Reporting Competition in Defense Procurements:

Recent Changes Are Misleading

PLRD-82-45: Published: Mar 8, 1982. Publicly Released: Mar 8, 1982.

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A review was undertaken because of ongoing congressional concern about competition and because of the lack of consistency in Department of Defense (DOD) reports on the extent of competition for contracts.

GAO found that DOD procurement statistics were revised to include certain highly competitive nonmilitary awards and to exclude certain noncompetitive military awards. In the opinion of GAO, the DOD presentation of, and changes to, its statistics could decrease the credibility of the statistics and could even lead to a real decline in competition. Furthermore, GAO realizes DOD has undertaken management initiatives to increase competition. GAO is concerned that changes in the reporting of competitive and noncompetitive statistics will distort the historical base and make it difficult to measure improvements in competitive buying.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD plans no action on this recommendation because it believes all the data are available to make comparisons on the basis of the traditional and historical classifications.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should show procurements for civilian functions as an additional calculation after displaying the traditional and historical statistical classifications.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD considers the recommendation unacceptable because it is unable to develop objective criteria by which a reporting activity can distinguish between situations with no current or future competitive opportunities and other sole source situations where future competition may be feasible. DOD does not intend taking any action on this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should include in the noncompetitive category new subcategories entitled "Noncompetitive--No Potential" and "Noncompetitive--Potential."

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD has no current plans to make any changes in the current classifications of military procurement contract data for purposes of displaying competitive versus noncompetitive trends. It believes current classifications do not distort trend data.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should maintain longstanding historical classifications of military procurement contract data for purposes of displaying competitive versus noncompetitive trends.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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