The federal government, comprised of more than 60 agencies and nearly 1.7 million civilian workers, acquires most of its goods and services through contracts. Recent changes in what the government buys, its contracting approaches and methods, and its acquisition workforce have combined to create a dynamic acquisition environment. Many of these recent changes enhance contracting efficiency and offer a number of benefits, such as reduced administrative burdens. However, GAO's past work has found that if these changes are not accompanied by proper training, guidance, and internal controls, agency procurements may be at greater risk. While effectively managing contracts is always a key management responsibility, this responsibility is more acute in those agencies that rely heavily on acquisitions to accomplish their missions. The goal of this report is to identify for Congress, the administration, and accountability organizations those procurement-related trends and challenges that may affect federal agencies. Specifically, GAO analyzed recent federal procurement patterns, the use of various procurement methods, and changes in the acquisition workforce.
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