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.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct that existing regulations be revised and that new procedures be established to require: (1) an evaluation of management's performance after the completion or termination of each contract; and (2) the advisory group to convene early enough to: (a) assist the sponsor in meeting all the prescribed requirements for planning a contract study; and (b) determine whether it is capable of monitoring the contractor's performance in accordance with the plan. The Secretary of Defense should ascertain whether improvements similar to those recommended for the Army are appropriate for the other military services and Department of Defense agencies. The Army should revise existing regulations so that information and results of all contract studies, regardless of funding or outcome, are disseminated to the Center. For those studies that are unsatisfactory or incomplete, a summary of lessons learned should be prepared and disseminated with the results of the study. The Secretary of Defense, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Army, should give consideration to phasing out the Army's data bank of studies and analyses as the Center obtains the data needed to function as the central repository for such information.

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