The president has coupled his commitment to boost spending as needed for economic recovery with a promise to cut spending as required for fiscal responsibility. Hoping to save $40 billion a year in federal procurement spending, he has ordered his budget office to issue new guidelines by September 30, 2009, for awarding government contracts to private firms.
The problems at issue are prevalent and yet particular. Over the past several decades, RAND teams have identified many causes of excessive cost growth across U.S. government agencies, both civilian and defense. Causes range from faulty cost estimates for weapon systems at the outset of such programs to increased technological complexity and performance over the life of those programs. Still other causes pertain to the management of workforces and workloads in general and specifically in connection with the expanded use of contractor personnel.
Beyond identifying the key causes of rising costs, we offer suggestions for reducing government expenditures while enhancing government effectiveness. We summarize our conclusions here:
With all the public discussion about government spending and efficiency, it's worthwhile considering some of the findings of RAND.