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United States Government Accountability Office: 

Challenges Facing Government and the Contracting Community: 

National Association of State Procurement Officials: 

2010 Annual Conference: 

August 23, 2010: 

Gene L. Dodaro: 
Acting Comptroller General: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 


Discussion Topics: 

* GAO's Strategic Plan for Serving the Congress. 

* GAO's High Risk Series. 

* Federal Contracting Initiatives. 

* Recovery Act Experience. 

GAO's Strategic Plan: 


GAO's Strategic Plan: 

Eight Key Trends: 

* National Security Threats. 

* Fiscal Sustainability Challenges. 

* Economic Recovery and Growth. 

* Global Interdependence. 

* Science and Technology Developments. 

* Networks and Virtualization Evolution. 

* Shifting Roles of Government. 

* Demographic and Societal Change. 

GAO's High-Risk Series: 

* Started in 1990. 

* Targeted to address significant problems. 

* Strong support from Congresses and Administrations over time. 

GAO's High-Risk Series: Types of High Risk Areas: 

* A program or mission area, management function, or governmentwide 
problem that is seriously detrimental to (e.g.): 

- Health or safety; 
- National security/defense; 
- Economic growth. 

GAO's High-Risk Series: 

* Original High-Risk list included 14 areas. 

* Since 1990, 38 areas have been added, 21 areas taken off or 

* 30 areas on the High-Risk list issued in the January 2009 update. 

* 1 area was added in July 2009, bringing to 31 the number of High-
Risk areas. 

GAO's High-Risk Series: Procurement-Related Challenges: 

Managing Federal Contracting More Effectively: 

* DOE Contract Management. 

* NASA Contract Management. 

* DOD Contract Management. 

* Management of Interagency Contracting. 

Addressing Challenges in Broad-Based Transformations: 

* DOD Weapon Systems Acquisition. 

GAO's High-Risk Series: Procurement-Related Risks: 

* Rise in contract expenditures with little change in acquisition work 
force capacity. 

* Cost risks of ill-defined requirements, poor business arrangements, 
and inadequate contractor oversight. 

* Current debate on proper role of contractors: should some work be 
moved back "in house"? 

GAO's High-Risk Series: Procurement-Related Recommendations: 

* Develop sound weapon systems requirements and knowledge-based 

* Develop sound contracting arrangements. 

* Leverage value of interagency contracts. 

* Collect and analyze data to inform acquisition workforce decisions. 

Federal Initiatives: 

* Improve Fiscal Discipline in Contracting. 

* Strengthen The Acquisition Workforce. 

* Rebalance The Relationship With Contractors. 

Federal Initiatives: Improve Fiscal Discipline in Contracting: 

* Enhancing Competition and Reducing High Risk Contracts: 

- attract new sources and bidders; 

- challenge justifications for sole-source contracting and; 

- revisit solicitations and specifications that receive few bids; 

- use more fixed price contracts. 

* Achieving Better Value from Acquisitions: 

- Cut contract costs in DOD $100 billion in savings over five fiscal 

- Combine requirements for recurring needs across agencies; 

- Improve oversight of price, schedule, and quality. 

Federal Initiatives: Strengthen The Acquisition Workforce: 

* Develop data-based agency workforce plans to align acquisition 
workforce skills with acquisition needs. 

* Request $158 million for the civilian agencies' acquisition 
workforce for FY 2011. 

* Develop curriculum and training for certification standards. 

* Increase size of acquisition workforce by 5% in FY 2011. 

Federal Initiatives: Rebalance Contractor Relationships: 

* Identify Work Reserved for Performance by Federal Government 

* Pilot planning and managing the multi-sector workforce. 

* Strengthen the use of contractor performance information. 

Recovery Act Experience: 

* Signed February 17, 2009. 

* Purposes: 

- preserve and create jobs and promote recovery; 

- assist those most impacted by the recession; 

- stabilize state and local government budgets; 

- invest in infrastructure and technological advances in science and 

Recovery Act Experience: GAO's Responsibilities: 

* Reviews of selected states and localities use of funds; 

* Comment on recipient reports; 

* Evaluate effects of recessions on states (health care costs); 

* Investigate potential fraud using federal funds. 

Recovery Act Experience: States monitored: 

[Figure: Refer to PDF for image: U.S. map] 

1. Arizona; 
2. California; 
3. Colorado; 
4. Florida; 
5. Georgia; 
6. Illinois; 
7. Iowa; 
8. Massachusetts; 
9. Michigan; 
10. Mississippi; 
11. New Jersey; 
12. New York; 
13. North Carolina; 
14. Ohio; 
15. Pennsylvania; 
16. Texas; 
17. Washington, D.C. 

Source: GAO analysis. 

[End of figure] 

Figure: Recovery Act Experience: Expenditures: 

[Refer to PDF for image: 2 pie-charts] 

Actual Fiscal Year 2009: $53.9 billion. 

Health: 60%; 
Education and Training: 28%; 
Transportation: 6%; 
Income Security: 3%; 
Community Development: 3%; 
Energy and Environment: 1%. 

Estimated Fiscal Year 2012: $23.3 billion. 

Health: 1%; 
Education and Training: 19%; 
Transportation: 30%; 
Income Security: 17%; 
Community Development: 16%; 
Energy and Environment: 17%. 

Source: GAO analysis of CBO and FFIS data. 

[End of figure] 

Recovery Act Experience: Federal, Sate, and Local Responsibilities: 

* Spend in a timely manner but use competition; 

* Davis-Bacon and Buy-American requirements; 

* Reporting requirements (new level of transparency); 

* Heightened need for coordination. 

Recovery Act Experience: GAO Observations: Federal Procurement Issues: 

* Competitive awards: About 92 percent of federal contract actions as 
of November 2009 were issued competitively; 

* Most noncompetitive awards went to businesses under SBA's 8(a) 

* Five federal agencies implemented additional oversight processes, 
internal reporting and coordination. 

Recovery Act Experience: GAO Observations: State Procurement Issues: 

* Competitive awards: 87 percent of the state contracts reviewed were
considered by state and local officials to have been awarded 

* Five states varied on the type and amount of data routinely collected
on noncompetitive contracts—GAO could not determine the full extent to 
which they are being used. 

* States did not receive additional resources for oversight, but some
shifted resources to handle Recovery Act work. 

* Five states did not routinely provide oversight of contacts awarded at
the local level. Because most Recovery Act funds to local governments 
flow through existing federal grant programs, states had limited 
insight into contracts awarded at the local level. 

Recovery Act Experience: 

* Expectations for an unprecedented level of transparency and 

* Qualified personnel need to implement proper controls and 
accountability at all levels of government. 

* Close and ongoing coordination needed among federal, state and local 

* Accountability community: special responsibility to ensure 
collective efforts are well-coordinated. 

For More Information: 

On the Web: 

GAO Recovery Act website: [hyperlink,]. 


Chuck Young, Managing Director, Public Affairs: (202) 512-4800: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street NW, Room 7149: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 


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[End of presentation]