This is the accessible text file for GAO report number GAO-11-122R 
entitled 'DOD Components Are Not Sending Required Information on 
Contract Awards to the Office of Public Affairs' which was released on 
December 1, 2010. 

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United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

November 30, 2010: 

Mr. Shay Assad:
Director, Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy:
Department of Defense: 

Subject: DOD Components Are Not Sending Required Information on 
Contract Awards to the Office of Public Affairs: 

During the course of a recent engagement reviewing noncompetitive 
contracting,[Footnote 1] we found that departments and agencies in the 
Department of Defense (DOD) are not submitting complete information, 
as required, to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for 
Public Affairs (OASD[PA]), which then posts the information on its Web 
site as a public announcement. President Obama has emphasized 
transparency and openness in how the government spends taxpayer 
dollars. We are bringing this issue to your attention due to your 
responsibility for acquisition and procurement policy matters in DOD. 

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requires contracting officers 
to make information on a contract action over a certain dollar amount 
publicly available on the same day the contract is awarded. The 
Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) further 
specifies that for contract actions over $5.5 million, departments and 
agencies are to submit certain information to the OASD(PA) by the 
close of business the day before the date of the proposed award, 
including, "as a minimum"[Footnote 2]: 

(1) contract data, for example, contract number, face value of the 
action and total cumulative face value of the contract, description of 
what is being bought, and contract type;[Footnote 3] 

(2) competition information, including number of solicitations mailed 
and number of bids received; 

(3) contractor data, such as name and place of performance; 

(4) funding data which include type of appropriation, fiscal year of 
the funds, and whether the contract is multiyear; and: 

(5) miscellaneous data, such as the identification of the contracting 
office.[Footnote 4] 

According to officials at the OASD(PA), their practice is to post on 
their Web site the information they receive from the departments and 
agencies, making only minor editorial changes for style.F[Footnote 5]F 
They explained that the press, investors, and contractors all have an 
interest in DOD's contract awards and closely monitor the daily 

To obtain greater insight into the extent to which DOD military 
services and agencies are providing the OASD(PA) the information 
required by the DFARS, we analyzed the contract award announcements on 
the OASD(PA) Web site for the month of August 2010, focusing on the 
following specific information pertaining to each of the five required 

* contract type (contract data category), 

* number of solicitations requested and bids received (competition 
information category), 

* name and location of the contractor (contractor data category), 

* fiscal year of the funds (funding data category) and: 

* the contracting office (miscellaneous data category). 


Our analysis revealed a pattern of contract award announcements that 
lacked the information required to be submitted to the OASD(PA) for 
one or more categories. Every military service and DOD agency that 
submitted a contract award announcement in August 2010 had at least 
one submission that did not meet the requirements. On the basis of 
this observation, we conducted a more detailed analysis of all 50 
contract action announcements posted to the OASD(PA) Web site on 
August 6, 2010. 

We found that 48 of the announcements posted on August 6, 2010, or 96 
percent, did not include one or more of the five specific categories 
of information. For example, none of the 5 Air Force award 
announcements included contract type, number of solicitations 
requested and bids received, or the fiscal year of the funds. None of 
the 42 Army announcements included the fiscal year of funds. In 
addition, 2 Army announcements lacked information on the number of 
bids received and the contracting office, and another did not include 
the contract type. The 3 Navy announcements on that day, however, 
generally included the five categories, with only 1 entry missing 
competition information. 

While the OASD(PA) processes the contract award announcements 
submitted from DOD agencies and the military services, OASD(PA) 
officials told us that, since OASD(PA) is a reporting and not a 
regulatory office, they only review the submissions for style and rely 
on each service or agency to ensure that the information submitted is 
correct and compliant with appropriate regulations. 


In not providing OASD(PA) with complete information on contract 
awards, DOD's departments and agencies are not complying with DFARS 
requirements. Without this information, OASD(PA) is not able to 
provide full transparency to the public on DOD's contract awards. 

Recommendation for Executive Action: 

We recommend that the Director, Defense Procurement and Acquisition 
Policy, instruct the departments and agencies to provide complete 
information on contract announcements over $5.5 million to the 
OASD(PA), consistent with DFARS requirements. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

We provided a draft of this report to DOD. In comments provided via 
email, the Director, Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy, 
concurred with the recommendation, stating that his office will issue 
a memorandum to DOD contracting officers reminding them of their 
responsibilities to include complete information when notifying the 
Office of Public Affairs of contract announcements. In addition, his 
office will conduct periodic checks of the information provided to the 
Office of Public Affairs by DOD departments and agencies. 

Scope and Methodology: 

To determine the extent to which DOD departments and agencies are 
providing the Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public 
Affairs (OASD[PA])with complete information as required in DFARS 
205.303 (a)(ii)(D), we analyzed a sample of contract award 
announcements from the archives on the DOD Web site [hyperlink,]. According to officials from 
OASD(PA), their practice is to post the information they receive to 
this Web site. Our analysis included a high-level review of all 
announcements posted to the Web site in August 2010 and a more 
detailed analysis of announcements posted on August 6, 2010, to 
examine patterns of compliance or noncompliance with selected elements 
from each of the five required categories. Specifically, we looked for 
information on: 

* contract type (contract data category), 

* number of solicitations requested and bids received (competition 
information category), 

* name and location of the contractor (contractor data category), 

* fiscal year of the funds (funding data category), and: 

* the contracting office (miscellaneous data category). 

We also reviewed pertinent sections of the FAR and DFARS. We 
interviewed DOD officials from the OASD(PA) and Defense Procurement 
and Acquisition Policy and discussed the requirements in DFARS 205.303 
with an official from DOD's legal counsel. We conducted our review 
from September to November 2010 in accordance with generally accepted 
government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan 
and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to 
provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on 
our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a 
reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit 

We are sending copies of this report to the Assistant Secretary of 
Defense (Public Affairs) and interested congressional committees. In 
addition, the report will be available at no charge on GAO's Web site 
at [hyperlink,]. If you have any questions, please 
contact me at (202) 512-4841 or Contact points for 
our Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found 
on the last page of this letter. 

Key contributors to this report were Michele Mackin, Assistant 
Director; Tatiana Winger; Jared Sippel; Scott Purdy; Kenneth Patton; 
and Sylvia Schatz. 

Signed by: 

John P. Hutton:
Acquisition and Sourcing Management: 

[End of section] 


[1] GAO, Federal Contracting: Opportunities Exist to Increase 
Competition and Assess Reasons When Only One Offer Is Received, 
[hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: 
July 26, 2010). 

[2] FAR 5.303, Announcement of contract awards. The FAR requires that 
information be provided on contracts over $3.5 million unless another 
amount is specified in agency acquisition regulation. DFARS 
205.303(a)(i) requires public announcement of all contractual actions, 
including modifications, that have a face value (excluding unexercised 
options) of more than $5.5 million. DFARS 205.303(a)(ii) directs 
departments and agencies to submit certain information on the contract 
actions to the OASD(PA). 

[3] Contract types that may be used in acquisitions are defined in FAR 
Part 16 and include fixed-price, time-and-materials, or cost- 

[4] According to DFARS 205.303(a)(ii)(D)(5), other types of 
miscellaneous data include known congressional interest and the 
information release date. 

[5] See [hyperlink,]. 

[End of section] 

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