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By Ellen Pint

On April 14-16, 2000, the Assistant Secretary of the military for Installations and surroundings convened a convention to match the U.S. and uk reviews with privatizing army install resources, operations, and companies.

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When the government turns to the private sector, how can we get the best suppliers to put their ideas forward and bid on projects? How do we devise the appropriate sharing of responsibility and risk? How can we determine the right contract incentives ex ante, instead of ex post, after we discover that they have dysfunctional effects? How do we become smart customers? The identity of the government “customer” may be ambiguous. The government has many parts, and in some areas, such as housing, one may ask whether the government should be involved in the market at all.

K. experiences. And third, the forms of privatization vary widely, both within each country and between the two. The term privatization has somewhat different meanings on the two sides of the Atlantic, and each country is exploring its options to determine which approaches best fit its needs. However, there may still be unifying principles or preferred forms of privatization that work better then other approaches. 29 As we think about these issues, there are four particularly compelling questions that the conference should consider.

S. Army provides excellent day care services, for instance, that could easily compete for non-military users. In Britain, such successful in-house services are sometimes converted to independent agencies. The military gets the same service by contracting with the enterprise, but overhead costs are shared with outside customers. S. K. colleagues would proceed if their positions were reversed. They received the following counsel: • Think about this as a long-term process. Your confidence will increase, you’ll gain clearer insight into how to do things, and you’ll capture best practice as you move along.

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