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    Subject Term: "Acquisition policy"

    9 publications with a total of 19 open recommendations
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To mitigate the risk of poor acquisition outcomes and strengthen the department's investment decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Undersecretary for Management to update the acquisition policy to require that major acquisition programs' technical requirements are well defined and key technical reviews are conducted prior to approving programs to initiate product development and establishing Acquisition Program Baselines, in accordance with acquisition best practices.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DHS concurred with our recommendation and stated that it planned to initiate a study to assess how to better align its processes for technical reviews and acquisition decisions. Upon completion of the study, DHS plans to update its acquisition policies, as appropriate.
    Recommendation: To mitigate the risk of poor acquisition outcomes and strengthen the department's investment decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Undersecretary for Management to update the acquisition policy to specify that acquisition decision memorandums clearly document the rationale of decisions made by DHS leadership, such as, but not limited to, the reasons for allowing programs to deviate from the requirement to obtain department approval for certain documents at Acquisition Decision Events and the results of considerations or trade-offs.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DHS concurred with our recommendation and stated that it had begun expanding the content included in Acquisition Decision Memorandums (ADM) to include greater detail and that future ADMs would address the status of the acquisition documentation. DHS also said it had updated the guidance for writing ADMs in a handbook for Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management staff, thus making progress toward satisfying the recommendation. However, we did not close the recommendation because the updated guidance was not incorporated into the department's official acquisition policy, which may limit DHS's ability to implement the changes consistently over time. We will continue to review ADMs to assess whether the department's actions address the intent of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To mitigate the risk of poor acquisition outcomes and strengthen the department's investment decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Undersecretary for Management to update the acquisition policy to specify at what point minimum standards for KPPs should be met, and clarify the performance data that should be used to assess whether or not a performance breach has occurred.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DHS concurred with our recommendation and stated that it had updated guidance related to its performance breaches in a handbook for Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management staff, thus moving toward satisfying the intent of this recommendation. Specifically, DHS identified that programs' KPPs should be met and verified no later than initial operational test and evaluation conducted prior to Acquisition Decision Event 3, the point at which DHS leadership approves the program to transition into sustainment. If programs have not met a KPP by this point, they will be required to declare a performance breach and submit a remediation plan documenting the root cause of the breach, along with how and when the breach will be resolved. However, we did not close the recommendation because the department's official acquisition policy has yet to be updated. DHS will fully address this recommendation when it incorporates the changes into its acquisition policy to ensure that the updated guidance on performance breaches is communicated and implemented consistently throughout the department.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance DHS leadership's ongoing efforts to improve the affordability of the department's major acquisition portfolio, and to ensure adequate communication with Congress, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security should ensure that the fiscal year 2017 Future Years Homeland Security Program report, which DHS must submit to Congress at or about the same time as the President's fiscal year 2018 budget request, reflects the results of any tradeoffs stemming from the acquisition affordability reviews recommended above.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred with this recommendation, and stated that the fiscal year 2017 Future Years Homeland Security Program (FYHSP) report would reflect decisions made in response to our second recommendation. DHS expected to release the FYHSP report shortly after the President's fiscal year 2018 budget request in May 2017. However, the transition to a new administration delayed the release of the FYHSP report. Once available, GAO will evaluate the FYHSP report to determine whether DHS has met the intent of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance DHS leadership's ongoing efforts to improve the affordability of the department's major acquisition portfolio, and to help ensure programs secure stable funding that matches resources to requirements, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security should require components to establish formal, repeatable processes for addressing major acquisition affordability issues, similar to the process the Transportation Security Administration has established.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred with this recommendation, and stated that DHS headquarters would ensure all components are updating their cost estimates each year to inform the annual resource allocation process by March 31, 2017. However, DHS did not establish a requirement that components do so through formal, repeatable processes for addressing major acquisition affordability issues, similar to the process the Transportation Security Administration has established. As of August 2017, seven of DHS's components were in the process of establishing formal, repeatable processes for addressing affordability issues, but had not completed these efforts. GAO will continue to review the components' progress to determine whether the components' actions meet the intent of this recommendation.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DHS's management of major acquisition programs, the Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure future baselines for all of TSA's major acquisition programs capture the overall historical record of change.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred with this recommendation, and stated that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will begin to incorporate an addendum to future Acquisition Program Baselines (APB) that will provide a single source to show the changes to cost, schedule, and performance metrics, beginning with the initial program baseline and showing traceability of all interim approved versions to the current APB. DHS estimated it would complete this effort April 30, 2016. As of August 2017, DHS leadership had approved updated versions of the two APBs that were the basis for this recommendation. Both included addendums with metrics from prior APBs, but raised questions about traceability to the current cost, schedule, and performance metrics. GAO will assess the updated APBs as a part of its annual review of select DHS major acquisition programs to determine whether the department has addressed the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To more accurately communicate DHS's funding plans for USCG's major acquisition programs, the Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure the funding plans presented to Congress in fiscal year 2015 are comprehensive and clearly account for all operations and maintenance funding DHS plans to allocate to each of the USCG's major acquisition programs.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred with this recommendation, and stated that the U.S. Coast Guard and the DHS Chief Financial Officer will develop a plan to address this recommendation by September 30, 2015, then work together to fully implement the plan. DHS estimated it would complete this effort March 31, 2016. However, the USCG encountered technical challenges during this process and was unable to implement the plan by that time. The U.S. Coast Guard has revised the estimated completion date, and now anticipates it will be able to address this recommendation in fiscal year 2020.
    Director: Cristina T. Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve technology planning and ensure planning efforts are clearly aligned with the SBIRS follow-on, the Secretary of the Air Force should establish a technology insertion plan as part of the SBIRS follow-on acquisition strategy that identifies obsolescence needs as well as specific potential technologies and insertion points.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation. DOD's planned action on the scope and focus of technology insertion will be based on the direction provided in the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Follow-on Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) and will be executed through the SBIRS Space Modernization Initiative (SMI). The SBIRS AoA was completed in March 2016; however, as of June 2017, the SMI schedule has yet to show how technology will be inserted into the follow-on system.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to help ensure consistent, effective oversight of DHS's acquisition programs, and to make the CASR more useful, starting with the report reflecting fiscal year 2015 program data, the Secretary of DHS should adjust the CASR to do the following: (1) report an individual rating for each program's cost, schedule, and technical risks; (2) report a best estimate of procurement quantities or indicate why this is not applicable, as appropriate; (3) report all programs' significant changes in acquisition cost, quantity, or schedule from the previous CASR report by determining a means to account for programs that lack acquisition program baselines; (4) report major program events that are included in acquisition program baselines, such as scheduled acquisition decision events; and (5) report the level at which the program's life-cycle cost estimate was approved.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation, and took some actions to address it. The Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management (PARM) updated its template for the Comprehensive Acquisition Status Report (CASR) to reflect the following changes: individual ratings for each program's cost, schedule, and technical risks; significant changes in programs' acquisition cost, quantity, or schedule; and major events included in the acquisition program baselines. In addition, PARM intended to revise the reporting information for the level at which a program's life-cycle cost estimate was approved and its estimate of procurement quantities. However, the 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act discontinued the requirement to submit the CASR with future budget requests and DHS did not submit one for 2017. Recently introduced legislation would reestablish the CASR requirement and we will revisit this recommendation pending the outcome of that legislation.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that satellites storage is fully considered at the beginning of the acquisition process for all satellite programs and sufficient detailed cost data are maintained, the Secretary of Defense should provide guidance regarding when and how to use storage in the acquisition process, and establish mechanisms so that more detailed data are maintained for use in evaluating the reasonableness of contractors' storage cost proposals and for informing DOD's oversight of satellite acquisitions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its response to the report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and noted that it is important to develop guidance regarding the use of satellite storage in the acquisition process. In addition, DOD agreed that it is important to establish mechanisms such that more detailed data are available to evaluate storage cost proposals and inform the oversight of satellite acquisitions. In October 2015, DOD provided GAO with draft language that it planned to include in the Space Systems chapter of the Defense Acquisition Guidebook (DAG) when the final chapter was to be published. In an August 24, 2016, response to a GAO inquiry regarding the language not appearing in the on-line version of the DAG, the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD/AT&L) explained that the Space Systems chapter of the DAG had been deleted. USD/AT&L stated it was working to incorporate the proposed language in the next revision of the DAG, scheduled to be completed in December 2016. A September 12, 2017, search of DOD's on-line guidance did not locate any guidance related to satellite storage. DOD liaison was contacted, but no information has been provided yet as of September 2017.
    Director: Dinapoli, Timothy J
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve civilian IC elements' or their respective departments' ability to mitigate risks associated with the use of contractors, the Director of National Intelligence, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Attorney General of the United States, and Secretaries of Energy and the Treasury should direct responsible agency officials to set time frames to develop guidance that fully addresses the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Policy Letter 11-01's requirements related to closely supporting inherently governmental functions.

    Agency: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation. ODNI has held roundtables to discuss OFPP PL 11-01 implementation with other IC agencies. ODNI also revised ICD 612 but has not developed implementing guidance for ODNI MSD.
    Recommendation: To improve civilian IC elements' or their respective departments' ability to mitigate risks associated with the use of contractors, the Director of National Intelligence, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Attorney General of the United States, and Secretaries of Energy and the Treasury should direct responsible agency officials to set time frames to develop guidance that fully addresses the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Policy Letter 11-01's requirements related to closely supporting inherently governmental functions.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its letter to OMB and the Congress, the agency concurred with this recommendation. In July 2015, the agency issued interim guidance, but the guidance does not fully address OFPP Policy Letter 11-01. The agency explained that once the Federal Acquisition Regulation is updated, the agency's acquisition regulation will be updated as necessary to reflect the new guidance. Since that time, no further action has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve civilian IC elements' or their respective departments' ability to mitigate risks associated with the use of contractors, the Director of National Intelligence, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Attorney General of the United States, and Secretaries of Energy and the Treasury should direct responsible agency officials to set time frames to develop guidance that fully addresses the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Policy Letter 11-01's requirements related to closely supporting inherently governmental functions.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its letter to OMB and the Congress, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken the actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: To improve civilian IC elements' or their respective departments' ability to mitigate risks associated with the use of contractors, the Director of National Intelligence, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Attorney General of the United States, and Secretaries of Energy and the Treasury should direct responsible agency officials to set time frames to develop guidance that fully addresses the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Policy Letter 11-01's requirements related to closely supporting inherently governmental functions.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its letter to OMB and the Congress, the agency concurred with this recommendation. Treasury issued additional supplemental guidance and is currently updating its procurement and workforce guidance to fully address OFPP Policy Letter 11-01.
    Recommendation: To improve civilian IC elements' or their respective departments' ability to mitigate risks associated with the use of contractors, the Director of National Intelligence, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Attorney General of the United States, and Secretaries of Energy and the Treasury should direct responsible agency officials to set time frames to develop guidance that fully addresses the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Policy Letter 11-01's requirements related to closely supporting inherently governmental functions.

    Agency: Central Intelligence Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency did not comment on our recommendation. Please contact Timothy DiNapoli at (202) 512-4841 or dinapolit@gao.gov for additional information on the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve congressional oversight and enhance civilian IC elements' insights into their use of core contract personnel, when reporting to congressional committees, the IC CHCO should clearly specify limitations and significant methodological changes and their associated effects.

    Agency: Office of the Director of National Intelligence: IC Chief Human Capital Officer
    Status: Open

    Comments: The IC CHCO described steps it was taking to implement the recommendation. For example, the IC CHCO stated it highlighted limitations to the data and the reasons for data adjustments from year-to-year in its FY 2014-2016 briefings to Congress. We will continue to follow up with the IC CHCO to determine whether these actions meet the intent of the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the ability of the civilian IC elements to strategically plan for their contractors and mitigate associated risks, the IC CHCO should revise the Intelligence Community Directive 612's provisions governing strategic workforce planning to require the IC elements to identify their assessment of the appropriate workforce mix on a function-by-function basis.

    Agency: Office of the Director of National Intelligence: IC Chief Human Capital Officer
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2015, IC CHCO revised Intelligence Community Directive 612 and removed the provisions governing strategic workforce planning. We will continue to follow up with IC CHCO to determine whether steps will be taken to require IC elements to identify an appropriate workforce mix.
    Director: Woods, William T
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD organizations fully comply with interagency acquisition regulations, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy, as part of its ongoing interagency acquisition policy review, to ensure that its acquisition regulations, policies, and guidance on interagency contracting are updated to reflect new Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) rules, including those related to a best procurement approach determination.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2014, DOD revised its acquisition regulations to incorporate additional guidance to ensure awareness of the total cost of interagency acquisitions, including fees, as part of making a determination that use of another agency's contract is in the best interest of DOD. However, DOD's regulations and guidance still do not reflect all of the factors described in the FAR which should be considered in making these determinations. In particular, DOD's regulations still do not mention assessing whether the requesting agency has the expertise to place orders and administer them against the selected contract vehicle throughout the acquisition lifecycle. In September 2017, DOD policy officials drafted new guidance to ensure that contracting officers document these factors, but this draft guidance is in the process of being reviewed and is not yet final.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help mitigate the risk of poor acquisition outcomes and strengthen the department's investment management activities, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management to, once the department's acquisition programs comply with DHS acquisition policy, prioritize major acquisition programs departmentwide and ensure that the department's acquisition portfolio is consistent with DHS's anticipated resource constraints.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DHS concurred with this recommendation, and stated that its effort to more fully reflect portfolio management practices in its acquisition policy will help DHS prioritize its major acquisition programs departmentwide. DHS also stated that the revised portfolio management approach will help ensure that the department's acquisition portfolio is consistent with anticipated resource constraints. However, it has taken years for some of the department's major acquisition programs to comply with DHS's acquisition policy, which requires getting approval for key acquisition documentation that contains the critical knowledge needed for DHS to make effective portfolio management decisions. In February 2017, we found that DHS had approved the required acquisition documentation for all of its major acquisition programs and planned to continue to ensure that all major acquisition programs have approved documents, such as acquisition program baselines. Now that major acquisition programs are in compliance with DHS's acquisition policy, GAO will evaluate the department's implementation of its revised portfolio management approach to determine whether DHS has met the intent of this recommendation by ensuring that the department's acquisition portfolio is consistent with DHS's anticipated resource constraints.