NASA-Ames Research Center Should Not Have Awarded Computational Services Contract to SBA and Technology Development of California

AFMD-83-40: Published: Jun 9, 1983. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 1983.

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Carl R. Palmer
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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Ames Research Center contract that was awarded for computational services. The contract was noncompetitively awarded to the Small Business Administration (SBA) which then subcontracted to Technology Development of California (TDC) under the Minority Business Program.

GAO found that the contract is not in the best interests of the government, because the government will pay more than it would have if the equipment had been leased directly from TDC. Further, separate purchases of the computer equipment would have been a lower cost alternative than the contract approach followed by NASA. GAO concluded that the purchase cost to the government would have been significantly reduced by a different acquisition method.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: TDC is no longer in the SBA 8(a) program.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, SBA, should reexamine continued TDC participation in the Small Business Act, Section 8(a) program.

    Agency Affected: Small Business Administration

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: NASA Ames is currently processing a competitive solicitation to replace the current contracted 8(a) support.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, NASA, should direct that this contract not be further extended without careful consideration of needs and alternatives. The Administrator should require the Director of the Ames Research Center, before the next contract extension, to: (1) revalidate long-term, large-scale computing needs; (2) evaluate available alternatives; and (3) document why Ames' procurement approach is in its and the government's best interests.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration


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