Competition for Pentagon Contracts Declines

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Competitive bidding for government work produces efficiencies and savings, and yet the Department of Defense seems increasingly uninterested in utilizing this valuable strategy.


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a new report that the Pentagon’s use of competitively-bid contracts has declined steadily for the past five years, decreasing from 62% to 57%.


“Competition is the cornerstone of a sound acquisition process and a critical tool for achieving the best return on investment for taxpayers,” the GAO wrote.


Someone should tell that to the U.S. Air Force, which had the lowest competition rate among the services: 37%.


At least one office in the Pentagon, the Defense Logistics Agency, seems to understand the importance of competitive contracts. It had a rate of 83% for 2102.


GAO auditors said a number of factors can impact the Defense Department’s competition rate, including relying on one manufacturer throughout the life cycle of a weapons program and allowing foreign governments to dictate a sole provider for military equipment purchased from the U.S.


Since 2000, the Pentagon has awarded $1.6 trillion worth of defense contracts to sole bidders who had no competition at all.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Competition in Pentagon Contracting Declines (by R. Jeffrey Smith, Center for Public Integrity)

Defense Contracting: Actions Needed to Increase Competition (Government Accountability Office) (pdf)

Price Increases for U.S. Military Gear Dwarf Most Nations’ Defense Budgets (by Spencer Ackerman, Wired)

Since 2000, Defense Dept. has Issued $1.6 Trillion Worth of Contracts with Only One Bidder (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

Pentagon Resists Competitive Bidding for Contracts (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Pentagon No-Bid Contracts Rise to 45% in 2011 (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


Leave a comment