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The Department of Defense's (DOD) spending on goods and services has grown significantly since fiscal year 2000, to well over $314 billion annually. GAO has identified DOD contract management as a high-risk area for more than decade. With awards to contractors large and growing, DOD will continue to be vulnerable to contracting fraud, waste, or misuse of taxpayer dollars, and abuse. Prudence with taxpayer funds, widening deficits, and growing long-range fiscal challenges demand that DOD maximize its return on investment, while providing warfighters with the needed capabilities at the best value for the taxpayer. This statement discusses (1) the implications of DOD's increasing reliance on contractors to fill roles previously held by government employees, (2) the importance of the acquisition workforce in DOD's mission and the need to strengthen its capabilities and accountability, and (3) assumptions about cost savings related to the use of contractors versus federal employees. This statement is based on work GAO has ongoing or has completed over the past several years covering a range of DOD contracting issues.

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