Department of Energy:

Improving Management of Major System Acquisitions

T-RCED-97-92: Published: Mar 6, 1997. Publicly Released: Mar 6, 1997.

Additional Materials:


Victor S. Rezendes
(202) 512-6082


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

GAO discussed the Department of Energy's (DOE) performance in completing its largest and most significant projects, referred to as major system acquisitions, focusing on: (1) the key factors that hinder the timely, cost-effective completion of the acquisitions; and (2) what is being done to improve DOE's performance.

GAO noted that: (1) from 1980 through 1996, DOE conducted 80 projects that it designated as major system acquisitions; (2) 31 of those projects were terminated prior to completion, after expenditures of over $10 billion; (3) only 15 of the projects were completed, and most of them were finished behind schedule and with cost overruns; (4) further, 3 of the 15 projects have not yet been used for their intended purpose; (5) the remaining 34 projects are ongoing, many with substantial cost increases and schedule slippage; (6) GAO believes there are four key factors underlying the cost overruns, schedule slippage, and terminations of DOE's most critical projects: (a) unclear or changing missions; (b) the incremental funding of projects; (c) a flawed system of incentives both for DOE's employees and contractors; and (d) a lack of sufficient DOE personnel with the appropriate skills to effectively oversee contractors' operations; (7) on the positive side, DOE is implementing several initiatives that could help improve its overall management as well as the management of individual major system acquisitions; and (8) GAO believes that the implementation of these initiatives offers DOE an excellent opportunity to address the key factors.

Sep 20, 2018

Sep 17, 2018

Sep 12, 2018

Sep 6, 2018

Sep 5, 2018

Aug 30, 2018

Aug 27, 2018

Aug 15, 2018

Jul 30, 2018

Jul 26, 2018

Looking for more? Browse all our products here