Defense Procurement: An Analysis of Contract Management Internal Controls
Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States
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In fiscal year 2014, the U.S. federal government obligated over 443 billion in contracts. Within the Department of Defense DoD, over 283 billion were obligated in the execution of 1.3 million contract actions USA Spending, 2015. Despite the critical importance of the DoDs contract management function, both the Government Accountability Office GAO and the DoD Inspector General DoD IG have reported problems in achieving successful procurement outcomes. The lack of trained personnel, capable processes, and effective internal controls results in the DoD having a higher level of vulnerability for procurement fraud Rendon and Rendon, in press. Contracting officers, because of their pivotal position in the procurement process and their interface with both government officials and industry, are in a unique position to be on the front line for deterring and identifying procurement fraud. However, in order to be effective procurement fraud-fighters, contracting officers must be knowledgeable of both contracting processes and internal controls. The purpose of this research was to assess DoD contracting officers knowledge of the DoDs contract management processes and related internal controls. Our research findings indicated contracting officers may have a possible knowledge deficiency in the areas of procurement internal controls and procurement fraud schemes. Based on the implications of these findings, recommendations are made to the assessed agency and the DoD.