Report | Nov. 7, 2014

Army Personnel Complied With the Berry Amendment But Can Improve Compliance With the Buy American Act

DODIG-2015-026

Objective

Our audit objective was to determine whether Army personnel complied with the Berry Amendment and the Buy American Act when they purchased covered items such as food, clothing, tents, textiles, and hand or measuring tools. We performed this audit in response to Section 1601 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2014. The act requires the DoD Inspector General to conduct periodic audits of contracting practices and policies related to procurement under section 2533a, title 10, United States Code, the Berry Amendment.

Findings

Army Contracting Command (ACC) personnel at three locations substantially complied with the Berry Amendment for 29 of the 33 contracts reviewed, with an obligated value of about $124.6 million. However, ACC contracting personnel did not include the Berry Amendment implementing clause within the basic contract for 4 of the 33 contracts, but took corrective actions to add the required clause. ACC contracting personnel can improve compliance with the Buy American Act. For 50 Buy American Act contracts with an obligated value of about $4.7 million, ACC contracting personnel:

  • did not complete required component assessments for 23 contracts because for 16 contracts they did not differentiate between commercial and commercial off-the-shelf items and for 7 contracts because they relied upon contractor assertions not specific to the items under contract;
  • omitted the Buy American Act implementing clause in 4 contracts; and
  • issued a contract for goods from a non-qualifying country.

As a result, ACC contracting personnel could not demonstrate that all the procured items complied with domestic content requirement, and suppliers could have provided noncompliant items. Additionally, ACC contracting personnel may have committed an Antideficiency Act violation.

Recommendations

We recommend the Commanding General, Army Contracting Command, require contracting personnel receive training to distinguish between commercial, non-commercial, and commercial off-the-shelf items and how to perform component assessments required by the Buy American Act. Additionally, we recommend the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller, initiate a preliminary investigation of the potential Antideficiency Act violation for contract W911QY-13-P-0109.

Management Comments and Our Response

The Commanding General, Army Contracting Command and the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller, agreed with the recommendations and no further comments are required.

This report is a result of Project No. D2014-D000CG-0038.000.