DOD: GSA, Defense share fault for procurement issues

The inspector general at the Defense Department has said that both the General Services Administration and DOD are to blame for a string of procurement problems over the past several years. GSA has disputed the finding.

In a final report, the IG found that the several irregularities were caused by both agencies, even though GSA this summer strongly disagreed with the findings.

"Although we believe GSA has made progress in improving its operation, we do not believe that it is blameless in the flawed acquisitions identified in this report and that DOD should shoulder all the blame," the IG said.

The IG first noted these concerns in a draft report obtained by Government Computer News in August. GSA officials criticized the report, claiming that the report did not account for the improvements resulting from the "Get it Right" program.

In its final report, the IG was not swayed.

"Although there is not a precedent that clearly demonstrates responsibility, we believe that both parties have some culpability ..." the report said.

In particular, the IG found that 55 of the 56 transactions that it reviewed during fiscal 2005 were either "hastily planned or improperly executed or funded," the report said.

Specifically:

  • DOD lacked acquisition planning on 55 transactions;
  • DOD and GSA did not have adequate interagency planning on 54 purchases;
  • GSA's Client Support Centers did not provide adequate justification for sole-source procurements on six of 14 sole-source purchases;
  • DOD did not develop and implement adequate quality assurance surveillance plans on 42 purchases;
  • GSA and DOD used improper funds on 11 purchases; and
  • DOD did not maintain an audit trail on 11 deals.

The report also states that DOD and GSA officials are working on a corrective-action plan to address several areas of concern.

The report was mandated in the fiscal 2005 National Defense Authorization Act, which required both GSA and DOD inspectors general to re-examine the policies, procedures and internal controls through GSA's Client Support Centers.

GSA officials maintained their disagreement with the IG's conclusions and said they have made the necessary changes to address the concerns.

"Both GSA leadership and the GSA IG submitted formal comments to the DOD IG outlining our differences," a GSA spokeswoman said. "Ultimately, the problems discussed in the DOD IG report were identified by GSA in 2003 and have been addressed. Thus, this is largely a rehash of 'old news,' and these audit findings support GSA's view that the 'Get it Right' plan ? specifically comprehensive internal controls, revamped accounting processes and improved training ? worked as intended."

Rob Thormeyer is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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