Contract Management:

Contracting for Iraq Reconstruction and for Global Logistics Support

GAO-04-869T: Published: Jun 15, 2004. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 2004.

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The General Accounting Office (GAO) discussed some of the work the it is undertaking to address various operations and rebuilding efforts in Iraq. Specifically, GAO has a body of ongoing work looking at a range of issues involving Iraq, including Iraq's transitional administrative law, efforts to restore essential services to the Iraqi people, and the effectiveness of logistics activities during Operation Iraqi Freedom, among others. Importantly, given the challenging security environment in Iraq and the various other accountability organizations involved in the oversight process, it is attempting to coordinate its engagement planning and execution with other organizations as appropriate. In this testimony it discussed (1) its report (GAO-04-605) that was released yesterday on the contract award procedures for contracts awarded in fiscal year 2003 to help rebuild Iraq and (2) its preliminary findings on the military's use of global logistics support contracts. These support contracts have emerged as important tools in providing deployed military services with a wide range of logistics services.

With regard to the award of fiscal year 2003 Iraq reconstruction contracts, GAO found that agencies generally complied with applicable laws and regulations governing competition when using sole-source or limited competition approaches to award new contracts. However, they did not always do so when issuing task orders under existing contracts. In several instances, GAO found that contracting officers issued task orders for work that was not within the scope of the underlying contracts and which should have been awarded using competitive procedures or, because of the exigent circumstances involved, supported by a justification for other than full and open competition in accordance with legal requirements. With regard to DOD's use of global logistics support contracts, GAO found mixed results in each of the four areas it reviewed: planning, oversight, efficiency, and personnel. GAO also found that while some military commands actively looked for ways to save money, others exhibited little concern for cost considerations. Finally, shortages in personnel trained in contract management and oversight is also an issue that needs to be addressed. The report will make a number of recommendations to address these shortcomings.

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