The federal government faces an unsustainable fiscal path. Changing the path will likely require difficult fiscal policy decisions to alter both long-term federal spending and revenue. Yet, in the near-term, executive branch agencies and Congress can act to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government programs and activities.
Opportunities to take action exist in areas where federal programs or activities are fragmented, overlapping, or duplicative. To highlight these opportunities, GAO is statutorily mandated to identify and report annually to Congress on federal programs, agencies, offices, and initiatives—either within departments or government-wide—that have duplicative goals or activities. In addition, GAO identifies additional opportunities to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness by means of cost savings or enhanced revenue collection.
In the first three annual reports issued from 2011 through 2013, GAO presented 162 areas where opportunities existed for executive branch agencies or Congress to reduce, eliminate, or better manage fragmentation, overlap, or duplication; achieve cost savings; or enhance revenue. Figure 1 outlines the definitions GAO used for fragmentation, overlap, and duplication for this work. In these first three reports, GAO identified approximately 380 actions that executive branch agencies and Congress could take to address the opportunities for greater efficiency and effectiveness that GAO identified.
Figure 1: Definitions of Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication
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