DOD takes heat for procurement system troubles

DOD takes heat for procurement system troubles

The General Accounting Office criticized Defense Department procurement in a recent report, citing the department's failure to meet commitments for its Standard Procurement System and for program delays that have pushed back full implementation of the system almost four years.

In the report DOD Systems Modernization: Continued Investment in the Standard Procurement System Has Not Been Justified, GAO chides the department for not monitoring whether various software releases are achieving their intended goals or whether users' needs are being met. GAO also found that DOD had approached the system with an 'all or nothing' attitude instead of rolling out implementations in increments.

'We are recommending that the secretary of Defense make investment in future releases or major enhancements of existing releases conditional upon first demonstrating that existing releases are producing benefits that exceed costs and that future investment decisions ... be based on complete and reliable economic justifications,' GAO said in the report.

Agree to disagree

Defense agreed with many of GAO's findings but disagreed on a few.

'We disagree with the report's fundamental finding that the Standard Procurement System has not been justified,' said Margaret E. Myers, DOD deputy chief information officer. 'The Department of Defense is making progress in improving its ability to standardize the contracting for goods and services by the implementation of SPS in the post, camp and station procurement communities.'

Since 1996, DOD's Inspector General has issued three reports critical of SPS, according to GAO.

In some cases, the problems have not been resolved, GAO added.

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