Senate bill restricts military use of FTS centers

A provision in the Senate version of the Defense Authorization bill would forbid Defense Department officials from making major purchases through any of the Federal Technology Service client support centers until the DOD inspector general has given the center a clean bill of health.

The measure is an apparent response to a scandal that came to light last year, in which some FTS employees in remote centers were found to be misusing funds and violating procurement rules.

The Senate proposal states that DOD officials cannot make purchases of more than $100,000 through an FTS client support center until the inspector has reviewed the center's policies, procedures and internal controls and certified them to be adequate to ensure that the center's employees comply with the law.

FTS, a division of the General Services Administration, is investigating the centers in all 11 of its national regions. The improper conduct first came to light in the Region 10 office, then based in Bremerton, Wash., and since moved to Auburn, Wash. Investigations have uncovered irregularities in other offices and are ongoing, according to FTS officials.

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