Defense Procurement:

Not Providing Technical Data May Limit Defense Logistics Agency Competition

NSIAD-91-53: Published: Jan 30, 1991. Publicly Released: Jan 30, 1991.

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GAO provided information on the: (1) extent to which the Defense Logistics Agency's (DLA) Defense General Supply Center (DGSC) improperly classified solicitations as full and open competition; and (2) actions needed to ensure that future DGSC contract awards are based on full and open competition.

GAO found that: (1) DGSC classified less than 2 percent of 1,047 contracts it awarded during one quarter as based on less than full and open competition; (2) analysis of 100 randomly selected contracts indicated that about 49 percent of the solicitations gave only part numbers as item descriptions, which was inconsistent with full and open competition; (3) DGSC did not include the relevant descriptive information in 10 percent of those solicitations, although complete data were available; (4) in 17 percent of the solicitations, complete data were available but considered proprietary; (5) incomplete data were available for 46 percent of the solicitations, and no data were available for 27 percent of the solicitations; (6) DGSC included a standard clause in its part-numbered solicitations requiring bidders to submit data on the items, even when such data were unnecessary; (7) procurement officials did not always know when data were available, and the military services did not always identify the available data for items DGSC procured; and (8) in February 1990, DLA revised its instructions to require review and approval of solicitations that did not provide bidders with access to complete, unrestricted technical data for the procured items.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DLA issued a revised products offered clause on June 2, 1992.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should instruct the Director, DLA, to revise the DLA standard products-offered clause for use in solicitations for part-numbered items and take other steps needed to: (1) ensure that such solicitations more clearly describe the nature and extent of technical data actually available to the government; (2) make such data available to potential offerors when this would be in the government's best interest and is permitted by law and regulations; and (3) eliminate any unnecessary data submission requirements on potential offerors, such as when complete but proprietary information is available to the government.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DLA issued revised synopsis language on June 2, 1992.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should instruct the Director, DLA, to ensure that Commerce Business Daily notices for part-numbered solicitations at DGSC more clearly identify the nature and extent of technical data available to the government and the extent to which potential offerors may appropriately have access to such data. DLA should also determine the extent to which this problem exists at other DLA centers and take any needed corrective actions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DLA and the three services negotiated memorandums of agreement specifying items of available data that must be provided to DLA and the places and dates of delivery. Item transfers began August 1, 1991, and the services are fulfilling their commitments, according to DOD.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the military services and other Department of Defense components to ensure the completeness of technical data transferred or identified (for purposes of ensuring access) along with the transfer of purchasing responsibility for items when the government is reported to have complete, unrestricted technical data for items. At a minimum, the Secretary should: (1) emphasize the importance of providing DLA personnel access to all available technical data for competition on items at the time of the transfer of purchasing responsibility; and (2) ensure the existence and use of adequate internal controls regarding this matter.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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