Aviation Leader Commentary: One team, one victory

By By Richard M. Bullock Procurement Analyst, Procurement Process Support DLA Aviation

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Why do we do what we do?  Obviously supporting our families and preparing for our future and retirement are motivations for many of us.  I have two daughters in college, so I know how important that paycheck is.  But that is not why I work at the Defense Logistics Agency.   I could probably make more money working in the private sector, which I did for many years, but by working at DLA, I feel like I am contributing in my small way to the protection of our country.  When I was a young man, I helped protect our country with my work as a Petty Officer 2nd Class Navy electronics technician on the Destroyer USS Deyo during the first Gulf War.  Now I am a middle-aged man with a few age-related maladies and I can’t go “in harm’s way” for my country any longer, but I am proud to work at DLA for those who do. 

As a procurement analyst in DLA Aviation Procurement Process Support Directorate’s Fraud, Waste, & Abuse Office my job is to help the buyer do their job.  I perform fraud monitor duties and respond to help / information requests from buyers.  In FWA, we investigate a wide range of issues in contract procurement such as suspected fraud, product substitution, price collusion (conspiracy), and unauthorized foreign items.  Much of the information we receive concerning vendors comes from buyers.  Procurement personnel have a responsibility to provide FWA with whatever information they receive concerning possible suspect vendor actions or changes in a vendor’s status.  Our responsibility is to ensure that all of the information that we gather and provide to the buyer is up to date and accurate.  Our team can only work if we support each other.

At FWA, we are responsible for gathering and analyzing information on suspect vendors and, if necessary, placing vendors on the Defense Contractor Review List. The DCRL contains vendors with significant problems such as those that have been debarred or suspended and are ineligible for award, as well as vendors with lesser issues.  Also, if a manufacturer is listed as suspended or debarred on the DCRL, a dealer may not be awarded a contract for that manufacturer’s products.  The FWA team also works closely with other DLA primary-level field activities, as well as Defense Contract Management Agency, to collect and analyze information on potential fraud, waste, and abuse cases.  Once a suspect vendor is reported, with supporting documentation, and it is determined that the vendor warrants monitoring for some reason, the vendor’s Commercial and Government Entity Code is blocked in our Enterprise Business Systems so that a manual review is required, and the DCRL comments and reason & attention codes are displayed for the buyers to see.  For more in depth or long term cases, we may also work with the DLA Counsel Aviation and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service in identifying and tracking potential problem vendors.  Along with our other partners, we also work with post award administrators to monitor contract terminations for default and First Article Test failures, which may result in the vendor being added to the DCRL. 

There are many reasons why a vendor may be placed on the DCRL.  They include: debarment, recommended for debarment, contract terminations for default, financial difficulties, bankruptcy, DCMA imposed corrective actions, delinquent performance, bid shopping, pricing discrepancies, potentially defective material, counterfeit material or unauthorized substitution, nonconforming supplies, failure to provide approved part, sensitive information, work stoppage, and suspected fraud or collusion, among other issues.  Once a vendor is placed on the DCRL, the buyer must take the specific actions listed as treatment codes prior to making an award to that vendor.  It is mandatory for buyers to follow special attention reason and treatment codes issued by DLA Aviation.  Reason and treatment codes from other PLFAs are advisory, prudent and practical judgement should be used when considering comments and codes from other centers.  These special attention treatment codes may include: request evidence that item is acquired from the manufacturer cited in the item description, Fraud monitor coordination required, source inspection recommended, do not solicit or award, review contractor performance history, report suspect material to fraud monitor, coordinate with DCMA.

Beth Lamothe and I handle the front line fraud monitoring and DCRL functions for DLA Aviation.  We are happy to assist you in any way we can.  An FWA review request can be submitted with the FWA DRU form located in Acquipedia or in the Procurement Process Support section of the Elknet. We may also be reached by email or phone if you have an urgent requirement or just have a question.  Our goal is to provide the buyer with information and guidance, so that they can make an informed decision about vendor responsibility and not waste DLAs limited resources (time, manhours, and money) on awards to unapproved or unqualified vendors.  Remember; “for want of a bolt, an engine was lost.  For want of an engine, an airplane and crew were lost.  For want of an airplane, the battle was lost.  For want of a victory, the war was lost”.  The victory begins with us.