Key Issues > DOD Contract Management - High Risk Issue
defense icon, source: [West Covina, California] Progressive Management, 2008

DOD Contract Management - High Risk Issue

The Department of Defense (DOD) is the largest contracting agency in the federal government. In fiscal year 2018, it accounted for almost two-thirds of all federal contracts. But the department needs to improve how it tracks, manages, and budgets for its contracted services. GAO added DOD's Contract Management to its High-Risk List in 1992 and has identified three major areas of challenges—the acquisition workforce, service acquisitions, and operational contract support.

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DOD spent over $350 billion in fiscal year 2018 on contracts for goods and services like:

  • Major weapon systems, such as aircraft, ships, and guided missiles.
  • Health care.
  • Professional support, such as engineering and other technological expertise.
  • Fuel.  

Federal Contracting Obligations by Agency, Fiscal Year 2018 (dollars in billions)

DOD also uses contractors to support military operations, such as those in Afghanistan. Contractors provide services including translation, logistics, maintenance, and communications. 


However, DOD faces a number of challenges with how it manages its federal contracts.

Looking for our recommendations? Click on any report to find each associated recommendation and its current implementation status.


Reforming Defense Contractor ServicesThursday, August 31, 2017
Federal Acquisitions UpdateWednesday, September 12, 2018
  • portrait of Timothy J. DiNapoli
    • Timothy J. DiNapoli
    • Director, Contracting and National Security Acquisitions
    • 202-512-4841