Multiyear Authorizations for Research and Development

PAD-81-61: Published: Jun 3, 1981. Publicly Released: Jun 3, 1981.

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During the 96th Congress, the House and Senate addressed the need for a multiyear authorization cycle for research and development (R&D). GAO has testified and provided written comments to Congress on several occasions in support of such a cycle.

GAO believes that implementing a multiyear R&D authorization process could help alleviate the pressures caused by an annual authorization cycle, provide additional time for the committee to analyze a greater number of R&D activities, and give the executive branch adequate time to comply with congressional requests for information relating to program directions and objectives, the need for future R&D work, and administrative goals and policies. In addition, GAO believes that a multiyear authorization process could help push the executive branch into acquiring a long range perspective on R&D. Such a perspective is needed to support any further movement towards long range R&D planning based upon defined national objectives. Such a process would serve as an important first step towards improving R&D budgeting as a whole and enhancing the stability of R&D programs, especially if a rolling multiyear authorization process, which always projects authorizations a year beyond the current budget year, is implemented.

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