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Agencies across the government are increasingly reliant on contractors to execute their missions. With hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars at stake, the government needs strong controls to provide reasonable assurance that these contract funds are not being lost to improper payments (fraud and errors), waste, and mismanagement. Effective contract oversight, which includes effective internal controls throughout the contracting process, is essential to protecting government and taxpayer interests. Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government provides the overall framework for internal control, which includes the control environment, risk assessment, control activities, information and communication, and monitoring. Contract auditing is a control mechanism intended to provide those responsible for government procurement with financial information and advice relating to contractual matters and the effectiveness, efficiency, and economy of contractors' operations. Today's testimony describes the (1) contracting cycle and related internal controls, (2) Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) and its role in performing contract audits for the Department of Defense (DOD) and other federal agencies, and (3) risks associated with ineffective contract controls and auditing. GAO's testimony is based on prior reports and testimonies, as listed at the end of this statement.

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