In an attempt to control contractors, the government has continually increased the variety and amounts of technical data required by contract. Reports to monitor design analysis efforts, program plans to document contractor implementation of contract requirements, test plans, test result reports, logistics support data, engineering data packages - the list seems endless. Recent studies of the growth in technical data requirements have estimated that technical data may make up from 20 to 50 percent of the total cost of a contract.
To reduce the amount and cost of technical data, an independent review should be made of data requirements for duplication and proper program phasing. The need for the data should be justified. In many cases detailed military requirements are stated for technical content and format. Existing contractor data format should be considered, if it provides the information needed, rather than requiring unique and expensive format changes.
In the computer and support equipment areas, where commercial equipment meeting government needs is available, adequate technical data often exists in the form of commercial manuals. If adequate, this data should be accepted for use, without extensive restructuring into military format.
In many cases technical data, in the form of progress or test reports, are used to monitor technical progress. Since these reports normally follow the work performed by 30 to 90 days, any assessment or control of technical progress is lost. To provide real time monitoring and reduce data requirements, technical progress should be monitored through the use of onsite technical representatives or the performance of monthly progress reviews. To ensure that adequate substantiating data is available for monthly progress reviews, it may be necessary to include contract requirements for certain technical data. However, cost savings may be realized by allowing the contractor to retain the data for the onsite reviews, rather than require delivery of the data to the government.
Adequate technical data in the form of engineering drawings, specifications, and standards often are required for competitive reprocurement or the procurement of spare and repair parts. To ensure the adequacy of the data, an independent review activity should be used to verify the suitability and completeness of the data for its intended use. Contractor claims of proprietary data should be thoroughly investigated. If the contractor's claims are verified and the data is required for competitive reprocurement, the procurement of the proprietary data should be considered.
When Requests For Proposals (RFPs) are issued, consideration should be given to requiring alternate proposals from the contractor to reduce the volume of data required or to reduce the cost of the data by the use of contractor report format.