Department of Energy:

Improving Management of Major System Acquisitions

T-RCED-97-92: Published: Mar 6, 1997. Publicly Released: Mar 6, 1997.

Additional Materials:


Victor S. Rezendes
(202) 512-6082


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

GAO discussed the Department of Energy's (DOE) performance in completing its largest and most significant projects, referred to as major system acquisitions, focusing on: (1) the key factors that hinder the timely, cost-effective completion of the acquisitions; and (2) what is being done to improve DOE's performance.

GAO noted that: (1) from 1980 through 1996, DOE conducted 80 projects that it designated as major system acquisitions; (2) 31 of those projects were terminated prior to completion, after expenditures of over $10 billion; (3) only 15 of the projects were completed, and most of them were finished behind schedule and with cost overruns; (4) further, 3 of the 15 projects have not yet been used for their intended purpose; (5) the remaining 34 projects are ongoing, many with substantial cost increases and schedule slippage; (6) GAO believes there are four key factors underlying the cost overruns, schedule slippage, and terminations of DOE's most critical projects: (a) unclear or changing missions; (b) the incremental funding of projects; (c) a flawed system of incentives both for DOE's employees and contractors; and (d) a lack of sufficient DOE personnel with the appropriate skills to effectively oversee contractors' operations; (7) on the positive side, DOE is implementing several initiatives that could help improve its overall management as well as the management of individual major system acquisitions; and (8) GAO believes that the implementation of these initiatives offers DOE an excellent opportunity to address the key factors.

Nov 19, 2015

Nov 3, 2015

Oct 28, 2015

Oct 20, 2015

Oct 14, 2015

Oct 5, 2015

Sep 30, 2015

Sep 23, 2015

Sep 16, 2015

Looking for more? Browse all our products here