Defense Contracting:

Implementation of the Pilot Mentor-Protege Program

NSIAD-94-101: Published: Feb 1, 1994. Publicly Released: Feb 17, 1994.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on the Department of Defense's (DOD) Pilot Mentor-Protege Program, focusing on whether the program: (1) has achieved its goals during its implementation period; and (2) should be reauthorized and extended governmentwide.

GAO found that: (1) DOD does not have sufficient information to determine whether the pilot program will be successful or reauthorization and extension of the program is warranted because implementation of the pilot program has been slow; (2) by the end of 1993, 124 proteges were receiving assistance from mentors and 76 proteges had entered the pilot program; (3) all of the 1992 and 1993 appropriated funds for the pilot program have been committed; (4) DOD obligated $47.3 million by the end of 1993 for the pilot program; (5) DOD has obtained some initial participation on a "credit-only" basis and limited participation through the mentor's overhead cost pool; (6) the DOD average reimbursement cost to mentors in support of each protege exceeds $1 million; (7) the DOD Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSADBU) has not provided adequate management oversight of the pilot program because of a lack of resources; and (8) there will not be any significant increases in the total number of subcontracts awarded to small disadvantaged businesses (SDB) unless additional nonmonetary incentives are developed to encourage mentor participation.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD awarded a contract in spring 1994 for assistance in managing the mentor-protege program. This assistance includes tracking the progress made under each agreement. DOD does not plan on completing its review until the pilot program nears completion, which is scheduled for 1999.

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider delaying its decision until OSADBU conducts its required performance review of the progress and accomplishments realized under approved mentor-protege agreements. However, since there are indications that the current pilot program, with its heavy reliance on reimbursement as mentor incentive, is not the optimal way to increase subcontract awards to SDB, Congress may wish to have DOD test a broader range of incentives.


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