Procurement of Construction Equipment

PSAD-75-103: Published: Jul 9, 1975. Publicly Released: Jul 9, 1975.

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GAO reviewed the Army's procedures of evaluating and approving selected commercial equipment for full-scale procurement.

GAO noted that: (1) delays were being experienced in selecting, approving, and procuring commercial construction equipment; (2) if these delays continue the acquisition cost of such equipment will undoubtedly increase because of inflationary factors, the repair of existing equipment which otherwise would have been retired will continue, and personnel reductions expected by using commercial equipment will be postponed; (3) GAO traced selected equipment items through the Army's approval cycle and noted that it was taking an average of about 34 months to define the requirement, evaluate it, and approve the commercial construction equipment for full-scale procurement; (4) in contrast, Army representatives considered 24 months as a reasonable period; (5) the time expended for the items in GAO's sample varied from about 28 months for a utility tractor to about 48 months for a crawler tractor; (6) to obtain some perspective on the length of time to approve and procure commercial construction equipment by another military service, GAO discussed this topic with Navy officials; (7) Navy said that from 3 to 18 months were needed to evaluate and procure commercial construction equipment and that because of its small investment of funds in any one item, compared to the Army's, the Navy could take greater a risk in using less time to evaluate and procure this equipment; (8) GAO believes the importance of prompt procurements of commercial construction equipment is demonstrated in the case of the crawler tractor and the scoop loader; (9) the Army took 48 months and 30 months, respectively, from the first identification of a potential requirement through evaluation and approval of this equipment for full-scale procurement; (10) the Army estimated that cost savings of about $29 million could be realized from personnel reductions over the lifespan of these items; (11) estimated annual savings would be about $2.8 million; (12) therefore, a 1-year delay can be expensive; (13) GAO found that the greatest slippage in the approval cycle occurred during the requirement validation phase; (14) during that phase there was an average slippage of 11.5 months; (15) it should be noted, however, that for the last three phases accurate comparisons between estimated and actual timeframes could not be prepared; and (16) some Army officials believed delays were caused by imposing additional requirements, heavy workloads and revised formats for preparing requirement documents.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should reemphasize the importance of this equipment's prompt procurement and reevaluate the approval cycle with a view toward determining ways of streamlining the process.

    Agency Affected:


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