Information on the Cooperative Purchasing Program Under Section 1122 of the 1994 National Defense Authorization Act

GGD-00-74R: Published: Mar 3, 2000. Publicly Released: Mar 3, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the General Services Administration's (GSA) Cooperative Purchasing Program, which was established under the 1994 National Defense Authorization Act to allow state and local governments to purchase Department of Defense (DOD) equipment for use in counter-drug activities, focusing on four program issues: (1) sales data; (2) suitability of items sold; (3) alternative supply sources; and (4) administrative fees charged.

GAO noted that: (1) for fiscal years 1998 and 1999, representatives from 18 states placed over 580 orders for one or more items, cumulatively valued at over $5.3 million, from the Army, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), and GSA; (2) these figures are not complete because beginning on January 1, 1999, GSA allowed purchasers to buy some program equipment directly from participating commercial vendors--bypassing GSA and resulting in GSA's not tracking these purchases; (3) the act specifies that equipment suitable for counter-drug activities may not include equipment that DOD does not purchase for its own purposes; (4) according to agency officials, only equipment approved by the Army has been sold to state and local governments under the program; (5) GAO's review of purchase orders showed that all of the equipment purchased through GSA from the program's inception through the first quarter of fiscal year 1999 was approved and included such items as vehicles, mobile command centers, and radios; (6) there is a variety of alternative sources of equipment available to state and local governments, including DOD Surplus Program and state and local procurement programs; (7) GSA eliminated its additional 4-percent program administration fee in January 1999, but it continues to charge a 1-percent fee on all items purchased from its contract vendors; and (8) the Army and DLA reported that they include program administrative costs in the price they charge for program equipment.

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