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    Subject Term: "Administrative costs"

    29 publications with a total of 83 open recommendations including 5 priority recommendations
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should direct the NOAA Administrator to ensure that NOAA's efforts to improve its cost comparison reports include actions to fully track capital asset depreciation costs and account for ships in port undergoing major maintenance in accordance with its standard operating procedure.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, NOAA reported that it has taken steps to start developing procedures to fully track capital asset depreciation costs. NOAA expects to implement draft procedures by September 30, 2018, and fully implement them in fall 2019. In addition, NOAA stated that, by January 31, 2018, it will review and assess the current methodology it uses to account for the costs of ships in port undergoing major maintenance. NOAA intends to implement a revised methodology by February 28, 2018.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should direct the NOAA Administrator to develop a strategy for expanding NOAA's use of the private sector in its hydrographic survey program, as required by law.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, NOAA reported that it had begun developing a strategy to expand its hydrographic data collection program, and has determined that there are significant growth opportunities for private sector involvement in its program. NOAA intends to take several actions to promote the hydrographic surveying industry, and will compile the findings from the actions taken and issue a final strategy report by December 31, 2019.
    Director: Valerie Melvin
    Phone: (202) 512-6304

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase the likelihood that its IT investments develop reliable cost estimates, the Secretary of HUD should finalize, and ensure the implementation of, guidance that incorporates the best practices called for in the GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, HUD reported that the department concurred with the recommendation and noted that the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) intends to establish cost estimation guidance for IT projects within its IT Management Framework Guide, incorporating appropriate best practices from the GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide. HUD anticipates completing the OCIO IT Management Framework guidance that is intended to incorporate cost estimating principles for IT projects by September 1, 2017.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    4 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: As DOT, in response to the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, conducts additional evaluation and analysis of ECP brakes and updates the regulatory impact analysis, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to take into account, in the updated regulatory impact analysis conducted in response to the FAST Act, potential uncertainty in key variables and assumptions, such as, but not limited to, fuel prices and future rail traffic of crude oil and ethanol, discuss this uncertainty, and present ranges of possible scenarios.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOT disagreed with this recommendation, asserting that we based our findings for this recommendation only on the views of industry and experts interviewed as part of our review. However, our justification for this recommendation is primarily based on data that DOT received from railroads, on what DOT reported in the rulemaking documents, and on clear criteria from OMB and others for conducting such analyses. To fully implement this recommendation, DOT should update its 2015 ECP Brake rule and the supporting regulatory impact analyses for ECP brakes, DOT should provide a range of possible scenarios and acknowledge uncertainty in certain estimates which could help increase confidence in those estimates and address stakeholder concerns.
    Recommendation: As DOT, in response to the FAST Act, conducts additional evaluation and analysis of ECP brakes and updates the regulatory impact analysis, the Secretary of Transportation should direct FRA and PHMSA to create a plan to collect data from railroads' ongoing and future operational experiences using ECP brakes. The plan should include details on how the agency will work with railroads to collect this data, ensure that such data are reliable, and analyze these data to conduct a retrospective analysis of the ECP brakes requirement that could help inform any potential future actions regarding ECP brakes.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions DOT has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: As DOT, in response to the FAST Act, conducts additional evaluation and analysis of ECP brakes and updates the regulatory impact analysis, if, based on its updated analysis, DOT promulgates a new rule on the applicable ECP brake system requirements, the Secretary of Transportation should direct FRA and PHMSA to require that freight railroads, once they equip with ECP brakes in response to the requirement, collect and provide data to FRA on their ongoing operational experience with ECP brakes.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions DOT has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: As DOT, in response to the FAST Act, conducts additional evaluation and analysis of ECP brakes and updates the regulatory impact analysis, the Secretary of Transportation should direct FRA and PHMSA to publish information--including data inputs, formulas, and results of all simulations and assumptions regarding DOT's use of the LS-DYNA model used and related analyses to support the 2015 final rule--that would allow a third party to fully assess and replicate the analysis.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions DOT has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Sager, Michelle A
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services, in consultation with the STOC, should develop a travel data management approach, including common reporting formats that would provide GSA with more consistent travel cost data allowing GSA to compare travel costs across federal agencies. GSA could also include in this data management approach the planned implementation of the shared services model that would allow agencies to share a wide range of travel services with each other. This process could reduce both administrative costs and burden to the government and enable data-driven decision making.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to GSA officials, GSA will take the following actions: (1) conduct a rest program to determine the opportunities and barriers for creating a reliable, standardized data repository containing government-wide travel spending data (pending OMB Director approval); (2) develop and test, in coordination with volunteer agencies and the GSA City Pairs Program personnel, an airfare savings dashboard to assimilates data from multiple sources and provides information on savings and opportunities for additional airfare savings by agencies; (3) publish an FTR Bulletin that identifies 5 core travel Key Performance Indicators that all agencies should use to improve travel management via standardized data; and (4) Identify and promote consistent adaptation of standardized default configurations of air and lodging choices within all E-Gove Travel Service 2 systems. As of August 2017, according to agency officials, they expect to implement this recommendation by the end of September 2017.
    Director: Cheryl E. Clark
    Phone: (202) 512-9377

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that subsidy cost estimates for the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund are supported, reliable, and reasonable, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Housing to develop detailed policies and procedures over the subsidy cost estimation process that address, at a minimum, the documentation that should be prepared and maintained to support subsidy cost estimates and the process to document management review and approval of subsidy costs estimates.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, HUD said that a new contract was issued that will address documentation of the MMI cash flow model and the subsidy cost estimation process. HUD also said that it was in the process of developing a solicitation for a contractor to perform an independent verification and validation of the MMI cash flow model. HUD stated that completing this documentation of the subsidy cost estimation process will help management oversee the program as required by internal control standards and help support its subsidy cost estimates. We are awaiting supporting documentation for actions taken by HUD to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that subsidy cost estimates for the Direct Student Loan Program are supported, reliable, and reasonable, the Secretary of Education should direct the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development to develop detailed policies and procedures over the subsidy cost estimation process that address, at a minimum, the documentation that should be prepared and maintained to support subsidy cost estimates and the process to document management review and approval of subsidy cost estimates.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education (Education) agreed with this recommendation. Education stated that has detailed procedures for developing and validating subsidy cost estimates. These procedures include, but are not limited to, establishing a baseline scenario, documenting each assumption individually, comparing estimates to actual data, and management review and sign-off. Education has begun drafting a more detailed document that will describe policies and procedures.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that subsidy cost estimates for the Direct Student Loan Program are supported, reliable, and reasonable, the Secretary of Education should direct the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development to develop detailed documentation of the cash flow model used to estimate subsidy costs, including the rationale for model calculations, all formulas and assumptions used in the model, data sources, the process to update and document changes to the model, and the process to document management review and approval of the model, which may be based on an independent verification and validation of the model to ensure that calculations are accurate and consistent with the model documentation.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education (Education) agreed with this recommendation. Education stated that it is committed to continuous improvements in its cash flow model and how it is documented. The cash flow model includes inputs of modeled data, referred to as assumptions, together with program-determined static values, such as interest rates and fees. Education stated that it will update its detailed documentation of its cash flow model. In addition, Education is investing staff and resources into developing a new cash flow model to estimate subsidy costs. Detailed documentation of this new cash flow model will be prepared before the model becomes operational. We will review Education's new cash flow model documentation once it is completed.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that subsidy cost estimates for the Direct Student Loan Program are supported, reliable, and reasonable, the Secretary of Education should direct the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development to document the procedures and results of such procedures used to develop or support key elements of the subsidy cost estimation process, addressing at a minimum (1) the reliability of historical data, (2) the rationale for informed opinion when applicable, (3) the methods used to calculate cash flow assumptions, (4) the process to ensure that subsidy cost estimates are consistent with the terms and conditions of the program, (5) the process to assess estimated cash flows for reasonableness, and (6) the process used to perform sensitivity analysis.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education (Education) agreed with this recommendation. Education stated that it will work on developing more detailed policies and procedures which will address the key elements referenced in this recommendation.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    9 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To reduce pre-award administrative workload and costs, particularly for applications that do not result in awards, the Secretary of Energy, the NASA Administrator, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services should conduct agency-wide reviews of possible actions, such as further use of preliminary proposals, to postpone pre-award requirements until after a preliminary decision about an applicant's likelihood of funding and, through OSTP's Research Business Models working group, coordinate and report on these efforts.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 2017, DOE stated that it remained committed to addressing this recommendation. DOE outlined several steps it planned to take, such as participating in interagency meetings, but it did not indicate whether it has taken these steps.
    Recommendation: To reduce pre-award administrative workload and costs, particularly for applications that do not result in awards, the Secretary of Energy, the NASA Administrator, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services should conduct agency-wide reviews of possible actions, such as further use of preliminary proposals, to postpone pre-award requirements until after a preliminary decision about an applicant's likelihood of funding and, through OSTP's Research Business Models working group, coordinate and report on these efforts.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to HHS, NIH is considering the feasibility of an approach to streamline its application process. As of May 2017, HHS anticipated implementing this recommendation by early fiscal year 2019.
    Recommendation: To reduce pre-award administrative workload and costs, particularly for applications that do not result in awards, the Secretary of Energy, the NASA Administrator, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services should conduct agency-wide reviews of possible actions, such as further use of preliminary proposals, to postpone pre-award requirements until after a preliminary decision about an applicant's likelihood of funding and, through OSTP's Research Business Models working group, coordinate and report on these efforts.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 2017, NASA anticipated implementing this recommendation by September 2017. NASA stated that it is working with other federal agencies to identify best practices for reducing the administrative burden to applicants and will assess the impact these practices have on the quality of applications so that NASA can continue to meet its mission.
    Recommendation: To better target requirements on areas of greatest risk, while maintaining accountability over grant funds, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, as part of the planned evaluation of the HHS regulation governing financial conflicts of interest in NIH-funded research, should evaluate options for targeting requirements on areas of greatest risk for researcher conflicts, including adjusting the threshold and types of financial interests that need to be disclosed and the timing of disclosures.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS stated that, as of May 2017, NIH was proceeding with plans to assess the financial conflict of interest regulation, including how to reduce administrative burden on researchers while maintaining the integrity and credibility of research findings.
    Recommendation: To better target requirements on areas of greatest risk, while maintaining accountability over grant funds, the Director of OMB, as part of OMB's planned evaluation of the Uniform Guidance, should evaluate options for targeting requirements for research grants to universities, including requirements for purchases and subrecipient monitoring, on areas of greatest risk for improper use of research funds.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of August 2017, OMB had not provided information on steps it has taken to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To further standardize administrative research requirements, the Secretary of Energy, the NASA Administrator, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Director of NSF should coordinate through Office of Science and Technology Policy's (OSTP) Research Business Models working group to identify additional areas where they can standardize requirements and report on these efforts.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act was signed into law, requiring the Office of Management and Budget, in coordination with the Office of Science and Technology Policy, to establish an interagency working group to reduce administrative workload and costs while protecting the transparency of and accountability for federally funded research. As of March 2017, DOE, HHS, NASA, and NSF stated that, as part of their efforts to implement GAO's recommendation, they would coordinate with other research funding agencies through this interagency working group.
    Recommendation: To further standardize administrative research requirements, the Secretary of Energy, the NASA Administrator, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Director of NSF should coordinate through Office of Science and Technology Policy's (OSTP) Research Business Models working group to identify additional areas where they can standardize requirements and report on these efforts.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act was signed into law, requiring the Office of Management and Budget, in coordination with the Office of Science and Technology Policy, to establish an interagency working group to reduce administrative workload and costs while protecting the transparency of and accountability for federally funded research. As of March 2017, DOE, HHS, NASA, and NSF stated that, as part of their efforts to implement GAO's recommendation, they would coordinate with other research funding agencies through this interagency working group.
    Recommendation: To further standardize administrative research requirements, the Secretary of Energy, the NASA Administrator, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Director of NSF should coordinate through Office of Science and Technology Policy's (OSTP) Research Business Models working group to identify additional areas where they can standardize requirements and report on these efforts.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In January 2017, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act was signed into law, requiring the Office of Management and Budget, in coordination with the Office of Science and Technology Policy, to establish an interagency working group to reduce administrative workload and costs while protecting the transparency of and accountability for federally funded research. As of March 2017, DOE, HHS, NASA, and NSF stated that, as part of their efforts to implement GAO's recommendation, they would coordinate with other research funding agencies through this interagency working group.
    Recommendation: To further standardize administrative research requirements, the Secretary of Energy, the NASA Administrator, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Director of NSF should coordinate through Office of Science and Technology Policy's (OSTP) Research Business Models working group to identify additional areas where they can standardize requirements and report on these efforts.

    Agency: National Science Foundation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act was signed into law, requiring the Office of Management and Budget, in coordination with the Office of Science and Technology Policy, to establish an interagency working group to reduce administrative workload and costs while protecting the transparency of and accountability for federally funded research. As of March 2017, DOE, HHS, NASA, and NSF stated that, as part of their efforts to implement GAO's recommendation, they would coordinate with other research funding agencies through this interagency working group.
    Director: James R. McTigue, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen efforts to identify and address noncompliance with the EITC, ACTC, and AOTC, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct Refundable Credits Policy and Program Management (RCPPM) to, building on current efforts, develop a comprehensive operational strategy that includes all the RTCs for which RCPPM is responsible. The strategy could include use of error rates and amounts, evaluation and guidance on the proper use of indicators like no-change and default rates, and guidance on how to weigh trade-offs between equity and return on investment in resource allocations.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 2017, IRS is taking steps toward developing a comprehensive compliance strategy that includes the three refundable tax credits GAO reviewed, as well as the PTC. These steps include initial planning meetings with Lean Six Sigma consultants and refundable credit policy and program managers and soliciting volunteers for the teams needed to develop the strategy. GAO will continue to monitor the progress of this effort.
    Recommendation: To strengthen efforts to identify and address noncompliance with the EITC, ACTC, and AOTC, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct Refundable Credits Policy and Program Management (RCPPM) to assess whether the data received from the Department of Education's Postsecondary Education Participants System (PEPS) database (a) are sufficiently complete and accurate to reliably correct tax returns at filing and (b) provide additional information that could be used to identify returns for examination; if warranted by this research, IRS should use this information to seek legislative authority to correct tax returns at filing based on PEPS data.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In February 2016, Refundable Credits Policy and Program Management asked Wage & Investment Strategy & Solutions (WISS) to test the Department of Education's Postsecondary Education Participants System database (PEPS) to match and validate the EINS reported on Form 8863, Education Credits. According to IRS, preliminary assessment of the PEPS database indicates that it is not a sufficiently complete database to confirm AOTC eligibility during return processing or post processing. GAO reviewed the study results and submitted several follow-up questions to IRS in May 2017. GAO followed-up with IRS on the status of that information request in June 2017.
    Recommendation: To strengthen efforts to identify and address noncompliance with the EITC, ACTC, and AOTC, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct Refundable Credits Policy and Program Management (RCPPM) to take necessary steps to ensure the reliability of collections data and periodically review that data to (a) compute a collections rate for post-refund enforcement activities and (b) determine what additional analyses would provide useful information about compliance results and costs of post-refund audits and document-matching reviews.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS raised concerns about the cost of studying collections data for post-refund enforcement activities. GAO recognizes that gathering collections data has costs. However, a significant amount of enforcement activity is occurring after refunds have been paid, and use of these data could better inform resource allocation decisions and improve the overall efficiency of enforcement efforts.
    Recommendation: To strengthen efforts to identify and address noncompliance with the EITC, ACTC, and AOTC, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct Refundable Credits Policy and Program Management (RCPPM) to, as RCPPM begins efforts to track the number of erroneous returns claiming the ACTC or AOTC identified through pre-refund enforcement activities, such as screening filters and use of math error authority, it should develop and implement a plan to collect and analyze these data that includes such characteristics as identifying timing goals, resource requirements, and the appropriate methodologies for analyzing and applying the data to compliance issues.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 2017, IRS is taking steps toward developing a comprehensive compliance strategy that includes the three refundable tax credits GAO reviewed, as well as the PTC. These steps include initial planning meetings with Lean Six Sigma consultants and refundable credit policy and program managers and soliciting volunteers for the teams needed to develop the strategy. GAO will continue to monitor the progress of this effort.
    Director: Steve D. Morris
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen USDA's ability to better manage and monitor the progress of the Blueprint, including efforts to streamline and improve administrative services, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Assistant Secretary for Administration to develop a complete list identifying all of the Blueprint efforts under way and document key information needed to monitor their progress, such as status of implementation, time frames for completion, and related performance measures.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen USDA's ability to better manage and monitor the progress of the Blueprint, including efforts to streamline and improve administrative services, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Assistant Secretary for Administration to reexamine the adequacy of the staff and budget resources committed to the day-to-day management of the Blueprint, and further leverage existing departmental resources as needed.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve USDA's efforts to identify and track the benefits of the Blueprint, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Assistant Secretary for Administration to document the methodologies used to calculate any savings claimed for the Blueprint effort to ensure any such estimate is based on quality information.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve USDA's efforts to identify and track the benefits of the Blueprint, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief Financial Officer to develop a cost-effective method, using existing data systems, to collect and track USDA's spending on administrative services to identify baseline spending and target areas for future cost savings.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve USDA's efforts to identify and track the benefits of the Blueprint, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Assistant Secretary for Administration to systematically identify and track nonfinancial benefits from USDA's Blueprint efforts to better gauge the Blueprint's progress and more fully report its results.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance USDA's efforts to share lessons learned from the Blueprint, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Assistant Secretary for Administration to maintain and promote existing web-based collaboration tools, including keeping information in these tools current, for agencies and staff offices to report their experiences and lessons learned from their Blueprint efforts to help strengthen internal information sharing and inform future efforts.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Energy, Defense, and Health and Human Services should develop detailed guidance to ensure that ORISE program coordinators, mentors, and research participants are fully informed of the prohibition on nonfederal employees performing inherently governmental functions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2017 DOD developed a terms of agreement to be signed by each mentor and research participant, in which they acknowledge that they fully understand the restrictions on performing inherently governmental functions. However, DOD intended the terms of agreement to be used by a subset of the ORISE research participants at DOD (those participating in the Science and Technology Policy Fellowships program). To fully address this recommendation, DOD needs to take similar action for ORISE research participants not participating in this program.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Energy, Defense, and Health and Human Services should develop detailed guidance to ensure that ORISE program coordinators, mentors, and research participants are fully informed of the prohibition on nonfederal employees performing inherently governmental functions.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS had not provided information as of July 2017 on steps it has taken to address the recommendation.
    Director: Debra A. Draper
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To be able to identify and address problems that may occur and thus help ensure a smooth transition, the Secretary of Defense should require the Defense Health Agency ensure that planning documents for the expansion include specific requirements to continuously monitor affected beneficiaries, including whether (1) covered medications are available and filled in a timely and accurate manner through mail order and across MTF pharmacies; and (2) beneficiaries are satisfied with the transition to mail order and MTF pharmacies.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, DOD has not provided information that it plans to separately track through mail order and military treatment facilities the availability, timeliness, and accuracy of prescriptions filled by beneficiaries affected by the expansion of the TRICARE pharmacy pilot. Similarly, DOD has not provided information that it plans to separately track through mail order and military treatment facilities the satisfaction of beneficiaries affected by the expansion of the TRICARE pharmacy pilot.
    Director: Daniel Bertoni
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure the best use of the VA Adaptive Sports Grant program funds, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Undersecretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs to systematically gather and disseminate, to all its grantees, techniques that can reduce the no-show rate at funded events.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA concurred with our recommendation. In 2015, VA stated that it would have grantees report on their policies, tools and experience with veterans and service members who do not show up for events; and measures grantees have taken to reduce no-shows. VA stated that it will analyze this information and disseminate best techniques, tools, and recommended actions to current and future grantees. We will close this recommendation when we receive documentation showing that VA is systematically gathering and disseminating information on best practices for reducing no-shows.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the best use of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Adaptive Sports Grant program funds, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Undersecretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs to revise the draft monitoring plan to include guidance on the number and frequency of annual site visits and desk audits.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA concurred with this recommendation. In 2015, VA reported that its final monitoring plan calls for conduct of site visits or desk audits of at least 10 percent of grantees in a grant year. We will close this recommendation when we receive a copy of the final plan for FY16 documenting this commitment.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To ensure that the SLS cost and schedule estimates better conform with best practices and are useful to support management decisions, the NASA Administrator should direct SLS officials to update the SLS cost and schedule estimates, at least annually, to reflect actual costs and schedule and record any reasons for variances before preparing their budget requests for the ensuing fiscal year. To the extent practicable, these updates should also incorporate additional best practices including thoroughly documenting how data were adjusted for use in the update and cross-checking results to ensure they are credible.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: NASA agreed with this recommendation and reported taking steps to address it through its annual assessment of the SLS's current cost and schedule estimates against its Agency Baseline Commitment. The agency provided the results of this assessment but did not address the deficiencies we identified in NASA's original estimate, including thoroughly documenting how data were adjusted for the update and cross-checking the results to ensure credibility. In order to close this recommendation, NASA's estimate of its current costs would ideally include documentation of how data were adjusted for use in the updated estimate as well as an explanation of any estimating methodology crosschecks. At a minimum, the estimate documentation should include an explanation of variances between the original estimate and the current estimate.
    Recommendation: To provide more comprehensive information on program performance, the NASA administrator should direct the SLS program to expedite implementation of the program-level EVM system.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The SLS program concurred with our recommendation and has taken steps to implement a program-level earned value management (EVM) system. In May 2016, NASA and Boeing finalized its contract with Boeing for the SLS core stage, the largest development effort in the program. According to NASA officials, the SLS program began receiving contractor earned value management data derived from the new core stage performance measurement baseline in fall 2016. At that time the program implemented a program-level EVM system tracking both in-house and contractor effort.
    Recommendation: To ensure that decisionmakers are able to track progress toward the agency's committed launch readiness date, the NASA administrator should direct the SLS program to include as part of the program's quarterly reports to NASA headquarters a reporting mechanism that tracks and reports program progress relative to the agency's external committed cost and schedule baselines.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The SLS program concurred with our recommendation. According to NASA officials, the program has taken steps to track and report progress relative to the agency's external committed cost and schedule baselines within the program's quarterly reports to NASA headquarters. The program, however, has not yet provided documentation of these actions to GAO.
    Director: Carol R. Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    27 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of Commerce should ensure an inventory of mobile devices and services is established department-wide (i.e., all components' devices and associated services are accounted for).

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce has not yet implemented this recommendation. In response to our report, the department said it planned to address the recommendation by the second quarter of fiscal year 2016. However, as of August 2017, it had not demonstrated that it had done so. We will continue to monitor the department's progress.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of Commerce should ensure a reliable department-wide inventory of mobile service contracts is developed and maintained.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce has not yet implemented this recommendation. In response to our report, the department said it planned to address the recommendation by the second quarter of fiscal year 2016. However, as of August 2017, it had not demonstrated that it had done so. We will continue to monitor the department's progress.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of Commerce should ensure procedures to monitor and control spending are established department-wide. Specifically, ensure that (1) procedures include assessing devices for zero, under, and over usage; (2) personnel with authority and responsibility for performing the procedures are identified; and (3) the specific steps to be taken to perform the process are documented.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce has not yet implemented this recommendation. In response to our report, the department said it planned to address the recommendation by the second quarter of fiscal year 2016. However, as of August 2017, it had not demonstrated that it had done so. We will continue to monitor the department's progress.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of Defense should ensure an inventory of mobile devices and services is established department-wide (i.e., all components' devices and associated services are accounted for).

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, the Department of Defense had not implemented this recommendation. In July 2016, the department reported that it does not maintain a single, centralized device-level inventory and, instead, the military departments track and manage their own devices and contracted wireless services as separate enterprises. However, as we stated in our report, the inventory need not be generated centrally at the headquarters level; the department can compile a comprehensive inventory using its components' complete inventories. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of Defense should ensure a reliable department-wide inventory of mobile service contracts is developed and maintained.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, the Department of Defense had not implemented this recommendation. The department updated its mobile services contract inventory in August 2015; however, as of August 2017, the department had not demonstrated that it has maintained the inventory. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should ensure procedures to monitor and control spending are established department-wide. Specifically, ensure that (1) procedures include assessing devices for zero, under, and over usage; (2) personnel with authority and responsibility for performing the procedures are identified; and (3) the specific steps to be taken to perform the process are documented.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services has not implemented this recommendation. In April 2016, an audit liaison in the Office of the Chief Information Officer reported that each component maintains processes and procedures for device management. However, as of August 2017, the department had not provided evidence that components have established procedures that address the elements of our recommendation. We will continue to monitor the department's implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure an inventory of mobile devices and services is established department-wide (i.e., all components' devices and associated services are accounted for).

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security has taken steps to implement this recommendation. Specifically, it developed inventories for the two components we reviewed. The department also reported that it had identified all components' devices. However, as of August 2017, it had not provided evidence that all the components had an inventory of unique devices and associated services. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure a reliable department-wide inventory of mobile service contracts is developed and maintained.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security has taken steps to implement the recommendation, but more needs to be done. Specifically, in May 2017, the department developed an enterprise-wide inventory of mobile service contracts; however, the department has not demonstrated that it has maintained the inventory quarterly. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to fully implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure procedures to monitor and control spending are established department-wide. Specifically, ensure that (1) procedures include assessing devices for zero, under, and over usage; (2) personnel with authority and responsibility for performing the procedures are identified; and (3) the specific steps to be taken to perform the process are documented.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security has not implemented the recommendation. In August 2017, a Program Management Specialist in the Office of the Chief Information Office described steps the department was taking as it considers a follow-on to its department-wide blanket purchase agreement for wireless expense management services. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of the Interior should ensure an inventory of mobile devices and services is established department-wide (i.e., all components' devices and associated services are accounted for).

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of the Interior has not implemented this recommendation. As of May 2017, the department was in the process of migrating its cellular service contracts to the General Services Administration's federal wireless strategic sourcing initiative blanket purchase agreement as its agency-wide solution for mobile devices and services. According to the department, the initiative requires awardee(s) and orderers to conduct a complete inventory of devices and legacy service contracts as they transition to the blanket purchase agreement. According to the department's transition plan, the transition is to be complete by February 2018. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of the Interior should ensure a reliable department-wide inventory of mobile service contracts is developed and maintained.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of the Interior has not implemented this recommendation. As of May 2017, the department was in the process of migrating its cellular service contracts to the General Services Administration's federal wireless strategic sourcing initiative blanket purchase agreement as its agency-wide solution for mobile devices and services. According to the department, the initiative requires awardee(s) and orderers to conduct a complete inventory of devices and legacy service contracts as they transition to the blanket purchase agreement. According to the department's transition plan, the transition is to be complete by February 2018. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Attorney General should ensure procedures to monitor and control spending are established department-wide. Specifically, ensure that (1) procedures include assessing devices for zero, under, and over usage; (2) personnel with authority and responsibility for performing the procedures are identified; and (3) the specific steps to be taken to perform the process are documented.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Justice has taken steps to implement this recommendation. Specifically, in response to our findings, the department's Chief Information Officer issued a memo that required components to establish procedures for regular reviews of invoices for wireless services to identify unused and underused devices or services, as well as any over-usage charges to service plans. However, as of August 2017, the department had not demonstrated that its components had implemented the requirements. We will continue to monitor the department's progress.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of State should ensure an inventory of mobile devices and services is established department-wide (i.e., all components' devices and associated services are accounted for).

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State has not yet implemented this recommendation. In July 2017, the department stated that it planned to transition its mobile devices and services to the General Services Administration's Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative. However, the department has not addressed developing an inventory of mobile devices and services. We will continue to monitor the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of State should ensure a reliable department-wide inventory of mobile service contracts is maintained.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State has not implemented this recommendation. In July 2017, the department stated that it plans to transition its mobile devices and services to the General Services Administration's Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative. However, the department has not addressed developing an inventory of mobile service contracts. We will continue to monitor the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of State should ensure procedures to monitor and control spending are established department-wide. Specifically, ensure that (1) procedures include assessing devices for zero, under, and over usage; (2) personnel with authority and responsibility for performing the procedures are identified; and (3) the specific steps to be taken to perform the process are documented.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State has not yet implemented this recommendation. In July 2017, the department stated that it was in the process of implementing a Telecommunications Expense Management System to provide visibility into mobile spending, asset management, usage, and tracking. However, the department has not provided evidence that it has established procedures that address the elements of our recommendation . We will continue to monitor the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of Transportation should ensure procedures to monitor and control spending are established department-wide. Specifically, ensure that (1) procedures include assessing devices for zero, under, and over usage; (2) personnel with authority and responsibility for performing the procedures are identified; and (3) the specific steps to be taken to perform the process are documented.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Transportation has not yet demonstrated that it has implemented our recommendation. Specifically, as of August 2017, neither of the two components we reviewed in May 2015 had addressed the weaknesses we identified in their procedures. We will continue to monitor the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of the Treasury should ensure an inventory of mobile devices and services is established department-wide (i.e., all components' devices and associated services are accounted for).

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of the Treasury has not yet implemented this recommendation. In May 2016, the Department of the Treasury stated that it had performed data calls to collect data on mobile device inventories across the department. However, as of August 2017, the department had not demonstrated that it had established a department-wide inventory of mobile devices and services. We will monitor the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should ensure procedures to monitor and control spending are established department-wide. Specifically, ensure that (1) procedures include assessing devices for zero, under, and over usage; (2) personnel with authority and responsibility for performing the procedures are identified; and (3) the specific steps to be taken to perform the process are documented.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Veterans Affairs has not yet implemented this recommendation. The department stated that its Office of Information and Technology drafted documentation for the development and implementation of a system to manage spending on mobile devices and services. However, the solution had not been funded. The department stated that a target date for addressing the recommendation is December 2017, conditional upon available funds.
    Recommendation: To help the agency effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should ensure a complete inventory of mobile devices and associated services is established.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Environmental Protection Agency had taken steps to implement this recommendation. Specifically, it reported that it had conducted a management review and identified improvements to ensure that the agency has a complete inventory of mobile devices and services. However, as of August 2017, it had not demonstrated that it had established a complete inventory. We will continue to monitor the agency's progress.
    Recommendation: To help the agency effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should ensure procedures to monitor and control spending are established agency-wide. Specifically, ensure that (1) procedures include assessing devices for zero, under, and over usage; (2) personnel with authority and responsibility for performing the procedures are identified; and (3) the specific steps to be taken to perform the process are documented.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Environmental Protection Agency has not yet implemented this recommendation. The agency stated that program offices receive quarterly mobile device usage reports and are requested to review them. However, as of August 2017, the agency had not provided documented procedures that address the elements of our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the agency effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should ensure a complete inventory of mobile devices and associated services is established.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has not yet implemented the recommendation. In August 2017, officials from NASA's Office of the Chief Information Officer stated that the agency plans to address the recommendation through a strategic sourcing approach the agency is developing and estimates implementing in fiscal year 2018. The officials stated that the agency expects to fully address the recommendation by December 2018.
    Recommendation: To help the agency effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should ensure a reliable inventory of mobile service contracts is developed and maintained.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The National Aeronautics Administration (NASA) has not yet implemented the recommendation. In August 2017, officials from NASA's Office of the Chief Information Officer stated that the agency plans to address the recommendation through a strategic sourcing approach the agency is developing and estimates implementing in fiscal year 2018. The officials stated that the agency expects to fully address the recommendation by March 2019.
    Recommendation: To help the agency effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should ensure procedures to monitor and control spending are established agency-wide. Specifically, ensure that (1) procedures include assessing devices for zero, under, and over usage; (2) personnel with authority and responsibility for performing the procedures are identified; and (3) the specific steps to be taken to perform the process are documented.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has not implemented the recommendation. In August 2017, officials from NASA's Office of the Chief Information Officer stated that the agency plans to address the recommendation through an Enterprise Mobility Service Contract that it plans to fully transition to by July 2019. The officials stated that the contract will allow the agency to monitor and optimize usage.
    Recommendation: To help the agency effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should ensure a complete inventory of mobile devices and associated services is established.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Social Security Administration (SSA) described steps it was taking to address our recommendation. Specifically, the agency stated that it had deployed and is operating a Mobile Expense Management System that will be used to maintain an enterprise-wide inventory of mobile devices and associated services once all the agency's mobile service contracts/accounts have been successfully consolidated onto one of the agency's blanket purchasing agreements. SSA expected to complete this consolidation in the September to October 2016 timeframe. However, as of August 2017, the agency had not demonstrated that it had implemented the recommendation. We will continue to monitor its progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the agency effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should ensure procedures to monitor and control spending are established agency-wide. Specifically, ensure that (1) procedures include assessing devices for zero, under, and over usage; (2) personnel with authority and responsibility for performing the procedures are identified; and (3) the specific steps to be taken to perform the process are documented.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Social Security Administration (SSA) described steps it was taking to address this recommendation. Specifically, the agency stated that representatives from various agency components were working to develop and document the policies, guidelines, processes, and procedures to effectively implement an enterprise model for mobile provisioning and management. SSA expects to complete this effort in fiscal year 2017. As of August 2017, the agency had not demonstrated that it had addressed the recommendation. We will continue to monitor its progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the department effectively manage spending on mobile devices and services, the Secretary of the Treasury should ensure procedures to monitor and control spending are established department-wide. Specifically, ensure that (1) procedures include assessing devices for zero, under, and over usage; (2) personnel with authority and responsibility for performing the procedures are identified; and (3) the specific steps to be taken to perform the process are documented.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of the Treasury has not yet implemented this recommendation. In May 2016, the department stated that it had awarded two contracts to facilitate mobile device management, and had advised its bureaus to track, analyze, and manage mobile device use and cost in accordance with GAO guidance at their level until migration to the department-wide contracts has been completed. However, as of August 2017, the department had not demonstrated that it had established department-wide procedures to monitor and control spending on mobile devices and services. We will continue to monitor the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better enable OMB to oversee agency efforts to consolidate mobile telecommunications contracts, the Director should measure and report progress in achieving its goal of cost savings through consolidation, as described in the 2012 Digital Government Strategy.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had made progress in implementing this recommendation by requiring agencies to track savings; however, it had not yet reported progress in achieving its goal of cost savings. Specifically, in August 2016, OMB issued a policy requiring covered agencies to appoint, by November 2016, a dedicated lead for mobile devices and services. The official is expected to work closely with senior agency officials to establish and maintain an agency-wide inventory of mobile contracts, identify opportunities for contract consolidation, and track savings, among other things. In addition, according to an official in OMB's Office of Federal Procurement, a team led by OMB, the General Services Administration, and the departments of Defense and Homeland Security, is to develop an approach for measuring savings related to mobile devices and services.
    Director: Kathleen M. King
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: CMS should conduct a formal analysis, using its experience and data it has collected since the implementation of the first MAC contracts, to determine whether alternative contracting approaches could be used--even if only for selected MAC contract responsibilities--to help promote improved contractor performance.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the usefulness of NNSA's future reports to Congress describing the costs and benefits of its competition of M&O contracts under the requirements contained in Section 3121 of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2013, as amended, the NNSA Administrator should take steps to ensure that future reports reflect DOE's information quality guidelines, federal cost accounting standards, and GAO's best practices guidance relevant to the clear and complete presentation of information on each of the required topics. In particular, future reports should clearly and completely describe costs and benefits, including the agency's expectations, as well as the associated analysis, assumptions, information sources, and key limitations and uncertainties about costs and benefits described. The description of uncertainties should include key excluded or unspecified costs and benefits, such as those that are anticipated but not fully known at the time of report writing.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: NNSA recently awarded an M&O contract for Sandia NL. NNSA will have to produce a report on the costs and benefits of its competition, which will need to be delivered in early spring, 2017. Upon delivery to Congress, GAO will be able to assess whether NNSA fulfilled this recommendation.
    Director: Kay Brown
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the consistency of assistance provided to tribes, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should take steps to provide consistent title IV-E guidance to tribes across its regional offices.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2015, HHS hired a tribal coordinator who will work in the Office of the Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau. The tribal coordinator's primary functions will include facilitating communication across the regions and with tribes to share experiences and information, so as to ensure greater consistency and clarity. While this hire represents an initial step towards improving communication with tribal title IV-E agencies, more time is needed for the tribal coordinator to implement policies and procedures that will ensure consistent title IV-E guidance to tribes across HHS regional offices. In May 2017, the agency reported that tribal coordinator position was ultimately elevated to the Office of the ACYF Commissioner and became the Commissioner's representative to the Tribes. We await documentation on any guidance provided to the regional offices that would help with consistency.
    Recommendation: To improve the timeliness of assistance provided to tribes, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should establish procedures to ensure reviews of draft title IV-E plans are conducted by regional office staff in a timely manner.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, HHS stated that it does not anticipate taking action in response to this recommendation because of its existing protocols for communicating with and responding to tribal title IV-E grantees. We maintain that establishing procedures, including but not limited to timeframes for responses, would help ensure that tribes receive timely feedback from regional offices regarding their draft title IV-E plans.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve transparency and provide Congress and the public greater visibility into the types of highway activities funded with Highway Trust Fund monies, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator to explore the costs, feasibility, and options for collecting and publicly reporting consistent aggregate project-level spending data.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2017, FHWA has not implemented this recommendation. In December 2015, the President signed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act or "FAST Act". Sec. 1402 of the Act requires DOT to annually report, for all projects administered by FHWA with a total estimated cost of $25 million or more (and for all other projects to the extent practicable), on the total cost of funded projects, the amount of federal funds obligated, and other information, and to make this information "available in a user-friendly manner on the public Internet website of the Department of Transportation." DOT has not yet implemented this provision of the Act. GAO is monitoring DOT's efforts to implement this provision and the extent to which it fulfills GAO's recommendation.
    Director: Debra A. Draper
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To eliminate unnecessary program duplication and to achieve increased efficiencies and potential savings within the integrated MHS, Congress should terminate the Secretary of Defense's authority to contract with the USFHP designated providers in a manner consistent with a reasonable transition of affected USFHP enrollees into TRICARE's regional managed care program or other health care programs, as appropriate.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, no actions have been taken.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve compliance with the Small Business Act and enhance SBA's ability to provide oversight of the programs, the SBA Administrator should revise the language in the SBIR and STTR policy directives to accurately summarize the statutory provisions that describe the program spending requirements.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2016, SBA proposed an update to its SBIR and STTR policy directive to state that each participating agency must spend (obligate) the required amounts on the programs, which is consistent with the statutory provisions for program spending requirements. However, according to SBA officials, in January 2017, the policy directive was withdrawn from the Office of Management and Budget and is under further internal consideration in light of a recent executive order. As of April 2017, SBA has not established a time frame for publication of the final policy directive.
    Director: Wise, David J
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve future real property cost-savings initiatives and promote reliability and transparency, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with Federal Real Property Council agencies, develop clear and specific standards for: (1) identifying and reporting savings that help ensure common understanding of the various types of cost savings; (2) consistently reporting across categories and agencies; and (3) sufficiently documenting, validating, and reviewing results.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2015, GAO met with OMB officials about their implementation of a new cost estimating model that would largely implement this recommendation. OMB officials said they had engaged a contractor to develop the model and in the coming months they would be contacting member agencies on the Federal Real Property Council to obtain their feedback, with hopes of eventually incorporating the model into ongoing real property reform efforts. As of May 2016, GAO was inquiring about the status of this effort and was anticipating a meeting with OMB in the coming weeks to discuss this and other related real property efforts aimed at addressing GAO's high risk designation for this area.
    Director: Kohn, Linda T
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help address the uncertainty NIH faces, related to the potential impact of increasing indirect costs on its funding of future research, the Director of NIH should assess the impact of growth in indirect costs on its research mission, including, as necessary, planning for how to deal with potential future increases in indirect costs that could limit the amount of funding available for total research, including the direct costs of research projects.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: National Institutes of Health
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 7, 2015, NIH provided some information indicating that it had taken action to address our recommendation by tracking the size of indirect costs as a proportion of NIH's overall budget as part of the agency's annual budget planning process and risk assessment program. However, we determined that the actions did not fully address the recommendation because they focus on the agency's overall budget and do not assess the potential ongoing impact of indirect costs for universities on its mission. As of August 2017, NIH officials have not informed us of any additional actions taken to implement this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: Rusco, Franklin W
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that participating agencies and SBA comply with spending and reporting requirements for the SBIR and STTR programs, the SBA Administrator should provide Congress with a timely annual report that includes a comprehensive analysis of the methodology each agency used for calculating the SBIR and STTR spending requirements, providing a clear basis for SBA's conclusions about whether these calculations meet program requirements.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to SBA officials, as of April 2017, SBA had completed a draft of its report to Congress for fiscal year 2014 and planned to send it to the participating agencies and Office of Management and Budget for review after SBA completed its internal review. The officials said that the report for fiscal year 2015 is being drafted, and SBA is in the process of reviewing the participating agencies' data for fiscal year 2016, which was due to SBA in March 2017. As of April 2017, SBA did not have an anticipated issuance date for the reports to Congress for fiscal years 2014, 2015, or 2016.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve its ability to oversee M&O contractor costs, including indirect costs, for its laboratories and make more effective use of DOE and contractor resources, the Secretary of Energy should take--or, as appropriate, direct the Administrator of NNSA to incorporate more specific benchmarking requirements into future laboratory contracts--similar to the benchmarking requirements used by DOE to assess and manage pension and post-retirement benefit costs--including which costs should be benchmarked, how frequently benchmarking should occur, and what process should be used to ensure corrective actions are taken, as needed.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, the Director of NNSA Office of Policy issued guidance to NNSA Laboratory Field Office Managers to update contracts to include a new clause requiring laboratory contractors to submit a strategic plan every year in accordance with guidance. Part of the annual plan requires contractors to discuss the costs of doing business and cost-increase factors at the sites, including overhead dollars. The annual strategic plan is due to the NNSA Office of Policy by August 15 each year. This plan is expected to allow NNSA to conduct the benchmarking activities recommended by our report, which can then be considered in current and future laboratory contracts.
    Director: Bertoni, Daniel
    Phone: (202)512-5988

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The incoming Commissioner of Social Security should determine if realigning the agency's headquarters, regional, or field office structure could yield increases in the agency's effectiveness and efficiency by launching an exploratory effort to assess the utility and feasibility of such a realignment or consolidation. These efforts could include holding discussions with other federal agencies, such as the Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service, to learn about their experiences undergoing similar transformations and studying the likely costs and benefits of consolidation, as well as other potential impacts.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA has determined that it will realign its office structure to support expanded online service delivery, but the agency has not yet taken steps to fully assess the utility and feasibility of such a realignment, such as studying the likely costs, benefits, and other potential impacts. In its March 2014 Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2014-2018, SSA stated its intent to expand online services and encourage customers to conduct business with SSA online and said that the agency will streamline its field office structure, as well as its administrative office structure, to reduce costs and make the best use of its employees' time and skills. SSA also consulted with other federal agencies to learn about their experiences with similar efforts. In its April 2015 Vision 2025 document, SSA stated that the agency will align its physical infrastructure to efficiently meet customer and business needs. However, SSA needs to take additional concrete steps, such as defining specific actions the agency will need to take and resources required to achieve this vision.
    Director: Shear, William B
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to demonstrate compliance across the program with the statutory limit on funds that can be used for administration, the Secretary of HUD should direct the Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development to develop a process for generating annual reports on compliance across the program, including making any requisite changes to IDIS to better ensure that the agency has complete and analyzable data to support such reporting.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, a HUD official told us that the agency did not have the funding necessary to make any changes to IDIS. According to this official, HUD was willing to create the recommended across-program report, but did not have the information technology funding required to make other, higher-priority changes to IDIS (such as fixing identified defects) or the change GAO recommended.
    Director: Melvin, Valerie C
    Phone: (202)512-6304

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In light of the agency's declining revenue associated with its basic statutory function and the charging for information that is often freely available elsewhere, Congress should consider examining the appropriateness and viability of the fee-based model under which NTIS currently operates for disseminating technical information to determine whether the use of this model should be continued.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not yet enacted legislation to re-examine the fee-based model under which NTIS operates, although it has begun taking actions that give it an opportunity to do so. Specifically, the Department of Commerce Appropriations Acts, 2015, 2016 and 2017, prohibited NTIS from charging customers for reports authored by legislative branch offices unless the agency tells the customer how an electronic copy of the report can be accessed or downloaded for free online. The Act further stated that, if a customer still requires such a report from NTIS, the agency should not charge more than what is needed to recover the cost of processing, reproducing, and delivering the document requested. Additionally, in the 114th Congress, three bills (H.R. 443, S.787, and S.1636) were introduced and referred to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. However, none of these bills were passed. The 115th Congress has yet to consider legislation that would ensure the assessment of the appropriateness or viability of NTIS functions.
    Director: Currie, Christopher
    Phone: (404)679-3000

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the process for disaster declarations, the FEMA Administrator should develop and implement a methodology that provides a more comprehensive assessment of a jurisdiction's capability to respond to and recover from a disaster without federal assistance. This should include one or more measures of a jurisdiction's fiscal capacity, such as TTR, and consideration of the jurisdiction's response and recovery capabilities. If FEMA continues to use the PA per capita indicator to assist in identifying a jurisdiction's capabilities to respond to and recover from a disaster, it should adjust the indicator to accurately reflect the annual changes in the U.S. economy since 1986, when the current indicator was first adopted for use. In addition, implementing the adjustment by raising the indicator in steps over several years would give jurisdictions more time to plan for and adjust to the change.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: On January 20, 2016, FEMA published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to solicit comments on an option FEMA is considering to establish a disaster deductible, which would require a predetermined level of financial or other commitment from a recipient, generally the state or territorial government, before FEMA would provide assistance under the Public Assistance Program. According to FEMA, the agency received 150 responses during the 60-day public comment period, which ended on March 21, 2016, and used this input to develop a plan for further engagement on a more detailed proposal for public comment. The Supplemental Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, published on January 12, 2017, provided another opportunity for stakeholder input prior to any changes to the Public Assistance program. This proposal included an explanation of how deductible amounts might be calculated, identified specific credits that states could apply for, and detailed how the deductible would be applied post-declaration. Comments on the Supplemental Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking must be submitted by April 12, 2017. Until FEMA implements a new methodology, FEMA will not have an accurate assessment of a jurisdiction's capabilities to respond to and recover from a disaster without federal assistance and runs the risk of recommending that the President award Public Assistance to jurisdictions that have the capability to respond and recover on their own.
    Director: Courts, Michael J
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to contain costs and reduce duplication of administrative support services overseas, Congress may wish to consider requiring agencies to participate in ICASS services unless they provide a business case to show that they can obtain these services outside of ICASS without increasing overall costs to the U.S. government or that their mission cannot be achieved within ICASS.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2018, no legislative action has yet been taken. Congress has not required agencies to participate in ICASS absent a business case that shows that they can obtain services outside ICASS without additional cost to the U.S. government, as GAO suggested in January 2012. In July 2013, legislation was introduced in the Senate directing the Secretary of State to develop a process that any agency participating in the ICASS program shall use to provide a cost analysis and justification for the agency's decision to opt out, in whole or in part, of ICASS services. Congress did not pass this legislation, passing in its stead the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, which contained no language related to ICASS. In January 2014, the joint explanatory statement regarding the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, included a direction that the Secretary of State develop, in coordination with the ICASS Service Center and participating agencies, an efficient process by which an agency participating in the ICASS program provides a cost analysis and justification for the agency's decision to opt out of any ICASS services. However, this direction does not speak to a requirement that agencies participate in ICASS absent such a justification. Action on this matter is important because continued duplication of administrative services limits ICASS's ability to achieve economies of scale and deliver services more efficiently.
    Director: Sherrill, Andrew
    Phone: (202)512-7252

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the number of new H-1B workers who are subject to the cap--both entering the United States and changing to H-1B status within the United States--does not exceed the cap each year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services should take steps to improve its tracking of the number of approved H-1B applications and the number of issued visas under the cap by fully leveraging the transformation effort currently under way, which involves the adoption of an electronic petition processing system that will be linked to the Department of State's tracking system. Such steps should ensure that linkages to the Department of State's tracking system will provide Homeland Security with timely access to data on visa issuances, and that mechanisms for tracking petitions and visas against the cap are incorporated into U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' business rules to be developed for the new electronic petition system.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2016, USCIS officials reported that, according to their current timeframes, the business rules associated with the nonimmigrant visa petition process (including Form I-129) in the USCIS Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) were slated to be developed in late 2017, with implementation projected for the beginning of 2018. They stated that during the requirements-gathering phase, the Service Center Operations officials and the Office of Transformation Program officials planned to discuss potential options for improving the tracking of the number of approved H-1B applications and the number of issued visas under the cap, including assessing the feasibility of linking DHS and State Department data. GAO will follow-up with USCIS on the status of this recommendation when business rules for the nonimmigrant line of the ELIS are developed and released.