Army Procurement:

Unnecessary Restriction on Competition for New Chemical Protective Masks

NSIAD-88-66: Published: Mar 2, 1988. Publicly Released: Mar 15, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army's decision to limit competition for the initial production of a new chemical and biological field protection mask to the mask's developers.

GAO found that the Army limited competition to: (1) validate technical data packages; (2) ensure early delivery to meet operational requirements; (3) ensure accurate price information in order to select between the two competing masks; and (4) ensure competition in the follow-on contracts. GAO also found that the Army failed to: (1) establish that only the two developers were capable of making the transition from development and limited production to high-rate, sustained production; (2) establish that the mask was either so unusual or so complex that it would involve special risks during the transition period; (3) perform a formal evaluation of other interested contractors' production capabilities; (4) show that the mask developers could comply with its production and delivery schedule; (5) establish that full and open competition would delay production, since the development phase took 12 years; and (6) support its conclusion that the restricted competition would better ensure accurate price information and ensure two fully qualified mask producers for all the remaining requirements. GAO believes that the Army should terminate the current contract and procure its requirements on a competitive basis.

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