Federally Funded Research and Development Centers: Improved Oversight and Evaluation Needed for DODs Data Access Pilot Program
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON DC
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FFRDCs provide federal agencies with research and development functions, technical systems engineering capabilities, and policy development and decision-making studies, among other services. The Federal Acquisition Regulation states that FFRDCs have a special relationship with DOD, which can give FFRDCs access to sensitive data beyond what would commonly be shared with contractors. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 directed DOD to establish a 3-year pilot program that allows FFRDCs streamlined access to sensitive data maintained by DOD. It also included a provision for GAO to report on the pilot program within 2 years of implementation. This report addresses the extent to which 1 FFRDCs are using the pilot program, 2 DOD put procedures in place to protect data accessed, and 3 DOD is evaluating the pilot program. GAO reviewed DOD guidance and FFRDC processes, pilot reports for January 2018 through September 2019, and DODs plans and efforts for evaluating the pilot program. GAO also selected a nongeneralizable sample of six projects--at least one from each FFRDC with an enrolled project as of December 2018--for further review. In addition, GAO assessed the pilot program against leading practices for pilot design.
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