Overspending At The Pentagon
March 19, 1998
The Defense Department's Inspector General has accused the agency's purchasing officials with failing to demand price data, using sole-source suppliers when competitors are available and failing to use its considerable clout to drive a hard bargain.
Inspector General Eleanor Hill presented a lengthy list of cost absurdities to Congress.
- Pentagon purchasing officials paid $76 for a set of screws that should have cost 57 cents, and $714 for an electrical bell worth $47.
- On one contract the Pentagon bought $6.1 million worth of commercial spare parts for nearly three times the estimated "fair and reasonable price."
- In another contract, it bought $3.2 million worth of spare parts for an average markup of 172 percent over fair and reasonable prices.
- Most of the purchases involved aircraft-related spare parts, and the investigations stemmed from calls to a Pentagon hotline in 1996.
While the Pentagon's acquisitions chief claimed the overcharges were only "isolated instances," Hill said the lax practices were probably widespread.
Source: Associated Press, "Pentagon Still Pays Too Much for Parts," Washington Times, March 19, 1998.
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