Test and Evaluation:

The Director, Operational Test and Evaluation's Controls Over Contractors

NSIAD-91-60: Published: Dec 21, 1990. Publicly Released: Jan 22, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Defense's (DOD) Office of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation's (DOT&E) use of contractors.

GAO found that: (1) DOT&E policies and procedures for managing contracts for operational test and evaluation (OT&E) support complied with existing guidelines; (2) DOT&E took measures that were consistent with regulations requiring agencies to guard against contractor conflicts of interest; (3) DOT&E use of the Institute for Defense Analyses as a contractor for OT&E support was permissible under federal regulations and appropriate, since the Institute was less likely than private contractors to have conflicts of interest; (4) of the $12.5 million DOT&E obligated to it during fiscal years 1987 through 1989, the Institute used about $2 million for 51 consultants and 2 subcontractors; (5) of those 51 consultants, 2 had been involved in overseeing programs that they subsequently performed operational test assessments on for DOT&E; and (6) in four instances, the Institute performed both acquisition and operational testing functions on the same weapon systems. GAO believes that disclosure of a consultant's prior work would be consistent with the regulation requiring disclosure of federally funded research and development centers' affairs.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In May 1991, DOD stated that the Institute for Defense Analyses had implemented procedures to: (1) notify DOT&E of any consultant conflicts of interest; (2) update its records on consultant associations every 2 years and require consultants to notify the Institute if new associations may result in conflict; and (3) preclude its research staff from working on systems with previous conflicts.

    Recommendation: The Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, should require the Institute for Defense Analyses to disclose possible conflicts of interest to it for resolution because DOT&E is ultimately responsible for the consequences of any contractor participation in OT&E activities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Director of Operational Testing and Evaluation


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