Air Force Sole Source Computer Acquisitions Not Warranted

FGMSD-80-30: Published: Jan 24, 1980. Publicly Released: Feb 8, 1980.

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The Air Force planned to upgrade its weather program through the sole-source acquisition of Univac computer equipment. At the request of a congressional committee, GAO investigated the Air Force weather program to determine if the Air Force had justified its need to upgrade its system on a sole-source basis.

The Air Force provided the following reasons for the sole-source procurements: (1) an urgent need for the two Univac 1100/81 computers purchased in July 1979; (2) the economies associated with these computers which made the acquisition cost effective; (3) the additional costs of competitive acquisition including program conversion, site preparation, and parallel operations costs; and (4) the technical risks associated with changing vendors. GAO believed the sole-source acquisition was not warranted and not consistent with Federal automatic data processing policies. With some change in operations, there was sufficient capacity to satisfy validated operational requirements with the new equipment, and several criteria for sole-source procurement were not met by the Air Force. Specifically, GAO found that the Air Force failed to prove that the need for the equipment was unforeseen and urgent; that the existing system was at optimum performance; and that sharing with other Government agencies and the use of commercial sources was considered.

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