Defense Procurement:

Qualification and Quality Requirements for Purchases of Critical Spare Parts

NSIAD-91-95: Published: Mar 25, 1991. Publicly Released: Mar 25, 1991.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the criteria the Department of Defense (DOD) used to designate spare parts as critical, focusing on: (1) the tracing and documentation of quality deficiencies in critical spare parts; and (2) organizational or systemic causes that might lead to the procurement of substandard critical spare parts.

GAO found that: (1) there has been long-standing disagreement between DOD and industry officials regarding appropriate quality requirements; (2) the impact on quality of DOD changes in the procurement process was unclear; (3) DOD believed that the use of sound engineering judgment with the differing DOD component definitions for critical parts was sufficient for selecting such items; (4) a review of the Air Force's procurement of 13 critical spare parts indicated that procurement procedures were generally adequate; (5) some recently awarded Air Force contracts for some of the critical parts did not incorporate engineering stipulations that new contractors use the same casting or forging suppliers that prime contractors previously used; and (6) the Air Force required directorates required to take immediate corrective action, and revise regulations to require the inclusion of all engineering requirements in future solicitations and contracts for critical parts.