Traditionally, a fixed price government contract is one in which the contractor absorbs the risks and costs of performance. Absent an economic price adjustment (EPA) clause in the contract, an unforeseeable event, such as a force majeure, or government imposed contract change, the contractor is stuck with the benefit or lack of benefit of the particular contractual bargain. In a cost reimbursement contract, while actual allowable, allocable and reasonable costs will be captured and paid, any fee contemplated to address the risks of performing that commitment are typically low.
However, the current landscape is not a normal one. It may be due to the COVID-19 pandemic sickness, restrictions and lockdowns, the war in Ukraine, China’s belt and road initiative, US spending of trillions of public dollars on entitlement programs, or something else, however, we see the impact in growing workforce, materials and product shortages. Economic theory aside, we know that so long as there is a continuing demand for limited services and supplies inflation will continue to grow. And, if price controls are instituted, they will not aid existing product shortages, and in fact may compound them.