Report | May 1, 2013

TRICARE Management Activity Needs to Improve Oversight of Acquisition Workforce

DODIG-2013-078

What We Did

We assessed the status of efforts to improve the TRICARE Management Activity (TMA) acquisition program. Specifically, we determined whether the TMA acquisition workforce was adequately trained and certified.

What We Found

TMA acquisition personnel did not have required certifications for their functional areas, accurate position descriptions for their assigned duties, or proper training.

For the 237 personnel identified in the acquisition workforce, 52 (22 percent) did not achieve certification required for their positions, 70 (29 percent) did not have position descriptions with critical acquisition designators, and 83 (35 percent) did not have position descriptions with certification requirements.

For the 32 personnel designated as critical acquisition positions or key leadership positions, none met all the requirements of the position, and 14 personnel did not have position descriptions with critical acquisition designators. Additionally, position descriptions for 34 (14 percent) of the 237 personnel included a critical acquisition position designation. However, TMA officials did not identify the personnel as holding critical positions.

Also, of the 12 contracts reviewed, TMA acquisition personnel did not provide documentation that contracting officer’s representatives for 9 contracts, valued at $39 million, were properly assigned before the contract award. Of those same contracts reviewed, 9 contracts, valued at $62 million, did not have trained contracting officer’s representatives before the contract award.

This occurred because the component acquisition executive did not have procedures to adequately monitor the acquisition workforce and did not place the required emphasis on the identification, development, training, and assignment of acquisition workforce personnel. As a result, TMA officials could not verify and be assured that the right people with the right skills were involved in the acquisition process. Thus, TMA was at an increased risk for fraud, waste, and abuse.

What We Recommend

We recommend that the Director, TMA, place additional emphasis on the identification and oversight of the acquisition workforce by establishing quality assurance procedures to ensure identification, assignment, certification, and training of the acquisition workforce, and implementation and use of the Contracting Officer Representative Tracking Tool. Additionally, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, should perform a comprehensive review of TMA’s progress on meeting compliance with identification, assignment, certification, and training of the acquisition workforce; progress on implementation and use of the Contracting Officer Representative Tracking Tool; and compliance with proper contracting procedures.

Management Comments and Our Response

The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition responded on behalf of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics; and the Director, TMA, commented on a draft of this report. Comments from the Director, TMA were responsive. Comments from the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition were partially responsive. Therefore, we request that the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, provide additional comments.