Government Accountability Office and the Armys Guard Program

Stemming from such an honourable and imperative circumstance, the Army’s Guard Program is perceived as the most viable solution for such a serious condition. However, the Program has generated some concerns which basically question the reliability of the process with which the entire program is being implemented. And it is these concerns that serve as the primordial impetus for Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study, assess and come up with the report – GAO -06- 284 Contract Security Guards: Army’s Guard Program Requires Greater Oversight and Reassessment of Acquisition Approach – regarding their findings pertinent to the implementation of the Army’s Guard Program.GAO-06-284 has found out that 46 out of the 57 installations have guards obtained under the 8(a) sole-source contract (p 3, 10) while the remaining 11 installations have been acquired through competed contracts. Under the US Small Business (SBA) policy and regulation, the SBA’s 8 (a) Business Development Program gives a special advantage to 8 (a) Alaska Native Corporation (ANC) firms following a mandate from the Congress. This finding becomes more significant as two of the four contractors providing security guards are from 8(a) ANC and that they have been awarded contracts totalling to almost $495 million (p 9) which is the bulk of its contract guards. This move of the Army is questioned on two grounds: First, why opt for a sole-source contract when in fact General Services Administration (GSA) is faster and less costly than the former? And second, there is an anomalous finding in the selection. GAO has found out that the Army has hired an inexperienced contractor (p 9). This put to the fore the inquiry why not go for open and full competition in the selection of contractors rather than be limited with just the 8(a)sole-source contract.It is known fact that a full and open competition creates a competitive environment that affords the possibility for – lower prices, better services, and more options for picking the right, more experienced service, in this case, protection provider.