For government procurement officials, right about now is when the rubber meets the road.
The fiscal year follows a predictable — but not easy — pattern for procurement officials. Early in the year, they face significant uncertainty about how much money Congress will appropriate for them and when.
And then over the course of the year, program managers may hold back on sending in requirements and contracting officials at times hold back on purchases. Politicians may argue over funding.
By the fourth quarter, there’s pent-up demand and a rush to spend. One-third of government spending typically happens in the fourth quarter.
In fiscal 2011, the peak was less dramatic. At the start of the fourth quarter, the federal procurement system had spent approximately 70 percent of its contracting dollars.