Highlights of a GAO Forum: Federal Acquisition Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century: GAO-07-45SP

October 2006
GAO Reports;10/9/2006, p1
Government Document
Acquisition of products and services from contractors consumes about a quarter of discretionary spending governmentwide and is a key function in many federal agencies. In fiscal year 2005 alone, federal government contracting involved over $388 billion. The work of the government is increasingly being performed by contractors, including in emergency and large-scale logistics operations such as hurricane response and recovery and the war in Iraq. Many agencies rely extensively on contractors to carry out their basic missions. The magnitude of the government's spending and dependence on contractors make it imperative that this function be performed as efficiently and effectively as possible. Yet, acquisition issues are heavily represented on GAO's list of government high-risk areas. In the 21st century, the government needs to reexamine and evaluate its strategic and tactical approaches to acquisition. To identify and discuss the key issues confronting the federal acquisition community, the Comptroller General hosted a forum in July 2006 that brought together acquisition experts from inside and outside the government. Participants shared their insights on challenges and opportunities for improving federal acquisition in an environment of increasing reliance on contractors and severe fiscal constraint. Forum participants offered a range of examples, insights, views, and concerns that framed three broad challenges confronting the federal acquisition community. 1.) Determining who should perform the business of government in a constantly changing environment: Participants engaged in a wide-ranging discussion of the appropriate role of contractors, the difficulties of identifying what government functions may be contracted out, and the formal and informal means by which these decisions are made. Several participants contrasted the high-level attention given in private sector organizations to identify their core versus noncore functions. 2.) Ensuring the federal workforce has the capacity and capability to manage contractor operations effectively: Participants highlighted that policy makers do not have a clear understanding of what constitutes the acquisition workforce. Agency leaders have not recognized or elevated the importance of the acquisition profession within their organizations. Further, a strategic approach has not been taken across government or within agencies to focus on workforce challenges, such as creating a positive image essential to successfully recruit and retain a new generation of talented acquisition professionals. 3.) Managing for results and accountability in a contractor-dependent environment: Participants noted the importance of early identification of realistic requirements, a step that can decrease the government's risk of achieving undesirable outcomes. Participants cited the frequent mismatch among wants, needs, affordability, and sustainability, as well as unrealistic and often changing requirements....


Related Articles

  • IRS Data Available for Evaluations Are Limited. White, James R. // GAO Reports;5/30/2013, p1 

    The article discusses a report of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on tax expenditures for the fiscal year 2011. It focuses on greater scrutiny of tax expenditures, as it could help determine specific tax expenditures in achieving their goals and benefits in comparison to other...

  • Federal Procurement: Spending and Workforce Trends: GAO-03-443.  // GAO Reports;4/30/2003, p1 

    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...

  • PREFACE. Persons, Timothy M. // GAO Reports;12/22/2015, pi 

    The article offers information on the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO's) Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide (CEAG) and the Schedule Assessment Guide (SAG). It mentions that the CEGA is a compilation of best practices that federal cost estimating organizations and industry use to...

  • Electronic Government: Agencies Face Challenges in Implementing New Federal Employee Identification Standard: GAO-06-178.  // GAO Reports;3/3/2006, p1 

    Many forms of identification (ID) that federal employees and contractors use to access government-controlled buildings and information systems can be easily forged, stolen, or altered to allow unauthorized access. In an effort to increase the quality and security of federal ID and credentialing...

  • Key Issues for Congressional Oversight of National Security Strategies, Organizations, Workforce, and Information Sharing. St. Laurent, Janet A.; Williams-Bridgers, Jacquelyn L. // GAO Reports;9/25/2009, preceding p1 

    The article presents a study conducted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) regarding the collaboration of several agencies for the national security of the U.S. The GAO cites the efforts of several agencies in formulating strategies for the improvement of the country's national...

  • CONTINUITY OF OPERATIONS: Selected Agencies Tested Various Capabilities during 2006 Governmentwide Exercise. Koontz, Linda K. // GAO Reports;12/19/2007, preceding pi 

    The article examines the effectiveness of the activities and programs of eight civilian agencies in the U.S. The capabilities of these agencies are tested during the Forward Challenge 2006 government exercise. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) determines their responsibilities during...

  • The Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models: A Description of the Method and an Application to the Study of Performance Management Implementation. Lavertu, St├ęphane; Moynihan, Donald P. // Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory;Apr2013, Vol. 23 Issue 2, p333 

    The Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models (EITM) initiative in political science aims to improve empirical inquiry by strengthening its theoretical foundations. We review the central features of the initiative, especially its emphasis on the development of empirically useful formal theory...

  • Untitled.  // Public Manager;Dec2016, p1 

    The article presents an interview with Yvonne Jones, director in the Strategic Issues team at U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Topics discussed include how his prior experience prepared him for his current role, importance of cross-agency collaboration in his role and his suggestion...

  • NEWSBRIEFS.  // Hays Free Press (Buda, TX);4/23/2008, Vol. 105 Issue 3, p2A 

    The article offers news briefs related to public administration in Hays County, Texas, including the candidates forum to be participated by Robert Wilson and Glenn Smith and the water conservation initiatives of public officials in Kyle.


Read the Article

Other Topics