GAO’s reports and testimonies give Congress, federal agencies, and the public timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can improve government operations and save taxpayers billions of dollars.
The Department of Defense uses intellectual property (IP) to operate and maintain its weapons systems. IP includes computer software, technical data, user manuals, and more. Over the past 3 decades, we reported that insufficient IP can reduce mission readiness and lead to surging costs.
GAO saved taxpayers $66.2 billion in FY 2021. Our average return on investment for the past 5 years is $158 to $1. We did it by recommending ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal programs and more.
Getting missile defense systems into the field to defend the U.S. and its allies from attacks is a high priority.
Traditionally, the Department of Defense allowed more flexibility in acquiring these systems.
DOD has faced challenges acquiring new weapon systems—such as aircraft, ships, and satellites—on time and on budget.
In 2018, DOD revised its process for reviewing and approving "capability documents," which identify new or enhanced capabilities in weapon systems.
In 2019, Congress directed DOD to develop a strategy to better engage with small businesses and coordinate small business programs across the department.
We analyzed trends in DOD contracting. From FY 2011 to 2020, DOD spending on contracts with small businesses increased.
DOD relies on contractors worldwide to support contingency operations, which can include armed conflicts, humanitarian crises, and more.
The Commission on Wartime Contracting made 30 recommendations in 2011 to improve contingency contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Department of Defense, which spent about $422 billion on contracts for goods and services in FY 2020, has been the target of contracting-related fraud schemes. For example, one contractor pleaded guilty to defrauding the department by overbilling.
The Department of Defense started 11 of the last 12 fiscal years under a continuing resolution, which provides temporary funding for federal agencies when Congress hasn't enacted regular appropriations by the start of the fiscal year.
Employees who leave DOD to work for DOD contractors may face restrictions designed to protect against conflicts of interest. For example, they are permanently prohibited from attempting to influence their former agency about a project they worked on.