Defense Procurements:

Two ADP Solicitations Unnecessarily Restrict Competition

IMTEC-91-36BR: Published: Jul 9, 1991. Publicly Released: Jul 9, 1991.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed selected Department of Defense (DOD) computer procurements to determine whether they included any barriers to full and open competition for U.S. computer suppliers, focusing on the: (1) Air Force's procurement of the Tactical Air Force Workstation (TAF-WS); and (2) Army's procurement of the Lightweight Computer Unit (LCU).

GAO found that the: (1) solicitations for the Air Force TAF-WS and the Army LCU procurements included 12 specifications that restricted competition by specifying requirements in terms of solutions rather than in functional terms or by requiring a brand-name product; (2) Air Force and the Army adequately justified 9 of the 12 restrictive specifications; (3) three unjustified specifications required all TAF-WS units to have the same hardware architecture, operating system, and compilers, and required LCU to use brand-name products to physically connect the computer to other devices and make the computer more user-compatible; and (4) Air Force did not thoroughly evaluate alternative approaches to a restrictive specification for achieving efficient and effective software maintenance.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD does not believe that it is restrictive and awarded the contract.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force and Army to: (1) suspend the TAF-WS and LCU contracts, respectively; (2) amend the solicitations to state the Air Force's and Army's needs in functional terms; and (3) conduct new competitions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The agency does not intend to terminate the contracts.

    Recommendation: After evaluating the results of the competitions and considering the costs of terminating the contracts, the Air Force and Army should either award new contracts and terminate the existing ones, or reinstate the existing contracts, whichever is in the best interests of the government.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The agency does not intend to terminate the contracts.

    Recommendation: After evaluating the results of the competitions and considering the costs of terminating the contracts, the Air Force and Army should either award new contracts and terminate the existing ones, or reinstate the existing contracts, whichever is in the best interests of the government.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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