Opportunities Exist for FAA To Strengthen Its Award and Oversight of eFAST Procurements
In 2009, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) developed a small business procurement vehicle known as Electronic FAA Accelerated and Simplified Tasks (eFAST), which offers a broad range of professional and support services. As of December 2016, more than 520 small businesses have been prequalified and hold agreements under eFAST to potentially provide prime contractor services in one or more of eight functional areas. The total maximum value of these agreements is $7.4 billion over a 15-year period. Given the significant Federal dollars involved, we initiated this audit to evaluate FAA’s processes for awarding and overseeing eFAST procurements.
FAA’s processes for awarding eFAST procurements have areas for improvement. Specifically, FAA does not apply its own requirement to verify prospective contractor eligibility when it makes most eFAST awards. As a result, we found that 7 of 40 sample eFAST procurements—totaling over $67 million—had been awarded to firms whose small/disadvantaged eligibility status had expired. Based on this finding, we estimate that $314 million could have been put to better use by awarding those dollars to firms whose eligibility had been verified at the time of the award. Additionally, the majority of FAA’s eFAST procurements involved two high-risk award strategies—selecting time and material (T&M) contract type and awarding noncompetitively. However, the Agency generally did not justify the decision to use T&M type and may have missed opportunities to increase competition among prequalified small/disadvantaged businesses. Finally, FAA does not use performance-based contracting methods for its eFAST procurements, although its policies say such methods should be used for support-service procurements whenever possible.
Furthermore, FAA’s oversight of eFAST procurements is limited by various factors, including contracting officer representatives (COR) without specific procurement expertise or proper certifications, and infrequent communication between contracting officers and CORs. In addition, the Agency lacks documented oversight plans, adequately defined acceptance criteria, and sufficient evidence of any oversight that did occur. We made eight recommendations to strengthen FAA’s eFAST award and oversight processes. The Agency concurred with seven and partially concurred with one—disagreeing with the $314 million we identified as funds put to better use.