Department of Energy:

Funding and Workforce Reduced, but Spending Remains Stable

RCED-97-96: Published: Apr 24, 1997. Publicly Released: May 5, 1997.

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GAO provided information on changes in the Department of Energy's (DOE) funding, spending (costs), federal workforce, and contractor workforce between fiscal years (FY) 1994 and 1996. GAO did not verify the accuracy of the financial data or data on the workforces; however, GAO shared its results with DOE officials to obtain their agreement that the data accurately reflected DOE's actual spending and the size of its workforces.

GAO noted that: (1) overall funding, spending, and workforce reductions occurred from FY 1994 to 1996; (2) however, budget cuts did not result in commensurate reductions in spending; (3) DOE spent almost the same in FY 1996 as it did in 1994; (4) while congressional funding decreased, from $19.5 billion to $17.4 billion, or 11 percent, between those years, spending only decreased from $20.4 billion to $19.9 billion, or slightly over 2 percent; (5) DOE was directed by the Congress to use its carryover balances of unspent funds from prior years; (6) thus, it has recently been able to spend more than provided by its annual funding; (7) furthermore, use of these carryover balances has resulted in DOE's receiving less new funding during the last several years; (8) DOE's overall federal workforce declined from 19,836 workers to 18,608 workers, or over 6 percent, and its contractor workforce declined from 136,192 workers to 109,242 workers, or about 20 percent; (9) about 50 percent of the reductions in the federal workforce occurred at headquarters, while the other 50 percent occurred in DOE's field offices; (10) even though overall reductions occurred, some programs had increases in spending and in their federal workforce; (11) for example, as the defense nuclear production facilities have been transferred to the Environmental Program, spending has increased by $682 million, or about 11 percent, between FY 1994 and 1996; (12) in addition, the Environmental Program's federal workforce increased by 1,149 workers, or 56 percent; and (13) however, none of DOE's major programs had increases in their contractor workforce.

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