ADP Standards:

Army Cancels Restrictive 3-Tier Architecture Standards

IMTEC-88-13: Published: May 17, 1988. Publicly Released: Jun 21, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army's 3-tier architecture policy for processing and exchanging data among its various automated systems and its associated standards to: (1) determine whether they complied with the Brooks Act, the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984, and federal regulations; (2) evaluate their potential long-term effects on automatic data processing (ADP) procurements; (3) provide a perspective on prior Department of Defense (DOD) and Army standards; and (4) determine whether the Army continued to refer to the 3-tier architecture standards after it withdrew them in 1987.

GAO found that: (1) the 3-tier architectural policy was conceptual and did not specify computer products; (2) since the policy described information required at each of the three levels, and was independent of procurement laws and regulations, it did not violate applicable procurement laws or regulations; (3) the standards, which specified proprietary computer products without justification, would have limited competition in all future Army ADP procurements and violated the Competition in Contracting Act; (4) the Army did not measure economic and other long-term effects of implementing the policy; (5) DOD directed the Army to withdraw the standards and develop new standards that complied with laws and regulations; (6) the Army rescinded the standards after some confusion arose in interpreting their applicability; and (7) although the Army has not referred to the 3-tier standards in recent procurements, they contained proprietary products identical to the products named within the standards.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Secretary of the Army directed the Director of Information Systems for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence to come up with new standards.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should take steps to review Army ADP procurements in order to ensure that the Army is complying with federal and defense ADP procurement regulations regarding the specification of proprietary products.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army


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