Managing for Results:

Key Steps and Challenges in Implementing GPRA in Science Agencies

T-GGD/RCED-96-214: Published: Jul 10, 1996. Publicly Released: Jul 10, 1996.

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GAO discussed the challenges in implementing the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) in federal civilian science agencies, focusing on ways to improve the management of federal civilian science agencies and aid congressional decisionmaking. GAO noted that: (1) GPRA enables Congress to make difficult funding, policy, and programming decisions relative to science agencies' demands; (2) the science agencies are required to set strategic and annual goals, measure performance rates, and report their goals attainment; (3) GPRA has shifted the focus of federal management and accountability from staffing and activity levels to federal program outcomes; (4) GPRA is being phased in through 70 pilot projects, to provide agencies with guidance in meeting GPRA requirements; (5) the successful implementation of this results-oriented management approach depends on defining missions and desired outcomes, measuring program performance, and using performance data to improve program operations; (6) measuring program performance can be extremely difficult because of the wide range of factors to consider in determining a project's commercial viability; and (7) most agencies are struggling to integrate GPRA goal-setting and performance measurement requirements into their daily program operations.

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