Base Operations:

DOD's Use of Single Contracts for Multiple Support Services

NSIAD-98-82: Published: Feb 27, 1998. Publicly Released: Feb 27, 1998.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) use of single contracts for multiple base operations support functions, focusing on: (1) the history and characteristics of selected single contracts for multiple base operations support services; (2) the kinds of services procured under these contracts; (3) lessons DOD has learned from the use of these contracts; (4) whether small businesses participate in these contracts; and (5) whether cost and efficiency gains have been documented.

GAO noted that: (1) the history and characteristics of selected single contracts for multiple base operations support services varied at the 10 installations GAO reviewed; (2) the decisions to use a single contract for multiple services occurred in two ways; (a) at seven installations, the decision occurred at the time of a commercial activity, or OMB Circular A-76 study; and (b) in the other three cases, the decision was made at the time the installation or its current mission was established; (3) most of the contracts were awarded for 5 years and ranged from about $5.4 million to $100 million annually; (4) although some installations received extensive base operations support services through a single contract, none received all of its required services through a single contract; (5) at all 10 installations, base operations support requirements were met through some combination of single contracts for multiple services; (6) the kinds of services procured under the multiple service contracts also varied and were influenced by a number of factors; (7) comparing and contrasting services between contracts and installations to precisely say what services were included or excluded from individual contracts in comparison with others is difficult because there are no generally accepted definitions for base operations support services; (8) as a result, contracting officials often used the same or similar terms differently; (9) DOD officials at the 10 installations GAO reviewed have learned a number of lessons from their experiences with single contracts for multiple base operation support services; (10) although many contracting officials GAO spoke with stated that coordination is much easier when there is a single contract, they acknowledged problems can still arise; (11) at 3 of the 10 installations GAO reviewed, small businesses were participating in single contracts for multiple base operations support services; (12) in all three cases, the small business was the prime contractor and the contracts were awarded under various small business programs; (13) the Small Business Administration and DOD officials are aware that consolidating multiple base operation services into single contracts may reduce the participation of small business as prime contractors; (14) officials from both agencies have issued guidance for considering small businesses in contract consolidation decisions; and (15) although contracting officials reported efficiency gains, cost savings from using single contracts for multiple base operations support services are not documented.

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