Political Science Defense Acquisitions: Management Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

There is little or no public bidding on contracts, and contract arrangements are poorly spelled out, or not described at all. Furthermore, additional cost overruns are caused by the reliance on interagency contracts that actually demand an additional fee on the part of the Department of Defense. (GAO, 2007, p.9)

There is little difference in performance either before or after the awarding of contracts. Companies that were not checked into prior to contracting are barely supervised once they begin to perform the required work. Officials at the Department of Defense, and also those at the Department of the Interior acting for DOD, issue task orders that go "beyond the scope of underlying contracts;" commonly failing to justify non-compliance with regular procedures that ensure best value for the government. (GAO, 2007, p.10) it is as if Department of Defense officials see outside contractors as but members of the usual military command - enlisted personnel who can be ordered to do anything without regard to difficulty or expense. Contractors add to the problem by emphasizing customer service and revenue generation, rather than adherence to government policy. (GAO, 2007, p. 10) a lack of business acumen on the part of DOD and military officials is made up for by an overemphasis on the business aspects of work by the independent contractors themselves. The Department of Defense employs a highly fragmented system of acquisition and supervision. Procurement of services is spread across numerous commands. Inspection and supervision are performed ineffectually and at numerous locations and levels. (GAO, 2007, p. 11) Much supervision is reactive rather than strategic and proactive. Problems are caught after they happen, or reviews are conducted in such a manner as to have virtually no influence on the process itself, being little more than formalities. (GAO, 2007, p.12) the Department of Defense does not possess normative positions for measuring standards of work or compliance with best practice regulations. (GAO, 2007, p.12)

Overall, the Department of Defense acquisitions system as regards the use of independent contractors in haphazard at best. Few standards exist for the selecting of contractors, or even for their use in preference to government employees. The Department of Defense must put in place clear procedures for determining when to use independent contractors and must show stakeholders why independent contractors must be considered preferred service providers in these cases. Best practice rules must be followed. Government must hire and train personnel so as to be able to oversee acquisitions with an eye toward what is best for all involved. Government officials must adopt a more business-like attitude while at the same time focusing on the real needs of all involved. A proactive approach of early strategic reviews and expert advice and revisions can prevent many problems down the road. Experts employed by the government need to formulate outlines of the work process from start to finish - plans that match each kind of job. Inspectors must see to it that these requirements are not only followed... But met. Where independent contractors are employed, they must follow the same procedural requirements as government agencies and personnel. Additional work must be subjected to the same rules and regulations as initial projects, with full reviews being conducted and plans drawn up. All Department of Defense acquisitions and allocations must be justified.


United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). (17 January 2007). DOD Needs to Exert…

Sources Used in Document:


United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). (17 January 2007). DOD Needs to Exert Management and Oversight to Better Control Acquisition of Services (Defense Acquisitions GAO-07-359T). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Defense Acquisitions

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