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Patricia O'Connell
Senior Communications Manager

Nicole Owren-Wiest Comments on Report Calling for Increased DCAA Funding

March 29, 2012

Nicole Owren-Wiest, a partner in the Government Contracts Practice, was interviewed by Law360 for an article detailing the release of a report by the Center for American Progress (CAP) that said the federal government should give the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) greater resources and increased staffing.

CAP suggested a stronger DCAA, which audits the majority of government contracts, could recover far more money if it was fully staffed and given more authority. Specifically, the report recommended "speeding up evaluations of contractors' proposed prices and expanding auditors' authority to subpoena contractor records."

Ms. Owren-Wiest said that while she agrees with boosting DCAA funding to hire more auditors, the agency should refocus on its core mission and not overburden itself by expanding its activities into areas that are tangential to its primary purpose, such as audits of contractor ethics and compliance programs.

"I think folks have lost sight of what DCAA's congressional authority and mission is, which is first and foremost to audit costs of contractors who perform cost type contracts -- they're accountants," Ms. Owren-Wiest said. "I question whether they have the experience and authority to make judgment in highly subjective areas like the sufficiency of a contractor's ethics and compliance programs."