High-Risk Series:

An Update

HR-99-1: Published: Jan 1, 1999. Publicly Released: Jan 1, 1999.

Additional Materials:

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Lisa G. Jacobson
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GAO provided an overview of progress agencies have made to improve serious and widespread weaknesses that have been the focus of GAO's high-risk program for several years.

GAO noted that: (1) in GAO's 1997 update for the 105th Congress, GAO reported that progress had been made in addressing the 20 high-risk areas being tracked at that time; (2) GAO cautioned, however, that much more effort was needed to fully implement real solutions to these serious and long-standing problems; (3) also in 1997, GAO added five areas--the year 2000 computing challenge and information security as governmentwide risks, the Supplemental Security Income program, defense infrastructure, and the 2000 Decennial Census; (4) since 1997, agencies have focused on developing action plans and are trying to resolve weaknesses; Congress has heightened its attention by reviewing agencies' progress and taking legislative action; (5) because of sustained, tangible improvements in one area--the Customs Service's financial management--GAO is removing its high-risk designation, making this the sixth area to come off the high-risk list since GAO began this effort in 1990; (6) in the remaining areas, more needs to be done to achieve real and sustained improvements; (7) in many cases, agencies have agreed with GAO recommendations but have not yet fully implemented them; (8) also, many good plans have been conceived but the more difficult implementation task of successfully translating those plans into day-to-day management reality lies ahead; (9) it will take time to fully resolve most high-risk areas because they are deep-rooted, difficult problems in very large programs and organizations; (10) continued perseverance in addressing the 26 areas that are the current focus of GAO's high-risk initiative will ultimately yield significant benefits; (11) collectively, these areas affect almost all of the government's annual $1.7 trillion in revenue and span critical government programs and operations from certain benefit programs to large lending operations, major military and civilian agency contracting, and defense infrastructure; and (12) lasting solutions to high-risk problems offer the potential to save billions of dollars, dramatically improve services to the American public, and strengthen confidence in the accountability and performance of the national government.

Below are the reports in this series:

High-Risk Series: An Update HR-99-1, Jan 1, 1999

Performance and Accountability Series:

Major Management Challenges and Risks: An Executive Summary OCG-99-ES, Feb 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: A Governmentwide Perspective OCG-99-1, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Agriculture OCG-99-2, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Commerce OCG-99-3, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Defense OCG-99-4, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Education OCG-99-5, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Energy OCG-99-6, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Health and Human Services OCG-99-7, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Housing and Urban Development OCG-99-8, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of the Interior OCG-99-9, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Justice OCG-99-10, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Labor OCG-99-11, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of State OCG-99-12, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Transportation OCG-99-13, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of the Treasury OCG-99-14, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Department of Veterans Affairs OCG-99-15, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Agency for International Development OCG-99-16, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Environmental Protection Agency OCG-99-17, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: National Aeronautics and Space Administration OCG-99-18, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Nuclear Regulatory Commission OCG-99-19, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Risks: Social Security Administration OCG-99-20, Jan 1, 1999

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: U.S. Postal Service OCG-99-21, Jan 1, 1999

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