A Whole Lot of Spending Money


With the kickoff of the holiday shopping season this weekend, I’ve been hearing a lot about how we all need to spend, spend, spend to keep the economy afloat.

It appears the government has taken that message to heart.

Some early procurement figures reported by the Project on Government Oversight today show the government spent more than $510 billion on  procurements in fiscal 2008. That number is likely to grow as agencies are still reporting their 2008 spending.

The final 2007 spending number was between $440 billion to $465 billion, depending on which government procurement information website you choose: the Federal Procurement Data System or USASpending.gov.

The effects of the rapid rise of year-over-year spending are highlighted in a new industry report released today. The Professional Services Council notes that although the dollar amount and complexity of procurements has increased, the number of acquisition professionals, and their skills, has remained constant.

The gap between spending growth and workforce growth means speed has taken priority over quality, resulting in mistakes, according to the PSC report. The report quotes one manager as saying:

The workload is increasing while the number of people stays the same. The result is that contracting officers are forced to use the simplest method rather than what is best.


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