Navy Contracting:

Military Sealift Command Contracts for Operation Desert Shield

NSIAD-91-198: Published: May 14, 1991. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Military Sealift Command's (MSC) contracting practices during Operation Desert Shield, focusing on the prices MSC paid for ocean freight transportation services compared to those obtained before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

GAO found that: (1) MSC complied with procurement procedures, which were modified due to the urgency of the sealift requirements; (2) MSC obtained adequate competition by electronically transmitting solicitations directly to known shipowners and brokers; (3) ocean freight transportation prices during Operation Desert Shield were reasonable, considering market conditions, severe time constraints, and the rise of freight rates before the invasion; and (4) attempts to compare prices before and after Operation Desert Shield were inconclusive, due to the lack of established rates for military containerized cargo to the Middle East prior to Operation Desert Shield and the differences among specific types of cargo.