Federal Manager's Daily Report

The House version of the annual DoD authorization bill (HR-2810) seeks several changes in the way the department purchases services and goods, and how those purchases are audited.

One provision would add oversight to service contracts–covering everything from consulting type services to maintenance on bases–by requiring more specificity in the funding requests for such contracts. That would have to be submitted through the regular budget process, ‘forcing the Pentagon to analyze actual needs and spending patterns much like they do for weapons,’ according to a summary.

‘Those within the DoD who need to contract for a service will have to specify their requirements early enough to have them validated, the contracts awarded, and the funding secured. Congress will have a better idea of what kinds of services are being contracted and their cost,’ it says.

A second provision would allow the purchase of commercial off-the-shelf goods through online services commonly used by consumers and businesses. ‘These portals function like mini-marketplaces, ensuring that the buyer gets the best price without a lot of red tape. Using these portals has the added benefit of allowing DoD to track and analyze procurement data. Any business will tell you that this ‘spend analysis’ is critical to efficient operations. For the government, that kind of transparency and accountability would be revolutionary,’ the summary says.

A third provision would require DoD to have more of its incurred costs audits–reviews of money already paid out–conducted by private sector audit firms, allowing the DCAA to ‘focus its experience and expertise on forward-pricing audits where the taxpayer reaps real benefits.’