Major Management Challenges and Risks:

An Executive Summary

OCG-99-ES: Published: Feb 1, 1999. Publicly Released: Feb 1, 1999.

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As part of its Performance and Accountability Series, GAO provided information on the major management challenges and program risks facing federal agencies.

GAO noted that: (1) the government faces a number of major challenges to improving performance and strengthening accountability; (2) overall, agencies are making progress in trying to correct these problems and Congress has acted through hearings and legislation; (3) many agencies continue to struggle to implement basic tenets of performance-based management, such as the adoption of a results orientation; (4) the government has failed to manage on the basis of a clear understanding of the results expected to be achieved and how performance will be gauged; (5) ineffective and outmoded organizational and program structures frequently have undermined agencies' effectiveness; (6) virtually all of the results that the government strives to achieve require the concerted and coordinated efforts of two or more agencies; (7) however, mission fragmentation and program overlap are widespread and programs are not always well-coordinated; (8) federal agencies are working with their state partners to instill performance-based approaches to managing intergovernmental programs; (9) obtaining more credible results-oriented performance information is essential for: (a) accurately assessing agencies' progress in achieving goals; and (b) in cases where sufficient progress is not being made, for identifying opportunities for improvement; (10) resolving the year 2000 computing problem is the most pervasive, time-critical risk facing the government; (11) continuing computer security weaknesses put critical federal operations and assets at great risk; (12) much more needs to be done to ensure that systems and data supporting essential federal operations are adequately protected; (13) agencies are making some strides in improving information technology investment strategies, but current practices fall short of statutory expectations; (14) reliable and timely information is essential to ensure adequate accountability, manage for results, and make timely and well-informed judgments; (15) widespread financial system weaknesses, problems with fundamental recordkeeping, incomplete documentation, and weak internal controls prevented the government from accurately reporting a large portion of its assets, liabilities, and costs; (16) audited financial statements are essential to providing an annual public scorecard on accountability; (17) skill gaps in critical areas undermine agencies' effectiveness and efforts to address high-risk areas; and (18) human capital must become a more prominent issue for the government as agencies become more performance-based.

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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