The federal government is one of the world's biggest consumers. These hundreds of billions of dollars in purchases and investments are a driving force of the American economy -- procurement creates jobs, promotes innovation and even has socially beneficial effects. It also is often associated with outsourcing waste and fraud and crony capitalism.
This picture appeared in the newspaper where I worked on June 5, 1994, a day shy of the 50th anniversary of D-Day. I was stunned. The man on the far right was my father, and I recognized him immediately. I fell into a chair in a heap. He'd died seven years previously, and I missed him. And on that moment, I missed that he'd never told me the story of that day.