Procurement:

Efforts Still Needed to Comply With the Competition in Contracting Act

NSIAD-90-104: Published: May 30, 1990. Publicly Released: May 30, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) compliance with the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA), focusing on: (1) DOD awards based on other than full and open competition; (2) DOD awards based on full and open competition and the submission of only one offer; and (3) whether DOD had resolved previously identified problems.

GAO found that: (1) with awards based on other than full and open competition, DOD experienced written justification and public notice problems concerning statutory and regulatory requirements; (2) DOD officials acted inconsistently with full and open competition requirements in half of its contract awards based on full and open competition and the submission of only one offer, and inappropriately awarded such contracts without written justification, certification, or approval; (3) due to inappropriate DOD contract awards, it did not have the assurance under CICA that it did not miss potential opportunities for awards; (4) the Defense Logistics Agency's Defense General Supply Center experienced more significant procurement problems than other DOD agencies; (5) during the past several years, DOD contract award data indicated a positive trend, attributable to CICA, in the use of competitive contracting; (6) limited DOD data indicated that the award processing time had increased at five DOD agencies, but the increase could not be attributed to any one cause; (7) DOD agencies less frequently used questionable practices to obtain competition; (8) in response to a GAO recommendation, DOD decreased the amount of its awards containing footnotes in preaward notices from 91 percent to 19 percent; and (9) DOD officials did not fully comply with preaward notice requirements.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On April 16, 1991, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for Procurement directed the services and defense agencies to take appropriate corrective action to implement the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should take actions, such as those involving formal or informal training, written instructions, better supervision, or other improved management controls, to ensure that all personnel involved in awarding contracts of more than $25,000 understand and comply with the requirements of CICA and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) relating to written justifications for decisions not to provide for full and open competition. Such compliance should include: (1) properly preparing and certifying the justifications so that they include all required elements of information; (2) properly approving the justifications; and (3) ensuring that justifications are not certified prematurely or that significant market survey results occurring after justifications have been prematurely certified are recognized and used to avoid awarding contracts without providing for full and open competition, whenever warranted.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On April 16, 1991, the DASD for Procurement directed the services and defense agencies to take appropriate action to implement the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should take actions, such as those involving formal or informal training, written instructions, better supervision, or other improved management controls, to ensure that all personnel involved in awarding contracts of more than $25,000 understand and comply with the requirements of CICA and FAR relating to use of the Commerce Business Daily, such as: (1) the publication and content of notices of proposed awards; and (2) solicitation issuance and response time in relation to the publication dates of such notices.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The FAR has been revised to: (1) state that restricting a solicitation to a specific make and model does not meet the requirement for full and open competition; and (2) require written justification, certification, and approval for other than full and open competition, in accordance with FAR 6.3.

    Recommendation: Those responsible for FAR, the Secretary of Defense and the Administrators of General Services, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), should revise FAR to state that restricting a solicitation to a specific make and model: (1) does not meet the requirement for full and open competition; and (2) requires written justification, certification, and approval for other than full and open competition, in accordance with CICA.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The FAR has been revised to: (1) state that restricting a solicitation to a specific make and model does not meet the requirement for full and open competition; and (2) require written justification, certification, and approval for other than full and open competition, in accordance with FAR 6.3.

    Recommendation: Those responsible for FAR, the Secretary of Defense and the Administrators of General Services, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), should revise FAR to state that restricting a solicitation to a specific make and model: (1) does not meet the requirement for full and open competition; and (2) requires written justification, certification, and approval for other than full and open competition, in accordance with CICA.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The FAR has been revised to: (1) state that restricting a solicitation to a specific make and model does not meet the requirement for full and open competition; and (2) require written justification, certification, and approval for other than full and open competition, in accordance with FAR 6.3.

    Recommendation: Those responsible for FAR, the Secretary of Defense and the Administrators of General Services, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), should revise FAR to state that restricting a solicitation to a specific make and model: (1) does not meet the requirement for full and open competition; and (2) requires written justification, certification, and approval for other than full and open competition, in accordance with CICA.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The FAR has been revised to: (1) state that restricting a solicitation to a specific make and model does not meet the requirement for full and open competition; and (2) require written justification, certification, and approval for other than full and open competition, in accordance with FAR 6.3.

    Recommendation: Those responsible for FAR, the Secretary of Defense and the Administrators of General Services, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), should revise FAR to state that restricting a solicitation to a specific make and model: (1) does not meet the requirement for full and open competition; and (2) requires written justification, certification, and approval for other than full and open competition, in accordance with CICA.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy

 

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