I congratulate The Times on the excellent article. I am nearing retirement after 30 years of being (for most of that time) a contracting officer for the Department of Defense and I, like my colleagues, am acutely aware of the subject addressed so well in the article. It is indeed frustrating to see more and more rules and laws being applied broadly to the field of defense procurement mainly because of the adverse publicity over some isolated incidents. This, together with the tight-fisted approach taken by the current Administration toward civil service employees, is driving out good people in droves. This shortage of personnel causes the "executive level" of the Department of Defense to react by "helping" the working level by creating more and more channels of review and approval for each contractual action.
Excuse me for carrying on--all I wanted to say is that as a taxpayer and a contracting officer, I know that we have an extremely costly and time-consuming approach to obtaining the necessary "things" and it was gratifying to see the things we know so well appear in print.