Administration Of Contract Studies Could Be Improved

B-177372: Published: Dec 11, 1972. Publicly Released: Dec 11, 1972.

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GAO reviewed selected Army contract studies, focusing on the adequacy of the Army's control over its contract study program.

GAO noted that: (1) 17 contract studies were reviewed costing about $5.5 million, administered by the U.S. Army Combat Developments Command and completed during 1969 and 1970; (2) eight of these, costing approximately $1.4 million, were of limited usefulness or were not used; (3) GAO was unable to ascertain from available records whether all the nine remaining studies, costing about $4.1 million, met their objectives satisfactorily or were used as intended; (4) the Army evaluates contract performance after completing or terminating each contract; however, it does not make a similar evaluation of its own (sponsor's) performance in planning or monitoring the studies; (5) consequently, when inadequate contractor performance has indicated administrative weaknesses on the Army's part, the Army has not followed through to correct those weaknesses; (6) due to the intangibility of subject matter, high turnover of personnel involved in contract administration, and lack of evaluation by the Army of its own performance, GAO was unable to determine the effectiveness of the Army's control over the studies or to positively determine causes for unsatisfactory study results; (7) some factors contributing to unsuccessful study efforts, however, were the sponsor's failure to: (a) review lessons previously learned; (b) state study assumptions; (c) clearly prescribe duties and responsibilities of the study advisory group assigned to provide technical advice and assistance; and (d) provide the technical expertise to plan and monitor the study; (8) the sponsor did not obtain a satisfactory product in a study, costing about $391,000, partly because of administrative disputes over monitorship responsibilities; (9) these disputes delayed resolution of technical problems encountered during the study; (10) there is some conflict between directives and regulations requiring distribution of study information and results; (11) DOD directives require establishment of a study data bank and a repository for scientific and technical information at the Defense Documentation Center; however Army regulations do not require forwarding all study information and results to the Center; (12) Army regulations do require sending data on certain study efforts to an Army repository; and (13) a literature search showed that information was available within the Army Documentation and Information Retrieval System and that information on six of these 11 studies was also available at the Center.

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