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entitled 'Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2009: Mission, Performance 
Plans, Resources and Strategies' which was released on February 19, 
2008. 

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Performance Plan For Fiscal Year 2009: 

Mission, Performance Plans, Resources and Strategies: 

GAO's Mission: 

GAO is an independent, nonpartisan, professional services agency in the 
legislative branch of the federal government. Commonly known as the 
"audit and investigative arm of the Congress" or the "congressional 
watchdog," we examine how taxpayer dollars are spent and advise 
lawmakers and agency heads on ways to make government work better. 

Our mission is to support the Congress in meeting its constitutional 
responsibilities and to help improve the performance and ensure the 
accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the 
American people. We accomplish our mission by providing reliable 
information and informed analysis to the Congress, to federal agencies, 
and to the public, and we recommend improvements, when appropriate, on 
a wide variety of issues. Three core values--accountability, integrity, 
and reliability--form the basis for all of our work, regardless of its 
origin. 

As a legislative branch agency, we are exempt from many laws that apply 
to the executive branch agencies. However, we generally hold ourselves 
to the spirit of many of the laws, including the Government Performance 
and Results Act of 1933 (GPRA). Amount other things; GPRA requires 
"each agency to prepare an annual performance plan covering each 
program activity set forth in the budget of such agency." This section 
of our budget submission constitutes our performance plan for fiscal 
year 2009. 

[End GAO's Mission] 

Performance Information: 

To accomplish our mission, we use a strategic planning and management 
process that is based on a hierarchy of four elements beginning at the 
highest level with the following four strategic goals: 

* Strategic Goal 1: Provide Timely, Quality Service to the Congress and 
the Federal Government to Address Current and Emerging Challenges to 
the Well-Being and Financial Security of the American People: 

* Strategic Goal 2: Provide Timely, Quality Service to the Congress and 
the Federal Government to Respond to Changing Security Threats and the 
Challenges of Global Interdependence: 

* Strategic Goal 3: Help Transform the Federal Government's Role and 
How It Does Business to Meet 21st Century Challenges: 

* Strategic Goal 4: Maximize the Value of GAO by Being a Model Federal 
Agency and a World-Class Professional Services Organization: 

Our evaluation and audit work are primarily aligned under the first 
three strategic goals, which span issues that are both domestic and 
international, affect the lives of all Americans, and influence the 
extent to which the federal government serves the nation's current and 
future interests. The fourth goal is our only internal one and is aimed 
at maximizing our productivity. We revisit the focus and 
appropriateness of these four strategic goals each time that we update 
our strategic plan. Our most recent update was in March 2007.[Footnote 
1] 

For several years, we assessed our performance annually using 
quantitative performance measures that are related to our work results 
and the usefulness of those results to our primary client--the 
Congress. We subsequently expanded our focus to include a more balanced 
set of performance measures that focus on four key areas--results, 
clients, people, and internal operations. These categories of measures 
are briefly described below. 

Results. Focusing on results and the effectiveness of the processes 
needed to achieve them is fundamental to accomplishing our mission. To 
assess our results, we measure financial benefits, nonfinancial 
benefits, recommendations implemented, and percentage of new products 
with recommendations. Financial benefits and nonfinancial benefits 
provide quantitative and qualitative information, respectively, on the 
outcomes or results that have been achieved from our work. They often 
represent outcomes that occurred or are expected to occur over a period 
of several years. The remaining measures are intermediate outcomes in 
that they often lead to achieving outcomes that are ultimately captured 
in our financial and nonfinancial benefits. 

Client. To judge how well we are serving our clients, we measure the 
number of times we are asked to present expert testimony at 
congressional hearings as well as our timeliness in delivering products 
to the Congress. Our strategy in this area draws upon a variety of data 
sources (e.g., our client feedback survey and in-person discussions 
with congressional staff) to obtain information on the services we are 
providing to our congressional clients. 

People. As our most important asset, our people define our character 
and capacity to perform. A variety of data sources, including an 
internal survey, provide information to help us measure how well we are 
attracting and retaining high-quality staff and how well we are 
developing, supporting, using, and leading staff. 

Internal operations. Our mission and people are supported by our 
internal administrative services, including information management, 
building management, knowledge services, human capital, and financial 
management services. Through an internal customer satisfaction survey, 
we gather information on how well our internal operations help 
employees get their jobs done and improve employees' quality of work 
life. 

The results and client measures primarily relate to strategic goals 1 
through 3 and the people and internal operations measures primarily 
relate to goal 4. For all of our measures, we set targets at the 
agencywide level. Table 25 presents our actual and targeted performance 
for each of our measures. For three of these measures--financial 
benefits, nonfinancial benefits, and testimonies--we also set targets 
at the goal level; the goal-level targets are shown later in this 
document. 

Table 25: Agencywide Annual Measures and Targets: 

Results. 

Performance measures: Financial benefits; (dollars in billions); 
2004 Actual: $44.0; 
2005 Actual: $39.6; 
2006 Actual: $51.0; 
2007 Actual: $45.9; 
2008 Target: $40.0[A]; 
2009 Target: $40.0. 

Performance measures: Nonfinancial benefits; 
2004 Actual: 1,197; 
2005 Actual: 1,409; 
2006 Actual: 1,342; 
2007 Actual: 1,354; 
2008 Target: 1,150; 
2009 Target: 1,150. 

Performance measures: Past recommendations implemented; 
2004 Actual: 83%; 
2005 Actual: 85%; 
2006 Actual: 82%; 
2007 Actual: 82%; 
2008 Target: 80%; 
2009 Target: 80%. 

Performance measures: New products with recommendations; 
2004 Actual: 63%; 
2005 Actual: 63%; 
2006 Actual: 65%; 
2007 Actual: 66%; 
2008 Target: 60%; 
2009 Target: 60%. 

Client. 

Performance measures: Testimonies; 
2004 Actual: 217; 
2005 Actual: 179; 
2006 Actual: 240; 
2007 Actual: 276; 
2008 Target: 220; 
2009 Target: 200. 

Performance measures: Timeliness[B]; 
2004 Actual: 89%; 
2005 Actual: 90%; 
2006 Actual: 92%; 
2007 Actual: 94%; 
2008 Target: 95%; 
2009 Target: 95%. 

People. 

Performance measures: New hire rate; 
2004 Actual: 98%; 
2005 Actual: 94%; 
2006 Actual: 94%; 
2007 Actual: 96%; 
2008 Target: 95%; 
2009 Target: 95%. 

Performance measures: Acceptance rate; 
2004 Actual: 72%; 
2005 Actual: 71%; 
2006 Actual: 70%; 
2007 Actual: 72%; 
2008 Target: 72%; 
2009 Target: [C]. 

Performance measures: Retention rate with retirements; 
2004 Actual: 90%; 
2005 Actual: 90%; 
2006 Actual: 90%; 
2007 Actual: 90%; 
2008 Target: 90%; 
2009 Target: 90%. 

Performance measures: Retention rate without retirements; 
2004 Actual: 95%; 
2005 Actual: 94%; 
2006 Actual: 94%; 
2007 Actual: 94%; 
2008 Target: 94%; 
2009 Target: 94%. 

Performance measures: Staff development; 
2004 Actual: 70%; 
2005 Actual: 72%; 
2006 Actual: 76%; 
2007 Actual: 76%; 
2008 Target: 76%; 
2009 Target: 76%. 

Performance measures: Staff utilization [D]; 
2004 Actual: 72%; 
2005 Actual: 75%; 
2006 Actual: 75%; 
2007 Actual: 73%; 
2008 Target: 75%[E]; 
2009 Target: 75%. 

Performance measures: Leadership; 
2004 Actual: 79%; 
2005 Actual: 80%; 
2006 Actual: 79%; 
2007 Actual: 79%; 
2008 Target: 80%; 
2009 Target: 80%. 

Performance measures: Organizational climate; 
2004 Actual: 74%; 
2005 Actual: 76%; 
2006 Actual: 73%; 
2007 Actual: 74%; 
2008 Target: 75%[F]; 
2009 Target: 75%. 

Internal operations. 

Performance measures: Help get job done; 
2004 Actual: 4.01; 
2005 Actual: 4.10; 
2006 Actual: 4.10; 
2007 Actual: 4.05; 
2008 Target: 4.00; 
2009 Target: 4.00. 

Performance measures: Quality of work life; 2003 Actual: 3.96; 
2004 Actual: 3.96; 
2005 Actual: 3.98; 
2006 Actual: 4.00; 
2007 Actual: 3.98; 
2008 Target: 4.00; 
2009 Target: 4.00. 

Source: GAO. 

Note: Information explaining all of the measures included in this table 
appears in the Data Quality and Program Evaluations section. 

[A] Our fiscal year 2008 target for financial benefits differs from the 
target we reported for this measure in our fiscal year 2008 performance 
budget in January 2007. Specifically, we decreased our financial 
benefits target by $1.5 billion based on (1) our assessment of our past 
recommendations that are likely to be implemented by federal agencies 
and the Congress in the coming fiscal year and (2) the impact that our 
constrained budget could have on the work that leads to financial 
benefits. 

[B] Since fiscal year 2004 we have collected data from our client 
feedback survey on the quality and timeliness of our products, and in 
fiscal year 2006 we began to use the independent feedback from this 
survey as a basis for determining our timeliness. 

[C] Considering the challenging hiring environment due to uncertain 
budgets and high competition for talent, measuring our acceptance rate 
is less meaningful to us. Therefore, we eliminated this measure for 
fiscal year 2009. 

[D] Our employee feedback survey asks staff how often the following 
occurred in the last 12 months; (1) my job made good use of my skills, 
(2) GAO provided me with opportunities to do challenging work, and (3) 
in general, I was utilized effectively. 

[E] Our fiscal year 2008 target for staff utilization differs from the 
target we reported for this measure in our fiscal year 2008 performance 
budget in January 2007. We lowered the staff utilization target by 3 
percentage points because we determined that, based on our past 
performance, the target was unrealistic, and we reset it at a level 
that is still challenging but more likely to be achieved. 

[F] Our fiscal year 2008 target for organizational climate differs from 
the target we reported for this measure in our fiscal year 2008 
performance budget in January 2007. We decreased the organizational 
climate target by 1 percentage point because we determined that, based 
on our past performance, the target was unrealistic, and we reset it at 
a level that is still challenging but more likely to be achieved. 

[End table 25] 

[End Performance Information] 

Budgetary Resources: 

GPRA also requires agencies to briefly describe the operational 
processes; skills and technology; and the human capital, information, 
or other resources required to meet the agency's performance goals, 
which in our case are our performance measures, and to briefly describe 
the operational processes that will be used to attain the planned 
performance levels. 

Our strategy is largely based on our staff who carry out the work that 
supports our mission. We maintain a workforce of highly trained 
professionals with degrees in many academic disciplines, including 
accounting, law, engineering, public and business administration, 
economics, and the social and physical sciences. About three-quarters 
of our approximately 3,100 employees are based at our headquarters in 
Washington, D.C; the rest are deployed in 11 field offices across the 
country. Staff in these field offices are aligned with our research, 
audit, and evaluation teams and perform work in tandem with our 
headquarters staff. 

Table 26 provides an overview of how our human capital resources shown 
as full-time equivalent (FTE) positions and budgetary resources are 
allocated among our strategic goals for fiscal years 2007 through 2009. 

Table 26: Budgetary Resources by Strategic Goal, Fiscal Years 2007 
through 2009, (Dollars in millions): 

Strategic goal: Goal 1: Provide timely, quality service to the Congress 
and the federal government to address current and emerging challenges 
to the well-being and financial security of the American people; 
FY 2007 actual: FTEs: 1,113; 
FY 2007 actual: Amount: $172; 
FY 2008 revised: FTEs: 1,095; 
FY 2008 revised: Amount: $180; 
FY 2009 requested: FTEs: 1,148; 
FY 2009 requested: Amount: $195. 

Strategic goal: Goal 2: Provide timely, quality service to the Congress 
and the federal government to respond to changing threats and the 
challenges of global interdependence; 
FY 2007 actual: FTEs: 1,041; 
FY 2007 actual: Amount: $161; 
FY 2008 revised: FTEs: 1,023; 
FY 2008 revised: Amount: $160; 
FY 2009 requested: FTEs: 1,073; 
FY 2009 requested: Amount: $162. 

Strategic goal: Goal 3: Help transform the federal government's role 
and how it does business to meet 21st century challenges; 
FY 2007 actual: FTEs: 871; 
FY 2007 actual: Amount: $135; 
FY 2008 revised: FTEs: 857; 
FY 2008: Amount: $139; 
FY 2009 requested: FTEs: 898; 
FY 2009 requested: Amount: $139. 

Strategic goal: Goal 4: Maximize the value of GAO by being a model 
federal agency and a world-class professional services organization; 
FY 2007 actual: FTEs: 127; 
FY 2007 actual: Amount: $18; 
FY 2008 revised: FTEs: 125; 
FY 2008 revised: Amount: $28; 
FY 2009 requested: FTEs: 132; 
FY 2009 requested: Amount: $50. 

Total; 
FY 2007 actual: FTEs: 3,152; 
FY 2007 actual: Amount: $486; 
FY 2008 revised: FTEs: 3,100; 
FY 2008 revised: Amount: $507; 
FY 2009 requested: FTEs: 3,251; 
FY 2009 requested: Amount: $546. 

Source: GAO. 

[End table 26] 

[End Budgetary Resources] 

Strategies: 

Our strategies primarily emphasize providing to the Congress and the 
public information from our work in a variety of forms and continuing 
and strengthening our internal operations. Our strategies emphasize the 
importance of working with other organizations on crosscutting issues 
and effectively addressing the challenges to achieving our agency's 
goals and recognizing the internal and external factors that could 
impair our performance. Through these strategies, which have proven 
successful for us for a number of years, we plan to achieve the level 
of performance that is needed to meet our annual performance measures 
as well as our strategic goals. 

Conducting Engagements: 

Attaining our three external strategic goals (goals 1, 2, and 3) and 
their related objectives rests, for the most part, on providing 
professional, objective, fact-based, nonpartisan, nonideological, fair, 
and balanced information to support the Congress in carrying out its 
constitutional responsibilities. To implement the performance goals and 
key efforts related to these three goals, we develop and present 
information in a number of ways, including: 

* evaluations of federal policies, programs, and the performance of 
agencies; 

* oversight of government operations through financial and other 
management audits to determine whether public funds are spent 
efficiently, effectively, and in accordance with applicable laws; 

* investigations to assess whether illegal or improper activities are 
occurring; 

* analyses of the financing for government activities; 

* constructive engagements in which we work proactively with agencies, 
when appropriate, to provide advice that may assist their efforts 
toward positive results; 

* legal opinions that determine whether agencies are in compliance with 
applicable laws and regulations; 

* policy analyses to assess needed actions and the implications of 
proposed actions; and: 

* additional assistance to the Congress in support of its oversight and 
decision-making responsibilities. 

We plan to conduct specific engagements as a result of requests from 
congressional committees and mandates written into legislation, 
resolutions, and committee reports. We will augment requested and 
mandated work with a limited number of engagement work under the 
Comptroller General's authority. 

Our staff are responsible for following high standards for gathering, 
documenting, and supporting the information we collect and analyze. 
More often than not, this information is documented in a product that 
is made available to the public. In some cases, we develop products 
that contain classified or sensitive information that cannot be made 
available publicly. We generally issue over 1,000 products each year, 
electronically and in printed format. In addition, we publish about 250 
to 350 legal decisions and opinions each year. Among the products we 
plan to issue during fiscal year 2009 will be: 

* letter reports, chapter reports, and written correspondence; 

* testimonies and statements for the record, where the former are 
delivered orally by one or more of our senior executives at a hearing 
and the latter are provided for inclusion in the congressional record; 

* oral briefings, which are usually given directly to congressional 
staff members; and: 

* legal decisions and opinions resolving bid protests and addressing 
issues of appropriations law, as well as opinions on the scope and 
exercise of authority of federal officers. 

We anticipate that our products will contain information, conclusions, 
and recommendations that will allow us to achieve our external 
strategic goals. 

Examining Past Work and Service: 

During fiscal year 2009, we also will continue to examine the impact of 
our past work and use that information to shape our future work. 
Specifically, we will evaluate actions taken by federal agencies and 
the Congress in response to our past recommendations and, if 
appropriate, document those actions as financial benefits and 
nonfinancial benefits. We will actively monitor the status of our open 
recommendations--those that remain valid but have not yet been 
implemented--and report our findings annually to the Congress and the 
public [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/openrecs.html]. Similarly, we use 
our biennial high-risk report, most recently issued in January 2007, to 
provide a status report on major government operations that we consider 
high risk because they are vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse, and 
mismanagement or are in need of broad-based transformation. 

To attain our fourth strategic goal, we will conduct surveys of our 
congressional clients and internal customers to obtain feedback on our 
products, processes, and services, and perform studies and evaluations 
to identify ways to improve them. 

Soliciting Input from Experts: 

Through a series of forums, advisory boards, and panels; periodic scans 
of international and national issues that affect the political and 
social environment in which we work; and our speakers' series, we will 
gather information and perspectives for our strategic and annual 
planning efforts. 

Advisory boards and panels will support our strategic and annual work 
planning by alerting us to issues, trends, and lessons learned across 
the national and international audit community that we should factor 
into our work. During fiscal year 2008, these groups will continue to 
include: 

* the Comptroller General's Advisory Board, whose 40 members from the 
public and private sectors have broad expertise in areas related to our 
strategic objectives; 

* the National Intergovernmental Audit Forum and 10 regional 
intergovernmental audit forums through which we will consult regularly 
with federal inspectors general and state and local auditors; and: 

* the Domestic Working Group, which is composed of the Comptroller 
General and the heads of 18 federal, state, and local audit 
organizations that exchange information and seek opportunities to 
collaborate. 

We also will continue to work with a number of issue-specific and 
technical panels to improve our strategic and annual work planning, 
such as the following: 

* The Advisory Council on Government Auditing Standards provides us 
guidance on promulgating auditing standards. These standards articulate 
auditors' responsibilities when examining government organizations; 
programs; activities; functions; and government assistance received by 
contractors, nonprofits, and other nongovernmental organizations. The 
council's work ensured that the revised standards would be generally 
accepted and feasible. 

* The Accountability Advisory Council, made up of experts in the 
financial management community, advises us on audits of the U.S. 
government's consolidated financial statements and emerging issues 
involving financial management and accountability reporting in the 
public and private sectors. 

* The Executive Council on Information Management and Technology, whose 
19 members are experts from the public and private sectors and 
representatives of related professional organizations, helps us to 
identify high-risk and emerging issues in the information technology 
(IT) arena. 

* The Comptroller General's Educators' Advisory Panel, composed of 
deans, professors, and other academics from prominent universities 
across the United States, advises us on recruiting, retaining, and 
developing staff and on strategic planning matters. 

Internationally, we will continue to participate in the International 
Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI)--the professional 
organization of the national audit offices of 188 countries. During the 
fall of 2004, the INTOSAI Congress unanimously adopted a 5-year 
strategic plan--the first in INTOSAI's 50-year history--that was 
developed by a 10-nation task force chaired by the Comptroller General. 
This plan has provided the foundation for the Governing Board to engage 
member institutions in advancing professional audit standards and 
promoting knowledge sharing. 

Scheduled events for fiscal years 2008 include the following: 

* Accountability Advisory Council; 

* Global Working Group; 

* Comptroller General Advisory Board; 

* Domestic Working Group; 

* Inspectors General;(i.e., PCIE and ECIE): 

* Educator's Advisory Panel; and: 

* Forum on Counter-terrorism. 

Collaborating with Other Organizations: 

By collaborating with others, we plan to continue strengthening 
professional standards, providing technical assistance, leveraging 
resources, and developing best practices. For example, to build 
capacity in the national audit offices around the world, we will 
continue our international audit fellows program for mid-to senior- 
level staff from other countries. In 2007, 15 audit fellows from 
Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the South Pacific spent about 
4 months at GAO learning how we are organized to do our work, how we 
plan our work, and what methodologies we use, particularly for 
performance audits. As part of our strategy to promote continuous 
learning and sustainability once the fellows return to their countries, 
we are working with major donors--such as the World Bank and the U.S. 
Agency for International Development--to identify or support relevant 
capacity-building projects in fellows' institutions. Seven current and 
eight former auditors general as well as several deputy auditors 
general, including the current chair of INTOSAI, are graduates of this 
program. 

Collaborative activities undertaken by our staff during 2007 illustrate 
the activities we will continue in fiscal year 2008 and 2009. Selected 
activities are described beginning on page 52 in our performance and 
accountability report for fiscal year 2007. 

Using Our Internal Experts: 

We coordinate extensively within our own organization in preparing our 
strategic and annual performance plans, as well as our performance and 
accountability reports. We conduct our efforts under the overall 
direction of the Comptroller General and the Chief Operating Officer. 
We rely on our Chief Administrative Officer--who is also our Chief 
Financial Officer--and her staff to provide key financial information. 
Her staff also coordinated with others throughout the agency to provide 
the information on goal 4's results and provides input on other efforts 
dealing with issues such as financial management, budgetary resources, 
training, and security. We obtain input on all aspects of our strategic 
and annual performance planning and reporting efforts from each of our 
engagement teams and organizational units through their respective 
managing directors, as well as other staff responsible for planning or 
engagement activities in the teams. Staff from our Budget Office and 
our Quality and Continuous Improvement (QCI) office prepare our 
performance plans. In short, we involve virtually every part of GAO and 
use our internal expertise in our planning and reporting efforts and 
will continue to do so in fiscal year 2009. 

[End Strategies] 

Performance Plans by Strategic Goal: 

In the following sections, we discuss performance results, strategic 
objectives, and plans for each of our four strategic goals. 
Specifically, for goals 1, 2, and 3--our external goals--we present 
performance results for the three annual measures that we assess at the 
goal level. Most teams and units also contributed to meeting the 
targets for the agencywide measures that were discussed earlier in this 
report. 

Goal 1's Strategic Objectives and Targets: 

Our first strategic goal upholds our mission to support the Congress in 
carrying out its constitutional responsibilities by focusing on work 
that helps address the current and emerging challenges affecting the 
well-being and financial security of the American people and American 
communities. Our strategic objectives under this goal are to provide 
information that will help address: 

* the health needs of an aging and diverse population; 

* lifelong learning to enhance U.S. competitiveness; 

* benefits and protections for workers, families, and children; 

* financial security for an aging population; 

* a responsive, fair, and effective system of justice; 

* the promotion of viable communities; 

* responsible stewardship of natural resources and the environment; 
and: 

* a safe, secure, and effective national physical infrastructure. 

These objectives, along with the performance goals and key efforts that 
support them, are discussed fully in our strategic plan, which is 
available on our Web site at [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. The work 
supporting these objectives was performed primarily by headquarters and 
field office staff in the following teams: Education, Workforce, and 
Income Security; Financial Markets and Community Investment; Health 
Care; Homeland Security and Justice; Natural Resources and Environment; 
and Physical Infrastructure. 

In line with our performance goals and key efforts, goal 1 staff 
reviewed in fiscal year 2007 a variety of programs affecting the 
nation's students and schools, employees and workplaces, health 
providers and patients, and social service providers and recipients. In 
addition, goal 1 staff performed work for our congressional clients 
related to improving the nation's law enforcement systems and federal 
agencies' ability to prevent and respond to terrorism and other major 
crimes. Table 27 provides examples of work we conducted in support of 
goal 1 in fiscal year 2007. 

Table 27: Selected Work Under Goal 1 in Fiscal Year 2007: 

Financial benefits: 
Our work influenced legislation requiring states to implement 
electronic benefit transfer in place of paper coupons to reduce fraud 
and abuse in the Food Stamp Program. This action resulted in an 
estimated $3.4 billion in cumulative financial benefits from fiscal 
years 2005 through 2009. 

Nonfinancial benefits: 
In 2001, we designated the United States Postal Service (USPS) 
transformation as a high-risk area because its financial outlook had 
significantly deteriorated and it lacked a comprehensive plan to 
address financial, operational, and human capital challenges. Since 
then, USPS developed a transformation plan, and the Congress enacted 
comprehensive postal reform legislation in the areas of rate setting, 
regulatory oversight, and financial transparency. In 2007 we removed 
the USPS transformation from our high-risk list. 

Testimonies: 
In a series of testimonies, we examined trends in the use of mortgages 
insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), FHA's risk 
management, and the implications of a legislative proposal to overhaul 
the agency's products and processes. Our work informed congressional 
debate on the benefits and risks of FHA modernization legislation under 
consideration. 

Source: GAO. 

[End table] 

The financial benefits reported for this goal in fiscal year 2007 
totaled $12.9 billion, which missed the target of $20.2 billion by 
about $7.3 billion. This was due in large part to the work in goal 1 
supporting goals 2 and 3 and the even more highly matrixed nature of 
our work. For example, a financial benefit of $5.4 billion related to 
the United States Postal Service payment of post-retirement health care 
costs, which was reported by goal3, could have just as well been 
reported in goal 1 given the joint nature of the teams' work. Table 28 
provides a summary of goal 1's performance results and targets. Figure 
1 provides a snapshot of the net costs associated with goal 1 work 
relative to the organization as a whole. 

Table 28: Strategic Goal 1's Annual Performance Results and Targets: 

Performance measures: Financial benefits (dollars in billions); 
2004 actual: $26.6; 
2005 actual: $15.6; 
2006 actual: $22.0; 
2007 actual: $12.9; 
2008 target: $13.8; 
2009 target: $12.7. 

Performance measures: Nonfinancial benefits; 
2004 actual: 252; 
2005 actual: 277; 
2006 actual: 268; 
2007 actual: 238; 
2008 target: 238; 
2009 target: 238. 

Performance measures: Testimonies; 
2004 actual: 85; 
2005 actual: 88; 
2006 actual: 97; 
2007 actual: 125; 
2008 target: 84; 
2009 target:77. 

Source: GAO. 

[End table 28] 

Figure 1: Goal 1 Net Cost of Operations in Fiscal Year 2007: 

[See PDF for image] - graphic text: 

This figure is a pie chart showing a portion of the pie as 35.1% of 
GAO's total, or $177.4 million. 

Source: GAO. 

[End figure 1] 

To accomplish our work under these strategic objectives in fiscal year 
2009, we will conduct engagements, audits, analyses, and evaluations of 
programs at major federal agencies, such as the Departments of 
Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, 
Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, and Transportation and 
develop reports and testimonies on the efficacy and soundness of 
programs they administer. For example, during fiscal years 2008 and 
2009, we anticipate conducting work related to: 

* federal oversight of food safety; 

* the oversight of energy policy, including the collection of oil 
royalties produced from federal lands; 

* climate change policies and programs; 

* the management of wildland fires: 

* the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit program; 

* hospital-acquired infections and drug resistant TB; 

* the quality and care in nursing homes: 

* small business lending and business development programs; 

* implementation of Federal Housing Administration reforms; 

* new mortgage lending and the secondary market; 

* rental housing assistance to low income and homeless populations: 

* the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's single-employer insurance 
program; 

* coal mine operators' emergency response plans; 

* support for and oversight of school improvement efforts; 

* disability programs administered by Veterans Affairs and the Social 
Security Administration; 

* bilingual voting: 

* transportation financing and safety programs; 

* airline congestion and delays; 

* air traffic control modernization; 

* managing, securing, and constructing federal real property; 

* progress made in transitioning to digital television; 

* crime victims rights; 

* federal efforts to combat gangs; and: 

* Civil Rights Division priorities in the Department of Justice. 

[End Goal 1's Strategic Objectives and Targets] 

Goal 2's Strategic Objectives and Targets: 

The federal government is working to promote foreign policy goals, 
sound trade polices, and other strategies to advance the interests of 
the United States and its allies while also seeking to anticipate and 
address emerging threats to the nation's security and economy. Given 
the importance of these efforts, our second strategic goal focuses on 
helping the Congress and the federal government respond to changing 
security threats and the challenges of global interdependence. Our 
strategic objectives under this goal are to support the congressional 
and federal efforts to: 

* protect and secure the homeland from threats and disasters; 

* ensure military capabilities and readiness; 

* advance and protect U.S. international interests; and: 

* respond to the impact of global market forces on U.S. economic and 
security interests. 

These objectives, along with the performance goals and key efforts that 
support them, are discussed fully in our strategic plan, which is 
available on our Web site at [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. The work 
supporting these objectives is performed primarily by headquarters and 
field staff in the following teams: Acquisition and Sourcing 
Management, Defense Capabilities and Management, and International 
Affairs and Trade. In addition, the work supporting some performance 
goals and key efforts is performed by headquarters and field staff from 
the Information Technology, Homeland Security and Justice, Financial 
Markets and Community Investment, and Natural Resources and Environment 
teams. 

To accomplish our work in fiscal year 2007 under these strategic 
objectives, we conducted engagements and audits that involved fieldwork 
related to programs that took us across multiple continents, including 
Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, and North America. As in the past, 
we developed reports, testimonies, and briefings on our work. Table 29 
provides examples of work we conducted in support of goal 2. 

Table 29: Selected Work Under Goal 2 in Fiscal Year 2007: 

Financial benefits: 
Our work highlighted the risks associated with developing and 
implementing the Army's Future Combat System. Citing the risks we 
reported and preserving the ability for DOD to change course, the 
Congress cut the system's budget request by $254 million. 

Nonfinancial benefits: 
Among the challenges the Department of Defense (DOD) faced in 
overseeing contractors on the battlefield was the lack of visibility 
over the number of contractors supporting deployed forces and the 
services that the contractors provide. In response to our work, DOD 
implemented a system designed to provide commanders this information 
and appointed a DOD focal point to improve the agency's management and 
oversight of contractors assisting the troops. 

Testimonies: 
Our September 2007 benchmark report and related testimonies found that 
the Iraqi government had not met most of its 18 key legislative, 
security, and economic benchmarks. The Departments of State and Defense 
agreed with our recommendations to improve the quality of information 
provided to the Congress on the progress being made in meeting these 
benchmarks. 

Source: GAO. 

[End table 29] 

The financial benefits reported for this goal in fiscal year 2007 
totaled $10.3 billion, exceeding the target of $9.8 billion. Among 
other things, these accomplishments stemmed from engagements related to 
better allocating resources to fund new military capabilities, 
streamlining our embassy presence overseas, and reducing funding for 
the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which oversees a foreign 
assistance program. Table 30 presents our performance results and 
targets for strategic goal 2. Figure 2 illustrates the net costs 
associated with goal 2 work relative to the organization as a whole. 

Table 30: Strategic Goal 2's Annual Performance Results and Targets: 

Performance measures: Financial benefits (dollars in billions); 
2004 actual: $9.7; 
2005 actual: $12.9; 
2006 actual: $12.0; 
2007 actual: $10.3; 
2008 target: $11.3; 
2009 target: $11.3. 

Performance measures: Nonfinancial benefits; 
2004 actual: 369; 
2005 actual: 365; 
2006 actual: 449; 
2007 actual: 468; 
2008 target: 322; 
2009 target: 322. 

Performance measures: Testimonies; 
2004 actual: 70; 
2005 actual: 42; 
2006 actual: 68; 
2007 actual: 73; 
2008 target: 69; 
2009 target: 62. 

Source: GAO. 

[End table] 

Figure 2: Goal 2 Net Cost of Operations in Fiscal Year 2007: 

[See PDF for image] - graphic text: 

This figure is a pie chart showing a portion of the pie as 31.2% of 
GAO's total, or $157.5 million. 

Source: GAO. 

[End figure 2] 

To accomplish our work under these strategic objectives in fiscal year 
2009, we will conduct engagements and audits that involve fieldwork 
related to domestic and international programs in Africa, Asia, Europe, 
North America, and South America. As in the past, we will develop 
reports, testimonies, and briefings on our work. For example, during 
fiscal years 2008 and 2009, we anticipate conducting work related to: 

* stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan and other post 
conflict areas; 

* readiness of the military services; 

* DOD's strategic human capital plan to share and improve its civilian 
employee workforce; 

* DOD's management of business transformation and progress in 
addressing defense activities and programs at high risk of waste, 
fraud, and abuse; 

* defense infrastructure and inventory management; 

* Department of Defense (DOD) weapon system acquisition; 

* the Future Combat Systems program; 

* protecting critical U.S. technologies from risk of exploitation; 

* DOD and National Aeronautics and Space Administration contracting; 

* DOD and prime contractor policies and practices for quality assurance 
and quality control; 

* the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile; 

* federal efforts to prevent nuclear smuggling; 

* efforts to combat terrorism abroad, including terrorist sanctuaries 
along the Afghan-Pakistan border and in Africa; 

* U.S. programs to ensure free and fair trade, including China trade 
enforcement; 

* building the capacity of foreign governments' security forces; 

* U.S. development and humanitarian assistance programs related to 
refugees, food aid, and basic education: 

* counter-narcotics efforts in Columbia and Central America; 

* passport processing delays and other passport and visa management and 
security procedures; 

* surface transportation security; 

* implementation of the Secure Border Initiative; 

* sharing of homeland security information with border communities; 

* implementation of lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina: 

* the subprime mortgage market's impact on credit markets; 

* federal oversight of hybrid financial products; 

* assessing the impact of complex financial products marketed to 
seniors; 

* National Flood Insurance program reauthorization; and: 

* examining the feasibility of an optional federal regulator for 
insurance. 

[End Goal 2's Strategic Objectives and Targets] 

Goal 3's Strategic Objectives and Targets: 

Our third strategic goal focuses on the collaborative and integrated 
elements needed for the federal government to achieve results. The work 
under this goal highlights the intergovernmental relationships that are 
necessary to achieve national goals. Our multiyear (fiscal years 2007- 
2012) strategic objectives under this goal are to: 

* reexamine the federal government's role in achieving evolving 
national objectives; 

* support the transformation to results-oriented, high-performing 
government; 

* support congressional oversight of key management challenges and 
program risks to improving federal operations and ensuring 
accountability; and: 

* analyze the government's fiscal position and strengthen approaches 
for addressing the current and projected fiscal gap. 

These objectives, along with the performance goals and key efforts that 
support them, are discussed fully in our strategic plan, which is 
available on our Web site at [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. The work 
supporting these objectives is performed primarily by headquarters and 
field staff from the Applied Research and Methods, Financial Management 
and Assurance, Information Technology, and Strategic Issues teams. In 
addition, the work supporting some performance goals and key efforts is 
performed by headquarters and field staff from the Acquisition and 
Sourcing Management and Natural Resources and Environment teams. This 
goal also includes our bid protest and appropriations law work, which 
is performed by staff in General Counsel, and our fraud investigations, 
which are conducted by staff from the Financial Management and 
Assurance team. 

The work under this goal highlights the intergovernmental relationships 
that are necessary to achieve national goals. Table 31 provides 
examples of work conducted in support of goal 3 in fiscal year 2007. 

Table 31: Selected Work Under Goal 3 in Fiscal Year 2007: 

Financial Benefits: 
In response to our work, agencies such as DOD, the Department of 
Transportation (DOT), and United States Department of Agriculture 
(USDA) have improved their oversight of information technology (IT) 
investments resulting in a reduction in their planned IT expenditures 
of more than $1.3 billion. For example, USDA coordinated its various IT 
investment boards and narrowed the scope of information system projects 
to reduce risk and increase efficiency. 

Nonfinancial Benefits: 
We made several recommendations to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 
to improve its efforts to reduce the tax gap. For example, we 
recommended that IRS set a long-term voluntary compliance goal to help 
measure the success of its compliance efforts. In its 2007 budget 
justification, IRS established a goal of 85 percent voluntary 
compliance by 2009. 

Testimonies: 
Our work related to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) 
Individual and Households Program identified from $600 million to $1.4 
billion in improper or potentially fraudulent financial assistance 
payments made by FEMA following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We 
referred thousands of cases we considered potentially improper and 
fraudulent to the Katrina Fraud Task Force for appropriate criminal 
investigation. 

[End table 31] 

The financial benefits reported for this goal in fiscal year 2007 
totaled $22.8 billion, more than double our target of $10.0 billion. 
These efforts included work that led to reductions in planned IT 
expenditures at several federal agencies, the termination of the NASA 
space launch initiative, and improved collections of federal nontax and 
criminal debts. Table 32 below provides a summary of goal 3's 
performance results and targets. Figure 3 also provides a snapshot of 
the net costs associated with goal 3 relative to the organization as a 
whole. 

Table 32: Strategic Goal 3's Annual Performance Results and Targets: 

Performance measures: Financial benefits (dollars in billions); 
2004 actual: $7.6; 
2005 actual: $11.0; 
2006 actual: $17.0; 
2007 actual: $22.8; 
2008 target: $14.9; 
2009 target: $16.0. 

Performance measures: Nonfinancial benefits; 
2004 actual: 576; 
2005 actual: 767; 
2006 actual: 625; 
2007 actual: 648; 
2008 target: 590; 
2009 target: 590. 

Performance measures: Testimonies; 
2004 actual: 60; 
2005 actual: 47; 
2006 actual: 73; 
2007 actual: 74; 
2008 target: 67; 
2009 target: 61. 

Source: GAO. 

[End table 32] 

Figure 3: Goal 3 Net Cost of Operations for Fiscal Year 2007: 

[See PDF for image] - graphic text: 

This figure is a pie chart showing a portion of the pie as 29.0% of 
GAO's total, or $146.6 million. 

Source: GAO. 

[End figure 3] 

To accomplish our work under these four objectives, we plan to conduct 
audits, evaluations, and analyses in response to congressional requests 
and to carry out work initiatives under the Comptroller General's 
authority. As in the past, we will develop reports, testimonies, and 
briefings on our work. For example, during fiscal years 2008 and 2009, 
we anticipate conducting work related to: 

* the nation's long-term fiscal challenge; 

* 2010 Census plans; 

* evaluating tax credits and policies; 

* reducing the gap between taxes owed and taxes collected; 

* fiscal relief to states during future economic downturns; 

* making efficient use of federal grant funds; 

* continued efforts to help the Gulf Coast recover from the 2005 
hurricanes; 

* lessons learned from creating Chief Operating Officer and Chief 
Management Officer positions; 

* adjudicating bid protest and Board of Contract Appeals filings; 

* the annual consolidated financial audit of the federal government; 

* the annual financial audits of the Internal Revenue Service, the 
Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Deposit Insurance 
Corporation; 

* financial system and physical security vulnerabilities; 

* federal accounting and auditing standards: 

* federal financial management systems and improvement; 

* federal agency improper payments; 

* federal IG oversight efforts; 

* federal research on nanotechnologies; 

* federal agencies' information security policies and procedures; 

* the Internal Revenue Service's business systems modernization; 

* the Department of Homeland Security's privacy policy; 

* the National Archives' electronic records; 

* the Department of Veterans Affairs' IT realignment effort; 

* critical cyber infrastructure; and: 

* border security and immigration control IT programs. 

[End Goal 3's Strategic Objectives and Targets] 

Goal 4's Strategic Objectives: ?

The focus of our fourth strategic goal is to make GAO a model 
organization. For us, this means that our work is driven by our 
external clients and internal customers, our managers exhibit the 
characteristics of leadership and management excellence, our employees 
are devoted to ensuring quality in our work process and products 
through continuous improvement, and our agency is regarded by current 
and potential employees as an excellent place to work. Our strategic 
objectives under this goal are to: 

* improve client and customer satisfaction and stakeholder 
relationships, 

* lead strategically to achieve enhanced results, 

* leverage our institutional knowledge and experience, 

* enhance GAO's business and management processes, and: 

* become a professional services employer of choice. 

These objectives, along with the performance goals and key efforts that 
support them, are discussed fully in our strategic plan, which is 
available on our Web site at [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. The work 
supporting goal 4 was performed under the direction of the Chief 
Administrative Officer with assistance on specific key efforts being 
provided by staff from the Applied Research and Methods team and from 
offices such as Strategic Planning and External Liaison, Congressional 
Relations, Opportunity and Inclusiveness, Quality and Continuous 
Improvement, and Public Affairs. To accomplish our work under goal 4, 
we performed internal studies and completed projects that further the 
strategic goal. Table 33 provides examples of work conducted in support 
of Goal 4 in fiscal year 2007. 

Table 33: Selected Work Under Goal 4 in Fiscal Year 2007: 

Enhancing client service: 
We completed a pilot of e-dissemination of products to our 
congressional clients to enhance the quality and timeliness of service. 
During fiscal year 2007, we avoided approximately $48,800 in costs for 
the 51 reports issued. Based on the cost effectiveness of e-
dissemination and the positive client feedback we recently fully 
implemented e-dissemination for the majority of our products. 

Converting to a new financial management system: 
We completed preparations and testing for conversion as of the new 
fiscal year to our new financial management system, GAO Delphi. We are 
able to take advantage of DOT's Enterprise Service Center expertise and 
economies of scale for select accounting functions, allowing our staff 
to transition to a greater focus on analysis and customer service. 

Improving work life programs: 
We increased our support for several of our work life programs and 
services that help our employees to balance work and personal life. 
These initiatives included increasing the capacity of the headquarters 
day care center through expansion of the physical facility, enhancing 
the Student Loan Repayment Program to support more applicants, and 
increasing our approval of telework applications by 200 percent. 

Updating our external website: 
We launched a new version of [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov], 
implementing numerous recommendations resulting from an independent 
review. We improved our navigation and searching capabilities, and 
incorporated the reviewer's principles and methodology into our 
standards and processes. 

[End table 33] 

Figure 4 illustrates the net costs associated with goal 4 relative to 
the organization as a whole. 

Figure 4: Goal 4 Net Cost of Operations in Fiscal Year 2007: 

[See PDF for image] - graphic text: 

This figure is a pie chart showing a portion of the pie as 4.7% of GAO's
total, or $23.9 million. 

Source: GAO. 

[End figure 4] 

During fiscal years 2008 and 2009, we anticipate conducting work 
related to: 

* technology and alternative media for communicating our work; 

* internal customer and employee satisfaction surveys; 

* collaborating with other accountability organizations; 

* workforce plan and budget improvements; 

* the human capital strategic plan update; 

* recruiting, hiring, and retention strategies and processes; 

* human capital systems; 

* personnel exchanges with the public and private sectors; 

* enterprise architecture efforts; 

* Web-based data, tools, and processes; 

* applied research tools and methods; 

* management information systems upgrades; 

* external peer review; 

* compensation and performance management systems; 

* student intern development; 

* emergency preparedness planning; 

* government standard identity card (Smartcard) technology; and: 

* the security education and awareness program. 

[End Goal 4's Strategic Objectives] 

[End Performance Plans by Strategic Goals] 

Management Challenges: 

The Comptroller General, the Executive Committee, and our senior 
executives identify management challenges through our strategic 
planning, management, and budgeting processes. We monitor our progress 
in addressing the challenges through our annual performance and 
accountability process. Under strategic goal 4, we establish 
performance goals focused on each of our management challenges, track 
our progress in completing the key efforts for those performance goals 
quarterly, and report each year on our progress toward meeting the 
performance goals. 

For fiscal year 2009, we plan to continue addressing three management 
challenges--physical security, information security, and human capital. 
We anticipate that we may need to continue to address all three of 
these management challenges in future years because they are evolving 
and will continually require us to identify ways to adapt and improve. 
We revisit the challenges each year and refine them when appropriate. 
When we believe we have sufficiently addressed these challenges, we 
will remove them from our list. We will report any changes as we 
monitor and report on our progress in addressing the challenges through 
our annual performance and accountability process. The following 
sections describe our recent and planned efforts to address these 
challenges. 

Physical Security Challenge: 

We continue to take essential actions to protect our people and our 
assets to ensure continuity of agency operations. The domestic and 
international climate demands that we constantly assess our physical 
security profile and seek ways to improve and strengthen it. For 
example, we took positive steps in fiscal year 2007 to strengthen our 
policies and operations by centralizing all previously established 
planning efforts into the "Continuity Program Document" and "Continuity 
Program Support Documents" to ensure a more effective response to any 
event. We continued to ensure better external communications and 
information-sharing through coordination with sister agencies in the 
legislative branch, executive branch agencies, and local law 
enforcement to formalize program strategy and concepts of operations 
for contingency planning efforts. We also improved our internal 
communications capability by developing and refining the emergency 
notification system, and launching an emergency preparedness Website on 
our intranet. To upgrade and enhance our technical capabilities we 
relocated and activated our Security Operations Center and the adjacent 
Emergency Operations Center, and have implemented incremental 
improvements to our Integrated Electronic Security System, including 
installation of intrusion detection systems and infrastructure 
enhancements necessary for continued system upgrades. 

We plan similar efforts throughout fiscal years 2008 and 2009; however, 
we will need to complete other initiatives in order to remove this 
challenge from our list. In fiscal year 2008, we plan to make progress 
in implementing the Integrated Electronic Security System by installing 
card readers that comply with Homeland Security Presidential Directive 
12. In addition, the Office of Emergency Preparedness plans to launch a 
formal test training and exercise program for continuity of operations 
in coordination with the legislative and executive branches and local 
law enforcement. We will also continue to refine the emergency 
notification system and emergency preparedness Website to further 
enhance internal communications. Work will commence under a contract to 
carry out a security assessment of our current security programs and 
associated risks to personnel, property, and information. 

[End Physical Challenge] 

Information Security Challenge: 

Information systems security continues to be a critical activity in 
ensuring our information systems and assets are effectively protected 
and free from compromise. Given the constantly evolving nature of 
threats to information systems and assets, information security will 
continue to be a management challenge for us and all government and 
private sector entities at least through fiscal year 2009. In fiscal 
year 2007, we established a wide range of goals and embarked on 
numerous initiatives to address information systems security. For 
example, we identified a desktop encryption product and deployed it to 
workstations containing high risk data; increased our capability to 
screen Internet traffic against potential threats; enhanced centralized 
auditing of network servers and devices by implementing an enterprise 
event correlation application; updated our information security 
procedures to maintain compliance with new federal guidance; and 
improved communications and restoration capabilities at our disaster 
recovery operations to reduce our risks; and developed and disseminated 
an integrated information security awareness education and training 
program. 

In fiscal year 2008, some of the most significant efforts planned to 
address the information security challenge include focusing on data 
protection encryption and identity management to better control access 
to our internal network and information; increasing the centralized 
auditing and monitoring of network servers and devices to better secure 
our computing assets within the agency; including recurring 
presentations by senior management and focused role-based instructions 
in our security awareness training program; responding to new and 
updated security guidance from the National Institute of Standards and 
Technology and the Office of Management and Budget; and refining our 
security processes and procedures, enhancing our contingency 
operations, and improving our overall ability to respond to changing 
threats by implementing appropriate new technologies to reduce or 
manage risks. Some of these efforts will continue into fiscal year 
2009. 

[End Information Security Challenge] 

Human Capital Challenge: 

Competition for talent among knowledge-based organizations is rising as 
the demographics of the workforce shift to a younger and less 
experienced workforce and knowledge and skill gaps occur--particularly 
at mid and more senior levels--as a result of retirements. The need to 
sustain a knowledge--and skills-based workforce is critical as it is 
this workforce that make it possible for us to deliver the results and 
performance expected by our clients and customers. We anticipate that 
our ability to maintain the right mix of experienced and knowledgeable 
staff to carry out our engagements and meet our clients' needs will be 
an ongoing challenge in fiscal years 2008 and 2009. We are facing 
unusual circumstances because of continuity and succession concerns 
resulting from downsizing and reduced hiring in the 1990s. 

Currently, over 42 percent of our analysts and related staff have fewer 
than 5 years of agency experience, making learning and development--as 
well as leadership--of this staff of paramount importance. This has 
resulted in some cultural challenges as our workforce evolves into a 
multi-generational population with many diverse interests, needs, and 
attitudes. This is an area upon which we will focus in the upcoming 
fiscal years, given the potential for changing turnover dynamics and 
the likelihood of greater mobility among this workforce. 

Recruiting, rewarding, and retaining a highly qualified, high- 
performing, and diverse workforce in today's competitive environment 
remains one of our most important challenges. In fiscal year 2007, we 
began implementation of enhancements to our recruitment and hiring 
activities which were recommended after an extensive 2006 review of our 
recruiting programs and best practice research. We also addressed 
learning and development in fiscal year 2007, completing an evaluation 
of our leadership development programs and making recommendations to 
our Learning Board and Executive Committee for a comprehensive program 
to enhance the ability of staff at all levels to prepare for leadership 
roles. 

As a result of the 2006 annual review by our Office of Opportunity and 
Inclusiveness of our employees' performance appraisal data, a trend was 
detected showing an increasing gap in the performance rating averages 
of African Americans and Caucasians at all mission analysts' band 
levels. To address this challenge we awarded a contract in fiscal year 
2007 for an African American Performance Study by an external 
consultant. The consultant will analyze the data from 2002 through 
2006; assess and compare skills, assignments, engagement roles, 
training, education, and recruiting practices for African Americans and 
Caucasians; and identify best practices internally and externally that 
might assist in reducing the gap. Mindful of our obligations under 
labor relations law, our staff will develop an action plan for 
addressing the findings and recommendations of this study. 

At the end of fiscal year 2007, our Band I and Band II analysts elected 
the GAO Employees Organization, International Federation of 
Professional and Technical Engineers as their exclusive representative 
in dealing with our management on the terms and conditions of their 
employment. In accordance with labor relations law, we postponed work 
on several initiatives regarding our current performance and pay 
programs and also maintained absolute neutrality during the election 
period. With the outcome of the union vote, our management is committed 
to working cooperatively with employee union representatives to forge a 
positive labor management relationship. 

While we have made progress in addressing human capital issues, human 
capital will remain a management challenge for fiscal years 2008 and 
2009. Some of our planned initiatives may be subject to collective 
bargaining as they may affect the terms and conditions of bargaining 
unit employees. Some of the most significant efforts planned in this 
area for fiscal years 2008 and 2009 are: 

* working cooperatively and productively with the newly elected labor 
union to establish our first collective bargaining agreement; 

* completing implementation of the recruitment task team 
recommendations; 

* implementing a structured leadership development program to prepare 
managerial talent; 

* implementing an aggressive hiring strategy to rebuild our workforce 
and acquire needed talents and skills; 

* focusing on the workforce impact of cultural issues created by 
generational issues as well as diversity in general; 

* instituting better, more comprehensive human capital metrics; 

* providing more transparency and knowledge of the market-based 
compensation process; and: 

* improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Human Capital 
Office in support of these human capital initiatives. 

[End Human Capital Challenge] 

[End Management Challenges] 

Mitigating External Factors That Could Affect Our Performance: 

Several external factors could affect the achievement of our 
performance goals, including the amount of resources we receive, shifts 
in the content and volume of our work, and national and international 
developments. Limitations imposed on our work by other organizations or 
limitations on the ability of other federal agencies to make the 
improvements we recommend are additional factors that could affect the 
achievement of our goals. 

As the Congress focuses on unpredictable events--such as terrorism, 
natural disasters, and military conflicts and threats abroad--the mix 
of work we are asked to undertake may change, diverting our resources 
from some strategic objectives and performance goals. We can and do 
mitigate the impact of these events on the achievement of our goals in 
various ways. For example in fiscal year 2007, we: 

* stayed abreast of current events (such as vulnerabilities in the 
nation's food supply system, the quality of health facilities and 
services for soldiers returning from military conflicts abroad, and 
fraud and abuse plaguing disaster assistance programs) and communicated 
frequently with our congressional clients in order to be alert to 
possibilities that could shift the Congress's priorities or trigger new 
priorities; 

* quickly redirected our resources when appropriate (i.e., to respond 
to a record number of requests for our senior executives to testify on 
our current and past work covering a wide range of topics such as the 
Iraq war and the global war on terrorism) so that we could deal with 
major changes as they occurred; 

* maintained broad-based staff expertise (i.e., in our Social Security, 
health care financing, and homeland security areas) so that we could 
readily address emerging needs; and: 

* initiated evaluations under the Comptroller General's authority on a 
limited number of selected topics topics, including the status of 
Iraq's reconstruction efforts, our 21st century challenges and high- 
risk work, and our fiscal challenges discussions. 

We will continue to take steps like these in fiscal year 2009 to help 
us address in a timely manner the congresses changing and often 
unanticipated, need for information. 

We are experiencing heavy demand from the Congress for work in a number 
of subject areas, including monitoring the progress of the global war 
on terrorism and the continuing challenges it presents; exploring 
economic issues facing U.S. financial markets and American consumers, 
such as concerns facing the subprime mortgage market; analyzing where 
funds are being spent through off-budget vehicles such as tax 
expenditures, and continuing our work on disaster relief issues, such 
as reviews of the reconstruction of areas ravaged by hurricanes Katrina 
and Rita. Yet, our resources have declined: adjusted for inflation, our 
budget authority, in real terms has experienced a steady decline since 
fiscal year 2003. Similarly, our FTE usage for fiscal year 2008 is 
projected at 3,100--our lowest this decade. We are requesting funds in 
fiscal year 2009 to restore our FTEs to 3,251--about the size of GAO 
before we began experiencing funding constraints in fiscal year 2003. 
Our ability to effectively manage increased congressional demand could 
have an impact on our ability to meet our performance targets and 
satisfy congressional requests for our work. We will continue to manage 
the Congress's requests in order to minimize any negative impact on our 
ability to meet its needs. However, if the Congress continues to rely 
on us to provide assistance in these and other areas, the growing 
imbalance between our workload and our available resources must be 
addressed. Over time, the consistently high performance that the 
Congress expects of us will simply be unsustainable if our workload 
continues to grow while our resources continue to lag. 

Given large current federal budget deficits and the nation's long-range 
fiscal imbalance, the Congress is likely to place increasing emphasis 
on fiscal constraint. While it is unclear how we will ultimately be 
affected, it is reasonable to assume that any attempt to exercise 
additional budgetary discipline in the legislative branch will include 
our agency. As a result, while we believe that we submit reasonable and 
responsible budget requests and we know that the return on investment 
that we generate is unparalleled, we must plan and prepare for the 
possibility of significant and recurring constraints on the resources 
made available to the agency. In addition, as we stated previously, 
almost 80 percent of our budget is composed of people-related costs, 
and any serious budget situation will have an impact on our human 
capital policies and practices. This, in turn, will have an impact on 
our ability to serve the Congress and meet our performance targets. 
While, as noted above, the nature and extent of any such budget 
constraints cannot be determined at the present time, our executive 
team is engaged in a range of related planning activities. It is both 
appropriate and prudent for us to engage in such planning. At the same 
time, we are hopeful that the Congress will recognize that performance- 
based budgeting concepts would support providing additional resources 
to entities with prudent budget requests and proven performance 
results. If the Congress employs such an approach, we should be in a 
good position to continue to provide a high rate of return on the 
resources invested in the agency. 

A growing area for us involves our work on bid protests. As required by 
law, our General Counsel's office prepares Comptroller General 
procurement law decisions that resolve protests filed by disappointed 
bidders. These bidders challenge the way individual federal 
procurements are being conducted or how the contracts were awarded. In 
recent years, we have experienced an increase in the number of bid 
protests that have been filed. For example, the number of protest 
filings in fiscal year 2007 was 23 percent higher than the number filed 
in fiscal year 2001 and 6 percent higher than the number filed in 
fiscal 2006. A comparison of the first quarter of the fiscal year 2007 
and 2008 protest filings shows that protest filings continue to 
increase; in fact they increased 12 percent from fiscal year 2007 to 
fiscal year 2008. 

The 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act established a permanent 
Government Accountability Office Contract Appeals Board to hear appeals 
involving contracts of legislative branch agencies. The Act also gives 
GAO the authority to hear protests filed by the Transportation Security 
Administration, for which GAO previously did not have jurisdiction. 

The DOD Authorization bill, which passed Congress, was presented to the 
President for signature, and is expected to be enacted in the near 
future, contains two provisions that will expand GAO's bid protest 
jurisdiction. One provision gives GAO exclusive jurisdiction to hear 
protests of task and delivery orders valued at more than $10 million 
issued by federal agencies. The authority sunsets after 3 years. 

In fiscal year 2005 the Congress enacted legislation that expanded our 
authority to allow certain representatives of affected government 
employees to protest when the private sector wins a private-public 
competition. The second provision in the pending bill further expands 
protest rights for federal employees in an A-76 competition by allowing 
"any one individual" who represents the affected employees, as well as 
by the agency tender official to protest at GAO, regardless of the size 
of the organization subject to the A-76 competition. 

Another external factor is the extent to which we can obtain access to 
certain types of information. With concerns about operational security 
being unusually high at home and abroad, we may have more difficulty 
obtaining information and reporting on sensitive issues. Historically, 
our auditing and information gathering have been limited whenever the 
intelligence community is involved. In addition, we have not had the 
authority to access or inspect records or other materials held by other 
countries or, generally, by the multinational institutions that the 
United States works with to protect its interests. Consequently, our 
ability to fully assess the progress being made in addressing national 
and homeland security issues may be hampered. Also, we anticipate that 
more of our reports may be subject to classification reviews than in 
the past, which means that the public dissemination of these products 
may be limited. We plan to work with the Congress to identify both 
legislative and nonlegislative opportunities for strengthening our 
access authority as necessary and appropriate. 

[End Mitigating External Factors That Could Affect Our Performance] 

Data Quality and Program Evaluation: 

Verifying and Validating Performance Data: 

Each year, we measure our performance by evaluating our annual 
performance on measures that cover the outcomes and outputs related to 
our work results, client service, and management of our people. To 
assess our performance, we used performance data that were complete and 
actual (rather than projected) for almost all of our performance 
measures. We believe the data to be reliable because we followed the 
verification and validation procedures described here to ensure the 
data's quality. 

The Annual Performance Measures below contain information on the 
specific sources of the data for our annual performance measures and 
multiyear qualitative performance goals, procedures for independently 
verifying and validating these data, and the limitations of this data. 

Results Measures: 

Financial Benefits: 

Definition and background: 

Our work--including our findings and recommendations--may produce 
benefits to the federal government that can be estimated in dollar 
terms. These benefits can result in better services to the public, 
changes to statutes or regulations, or improved government business 
operations. A financial benefit is an estimate of the federal monetary 
effect of agency or congressional actions. These financial benefits 
generally result from work that we completed over the past several 
years. The funds made available as a result of the actions taken in 
response to our work may be used to reduce government expenditures, 
increase revenues, or reallocate funds to other areas. Financial 
benefits included in our performance measures are net benefits--that 
is, estimates of financial benefits that have been reduced by the costs 
associated with taking the action that we recommended. We convert all 
estimates involving past and future years to their net present value 
and use actual dollars to represent estimates involving only the 
current year. Financial benefit amounts vary depending on the nature of 
the benefit, and we can claim financial benefits over multiple years 
based on a single agency or congressional action. 

Financial benefits are linked to specific recommendations or other 
work. To claim that financial benefits have been achieved, our staff 
must file an accomplishment report documenting that (1) the actions 
taken as a result of our work have been completed or substantially 
completed, (2) the actions generally were taken within 2 fiscal years 
prior to the filing of the accomplishment report, (3) a cause-and- 
effect relationship exists between the benefits reported and our 
recommendation or work performed, and (4) estimates of financial 
benefits were based on information obtained from non-GAO sources. Prior 
to fiscal year 2002, we limited the period over which the benefits from 
an accomplishment could be accrued to no more than 2 years. Beginning 
in fiscal year 2002, we extended the period to 5 years for certain 
types of accomplishments known to have multiyear effects, such as those 
associated with multiyear reductions in longer-term projects, changes 
embodied in law, program terminations, or sales of government assets 
yielding multiyear financial benefits. Financial benefits can be 
claimed for past or future years. For financial benefits involving 
events that occur on a regular but infrequent basis--such as the 
decennial census--we may extend the measurement period until the event 
occurs in order to compute the associated financial benefits using 
GAO's present value calculator. 

Managing directors decide when their staff can claim financial 
benefits. A managing director may choose to claim a financial benefit 
all in 1 year or decide to claim it over several years, especially if 
the benefit spans future years and the managing director wants greater 
precision as to the amount of the benefit. 

Data sources: 

Our Accomplishment Reporting System provides the data for this measure. 
Teams use this Web-based data system to prepare, review, and approve 
accomplishments and forward them to our Quality and Continuous 
Improvement office (QCI) for its review. Once accomplishment reports 
are approved, they are compiled by QCI, which annually tabulates total 
financial benefits agencywide and by goal. 

Verification and validation: 

Our policies and procedures require us to use the Accomplishment 
Reporting System to record the financial benefits that result from our 
work. They also provide guidance on estimating those financial 
benefits. The team identifies when a financial benefit has occurred as 
a result of our work. The team develops estimates based on non-GAO 
sources, such as the agency that acted on our work, a congressional 
committee, or the Congressional Budget Office, and files accomplishment 
reports based on those estimates. When non-GAO estimates are not 
readily available, teams may use GAO estimates--developed in 
consultation with our experts, such as the Chief Economist, Chief 
Actuary, or Chief Statistician, and corroborated with a knowledgeable 
program official from the executive agency involved. The estimates are 
reduced by significant identifiable offsetting costs. The team develops 
workpapers to support accomplishments with evidence that meets our 
evidence standard, supervisors review the workpapers, and an 
independent person within GAO reviews the accomplishment report. The 
team's managing director or director is authorized to approve financial 
accomplishment reports with benefits of less than $100 million. 

The team forwards the report to QCI, which reviews all accomplishment 
reports and approves accomplishment reports claiming benefits of $100 
million or more. QCI provides summary data on approved financial 
benefits to team managers, who check the data on a regular basis to 
make sure that approved accomplishments submitted by their staff have 
been accurately recorded. Our Engagement Reporting System also contains 
accomplishment data for the fiscal year. In fiscal year 2007, QCI 
approved accomplishment reports covering 94 percent of the dollar value 
of financial benefits we reported. 

Every year, our Office of Inspector General (IG) reviews accomplishment 
reports that claim benefits of $500 million or more. For fiscal year 
2007, the IG reviewed accomplishment reports covering 74 percent of the 
dollar value of financial benefits we reported. In addition, on a 
periodic basis, the IG independently tests compliance with our process 
for claiming financial benefits of less than $500 million. For example, 
the IG reviewed fiscal year 2006 financial benefits of $100 million or 
more and found our reporting process to be sound overall. However, the 
IG improvements to the clarity of certain policies related to reporting 
financial accomplishments and the documentation supporting selected 
accomplishment reports. We clarified our guidance and updated our 
policy manual in fiscal year 2007. 

Data limitations: 

Not every financial benefit from our work can be readily estimated or 
documented as attributable to our work. As a result, the amount of 
financial benefits is a conservative estimate. Estimates are based on 
information from non-GAO sources and are based on both objective and 
subjective data, and as a result, professional judgment is required in 
reviewing accomplishment reports. We feel that the verification and 
validation steps that we take minimize any adverse impact from this 
limitation. 

[End Financial Benefits] 

Nonfinancial Benefits: 

Definition and background: 

Our work--including our findings and recommendations--may produce 
benefits to the federal government that cannot be estimated in dollar 
terms. These nonfinancial benefits can result in better services to the 
public, changes to statutes or regulations, or improved government 
business operations. Nonfinancial benefits generally result from work 
that we completed over the past several years. 

Nonfinancial benefits are linked to specific recommendations or other 
work that we completed over several years. To claim that nonfinancial 
benefits have been achieved, staff must file an accomplishment report 
that documents that (1) the actions taken as a result of our work have 
been completed or substantially completed, (2) the actions generally 
were taken within the past 2 fiscal years of filing the accomplishment 
report, and (3) a cause-and-effect relationship exists between the 
benefits reported and our recommendation or work performed. 

Data sources: 

Our Accomplishment Reporting System provides the data for this measure. 
Teams use this automated system to prepare, review, and approve 
accomplishments and forward them to QCI for its review. Once 
accomplishment reports are approved, they are compiled by QCI, which 
annually tabulates total other (nonfinancial) benefits agencywide and 
by goal. 

Verification and validation: 

Our policies and procedures require us to use the Accomplishment 
Reporting System to record the nonfinancial benefits that result from 
our findings and recommendations. Staff in the teams file 
accomplishment reports to claim that benefits have resulted from their 
work. The team develops workpapers to support accomplishments with 
evidence that meets our evidence standard. Supervisors review the 
workpapers; an independent person within GAO reviews the accomplishment 
report; and the team's managing director or director approves the 
accomplishment report to ensure the appropriateness of the claimed 
accomplishment, including attribution to our work. 

The team forwards the report to QCI, where it is reviewed for 
appropriateness. QCI provides summary data on nonfinancial benefits to 
team managers, who check the data on a regular basis to make sure that 
approved accomplishments from their staff have been accurately 
recorded. Additionally, on a periodic basis, the IG independently tests 
compliance with our process for claiming nonfinancial benefits. For 
example, the IG tested this process in fiscal year 2005 and found it to 
be reasonable. The IG also recommended actions to strengthen 
documentation of our nonfinancial benefits and to encourage the timely 
processing of the supporting accomplishment reports. 

Data limitations: 

The data may be underreported because we cannot always document a 
direct cause-and-effect relationship between our work and benefits it 
produced. However, we feel that this is not a significant limitation on 
the data because the data represent a conservative measure of our 
overall contribution toward improving government. 

[End Nonfinancial Benefits] 

Percentage of Products with Recommendations: 

Definition and background: 

We measure the percentage of our written products (chapter and letter 
reports and numbered correspondence) issued in the fiscal year that 
included at least one recommendation. We make recommendations that 
specify actions that can be taken to improve federal operations or 
programs. We strive for recommendations that are directed at resolving 
the cause of identified problems; that are addressed to parties who 
have the authority to act; and that are specific, feasible, and cost- 
effective. Some products we issue contain no recommendations and are 
strictly informational in nature. 

We track the percentage of our written products that are issued during 
the fiscal year and contain recommendations. This indicator recognizes 
that our products do not always include recommendations and that the 
Congress and agencies often find such informational reports just as 
useful as those that contain recommendations. For example, 
informational reports, which do not contain recommendations, can help 
to bring about significant financial and nonfinancial benefits. 

Data sources: 

Our Documents Database records recommendations as they are issued. The 
database is updated daily. As our staff monitor implementation of 
recommendations, they submit updated information to the database. 

Verification and validation: 

Through a formal process, each team identifies the number of 
recommendations included in each product and an external contractor 
enters them into a database. We provide our managers with reports on 
the recommendations being tracked to help ensure that all 
recommendations have been captured and that each recommendation has 
been completely and accurately stated. Additionally, on a periodic 
basis, the IG independently tests the teams' compliance with our 
policies and procedures related to this performance measure. For 
example, during fiscal year 2006, the IG tested and determined that our 
process for determining the percentage of written products with 
recommendations was reasonable. The IG also recommended actions to 
improve the process for developing, compiling, and reporting these 
statistics. We have implemented the IG's recommendations for fiscal 
year 2007. Since then, we have used the same procedures to compute and 
report this measure. 

Data limitations: 

This measure is a conservative estimate of the extent to which we 
assist the Congress and federal agencies because not all products and 
services we provide lead to recommendations. For example, the Congress 
may request information on federal programs that is purely descriptive 
or analytical and does not lend itself to recommendations. 

[End Percentage of Products with Recommendations] 

Past Recommendations Implemented: 

Definition and background: 

We make recommendations designed to improve the operations of the 
federal government. For our work to produce financial or nonfinancial 
benefits, the Congress or federal agencies must implement these 
recommendations. As part of our audit responsibilities under generally 
accepted government auditing standards, we follow up on recommendations 
we have made and report to the Congress on their status. Experience has 
shown that it takes time for some recommendations to be implemented. 
For this reason, this measure is the percentage rate of implementation 
of recommendations made 4 years prior to a given fiscal year (e.g., the 
fiscal year 2007 implementation rate is the percentage of 
recommendations made in fiscal year 2003 products that were implemented 
by the end of fiscal year 2007). Experience has shown that if a 
recommendation has not been implemented within 4 years, it is not 
likely to be implemented. 

This measure assesses action on recommendations made 4 years 
previously, rather than the results of our activities during the fiscal 
year in which the data are reported. For example, the cumulative 
percentage of recommendations made in fiscal year 2003 that were 
implemented in the ensuing years is as follows: 18 percent by the end 
of the first year (fiscal year 2004), 32 percent by the end of the 
second year (fiscal year 2005), 43 percent by the end of the third year 
(fiscal year 2006), and 82 percent by the end of the fourth year 
(fiscal year 2007). 

Data sources: 

Our Documents Database records recommendations as they are issued. The 
database is updated daily. As our staff monitor implementation of 
recommendations, they submit updated information to the database. 

Verification and validation: 

Through a formal process, each team identifies the number of 
recommendations included in each product, and an external contractor 
enters them into a database. 

Policies and procedures specify that our staff must verify, with 
sufficient supporting documentation, that an agency's reported actions 
are adequately being implemented. Staff update the status of the 
recommendations on a periodic basis. To accomplish this, our staff may 
interview agency officials, obtain agency documents, access agency 
databases, or obtain information from an agency's inspector general. 
Recommendations that are reported as implemented are reviewed by a 
senior executive in the unit and by QCI. 

Summary data are provided to the units that issued the recommendations. 
The units check the data regularly to make sure that the 
recommendations they have reported as implemented have been accurately 
recorded. We also provide to the Congress a database with the status of 
recommendations that have not been implemented, and we maintain a 
publicly available database of open recommendations that is updated 
daily. 

Additionally, on a periodic basis, the IG independently tests our 
process for calculating the percentage of recommendations implemented 
for a given fiscal year. For example, the IG determined that our 
process was reasonable for calculating the percentage of 
recommendations that had been made in our fiscal year 2002 products and 
implemented by the end of fiscal year 2006. The IG also recommended 
actions to improve the process for developing, compiling and reporting 
this statistic. In fiscal year 2007, we implemented the IG's 
recommendation for calculating the percentage of recommendations that 
had been made in fiscal year 2003 products and implemented by the end 
of fiscal year 2007. 

Data limitations: 

The data may be underreported because sometimes a recommendation may 
require more than 4 years to implement. We also may not count cases in 
which a recommendation is partially implemented. However, we feel that 
this is not a significant limitation to the data because the data 
represent a conservative measure of our overall contribution toward 
improving government. 

[End Past Recommendations Implemented] 

[End Results Measures] 

Client Measures: 

Testimonies: 

Definition and background: 

The Congress may ask us to testify at hearings on various issues, and 
these hearings are the basis for this measure. Participation in 
hearings is one of our most important forms of communication with the 
Congress, and the number of hearings at which we testify reflects the 
importance and value of our institutional knowledge in assisting 
congressional decision making. When multiple GAO witnesses with 
separate testimonies appear at a single hearing, we count this as a 
single testimony. We do not count statements submitted for the record 
when a GAO witness does not appear. 

Data sources: 

The data on hearings at which we testified are compiled in our 
congressional hearing system managed by staff in Congressional 
Relations. 

Verification and validation: 

The units responding to requests for testimony are responsible for 
entering data in the Congressional Hearing System. After a GAO witness 
has testified at a hearing, Congressional Relations verifies that the 
data in the system are correct and records the hearing as one at which 
we testified. Congressional Relations provides weekly status reports to 
unit managers, who check to make sure that the data are complete and 
accurate. Additionally, on a periodic basis, the IG independently 
examines the process for recording the number of hearings at which we 
testified. For example, the IG determined that our process for 
recording hearings during fiscal year 2006 was reasonable. In fiscal 
year 2007, we followed the same process for recording hearings. 

Data limitations: 

This measure does not include statements for the record that we prepare 
for congressional hearings. Also, this measure may be influenced by 
factors other than the quality of our performance in any specific year. 
The number of hearings held each year depends on the Congress's agenda, 
and the number of times we are asked to testify may reflect 
congressional interest in work in progress as well as work completed 
that year or the previous year. To mitigate this limitation, we try to 
adjust our target to reflect cyclical changes in the congressional 
schedule. We also outreach to our clients on a continuing basis to 
increase their awareness of our readiness to participate in hearings. 

[End Testimonies] 

Timeliness: 

Definition and background: 

The likelihood that our products will be used is enhanced if they are 
delivered when needed to support congressional and agency decision 
making. To determine whether our products are timely, we compute the 
proportion of favorable responses to questions related to timeliness 
from our electronic client feedback survey. Because our products often 
have multiple requesters, we often survey more than one congressional 
staff person per product. Thus, we base our timeliness result on the 
number of surveys sent out during the fiscal year. We send a survey to 
key staff working for the requesters of our testimony statements and a 
survey to requesters of our more significant written products-- 
specifically, engagements assigned an interest level of "high" by our 
senior management and those requiring an investment of 500 GAO staff 
days or more. One question on each survey asks the respondent whether 
the product was delivered on time. When a product that meets our survey 
criteria is released to the public, we electronically send relevant 
congressional staff an e-mail message containing a link to a survey. 
When this link is accessed, the survey recipient is asked to respond to 
the questions using a five-point scale--strongly agree, generally 
agree, neither agree nor disagree, generally disagree, strongly 
disagree--or choose "not applicable/no answer." For this measure, 
favorable responses are "strongly agree" and "generally agree." 

Data sources: 

To identify the products that meet our survey criteria (all testimonies 
and other products that are high interest or involve 500 staff days or 
more), we run a query against GAO's Documents Database maintained by a 
contractor. To identify appropriate recipients of the survey for 
products meeting our criteria, we ask the engagement teams to provide 
in GAO's Product Numbering Database e-mail addresses for congressional 
staff serving as contacts on a product. Relevant information from both 
of these databases is fed into our Product by Product Survey Approval 
Database that is managed by QCI. 

This database then combines product, survey recipient, and data from 
our Congressional Relations staff and creates an e-mail message with a 
Web link to a survey. (Congressional Relations staff serve as the GAO 
contacts for survey recipients.) The e-mail message also contains an 
embedded client password and unique client identifier to ensure that a 
recipient is linked with the appropriate survey. Our Congressional 
Feedback Database creates a survey record with the product title and 
number and captures the responses to every survey sent back to us 
electronically. 

Verification and validation: 

QCI staff review a hard copy of a released GAO product or access its 
electronic version to check the accuracy of the addressee information 
in the Product by Product Survey Approval Database. QCI staff also 
check the congressional staff directory to ensure that survey 
recipients listed in the Product by Product Survey Approval Database 
appear there. In addition, our Congressional Relations staff review the 
list of survey recipients entered by the engagement teams and identify 
the most appropriate congressional staff person to receive a survey for 
each requester. Survey e-mail messages that are inadvertently sent with 
incorrect e-mail addresses automatically reappear in the survey 
approval system. When this happens, QCI staff correct any obvious 
typing errors and resend the e-mail message or contact the 
congressional staff person directly for the correct e-mail address and 
then resend the message. The IG also periodically reviews the 
timeliness performance measure and last reviewed it in fiscal year 
2005--the last year before we began to use the independent feedback 
from the survey as a basis for determining our timeliness. 

Data limitations: 

We do not measure the timeliness of all of our external products 
because we do not wish to place too much burden on busy congressional 
staff. Testimonies and written products that meet our criteria for this 
measure represent more than 50 percent of the congressionally requested 
products we issued during fiscal year 2007. We exclude from our 
timeliness measure low and medium interest reports requiring fewer than 
500 staff days to complete, reports addressed to agency heads or 
commissions, some reports mandated by the Congress, classified reports, 
and reports completed under the Comptroller General's authority. Also, 
if a requester indicates that he or she does not want to complete any 
surveys, we will not send a survey to this person again, even though a 
product subsequently requested meets our criteria. The response rate 
for our client feedback survey is about 28 percent. We received 
comments from one or more people for about 54 percent of the products 
for which we sent surveys in fiscal year 2007. 

[End Timeliness] 

[End Client Measures] 

People Measures: 

New Hire Rate: 

Definition and background: 

This performance measure is the ratio of the number of people hired to 
the number we planned to hire. Annually, we develop a workforce plan 
that takes into account projected workload changes, as well as other 
changes, such as retirements, other attrition, promotions, and skill 
gaps. The workforce plan for the upcoming year specifies the number of 
planned hires and, for each new hire, specifies the skill type and 
level. The plan is conveyed to each of our units to guide hiring 
throughout the year. Progress toward achieving the workforce plan is 
monitored monthly by the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief 
Administrative Officer. Adjustments to the workforce plan are made 
throughout the year, if necessary, to reflect changing needs and 
conditions. 

Data sources: 

The Executive Committee approves the workforce plan. The workforce plan 
is coordinated and maintained by the Chief Administrative Office. Data 
on accessions--that is, new hires coming on board--is taken from a 
database that contains employee data from the Department of 
Agriculture's National Finance Center (NFC) database, which handles 
payroll and personnel data for GAO and other agencies. 

Verification and validation: 

The Chief Administrative Office maintains a database that monitors and 
tracks all our hiring offers, declinations, and accessions. In 
coordination with our Human Capital Office, our Chief Administrative 
Office staff input workforce information supporting this measure into 
the Chief Administrative Office database. While the database is updated 
on a daily basis, monthly reports are provided to the Chief Operating 
Officer and the Chief Administrative Officer to monitor progress by GAO 
units in achieving workforce plan hiring targets. The Chief 
Administrative Office continuously monitors and reviews accessions 
maintained in the NFC data against its database to ensure consistency 
and to resolve discrepancies. The office follows up on any 
discrepancies. In addition, on a periodic basis, the IG examines our 
process for calculating the new hire rate. During fiscal year 2004, the 
IG independently reviewed this process and found it to be reasonable. 
The IG also recommended actions to improve the documentation of the 
process used to calculate this measure. We have implemented the IG's 
recommendations. 

Data limitations: 

There is a lag of one to two pay periods (up to 4 weeks) before the NFC 
database reflects actual data. We generally allow sufficient time 
before requesting data for this measure to ensure that we get accurate 
results. 

[End New Hire Rate] 

Retention Rate: 

Definition and background: 

We continuously strive to make GAO a place where people want to work. 
Once we have made an investment in hiring and training people, we would 
like to retain them. This measure is one indicator that we are 
attaining that objective and is the inverse of attrition. We calculate 
this measure by taking 100 percent of the onboard strength minus the 
attrition rate, where attrition rate is defined as the number of 
separations divided by the average onboard strength. We calculate this 
measure with and without retirements. 

Data sources: 

Data on retention--that is, people who are on board at the beginning of 
the fiscal year and are still here at the end of the fiscal year as 
well as the average number of people on board during the year--are 
taken from a Chief Administrative Office database that contains some 
data from the NFC database, which handles payroll and personnel data 
for GAO and other agencies. 

Verification and validation: 

Chief Administrative Office staff continuously monitor and review 
accessions and attritions against the contents of their database that 
has NFC data and they follow up on any discrepancies. In addition, on a 
periodic basis, the IG examines our process for calculating the 
retention rate. During fiscal year 2004, the IG reviewed this process 
and found it to be reasonable. The IG also recommended actions to 
improve the documentation of the process used to calculate this 
measure. We have implemented the IG's recommendations. 

Data limitations: 

See New hire rate, Data limitations. 

[End Retention Rate] 

Staff Development: 

Definition and background: 

One way that we measure how well we are doing and identify areas for 
improvement is through our annual employee feedback survey. This Web- 
based survey, which is conducted by an outside contractor to ensure the 
confidentiality of every respondent, is administered to all of our 
employees once a year. Through the survey, we encourage our staff to 
indicate what they think about GAO's overall operations, work 
environment, and organizational culture and how they rate our managers-
-from the immediate supervisor to the Executive Committee--on key 
aspects of their leadership styles. The survey consists of over 100 
questions. 

This measure is based on staff's favorable responses to three of the 
six questions related to staff development on our annual employee 
survey. This subset of questions was selected on the basis of senior 
management's judgment about the questions' relevance to the measure and 
specialists' knowledge about the development of indexes. Staff were 
asked to respond to three questions on a five-point scale or choose "no 
basis to judge/not applicable" or "no answer." 

Data sources: 

These data come from our staff's responses to an annual Web-based 
survey. The survey questions we used for this measure ask staff how 
much positive or negative impact (1) external training and conferences 
and (2) on-the-job training had on their ability to do their jobs 
during the last 12 months. From the staff who expressed an opinion, we 
calculated the percentage of staff selecting the two categories that 
indicate satisfaction with or a favorable response to the question. For 
this measure, the favorable responses were either "very positive 
impact" or "generally positive impact." In addition, the survey 
question asked how useful and relevant to your work did you find 
internal (Learning Center) training courses. From staff who expressed 
an opinion, we calculated the percentage of staff selecting the three 
categories that indicate satisfaction with or a favorable response to 
the question. For this measure, the favorable responses were "very 
greatly useful and relevant," "greatly useful and relevant," and 
"moderately useful and relevant." 

Verification and validation: 

The employee feedback survey gathers staff opinions on a variety of 
topics. The survey is password protected, and only the outside 
contractor has access to passwords. In addition, when the survey 
instrument was developed, extensive focus groups and pretests were 
undertaken to refine the questions and provide definitions as needed. 
In fiscal year 2007, our response rate to this survey was about 74 
percent, which indicates that its results are largely representative of 
the GAO population. In addition, many teams and work units conduct 
follow-on work to gain a better understanding of the information from 
the survey. 

In addition, on a periodic basis, the IG independently examines our 
process for calculating the percentage of favorable responses for staff 
development. The IG examined this process during fiscal year 2004 and 
found it to be reasonable. The IG also recommended actions to improve 
the documentation of the process used to calculate this measure. We 
have implemented the IG's recommendations. 

Data limitations: 

The information contained in the survey is the self-reported opinions 
of staff expressed under conditions of confidentiality. Accordingly, 
there is no way to further validate those expressions of opinion. 

The practical difficulties of conducting any survey may introduce 
errors, commonly referred to as nonsampling errors. These errors could 
result from, for example, respondents misinterpreting a question or 
data entry staff incorrectly entering data into a database used to 
analyze the survey responses. Such errors can introduce unwanted 
variability into the survey results. We took steps in the development 
of the survey to minimize nonsampling errors. Specifically, when we 
developed the survey instrument we held extensive focus groups and 
pretests to refine the questions and define terms used to decrease the 
chances that respondents would misunderstand the questions. We also 
limited the chances of introducing nonsampling errors by creating a Web-
based survey for which respondents entered their answers directly into 
an electronic questionnaire. This approach eliminated the need to have 
the data keyed into a database by someone other than the respondent, 
thus removing an additional source of error. 

[End Staff Development] 

Staff Utilization: 

Definition and background: 

This measure is based on staff's favorable responses to three of the 
six questions related to staff utilization on our annual employee 
survey. This subset of questions was selected on the basis of senior 
management's judgment about the questions' relevance to the measure and 
specialists' knowledge about the development of indexes. Staff were 
asked to respond to these three questions on a five-point scale or 
choose "no basis to judge/not applicable" or "no answer." (For 
background information about our entire employee feedback survey, see 
Staff development.) 

Data sources: 

These data come from our staff's responses to an annual Web-based 
survey. The survey questions we used for this measure ask staff how 
often the following occurred in the last 12 months: (1) my job made 
good use of my skills; (2) GAO provided me with opportunities to do 
challenging work; and (3) in general, I was utilized effectively. From 
the staff who expressed an opinion, we calculated the percentage of 
staff selecting the two categories that indicate satisfaction with or a 
favorable response to the question. For this measure, the favorable 
responses were either "very positive impact" or "generally positive 
impact." 

Verification and validation: 

See Staff development, Verification and validation. 

Data limitations: 

See Staff development, Data limitations. 

[End Staff Utilization] 

Leadership: 

Definition and background: 

This measure is based on staff's favorable responses to 10 of 20 
questions related to six areas of leadership on our annual employee 
survey. This subset of questions was selected on the basis of senior 
management's judgment about the questions' relevance to the measure and 
specialists' knowledge about the development of indexes. Specifically, 
our calculation included responses to 1 of 4 questions related to 
empowerment, 2 of 4 questions related to trust, all 3 questions related 
to recognition, 1 of 3 questions related to decisiveness, 2 of 3 
questions related to leading by example, and 1 of 3 questions related 
to work life. Staff were asked to respond to these 10 questions on a 
five-point scale or choose "no basis to judge/not applicable" or "no 
answer." (For background information about our entire employee feedback 
survey, see Staff development, Definition and background.) 

Data sources: 

These data come from our staff's responses to an annual Web-based 
survey. The survey questions we used for this measure ask staff about 
empowerment, trust, recognition, decisiveness, leading by example, and 
work life as they pertain to the respondent's immediate supervisor. 
Specifically the survey asked staff the following questions about their 
immediate supervisor during the last 12 months: (1) gave me the 
opportunity to do what I do best; (2) treated me fairly; (3) acted with 
honesty and integrity toward me; (4) ensured that there was a clear 
link between my performance and recognition of it; (5) gave me the 
sense that my work is valued; (6) provided me meaningful incentives for 
high performance; (7) made decisions in a timely manner; (8) 
demonstrated GAO's core values of accountability, integrity, and 
reliability; (9) implemented change effectively; (10) dealt effectively 
with EEO and discrimination issues. From the staff who expressed an 
opinion, we calculated the percentage of staff selecting the two 
categories that indicate satisfaction with or a favorable response to 
the question. For this measure, the favorable responses were either 
"always or almost always" or "most of the time." 

Verification and validation: 

See Staff development, Verification and validation. 

Data limitations: 

See Staff development, Data limitations. 

[End Leadership] 

Organizational Climate: 

Definition and background: 

This measure is based on staff's favorable responses to 5 of the 13 
questions related to organizational climate on our annual employee 
survey. This subset of questions was selected on the basis of senior 
management's judgment about the questions' relevance to the measure and 
specialists' knowledge about the development of indexes. Staff were 
asked to respond to these 5 questions on a five-point scale or choose 
"no basis to judge" or "no answer." (For background information about 
our entire employee feedback survey, see Staff development.) 

Data sources: 

These data come from our staff's responses to an annual Web-based 
survey. The survey questions we used for this measure ask staff to 
think back over the last 12 months and indicate how strongly they agree 
or disagree with each of the following statements: (1) a spirit of 
cooperation and teamwork exists in my work unit; (2) I am treated 
fairly and with respect in my work unit; (3) my morale is good; (4) 
sufficient effort is made in my work unit to get the opinions and 
thinking of people who work here; and (5) overall, I am satisfied with 
my job at GAO. From the staff who expressed an opinion, we calculated 
the percentage of staff selecting the two categories that indicate 
satisfaction with or a favorable response to the question. For this 
measure, the favorable responses were either "strongly agree" or 
"generally agree." 

Verification and validation: 

See Staff development, Verification and validation. 

Data limitations: 

See Staff development, Data limitations. 

[End Organizational Climate] 

[End People Measures] 

Internal Operations Measures: 

Help Get Job Done and Quality of Work Life: 

Definition and background: 

To measure how well we are doing at delivering internal administrative 
services to our employees and identify areas for improvement, we 
conduct an annual Web-based survey in November. The customer 
satisfaction survey on administrative services, conducted by an outside 
contractor to ensure the confidentiality of every respondent, is 
administered to all of our employees once a year. Through the survey we 
encourage our staff to indicate how satisfied they are with 19 services 
that help them get their jobs done and another 10 services that affect 
their quality of work life. As part of the survey, employees are asked 
to rate, on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high), those services that are 
important to them and that they have experience with or used recently. 
Then, for each selected service, employees are asked to indicate their 
level of satisfaction from 1 (low) to 5 (high), and provide a written 
reason for their rating and recommendations for improvement if desired. 
Based on employees' responses to these questions, we calculate a 
composite score. 

Data sources: 

These data come from our staff's responses to an annual Web-based 
survey. To determine how satisfied GAO employees are with internal 
administrative services, we calculate composite scores for two 
measures. One measure reflects the satisfaction with the 19 services 
that help employees get their jobs done. These services include 
Internet and intranet services, information technology customer 
support, mail services, and voice communication services. The second 
measure reflects satisfaction with another 10 services that affect 
quality of work life. These services include assistance related to pay 
and benefits, building maintenance and security, and workplace safety 
and health. The composite score represents how employees rated their 
satisfaction with services in each of these areas relative to how they 
rated the importance of those services to them. The importance scores 
and satisfaction levels are both rated on a scale of 1 (low) and 5 
(high). 

Verification and validation: 

The satisfaction survey on administrative services is housed on a Web 
site maintained by an outside contractor, and only the contractor has 
the ability to link the survey results with individual staff. Our 
survey response rate was 48 percent in 2006. To ensure that the results 
are largely representative of the GAO population, we analyze the 
results by demographic representation (unit, tenure, location, band 
level, and job type). Each GAO unit responsible for administrative 
services conducts follow-on work, including analyzing written comments 
to gain a better understanding of the information from the survey. In 
addition, on a periodic basis, the IG independently assesses the 
internal operations performance measures. The IG examined the measures 
during fiscal year 2007 and found the measures reasonable. The IG also 
recommended actions to improve the measures' reliability and 
objectivity. We are in the process of implementing the IG's 
recommendations. 

Data limitations: 

The information contained in the survey is the self-reported opinion of 
staff expressed under conditions of confidentiality. Accordingly, there 
is no way to further validate those expressions of opinion. We do not 
plan any actions to remedy this limitation because we feel it would 
violate the pledge of confidentiality that we make to our staff 
regarding the survey responses. The practical difficulties of 
conducting any survey may introduce errors, commonly referred to as 
nonsampling errors. These errors could result from, for example, 
respondents misinterpreting a question or entering their data 
incorrectly. Such errors can introduce unwanted variability into the 
survey results. We limit the chances of introducing nonsampling errors 
by using a Web-based survey for which respondents' enter their answers 
directly into an electronic questionnaire. This eliminates the need to 
have the data keyed into a database by someone other than the 
respondent. 

[End of Help Get the Job Done and Quality of Work Life] 

[End Internal Operations Measures] 

Program Evaluation: 

To assess our progress toward our first three strategic goals and their 
objectives and to update them for our Strategic Plan, we evaluate 
actions taken by federal agencies and the Congress in response to our 
recommendations. The results of these evaluations are conveyed in this 
performance and accountability report as financial benefits and 
nonfinancial benefits that reflect the value of our work. In addition, 
we actively monitor the status of our open recommendations--those that 
remain valid but have not yet been implemented--and report our findings 
annually to the Congress and the public [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/openrecs.html]. We use the results of that analysis 
to determine the need for further work in particular areas. For 
example, if an agency has not implemented a recommended action that we 
consider to be worthwhile, we may decide to pursue further action with 
agency officials or congressional committees, or we may decide to 
undertake additional work on the matter. 

We also use our biennial high-risk update report to provide a status 
report on those major government operations considered high risk 
because of their vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and 
mismanagement or the need for broad-based transformation. The report is 
a valuable evaluation and planning tool because it helps us to identify 
those areas where our continued efforts are needed to maintain the 
focus on important policy and management issues that the nation faces. 
(See [hyperlink,http://www.gao.gov/docsearch/featured/highrisk.html]). 

[End Program Evaluation] 

Footnotes: 

[1] Complete descriptions of the steps in our strategic planning and 
management process are included in our strategic plan for fiscal years 
2007 through 2012, which is available on our Web sire at [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov]. 

[End GAO's Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2009]