DOD is rechecking some purchases

Defense Department officials are pushing DOD'S acquisition staff to check some purchases. The action came in response to an oversight panel’s initial findings.

In a July 16 memo, Shay Assad, DOD's director of defense procurement, acquisition policy and strategic sourcing, wrote that the Panel on Contracting Integrity found DOD had poor documentation and issued contracting waivers without justifications.

Assad listed the specific findings in the memo, and DOD’s plans to fix the problems. They included:

• A lack of documentation to support the reasons for buying a commercial item. DOD wants contracting officials to check contract files for commercial-item purchases of $1 million or more to verify that the file has the proper documents. DOD regulations require contracting officers to determine in writing that the purchase meets the definition of a commercial item.

• Contracts still are not defined in the required time. Officials need to review previous contracts to assess if the purchases adhered to related DOD polices.

• Competition requirements for orders placed against multiple-award contracts are frequently waived without appropriate justification. Assad wants officials to make sure contracting officers followed policies when they placed orders on multiple-award contracts, such as the General Services Administration’s Federal Supply Service contracts and blanket purchase agreements.

• DOD has failed to use available pricing information or document fair-and-reasonable pricing for sole-source awards. Officials need to determine if contracting officers got cost and pricing data when it was required and if they gathered other sufficient information, in addition to cost and price, to support fair and reasonable prices, Assad wrote.

The fiscal 2007 National Defense Authorization Act formed the contracting integrity panel. It is to conduct DOD-wide reviews for problems that could lead to possible waste, fraud and abuse. The panel is to submit an annual report to Congress, but has not submitted one for 2008.

Assad wrote that officials should add their reviews to procurement management reports by September  30 and they can also offer suggestions for policy revisions and clarifications by October 31.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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