Beef Procured for Commissaries:

Small Businesses Received Significant Share of Orders for Commissary Resale

NSIAD-91-100: Published: Feb 11, 1991. Publicly Released: Feb 11, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) procurement of beef for its U.S. commissaries to determine whether small businesses received a fair share of contract awards.

GAO found that: (1) small businesses received contracts for 48 percent and 44 percent of the $181 million and $163 million of beef that 241 U.S. commissaries procured in fiscal year (FY) 1989 and FY 1990, respectively; (2) those percentages exceeded the DOD goal of 18 percent of contract awards to small businesses; (3) small businesses received awards more often under competitively awarded indefinite delivery type contracts (IDTC) than they did under noncompetitive brand-name supply bulletin contracts; (4) it was not practicable to compare the price and quality of beef procured under the two different methods, which had different standards and specifications; (5) it was also difficult to compare vendor performance under the two different acquisition methods, since they had different reporting requirements regarding vendor performance; and (6) commissary managers expressed satisfaction with the contracting method they used and the price and quality of beef, although the preferred procurement method varied among the services. GAO also found that changes that could affect the DOD beef procurement method involved the: (1) Defense Personnel Support Center's testing of a new best-value acquisition approach using IDTC to streamline the acquisition process and take better advantage of the price and quality benefits available in the commercial market; and (2) establishment of the Defense Commissary Agency, scheduled to become fully operational in 1992, which will have full authority over the beef procurement process.

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