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The Department of Defense could be wasting millions of dollars in overpayments on satellite communications, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office.
The DoD is supposed to negotiate prices for satellite bandwidth through the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Some people in the DoD, according to the report, found that process "too costly and lengthy" and purchased satellite communications without going through DISA — even though those purchases were on average 16 percent more expensive than those negotiated through official channels.
That could have cost the government millions of dollars. The Defense Department spent more than $1 billion on satellite communications in 2011, the most recent year for which the government has statistics. Around $280 million of that was purchased without going through DISA.
While it's not certain exactly how much the DoD would have saved if it did everything by the book, 16 percent of $280 million comes out to nearly $45 million.
The GAO acknowledged that the DoD sometimes has to rush bandwidth purchases in times of crisis. But leveraging its massive purchasing power could save millions of dollars, the report said, which is why the GAO recommended that the current rules requiring DISA involvement be enforced.