Pistol Procurement:

Allegations on Army Selection of Beretta 9-mm. as DOD Standard Sidearm

NSIAD-86-122: Published: Jun 16, 1986. Publicly Released: Jul 1, 1986.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed an Army contract award for 9-mm pistols to a subsidiary of an Italian firm to determine whether: (1) U.S. firms had a chance to compete for the award; (2) the Army conducted covert testing to ensure the outcome of the procurement; (3) the Army gave the awardee a competitor's bid; and (4) a secret agreement between the United States and Italian governments influenced the award.

GAO found that: (1) although the testing of candidate weapons did not disclose any deliberate bias toward the awardee, one competitor was unfairly excluded from the competition; (2) there was no evidence that the Army conducted secret testing or disclosed a competitor's bid; (3) there was nothing to indicate that any secret international agreement influenced contractor selection; and (4) the Army found only two firms technically acceptable and permitted them to submit price proposals. GAO also found that: (1) the Army used professional judgment to evaluate test results against requirements, since test results were not totally precise; (2) the Army's test procedures and results indicated that it erred in finding that one competitor's pistol failed to meet two mandatory test requirements; (3) although the Army revised the requirements after it cancelled the first competition, Department of Defense officials questioned the requirements as being overly specific, unrealistic, and ambiguous; and (4) since one competitor's price proposal was never evaluated, the Army cannot establish that it obtained the lowest overall price in meeting its needs.

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