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Justice, Fairness, Inclusion, and Performance.

Containing Wildland Fire Costs: Improving Equipment and Services Acquisition

Wildland fire-related acquisition management programs of the five federal land management agencies are big business. For example, Forest Service wildfire preparedness and suppression contracting costs reached almost $800 million in FY 2002.

Even at a lower level, these costs significantly affect other land management programs and their funding. Thus, searching for and taking advantage of methods to achieve cost containment of escalating wildland fire acquisition programs take on added value. That is the basic premise of this Academy report.

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Key Findings

The Panel concluded that while much positive activity is occurring in the agencies’ acquisition programs, room remains for improvement.


Specifically, the Panel found:

  • Cost savings. Use of method of supply analytical techniques by others has produced savings in the acquisition process.
  • Method of supply analysis strategy. The current acquisition management program for the wildland fire community lacks an overall strategy that assesses when, how or whether to move items from one method of supply to another.
  • Method of supply capacity. A permanent analytical staff committed to supporting acquisition management is essential to saving money, promoting collaboration, and improving the overall acquisition process.
  • Method of supply study candidates. Eight identified demonstration projects should provide the basis for further analysis to achieve significant cost savings.
  • Interagency partnership. The “Service First” integration of Forest Service and BLM staffs in the Pacific Northwest greatly facilitates joint acquisition activities.
  • Costs and benefits of the shared indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract approach.While there are some concerns about the shared ID/IQ approach, users agree it provides a less expensive and faster way to issue a task order compared to going through the entire contract process for every job.
  • ID/IQ approach for new or small suppliers. While the ID/IQ approach offers users the benefits of lower process costs and gives suppliers a wider market potential, it does not meet the needs of the new and developing supplier.

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