Further Action Needed to Improve Management of Special Acquisition Authority

May 8, 2012

In the last 8 years, the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate has used its special acquisition authority to enter into 58 "other transaction" agreements. Use of the authority has declined since 2005. DHS officials said the decline is due to uncertainty about the agency's continuing authority to enter into these agreements, among other things.DHS has made progress in addressing challenges and prior GAO recommendations related to its use of other transaction agreements in five areas.

GAO's analysis of DHS's files and reports to Congress found gaps in the collection and reporting of information on other transactions. Specifically:

Without complete information about the universe of other transaction agreements, neither Congress nor DHS can have full visibility into the use of this authority. 

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