Support Services:

Actions To Gain Management Control Over DOD's Contract Support Services

NSIAD-86-8: Published: Nov 22, 1985. Publicly Released: Nov 22, 1985.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the Department of Defense's (DOD) contract support services (CSS) practices and cost trends for federal contract research centers for fiscal years (FY) 1984 through 1987.

GAO found that it has been difficult for Congress and DOD to gain control of CSS expenditures because: (1) no uniform definition exists for what constitutes a CSS expenditure; (2) the estimates of expenditures range from $1 billion to $15 billion; and (3) DOD does not have an accounting and reporting system to track actual CSS expenditures. These figures vary due to differences in the expenditure categories selected for reporting as CSS expenditures. The DOD estimates included: (1) appointed experts and consultants; (2) studies and analyses; (3) professional and management services; and (4) contract engineering and technical services. However, the estimates did not include contractor and subcontractor support services or the federal contract research centers. DOD drafted a directive which: (1) provides a definition of CSS expenditures; (2) calls for designation of a CSS director for each service; and (3) requires each DOD component to establish a CSS accounting system. However, GAO believes that this directive may not significantly change the amount of contract services reported to Congress because: (1) it excludes CSS costs related to weapons systems, which represent much of the difference in the estimates; and (2) it does not require that costs associated with management and weapon system support be reported separately.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Congress provided guidance to DOD and reduced its budget by $94.8 million.

    Matter: If Congress desires any appreciable expansion of the scope and coverage of the information reported in this area, it should provide guidelines to DOD for its use in developing a standard definition of CSS that provides the degree of coverage Congress wants.


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