Research and Development:

Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center's Process for Funding Projects

AIMD-99-277R: Published: Sep 24, 1999. Publicly Released: Sep 24, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the process that the Office of National Drug Control Policy's (ONDCP) Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center (CTAC) uses to fund research and development (R&D) projects.

GAO noted that: (1) CTAC relies on support agents to provide technical and administrative contract support on R&D projects; (2) technical support includes: (a) monitoring a project's cost, performance, and schedule; (b) providing oral or written project progress reports to CTAC; and (c) providing for CTAC's participation in the R&D contractors' progress reviews; (3) administrative contract support, after the solicitation and selection of a project, includes awarding and modifying R&D contracts or agreements, managing them on a day-to-day basis, and providing oral or written financial status reports to CTAC; (4) once CTAC's appropriation is enacted, the CTAC Director submits a spending plan to ONDCP Director for approval; (5) the plan details the amounts to be used for specific projects or initiatives in the various program areas of interest; (6) after the ONDCP Director approves the plan, CTAC, in accordance with the plan, enters into interagency agreements with its agents specifying the amount of funds that will be provided for each project or counterdrug research initiative; (7) according to CTAC officials, CTAC transfers funds to its agents as soon as possible; (8) generally, all funds are transferred by the end of the second quarter of the fiscal year; (9) as circumstances warrant, CTAC may direct its agents to transfer funds among projects or to transfer funds to another federal agency for counterdrug R&D initiatives; (10) if funds are transferred to another agency, that agency becomes responsible for their management and use; (11) throughout the entire life of a project, CTAC maintains an awareness of a project's financial and technical progress through its agents; and (12) in this manner, CTAC can and does provide continual detailed direction to the agents concerning matters such as reallocating funds from one project to another, transferring unallocated funds to another federal agency, providing additional funds to ongoing projects, or terminating projects not meeting the research objectives.

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