DoD fails to comply with rules to curb contractor estimate deficiencies

The Defense Department’s contracting component hasn’t observed new rules meant to address deficiencies in the way contractors estimate prices for DoD, says a June 29 DoD inspector general report.

DOD IGContractor estimating systems encompass the policies, procedures and practices used by the contractor for generating estimates of costs and other data that are included in proposals submitted to the government.

And it’s important that those systems are accurate, the report says.

“Contractor business systems and related internal controls, including the estimating system, are the first line of defense against waste, fraud, and abuse,” GAO says.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/dod-fails-comply-rules-curb-contractor-estimate-deficiencies/2015-07-01

Military chiefs say they’re often blindsided by acquisition problems

Interviews with 12 current and former military service chiefs reveal strong dissatisfaction with their Pentagon acquisition colleagues, who too often change the requirements for weapons systems or demand additional capability, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

pentagon-seal“Some current and former service chiefs said that because they lack visibility into programs, they are unable to influence trade-offs between requirements and resources,” said the watchdog in a report released Thursday. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps chiefs said they are “frequently caught by surprise when cost, schedule, and performance problems emerge in programs.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/defense/2015/06/military-chiefs-say-theyre-often-blindsided-acquisition-problems/115177

Lawmakers aim to streamline Homeland Security purchasing

The third-largest federal agency needs to streamline its acquisition process and address continuing reports of waste, a bipartisan group of House members said Monday.

In introducing a bill (H.R. 2199) to step up oversight and strengthen the ability of top procurement officials to re-work contracts, leaders of the House Homeland Security Committee expressed impatience with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s ongoing “Unity of Effort” initiative. They also called for “clarity” for U.S. businesses that contract with DHS.

“Congressional watchdogs continue to find failures in how DHS spends billions of taxpayer dollars on its major acquisition purchases,” said Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., chairman of the Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee. “Frontline operators securing our borders, defending our shores, and protecting our aviation systems should not wait years longer than promised for systems that don’t perform as intended.”

An Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) allows a Program Manager (PM) to track program goals against a formal baseline. This tracking will alert the PM to any potential problems that might arise and to perform corrective actions to keep a program within its goals. Proposed legislation would require every major acquisition program within the Dept. of Homeland Security to have an approved APB document.
An Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) allows a Program Manager (PM) to track program goals against a formal baseline. This tracking will alert the PM to any potential problems that might arise and to perform corrective actions to keep a program within its goals. Proposed legislation would require every major acquisition program within the Dept. of Homeland Security to have an approved APB document.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2015/05/lawmakers-aim-streamline-homeland-security-purchasing/111892/

Many projects in Pentagon’s emerging tech program still stuck in development

A Defense Department program that funds emerging technology development isn’t actually transitioning enough of that technology out of the research phase, a new Government Accountability Office report suggests.

pentagon-sealBy the end of the 2014 solicitation, DOD’s “Rapid Innovation Program” will have awarded contracts for about 435 projects, after receiving 11,000 white papers on proposed technologies from businesses. Congress devoted about $1.3 billion to the program in appropriations, according to GAO.

RIP projects have included technology that could improve manufacturing of one part of a thermal battery insulation system, which could potentially grow the lifespan of missile power sources. Another project is a hand pump designed to filter and purify water on the battlefield.

In a recent audit of 44 RIP projects from the 2011 fiscal year, GAO found that only 22 were transitioned to a government acquisition program, a military user, a prime contractor or eventually commercialized. Other DOD tech programs have higher transition rates, often between 55 and 85 percent, the report said.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/2015/05/many-projects-pentagons-emerging-tech-program-still-stuck-development/112216

Some DOT contracting officers not certified for high-dollar contracts

Nearly a quarter of Transportation Department contracting officers didn’t comply with certification specifications when working on certain high dollar acquisitions, says an April 9, 2015 DOT inspector general report.

US DOTIn fiscal 2014, DOT obligated $2 billion on contracts.

To help ensure those contracts meet federal and departmental requirements, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) requires that contracting officers be certified at the appropriate level to correspond with the dollar value of contracts, the report says.

OFPP also directed each agency’s chief acquisition officer to establish agency-specific certification and warrant requirements.

But of the 63 contracting officers GAO reviewed, 15, or about 24 percent, did not fully comply with those requirements.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/some-dot-contracting-officers-not-certified-high-dollar-contracts/2015-04-15

Read the DOT IG’s report here: https://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/default/files/DOT%20Contracting%20Officer%20Certification%20and%20Warrant%20Requirements%20Final%20Report%5E4-9-15.pdf