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United States Government Accountability Office: 


Before the Committee on the Budget, U.S. Senate: 

For Release on Delivery: 
Expected at 10:00 a.m. EDT:
Wednesday, March 16, 2011: 

Government Performance: 

GPRA Modernization Act Provides Opportunities to Help Address Fiscal, 
Performance, and Management Challenges: 

Statement of Gene L. Dodaro:
Comptroller General of the United States: 


GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-11-466T, a report to the Committee on the Budget, 
U.S. Senate. 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

The federal government is the world’s largest and most complex entity, 
with about $3.5 trillion in outlays in fiscal year 2010 that fund a 
broad array of programs and operations. GAO’s long-term simulations of 
the federal budget show—absent policy change—growing deficits 
accumulating to an unsustainable increase in debt. While the spending 
side is driven by rising health care costs and demographics, other 
areas should also be scrutinized. In addition, there are significant 
performance and management challenges that the federal government 
needs to confront. 

GAO was asked to testify on how the provisions of the Government 
Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) 
could, if effectively implemented, help address these challenges. Our 
statement is based on our past and ongoing work on GPRA 
implementation, as well as our recently issued reports (1) identifying 
opportunities to reduce potential duplication in government programs, 
save tax dollars, and enhance revenue; and (2) updating our list of 
government operations at high risk due to their greater 
vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, or the need 
for broad-based transformation. As required by GPRAMA, GAO will 
periodically evaluate implementation of the act and report to Congress 
on its findings and recommendations. 

What GAO Found: 

GAO’s past and ongoing work illustrates how GPRAMA could help address 
government challenges in five areas: 

Adopting a more coordinated and crosscutting approach to achieving 
meaningful results. GPRAMA could help inform reexamination or 
restructuring efforts and lead to more efficient and economical 
service delivery in overlapping program areas by identifying the 
various agencies and federal activities—-including spending programs, 
regulations, and tax expenditures-—that contribute to crosscutting 
outcomes. These program areas could include multiple employment and 
training programs or numerous teacher quality initiatives, among 

Addressing weaknesses in major management functions. Agencies need 
more effective management capabilities to better implement their 
programs and policies. GPRAMA requires long-term goals to improve 
management functions in five key areas: financial, human capital, 
information technology, procurement and acquisition, and real 
property. GAO’s work has highlighted opportunities for improvements in 
each of these areas and aspects of several of them are on the GAO high-
risk list. 

Ensuring performance information is both useful and used in decision 
making. Agencies need to consider the differing needs of various 
stakeholders, including Congress, to ensure that performance 
information will be both useful and used. For performance information 
to be useful, it must be complete, accurate, valid, timely, and easy 
to use. Yet decision makers often do not have the quality performance 
information they need to improve results. To help address this need, 
GPRAMA requires (1) disclosure of information about accuracy and 
validity, (2) data on crosscutting areas, and (3) quarterly reporting 
on priority goals on a publicly available Web site. 

Instilling sustained leadership commitment and accountability for 
achieving results. Perhaps the single most important element of 
successful management improvement initiatives is the demonstrated 
commitment of top leaders, as shown by their personal involvement in 
reform efforts. GPRAMA assigns responsibilities to a Chief Operating 
Officer and Performance Improvement Officer in each agency to improve 
agency management and performance. 

Engaging Congress in identifying management and performance issues to 
address. In order for performance improvement initiatives to be useful 
to Congress for its decision making, garnering congressional buy-in on 
what to measure and how to present this information is critical. GAO 
has previously noted the importance of considering Congress a partner 
in shaping agency goals at the outset. GPRAMA significantly enhances 
requirements for agencies to consult with Congress. 

View [hyperlink,] or key 
components. For more information, contact Bernice Steinhardt at (202) 
512-6543 or 

[End of section] 

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Sessions, and Members of the Committee: 

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss how the provisions put into 
place by the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) 
Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA),[Footnote 1] could help address 
significant fiscal, performance, and management challenges facing the 
federal government. The federal government is the world's largest and 
most complex entity, with about $3.5 trillion in outlays in fiscal 
year 2010 that fund a broad array of programs and operations. Looking 
forward, our long-term simulations underscore the need to begin 
addressing the long-term federal fiscal outlook. Absent changes in 
fiscal policy, the structural imbalance between spending and revenue 
paths lead to large and growing deficits. The accumulation of large 
deficits leads to an unsustainable increase in debt over the long 
term.[Footnote 2] This, in turn, will limit budget flexibility and the 
federal government's ability to respond to future challenges. 

Addressing these fiscal challenges will require action on several 
fronts. First, all federal programs and activities--discretionary 
programs, mandatory spending, revenues, and tax expenditures--need to 
be reexamined. Second, program structures that are outmoded, 
overlapping, duplicative, fragmented, and not up to the challenges of 
the times must be reformed or restructured. In this regard, we 
recently issued a report that identified over 80 areas of potential 
duplication, overlap, or fragmentation as well as cost savings and 
revenue-enhancing opportunities.[Footnote 3] In addition, weaknesses 
in management capacity, both governmentwide and in individual 
agencies, undermine efficient and effective government. Here too, our 
recent update to our high-risk list identified numerous opportunities 
to reduce costs and improve government performance.[Footnote 4] Moving 
forward, the GPRA Modernization Act can offer opportunities to help 
make tough choices in setting priorities as well as reforming programs 
and management practices to better link resources to results. 

My statement today, which is based on our past and ongoing work, will 
focus on five key areas where the requirements of GPRAMA could help 
address government challenges. In particular, the act calls for: 

* a more coordinated and crosscutting approach to achieving meaningful 

* efforts to address weaknesses in major management functions, 

* ensuring performance information is both useful and used in decision 

* sustained leadership commitment and accountability for achieving 
results, and: 

* engaging Congress in identifying management and performance issues 
to address. 

Finally, my statement will speak to GAO's role in evaluating 
implementation of this act. 

Adopting a More Coordinated and Crosscutting Approach to Achieving 
Meaningful Results: 

The federal government faces a series of challenges that in many 
instances are not possible for any single agency to address alone. 
Many federal program efforts, including those related to ensuring food 
safety, providing homeland security, monitoring incidence of 
infectious diseases, or improving response to natural disasters, 
transcend more than one agency. Agencies face a range of challenges 
and barriers when they attempt to work collaboratively. GPRAMA 
establishes a new framework aimed at taking a more crosscutting and 
integrated approach to focusing on results and improving government 
performance. It requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in 
coordination with agencies, to develop--every 4 years--long-term, 
outcome-oriented goals for a limited number of crosscutting policy 
areas. On an annual basis, OMB is to provide information on how these 
long-term crosscutting goals will be achieved. 

This approach will provide a much needed basis for more fully 
integrating a wide array of federal activities as well as a cohesive 
perspective on the long-term goals of the federal government that is 
focused on priority policy areas. It could also be a valuable tool for 
governmentwide reexamination of existing programs and proposals for 
new programs. 

Our recent report on duplication, overlap, and fragmentation 
highlights a number of areas where a more crosscutting approach is 
needed--both across agencies and within a specific agency. Effective 
GPRAMA implementation could help inform reexamination or restructuring 
efforts related to these and other areas by identifying the various 
agencies and federal activities--including spending programs, 
regulations, and tax expenditures--that contribute to each 
crosscutting goal. Examples from our work include: 

* Employment and training programs: In fiscal year 2009, 47 federal 
employment and training programs spent about $18 billion to provide 
services, such as job search and job counseling, to program 
participants. Most of these programs are administered by the 
Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services (HHS). 
We found that 44 of the 47 programs overlap with at least one other 
program in that they provide at least one similar service to a similar 
population. Our review of 3 programs among the largest--Temporary 
Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Employment Service, and 
Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Adult programs--found that they provide 
some of the same services to the same population through separate 
administrative structures. Although the extent to which individuals 
receive the same services from these programs is unknown due to 
limited data, these programs maintain parallel administrative 
structures to provide some of the same services such as job search 
assistance to low-income individuals. 

At the state level, the TANF program (which also provides a wide range 
of other services) is typically administered by the state human 
services or welfare agency, while the Employment Service and WIA Adult 
programs are typically administered by the state workforce agency and 
provided through one-stop centers. Agency officials acknowledged that 
greater efficiencies could be achieved in delivering services through 
these programs but said factors such as the number of clients that any 
one-stop center can serve and one-stop centers' proximity to clients, 
particularly in rural areas, could warrant having multiple entities 
provide the same services. Colocating services and consolidating 
administrative structures may increase efficiencies and reduce costs, 
but implementation can be challenging. 

Some states have colocated TANF employment and training services in 
one-stop centers where Employment Service and WIA Adult services are 
provided. Three states--Florida, Texas, and Utah--have gone a step 
further by consolidating the agencies that administer these programs, 
and state officials said this reduced costs and improved services, but 
they could not provide a dollar figure for cost savings. States and 
localities may face challenges to colocating services, such as limited 
office space. In addition, consolidating administrative structures may 
be time consuming and any cost savings may not be immediately realized. 

To facilitate further progress by states and localities in increasing 
administrative efficiencies in employment and training programs, we 
recommended in 2011 that the Secretaries of Labor and HHS work 
together to develop and disseminate information that could inform such 
efforts. As part of this effort, Labor and HHS should examine the 
incentives for states and localities to undertake such initiatives, 
and, as warranted, identify options for increasing such incentives. 
Labor and HHS agreed they should develop and disseminate this 
information. HHS noted that it lacks legal authority to mandate 
increased TANF-WIA coordination or create incentives for such efforts. 
Sustained oversight by Congress could help ensure progress is realized. 

* Military health system: The responsibilities and authorities for the 
Department of Defense's (DOD) military health system are distributed 
among several organizations within DOD with no central command 
authority or single entity accountable for minimizing costs and 
achieving efficiencies. Under the military health system's current 
command structure, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense 
for Health Affairs, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force each has its 
own headquarters and associated support functions. Annual military 
health system costs have more than doubled from $19 billion in fiscal 
year 2001 to $49 billion in 2010 and are expected to increase to over 
$62 billion by 2015. 

DOD has made varying levels of progress in implementing limited 
actions to consolidate certain common administrative, management, and 
clinical functions. However, to reduce duplication in its command 
structure and eliminate redundant processes that add to growing 
defense health care costs, DOD could take action to further assess 
alternatives for restructuring the governance structure of the 
military health system. A May 2006 report by the Center for Naval 
Analyses showed that if DOD and the services had chosen to implement 
one of the three larger-scale alternative concepts studied by DOD, the 
department could have achieved significant savings. Our adjustment of 
those projected savings into 2010 dollars indicates those savings 
could range from $281 million to $460 million annually depending on 
the alternative chosen and numbers of military, civilian, and 
contractor positions eliminated. DOD officials said that they 
generally agreed with the facts and findings in our analysis. 

* Teacher quality programs: In fiscal year 2009, the federal 
government spent over $4 billion specifically to improve the quality 
of our nation's 3 million teachers through numerous programs across 
the government. We identified 82 distinct programs designed to help 
improve teacher quality, either as a primary purpose or as an 
allowable activity, administered across 10 federal agencies. The 
proliferation of programs has resulted in fragmentation that can 
frustrate agency efforts to administer programs in a comprehensive 
manner, limit the ability to determine which programs are most cost 
effective, and ultimately increase program costs. 

In 2009, we recommended that the Secretary of Education work with 
other agencies as appropriate to develop a coordinated approach for 
routinely and systematically sharing information that can assist 
federal programs, states, and local providers in achieving efficient 
service delivery. The Department of Education has established working 
groups to help develop more effective collaboration across Education 
offices, and has reached out to other agencies to develop a framework 
for sharing information on some teacher quality activities, but it has 
noted that coordination efforts do not always prove useful and cannot 
fully eliminate barriers to program alignment, such as programs with 
differing definitions for similar populations of grantees, which 
create an impediment to coordination. 

Congress could help eliminate some barriers through legislation, 
particularly through the pending reauthorization of the Elementary and 
Secondary Education Act of 1965 and other key education bills. 
Specifically, to minimize any wasteful fragmentation and overlap among 
teacher quality programs, Congress may choose either to eliminate 
programs that are too small to evaluate cost effectively or to combine 
programs serving similar target groups into a larger program. 
Education has already proposed combining 38 programs into 11 programs 
in its reauthorization proposal, which could allow the agency to 
dedicate a higher portion of its administrative resources to 
monitoring programs for results and providing technical assistance. 

* Domestic ethanol production: Congress supported domestic ethanol 
production through a $5.4 billion tax credit program in 2010 and 
through a renewable fuel standard that applies to transportation fuels 
used in the United States. The ethanol tax credit and the renewable 
fuel standard can be duplicative in stimulating domestic production 
and use of ethanol, and can result in substantial loss of revenue to 
the Treasury. The ethanol tax credit was recently extended at 45 cents 
per gallon through December 31, 2011. The tax credit will cost $5.7 
billion in forgone revenues in 2011. Because the fuel standard allows 
increasing annual amounts of conventional biofuels through 2015, which 
ensures a market for a conventional corn starch ethanol industry that 
is already mature, Congress may wish to consider whether revisions to 
the ethanol tax credit are needed, such as reducing, modifying, or 
phasing out the tax credit. 

Addressing Weaknesses in Major Management Functions: 

Although agencies have made progress improving their operations in 
recent years, they need more effective management capabilities to 
better implement new programs and policies. As part of the new 
governmentwide framework created by GPRAMA, OMB is required to develop 
long-term goals to improve management functions across the government. 
The act specifies that these goals should include five areas: 
financial management, human capital management, information technology 
management, procurement and acquisition management, and real property 
management.[Footnote 5] All five of these areas have been identified 
by GAO as key management challenges across the government.[Footnote 6] 
Moreover, some aspects of these areas have warranted our designation 
as high risk, either governmentwide or at certain agencies--such as 
strategic human capital management and real property management across 
the federal government and financial management at DOD. 

In addition, a number of the cost-savings or revenue-enhancement 
opportunities we recently identified touch on needed improvements to 
management functions.[Footnote 7] Examples include: 

* Noncompetitive contracts: Federal agencies generally are required to 
award contracts competitively, but a substantial amount of federal 
money is being obligated on noncompetitive contracts annually. Federal 
agencies obligated approximately $170 billion on noncompetitive 
contracts in fiscal year 2009 alone. While there has been some 
fluctuation over the years, the percentage of obligations under 
noncompetitive contracts recently has been in the range of 31 percent 
to over 35 percent. 

Although some agency decisions to forego competition may be justified, 
we found that when federal agencies decide to open their contracts to 
competition, they frequently realize savings. For example, the 
Department of State (State) awarded a noncompetitive contract for 
installation and maintenance of technical security equipment at U.S. 
embassies in 2003. In response to our recommendation, State 
subsequently competed this requirement, and in 2007 it awarded 
contracts to four small businesses for a total savings of over $218 
million. In another case, we found in 2006 that the Army had awarded 
noncompetitive contracts for security guards, but later spent 25 
percent less for the same services when the contracts were competed. 

In July 2009, OMB called for agencies to reduce obligations under new 
contract actions that are awarded using high-risk contracting 
authorities by 10 percent in fiscal year 2010. These high-risk 
contracts include those that are awarded noncompetitively and those 
that are structured as competitive but for which only one offer is 
received. While sufficient data are not yet available to determine 
whether OMB's goal was met, we are currently reviewing the agencies' 
savings plans to identify steps taken toward that goal, and will 
continue to monitor the progress agencies make toward achieving this 
and any subsequent goals set by OMB. 

* Undisbursed grant balances: Past audits of federal agencies by GAO 
and Inspectors General, as well as agencies' annual performance 
reports, have suggested grant management challenges, including failure 
to conduct grant closeouts and undisbursed balances, are a long- 
standing problem. In August 2008, we reported that during calendar 
year 2006, about $1 billion in undisbursed funding remained in expired 
grant accounts in HHS's Payment Management System--the largest 
civilian grant payment system, which multiple agencies use. In August 
2008, we recommended that OMB instruct all executive departments and 
independent agencies to track undisbursed balances in expired grant 
accounts and report on the resolution of this funding in their annual 
performance plan and Performance and Accountability Reports. As of 
January 13, 2011, OMB had not issued governmentwide guidance regarding 
undisbursed balances in expired grant accounts. 

* Unneeded real property: Many federal agencies hold real property 
they do not need, including property that is excess or underutilized. 
Excess and underutilized properties present significant potential 
risks to federal agencies because they are costly to maintain. For 
example, in fiscal year 2009, agencies reported underutilized 
buildings accounted for over $1.6 billion in annual operating costs. 
In a June 2010 Presidential Memorandum to federal agencies, the 
administration established a new target of saving $3 billion through 
disposals and other methods by the end of fiscal year 2012; the 
President reiterated this goal in his 2012 budget. However, federal 
agencies continue to face obstacles to disposing of unneeded property, 
such as requirements to offer the property to other federal agencies, 
then to state and local governments and certain nonprofits at no cost. 
If these entities cannot use the property, agencies may also need to 
comply with costly historic preservation or environmental cleanup 
requirements before disposing of the property. Finally, community 
stakeholders may oppose agencies' plans for property disposal. 

OMB could assist agencies in meeting their property disposal target by 
implementing our April 2007 recommendation of developing an action 
plan to address key problems associated with disposing of unneeded 
real property, including reducing the effect of competing stakeholder 
interests on real property decisions. The President's fiscal year 2012 
budget proposed the Civilian Property Realignment Act (CPRA) for 
congressional consideration. The act would establish a Civilian 
Property Realignment Board modeled on the Base Closure and Realignment 
Commission. We are engaged in discussions with Congress to determine 
how we can best support Congress, should the act become law. 

Ensuring Performance Information Is Both Useful and Used in Decision 

Agencies need to consider the differing information needs of various 
users--such as agency top leadership and line managers, OMB, and 
Congress--to ensure that performance information will be both useful 
and used in decision making. We have previously reported that to be 
useful, performance information must meet diverse users' needs for 
completeness, accuracy, validity, timeliness, and ease of use. GPRAMA 
puts into place several requirements that could address these needs. 

* Completeness: Our work on overlap and duplication has found 
crosscutting areas, such as surface transportation programs or 
domestic food assistance programs, where performance information is 
limited or does not exist. In shedding light on these areas, the new 
crosscutting planning and reporting requirements could lead to the 
development of performance information in areas that are currently 

* Accuracy and validity: Agencies are required to disclose more 
information about the accuracy and validity of their performance 
information in their performance plans and reports, including the 
sources for their data and actions to address limitations to the data. 

* Timeliness and ease of use: While agencies will continue to report 
annually on progress towards the rest of their goals, GPRAMA requires 
reporting for governmentwide and agency priority goals on a quarterly 
basis. By also requiring information to be posted on a governmentwide 
Web site, the act will make performance information more accessible 
and easy to use by stakeholders and the public, thus fostering 
transparency and civic engagement. 

In addition, to help ensure that performance information is used--not 
simply collected and reported as a compliance exercise--GPRAMA 
requires top leadership and program officials to be involved in 
quarterly reviews of priority goals. During these sessions, they are 
expected to review the progress achieved toward goals; assess the 
contributions of underlying federal organizations, programs, and 
activities; categorize goals by their risk of not being achieved; and 
develop strategies to improve performance. 

To be successful, these officials must have the knowledge and 
experience necessary to use and trust the information they are 
gathering. Building analytical capacity to use performance information 
and to ensure its quality--both in terms of staff trained to do the 
analysis and availability of research and evaluation resources--is 
critical to using performance information in a meaningful fashion and 
will play a large role in the success of government performance 
improvements. Federal officials must understand how the performance 
information they gather can be used to provide insight into the 
factors that impede or contribute to program successes; assess the 
effect of the program; or help explain the linkages between program 
inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes. To that end, within 1 year 
of enactment, GPRAMA requires the Office of Personnel Management 
(OPM), in consultation with the Performance Improvement Council, to 
identify the key skills and competencies needed by federal employees 
to carry out a variety of performance management activities including 
developing goals, evaluating programs, and analyzing and using 
performance information. Once those key skills and competencies are 
identified, OPM is then required to incorporate those skills and 
competencies into relevant position classifications and agency 
training no later than 2 years after enactment. 

Instilling Sustained Leadership Commitment and Accountability for 
Achieving Results: 

Perhaps the single most important element of successful management 
improvement initiatives is the demonstrated commitment of top leaders. 
This commitment is most prominently shown through the personal 
involvement of top leaders in developing and directing reform efforts. 
Organizations that successfully address their long-standing management 
weaknesses do not "staff out" responsibility for leading change. Top 
leadership involvement and clear lines of accountability for making 
management improvements are critical to overcoming organizations' 
natural resistance to change, marshaling the resources needed in many 
cases to improve management, and building and maintaining the 
organizationwide commitment to new ways of doing business. 

GPRAMA creates several new leadership structures and responsibilities 
aimed at sustaining attention on improvement efforts at both the 
agency and governmentwide levels. The act designates the deputy head 
of each agency as Chief Operating Officer (COO), with overall 
responsibilities for improving the management and performance of the 
agency. In addition, the act requires each agency to designate a 
senior executive as Performance Improvement Officer (PIO) to support 
the COO. The act also establishes a Performance Improvement Council--
chaired by the OMB Deputy Director for Management and composed of PIOs 
from various agencies--to assist the Director of OMB in carrying out 
the governmentwide planning and reporting requirements. 

GPRAMA also creates individual and organizational accountability 
provisions that have the potential to keep attention focused on 
achieving results. For each governmentwide performance goal, a lead 
government official is to be designated and held responsible for 
coordinating efforts to achieve the goal. Similarly, at the agency 
level, for each performance goal, an agency official, known as a goal 
leader, will be responsible for achieving the goal. To promote overall 
organizational accountability, the act requires OMB to report each 
year on unmet agency goals. Where a goal has been unmet for 3 years, 
OMB can identify the program for termination or restructuring, among 
other actions. 

Engaging Congress in Identifying Management and Performance Issues to 

In order for performance improvement initiatives to be useful to 
Congress for its decision making, garnering congressional buy-in on 
what to measure and how to present this information is critical. In 
past reviews, we have noted the importance of considering Congress a 
partner in shaping agency goals at the outset. Congressional committee 
staff, in discussing the Program Assessment Review Tool (PART) 
[Footnote 8] developed by the previous administration, told us that 
communicating the PART assessment results was not a replacement for 
the benefit of early consultation between Congress and OMB about what 
they consider to be the most important performance issues and program 
areas warranting review.[Footnote 9] 

While GPRA called for agencies to consult with Congress on their 
strategic plans, the act did not provide detailed or specific 
requirements on the consultation process or how agencies were to treat 
the information they obtained. GPRAMA significantly enhances 
requirements for agencies to consult with Congress when establishing 
or adjusting governmentwide and agency goals. OMB and agencies are to 
consult with relevant committees, obtaining majority and minority 
views, about proposed goals at least once every 2 years. In addition, 
OMB and agencies are to describe on the governmentwide Web site or in 
their strategic plans, respectively, how they incorporated 
congressional input into their goals. 

Beyond this opportunity to provide input to OMB and agencies as they 
shape their plans, Congress can also play a decisive role in fostering 
results-oriented cultures in the federal government by using 
information on agency goals and results as it carries out its 
legislative responsibilities. For example, authorizing, 
appropriations, and oversight committees could schedule hearings to 
determine if agency programs have clear performance goals, measures, 
and data with which to track progress and whether the programs are 
achieving their goals. Where goals and objectives are unclear or not 
results-oriented, Congress could articulate the program outcomes it 
expects agencies to achieve. This would provide important guidance to 
agencies that could then be incorporated in agency strategic and 
annual performance plans. Most important, congressional use of agency 
goals and measured results in its decision making will send an 
unmistakable message to agencies that Congress considers agency 
performance a priority. Congressional oversight and sustained 
attention by top administration officials are essential to ensuring 
further improvement in the performance of federal programs and 
operations. In fact, as we noted in our recent high-risk issues 
report, these two factors were absolutely critical to making the 
progress necessary for the DOD Personnel Security Clearance Program 
and the 2010 Census to be removed from our high-risk list.[Footnote 10] 

GAO's Role in Evaluating GPRAMA, High Risks, and Other Major 
Government Challenges: 

Realizing the promise of GPRAMA for improving government performance 
and accountability and reducing waste will require sustained oversight 
of implementation. GAO played a major role in evaluating the 
implementation of the original GPRA's strategic and annual performance 
planning requirements, including various pilot provisions. For 
example, by evaluating agency plans during a pilot phase, we were able 
to offer numerous recommendations for improvement that led to more 
effective final plans.[Footnote 11] We further supported 
implementation by reporting on leading management practices that 
agencies should employ as they implemented GPRA. [Footnote 12] 

Similarly, GPRAMA includes provisions requiring GAO to review 
implementation of the act at several critical junctures, and provide 
recommendations for improvements to implementation of the act. First, 
following a period of interim implementation, by June 2013, GAO is to 
report on implementation of the act's planning and reporting 
requirements--at both the governmentwide and agency levels. 
Subsequently, following full implementation, by September 2015 and 
2017, GAO is to evaluate whether performance management is being used 
by federal agencies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of 
agency programs. Also in September 2015 and 2017--and every 4 years 
thereafter--GAO is to evaluate the implementation of the federal 
government priority goals and performance plans, and related reporting 
required by the act. 

Looking ahead, a number of other required recurrent reports will help 
to inform Congress about government management and performance. For 
example, GAO has an ongoing statutory requirement to report each year 
on federal programs, agencies, offices, and initiatives, either within 
departments or governmentwide, which have duplicative goals or 
activities.[Footnote 13] In addition, each year GAO reports on its 
audit of the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government 
[Footnote 14] and the condition of federal financial management 
systems.[Footnote 15] GAO continues to report periodically to Congress 
on the adequacy and effectiveness of agencies' information security 
policies and practices and other requirements of the Federal 
Information Security Management Act of 2002.[Footnote 16] 

Additionally, the Presidential Transition Act of 2000[Footnote 17] 
identifies GAO as a source of briefings and other materials to help 
inform presidential appointees of the major management issues, risks, 
and challenges they will face. During the last presidential 
transition, we identified for Congress and the new administration 
urgent issues and key program and management challenges in the major 
departments and across government. Finally, GAO reports to each new 
Congress on government operations that it identifies as high risk due 
to their greater vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and 
mismanagement, or the need for broad-based transformation to address 
economy, efficiency, or effectiveness challenges. 

In conclusion, everything must be on the table as we address the 
federal long-term fiscal challenge. While the long-term outlook is 
driven on the spending side of the budget by rising health care costs 
and demographics, other areas of the budget should not be exempt from 
scrutiny. All areas should be reexamined in light of the contributions 
they make to achieving outcomes for the American public. If programs 
are overlapping, fragmented, or duplicative, they must be streamlined. 
Programs and management functions at significant risk of waste, fraud, 
and abuse must be corrected. GPRAMA provides the administration and 
Congress with new tools to identify strategies that are achieving 
results as well as those that are ineffective, duplicative, or 
wasteful that could be eliminated. GAO stands ready to help Congress 
ensure that the act's promises are met. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Sessions, and Members of the 
Committee. This concludes my prepared statement. I would be pleased to 
answer any questions you may have. 


For further information on this testimony, please contact Bernice 
Steinhardt, Director, Strategic Issues, at (202) 512-6543 or Key contributions to this testimony were made by 
Elizabeth Curda (Assistant Director), and Benjamin T. Licht. Contact 
points for our Congressional Relations and Public Affairs offices may 
be found on the last page of this statement. 

[End of section] 


[1] Pub. L. No. 111-352, 124 Stat. 3866 (2011). GPRAMA amends the 
Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, Pub. L. No. 103-62, 
107 Stat. 285 (1993). 

[2] GAO, The Federal Government's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook: Fall 2010 
Update, [hyperlink,] 
(Washington, D.C.: Nov. 15, 2010). GAO updates these simulations twice 
each year. Updates and additional information on the federal fiscal 
outlook, federal debt, and the outlook for state and local government 
sector is available at: [hyperlink,]. 

[3] GAO, Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government 
Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue, [hyperlink, (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 1, 
2011). An interactive, Web-based version of the report is available 
at: hyperlink,]. 

[4] GAO, High-Risk Series: An Update, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: February 
2011). Additional information available on GAO's High-Risk and Other 
Major Government Challenges Web site, [hyperlink,]. 

[5] 31 U.S.C. § 1120(a)(1)(B). 

[6] More information on our work related to challenges in these five 
management functions is available at [hyerlink,]. 

[7] [hyperlink,].  

[8] OMB described PART, which was created in 2002, as a diagnostic 
tool meant to provide a consistent approach to evaluating federal 
programs as part of the executive budget formulation process. 

[9] GAO, Performance Budgeting: PART Focuses Attention on Program 
Performance, but More Can Be Done to Engage Congress, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 28, 

[10] [hyperlink,]. 

[11] See for example, GAO, Managing for Results: Critical Issues for 
Improving Federal Agencies' Strategic Plans, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 
16, 1997) and Managing for Results: An Agenda to Improve the 
Usefulness of Agencies' Annual Performance Plans, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: 
Sept. 8, 1998). 

[12] See for example, GAO, Executive Guide: Effectively Implementing 
the Government Performance and Results Act, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: June 

[13] Pub. L. No. 111-139, § 21, 124 Stat. 8, 29 (2010), 31 U.S.C. § 
712 note. 

[14] 31 U.S.C. § 331(e)(2). 

[15] 31 U.S.C. § 3512 note. 

[16] E-Government Act of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107-347, Title III, 116 
Stat. 2899, 2946 (2002). 

[17] Pub. L. No. 106-293, §2(3), 114 Stat. 1035 (2000). 

[End of section] 

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