Department of Energy Procurement Activities

EMD-80-114: Published: Sep 5, 1980. Publicly Released: Sep 5, 1980.

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The Department of Energy (DOE) has recently come under considerable scrutiny because of the magnitude of its procurement expenditures. Contract obligations of over $11 billion were reported in fiscal year 1980. Summarized data on several important aspects of DOE procurement processes are presented.

DOE spends about 90 percent of its budget on procuring goods and services. Over one-half of DOE procurement money goes for contracts to operate its 49 Government-owned, contractor-operated facilities, including the 12 national laboratories. Contracts for operating DOE Government-owned facilities are almost never awarded competitively. DOE field operations are critical to the effectiveness of the procurement process because it is DOE policy to decentralize program and procurement decisionmaking and contract administration. GAO plans to devote a continued effort to evaluating DOE procurement activities, with emphasis on the following important basic questions: who decides, and on what basis, that a procurement action is either the essential or preferred means of accomplishing DOE objectives; how does DOE decide on the appropriate procurement method; how does DOE decide when goods or services are no longer necessary, and therefore, that a contract should be terminated; and how does DOE ensure that contractors' products are used within DOE and, when appropriate, made available for use by others?

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