Computer Procurement:

Issues Concerning Technical Specifications for Navy's CAD/CAM Acquisition

IMTEC-88-16BR: Published: Mar 3, 1988. Publicly Released: Mar 3, 1988.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the Navy's technical specifications for its Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) equipment, focusing on issues the Navy should address before releasing its solicitation to industry.

GAO found that the: (1) early CAD/CAM acquisitions were small and fragmented; (2) second-phase CAD/CAM acquisition is a large, joint system command initiative to buy commercially available, state-of-the-art technology; (3) Navy is reviewing the contract's estimated size, and projects that it may be smaller than the early estimates of $1 to $5 billion; and (4) Navy is unsure as to the future size, scope, and release of the CAD/CAM solicitation. GAO also found that the CAD/CAM technical specifications required: (1) graphics display screens compatible with all work stations; (2) computing devices to run the same application software; (3) modification of two public standards involving its Portable Operating System for Computer Environments (POSIX) and its Product Design Exchange Standard (PDES); and (4) integration of independent application software. In addition, GAO found that vendors who reviewed the specifications raised issues about: (1) the extent to which certain hardware features, which were more complex than those used commercially and possibly more expensive, were essential; (2) the possibility of producing a system unique to the Navy through modification of standards and integration requirements; and (3) whether requirements were negotiable or mandatory.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Navy has reevaluated these hardware requirements and eliminated these and other requirements from the specifications. The specification has been reduced to strictly commercially available, off-the-shelf products.

    Recommendation: As the Navy finalizes the specifications for inclusion in its CAD/CAM solicitation for release to industry, it should consider reevaluating its hardware requirements for: (1) mix-and-match graphics display screens for work stations; (2) application software compatibility across work stations and servers; and (3) a wide array of communication methods.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Navy has modified its treatment of the standards to be consistent with the maturity of both. The specification has been reduced to strictly commercially available, off-the-shelf products.

    Recommendation: As the Navy finalizes the specifications for inclusion in its CAD/CAM solicitation for release to industry, it should consider modifying its treatment of the POSIX and PDES standards in light of the current capabilities of both.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The specification has been reduced to strictly commercially available, off-the-shelf products.

    Recommendation: As the Navy finalizes the specifications for inclusion in its CAD/CAM solicitation for release to industry, it should consider pursuing its system integration objectives under a separate developmental effort and limiting this CAD/CAM acquisition to a procurement of commercially available and proven equipment.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The specification has been re-written to clarify mandatory versus negotiable requirements.

    Recommendation: As the Navy finalizes the specifications for inclusion in its CAD/CAM solicitation for release to industry, it should consider clarifying which of its requirements are mandatory and which are negotiable.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

 

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