Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



This research study is devoted to the budget process of five major research centers. The objective was to develop the major budgeting issues of three Energy Research and Development Administration private­public research centers and to compare their budgeting processes with two other federal research centers. The three ERDA centers were: the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico; the Sandia Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico; and the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Livermore, California. The two government research centers were the Air Force Weapons Laboratory, Albuquerque, New Mexico; and the Johnson Space Center, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration center at Houston, Texas.

The method used to acquire information on the budget process was through the interview method, where the researcher visited the centers and developed the methods by which they formulate, execute, and account for the scarce resources under their control.

The results of this study provide a detailed analysis of each center from the perspective of organization structure, budget formulation, execution, and accountability; identifying the relationships between the budgets submitted and the funds received, to the role of the budget in the allocation of resources. The results point out that the ERDA centers operate with a great deal more freedom in the formulation of their budgets, but this freedom is not always desirable from the viewpoint of the laboratory or the government. The ERDA centers operate based on a different relationship with their Headquarters' program divisions, and formulate, execute, and account for resources in a significantly different manner than that used by the other centers studied. The levels of control over resources differed for the ERDA centers, and the ultimate allocation of resources was developed and analyzed for each center studied. The ultimate conclusions or findings summarize the differences found in the centers, and indicate that the ERDA centers operate under more financial operating constraints than either the Air Force Weapons Laboratory, or the Johnson Space Center. This research study thus allows one to become acquainted with the process by which major public-private research centers perform their budgeting function in the accomplishment of agency and laboratory objectives, and contrasts this with the other government research centers studied.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

Albert H. Rosenthal

Second Committee Member

Gerald Joseph Boyle

Third Committee Member

Vladmir V. Berniklau



Document Type