Defense Logistics Agency:

Process for Selecting Defense Distribution Center Site Contained Weaknesses

NSIAD-98-96: Published: Apr 9, 1998. Publicly Released: Apr 9, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the process used by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to select the site for its new defense distribution center, focusing on whether: (1) the process was sound; and (2) there was any evidence that the site selection had been predetermined.

GAO noted that: (1) DLA officials believed that the consolidation of its eastern and western regional distribution headquarters would produce savings; (2) DLA's establishment of a steering group and decisionmaking criteria indicate that DLA recognized the need for a credible process to guide its decisionmaking in selecting a site for its consolidated distribution headquarters; (3) however, the process used by DLA to support the site selection decision contained a number of weaknesses; (4) among the weaknesses in the process were the absence of sufficient information concerning personnel facilities requirements for the new center, unrealistic cost comparisons between the competing sites, and the use of subjective data for two noncost criteria; (5) subsequent changes to the process, made at the request of the selecting official, did not correct these weaknesses and created concerns about the perception of bias; (6) the cumulative effect of these weaknesses raised questions about the soundness of the site selection process and the ultimate decision; (7) although various persons from the western location raised concerns about whether the decision had been predetermined, GAO found no evidence to validate these concerns; and (8) likewise, GAO found no evidence that prior studies examining the consolidation issue influenced the current site selection process or outcome.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD, in response to GAO's recommendation, reviewed the distribution center site selection decision and determined that the selection process was both fair and proper.

    Recommendation: Because of the weaknesses in the process supporting DLA's site selection decision and subsequent questions raised about the soundness of the decisionmaking process, the Secretary of Defense should independently and expeditiously reassess DLA's site selection decision, taking into consideration issues and questions raised in this report.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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