In February 2014 the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report assessing the progress made by the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in addressing issues related to the contracting of other entities, including government agencies, in contingency operations.
GAO’s report, GAO-14-229, stems from a mandate in Section 850 of the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that requires State and USAID to assess their organizational structures, policies, and workforces related to contract support for overseas contingency operations. This same section of the NDAA also requires GAO to report on the progress State and USAID have made in identifying and implementing improvements related to those areas.
In their Section 850 report to Congress, the State Department cited actions needed to improve acquisition planning, contract oversight, and interagency coordination, but concluded that its organizational structure was generally adequate to support overseas contingency operations. USAID focused their report to Congress on agency-wide policies, identifying room for improvement in contractor performance evaluations and in data collection, inventory, and reporting. However, GAO notes that in focusing on policy, USAID may have missed opportunities to leverage its knowledge and skills to better support future contingencies.
While both State and USAID have made strides to improve their role in contingency operations, GAO recommends that both agencies continue to assess how the suggested and intended changes will effect contingency contracting and each agency’s objectives.
For more information about GAO-14-299, please follow the link below.
GAO-14-229, Contingency Contracting: State and USAID Made Progess Assessing and Implementing Changes, but Further Actions Needed