My two cents worth, from the perspective of the F-35 imbroglio:
This whole boondoggle is clear evidence of just how completely broken our major procurement process is.
First of all -- just what does everyone expect from a so-called "open competition"? The various options for a new fighter were studied for years. Book shelves groan under the weight of the reports they generated, considering options, examining various angles: aircraft performance, strategic utility, industrial offsets etc. Recommendations based upon all of that went up to cabinet. The duly elected cabinet of this nation made a decision based upon all of that. And the word I hear is that cabinet didn't agonize over this decision over-much -- they rather straightforwardly endorsed the recommendation without any particular hand-wringing. (Perhaps they regret that now.)
So why, then, was this "sole sourced" rather than subject to an "open competition"? Because the politicians know that so-called "open competitions" do not work. Pop quiz: how many major military procurements have been successfully concluded by open competition, and how many by sole sourcing? By my count the answer is: in the current era, open competition has failed to successfully procure a single major acquisition (fixed wing SAR anyone?), whereas every major acquisition that has been successfully fielded was by direct sole sourcing (C-17, J model Hercs, Leopard IIs, the LAV-IIIs before that...). Even the much ballyhooed new ship building contracts were accomplished by a "special" political process rather than via the formal rules for an "open competition". The one possible exception I can think of is the Cyclone helicopter that will replace the Sea King, but it is arguably a rather special politically fixed case, and at any rate, it is still not fielded yet.
Indeed, the cynic in me would suggest that politicians game the system: when there is political will to purchase something, it is "sole sourced." When there is not the political will to purchase something, it is sent out to formal tender, since the politicos can rest assured that doing so will leave it languishing indefinitely. This is why the critics of the F-35 purchase are correct on one specific point -- of course the statement of requirement (SOR) was "fixed." It was written after all of the study and subsequent cabinet decision I described in the first para above. In point of fact, the SOR was written after the real decision (cabinet level decision I have to point out) had been taken, precisely *BECAUSE* the choice had been made. Therefore, since they actually did want to make the purchase, they proceeded with what one might call the "real" procurement mechanism -- that is, sole sourcing. Had cabinet not made a choice and a firm decision to procure, it would have been sent back for more study, and/or "open competition."
I would suggest that what people should really be asking is: is the above any way to run a railroad?