Army Procurement:

Water Purification Equipment May Not Meet All Performance Requirements

NSIAD-89-200: Published: Sep 11, 1989. Publicly Released: Sep 11, 1989.

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GAO reviewed an Army procurement for design and development of a reverse osmosis water purification unit.

GAO found that the Army: (1) awarded two full-scale engineering and development contracts to design, develop, and fabricate three prototype units; (2) awarded a production contract to one contractor but discovered during testing that the contractor's prototype design did not meet some critical performance requirements; (3) planned to rely on first-article testing under the production contract to determine whether the contractor's modified design would meet performance requirements; and (4) had limited assurance that the contractor would produce a unit that would meet all the operational requirements.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In September 1990, the Army authorized the contractor to begin full-scale production prior to completion of first article testing due to the urgent need of equipment for Operation Desert Storm. As part of a related assignment, GAO is recommending that this decision be considered since the need is no longer critical.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct procurement officials to take the action necessary to ensure that the planned expanded first-article testing is carried out and that the tests are carefully analyzed to ensure that all critical requirements are addressed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army


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