Competition Act:

Defense Science Board Recommended Changes to the Act

NSIAD-89-48: Published: Nov 2, 1988. Publicly Released: Nov 2, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Defense Science Board's report calling for changes to the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984 (CICA) to: (1) determine what evidence the panel used to support its proposed changes; (2) examine the balance of the panel under the Federal Advisory Committee Act; and (3) review facts pertaining to participation in the panel process, including the panel members' backgrounds, the views expressed on CICA matters during the panel's meetings, and public participation in the meetings.

GAO found that the panel recommended: (1) giving the Department of Defense (DOD) authority to use selected, qualified sources rather than full and open competition; and (2) requiring DOD contracting officers to attempt to resolve protests prior to GAO involvement without suspending either the contract award or performance process. GAO also found that: (1) the panel based its recommendations on professional and legal opinions and did not present evidence showing that the act needed the changes or what effect the changes would have; (2) there was no basis to question the balance of the panel's members, since a panel cochairman sought government and industry experience as well as experience with commercial and government buying practices; and (3) 6 of the 14 panel members had previously worked with the Packard Commission's Acquisition Task Force to change the act, and the Board intended its study to continue the Task Force's efforts to identify statutory and other changes needed for DOD to use commercial buying practices.

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