Pentagon says GSA is OK

The Defense Department wants to avoid abusing contracting vehicles created outside the department, but DOD personnel can still use General Services Administration multiple award schedule contracts or other governmentwide acquisition contracts, a Pentagon official said today.

Pentagon guidance issued last October required military agencies to set up specific procedures for reviewing and approving the use of contracts managed by other agencies by the start of 2005.

Some people have interpreted the memo "as precluding the ability to utilize the services of 'Assisting Agencies’ to meet DOD requirements," wrote Deidre Lee, DOD director of procurement and acquisition policy, in a memo released today. "These interpretations are incorrect."

Defense officials advised the October guidance following several cases of contract abuse, including the hiring of interrogators at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison on an information technology contract.

The most recent memo was written with the heavy encouragement from the Coalition for Government Procurement, an industry advocacy group. Misinterpretation of the original October guidance has hurt some small business owners, who have complained that military contracting officers now refuse to work with them through their GSA schedules and other GSA contracts.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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