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The Air Force's Information Technology Contracts Awarded Without Competition Were Generally Justified

DODIG-2015-110

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Objective

Our objective was to determine whether the Air Force’s information technology (IT) contracts issued without competition were properly justified. This report is the third in a series of reports on DoD IT contracts awarded without competition. We nonstatistically reviewed 58 contracts. 1

We announced this audit in anticipation of the pending Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. The Act would have required the DoD Inspector General to review DoD noncompetitive IT contracts to determine whether they were properly justified as sole source. The House version contained the requirement; however, the final legislation did not.

Finding

Air Force contracting personnel properly justified the use of other than full and open competition for all 58 IT contracts reviewed with a value (including options) of about $154.3 million; however, some contract files did not contain documentation required by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) for noncompetitive awards. Air Force contracting personnel used a valid statutory requirement when awarding 38 of the 58 contracts with a value (including options) of about $73.6 million. For the 20 contracts, with a value (including options) of about $80.7 million, that required additional planning, approval, and market research to issue a sole-source award, Air Force contracting personnel:

  • complied with FAR requirements of the Justification and Approval content for 19 contracts;
  • appropriately applied the authority cited for 17 contracts;
  • obtained approval from the proper personnel before contract award for 18 contracts;
  • documented compliance with market research for all 20 contracts; and
  • complied with synopsis requirements for 10 contracts.

Air Force contracting personnel stated they did not meet the FAR requirements because of a lack of training. As a result, for each of the proposed contract actions not properly synopsized, contracting personnel potentially excluded sources.

Recommendations

We recommend the Commander, 502nd Contracting Squadron provide training on selecting the appropriate authority to issue sole-source contracts and retaining contract documentation. We recommend that the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Contracting) provide contracting personnel training, or issue a memorandum on including the statements required for the synopsis of contract actions made using other than full and open competition.

Management Comments and Our Response

The Commander, 502nd Contracting Squadron, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Contracting), agreed with the recommendations and provided corrective actions with an anticipated completion date. Comments from the Commander and the Deputy Assistant Secretary addressed all specifics of the recommendations, and no further comments are required. 


1 For 38 contracts, we limited our review to verify whether the contracts contained a valid statutory requirement. The remaining 20 contracts required written justification for other than full and open competition.

This report is a result of Project No. D2015-D000CG-0009.000.