on March 29, 2011 @ 1:56 pm
Excellent posting Cari. I remember well Allison’s presentation at a Business for Diplomatic Action advisory board meeting which prompted to me to purchase her superb book. You’ve inspired me to review some its chapters! Like you, I believe there is indeed a positive and constructive role for outsourcing done right--and surely much is done right--but I have personally seen many examples of waste (mostly in the form of overpriced services) and inadequacies. What particularly struck me when I started to become exposed to US government (DoD, DoS, USAID) international RFPs was how often egregiously erroneous and misguided assumptions upon which the proposals were to be premised, found themselves in the RFPs. In bringing this to the attention of the government client, I discovered that this was because RFPs are often written by people in procurement with little knowledge nor understanding of the scope. And a vicious circle ensues: few contractors are inclined to point out the fallacies for fear of jeopardizing their chances of securing the contract, and thus flawed tactics, methodologies and understandings find their way into US-funded foreign policy-based initiatives.
on March 29, 2011 @ 3:21 pm
Outstanding summary which represents the byzantine parable in which we are headed. I always enjoy your writing Cari!
on March 29, 2011 @ 7:01 pm
I shuddered when I read your words Cari, I guess I was trying to forget. I worked for USAID last year. I had the most inspiring mission and projects to fulfill, however within just days, I found myself being mentally and verbally abused by the manager of the project! Finally after 2 months, out of self preservation, I had to resign! I was not the only one. My non American manager absolutely ruined our (American) diplomatic relationship with hosts of the country we were suppose to helping. While I know this is not the norm, I think nothing put it in perspective for me as to realize we have so many talented and worthy Americans who can do the job. USAID representing billions of dollars of US Tax dollars, should be the first place we demand that all contractors are American.
on March 30, 2011 @ 6:13 am
Thanks for this. I have not read Professor Stanger's book, but I will now. She is surely correct that objective examination of this question is overdue. My own experience is limited to the Department of State, where I worked as a contractor for several years. I found little to distinguish the hard work, dedication and energy of fellow contractors from our Federal employee colleagues, but I also found that State has done an inadequate job of managing this blended workforce. And the numbers can be daunting. The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, for example, has some 6500 employees, most deployed overseas. Of that number, fully 5,000 are contractors.
on March 30, 2011 @ 8:39 am
Excellent observation Cari, thank you. It seems we are playing "Ostrich" Politics and wish not to know about the mismanagement of the various arms of the government. Unfortunately the word 'contractors' has received a bad reputation after the various horrors of Afghanistan...and we only know little what really is happening. I heard a most interesting observation, titel: "One Nation Under Surveillance, a new social contract to defend freedom without sacrificing liberty." It takes courage to speak up about the 'wrongs' even in this Nation.
on March 30, 2011 @ 12:24 pm
Email Comment received from Camille Lavington:
Another home run!
Cari, you are so articulate that readers will better understand the issues. Privatization has come about because of many errors in policy. Go back to first base and consider how the unions and defense contractors have overstepped their boundaries. Somehow, our foreign allies are standing at our welfare doors with their hands out and offer little in reciprocation. We need a balance and better transparency all the way around.
Congratulations on this blog.
on May 14, 2012 @ 7:18 am
This is a wonderful piece on privatization. I am working on a more general version of the privatization of American government and our ailing democracy and this is something I have been saying for some time. I feel validated with substantial SUBSTANCE!