DOD Competitive Sourcing:

Lessons Learned System Could Enhance A-76 Study Process

NSIAD-99-152: Published: Jul 21, 1999. Publicly Released: Jul 21, 1999.

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David R. Warren
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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on the Department of Defense's (DOD) A-76 study process, focusing on efforts by DOD to: (1) improve performance work statements, including encouraging the use of standard templates; and (2) implement other efforts to improve the competitive sourcing process, as well as gather and disseminate lessons learned that could benefit the competitive sourcing program DOD-wide.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD has focused on improving the quality of its performance work statements, with limited emphasis on developing standardized work statements; (2) according to various DOD officials, the need to tailor performance work statements to individual circumstances and locations, as well as the increasing emphasis on grouping multiple activities for competitions under single solicitations, limits the usefulness of standardized work statements; (3) many officials stated that while previously developed work statements provide useful guidance, they are best used as a frame of reference for, but not in place of, developing new performance work statements; (4) in addition to efforts devoted to developing improved performance work statements, DOD components and activities are pursuing a variety of approaches on their own to improve competitive sourcing studies; (5) some of these may not shorten the study process, but they are intended to improve the efficiency and long-term cost-effectiveness of the process; (6) approaches range from combining multiple functions together under single solicitations to using new tools to improve the development of key A-76 documents; and (7) however, DOD and its components have devoted limited efforts and resources to documenting and disseminating lessons learned and best practices from the various efforts that could be useful DOD-wide.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Office of the Secretary of Defense's Competitive Sourcing office has developed a Web page that, among other things, will promote sharing of best practices and lessons learned. The Web site became operational on June 2, 2000. The initial web site includes detailed information about the A-76 cost comparison process and interim guidance, with additional Web features, including an interactive forum for policy development and performance measurement, handbooks and manuals, and A-76 lessons learned.

    Recommendation: To ensure that components pursue the A-76 study process with maximum efficiency and effectiveness, the Secretary of Defense, in conjunction with DOD components, should establish a framework for identifying and analyzing best practices and lessons learned from competitive sourcing studies and disseminating them DOD-wide to foster improvements in competitive sourcing studies.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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