In recent years, federal agencies have increasingly turned to interagency contracts--where one agency, for example, places an order under an existing contract for another agency--as a way to streamline the procurement process. Interagency contracting can offer benefits of improved efficiency, but this approach needs to be effectively managed. To learn more about some of the challenges of interagency contracting, we reviewed the process that the Department of Defense (DOD) used to acquire interrogation and certain other services through the Department of the Interior to support military operations in Iraq. On behalf of DOD, Interior issued 11 task orders, valued at over $66 million, on an existing contract. This report identifies breakdowns in the procurement process, contributing factors that led to the breakdowns, and the extent to which recent actions by Interior and DOD address these contributing factors.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of the Interior||1. The Secretary of the Interior should ensure that management reviews of Interior contracting offices emphasize and assess whether contracting officials are trained adequately and blanket purchase agreements (BPA) are used appropriately.|
|Department of the Interior||2. The Secretary of the Interior should ensure that performance measures for contracting officials provide incentives to exercise due diligence and comply with applicable contracting rules and regulations.|
|Department of the Interior||3. The Secretary of the Interior should ensure that contracting officers' representatives are properly designated when contracts are awarded or orders are issued for other agencies and that they have met appropriate training requirements.|
|Department of the Interior||4. The Secretary of the Interior should direct the National Business Center at Fort Huachuca to (1) establish a consistent methodology for conducting peer reviews of contracting actions and ensure that experienced and trained contracting officials perform the reviews; (2) ensure that reviews of BPAs are done annually, as required by the Federal Acquisition Regulation, to determine whether they still represent best value; and (3) ensure that the contracting staff are properly trained and effective mechanisms are in place to track the training.|
|Department of the Interior||5. The Secretary of Defense should develop a mechanism to track implementation of the new policy that establishes procedures for reviewing and approving the use of non-DOD contracts and to ensure that the military services and defense agencies have the opportunity to share information on how they are implementing it.|