Better DOE Controls Needed Over Contractors' Discretionary R&D Funds

T-RCED-91-25: Published: Mar 19, 1991. Publicly Released: Mar 19, 1991.

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GAO discussed the Department of Energy's (DOE) management oversight of three multiprogram laboratories' discretionary research and development (R&D) activities. GAO noted that DOE: (1) had specific authority to approve laboratories' reasonable use of funds for discretionary R&D activities; (2) guidance was not clear enough to ensure that laboratories used discretionary R&D funds appropriately; (3) lacked effective controls and oversight over laboratories' administration and use of discretionary funds; (4) inappropriately charged $1.5 million to the discretionary R&D program for a cost overrun on a contract performed for a private firm; (5) issued revised guidance for the laboratories' discretionary R&D activities, but failed to address appropriate uses of discretionary R&D funds and guidance implementation issues; and (6) failed to formally assess the benefits of the discretionary R&D programs.

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