DOD's Beef Procurement Program Still Needs Improvement

PLRD-82-32: Published: Feb 17, 1982. Publicly Released: Feb 17, 1982.

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GAO conducted a review to assess the adequacy of the changes and improvements made to correct previously identified problems in Department of Defense (DOD) procedures and practices for purchasing beef.

Although DOD has taken some corrective actions, further improvements are still needed. DOD changes have not resulted in increasing the number of beef suppliers in the program; rather, the number of DOD beef suppliers has decreased substantially. Among the major factors identified as problems were a lack of long term contracts, rigid and complex specification requirements, the cost of quality assurance inspections, and late payment for products delivered. Attempts to use Department of Agriculture meat graders instead of DOD in-plant inspectors are difficult because differences remain in the quality acceptance methods and practices of the two departments. These discrepancies have caused confusion among Federal inspectors and beef purveyors and have resulted in increased costs to the Government.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should adopt the use of long-term contracts for the Department of Defense's troop feeding program. These contracts should be of sufficient duration and quantity to enable new suppliers to defray the startup costs involved in meeting special military requirements. In addition, the Defense Personnel Support Center should review the different forms of long-term contracts available; determine their effects on procurement, storage, and distribution; and select the most effective methods.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should establish direct lines of communication with the Department of Agriculture (USDA) on these problems and coordinate actions with USDA to correct problem areas. In addition, differences in standards between USDA and the Department of Defense should be justified, or one requirement should be agreed upon and adopted by both parties.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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