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GAO: DoD Should Reassess Newly-Established Leadership Roles for Service Contract Mgmt

The Government Accountability Office has urged the Defense Department to re-evaluate the roles, responsibilities, authorities and organizational placement of three new leadership positions that DoD created to help optimize the management of service contracts.

DoD issued a department-wide instruction in January 2016 to appoint functional domain experts (FDE), component level leads (CLL) and senior services managers (SSM) that will help oversee service acquisitions, GAO said Thursday.

FDEs are assigned within the office of the defense secretary and are in charge of service acquisition oversight within assigned portfolios.

CLLs work within military departments and components to support FDEs in managing service contracts while SSMs are tasked with planning, sourcing, executing and managing service acquisitions in military departments.

GAO found that officials appointed as FDEs see their FDE duties as secondary since they have multiple responsibilities; CLLs primarily exist in name only; and FDEs and CLLs had “minimal” impact on DoD’s efforts to manage service contracts.

SSMs — those who must implement the January 2016 instruction within their military departments — do not fully understand the value of FDEs and CLLs and their influence on military commands’ decisions.

Some SSMs told GAO that cultural barriers affected the implementation of a hierarchical, portfolio-management approach to service acquisition, due in part to military departments’ decentralized way of managing services.

GAO said DoD procurement and acquisition policy officials have taken steps to update the January 2016 instruction to clarify the leadership roles’ authorities and responsibilities.

The January 2016 instruction also required Services Requirements Review Boards to approve service contracts worth more than $10 million in a portfolio-based manner.

GAO revealed that military commands largely used existing contract review boards instead of the Services Requirements Review Boards and focused on evaluating individual contracts.

The congressional watchdog recommended DoD to clarify policies on the purpose and timing of the Review Board process.

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