If the Defense Department spends close to a billion dollars on something it usually knows what it’s buying -- a few tanks or a piece of a fighter aircraft.
Last Friday, the Missile Defense Agency awarded the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University a $923 million contract that acknowledged the agency did not exactly know what it planned to buy.
The contract is one of those umbrella service, engineering and research deals that also includes simulation, modeling and analysis -- all deemed critical and essential to development of the Ballistic Missile Defense System.
MDA will acquire this stuff off the contact through cost plus fixed-fee task orders. “It is not possible to define and firmly price these requirements at the outset of this contract,” the agency said.
Bob Brewin joined Government Executive in April 2007, bringing with him more than 20 years of experience as a journalist focusing on defense issues and technology. Bob covers the world of defense and information technology for Nextgov, and is the author of the “What’s Brewin” blog.