, many questions should be asked, and several answered. Deciding the people and installations involved first. Putting a team together with the subject matter expertise, and making sure the ethical dilemmas are at bay. Asking who my customers are, who are my stakeholders? Is there efficient amount of market research available? Perhaps my team may need to perform more market research. So in this Pre-Award phase, in my opinion, it is the Team Building and research phase. Once my questions are answered and the Team is ready, we can move on through the process.
Moving forward with expansion and development of the requirements, also developing a good strategy. The questions here include; do I have sufficient information to provide a written scope or voice of the customer? Also, what is the strategy moving forward? Once I have enough technical requirements or documents, and a strategy developed, the team must all be informed on the strategy and requirements.
The last phase of the cycle is the Award and Post Award. This is when the selection is made. Ethics will definitely play a role with the money spent, whom I have chosen. As the decision is made, running the contract and ensuring management of the contract is where much of the work is truly done. Ensuring quality requirements, cost, production, or services are met. Making sure the contractor is understanding the end result, and the goal of the contract is a must. A great deal of effort is spent, and most of the problems arise with the previous processes, or lack of previous processes.
This is my understanding and I welcome any corrections or questions,