Contracting Data Analysis: Assessment of Government-wide Trends

Contracting Data Analysis: Assessment of Government-wide Trends

GAO-17-244SP: Published: Mar 9, 2017. Publicly Released: Mar 9, 2017.

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William T. Woods
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Federal agencies spent over $430 billion on contracts for goods and services in 2015—almost 40 percent of all discretionary spending. To strengthen contracting practices and increase oversight of government spending, we analyzed contract data and identified overall trends in spending, competition, and contract type.

From 2011 to 2015, we found that spending at defense agencies decreased by almost 32 percent, while spending at civilian agencies remained fairly steady. We also found that contracts awarded through competition stayed steady at about 64 percent, and the use of fixed price contracts stayed steady at over 63 percent.

Defense and Civilian Agency Obligations on Contracts, Fiscal Years 2011-2015

Bar charts showing that defense and civilian contract obligations decreased from 2011 to 2015.

Note: An earlier version of this summary featured an unrelated figure and has been corrected.

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