Whistleblower claims are on the rise with alleged violations of health and safety laws as well as fraud and abuse under the CARES Act due to the pandemic. Employers need to ensure they are familiar with the whistleblower laws and their responsibilities under government contracts.
DoD-IG goes after DCMA for not supporting DCAA Findings
On February 26, 2021, the DoD-IG issued an audit report raising significant concern about the actions taken by DCMA Administrative Contracting Officers (ACOs) in relation to DCAA audit findings. The Finding section of the DoD-IG report found that out of 30 DCAA audit reports at two of the largest DoD contractors, 14 were not properly addressed per Federal Acquisition Regulation requirements by the cognizant ACO. Our guess and POGO believes the large DoD contractors are Lockheed Martin and Boeing – but this is only our guess. The DoD-IG report goes on to state that: “As a result, DCMA contracting officer actions on the eight audit reports may have resulted in improperly reimbursing DoD contractors up to $97 million in unallowable costs on Government contracts. In addition, because DCMA contracting officers did not take timely action on six audit reports, they delayed the correction of CAS noncompliances and the recovery of any increased costs due to the Government.” The report goes on to state that: “The Defense Contract Management Agency Director agreed with all five recommendations,” including reviewing ACO decisions to “Disallow and recoup any unallowable costs not previously disallowed.” (Evaluation of Defense Contract Management Agency Actions Taken on Defense Contract Audit Agency Report Findings Involving Two of the Largest Department of Defense Contractors – DoD-IG-2021-056, Dated February 26, 2021)
Where does DCAA’s View of the Contractor and their Role in Acquisition Come From?
DCAA Auditor Training
DCAA website provides that new auditors receive in-depth professional training from DCAA’s Defense Contract Audit Institute (DCAI), along with on-the-job training at their assigned field audit office. DCAI is located in Atlanta, GA and provides auditors with an excellent basis on which to start their careers in contract audit. Many at Redstone GCI can speak from personal experience that, once you get past the exciting MARTA ride from the airport, the instructors at DCAI provide a good hands-on learning environment. However, we are not sure if it is a subliminal message piped into the classroom or local indoctrination at assigned field offices, but the auditors are coming away with the impression that no contractors can be trusted, and a good audit opinion has to include questioned cost.
Topics: Compliant Accounting Infrastructure, Litigation Consulting Support, Incurred Cost Submission, Defense Contractors, DOD IG, Government Compliance Training, DFARS Business Systems, Incurred Cost Proposals, Cost-Type Contracts, DCAA Audit Support, FAR, Government Regulations, DOD Contractors, Cost Accounting Standards (CAS)
A recent DoD-IG (Department of Defense-Inspector General Report (DODIG-2019-070) has unfortunately reinforced DCAA’s audit interpretations of the reasonableness of contractor compensation (reference to FAR 31.205-6(b)). The IG (apparently with help from DCAA) reviewed ACO (Contracting Officer) actions to resolve/disposition DCAA (Defense Contract Audit Agency) advisory audit reports which included assertions that contractors had claimed unreasonable compensation (primarily for contractor executives).
In a July 18, 2014 blog, we noted that a summation from a recent DOD-IG report (DODIG-2014-088) indicated that DLA (Defense Logistics Agency) had potentially overpaid about $9 million on 33 of 35 spare parts which were sole-sourced to the particular government contractor. At the time, we only had the summary conclusion (the report was non-releasable); however, we recently obtained (through FOIA) a redacted copy of the DOD-IG report and that provides more clarity in terms of the alleged failings of DLA. Coincidentally, we’ve recently read an article (Defense E-Brief published by NDIA) which emphasized that the Pentagon is putting defense contractors on notice that DOD contracting officers will demand fair prices for commercial items.
Although the DODIG report (DODIG-2014-088) was not released because of FOUO (For Official Use Only) restrictions, the summary statements published by the DOD-IG suggest that the DOD-IG has absolutely no interest in adhering to the long-standing acquisition principles concerning commercial items and commercial item pricing (wherein the price is the price and the contractor’s profit or loss is not a factor). The DOD-IG reported that a government contractor had significantly over-charged the government for spare parts for certain military helicopters (which presumably have commercial variants); specifically, that DLA (Defense Logistics Agency) had potentially overpaid about $9 million on 33 of 35 spare parts which were sole-sourced to the particular government contractor. To preclude this from recurring, the DOD-IG recommended a DOD acquisition policy “to establish a percentage of commercial sales that is sufficient to determine fair and reasonable prices when items are being acquired on a sole-source contract and market-based prices are used”. Translated, the DOD-IG wants DPAP (Defense Procurement Acquisition Policy) to provide percentages of commercial sales (presumably versus sales to the Government) to “add clarity” to the FAR 2.101 definition of items or services customarily used by the general public or by non-government entities.
In what seems to be a never-ending whipping of government contracting agencies for issuing cost reimbursement contracts to contractors, the Department of Defense Inspector General (DODIG) issued a report citing the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA) for circumventing regulations requiring documentation supporting the award of cost reimbursable contracts. The reported findings only cite contracting agency documentation lapses and do not, as with other IG reports on this subject, set forth any factual information or examples that connect the documentation deficiencies to actual government contractor cost overruns or misuse of contract funds.