Corps of Engineers:

Weak Contracting Practices

NSIAD-90-268: Published: Sep 7, 1990. Publicly Released: Sep 7, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army Corps of Engineers' contract for upgrading electrical systems at Clear Air Force Station, Alaska, to determine whether the Corps correctly restricted the purchase of certain brand-name electrical equipment.

GAO found that the Corps' Alaska District improperly restricted the purchase of electrical equipment, since: (1) it did not perform market research and analysis to evaluate other manufacturers' products; (2) it could have saved over $600,000 had it allowed for competition among manufacturers; (3) it did not ensure that officials followed federal acquisition regulation (FAR) requirements during the presolicitation phase; (4) the North Pacific Division did not determine whether the Alaska District's request to restrict specifications met relevant FAR requirements; and (5) its competition advocate did not challenge decisions to restrict specifications to brand-name equipment on competitive construction contracts. GAO also found that the identified management control weaknesses reflected common practices on other contracts the Alaska District and the North Pacific Division managed.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: ER 1110-345-100 is being revised as recommended and is expected to be published in late 1991. ER 1110-345-100 was revised and published on September 30, 1991.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief, Corps of Engineers, to ensure that Engineering Regulation (ER) 1110-345-100 is revised to clarify the specific conditions that, as required by FAR 10.004 and 11.004, must exist to justify restricting specifications to a single manufacturer.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Revision of ER 1110-345-100 is in process and is expected to be published in late 1991. ER 1110-345-100 was revised and published on September 30, 1991.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief, Corps of Engineers, to ensure that the North Pacific Division's waiver review procedure for restrictive specifications is based on a revised engineering regulation that reflects pertinent FAR requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The North Pacific Division listed three material weaknesses in its August 27, 1990 annual assurance statement.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief, Corps of Engineers, to ensure that the North Pacific Division include the three management control weaknesses identified in this report in the Division's next Financial Integrity Act report to ensure that corrective action will be taken.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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