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    Subject Term: "Federal acquisition regulations"

    25 publications with a total of 78 open recommendations including 1 priority recommendation
    Director: William T. Woods
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure accurate reporting of personal services contracts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force and the Army take steps to ensure the accurate recording of personal services contracts in the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure accurate reporting of personal services contracts, the Administrator, United States Agency for International Development should implement periodic reviews of selected personal services contracts to ensure the effectiveness of steps taken to assist contracting officers to cite the correct statutory authority for personal services contracts.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Marie A. Mak
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that ACPV armoring and quality standards are met, that evolving department and component policies are consistent, and that they are consistently applied, the Secretary of Defense should, until the department approves and implements the updated armoring and inspection standards, direct the Secretary of the Army to conduct in-progress inspections at the armoring vendor's facility for each procurement.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that ACPV armoring and quality standards are met, that evolving department and component policies are consistent, and that they are consistently applied, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to designate a central point of contact for collecting and reporting ACPV information to facilitate Defense Intelligence Agency's oversight of armoring and inspection standards in these contracts.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Director: Marie Mak
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    15 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that IGCEs are optimized as a tool in the procurement planning process, the Secretaries of Defense and Housing and Urban Development should take steps--such as clarifying guidance, providing additional training, or issuing reminders to officials--to help ensure that guidance on when to prepare an IGCE is followed.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD agreed with the recommendation and stated that it is in the process of developing guidance and training on independent government cost estimates.
    Recommendation: To ensure that IGCEs are optimized as a tool in the procurement planning process, the Secretaries of Defense and Housing and Urban Development should take steps--such as clarifying guidance, providing additional training, or issuing reminders to officials--to help ensure that guidance on when to prepare an IGCE is followed.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: HUD agreed with the recommendation. In July 2017, HUD noted that it is writing an acquisition instruction to guide acquisition workforce personnel on when and how to prepare an independent government cost estimate which will address this recommendation. It is also planning training on this issue in the fall of 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure that IGCEs are optimized as a tool in the procurement planning process, the Secretary of Education should consider making Contracts and Acquisitions Management guidance applicable to all agency procurements, and if so, take steps--such as clarifying guidance, providing additional training, or issuing reminders to officials--to help ensure that guidance on when to prepare an IGCE is followed.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education agreed with the recommendation and stated that it will enhance or clarify guidance on independent government cost estimates.
    Recommendation: To ensure that IGCEs contain key information consistent with good cost estimating practices, the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security should take steps to ensure that IGCE guidance is followed by, for example, providing training or issuing reminders to officials.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS agreed with the recommendation and stated that it will take steps to determine why guidance on independent government cost estimates is not followed. In July, DHS reported that the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer(OCPO) reached out to the nine DHS contracting activities soliciting feedback on why program officials may not be developing IGCEs in accordance with existing policies. Feedback was received in late May 2017. OCPO is currently evaluating the feedback and identifying consistent themes which will lead to the development of IGCE policy compliance measures.
    Recommendation: To ensure that IGCEs contain key information consistent with good cost estimating practices, the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security should take steps to ensure that IGCE guidance is followed by, for example, providing training or issuing reminders to officials.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD agreed with the recommendation and stated that it is in the process of developing guidance and training on independent government estimates.
    Recommendation: To ensure that IGCEs contain key information consistent with good cost estimating practices, the Secretaries of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor should revise or clarify guidance to require that IGCEs document data sources, methodology, and assumptions, and take steps to help ensure that guidance is followed by, for example, providing training or issuing reminders to officials to include this information when developing IGCEs.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education agreed with the recommendation and stated that it will enhance or clarify guidance on independent government cost estimates.
    Recommendation: To ensure that IGCEs contain key information consistent with good cost estimating practices, the Secretaries of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor should revise or clarify guidance to require that IGCEs document data sources, methodology, and assumptions, and take steps to help ensure that guidance is followed by, for example, providing training or issuing reminders to officials to include this information when developing IGCEs.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: HUD agreed with the recommendation. In July 2017, HUD noted that it is writing an acquisition instruction to guide acquisition workforce personnel on when and how to prepare an independent government cost estimate which will address this recommendation. It is also planning training on this issue in the fall of 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure that IGCEs contain key information consistent with good cost estimating practices, the Secretaries of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor should revise or clarify guidance to require that IGCEs document data sources, methodology, and assumptions, and take steps to help ensure that guidance is followed by, for example, providing training or issuing reminders to officials to include this information when developing IGCEs.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS agreed with the recommendation and stated that it will revise guidance on independent government cost estimates.
    Recommendation: To ensure that IGCEs contain key information consistent with good cost estimating practices, the Secretaries of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor should revise or clarify guidance to require that IGCEs document data sources, methodology, and assumptions, and take steps to help ensure that guidance is followed by, for example, providing training or issuing reminders to officials to include this information when developing IGCEs.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL agreed with the recommendation and stated that it will review guidance and training on independent government estimates.
    Recommendation: To ensure that IGCEs are optimized as a tool in the procurement planning process, the Secretaries of Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor should take steps to ensure that, when appropriate, contracting staff document differences between IGCE and final contract award value in the contract file.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS agreed with the recommendation. In July 2017, DHS reported that the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO) disseminated a new draft policy on this issue and solicited feedback from the Component's contracting activities. The Components provided feedback on the draft policy and OCPO is currently adjudicating their comments and will incorporate, as appropriate.
    Recommendation: To ensure that IGCEs are optimized as a tool in the procurement planning process, the Secretaries of Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor should take steps to ensure that, when appropriate, contracting staff document differences between IGCE and final contract award value in the contract file.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education agreed with the recommendation and stated that it will enhance or clarify guidance on independent government cost estimates.
    Recommendation: To ensure that IGCEs are optimized as a tool in the procurement planning process, the Secretaries of Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor should take steps to ensure that, when appropriate, contracting staff document differences between IGCE and final contract award value in the contract file.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD agreed with the recommendation and stated that it is in the process of developing guidance and training on independent government estimates.
    Recommendation: To ensure that IGCEs are optimized as a tool in the procurement planning process, the Secretaries of Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor should take steps to ensure that, when appropriate, contracting staff document differences between IGCE and final contract award value in the contract file.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: HUD agreed with the recommendation. In July 2017, HUD noted that it will remind managers to ensure they review price analysis, pre-negotiation and price negotiation memoranda to ensure that differences between the independent government cost estimate and final contract award value are properly documented in the contract file.
    Recommendation: To ensure that IGCEs are optimized as a tool in the procurement planning process, the Secretaries of Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor should take steps to ensure that, when appropriate, contracting staff document differences between IGCE and final contract award value in the contract file.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS agreed with the recommendation and stated that it will revise guidance on independent government cost estimates.
    Recommendation: To ensure that IGCEs are optimized as a tool in the procurement planning process, the Secretaries of Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor should take steps to ensure that, when appropriate, contracting staff document differences between IGCE and final contract award value in the contract file.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL agreed with the recommendation and stated that it will review continue to work with contracting officials to ensure proper documentation and issue a policy on this issue no later than the end of fiscal year 2017.
    Director: David Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of the General Services Administration should determine whether the beneficial owner of high-security space that GSA leases is a foreign entity and, if so, share that information with the tenant agencies so they can adequately assess and mitigate any security risks.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    8 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to ensure universal usage and reduce duplicate work, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Office of Acquisition and Logistics (OAL) to work with the National Acquisition Center to develop a plan for adding functionality to the Electronic Contract Management System (eCMS) that will alleviate the need for National Acquisition Center contracting officers to enter obligations for high-tech medical equipment into two different data systems.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken actions necessary to implement it. However, in its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA stated that it plans to pursue a new financial and contracting systems that will be interoperable.
    Recommendation: In order to ensure that VA's procurement data is complete and accurate, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Office of Acquisitions and Logistics to develop policies and procedures to ensure that obligations made through prime vendor orders--such as medical-surgical orders--are consistently captured in eCMS.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken actions necessary to implement it. In its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA noted an April 2016 policy that requires monthly reporting of orders to contracting officers, but additional guidance and processes are required to implement this policy.
    Recommendation: In order to ensure that contracting officers have clear and effective policies as soon as possible, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the OAL to identify measures to expedite the revision of the Veterans Affairs Acquisition Regulation (VAAR), which has been ongoing for many years, and the issuance of the VA Acquisition Manual.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it. However, in its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA stated that it anticipated that the updated VAAR would be issued by December 2018.
    Recommendation: To help contracting officers use current policy that is in effect in the period before the updated VAAR and VA Acquisition Manual are released, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct OAL to take interim steps to clarify its policy framework, including establishing and adhering to set time frames for completing the process of reviewing all Information Letters, and either rescinding them or reissuing updated policy through Procurement Policy Memoranda.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation but has not yet completed the actions necessary to implement it. In its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA stated that some Information Letters are still awaiting review and rescission or reissuance.
    Recommendation: To address remaining ambiguities in roles and customer relationships, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction to assess whether additional policy or guidance is needed to clarify the roles of VA's national contracting organizations, beyond that provided in its March 2013 memorandum outlining the current structure.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it. However, in its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA stated that it planned to issue updated guidance on roles for its national contracting organizations.
    Recommendation: To facilitate consolidation of similar requirements and leverage buying power across medical centers within VISNs, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct VHA Procurement and Logistics to conduct a review of VISN-level strategic sourcing efforts, identify best practices, and, if needed, issue guidance.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation. In July 2017, Veterans Health Administration officials stated that they would take further action to collect and disseminate best practices, which they estimate will be complete by late 2017.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Senior Procurement Executive to issue guidance to the Heads of Contracting Activity to focus internal compliance reviews on ensuring that required contract documents are properly prepared and documented.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation. In its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA stated that it is beginning coordination between the Senior Procurement Executive (SPE) and its Heads of Contracting Activity (HCA) on using the findings of OMB A-123 reviews to focus its contract compliance reviews. The SPE and HCA developed a memorandum of understanding for this effort in late 2016, but VA has not yet provided information on any new guidance to focus compliance reviews.
    Recommendation: To maximize compliance with mandatory national contracts during the transition to the new medical-surgical prime vendor (MSPV) process, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Strategic Acquisition Center (SAC) and VHA Procurement and Logistics to take steps to ensure that: (1) SAC has mechanisms in place to collect and monitor transaction data to determine the extent to which Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) and their medical centers are complying with the requirement to use national contracts. (2) They establish achievable time frames for eliminating the ability for ordering officers to directly order Federal Supply Schedule items from the MSPV catalog once SAC awards national contracts for these items and monitor progress on an ongoing basis. (3) The ordering interfaces developed by the prime vendors clearly distinguish and prioritize standardized national contracts over items on Federal Supply Schedule contracts.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation. VA has taken steps to monitor compliance with mandatory national contracts. However, VA has not yet established achievable timeframes for replacing Federal Supply Schedule items made available through non-competitive agreements its new Medical-Surgical Prime Vendor program, nor has it taken steps to distinguish these items from competitive national contracts in the ordering interface.
    Director: Beryl H. Davis
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    11 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the design of internal controls over the indirect cost rate-setting process, the Director of CAS should develop a standardized checklist and document procedures in its internal guidance instructing negotiators to use the checklist during negotiation.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Division of Cost Allocation
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. In response, HHS stated that its Cost Allocation Services (CAS) will update and complete standardized checklists and that staff will be instructed to use these checklists by December 31, 2016. We are currently reviewing support received from HHS to determine if we can close the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the design of internal controls over the indirect cost rate-setting process, the Director of CAS should develop detailed internal guidance for the completion and documentation of supervisory review of the indirect cost rate negotiation process to provide reasonable assurance that key control activities have been performed by the negotiators.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Division of Cost Allocation
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. In response, HHS stated that by December 31, 2016, its Cost Allocation Services (CAS) will establish a document outlining standardized review procedures for supervisory review of workpapers and rate agreements. We are currently reviewing support received from HHS to determine if we can close the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the design of internal controls over the indirect cost rate-setting process, the Director of CAS should develop internal guidance for negotiating indirect cost rates with all types of research organizations, including hospitals, as well as universities using the simplified method.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Division of Cost Allocation
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. In response, HHS stated that its Cost Allocation Services (CAS) will update internal guidance for negotiating indirect cost rates with universities using the simplified method by December 31, 2016. This guidance will include an example under the two types of direct cost bases, a salary and wage base and a modified total direct cost base. CAS will develop internal guidance for negotiating with hospitals as soon as possible. We are currently reviewing support received from HHS to determine if we can close the recommendation.
    Recommendation: As NIH-DFAS begins formalizing its internal guidance, the Director of NIH-DFAS should update internal guidance to include key characteristics, such as policy number, purpose of the policy, effective date, and approving official, that are normally included in formal policy and procedures.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: National Institutes of Health: Office of Management: Office of Acquisition and Logistics Management: Office of Acquisition Management and Policy: Division of Financial Advisory Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. In response, HHS stated that by December 31, 2016, National Institute of Health's Division of Financial Advisory Services (DFAS) will update internal guidance to include key characteristics that are normally included in formal policy and procedures. NIH-DFAS has finalized three of the five polices, which are effective as of July 1, 2017. The remaining two policies will be finalized by August 31st, 2017. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: As NIH-DFAS begins formalizing its internal guidance, the Director of NIH-DFAS should develop detailed procedures for the completion and documentation of supervisory review of the indirect cost rate negotiation process to provide reasonable assurance that key control activities have been performed by the negotiator.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: National Institutes of Health: Office of Management: Office of Acquisition and Logistics Management: Office of Acquisition Management and Policy: Division of Financial Advisory Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. In response, HHS stated that the National Institute of Health's Division of Financial Advisory Services (DFAS), will develop detailed procedures for the completion and documentation of supervisory review of the indirect cost rate negotiations process. NIH-DFAS has developed draft internal guidance to address the supervisory review of the indirect cost negotiation process. NIH-DFAS plans to finalize these procedures by August 31, 2017. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: As NIH-DFAS begins formalizing its internal guidance, the Director of NIH-DFAS should establish a mechanism for tracking key milestones in the indirect cost rate-setting process, such as when indirect cost rate proposals are due.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: National Institutes of Health: Office of Management: Office of Acquisition and Logistics Management: Office of Acquisition Management and Policy: Division of Financial Advisory Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendations. In response, HHS stated that National Institute of Health's Division of Financial Advisory Services (DFAS) will establish a mechanism for tracking key milestones in the indirect cost rate-setting process. NIH-DFAS has initiatives underway that include moving from paper to electronic submissions of indirect cost proposals and developing a replacement to its Commercial Rate Agreement Distribution Services website. DFAS is looking into the feasibility of incorporating key milestones into these two major initiatives. NIH-DFAS is currently working with a contractor to develop a web based system that will establish a tracking system to account for when indirect cost proposal are due from organizations. The original initiative to enable the electronic submission of indirect cost proposals was modified to incorporate this new requirement. NIH-DFAS anticipates the planned date for implementation of this system to be October 1, 2017. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the design of internal controls over the indirect cost rate-setting process, the Director of ONR should implement the May 2014 policy requiring an annual review of guidance so that internal guidance is updated when changes are made to applicable regulations and procedures to reasonably assure that the guidance reflects current requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Office of Naval Research
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. In response, DOD stated that the Office of Naval Research (ONR) will comply with its requirement for an annual review of its internal policy on negotiating indirect costs. As of June 15, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the Department of Defense. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the design of internal controls over the indirect cost rate-setting process, the Director of ONR should include in its internal guidance acceptable Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) audit completion time frames and identify supplemental procedures to be performed by negotiators if DCAA cannot perform its audits timely or if DCAA issues a qualified opinion or rescinds one of its previously issued audit opinions, to reasonably assure that the indirect cost rate proposal has been adequately reviewed and the negotiated rate complies with applicable regulations.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Office of Naval Research
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. In response, DOD stated that the Office of Naval Research's (ONR) internal guidance will be updated to provide more realistic audit report due dates and will include general procedures to be performed by negotiators in the case of untimely audits, qualified opinions, or rescinded opinions. As of June 15, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the Department of Defense. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the design of internal controls over the indirect cost rate-setting process, the Director of ONR should develop detailed procedures for the completion and documentation of supervisory review of the indirect cost rate negotiation process to provide reasonable assurance that required certifications and assurances are obtained and follow-up with the research organization is documented.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Office of Naval Research
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation. DOD did not agree that the Office of Naval Research (ONR) lacks procedures to ensure supervisors confirm that negotiators adequately performed and documented key controls. DOD noted that both the primary and secondary supervisors are required to review and approve the Business Clearance Memorandum, which records steps performed by the negotiator. While we agree that the Business Clearance Memorandum documents steps performed by the negotiator, these steps are documented at a high level and do not include detailed procedures for supervisors to follow to reasonably assure that the negotiator has performed and documented all key control activities, such as obtaining all required certifications and assurances. DOD agreed in its response that ONR's Business Clearance Memorandum can be improved and stated that ONR will update it to require the negotiator to cross-reference the review steps to the proposal to facilitate the supervisor's review process. However, it is not clear whether the planned Business Clearance Memorandum revisions will include providing detailed procedures for supervisory review as we recommended. As of June 15, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the Department of Defense. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the design of internal controls over the indirect cost rate-setting process, the Director of ONR should finalize and issue internal guidance for negotiating indirect cost rates with universities and nonprofit organizations, including establishing a time frame for issuance of the internal guidance, to help ensure that the procedures are implemented in a timely manner.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Office of Naval Research
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. In response, DOD stated that the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is currently updating its internal guidance and currently plans to issue this guidance by December 31, 2016. As of June 15, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the Department of Defense. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the design of internal controls over the indirect cost rate-setting process, the Director of ONR should update ONR's existing process for tracking key milestones in the indirect cost rate-setting process to include information such as when indirect cost rate proposals are overdue and when DCAA's audit reports are due.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Office of Naval Research
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. In response, DOD stated that the Office of Naval Research will update its existing processes for tracking key milestones to include information such as due dates for rate proposals and DCAA audit reports. As of June 15, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the Department of Defense. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Neumann, John
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOE's control activities continue to be relevant and effective for managing supply chain risk, the Secretary should direct the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, as the Administrator of the NNSA, to work with the Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence and other DOE organizations, as appropriate, to assess the circumstances that might warrant using the enhanced procurement authority, and (1) if this assessment identifies circumstances that might warrant using the authority, the Secretary should direct the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security to work with other DOE organizations, as appropriate, to establish processes for using it and examine whether adequate resources are in place to support those processes, and (2) communicate the results of this assessment to the relevant congressional committees for their use in determining whether to extend the authority past its current termination date.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In an October 7, 2016, letter the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) said he agreed with GAO's recommendation to assess situations that might warrant the use of the enhanced procurement authority and, should specific circumstances be identified for use of the authority, NNSA would develop a process for its use. The assessment would include an examination of resources to support use of the authority. NNSA would work with other Department of Energy organizations as appropriate in conducting the assessment. The results would be shared with relevant congressional committees, as GAO recommended. NNSA had anticipated completion of the assessment by March 2017, but on June 1, 2017, NNSA officials told us they anticipated the completion date would be September 30, 2017.
    Director: David Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen acquisition planning for M&O contract acquisitions, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Office of Acquisition Management, Office of Policy to require that acquisition planning documents for M&O contracts discuss alternatives beyond extending the M&O contract or conducting a competition for essentially the same scope of work.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, DOE officials stated that the Office of Acquisition Management will amend existing or issue new policy or guidance, as appropriate, with an estimated completion date of January 2017.
    Recommendation: To strengthen acquisition planning for M&O contract acquisitions, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Office of Acquisition Management, Office of Policy to establish a process to periodically analyze DOE's experience with alternatives to the single M&O contract approach to identify and apply lessons learned during acquisition planning for M&O contracts.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, DOE officials stated that the Office of Acquisition Management will amend existing or issue new policy or guidance, as appropriate, to require programs to periodically analyze their experiences with alternatives. Officials provided an estimated completion date of July 2017.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the use of warranties and guarantees in Navy shipbuilding, the Secretary of the Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy, in arrangements where the shipbuilder is paid to correct defects, to structure contract terms such that shipbuilders do not earn profit for correcting construction deficiencies following delivery that are determined to be their responsibility.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Defense partially concurred with this recommendation, and has completed a study reviewing our findings. The study, conducted by the CNA Analysis and Solutions, found that our recommendations were well founded and appropriate. In response to our report and the study, the Navy states it will provide written guidance by the end of 2017 to prevent shipbuilders from earning profit for correcting shipbuilder-responsible defects.
    Recommendation: To improve the use of warranties and guarantees in Navy shipbuilding, the Secretary of the Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to establish and document a clear objective for using a guaranty, and then create guidance for contracting officers that illustrates how to implement a guaranty that meets this objective. This guidance should describe how contracting officers should use aspects of the guaranty, including determining an appropriate limitation of liability, to achieve the objective and include considerations as to when a guaranty should be a separate contract line item.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Defense partially concurred with this recommendation, and agreed to conduct a study to determine what policy and guidance changes are necessary to provide guidance on the many factors that should be considered to effectively implement warranty and guaranty provisions. As of April 2017, this study is complete and the Navy states that it now concurs with our recommendation. In doing so, the Navy is drafting an instruction, including a decision template, laying out the considerations underlying the decision to use warranties, guarantees or other mechanisms. This instruction will help contracting officers choose an appropriate tool and document the decision in a business clearance memorandum. The Navy plans to implement the instruction by the end of 2017.
    Recommendation: To improve the use of warranties and guarantees in Navy shipbuilding, the Secretary of the Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy, for future ship construction contracts, to determine whether or not a warranty as provided in the FAR, provides value and document the costs, benefits, and other factors used to make this decision. To inform this determination, the Navy should begin differentiating the government's and shipbuilder's responsibility for defects and track the costs to correct all defects after ship delivery.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Defense partially concurred with this recommendation, and has completed a study reviewing our findings. The study, conducted by the CNA Analysis and Solutions, found that our recommendations were well founded and appropriate. In response to our report and the study, the Navy states it will include separate contract line items for FAR-type warranties in at least two solicitations for ship construction. In addition, the Navy states that it plans to revise data requirements to better gather and track contractor responsible defects, and then develop analytical methods to help make better determinations in the future as to the optimal guaranty duration and limit of liability. They expect to complete these activities by December 2017.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To gain visibility and enable efficient management on the use of bridge contracts in federal agencies, the Administrator of OFPP should take appropriate steps to develop a standardized definition for bridge contracts and incorporate it as appropriate into relevant FAR sections.

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

    Comments: In July 2017, staff from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) stated that OFPP will be convening the FAR Council to discuss regulatory action after it completes the development of management guidance. The management guidance, which, according to OFPP staff includes a definition of bridge contracts, has been drafted and reviewed by agency Chief Acquisition Officers and Senior Procurement Executives. OFPP staff told us that they received many comments on the draft guidance and that they were in the process of addressing these comments. OFPP staff could not provide a date as to when they expected the management guidance would be finalized.
    Recommendation: To gain visibility and enable efficient management on the use of bridge contracts in federal agencies, the Administrator of OFPP should, as an interim measure, until the FAR is amended, provide guidance to agencies on (1) a definition of bridge contracts, with consideration of contract extensions as well as stand-alone bridge contracts; and (2) suggestions for agencies to track and manage their use of these contracts, such as identifying a contract as a bridge in a Justification and Approval (J&A) when it meets the definition, and listing the history of previous extensions and stand-alone bridge contracts back to the predecessor contract in the J&A.

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

    Comments: As of July 2017, OFPP has drafted management guidance, which, according to OFPP staff, includes a definition of bridge contracts. The guidance, which was reviewed by agency Chief Acquisition Officers and Senior Procurement Executives, was originally expected to be issued to agencies by the end of calendar year 2016. However, OFPP staff told us that they received many comments on the draft guidance from the agencies, and that they were in the process of addressing these comments. OFPP staff could not provide an update as to when management guidance would be completed.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve coordination and communication between FEMA OCPO and region mission support officials region mission support officials, the FEMA Administrator should establish a plan to ensure that the agreement is reviewed on an annual basis as intended.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on this report, DHS concurred with this recommendation. According to FEMA officials, the Office of Procurement Operations has since formed a team that will address this recommendation. We will provide updated information as it becomes available.
    Recommendation: To improve coordination and communication between FEMA Office of the Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO) and region mission support officials region mission support officials, the FEMA Administrator should direct OCPO and the regional administrators to revisit the 2011 service level agreement to: add details about the extent of operational control headquarters and regional supervisors should exercise to minimize potential competing interests experienced by regional contracting officers; further detail headquarters and regional supervisors' roles and responsibilities for managing regional contracting officers to improve coordination and communication; and ensure that the agreement reflects any new requirements, including recent changes in training that may require travel funds.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on this report, DHS concurred with this recommendation. According to FEMA officials, the Office of Procurement Operations has since formed a team that will address this recommendation. We will provide updated information as it becomes available.
    Recommendation: To address PKEMRA, the Secretary of Homeland Security should take action to address the requirements of Section 692 to implement subcontractor limitations or request that Congress amend the law to delete Section 692.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2016, DHS took steps to ask Congress to repeal PKEMRA Section 692, which prohibits the use of subcontracts for more than 65 percent of the cost of cost-reimbursement type contracts that exceed the simplified acquisition threshold. DHS submitted a legislative change proposal to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), who approves such proposals before they are submitted to Congress. OMB approved the proposed change for PKEMRA Section 692 in April 2016. We will provide additional updates as information becomes available.
    Director: William T. Woods
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure consistent implementation of the Buy Indian Act procurement authority across the agencies and to enhance oversight of implementation of the Act at regional offices, the Secretaries of the Interior and Health and Human Services should direct the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service respectively, to clarify and codify their policies related to the priority for use of the Buy Indian Act, including whether the Buy Indian Act should be used before other set-aside programs.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has made progress towards addressing this recommendation. The Indian Health Service (IHS) is currently working on efforts to revise the Acquisition Management section of the Indian Health Manual to clarify and codify policies related to the priority for use of the Buy Indian Act. IHS plans for the revision to include implementation and reporting mechanisms for contracts awarded under the Buy Indian Act. HHS reported that IHS plans to issue new policy guidance relating to the Buy Indian Act and how it is to be implemented and prioritized in conjunction with other set asides.
    Recommendation: To ensure consistent implementation of the Buy Indian Act procurement authority across the agencies and to enhance oversight of implementation of the Act at regional offices, the Secretaries of the Interior and Health and Human Services should direct the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service respectively, to collect data on regional offices' implementation of key requirements, such as challenges to self-certification.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services' Indian Health Service (IHS) told us they plan to continue oversight to ensure that contractors comply with key requirements such as (1) maintaining the proportion of Indian ownership, (2) not subcontracting more than half the work to other than Indian firms, and (3) providing a preference to Indians in employment, training, and subcontracting. However, as of July 2017, IHS had not provided evidence that they were collecting data on regional offices' implementation of these key requirements. IHS officials told us they plan to incorporate Buy Indian Act policy language and clauses into all contracts and track Buy Indian award actions and obligations. IHS officials also stated they will ensure that the contracting officer authenticates an Indian Economic Enterprise's categorization/credentials, before award and throughout the contract period.
    Recommendation: To ensure consistent implementation of the Buy Indian Act procurement authority across the agencies and to enhance oversight of implementation of the Act at regional offices, the Secretaries of the Interior and Health and Human Services should direct the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service respectively, to include Buy Indian Act contracts as a part of their regular procurement review process.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: Department of Health and Human Services officials told us initial on-site communications to raise awareness of the Buy Indian Act was included in the fiscal year 2017 Indian Health Service (IHS) Procurement Management Reviews (PMR) being conducted at all area offices. Starting in the fall of 2017, IHS plans to develop webinar training sessions to ensure that a large, diverse audience of contracting and management officials have access to the training. IHS will also incorporate the Buy Indian Act Policy into the established annual procurement management reviews beginning in fiscal year 2018 to ensure compliance.
    Director: William T. Woods
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure contracting officers follow ordering procedures when using FSS, and to enhance internal controls, the Secretaries of DOD and HHS and the Administrator of GSA should issue guidance emphasizing the requirement to seek discounts and outlining effective strategies for negotiating discounts when using the FSS program.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In December 2016, HHS stated that it had assessed and reviewed existing guidance and determined that existing guidance was adequate, but that HHS contracting officials needed to be refreshed on the content. While HHS stated that it had tasked the contracting heads of each HHS component with ensuring that its officials attend refresher training, the agency has not yet ensured that this has been accomplished. In June 2017, HHS officials said they were again considering issuing additional guidance, per our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure contracting officers follow ordering procedures when using FSS, and to enhance internal controls, the Secretaries of DOD and HHS and the Administrator of GSA should issue guidance reminding contracting officials of the procedures they must follow with respect to purchasing open market items through the FSS program, including the requirement to perform a separate determination that the prices of these items are fair and reasonable.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In December 2016, HHS stated that it had assessed and reviewed existing guidance and determined that existing guidance was adequate, but that HHS contracting officials needed to be refreshed on the content. While HHS stated that it had tasked the contracting heads of each HHS component with ensuring that its officials attend refresher training, the agency has not yet ensured that this has been accomplished. In June 2017, HHS officials said they were again considering issuing additional guidance, per our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help foster competition for FSS orders consistent with the FAR, the Secretary of HHS should assess reasons that may be contributing to the high percentage of orders with one or two quotes--including the practice of narrowing the pool of potential vendors--and if necessary, depending on the results of the assessment, provide guidance to help ensure contracting officials are taking reasonable steps to obtain three or more quotes above the simplified acquisition threshold.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS agreed with the recommendation. In January 2017, an HHS official stated that the agency had tried to conduct an assessment but had not yet been able to obtain enough information. In June 2017, HHS officials said that they would reexamine how to conduct an assessment per our recommendation.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure consistent implementation and documentation of actions relating to interagency agreements, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should ensure that planned training on interagency agreements reaches the full range of program and contracting officials, particularly those who only occasionally award interagency agreements.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA concurred with this recommendation, and developed training based on the revised policy on interagency agreements issued in October 2016. GAO requested information in June 2017 on how VA will ensure this training reaches the full range of program and contracting officials, but as of September 2017 we have not yet received these details.
    Director: Kathleen M. King
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: CMS should conduct a formal analysis, using its experience and data it has collected since the implementation of the first MAC contracts, to determine whether alternative contracting approaches could be used--even if only for selected MAC contract responsibilities--to help promote improved contractor performance.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Cary B. Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve DOD, State, and USAID's ability to track contracts and contractor personnel in contingency operations and to ensure SPOT-ES cost estimates are accurate and comprehensive, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness should, in coordination with the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics direct the system's program office to regularly update its life-cycle cost estimate to include defining and assessing its plans for SPOT-ES.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help improve DOD, State, and USAID's ability to track contracts and contractor personnel in contingency operations and to help improve timeliness and reliability of data in SPOT-ES, the Secretary of Defense should direct Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy officials, through the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, to ensure that contracting officers use available mechanisms to track contractor performance of SPOT data entry, such as its Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System or other appropriate performance systems or databases.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help improve DOD, State, and USAID's ability to track contracts and contractor personnel in contingency operations and to enhance the value of SPOT-ES data, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to fully register SPOT-ES data in the DSE to make data visible and trusted, including taking the necessary steps related to authoritative data sources.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help improve DOD, State, and USAID's ability to track contracts and contractor personnel in contingency operations and to help ensure that DOD possesses the capability to collect and report statutorily required information and to clarify responsibilities and procedures, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to update SPOT provisions during the process of updating operational contract support guidance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help improve DOD, State, and USAID's ability to track contracts and contractor personnel in contingency operations and to provide clarity about expectations for the Joint Asset Movement Management System (JAMMS) that can help improve the timeliness and reliability of data for SPOT-ES from JAMMS uploads, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in coordination with the combatant commanders, to develop comprehensive guidance regarding the purpose of JAMMS and its role in supporting plans for different types of missions. Such guidance could include direction on the number and location of JAMMS terminals and how frequently JAMMS's data should be uploaded into SPOT-ES to meet DOD's information needs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Timothy J. DiNapoli
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To maximize the potential value of the MPNDI pilot program, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics should identify whether there are opportunities to test flexibilities or streamlined procedures that are not otherwise available under existing authorities.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress expanded the applicability of the pilot program in Section 892 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016. DOD has not yet identified if opportunities exist to test flexibilities or streamlined procedures that are not otherwise available under existing authorities, including under the expanded pilot program.
    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: 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: Belva Martin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve reporting of federal procurement data and strengthen oversight of contracts awarded on the basis of an unusual and compelling urgency, the Secretaries of Defense and State and the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development should develop an oversight mechanism when the cumulative value of noncompetitive contracts awarded on the basis of unusual and compelling urgency increases considerably beyond the initial contract award value.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2015, the Acting Director of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy issued a memorandum instructing contracting officers to notify management when the cumulative dollar value of a contract awarded on the basis of urgency increases beyond the initial value at award. Further, the memorandum instructs components to establish an oversight mechanism to ensure the appropriate approval level is obtained. This memorandum was incorporated into the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations by reference. As of August 2017, the Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy office had not followed up to determine whether components had implemented this recommendation. We will continue to follow up with DOD to determine how and whether the oversight mechanisms were established at the component level.
    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: 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)512-4309

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help mitigate future confusion regarding justifications for 8(a) sole-source contracts over $20 million, the Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in consultation with the FAR Council, should promulgate guidance to clarify whether an 8(a) justification is required for 8(a) contracts that are subject to a pre-existing Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) class justification.

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

    Comments: The FAR Council opened a FAR case (2013-018) to address the recommendations from this report by clarifying the requirement for sole source 8(a) justifications. As of July 2017, the draft proposed FAR rule was awaiting approval for release. We will continue to monitor the progress of this proposed FAR rule.
    Recommendation: To help mitigate future confusion regarding justifications for 8(a) sole-source contracts over $20 million, the Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in consultation with the FAR Council, should promulgate guidance to provide additional information on actions contracting officers should take to comply with the justification requirement when the contract value rises above or falls below $20 million between SBA's acceptance of the contract for negotiation under the 8(a) program and the contract award.

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

    Comments: The FAR Council opened a FAR case (2013-018) to address the recommendations from this report by clarifying the requirement for sole source 8(a) justifications. As of July 2017, the draft proposed FAR rule was awaiting approval for release. We will continue to monitor the progress of this proposed FAR rule.
    Recommendation: To help mitigate future confusion regarding justifications for 8(a) sole-source contracts over $20 million, the Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in consultation with the FAR Council, should promulgate guidance to clarify whether and under what circumstances a separate sole-source justification is necessary for out-of-scope modifications to 8(a) sole-source contracts.

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

    Comments: The FAR Council opened a FAR case (2013-018) to address the recommendations from this report by clarifying the requirement for sole source 8(a) justifications. As of July 2017, the draft proposed FAR rule was awaiting approval for release. We will continue to monitor the progress of this proposed FAR rule.
    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.
    Director: Melvin, Valerie C
    Phone: (202)512-6304

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance VA's effort to successfully fulfill its forthcoming plans for the outpatient scheduling system replacement project and the HealtheVet program, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the CIO to ensure implementation of a requirements management plan that reflects leading practices for requirements development and management. Specifically, implementation of the plan should include analyzing requirements to ensure they are complete, verifiable, and sufficiently detailed to guide development, and maintaining requirements traceability from high-level operational requirements through detailed low-level requirements to test cases.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In written comments on our report, VA concurred with this recommendation and in August 2014, identified initial actions the department had taken in response. Specifically, as part of its plans to issue a request for proposals to acquire a replacement scheduling system under its Medical Appointment Scheduling System (MASS) project, VA developed a Business Requirements Document that defines its specific business needs, capabilities, features, and constraints. Additionally, the department reported that it intends to manage and document requirements using processes supported by a Web-based tool called Rational Doors. In August 2015, VA's Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction awarded a contract for the MASS project. However, in April 2016, the department paused MASS to evaluate an alternative project to enhance its legacy scheduling system. Subsequently, in early 2017, the department restarted the MASS project. Nevertheless, as of June 2017, the department had not developed a requirements management plan for MASS. Thus, the MASS project has not yet reached the point where the effectiveness of the requirements management activities we recommended can be assessed.
    Recommendation: To enhance VA's effort to successfully fulfill its forthcoming plans for the outpatient scheduling system replacement project and the HealtheVet program, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the CIO to adhere to the department's guidance for system testing including (1) performing testing incrementally and (2) resolving defects of average and above severity prior to proceeding to subsequent stages of testing.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In written comments on our report, VA concurred with this recommendation and stated that testing was managed using documented, repeatable processes that are included in the department's ProPath Web-based tool. According to the Acting Deputy Chief Information Officer for Product Development, the Medical Appointment Scheduling System (MASS) project is expected to incorporate Agile software development practices, including the use of incremental testing. In August 2015, the department awarded a contract for the MASS project that included task orders for the development of test plans. However, in April 2016, the department paused MASS to evaluate an alternative to enhance its legacy scheduling system. In early 2017, the department restarted the MASS project, but as of June 2017, had not developed a test plan for MASS. Thus, the project has not yet reached the point where adherence to the department's system testing guidance can be assessed.
    Recommendation: To enhance VA's effort to successfully fulfill its forthcoming plans for the outpatient scheduling system replacement project and the HealtheVet program, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the CIO to ensure that the policies and procedures VA is establishing to provide meaningful program oversight are effectively executed and that they include (1) robust collection methods for information on project costs, benefits, schedule, risk assessments, performance metrics, and system functionality to support executive decision making; (2) the establishment of reporting mechanisms to provide this information in a timely manner to department IT oversight control boards; and (3) defined criteria and documented policies on actions the department will take when development deficiencies for a project are identified.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Veterans Affairs concurred with this recommendation and identified various actions it has taken in response. Specifically, the department awarded a contract for its Medical Appointment Scheduling System (MASS) project in August 2015. However, in April 2016, it paused MASS to evaluate an alternative to enhance its legacy scheduling system. In June 2017, VA reported that the MASS project had been resumed and indicated that it would adhere to the department's Veteran-focused Intake Process (VIP), which is intended to ensure oversight, accountability, and traceability of all program activity. Also, the department reported that MASS had met its first VIP milestone, Critical Decision 1, in January 2017. However, key future activities, including product development and testing, have not yet been demonstrated, while VIP milestones (e.g., Critical Decision 2), have not yet been met. Thus, MASS has not reached the point where the effectiveness of project oversight can be fully assessed.