SEWP may not be the right recipe for DOD, IG finds

Defense Department contracting officers failed to meet acquisition rules or appropriations laws in fiscal 2005 when using NASA’s Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement Governmentwide Acquisition Contract on 98 of 111 reviewed orders, valued at $85.9 million, according to a new inspector general report.

The report by DOD’s IG, published Nov. 13, says that the 98 orders were either improperly executed, improperly funded or both. Specifically, the orders — some of which failed to meet multiple regulations — include:

• 71 orders, valued at $73.4 million, had little or no justification for using a non-DOD contract vehicle.

• 69 orders, valued at $49.5 million, were awarded without giving fair opportunity to all contractors qualified under the multiple-award contracts.

• 26 orders, valued at $25 million, had inadequate award documentation.

• 14 orders, valued at $19.6 million, were funded in a manner that resulted in potential Antideficiency Act violations.

“Funds were not used as intended by Congress, competition was limited and DOD has no assurance it received the best value,” the report states.

The IG wants acquisition officials for the Navy, the Air Force, and the Defense Information Systems Agency to require contracting officers conducting direct acquisitions totaling more than $2,500 to give preference to DOD's own contracts. Contracting officers who plan to use a non-DOD contract should be required to verify that that is the best course and that using a DOD contract would be more difficult or expensive, the IG recommends. The IG also wants contracting officers to take SEWP’s free training and to use SEWP's online tool for requesting quotes because it aids in providing fair opportunities for contractors.

The IG reviewed the 111 orders at six sites, including space and naval warfare systems centers in Charleston, S.C., and San Diego; and Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base in Boston.

As of Oct. 11, 2005, DOD made 6,569 total orders, equaling about $343.2 million, against SEWP, the report states.

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