Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
State your case clearly
I always enjoy reading Joseph J. Petrillo's insights on government procurement issues. Few have the understanding, objectivity and fortitude to point out significant anomalies in the procurement system. Out of respect for his writing, however, I would like to point out a potential misstatement in a recent article.
In 'Procurement rules apply to FSS buys'but oddly' [GCN, Feb. 7, Page 24
], Petrillo stated, 'For orders larger than $2,500, the contracting officer is obligated to check three schedule contracts before settling on one vendor.' In training, information and briefings, the General Services Administration uniformly spews forth this type of language attempting to bathe schedule buys in the fountain of competition.
But GSA has known for years that the Federal Acquisition Regulation does not require or obligate the contracting officer to check or review three schedule contracts before placing an order of more than $2,500.
FAR states, 'Before placing an order, ordering offices should consider the catalogs/price lists of a least three schedule contractors.' GSA must be fully aware that sole-source schedule orders of more than $2,500 are routine.
Over the years GSA has displayed no intention of jeopardizing its multibillion-dollar business by changing FAR.
Simply changing the 'should' in FAR to 'shall' and requiring documentation of the review of at least three schedules would significantly reduce the use of schedules.
Once again, as happened before enactment of the Competition in Contracting Act, government professionals have figured out ways to abdicate competition. And there they stand, cloaked in Federal Supply Service and task order contracting, awaiting the wrath of Congress. Then, with a look of awe, they will ask themselves, 'Why did this happen to us?'James Hawkins
Annandale, Va.New VLAN approach is coming
I wish to offer a different perspective on the article 'Will Layer 3 switches bring end to VLANs?' [GCN, Feb. 7, Page 36
The advent of the hardware-based Layer 3 switches will allow networks to operate at gigabit speeds. Many of these devices are also providing the required router functions found in most networks today. A virtual LAN standard that includes Layer 3 and Layer 4 functionality is growing more necessary in the evolving network architectures of most enterprise solutions.
VLANs are one method for managing the effectiveness of the resources that comprise a network. These resources include both the Layer 2 and Layer 3 switches.
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VLANs let network administrators manage access to resources, which can limit access to information.
As government agencies progress into the information assurance era, network managers must keep in mind the functionality of all of the network components for information assurance and control over who has access to what within each network segment.
These are some of the capabilities that a strong VLAN standard would provide.
Network engineers are moving toward a different approach to VLAN functionality and a better understanding of where and how they should be implemented.
Director, global federal systems engineering
Cabletron Systems Inc.