Federally Funded R&D Centers:
Observations on DOD Actions To Improve Management
T-NSIAD-96-117, Mar 5, 1996
GAO discussed the Department of Defense's (DOD) efforts to improve the management of its federally funded research and development centers (FFRDC), focusing on the: (1) guidelines to ensure that management fees paid to FFRDC are justified; (2) core work appropriate for FFRDC; (3) criteria for the acceptance of work outside of the core by FFRDC parent corporations; and (4) establishment of an independent advisory committee to review DOD management, use, and oversight of FFRDC. GAO noted that: (1) the DOD action plan recommended that management fees be revised to move allowable costs out of fee, reduce fees, and establish policies on ordinary and necessary costs; (2) it is difficult to determine whether tasks assigned to FFRDC meet core work criteria because the mission statements are broad and the core competencies offer little deviation from previous work descriptions; (3) six of the eight parent organizations that operate FFRDC also operate one or more non-FFRDC affiliates; and (4) DOD established an independent advisory committee to review FFRDC work, customers, and organizational structure and size, oversee FFRDC compliance with the DOD FFRDC management plan, review sponsor's management of FFRDC, determine the level and appropriateness of non-DOD and non-sponsor work performed by FFRDC, monitor the comprehensive review process, and perform selected FFRDC program reviews.