Defense Contracting:

Improvements Needed in Procurement Technical Assistance Program

NSIAD-91-243: Published: Sep 20, 1991. Publicly Released: Oct 21, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) Procurement Technical Assistance (PTA) Cooperative Agreement Program, focusing on: (1) the types of services that PTA centers provide; (2) whether PTA centers duplicate other organizations' work; and (3) whether PTA centers effectively provide assistance to prospective DOD contractors.

GAO found that: (1) DOD designed each PTA center to help local businesses; (2) most of the centers provided major services including marketing, pre-award survey assistance, contract administration, and special assistance; (3) since the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) did not require all PTA centers to perform the same services, the types of services provided varied according to client needs and the centers' capabilities; (4) although established centers offered more services than new centers, an independent survey indicated that established centers could expand their services consistent with the communities' needs by persuading prime contractors to create additional subcontract opportunities, expanding their government contract searches, and providing increased assistance to specialized clients; (5) PTA centers duplicated such services as providing general procurement technical assistance for businesses seeking government contracts; (6) it was difficult to determine whether duplication of services was minimal or extensive, since the 90 centers performed a variety of services; and (7) GAO could not determine whether PTA centers effectively provided assistance to prospective DOD contractors, since DLA lacked accurate performance data, client-provided data on center assistance, and sufficient PTA center reviewer training.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DLA will continuously reemphasize the requirement for submission of complete and accurate data during annual pre-proposal and post award conferences. The requirement was included as an agenda item in the Post Award Conference for the fiscal year (FY) 1991 cooperative agreement award recipients. DLA issued a letter to its small business personnel reemphasizing the need for accurate reporting.

    Recommendation: The Director, DLA, should re-emphasize to the centers the need for submitting complete and accurate data.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Defense Logistics Agency

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On March 11, 1992, DLA issued the FY 1992 solicitation for cooperative agreement proposals and included a requirement for recipients to obtain information from their clients to verify assistance provided.

    Recommendation: The Director, DLA, should require all centers to obtain information from their clients on the assistance provided so that all DLA reviewers will have some way of verifying the accuracy of PTA center performance reports.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Defense Logistics Agency

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DLA held a 1-week training conference in January 1992 for its small business personnel. The training program provided a forum for in-depth discussions of the PTA program administration. In addition, DLA will conduct training workshops in each of its field offices and will reevaluate the need for additional training on a continuous basis.

    Recommendation: The Director, DLA, should improve its training program for DLA reviewers responsible for evaluating PTA center performance which would re-emphasize the need for accurate PTA center reporting and facilitate through, uniform reviews.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Defense Logistics Agency


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