Letter: Applauding GAO recommendations for R&D centers
Regarding "Improvements in R&D center management recommended"
This is a very important recommendation that follows many failed attempts to better manage the Defense Department's federally funded research and development centers (mitre, aerospace, IDA, Rand, etc). They get billions in noncompetitive research and development funds each year with the restriction that their work cannot be performed by others. Unfortunately, this has never been policed and up to 50 percent of their work is highly commercial and competes with companies of all sizes. Worse yet, as many operate in the information technology field now, they are often competing with small innovative firms and undermine the country's engine of innovation.
Back in the late 1990s, after the signing of the Clinger Cohen Act, a report was drafted by the staff of Sen. Cohen recommending that the FFRDCs be reigned in. This report was swashed by the largest FFRDC and their board. Even Defense Science Board recommendations are monitoried by FFRDCs who want to protect their very lucritive business welfare. This type of fraud, waste and abuse must be contained. We cannot afford to continue concepts that were sound in the 1940s and [are] no longer relevant.
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