The United States needs to make aggressive investments in supercomputing because other countries are gaining on us, said Patricia Dehmer, Energy Department's acting director of the science office.
President Obama's fiscal 2015 budget proposes $135.4 billion for research and development. The Defense Department would receive the largest chunk, about $64.4 billion.
Federal agencies learned new approaches to accountability amid their effort to oversee massive spending on grants under the 2009 stimulus law, a review by the Government Accountability Office found.
Businesses that already had considerable federal contracting experience were allowed to participate in the Energy Department's program to mentor inexperienced contractors.
The Energy Department didn't ensure that the full costs of work done for other organizations by national laboratories were reimbursed, resulting in a $400,000 loss between 2008 and 2012, a recently released Oct. 23 Government Accountability Office report says.
While science research programs received less funding 10 years ago than they do today, they benefitted from the fact that the Energy Department had a better feel for how much money was coming. Today, however, funding levels are in flux, making long term planning difficult, said Pat Dehmer, deputy director of science programs at the DOE's office of science.
Agencies should not develop their own green building certification systems, a General Services Administration review has concluded. Instead, GSA recommends that they use either the Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design system, better known as LEED, or the Green Building Initiative's Green Globes system.
The report criticizes poor oversight by DOE of conference and meal costs. Officials didn't require detailed cost esimates for conferences, and meals and refreshments "were justified as being an inseparable part of planned events," auditors say.
Research at some Energy Department's national laboratories continues, but will be halted if the government shutdown continues. The DOE runs 18 laboratories that are federally funded, but managed and staffed by private-sector organizations under contract with the agency.
The federal strategic sourcing program advanced Oct. 9 with two solicitations from the General Services Administration for bulk purchases, one for janitorial supplies and the other for maintenance equipment. The two solicitations involve products that cost the government more than $1 billion annually, and GSA estimates that strategic sourcing will reduce their cost by 10-20 percent.