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GAO Notes Decline in Procurement Competition Rate at the DoD

The Government Accountability Office recently said that the rate at which the Defense Department conducts competitions when procuring products or services has declined in the past five years despite government-wide efforts to encourage the practice.

The federal watchdog agency noted in an audit report published Wednesday that from 2013 to 2017, the DoD’s competition rate went down by more than 4 percent even as the competition rates of civilian agencies went up by 1.6 percent.

The GAO, drawing from previous DoD assessments, attributed the regression to multiple factors including the complexity of the DoD’s contracting procedures and the lack of data rights resulting in the government’s reliance on original equipment manufacturers for the upkeep of purchased systems.

The GAO did observe, however, that memos promoting the practice of conducting competitions were issued from 2010 to 2015 by then-undersecretaries for acquisition, technology and logistics.

DoD programs that implemented or aligned with the memos’ recommendations yielded better acquisition outcomes or gained billions in buying power, the GAO reported.

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