Defense Procurement:

Acquiring Technical Data for Spare Parts Reprocurement

NSIAD-91-313: Published: Sep 13, 1991. Publicly Released: Oct 3, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO assessed the Department of Defense's (DOD) progress in implementing a provision of the Defense Procurement Reform Act of 1984, which requires that an agency head consider acquiring technical data and the right to use it for competitive reprocurements when preparing a solicitation for a development or production contract for a major system, focusing on: (1) DOD implementation and enforcement of this provision; (2) whether technical data is being acquired; and (3) whether the acquisition of the technical data packages has resulted in lower prices and increased competition.

GAO found that: (1) the provision has been incorporated into the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement; (2) the GAO review of 14 major systems, 10 Navy, 2 Air Force, and 2 Army, indicated that program managers have been emphasizing the acquisition of technical data; (3) for 11 of the 14 systems, program managers had purchased reprocurement technical data, and for the remaining 3 systems the program managers were either in the process of buying the technical data or did not participate any further reprocurements; (4) DOD generally monitors technical data acquisition through the data requirements review board which is designed to ensure that support considerations are effectively integrated into the system design and that the system will be both supportable and supported when fielded and integrated into logistics support procedures; (5) to monitor and enforce technical data regulations, Navy procedures call for program managers to prepare a technical data management plan, Air Force procedures call for the program managers to designate an engineering data management officer and to prepare an engineering data management plan, and Army procedures call for a policy compliance review; and (6) the complexity of the spare parts procurement process makes it difficult to measure savings and attribute the extent of those savings to the provision as opposed to a combination of contributing factors.