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    Subject Term: "Competitive procurement"

    7 publications with a total of 16 open recommendations including 4 priority recommendations
    Director: Kimberly M. Gianopoulos
    Phone: (202) 512-8612

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the quality and transparency of statistical reporting of international government procurement by GPA and U.S. FTA parties to fulfill their commitments under these agreements, the U.S. Trade Representative should prepare and submit a proposal to the WTO GPA working group on statistical reporting established by the Committee on Government Procurement that aims to improve the quality of statistical reporting by WTO parties to address the weaknesses we identified.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
    Status: Open

    Comments: On May 10, 2017 USTR officials said the United States has long struggled with the challenges associated with comparing statistics produced by the United States with statistics provided by U.S. trading partners where there are inconsistencies in statistical reporting. To respond to this known challenge, USTR led an effort to establish a work program on statistical reporting during the revised GPA negotiations. The WTO GPA statistical work program calls for parties to make recommendation on four issues: 1) whether the GPA Parties should adopt a common method for collection of statistics; 2) whether the GPA Parties are able to standardize the classifications in the statistical data reported to the GPA Committee; 3) means for facilitating the collection of country of origin of goods and services covered by the agreements; and 4) other technical issues in government procurement data reporting raised by any GPA Party. In 2017, USTR assumed the chair of the work program as part of its effort to ensure that the GPA Parties continue to make progress in their work on these recommendations. On April 27, 2017, USTR tabled a proposal that identifies outstanding issues preventing GPA Parties from improving the quality of statistical reporting. GPA Parties have agreed to discuss these issues at another work program meeting chaired by USTR in June 2017.
    Recommendation: To improve the quality and transparency of statistical reporting of international government procurement by GPA and U.S. FTA parties to fulfill their commitments under these agreements, the U.S. Trade Representative should resume the annual exchange of statistical data on covered government procurement with the other NAFTA parties as NAFTA requires.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
    Status: Open

    Comments: On May 10, 2017 USTR officials said they support resuming the annual exchange of statistical data under NAFTA, given the importance of high quality and transparent statistical reporting of government procurement and the significance of the trade relationships with Canada and Mexico. The Administration is currently reassessing NAFTA. USTR will seek to ensure that the exchange of procurement statistics is considered as part of the ongoing reevaluation.
    Recommendation: The U.S. Trade Representative should, with appropriate experts in Commerce, OMB, and GSA, improve the U.S. methodology for providing federal government procurement statistics to the WTO to ensure both accurate and more timely reporting, consistent with GPA requirements--for example, by providing preliminary estimates and updated values of covered federal procurement or by using an alternative methodology that bases measures of covered government procurement on actual annual obligations, if USTR determines that such an approach is consistent with WTO obligations.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
    Status: Open

    Comments: On May 10, 2017 USTR officials the revised U.S. approach for reporting GPA-covered procurement adopted in 2015 provides significantly more accurate statistics, but at the cost of timeliness. USTR, in coordination with DOC, is working to further revise the methodology for the preparation and submission of statistics on federal procurement covered by the GPA. They expected that this revised methodology will include both preliminary estimates and updated values of covered federal procurement, per the GAO recommendation.
    Recommendation: The U.S. Trade Representative should, in consultation with appropriate experts in Commerce, OMB, and GSA, develop a methodology for reporting statistics on state governments' covered procurement to the WTO consistent with GPA requirements.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
    Status: Open

    Comments: On May 10, 2017 USTR officials said that despite noting significant challenges in preparing accurate U.S. state-level statistics on government procurement, we did not identify any concrete steps to improve the accuracy of state-level statistics. Officials have begun to research the issue and found eight states covered by the GPA currently make procurement statistics available in an on-line searchable format, but none of those states indicates the value of procurements covered by trade agreements. Nonetheless, USTR, in consultation with DOC (ITA and Census), is assessing methods for preparing more accurate state-level statistics.
    Recommendation: The U.S. Trade Representative should, in consultation with appropriate experts in Commerce, OMB, and GSA, ensure that methodologies and data sources used to prepare GPA statistical notifications are documented.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
    Status: Open

    Comments: On May 10, 2017 USTR officials said as USTR and DOC work to develop new methodologies for federal and state-level statistical submissions, they are documenting the decision-making process and the final methodology. Additionally, as part of the data documentation process, DOC has agreed to maintain a database of the source data used in the preparation of both federal and state-level statistics. DOC and USTR are also taking additional steps to ensure the accuracy of all statistics submitted to the WTO.
    Recommendation: The U.S. Trade Representative should, in consultation with appropriate experts in Commerce, OMB, and GSA, ensure that calculations using U.S. procurement statistics and other data are reviewed for accuracy before reporting them to the WTO.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
    Status: Open

    Comments: On May 10, 2017 USTR officials said as USTR and DOC work to develop new methodologies for federal and state-level statistical submissions, they are documenting the decision-making process and the final methodology. Additionally, as part of the data documentation process, DOC has agreed to maintain a database of the source data used in the preparation of both federal and state-level statistics. DOC and USTR are also taking additional steps to ensure the accuracy of all statistics submitted to the WTO.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: When planning for the next phase of national security space launches, Phase 2, the Secretary of the Air Force should consider using an incremental approach to the next launch services acquisition strategy. Planning for acquisitions on a short term basis will help ensure that the Air Force does not commit itself to a strategy until the appropriate amount of data is available to make an informed decision, and will allow for flexibility in responding to a changing launch industry.

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

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet completed actions necessary to implement it. The acquisition strategy for the next phase of national security launches, Phase 2, has not yet been finalized by the Air Force. The EELV program office expects it to be completed in the summer of 2018.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: If Congress re-authorizes RIP then, to improve visibility and management of DOD's ability to transition technologies through the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics to establish an overall technology transition goal for RIP.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has not established a technology transition goal for RIP. Although DOD non-concurred with the recommendation, it agreed there is a need to measure annually the transition rate for RIP. In 2016, DOD officials stated they were working on ways to measure and assess technology transitions in the program and, in 2017, DOD did not provide any further update on the status of these efforts, when GAO requested. Until DOD obtains better visibility on RIP technology transition performance, it does not have the data it needs to set an informed technology transition goal.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of OFPP should take appropriate steps to amend the FAR to include the following requirement: at the time of the contract award, contracting officers shall conduct and document an assessment of the 8(a) firm's ability to comply with the subcontracting limitations.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: OFPP concurred with our recommendation. We asked for updates on actions taken however as of September 2017 no updates were provided. GAO will continue to monitor OFPP's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of OFPP should take appropriate steps to amend the FAR to include the following requirement: contracting officers shall include monitoring and oversight provisions in all 8(a) contracts to ensure that the contractors comply with the subcontracting limitations.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: OFPP concurred with our recommendation. We asked for updates on actions taken however as of September 2017 no updates were provided. GAO will continue to monitor OFPP's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of OFPP should take appropriate steps to amend the FAR to include the following requirement: prime 8(a) contractors shall periodically report to the contracting officer on the percentage of subcontracted work being performed.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: OFPP concurred with our recommendation. We asked for updates on actions taken however as of September 2017 no updates were provided. GAO will continue to monitor OFPP's actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide the Congress with the necessary insight into program planning and affordability, and to decrease the risk of cost and schedule overruns, NASA's Administrator should direct the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to take the following action: To promote affordability, before finalizing acquisition plans for future capability variants, NASA should assess the full range of competition opportunities and provide to the Congress the agency's assessment of the extent to which development and production of future elements of the SLS could be competitively procured.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: NASA agreed with this recommendation. NASA competitively awarded a contract to develop and build a universal stage adapter and provided justifications for other than full and open competition for the Exploration Upper Stage and Exploration Upper Stage engines as well as for the acquisition of six additional RS-25 engines. NASA, however, did not provide support that in advance of awarding these sole source contracts that it provided to Congress the agency's assessment of the extent to which development and production of future elements of the SLS could be competitively procured. To fully implement this recommendation, NASA should conduct such an analysis and provide this assessment to Congress for the new advanced boosters that it plans to acquire.
    Recommendation: To provide the Congress with the necessary insight into program planning and affordability, and to decrease the risk of cost and schedule overruns, NASA's Administrator should direct the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to take the following action: To allow for a continued assessment of progress and affordability, NASA should structure each future increment of SLS capability with a total cost exceeding the $250 million threshold for designation as a major project as a separate development effort within the SLS program. In doing so, NASA should require each increment to complete both the technical and programmatic reviews required of other major development projects, per the agency's acquisition and system engineering policies.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: NASA agreed with this recommendation. In May 2017, NASA officials stated that efforts to address this recommendation are in progress.
    Recommendation: To provide the Congress with the necessary insight into program planning and affordability, and to decrease the risk of cost and schedule overruns, NASA's Administrator should direct the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to take the following action: Provide decision makers with an informed basis for making investment decisions regarding the SLS program, NASA should identify a range of possible missions for each future SLS variant that includes cost and schedule estimates and plans for how those possible missions would fit within NASA's funding profile.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: NASA agreed with this recommendation. NASA officials stated they have taken steps to address it through issuing its September 2016 Human Exploration and Operations Exploration Objectives document. This document is a positive step in providing additional details about NASA?s vision as it includes more details on the objectives that NASA plans to accomplish in its phases of exploration. To fully address this recommendation, however, NASA still needs to identify cost and schedule estimates for any possible SLS missions beyond its first exploration mission, EM-1, and how its planned missions would fit within NASA's funding profile.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help mitigate confusion about the use of reverse auctions in federal acquisitions, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should take steps to amend the FAR to address agencies' use of reverse auctions.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, OMB generally concurred with this recommendation but, as of July 2017, had not yet publicly released a draft of any related proposed FAR rule(s). In July 2017, OMB staff stated that a FAR team had drafted proposed regulatory changes to address the use of reverse auctions in response to GAO's recommendation. OMB staff said that the draft changes were undergoing review and they expected they would be published for public comment before the end of the calendar year.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202)512-7773

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy should direct agencies to require their competition advocates to actively involve program offices in highlighting opportunities to increase competition.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) officials confirmed that they do not plan to issue guidance on increasing the role of program officials in promoting competition, but stated that they have engaged with the Chief Acquisition Officers Council regarding the issue, and reminded them of GAO?s 2010 findings. In addition, OMB officials noted that they have developed agency-level benchmarks to better measure competition that are specifically focused on reducing financial risk to the government and on the level of competition where only one offer is received.