High Risk Series

Defense Contract Management Gao ID: HR-95-3 February 1, 1995

In 1990, GAO began a special effort to identify federal programs at high risk of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. GAO issued a series of reports in December 1992 on the fundamental causes of the problems in the high-risk areas. This report on defense contract management is part of the second series that updates the status of this high-risk area. Readers have the following three options in ordering the high-risk series: (1) request any of the individual reports in the series, including the Overview (HR-95-1), the Guide (HR-95-2), or any of the 10 issue area reports; (2) request the Overview and the Guide as a package (HR-95-21SET); or (3) request the entire series as a package (HR-95-20SET).

GAO found that: (1) although defective pricing has been reduced by 86 percent to 125.5 million in fiscal year 1993, significant financial risks remain; (2) DOD contractors' performance in correcting significant cost-estimating system deficiencies has been mixed; (3) recently DOD contractors identified and returned $75 million in apparent overpayments to the government; (4) DOD financial control weaknesses in identifying and excluding unallowable contractor overhead costs result in large, frequent, and numerous erroneous and fraudulent payments to defense contractors; (5) DOD needs to correct its long-standing contractor cost-estimating problems and address very serious weaknesses in its financial controls so that it can reduce contractor overpayments and fraudulent activities; (6) DOD contractors need to improve their procedures for identifying and excluding unallowable costs from overhead submissions; and (7) acquisition reform and streamlining legislation are positive steps toward strengthening DOD acquisition and contracting processes and properly protecting the government's and taxpayers' interests.

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