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Grassley Asks NASA For Details On Computer Design Contract Dispute

By | April 9, 2007

      A senior senator asked NASA to supply information on its handling of a dispute centered on a contract for mechanical computer-aided design (MCAD).

      Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, asked NASA to explain why it has taken months to review needs in the space agency for computer- aided design, after a contract to obtain such assets drew protests from losing bidders, who complained to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) watchdog agency.

      A NASA spokesman said the space agency hasn’t yet received a copy of the Grassley letter, but “but we take concerns of this nature seriously and intend to work with the congressman as we review the matter.”

      While the GAO dismissed complaints when NASA said it would hold a new competitive acquisition within three to six months, NASA then decided to draft a justification for other than full and open competition in February last year, according to the Grassley letter.

      The NASA Inspector General office found that NASA, “in planning to noncompetitively renew [Parametric Technology Corp.] licenses on a long-term basis … [has made a move that] is questionable,” Grassley noted.

      Grassley asked that NASA follow basic procurement principles; keep GAO informed of its actions; provide a copy of computer-aided design needs; provide a list of inconsistencies in the contract that NASA itself described; explain why it filed for that justification and what the current status of that is; explain why the NASA Inspector General was unable to find evidence of a thorough scrub of agency requirements for the MCAD assets; explain whether NASA will hold a new competitive acquisition for the MCAD; describe when the decision was made to file for the justification; and provide a list of all similar protests over the past six years where NASA told the GAO it would take an action but then didn’t.

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