Government Operations:

List of Selected Federal Programs That Have Similar or Overlapping Objectives, Provide Similar Services, or Are Fragmented Across Government Missions

GAO-11-474R: Published: Mar 18, 2011. Publicly Released: Mar 18, 2011.

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This report supplements our March 1, 2011, report Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue--GAO's first annual report to Congress in response to a statutory requirement to identify federal programs, agencies, offices, and initiatives, either within departments or governmentwide, which have duplicative goals or activities. Section I of that report touched on hundreds of federal programs governmentwide that we found have similar or overlapping objectives, provide similar services to the same populations, or are involved in government missions that are fragmented across multiple agencies. As noted in our March 1 report, the presence of fragmentation and overlap can suggest the need to look more closely at the potential for unnecessary duplication. However, determining whether and to what extent programs are actually duplicative requires programmatic information that is often not readily available. In addition, while we have reported on examples where duplication, overlap, and fragmentation can hinder program performance and cause inefficiencies, we recognize that there could be instances where some degree of program duplication, overlap, or fragmentation may be warranted due to the nature or magnitude of the federal effort. For details on the extent to which we found the programs listed in this report to be fragmented, overlapping, or possibly duplicative. This report provides a more detailed listing of programs we identified in several areas discussed in our March 1 report.

We included nine areas for which we provided specific numbers of programs in Section I of our March 1 report. These areas contain hundreds of government programs that are fragmented across multiple agencies or, in some cases, within the same agency or department. The end of this report contains enumerated lists of programs in each of the nine areas and provides funding information where available. While there is no standard definition for what constitutes a federal program, for the purposes of this report, programs include grants, initiatives, centers, loans, funds, and other types of assistance. This report does not list programs related to every area of potential duplication we identified in our March 1 report because many of those areas focus on activities or functions--such as business systems modernization or interagency contracting--performed by departments, agencies, military services, or other entities that are not programs per se. The programs listed here are from those sections of the report where we listed specific numbers of overlapping or fragmented programs. Furthermore, the areas we identified are not intended to represent the full universe of duplication, overlap, or fragmentation within the federal government. GAO will continue to identify additional areas in future reports.

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