Defense Research:

Funding of the U.S./U.S.S.R. Joint Seismic Program

NSIAD-91-256: Published: Jul 5, 1991. Publicly Released: Jul 30, 1991.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO determined whether funding for the Joint Seismic Program (JSP) for fiscal year (FY) 1988 through FY 1990 was consistent with congressional intent.

GAO found that: (1) although some funds were appropriated for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Nuclear Monitoring Program, the appropriation and authorization acts did not earmark or specify how much money was to be used to support JSP; (2) 8 months into FY 1990, the FY 1990 Supplemental Appropriation Act specified that Congress was to appropriate at least $6.5 million for JSP; (3) in the absence of specific funding levels in applicable acts, DARPA determined the extent of funding to be provided to JSP by relying on legislative history to determine legislative intent; (4) from FY 1988 through FY 1990, neither the applicable statutes or legislative history indicated that DARPA provided an inappropriate level of JSP funds; (5) although the JSP contractor raised concerns over the reduced level of funding and the acquisition of seismic equipment by DARPA, during FY 1990, the FY 1990 funding exceeded by $1 million the $6.5-million minimum funding level specified in the supplemental appropriation act; (6) for FY 1991, neither the Defense Authorization Act nor the Appropriation Act mentioned JSP, but the authorization conference committee report specified $7 million to be provided for JSP, while the appropriation conference committee report specified $10.3 million, and ultimately, JSP was funded at $7 million; and (7) due to concern regarding the reduced level of JSP funding, Congress transferred the funding responsibility from DARPA to the Air Force beginning in FY 1991.

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