GAO points out DOD technical data uncertainties

Defense acquisition officials intend to clarify for program managers when the managers should buy technical data for various systems and programs that may help in the future, according to a new report.

Officials who oversee procurement and acquisition policy at the Defense Department plan to issue the guidance before December, the Government Accountability Office wrote in a report released June 10. The guidance should make the decision on buying easier and straightforward, it states.

Technical data plays an important role throughout the life of a system and a program with complex parts. It enables DOD to make better decisions in both future procurements and sustaining a weapons system and it provides flexibility in future purchases. Also, the data can be bought at different levels, from unlimited data rights to rights that won’t let officials pass the information along to a third party, but only use it internally.

Each of the military services have faced problems that increased costs to a program because of limited technical data rights. Agencies often have to resort to develop new ways of increasing production and buying spare parts, including soliciting more vendors.

For example, Air Force officers realized they needed more core maintenance facilities at other government depots for its C-17 airplane in case of national defense emergencies. However, they had to alter plans to expand because of limited rights to technical data. The Air Force had to form partnerships with vendors, even as some contractors would not release pieces of technical data, according to a 2006 GAO report that analyzed technical data rights.

In the new report, GAO said it found DOD’s guidance on technical data unclear. It recommended updating its policies to clarify how it documents technical data during an acquisition. GAO recommended that DOD lay out the level and type of details that acquisition strategies and procurement plans should have regarding buying technical data and the rights. In addition, defense officials need to teach program managers what information and analyses to include in their business cases.

About the Author

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

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.