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Commentary | 'Should Cost': An Alternative to Formal Proposals?

James Gill's 'Modest Proposal':

There has been a renewed emphasis on the use of “should cost” reviews by the Department of Defense in the last year. There is now a requirement to perform “should cost” reviews on all major defense acquisition programs that are coming to defense leadership for a milestone review. These “should cost” reviews are very time consuming, resource constraining and costly, to government program offices as well as to the contractors who are providing support to the review teams.

What if these “should cost” reviews could serve as an alternative to the need for a formal proposal that is currently required in order to provide contracting officers with the assurance that the government is paying a “fair and reasonable” price for the goods and services being acquired? Since these “should cost” review teams are led by senior leadership within the government and supported by senior management within the contractor, why wouldn’t the resultant “should cost” recommendation be a reasonable basis for a contract award? At the very least, both parties should walk away from the “should cost” review with an understanding of what each party believes the effort “should cost.”

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