GAO's Analysis of Audit and Investigative Reports Concerning U.S. Coast Guard Procurement

RCED-85-144: Published: Jul 16, 1985. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 1985.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO initiated a review of the Coast Guard's procurement process to present information on inventory and audit efforts and to identify patterns of findings and recommendations.

GAO found that the Coast Guard's procurement authority nearly doubled between fiscals year 1980 and 1984. In addition, year-end balances of unobligated procurement authority have increased from about $67 million to $536 million. During the same time period, problems have occurred in all phases of the Coast Guard's acquisition cycle, including the identification of the types of items that should be procured for meeting mission responsibilities, procuring those items, and managing procured items. Many of the studies GAO reviewed cited problems in the needs determination process. In addition, GAO reviewed problems with specifications preparation and inventory management. Although the audit and investigative studies that GAO reviewed described problems in particular activities or acquisitions, GAO found that the same types of problems related to every phase of the acquisition process and the pattern of findings and recommendations indicated that systemwide deficiencies might exist in the Coast Guard's acquisition process. A Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General report made a similar observation, noting that errors and weaknesses identified in major acquisitions were dealt with only on an ad hoc basis, rather than being addressed as systemic problems.

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