The Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals Has Operated Independently

NSIAD-85-102: Published: Sep 23, 1985. Publicly Released: Oct 23, 1985.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals to determine whether: (1) there are impairments to organizational and individual independence in the Board's charter, structure, and operating practices; (2) the Board has sufficient knowledge and understanding of generally accepted accounting and cost principles; and (3) Board members were selected, appointed, and removed in the manner prescribed for administrative law judges.

GAO found that: (1) there was no evidence that the Department of Defense (DOD) had taken or had plans to take any actions which would impair the independence of the Board; (2) DOD planned no fundamental changes in the process used for the selection of Board members; (3) there was no centralized control over the Board's activities; (4) the Board reconsidered about 4 percent of its dispositions; (5) six board members had some level of training or experience in accounting; and (6) agency procedures for the selection and appointment of board members were consistent with the Contract Disputes Act of 1978, but the act is unclear regarding any removal protections afforded members.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Contract Disputes Act Amendments of 1986 require that members of Boards of Contract Appeals be selected using a competitive examination process under the Administrative Procedures Act. OPM will maintain a register of qualified applicants. The amendments also extend to all members the protections of no performance appraisal by an agency and removal only for good cause determined by MSPB.

    Matter: To ensure that members of boards of contracts appeals are insulated from agency control to the same degree as administrative law judges in their selection and removal, Congress may wish to consider amending the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 and the Administrative Procedure Act to give the Office of Personnel Management and the Merit Systems Protection Board roles in these processes.


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