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2 min read

DCMA vs. Beechcraft: The Battle over CAS Noncompliance

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This case delves into a contract dispute, with a specific focus on a motion for summary judgment and the subsequent legal opinion delivered by an administrative judge. The appellants are Beechcraft Defense Company, LLC, Textron Aviation Inc., and Textron Aviation Defense, LLC, while the United States government is being represented by the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA). The dispute centers around allegations of noncompliance with cost accounting standards.

The appellants argue that the claims put forward by the DCMA should be deemed time-barred, primarily because the agency failed to present its claim within the prescribed six-year statute of limitations as mandated by the Contract Disputes Act. The administrative judge denies the motion for summary judgment.

Overview of the Audit Reports: DCAA Findings on Beechcraft's Noncompliance with CAS Provisions

The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) issued three audit reports, showing Beechcraft's noncompliance with numerous Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) provisions. These reports come to light during the preparation of a fourth audit report pertaining to Beechcraft's forward pricing rate proposal. The identified noncompliances encompass CAS 401, CAS 403, CAS 406, and CAS 418.

Following the audit reports, DCMA's contracting officer issues initial findings regarding CAS noncompliance, prompting Beechcraft to provide a description of the required corrective measures. Beechcraft responds to the initial findings, agreeing with certain recommendations while simultaneously refuting specific noncompliances. In turn, DCMA's administrative contracting officer issues final determinations, affirming that Beechcraft has indeed rectified the observed noncompliances. These final determinations do not demand a comprehensive general dollar magnitude proposal or a detailed cost-impact proposal from Beechcraft.

DCMA requests general dollar magnitude proposals from Beechcraft, to which they respond with analyses suggesting a relatively minimal cost impact, amounting to $28,493. Beechcraft also maintains their dispute by questioning the occurrence of any CAS noncompliance with regard to the expensing of capital restructuring costs. Subsequently, DCMA requests Beechcraft to resubmit their general dollar magnitude proposals, which Beechcraft complies with, asserting either no cost impact or an "immaterial" cost impact.

DCAA Audit Findings: Cost Impact of CAS Noncompliance

DCAA carries out an audit of Beechcraft's general dollar magnitude proposal, ultimately determining a cost impact of $664,366 from CAS 401 noncompliance, as well as an additional impact of $58,533 resulting from CAS 401 and CAS 418 noncompliances. These noncompliances are traced back to the years spanning from 2007 to 2012. DCAA also identifies two contracts significantly impacted by the aforementioned noncompliances. These agreements serve the purpose of excluding a specific period of time when determining the timeliness of the government's claim. It is explicitly emphasized that such agreements do not represent admissions or acknowledgments of any facts, conclusions of law, or liability.

DCMA issues a contracting officer's final decision, asserting that the CAS noncompliances have resulted in a cost of $598,007. In response, Beechcraft promptly appeals this decision to the Board. For the specific CAS 401 noncompliances, Beechcraft's general dollar magnitude proposal indicates "no material impact to the government." However, DCAA identifies an increased cost of $746,201 resulting from these CAS noncompliances, as well as an additional cost estimate of $631,560 due to the exclusion of severance costs from the fringe overhead base. Beechcraft counters by stating that any cost impact was limited to a solitary contract, which has since been "fully mitigated." DCAA recalculates the cost impact to an estimated value of $639,670.

Another tolling agreement is reached between Beechcraft and DCMA, specifically aimed at excluding a certain timeframe for determining whether the government's claim is time-barred. It is reiterated that the terms of this agreement do not imply any admission or acknowledgment of facts, conclusions of law, or liability. DCMA issues a contracting officer's final decision once again, this time asserting that the CAS 401, CAS 406, and CAS 418 noncompliances have resulted in a cost impact of $1,766,140. Beechcraft reacts promptly by appealing this decision to the Board.