Government Operations:

Agreement Needed on DOD Guidelines for Exempting Certain ADP Equipment and Service Procurements From the Brooks Act

GGD-82-52: Published: Mar 17, 1982. Publicly Released: Apr 8, 1982.

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GAO was asked to provide a complete and comprehensive list of activities within the Department of Defense (DOD) that would remain covered by the Paperwork Reduction Act and the Brooks Act in view of the language exempting certain procurements of automatic data processing (ADP) equipment and services contained in the fiscal year 1982 DOD Authorization Act.

GAO found that the DOD Authorization Act modifies the coverage of other legislation by exempting certain DOD procurements of ADP equipment and services. In addition to the general exemption concerning equipment and services critical to direct fulfillment of military or intelligence missions, the Authorization Act exempts DOD procurements of ADP equipment or services if the function, operation, or use of the equipment or services involves: (1) intelligence activities; (2) cryptologic activities related to national security; (3) the command and control of military forces; and (4) equipment that is an integral part of a weapon or weapons system. Further analysis is needed to identify those command and control applications which should be exempt and those which are relatively routine and should be included under the Brooks Act. A general exemption for the Brooks Act provides for procurement of ADP equipment and services which is critical to the direct fulfillment of military intelligence missions. The Brooks Act coverage was not affected by the Paperwork Reduction Act. GAO reviewed the guidelines for applying the exemptions in the Authorization Act. The guidelines emphasize the need for competition in the procurement process. They provide a broad exemption for command and control systems. Also, the guidelines for determining the category labeled critical to the direct fulfillment of military or intelligence missions appear to be too broad and need to be described in precise terms. GAO believes that DOD should obtain formal agreement from other agencies on the guidelines.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should obtain formal agreement from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Services Administration (GSA) on the guidelines for determining which proposed DOD automatic data processing equipment and service procurements are exempt under the 1982 DOD Authorization Act and those which remain subject to the Brooks Act.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should monitor and oversee DOD implementation of the guidelines in conjunction with OMB budget review and the related review of all agencies' 5-year ADP acquisition plans and the Five-Year Defense Plan; and OMB, with the advice and assistance of GSA, should monitor implementation of the guidelines through its triennial reviews under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

 

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