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Defense Contract Management Agency Santa Ana Quality Assurance Oversight Needs Improvement

DODIG-2013-069

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What We Did

We determined whether the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) Santa Ana contract management office performed quality assurance (QA) procedures and oversight of contractors in accordance with applicable policies for critical safety items (CSIs). For this audit, we reviewed QA oversight of four contracts valued at about $278 million.

What We Found

The DCMA Santa Ana quality assurance representatives (QARs) assigned to four contracts did not adequately perform or document their QA surveillance.  

For all four contracts, QARs did not:

  • develop QA surveillance plans to mitigate risk,
  • plan and perform reviews of key manufacturing processes, and
  • execute or adequately perform product examination before final acceptance.

This occurred primarily because first level supervisors did not provide oversight of the nonresident QARs to minimize the risk of defective CSIs reaching the warfighter. As a result, DCMA Santa Ana officials provided limited assurance that 18,507 critical safety items, consisting of T-11 parachutes, oxygen masks, drone parachutes, and breathing apparatuses met contract requirements.

What We Recommend

We recommend that the Director, DCMA Santa Ana contract management office:

  • verify that QARs developed adequate QA surveillance plans and performed process reviews and product examinations;
  • certify that the supervisory reviews of QARs were accurate, complete, and timely; and
  • perform a risk analysis in coordination with Service Engineers to identify QA risk areas and determine the need to recall or restrict the use of CSI items previously accepted.

Management Comments and Our Response

The Director, DCMA, responded for the Director, DCMA Santa Ana contract management office. He agreed with recommendations that the Director, DCMA Santa Ana contract management office, verify that QARs develop adequate QA surveillance plans and perform process reviews, and product examinations. He agreed with recommendations that the Director, DCMA Santa Ana contract management office, perform a risk analysis to identify QA risk areas and review the actions of the first level supervisors related to inadequate oversight of QARs. He partially agreed with the recommendation that the Director, DCMA Santa Ana contract management office certify the supervisory reviews of QARs were accurate, complete, and timely. The comments were responsive, and the actions met the intent of the recommendations.

This report is a result of Project No. D2011-D000CD-0248.000.