Electronic Submissions in Federal Procurement:

Implementation by the Army Corps of Engineers and Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation

GAO-15-253R: Published: Dec 18, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 18, 2014.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Carol R. Cha
202-512-4456
ChaC@gao.gov

 

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(202) 512-4800
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What GAO Found

The approaches by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Department of the Interior (Interior) Bureau of Reclamation (Bureau) to electronic bid submissions are consistent with relevant statutory requirements and the flexibilities provided by the statute and implementing regulation. Section 850 of Public Law 105-85 requires agency heads to use electronic solutions to make the procurement process more efficient; however, it provides agencies with discretion in meeting electronic commerce goals. While the statute does not specifically mandate the implementation of an electronic bid submission capability, it requires agencies to consider uniform implementation throughout the agency and full or partial use of existing infrastructure in their IT solution design (which could include bid submission functionality). Both the Corps and Bureau use procurement systems owned and operated by their parent organizations. The Corps is able to accept electronic bid submissions in some instances. For example, it can accept bids on compact disc. The Corps’ approach does not violate the statute, which allows flexibility and does not specifically require electronic submission of bids. In addition, key industry groups have reported to the Corps that the inability to always submit bids electronically has not been a concern. The Bureau is fully able to receive electronic bid submissions and, in line with the statute, uses an existing government-wide infrastructure to do so.ude bid submission functionality). Both the Corps and Bureau use procurement systems owned and operated by their parent organizations. The Corps is able to accept electronic bid submissions in some instances. For example, it can accept bids on compact disc. The Corps’ approach does not violate the statute, which allows flexibility and does not specifically require electronic submission of bids. In addition, key industry groups have reported to the Corps that the inability to always submit bids electronically has not been a concern. The Bureau is fully able to receive electronic bid submissions and, in line with the statute, uses an existing government-wide infrastructure to do so.

Why GAO Did This Study

In November 1997, Congress enacted legislation requiring the head of each executive agency to establish, maintain, and use procedures and processes that employ electronic commerce in the conduct and administration of its procurement system. The statute and a related regulation allow agencies flexibility in the extent to which procurement activities should be automated, but require, among other things, that the systems and technologies established for electronic commerce be implemented uniformly throughout the agency to the maximum extent practicable, and implemented only after considering the full or partial use of existing infrastructure. More recently, the House Committee on Appropriations report accompanying the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2014 required GAO to review the Corps' and the Bureau's implementation of this statutory requirement, as it relates to the use of electronic submissions in federal procurement. Accordingly, our objective was to describe how the Corps and Bureau provide for the use of electronic submissions in their procurement processes and determine whether their approach is consistent with relevant requirements of the statute.

What GAO Recommends

GAO is not making any recommendations.

For more information, contact Carol R. Cha at 202-512-4456 or ChaC@gao.gov.

 

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