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GAO reviewed the Department of Justice's progress in implementing Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-109 to manage major system acquisitions. Circular A-109 supplies a framework of flexible management policies that can be applied to all systems, ranging from defense weapons to electronic data processing. Under the guidelines of A-109, each agency must: (1) define the need in terms of its mission; (2) reconcile needs and goals with agency capabilities; (3) evaluate industry's competitive efforts to develop alternative designs; and (4) choose the best alternative on the basis of demonstrated performance and price commitments. Emphasis is on mission-oriented planning, high visibility, strong program management, and reliance on private industry for alternative system designs.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Justice 1. The Assistant Attorney General for Administration should place the responsibility for implementing and monitoring A-109 in an appropriate office in the Justice Management Division and designate a focal point of responsibility for monitoring A-109 implementation in each of the larger organizational components.
Closed - Implemented
The Justice Management Division has been tasked with responsibility for A-109 procurements and heads of procurement activities are responsible for A-109 activities at the six independent Justice components.
Department of Justice 2. The Assistant Attorney General for Administration should issue a department-wide directive covering policies, procedures, and guidelines to be followed in A-109 implementation.
Closed - Implemented
Guidelines are written, and although not officially issued, are being followed for current A-109 procurements.
Department of Justice 3. The Assistant Attorney General for Administration should provide training in major system acquisition management through either Department of Justice training programs or Federal Acquisition Institute programs.
Closed - Implemented
FIA and the Justice Management Division provide training in A-109 activities. This training will be modified as OMB alters the current A-109 circular in 1985.

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