Cancellations and Delays in Completion of Department of Defense A-76 Cost Comparisons

by Edward G. Keating


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The Department of Defense (DoD) has recently increased its use of A-76 public/private cost comparisons. This documented briefing examines the history of A-76 public/private cost comparisons in the DoD using data covering fiscal years 1978-1994. A-76 refers to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circular A-76, which mandates the process for competition for work between government employees and contractors. A fuller understanding of this history may provide insights as to how future cost comparisons might progress as well as suggest possible policy changes to improve future outcomes. It is thought that cost comparisons might reduce infrastructure costs and/or increase military effectiveness. As a note of caution, however, this study finds that since 1978 there have been approximately five A-76 cost comparisons cancelled for every eight completed. Further, those completed have often taken two years or longer to complete. The briefing considers DoD cost comparison background, patterns of cost comparison cancellations, and durations of completed comparisons.

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), under RAND's National Defense Research Institute.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Documented briefing series. RAND documented briefings are based on research presented to a client, sponsor, or targeted audience in briefing format. Additional information is provided in the documented briefing in the form of the written narration accompanying the briefing charts. All RAND documented briefings undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity. However, they are not expected to be comprehensive and may present preliminary findings. Major research findings are published in the monograph series; supporting or preliminary research is published in the technical report series.

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