GAO: DHS can't track Buy American Act compliance

The Homeland Security Department does not have the ability to fully track how well it is complying with the Buy American Act, according to a new report from acting Inspector General Richard Skinner.

"We were unable to fully validate compliance with Buy American Act [BAA] requirements because of DHS' inability to identify conclusively all procurements subject to BAA requirements and the tight time constraints under which the audit had to be conducted," the inspector general's report said.

The inspector general's audit, which covered November 2004 to February 2005, reviewed compliance with the 1933 law requiring the federal government to purchase American-made articles, materials and supplies as much as possible, with certain exceptions. It does not apply to services. Congress directed the Homeland Security secretary to report on its compliance for fiscal 2005.

The department identified about $165 million in acquisitions involving foreign end products, the report said, but that does not represent the "entire BAA universe at DHS."

While non-U.S. purchasing is believed to occur infrequently, DHS' automated computer systems do not permit ready identification of foreign acquisitions, according to the report.

"Neither the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation nor the Homeland Security Contract Information System have the capability to collect data regarding the amounts and types of foreign end products being procured by DHS," the report said.

At the same time, however, the inspector general found that DHS and its procurement offices have "sufficient policies and procedures to ensure compliance with BAA requirements."

The inspector general recommended additional training, revised contract information system guidance and continued collection of data on foreign acquisitions manually, until automated systems are in place.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here
close

Trending

  • POWER TRAINING: How to engage your customers

    Don't miss our Aug. 2 Washington Technology Power Training session on Mastering Stakeholder Engagement, where you'll learned the critical skills you need to more fully connect with your customers and win more business. Read More

  • PROJECT 38 PODCAST

    In our latest Project 38 Podcast, editor Nick Wakeman interviews Tom Romeo, the leader of Maximus Federal about how it has zoomed up the 2019 Top 100. Read More

contracts DB

Washington Technology Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.