FAA Procurement:

Competition for Major Data-Processing Project Was Unjustifiably Limited

IMTEC-90-71: Published: Jun 11, 1990. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 1990.

Additional Materials:


Jayetta Hecker
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) acquisition approach for its Computer Resources Nucleus (CORN) project, focusing on whether a key design requirement may have unnecessarily limited competition.

GAO found that: (1) the agency's original objective for the CORN procurement was to achieve full and open competition and innovative vendor proposals; (2) FAA decided to require a single architecture solution that would reduce operational costs and provide a technical data-base platform; (3) a single architecture would not meet these objectives; (4) the CORN solicitation did not define key functional requirements for achieving its objectives, such as those pertaining to data accessibility; (5) FAA unjustifiably limited competition and restricted the range of solutions that vendors could offer; and (6) FAA dictated a system design that might not satisfy its needs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FAA removed the restrictive single architecture requirement from the revised request for proposals.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to first fully specify FAA functional requirements that may need to be specified, including single entry of data, interrogation, accessing, and interchanging of data, and porting of software among different equipment. In doing this, if FAA determines that the procurement should have restrictive provisions, then it should justify their inclusion. FAA should then allow the vendors to propose systems that they believe will best meet its requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FAA revision of its test plans resolved GAO prior concerns.

    Recommendation: FAA should plan to adequately test and evaluate vendors' proposals to determine how well they meet the stated requirements, at a reasonable cost and acceptable risk to the government.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation: Federal Aviation Administration


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