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    Results:

    Subject Term: "Agency evaluations"

    62 publications with a total of 243 open recommendations including 19 priority recommendations
    Director: Nancy Kingsbury
    Phone: (202) 512-2700

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that federal agencies obtain the evidence needed to address the most important questions to improve program implementation and performance, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should direct each of the 24 Chief Financial Officer Act agencies to prepare an annual agency-wide evaluation plan that describes the (1) key questions for each significant evaluation study that the agency plans to begin in the next fiscal year, and (2) congressional committees; federal, state and local program partners; researchers; and other stakeholders that were consulted in preparing their plan. (Recommendation 1)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Asif A. Khan
    Phone: (202) 512-9869

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The DHS Under Secretary for Management should develop and implement effective processes and improve guidance to reasonably assure that future AAs fully follow AOA process best practices and reflect the four characteristics of a reliable, high-quality AOA process. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The DHS Under Secretary for Management should improve the Risk Management Planning Handbook and other relevant guidance for managing risks associated with financial management system modernization projects to fully incorporate risk management best practices, including (1) defining thresholds to facilitate review of performance metrics to determine when risks become unacceptable; (2) identifying and analyzing risks to include periodically reconsidering risk sources, documenting risks specifically related to the lack of sufficient, reliable cost and schedule information needed to help properly manage and oversee the project, and timely disposition of IV&V contractor-identified risks; (3) developing risk mitigation plans with specific risk-handling activities, the costs and benefits of implementing them, and contingency plans for selected critical risks; and (4) implementing risk mitigation plans to include establishing periods of performance for risk-handling activities and defining time intervals for updating and certifying the accuracy and completeness of information on risks in DHS's risk register. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Merritt, Zina Dache
    Phone: (202) 512-5257

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DLA has a plan that can effectively guide corrective actions relating to identified deficiencies in its defective spare parts restitution and removal process, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of DLA to strengthen its plan to fully address all four of the mandated elements. These include: (1) coordination to pursue restitution, (2) inventory search, (3) return of defective parts, and (4) restitution in appropriate form.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assess and validate the effectiveness of PHMSA's Risk Ranking Index Model (RRIM) in prioritizing pipelines for inspection, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of PHMSA to document the decisions and underlying assumptions for the design of RRIM, including what data and information were analyzed as part of determining each component of the model, such as the threat factors, weights, risk tiers, and inspection frequency.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To assess and validate the effectiveness of PHMSA's RRIM in prioritizing pipelines for inspection, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of PHMSA to establish and implement a process that uses data to periodically review and assess the effectiveness of the model in prioritizing pipelines for inspection and document the results of these analyses.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Wilshusen, Gregory C
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    10 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help strengthen information security controls over key financial and tax processing systems, and to more effectively implement security-related policies and plans, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, in addition to addressing previously made but still unresolved recommendations from our prior audits, should implement the audit plans for the 12 systems and applications that we reviewed in the production computing environment.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help strengthen information security controls over key financial and tax processing systems, and to more effectively implement security-related policies and plans, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, in addition to addressing previously made but still unresolved recommendations from our prior audits, should ensure that system administrators and security operations analysts are alerted in the event of audit processing failures.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help strengthen information security controls over key financial and tax processing systems, and to more effectively implement security-related policies and plans, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, in addition to addressing previously made but still unresolved recommendations from our prior audits, should update information contingency plan test procedures to include updating contingency plans to reflect changes to the current operating environment.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help strengthen information security controls over key financial and tax processing systems, and to more effectively implement security-related policies and plans, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, in addition to addressing previously made but still unresolved recommendations from our prior audits, should ensure that approved risk-based decisions pertaining to database configurations are based on suitable justification.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help strengthen information security controls over key financial and tax processing systems, and to more effectively implement security-related policies and plans, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, in addition to addressing previously made but still unresolved recommendations from our prior audits, should develop, document, and implement the use of detailed procedures to facilitate the periodic review and analysis of audit records for its financial systems.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help strengthen information security controls over key financial and tax processing systems, and to more effectively implement security-related policies and plans, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, in addition to addressing previously made but still unresolved recommendations from our prior audits, should develop an enterprise-wide system owner procedural document to control critical mainframe operating system commands.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help strengthen information security controls over key financial and tax processing systems, and to more effectively implement security-related policies and plans, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, in addition to addressing previously made but still unresolved recommendations from our prior audits, should regularly update configuration standards and guidelines for network devices to incorporate recommendations from industry leaders, security agencies, and key practices from IRS partners to address known vulnerabilities applicable to IRS's environment.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help strengthen information security controls over key financial and tax processing systems, and to more effectively implement security-related policies and plans, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, in addition to addressing previously made but still unresolved recommendations from our prior audits, should implement a compliance verification application, or other appropriate process, to ensure configuration policies are comprehensively tested on the mainframe.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help strengthen information security controls over key financial and tax processing systems, and to more effectively implement security-related policies and plans, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, in addition to addressing previously made but still unresolved recommendations from our prior audits, should ensure that all known significant audit findings and recommendations related to financial reporting, which includes those in GAO's public and limited official use only reports, that directly relate to the objective of A-123 internal control tests are reviewed and monitored.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help strengthen information security controls over key financial and tax processing systems, and to more effectively implement security-related policies and plans, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, in addition to addressing previously made but still unresolved recommendations from our prior audits, should identify and review service organizations' listing of user controls that are deemed relevant and test those controls to appropriately draw conclusions about the operating effectiveness of controls.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Jennifer Grover
    Phone: (202) 512-7141

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance CBP's identification of high-risk cargo shipments and its enforcement of the ISF rule, the Commissioner of CBP should enforce the ISF rule requirement that carriers provide CSMs to CBP when targeters identify CSM noncompliance.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: CBP's Office of Field Operations is developing an enforcement strategy for container status messages (CSM) that it plans to complete by August 31, 2017. Once the strategy is completed, OFO plans to provide CSM enforcement guidance to the Advance Targeting Units. This recommendation will remain open until CBP's planned actions are completed and meet the intent of GAO's recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance CBP's identification of high-risk cargo shipments and its enforcement of the ISF rule, the Commissioner of CBP should evaluate the ISF enforcement strategies used by ATUs to assess whether particular enforcement methods could be applied to ports with relatively low submission rates.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: CBP plans to discuss enforcement strategies during monthly conference calls held by the National Targeting Center-Cargo with all Advance Targeting Units (ATU) in order to identify the factors that are impacting ports with lower Importer Security Filing (ISF) compliance rates. In addition, CBP plans to leverage the strategies employed by ATUs overseeing ports with higher ISF compliance rates in order to increase the ISF submission rates at the ports with lower compliance rates. This recommendation will remain open until CBP's planned actions are completed and meet the intent of GAO's recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of CBP should identify and collect additional performance information on the impact of the ISF rule data, such as the identification of shipments containing contraband, to better evaluate the effectiveness of the ISF program.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: CBP is developing a plan (by August 31, 2017) to assess additional performance metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of the Importer Security Filing Program. After the plan has been developed, CBP will extract the performance data for analysis and, if needed, take actions to implement changes to the Program. This recommendation will remain open until CBP's planned actions are completed and meet the intent of GAO's recommendation.
    Director: Gretta L. Goodwin
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better understand the available opportunities for collecting inmate health care utilization data, BOP should conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis of potential solutions, and take steps toward implementation of the most effective solution.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better understand the available opportunities for controlling health care costs, BOP should implement its guidance to conduct "spend analyses" of BOP's health care spending, using data sources already available

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To determine the actual or likely effectiveness of its ongoing or planned health care cost control initiatives, BOP should evaluate the extent to which its initiatives achieve their cost control aim.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To enhance its strategic planning for and implementation of health care cost control efforts, BOP should incorporate elements of a sound planning approach and (1) establish a means of measuring progress toward and effectiveness of its activities for its current strategic objectives and goals related to controlling health care costs; and (2) identify the resources and investments necessary for implementation of its planned health care cost control initiatives.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and utility of its Federal Medical Center mission analyses, BOP should document the analyses and findings that underlie its recommendations.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the FBI Laboratory obtains additional transcripts, the FBI Director should require that the FBI Laboratory's procedure for tracking and obtaining transcripts routinely captures and uses additional information and data critical to transcript acquisition, such as the reason a transcript is unavailable, when it is expected to be available, the court jurisdiction, and a point of contact for the transcript.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Michael J. Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure DOD takes a strategic approach for its prototyping and innovation initiatives and overcomes funding and cultural barriers, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering to develop a high-level DOD-wide strategy, in collaboration with the military services and other appropriate DOD components, to communicate strategic goals and priorities and delineate roles and responsibilities among DOD's prototyping and innovation initiatives.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure DOD takes a strategic approach for its prototyping and innovation initiatives and overcomes funding and cultural barriers, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering to take steps, such as adopting a "strategic buckets" approach, to help ensure adequate investments in innovation that align with DOD-wide strategy.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure DOD takes a strategic approach for its prototyping and innovation initiatives and overcomes funding and cultural barriers, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering to expand the Community of Interest working groups to include budget activity 6.4-funded prototyping and innovation initiatives in their science and technology planning and coordination processes or employ a similar coordination mechanism for budget activity 6.4-funded prototyping and innovation initiatives.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure DOD takes a strategic approach for its prototyping and innovation initiatives and overcomes funding and cultural barriers, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering to review budget activity 6.4 funding requests to help maintain a level of investment for budget activity 6.4-funded prototyping and innovation efforts that is consistent with DOD-wide strategy.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Malenich, J Lawrence
    Phone: (202) 512-3406

    9 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to develop a mechanism that captures all of the key factors to be considered, such as materiality and risk, when designing the evaluation of internal control over financial reporting and collaborate, as appropriate, with the Inspector General to develop a similar mechanism for use by FHFA-OIG.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. FHFA is in the process of developing a mechanism that captures key factors, including risk and materiality, when designing the evaluation of internal control over financial reporting. This mechanism will be documented for the FY 2017 evaluation of internal control over financial reporting. FHFA and FHFA OIG are collaborating in these efforts.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to coordinate with the Inspector General, as appropriate, when calculating materiality thresholds to reasonably assure that materiality determinations are appropriate for the agency as a whole and rationale is adequately documented.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. During the FY 2017 evaluation of internal control over financial reporting, FHFA will coordinate with the FHFA OIG when calculating materiality thresholds to reasonably assure that materiality determinations are appropriate for the Agency as a whole and the rationale is adequately documented.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to coordinate with the Inspector General, as appropriate, to assess and document the aggregate effect of all deficiencies identified at the agency-wide level during the evaluation of internal control over financial reporting.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. FHFA will coordinate with the FHFA OIG during the FY 2017 evaluation of internal control over financial reporting to assess and document the aggregate effect of all deficiencies identified at the Agency-wide level.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to (1) summarize in sufficient detail by internal control principle those activities from the program offices that have an effect on internal control over financial reporting to reasonably assure the consideration of all internal control components and related principles; (2) collaborate, as appropriate, with the Inspector General to implement corresponding actions at FHFA-OIG; and (3) document how that information is used to conclude on the internal control components and related principles for financial reporting.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. During the FY 2017 evaluation of internal control over financial reporting, FHFA will summarize by internal control principle those activities from the program offices that have an effect on internal control over financial reporting to reasonably assure the consideration of all internal control components and related principles. FHFA will also document how information is used to conclude on the internal control components and related principles for financial reporting activities that are evaluated. FHFA will collaborate with FHFA OIG in these efforts.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to enhance the evaluation of internal control over financial reporting by identifying and testing all key control activities, including those related to the preparation of the financial statements.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. FHFA will enhance the FY 2017 evaluation of internal control over financial reporting by identifying and testing all key control activities, including those related to the preparation of the financial statements.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to (1) thoroughly document FHFA's review of SSAE No. 16 reports issued for the period under evaluation by reasonably assuring that all applicable control objectives and related control activities are clearly identified and described and the evaluation of user entity controls is adequately explained and (2) collaborate, as appropriate, with the Inspector General to implement corresponding actions at FHFA-OIG.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. During the FY 2017 evaluation of internal control over financial reporting, FHFA will thoroughly document FHFA's review of SSAE No. 16 reports issued for the period under evaluation by reasonably assuring that all applicable control objectives and related control activities are clearly identified and described and the evaluation of user entity controls is adequately explained. FHFA will collaborate with the FHFA OIG during these efforts.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to (1) clearly define and document an approach that identifies the information systems that are key to financial reporting, the process areas these information systems support, the key control activities for each information system, and how the key control activities are evaluated and (2) collaborate, as appropriate, with the Inspector General to implement corresponding actions at FHFA-OIG.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. During the FY 2017 evaluation of internal control over financial reporting, FHFA will clearly define and document an approach that identifies the information systems that are key to financial reporting, the process areas these information systems support, the key control activities for each information system, and how the key control activities are evaluated. FHFA will collaborate with the FHFA OIG in these efforts.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to collaborate, as appropriate, with the Inspector General to (1) develop a complete list of the specific provisions of laws and regulations that may have an effect on material amounts and related disclosures in the financial statements that are applicable to FHFA-OIG and (2) prepare documentation that clearly links each applicable provision of law or regulation to the key control activities tested.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. FHFA will collaborate with the FHFA OIG to develop a complete list of the specific provisions of laws and regulations that may have an effect on material amounts and related disclosures in the financial statements that are applicable to the FHFA OIG and prepare documentation that clearly links each applicable provision of law or regulation to the key control activities tested.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to design an evaluation process that reasonably assures assignment of independent roles between the implementation and monitoring of control activities that are significant to the evaluation of internal control over financial reporting.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. FHFA is designing an evaluation process that reasonably assures assignment of independent roles between implementation and monitoring of control activities that are significant to the evaluation of internal control over financial reporting. To this end, FHFA has hired an independent contractor to aid in the evaluation process for FY 2017, and has involved staff from FHFA's Office of Quality Assurance in the FY 2017 evaluation process to reasonably assure independent roles between monitoring and implementation going forward.
    Director: Beryl H. Davis
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that government-wide compliance under IPERA is consistently determined and reported, the Director of OMB should coordinate with CIGIE to develop and issue guidance, either jointly or independently, to specify what procedures should be conducted as part of the IGs' IPERA compliance determinations.

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

    Comments: OMB had no comments on the report or the recommendation to coordinate with CIGIE to develop guidance. Although this recommendation was not directed to CIGIE, the CIGIE Chairperson stated that CIGIE would coordinate with OMB as needed and provide feedback on any draft OMB guidance.
    Recommendation: To help fulfill USDA's requirements under IPERA and OMB guidance--that agencies submit proposals to Congress when a program reaches 3 or more consecutive years of noncompliance with IPERA criteria--the Secretary of Agriculture should submit a letter to Congress detailing proposals for reauthorization or statutory changes in response to 3 consecutive years of noncompliance as of fiscal year 2015 for its Farm Security and Rural Investment Act Program. To the extent that reauthorization or statutory changes are not considered necessary to bring a program into compliance, the Secretary or designee should state so in the letter.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: USDA's Acting Deputy Secretary concurred with this recommendation.
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to develop and take corrective actions, in consultation with Interior's Designated Agency Safety and Health Official, to address BIA safety program weaknesses identified in prior Interior evaluations.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. The agency stated that the Designated Agency Safety and Health Official (DASHO) is working with the Indian Affairs' safety office and BIA regional leadership to discuss the current state of BIA's safety program and develop a corrective action plan to address identified safety program weaknesses.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to assign responsibility to a specific office or official to develop and implement a plan to assess employees' safety training needs and monitor employees' compliance with Indian Affairs' safety training requirements.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. Interior indicated that Indian Affairs is developing a safety training plan, which will establish program responsibilities and compliance requirements for safety training across BIA, among other areas. Interior also noted that line offices will track the implementation of the training plan and individuals' compliance with training requirements.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to ensure that BIA's employee performance standards on inspections are consistently incorporated into the appraisal plans of all BIA personnel with safety program responsibilities.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. Interior commented that the appraisal plans of BIA regional directors had been updated to include BIA's new performance standards on inspections, which we noted in our report. The agency also stated that Indian Affairs' work in addressing this recommendation was primarily completed. However, Interior did not provide evidence that the appraisal plans of all BIA staff with safety program responsibilities included all of the bureau's new performance standards on safety inspections. We continue to believe that it is important that BIA's employee performance standards on inspections are consistently incorporated in all BIA employee appraisal plans.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to develop a performance standard on inspection report quality and establish a process to routinely monitor the quality of inspection reports. Monitoring could include, but not be limited to, the following areas: accuracy of risk levels and abatement timeframes assigned to deficiencies and clarity of language to describe safety hazards and recommended corrections.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. The agency noted that Indian Affairs is developing written policies and procedures for safety inspections at BIE schools, which it says will address issues with report clarity and accuracy, among other areas. However, Interior did not provide us with information about whether it will establish a performance standard for report quality and a process for monitoring inspection quality, which are the two key actions we recommended. We maintain that these steps are needed to ensure that BIE schools receive thorough and accurate safety inspection reports.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to require safety inspectors to document when inspection reports are sent to schools and establish a process to routinely monitor the timeliness of reports against Indian Affairs' required 30-day timeframe.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. Interior stated that Indian Affairs will require inspectors to certify and report the dates on which inspectors send reports to schools. The agency also noted that Indian Affairs' safety office will monitor the timeliness of inspection reports sent to schools and report the results of its monitoring to Indian Affairs' senior leadership.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to use information gathered from monitoring the timeliness of school safety inspection reports to assess the performance of employees with safety program responsibilities and hold them accountable.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. Interior stated that supervisors will ensure that responsible employees are held accountable for complying with its performance standards on safety inspections. We continue to believe it is important that Indian Affairs use information from monitoring inspection report timeliness to assess employee performance.
    Director: Carol C. Harris
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that DHS effectively implements FITARA, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management to direct the Chief Information Officer to update the department's IT Acquisition Review governance process to increase the number of contracts and agreements (associated with both major and non-major investments) that are reviewed by the CIO and appropriate delegates.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DHS effectively implements FITARA, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management to direct the Chief Information Officer to establish time frames and implement a plan for (1) identifying the specific staff or positions currently within the department's IT acquisition cadre; and (2) assessing whether these staff and positions address all of the specialized skills and knowledge needed, as outlined in OMB's Office of Federal Procurement Policy's guidance for developing an IT acquisition cadre.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DHS effectively implements FITARA, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management to direct the Chief Information Officer to establish time frames and implement a plan for (1) identifying the department's future IT skillset needs as a result of DHS's new delivery model, (2) conducting a skills gap analysis, and (3) resolving any skills gaps identified.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DHS effectively implements FITARA, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management to update the department's acquisition policies and guidance to be consistent in identifying that the DHS CIO is to certify investments' incremental development activities.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DHS effectively implements FITARA, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management to update DHS headquarters', Customs and Border Protection's, and U.S. Coast Guard's processes to track, for all contracts and agreements, the IT investment with which each is associated (as applicable).

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DHS effectively implements FITARA, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management to update and implement the process DHS uses for assessing the risks of major IT investments to ensure that the CIO rating reported to the Dashboard fully reflects the CIO's assessment of each major IT investment.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Daniel Bertoni
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should analyze the SEIE data to determine why a large proportion of transition-age youth on SSI with reported earnings did not benefit from the SEIE and, if warranted, take actions to ensure that those eligible for the incentive benefit from it.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendation. The agency stated that it would also explore various options for increasing connections to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), stating that in addition to assessing options for referring youth to VR and/or changing the Ticket to Work program, the agency will continue to research other options for supporting transitioning youth.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should analyze options to improve communication about SSA-administered work incentives and the implications of work on SSI benefits, with a goal of increasing understanding of SSI program rules and work incentives among transition-age youth and their families. This should include, but not necessarily be limited to, updating SSAs procedures for staff meeting with SSI applicants, recipients, and their families to regularly and consistently discuss - when applicable--how work incentives can prevent reductions in benefit levels and how work history is considered during eligibility redeterminations.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA disagreed with this recommendation, noting that it already analyzed, and continuously monitors and solicits feedback on, options to improve communications. SSA also said it requires staff to meet with SSI recipients regularly and instructs staff to discuss relevant work incentives, and that there is no indication that staff are not providing youth with appropriate work incentive information. However, SSA did not explain how it knows or ensures that staff are providing this information and SSA policies do not instruct staff to consistently convey information to youth and families on how work may or may not affect age 18 redetermination. While SSA's new brochure provides information on age-18 redeterminations, work incentives and other resources, we believe it could also contain additional relevant information, for example, on Medicaid eligibility. We also noted that written information may not be sufficient for conveying complex information. In addition, while we recognize the important role that WIPA projects play in providing work incentives counseling to SSI youth, WIPA projects have limited capacity for serving youth along with other SSI recipients and disability insurance beneficiaries. Therefore, we continue to believe that there are opportunities for SSA to improve its communication with transition-age youth and their families, including through in-person or telephone interactions.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should work with the Secretary of Education to determine the extent to which youth on SSI are not receiving transition services through schools that can connect them to VR agencies and services.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA partially agreed with this recommendation. SSA noted its ongoing collaboration with Education and other agencies through the Promoting Readiness of Minors in SSI (PROMISE) project, stating the initiative is testing the provision of VR services to youth receiving SSI and will provide some evidence related to the role of schools and VR services for this population. SSA also stated it will continue to pursue research in this area. While we recognize the value of this initiative, a final PROMISE evaluation is not expected until winter 2022. In addition, the PROMISE initiative was not designed to determine the extent to which youth on SSI are receiving transition services through schools or are otherwise connected to VR services. SSA also noted that it works with Education and other agencies through the Federal Partners in Transition (FPT) Workgroup to improve the provision of transition services to students with disabilities, and that the FPT has issued a blueprint of agencies' efforts. While the FPT can be a promising vehicle to help connect youth on SSI to key transition services, the FPT had not set timelines or milestones to achieve its broad goal to support positive outcomes for youth with disabilities, nor does it have a list or specific activities and tasks it will undertake. Therefore, we continue to believe additional collaboration by SSA with Education would be beneficial. SSA also noted several concerns related to complying with this recommendation, such as legal (privacy) concerns with data sharing, the capacity of state VR agencies to serve more individuals, and the receptivity of youth on SSI to receiving services. While we acknowledge these challenges, we believe that SSA can take steps to explore actions it could take after considering such legal issues. While low state VR capacity or individual motivation can obstruct receipt of VR services, they should not prevent SSA from working with Education to determine the extent to which SSI youth are sufficiently informed of VR resources that are potentially available to them.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should explore various options for increasing connections to VR agencies and services, including their potential costs and benefits. One option, among others, could be to expand the Ticket to Work program to include youth.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendation. The agency stated that, in addition to assessing legal and statutory options for referring youth to VR and/or changing the Ticket to Work program, it would also continue its research supporting youth.
    Director: Jacqueline M. Nowicki
    Phone: (617) 788-0580

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should direct the Office of Academic Improvement to expand its performance measures for the 21st Century program to address all program objectives. Specifically, Education should establish performance measures related to key behavioral, including student attendance and disciplinary incidents, and socio-emotional outcomes.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education neither agreed nor disagreed with our recommendations; rather, it generally noted that it will keep our recommendations in mind as it continues to implement changes in the program as a result of ESSA. Specifically, the department stated that it is in the process of re-examining whether additional or revised measures should be developed to align more significantly with the program's statutory objectives under ESSA. Education also expressed concern about collecting data on student attendance and disciplinary measures, noting that it will require effective collaboration between states, districts, and other eligible entities. However, we note that about half of states already collect data on at least one of these two measures; and that research has shown that 21st Century programs more often have positive effects on student attendance and reducing disciplinary incidents than on improving students' academic outcomes. Given these effects, we continue to believe that it is critical for Education to measure student attendance and disciplinary incidents to obtain more complete, accurate information on this program's effect on student outcomes.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should direct the Office of Academic Improvement to conduct federal-level data checks on the accuracy of 21st Century program data submitted by states. Such checks could test for logical relationships between fields. Education should also publicly disclose and address any data limitations it identifies, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. Education commented that it plans to build in additional data checks into the data system beyond its current checks on the data's completeness. Specifically, Education anticipates that new technology enhancements in the data system will be designed to flag for inconsistencies in data reporting. For example, the system may send a "flag" that participation data is significantly lower or higher than previously reported participation data. Further, Education indicated that it will consider whether auditors performing audits under the Single Audit Act can be asked and guided to do more checks on the accuracy and reliability of 21st Century program data.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should direct the Office of Academic Improvement to provide written, non-regulatory guidance to states on developing and conducting high-quality 21st Century state evaluations to help address the difficulties states face in measuring program performance and effectiveness.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. Education outlined several steps it has taken to assist states in the past. For example, Education said that it provided six states with individualized technical assistance on strategies related to developing statewide evaluations and measures. Education also noted that, to date, it has conducted two webinars on state evaluations and is in the process of including presentations from those webinars on its online learning portal so that states will have easy access to the information. In addition, Education stated that it included presentations on evaluation strategies in the past during its Summer Institute. Education also said it would consider whether additional guidance for all states was needed. While these are important steps, we do not believe they are sufficient. We continue to believe that Education should prepare written guidance to assist all states in developing and conducting high-quality program evaluations.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should direct the Office of Academic Improvement to use the information it collects from its monitoring visits and ongoing interactions with states to share effective practices across states for sustaining their 21st Century programs once program funding ends. This information could be shared using existing mechanisms such as Education's meetings with 21st Century state coordinators.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. Education noted that it hosts meetings twice a year for 21st Century state coordinators where strategies related to program sustainability are shared with states. These meetings covered topics such as reducing the amounts of 21st Century grant awards by a percentage each year. However, these meetings have not focused on topics on program sustainability for several years. We continue to believe that Education should take the lead in sharing information with states to help them address their sustainability challenges by sharing information on state policies and practices that have shown some success.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To mitigate the risk of poor acquisition outcomes and strengthen the department's investment decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Undersecretary for Management to update the acquisition policy to require that major acquisition programs' technical requirements are well defined and key technical reviews are conducted prior to approving programs to initiate product development and establishing Acquisition Program Baselines, in accordance with acquisition best practices.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DHS concurred with our recommendation and stated that it planned to initiate a study to assess how to better align its processes for technical reviews and acquisition decisions. Upon completion of the study, DHS plans to update its acquisition policies, as appropriate.
    Recommendation: To mitigate the risk of poor acquisition outcomes and strengthen the department's investment decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Undersecretary for Management to update the acquisition policy to specify that acquisition decision memorandums clearly document the rationale of decisions made by DHS leadership, such as, but not limited to, the reasons for allowing programs to deviate from the requirement to obtain department approval for certain documents at Acquisition Decision Events and the results of considerations or trade-offs.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DHS concurred with our recommendation and stated that it had begun expanding the content included in Acquisition Decision Memorandums (ADM) to include greater detail and that future ADMs would address the status of the acquisition documentation. DHS also said it had updated the guidance for writing ADMs in a handbook for Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management staff, thus making progress toward satisfying the recommendation. However, we did not close the recommendation because the updated guidance was not incorporated into the department's official acquisition policy, which may limit DHS's ability to implement the changes consistently over time. We will continue to review ADMs to assess whether the department's actions address the intent of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To mitigate the risk of poor acquisition outcomes and strengthen the department's investment decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Undersecretary for Management to update the acquisition policy to specify at what point minimum standards for KPPs should be met, and clarify the performance data that should be used to assess whether or not a performance breach has occurred.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DHS concurred with our recommendation and stated that it had updated guidance related to its performance breaches in a handbook for Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management staff, thus moving toward satisfying the intent of this recommendation. Specifically, DHS identified that programs' KPPs should be met and verified no later than initial operational test and evaluation conducted prior to Acquisition Decision Event 3, the point at which DHS leadership approves the program to transition into sustainment. If programs have not met a KPP by this point, they will be required to declare a performance breach and submit a remediation plan documenting the root cause of the breach, along with how and when the breach will be resolved. However, we did not close the recommendation because the department's official acquisition policy has yet to be updated. DHS will fully address this recommendation when it incorporates the changes into its acquisition policy to ensure that the updated guidance on performance breaches is communicated and implemented consistently throughout the department.
    Director: Jessica Farb
    Phone: (202) 512-6991

    10 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and usefulness of program evaluations for agency program and budget decisions, the Chief Executive Officer of MCC, the Administrator of USAID, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in cooperation with State's Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy) should each develop a plan for improving the quality of evaluations for the programs included in our review, focusing on areas where our analysis has shown the largest areas for potential improvement.

    Agency: Millennium Challenge Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a letter provided to GAO in May 2017, MCC stated that it had responded to our finding that MCC needed to more clearly document the independence of its evaluators and fully disclose any potential conflicts of interest in the published final evaluations. In response to this recommendation, MCC revised its standard evaluator contract language and now requires the evaluator's independence, and any potential conflicts of interest, be fully documented in the published evaluation report. GAO will follow up on documentation of this and any other steps responsive to our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and usefulness of program evaluations for agency program and budget decisions, the Chief Executive Officer of MCC, the Administrator of USAID, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in cooperation with State's Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy) should each develop a plan for improving the quality of evaluations for the programs included in our review, focusing on areas where our analysis has shown the largest areas for potential improvement.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and usefulness of program evaluations for agency program and budget decisions, the Chief Executive Officer of MCC, the Administrator of USAID, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in cooperation with State's Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy) should each develop a plan for improving the quality of evaluations for the programs included in our review, focusing on areas where our analysis has shown the largest areas for potential improvement.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, DOD provided a response to our final report, dated March 30, 2017. The response noted that, in January 2017, the Department established policy on assessment, monitoring, and evaluation (AM&E) for security cooperation with the goal of improving the quality of program evaluation across the Department. DOD also stated that it would review best practices for AM&E to determine those that are best suited for security assistance, and will discuss our findings and recommendations with the independent evaluator who conducts security assistance evaluations and encourage them to consider the recommendations in future evaluations. GAO will review the January 2017 guidance and will follow-up on specific steps taken by the DOD to incorporate best practices.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and usefulness of program evaluations for agency program and budget decisions, the Chief Executive Officer of MCC, the Administrator of USAID, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in cooperation with State's Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy) should each develop a plan for improving the quality of evaluations for the programs included in our review, focusing on areas where our analysis has shown the largest areas for potential improvement.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a response to GAO in May 2017, HHS stated that the CDC Operationalization of the Evaluation Standards of Practice (ESOP) was updated in January 2017 and provides guidance on evaluation planning, protocol development, implementation, reporting, dissemination, and use of evaluation results, as well as reporting requirements. HHS also stated that it now reviews all evaluation and performance monitoring plans and assess report quality at several stages prior to publication and has begun to provide webinars and templates for evaluators to ensure that standards are addressed and reflected in the report. GAO will review the updated documents and request documentation of the actions taken for responsiveness to our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and usefulness of program evaluations for agency program and budget decisions, the Chief Executive Officer of MCC, the Administrator of USAID, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in cooperation with State's Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy) should each develop a plan for improving the quality of evaluations for the programs included in our review, focusing on areas where our analysis has shown the largest areas for potential improvement.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a letter dated March 31, 2017, State reported that it would be expanding its evaluation policy into the new Program Design and Performance Management Policy for Programs, Projects, and Processes, expected to be in place by summer 2017. The policy and its implementation, along with the recently published Program Design and Performance Management toolkit, as well as updated policy guidance, constitute State's plan to improve evaluations. GAO will review the updated policy when it is released for its responsiveness to our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and usefulness of program evaluations for agency program and budget decisions, the Chief Executive Officer of MCC, the Administrator of USAID, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in cooperation with State's Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy) should each develop a plan for improving the quality of evaluations for the programs included in our review, focusing on areas where our analysis has shown the largest areas for potential improvement.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a letter provided to GAO in follow-up to our report, USAID stated that steps already taken include (1)recently updating and clarifying the requirements and quality standards for evaluations and (2) working to ensure that staff has the skills they need to manage evaluations through training and other capacity building actions. As of September 2017, GAO is reviewing the updated guidance and actions against the specific findings in our report to assess their responsiveness in addressing our findings.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the evaluation findings reach their intended audiences and are available to facilitate incorporating lessons learned into future program design or budget decisions, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to update its guidance and practices on the posting of evaluations to require President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) evaluations to be posted within the timeframe required by PEPFAR guidance.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a response to GAO in May 2017, HHS stated that the CDC, as of December 2016, now provides guidance noting that each new evaluation protocol specifically state that a report on the main findings of an evaluation will be produced in alignment with the PEPFAR ESOP and posted (in English) on a publically accessible website within 90 days of completion. GAO will review the updated document for responsiveness to our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the evaluation findings reach their intended audiences and are available to facilitate incorporating lessons learned into future program design or budget decisions, the Chief Executive Officer of MCC should adjust MCC evaluation practices to make evaluation reports available within the timeframe required by MCC guidance.

    Agency: Millennium Challenge Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a letter provided to GAO in May 2017, MCC stated that it had initiated a re-design of its evaluation monitoring information system to provide MCC with detailed timelines of each component of the evaluation review and publication process. GAO will follow up on documentation of this and any other steps responsive to our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the evaluation findings reach their intended audiences and are available to facilitate incorporating lessons learned into future program design or budget decisions, the Secretary of State should amend State's evaluation policy to require the completion of dissemination plans for all agency evaluations

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a letter dated March 31, 2017, State reported that it would be expanding its evaluation policy into the new Program Design and Performance Management Policy for Programs, Projects, and Processes, expected to be in place by summer 2017. State reported that it would add a requirement for dissemination plans to the new policy. GAO will review the updated policy when it is released for its responsiveness to our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the evaluation findings reach their intended audiences and are available to facilitate incorporating lessons learned into future program design or budget decisions, the Secretary of Agriculture should implement guidance and procedures for making FAS evaluations available online and searchable on a single website that can be accessed by the general public.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Diana Maurer
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure grantees' compliance with the Drug-Free Communities Support Program's statutory requirements and to strengthen monitoring of grantee activities, SAMHSA should develop an action plan with time frames for addressing any deficiencies it finds through its reviews and making systemic changes to mitigate deficiencies on a prospective basis to strengthen the grant monitoring process.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA is currently in the process of implementing routine audits of all its grant files. SAMHSA will also conduct an audit specifically of DFC files to ensure compliance by the end of summer 2017. Additionally, SAMHSA will offer regular training to government project officers (GPO) on grant report requirements and will ensure DFC GPO participation. Finally, SAMHSA is actively implementing the Grants Enterprise Management System to streamline the grants management process and make the process for maintaining grant files automated. By the end of fall 2017, all newly awarded DFC grants will be in this system. By the end of fall 2018, all active DFC grants will utilize this system.
    Recommendation: To better ensure grantees' compliance with the Drug-Free Communities Support Program's statutory requirements and to strengthen monitoring of grantee activities, SAMHSA should develop and implement a method for ensuring that the grantee status reports it provides to ONDCP are complete and accurate.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA will develop a plan to ensure complete and accurate information is provided to ONDCP by the end of summer 2017.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: Given DOT's new discretionary grant programs and similar challenges we have found with previous DOT programs, the Secretary of Transportation should issue a directive that governs department-wide and modal administration discretionary grant programs. Such a directive should include requirements to: (1) develop a plan for evaluating project proposals in advance of issuing a notice of funding availability that defines the stages of the process, including how the process will be overseen to ensure a consistent review of applications; (2) document key decisions, including the reason for any rating changes and the officials responsible for those changes, and how high-level concerns raised during the process were addressed; and (3) align stated program purpose and policy priorities with the evaluation and selection process.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOT concurred with this recommendation. To fully implement this recommendation, DOT must issue a directive, to address our concerns and require DOT's operating administrations to develop and document procedures for all phases of the process for its discretionary grants.
    Recommendation: To better address FTA's stated policy priority of regional resilience and to minimize fragmentation of federal efforts, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FTA Administrator to (a) examine the projects FTA funded under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (DRAA) discretionary transit resilience grant program for potential duplication with other resilience efforts and (b) determine whether it is appropriate to realign funds for FTA-supported projects for other purposes authorized under the DRAA, or request a rescission of funds for any of the FTA-supported projects.

    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: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To determine whether CSA interventions influence motor carrier safety performance, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to identify and implement, as appropriate, methods to evaluate the effectiveness of individual intervention types or common intervention patterns to obtain more complete, appropriate, and accurate information on the effectiveness of interventions in improving motor carrier safety performance. In identifying and implementing appropriate methods, FMCSA should incorporate accepted practices for designing program effectiveness evaluations, including practices that would enable FMCSA to more confidently attribute changes in carriers' safety behavior to CSA interventions.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To understand the efficiency of CSA interventions the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to update FMCSA's cost estimates to determine the resources currently used to conduct individual intervention types and ensure FMCSA has cost information that is representative of all states.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To enable FMCSA management to monitor the agency's progress in achieving its effectiveness and efficiency outcomes for CSA interventions and balance priorities, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to establish and use performance measures to regularly monitor progress toward both FMCSA's effectiveness outcome and its efficiency outcome.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Kay E. Brown
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should take additional steps to collect and disseminate information on promising practices that could help improve data matching processes among state SNAP agencies, including broad and timely dissemination of information on results of recent relevant pilots or demonstrations.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) agreed with this recommendation. The agency noted it is moving in this direction and would build on current efforts to address them. GAO will monitor these efforts and consider closing the recommendation when these efforts have been completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should work with the Department of Health and Human Services (as appropriate) to analyze spending and understand data needs for SNAP across federal and state contracts and in relation to other programs as FNS explores ways to potentially reduce the costs of using commercial data services.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) agreed with this recommendation. The agency noted it has been moving in this general direction and would build on current efforts to address it. GAO will monitor these efforts and consider closing the recommendation when these efforts have been completed.
    Director: David Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    25 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: We plan to follow up on the agency's actions to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of our report, the department concurred with our recommendation. Subsequent to the department informing us that it has taken action to implement the recommendation, we will follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of our report, the department concurred with our recommendation. Subsequent to the department informing us that it has taken action to implement the recommendation, we will follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of our report, the department concurred with our recommendation. Subsequent to the department informing us that it has taken action to implement the recommendation, we will follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of our report, the department concurred with our recommendation. Subsequent to the department informing us that it has taken action to implement the recommendation, we will follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of our report, the department concurred with our recommendation. Subsequent to the department informing us that it has taken action to implement the recommendation, we will follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of our report, the department concurred with our recommendation. Subsequent to the department informing us that it has taken action to implement the recommendation, we will follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of our report, SSA agreed with our recommendation. Subsequent to SSA informing us that it has taken action to implement the recommendation, we will follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: We plan to follow up on the department's actions to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of our report, the department concurred with our recommendation. Subsequent to the department informing us that it has taken action to implement the recommendation, we will follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of our report, the department concurred with our recommendation. Subsequent to the department informing us that it has taken action to implement the recommendation, we will follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: The department said it had no comments on our draft report and recommendation. We plan to follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of our report, the department concurred with our recommendation. Subsequent to the department informing us that it has taken action to implement the recommendation, we will follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of our report, the department concurred with our recommendation. Subsequent to the department informing us that it has taken action to implement the recommendation, we will follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of our report, EPA generally agreed with our recommendation. Subsequent to EPA informing us that it has taken action to implement the recommendation, we will follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of our report, NASA concurred with our recommendation. Subsequent to NASA informing us that it has taken action to implement the recommendation, we will follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: National Science Foundation
    Status: Open

    Comments: NSF stated that it had no comments on our draft report and recommendation. We will plan to follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of our report, SBA said the report captures its current posture. We plan to follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of our report, NRC stated that it generally agreed with the report. We plan to follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; and U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other responsible officials to improve their inventories by taking steps to fully address the practices we identified as being partially met or not met.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of our report, OPM concurred with our recommendation. Subsequent to OPM informing us that it has taken action to implement the recommendation, we will follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the Secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, the Interior, and Labor; and the Director of the National Science Foundation should direct the CIOs and other responsible officials to modify existing investment management processes to address applications more completely. Specifically, the Secretary of Defense should direct the responsible official to modify the department's existing processes to collect and review cost, technical, and business information for the enterprise and business IT systems within the Enterprise Information Environment Mission Area applications which are currently not reviewed as part of the department's process for business systems.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of our report, the department disagreed with our recommendation. We plan to follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the Secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, the Interior, and Labor; and the Director of the National Science Foundation should direct the CIOs and other responsible officials to modify existing investment management processes to address applications more completely. Specifically, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the department's CIO to identify one high-cost function it could collect detailed cost, technical, and business information for and modify existing processes to collect and review this information.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of our report, the department concurred with our recommendation. Subsequent to the department informing us that it has taken action to implement the recommendation, we will follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the Secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, the Interior, and Labor; and the Director of the National Science Foundation should direct the CIOs and other responsible officials to modify existing investment management processes to address applications more completely. Specifically, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the department's CIO to document and implement a plan for establishing policy that would define a standard analytical technique for rationalizing the investment portfolio.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: We plan to follow up on the department's actions to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the Secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, the Interior, and Labor; and the Director of the National Science Foundation should direct the CIOs and other responsible officials to modify existing investment management processes to address applications more completely. Specifically, the Secretary of Labor should direct the department's CIO to consider a segmented approach to further rationalize and identify a function for which it would modify existing processes to collect and review application-specific cost, technical, and business value information.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of our report, the department concurred with our recommendation. Subsequent to the department informing us that it has taken action to implement the recommendation, we will follow up.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of applications, the Secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, the Interior, and Labor; and the Director of the National Science Foundation should direct the CIOs and other responsible officials to modify existing investment management processes to address applications more completely. Specifically, the Director of the National Science Foundation should direct the CIO to consistently document evaluations for all applications and report cost information for them in the roadmap or other documentation.

    Agency: National Science Foundation
    Status: Open

    Comments: NSF stated that it had no comments on our draft report and recommendation. We will plan to follow up.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure Interior can hire, retain, and train staff it needs to provide effective oversight of oil and gas activities on federal lands and waters, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of its available incentives, such as special salary rates, the student loan repayment program, and other incentives in hiring and retaining key oil and gas staff.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2016, Interior's Office of Policy, Management and Budget outlined a plan to assess the effectiveness of special salary rates, as well as recruitment, relocation, and retention incentives by tracking measures such as turnover and acceptance rates. In January 2017 Interior officials reported that the evaluation of these incentives would be conducted on a regular basis. When we confirm that the agency has implemented its evaluation plan, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure Interior can hire, retain, and train staff it needs to provide effective oversight of oil and gas activities on federal lands and waters, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget to annually evaluate the bureaus' training programs, including: (1) staff training needs, (2) training effectiveness, and (3) potential opportunities for the bureaus to share training resources.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, Interior officials said the bureaus were developing, or had developed, the means by which they would assess their training needs and review, evaluate, and update their training programs for technical staff. Interior also told GAO that as part of its quarterly review of performance data, the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget will ensure that BLM, BSEE and BOEM are coordinating their training needs. Interior officials said that their Office of Strategic Employment and Organizational Development will validate the bureaus' active engagement in this activity and provide support in the fulfillment of this recommendation where needed.
    Recommendation: To help ensure Interior can hire, retain, and train staff it needs to provide effective oversight of oil and gas activities on federal lands and waters, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management to develop technical competencies for all key oil and gas staff.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017 Interior officials reported that the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management will direct BLM, BSEE and BOEM to identify their individual bureau's respective technical competency needs for all key oil and gas staff and develop a plan with milestones for applying these competencies to recruitment, retention, and training strategies designed to address the unique requirements of each bureau.
    Recommendation: To help ensure Interior can hire, retain, and train staff it needs to provide effective oversight of oil and gas activities on federal lands and waters, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management to evaluate the need for and viability of a certification program for BSEE inspectors.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017 Interior officials reported that the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management will direct BSEE to evaluate certification programs that are used in other federal agencies and in industry to determine whether these types of formalized verification systems could benefit the inspection program. BSEE will award an Inspector Training Program evaluation contract to independently assess the need and effectiveness of a certification program for BSEE inspectors, including benchmarking with the BLM and other federal enforcement and compliance entities with inspector workforces.
    Recommendation: To help ensure Interior can hire, retain, and train staff it needs to provide effective oversight of oil and gas activities on federal lands and waters, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget to coordinate with the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management to create or use an existing mechanism, such as the Deputies Operating Group, Principals Operating Group, or the Interior Training Directors Council, to facilitate collaboration across the three bureaus in addressing their shared hiring, retention, and training challenges.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, Interior has not identified what mechanism it will use to facilitate collaboration across the three bureaus. In January 2017, Interior officials reported that as part of its quarterly review of performance data, the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget will coordinate with the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. We will provide updated information when the agency demonstrates that it has created or selected an existing mechanism to use for ongoing collaboration across the three bureaus in addressing their shared hiring, retention, and training challenges.
    Director: Debra Draper
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to conduct an evaluation of the implementation of the VISN realignment to determine whether deficiencies exist that need corrective actions, and apply lessons learned from the evaluation to future organizational structure changes, such as possible changes to VISN staffing models or actions to implement Commission on Care recommendations.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VHA concurred with this recommendation, stating that VHA's Office of Workforce Management and Consulting (WMC) would evaluate the implementation of the VISN realignment to include the identification of deficiencies for correction, lessons learned, and potential changes to the VISN staffing models. VHA stated that as the implementation activities near completion in fiscal year 2017, WMC would evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the VISN realignment processes. In December 2016, VHA reported that WMC had begun consultations with the Office of Strategic Integration on a strategic assessment of the VHA organizational structure in the field to 1) identify and recommend to leadership optimal proposals for organization design efficiencies and 2) define and recommend analytical and implementation procedures that will avoid the challenges from previous field reorganizations. As of April 2017, VHA reported that the Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health found that lessons learned from the VISN Realignment Workgroup needed to be incorporated into the VA Modernization initiative, and directed the VHA's Office of Strategic Integration to coordinate with WMC and former members of the VISN Realignment Workgroup to determine how best to document lessons learned and apply them to future organizational structure changes. In July 2017, VHA told us that a Rapid Design and Implementation functional assessment of VHA Central Office and VISN organizations had been completed, which included a survey, interviews with central office and VISN officials, and other meetings. VHA stated its target completion date of September 2017 was unchanged, but did not provide additional detail on how the functional assessment is related to the evaluation of the VISN realignment that we recommended VHA conduct, or how lessons learned from the realignment are being incorporated into organizational structure changes such as the new functional chart VHA reported developing.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to develop a process to ensure that organizational structure recommendations resulting from internal and external reviews of VHA are evaluated for implementation. This process should include the documentation of decisions and assigning officials or offices responsibility for ensuring that approved recommendations are implemented.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VHA concurred with this recommendation. In December 2016, VHA stated that its Office of Workforce Management and Consulting (WMC) had begun to develop a consistent process to ensure that organizational structure changes are evaluated and implemented appropriately. In addition, a first draft of a permanent organization approval procedure had been completed and was undergoing review for the Under Secretary for Health. In May 2017, VHA officials told us their initial work on this recommendation was paused to allow the Agency to respond to President Trump's Executive Order dated March 13, 2017, on "Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch." VHA reported that WMC's proposed process will be assessed in the context of the Executive Order. In July 2017, VHA reported that the VA Modernization Team evaluated the results from a VHA Rapid Design and Implementation functional review, which was conducted to determine where shared areas of responsibilities and redundancies exist across VHA, and developed a draft functional chart that was under review. WMC anticipated continuing work on this recommendation after the functional chart's approval, with an anticipated completion date of September 2017. We will follow-up with VHA to obtain updates on both the organizational structure changes process as well as the new functional chart for VHA.
    Director: Brown Barnes, Cindy S
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal contractors are complying with equal employment opportunity requirements, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Director of OFCCP to make changes to the contractor scheduling list development process so that compliance efforts focus on those contractors with the greatest risk of not following equal employment opportunity and affirmative action requirements.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor (DOL) agreed with this recommendation and is taking steps to address it. DOL noted its past work to improve its ability to identify federal contractor establishments under its jurisdiction. The agency is also committed to improving the scheduling process and using its resources more efficiently. DOL noted that its recently proposed EEO-1 pay data collection will provide more detailed information on federal contractor compensation disparity patterns, which they believe will strengthen the selection process. Finally, the agency reported that it is committed to improving its ability to focus on contractors with the greatest risk of noncompliance.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal contractors are complying with equal employment opportunity requirements, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Director of OFCCP to develop a mechanism to monitor AAPs from covered federal contractors on a regular basis. Such a mechanism could include electronically collecting AAPs and contractor certification of annual updates.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor agreed with this recommendation and reported that it will fully explore the operational implications and funding requirements.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal contractors are complying with equal employment opportunity requirements, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Director of OFCCP to make changes to the current scheduling list distribution process so that it addresses changes in human capital and does not rely exclusively on geographic location.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor (DOL) agreed with this recommendation. DOL reported that it will explore the logistics of non-geographically based compliance evaluations in its review of contractors with Functional Affirmative Action Programs. The agency will also explore establishment based cross-regional case transfers, and continue to implement improved case distribution approaches in future scheduling lists.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal contractors are complying with equal employment opportunity requirements, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Director of OFCCP to provide timely and uniform training to new staff, as well as provide continuing training opportunities to assist compliance officers in maintaining a level of competence to help ensure quality and consistency of evaluations across regions and district offices.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor agreed with this recommendation and noted past and future efforts to address it. To date, the agency has conducted many webinars to build staff knowledge and skills; implemented a Front Line Manager Leadership Development Program to enhance leadership and technical skills; hosted an all-staff regional training in FY16 to hone the staff's technical skills; developed a training plan in FY16 to assess employee training needs and address the needs of compliance officers at various stages of their careers; and conducted a training needs assessment in FY16 to identify the performance requirements and competencies needed by agency staff. Based on the results of the needs assessment, the agency plans to develop the "Compliance Officer Continuous Education Success Program," a three-year program to ensure that compliance officers receive timely and consistent instruction. They will also formalize its use of training-related work groups to ensure training is responsive to employer needs, and leverage different instructional methods, such as classroom and web-based training.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal contractors are complying with equal employment opportunity requirements, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Director of OFCCP to review outreach and compliance assistance efforts and identify options for improving information provided to federal contractors and workers to enhance their understanding of nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements to ensure equal employment opportunities for protected workers.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor (DOL) agreed with this recommendation and is taking steps to address it. The agency plans to expand stakeholder engagement practices, such as consultations with federal contractors, to determine what additional guidance is needed to support contractor compliance with OFCCP regulations and increase contractor awareness of resources, such as its Help Desk and EEO Tabulation. OFCCP will also build on prior outreach that has included live and virtual events (e.g., focus groups, round tables) and explore ways to disseminate promising practices.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal contractors are complying with equal employment opportunity requirements, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Director of OFCCP to assess existing contractor guidance for clarity to ensure that contractors have information that helps them better understand their responsibilities regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements to ensure equal employment opportunities for protected workers.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor agreed with this recommendation. The agency noted past efforts demonstrating its commitment to quality guidance, such as by increasing online resources and tools available to stakeholders, and revising outdated regulations and guidance with input from stakeholders.
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that annual training plans are aligned with the Air Force's stated goals to ensure that its forces can successfully achieve missions across a broad range of current and emerging threats, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to comprehensively reassess the assumptions underlying its annual training requirements--including, but not limited to, the total annual training requirements by aircraft, the criteria for designating aircrews as experienced or inexperienced, and the mix between live and simulator training--and make any appropriate adjustments in future training plans.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Air Force has taken steps to address this recommendation. As of August 2017, Air Force officials identified a recently completed study, as well as an ongoing study, intended to reassess the assumptions underlying its annual training requirements for fighter aircrews. For example, Air Force officials stated a study was completed in August 2017 reassessing the criteria for designating aircrews as experienced or inexperienced for 4th generation fighter aircraft. In addition, Air Force officials stated that there is an ongoing study to define the optimum mix of annual training requirements for fighter aircrews. These officials stated that an initial briefing of the study results will be provided to Air Force senior leaders in September 2017. Completion of these studies and the corresponding adjustments to annual training requirements should help the Air Force ensure that their training plans are aligned to achieve a range of missions for current and emerging threats as recommended by GAO in its September 2016 report.
    Recommendation: To improve the Air Force's ability to consistently monitor training results and better position it to allocate resources to address factors that limit the effectiveness of training, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to establish desired learning objectives and training support elements needed to accomplish the training expectations in its annual Ready Aircrew Program tasking memorandums, and develop a process to collect data to assess the effectiveness of annual training against these features.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, no executive action has been taken. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the Air Force's ability to develop the capabilities needed to meet its virtual training needs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to continue to refine its planning for virtual training to incorporate the desirable characteristics of a comprehensive strategy, including developing a risk-based investment strategy that identifies and prioritizes capability needs and includes a time line for addressing them.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Air Force has taken steps to address this recommendation. As of August 2017, Air Force officials stated that the service is in the process of updating its Air Force Operational Training Infrastructure 2035 Flight Plan. This plan will be accompanied by an infrastructure funding strategy and classified supplement. These officials stated that among these three documents the Air Force will incorporate all of the desirable characteristics of a comprehensive strategy. Air Force officials estimate that these documents will be finalized in the fall of 2017. Completion of these documents should help the Air Force incorporate the desirable characteristics of a comprehensive strategy and better enable the Air Force to acquire virtual training devices based on sound requirements and priorities, as recommended by GAO in its September 2016.
    Director: Jenny Grover
    Phone: (202) 512-7141

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure effective evaluation of air marshal training, the TSA Administrator should direct OTD to implement a mechanism for regularly collecting and incorporating incumbent air marshals' feedback on the training they receive from field office programs.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective evaluation of air marshal training, the TSA Administrator should direct OTD to take additional steps to improve the response rates of the training surveys it conducts.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that air marshals are complying with recurrent training requirements and have the capability to carry out FAMS's mission, the TSA Administrator should direct FAMS to specify in policy who at the headquarters level has oversight responsibility for ensuring that field office Supervisory Air Marshals-in-Charge or their designees meet their responsibilities for ensuring that training completion records are entered in a timely manner.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that air marshals are complying with recurrent training requirements and have the capability to carry out FAMS's mission, the TSA Administrator should direct FAMS to specify in policy who at the headquarters level is responsible for ensuring that headquarters personnel enter approved air marshals' training exemptions into the Federal Air Marshal Information System, and define the timeframe for doing so.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that air marshals are complying with recurrent training requirements and have the capability to carry out FAMS's mission, the TSA Administrator should direct FAMS to develop and implement standardized methods, such as examinations and checklists, for determining whether incumbent air marshals continue to be mission ready in key skills.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

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

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that NNSA can better inform long-term planning and management decision making as well as to ensure that the Enhanced Surveillance Program complements NNSA's other efforts to assess the nuclear weapons stockpile, the NNSA Administrator should develop a long-term strategy for the Enhanced Surveillance Program that incorporates outcome-oriented strategic goals, addresses management challenges and identifies resources needed to achieve these goals, and develops and uses performance measures to track progress in achieving these goals.

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

    Comments: Fiscal year 2018 budget submission data indicates some new activities but not yet mention a strategy change.
    Director: John Pendleton
    Phone: (202) 512-3489

    5 open recommendations
    including 5 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the department can implement readiness rebuilding efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Departments of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force to establish comprehensive readiness rebuilding goals to guide readiness rebuilding efforts and a strategy for implementing identified goals, to include resources needed to implement the strategy.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD has not yet taken steps to establish comprehensive readiness rebuilding goals to guide readiness rebuilding efforts and a strategy for implementing identified goals, to include resources needed to implement the strategy. In the Senate Report accompanying the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress required DOD to submit a detailed plan for rebuilding the readiness of the military force, to include comprehensive readiness goals and a strategy for achieving the goals. DOD did not provide this plan by the September 30, 2016 deadline. In October 2016, we confirmed that DOD had begun efforts to develop a plan for rebuilding readiness, but the plan did not materialize. In January 2017, the White House issued an executive order requiring the Secretary of Defense to conduct a readiness review assessing the current condition of readiness and identifying actions that can be implemented to improve readiness. As of April 2017, DOD had begun taking steps to develop a readiness rebuilding plan, including identifying goals and metrics, as well as identifying challenges preventing the military services from rebuilding readiness. The department had also taken steps to develop a 60-day Action Plan in response to the January 2017 Executive Order. However, DOD had not submitted its plan for rebuilding the readiness of the force to Congress, nor had the department taken steps to fully address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the department can implement readiness rebuilding efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Departments of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force to develop metrics for measuring interim progress at specific milestones against identified goals for all services.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD has not yet developed metrics for measuring interim progress at specific milestones against identified readiness rebuilding goals for each of the military services. In the Senate Report accompanying the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress required DOD to submit a detailed plan for rebuilding the readiness of the military force, to include metrics for measuring progress at specific milestones. DOD did not provide this plan by the September 30, 2016 deadline. In October 2016, we confirmed that DOD had begun efforts to develop a plan for rebuilding readiness, but the plan did not materialize. In January 2017, the White House issued an executive order requiring the Secretary of Defense to conduct a readiness review assessing the current condition of readiness and identifying actions that can be implemented to improve readiness. As of April 2017, DOD had begun taking steps to develop a readiness rebuilding plan, including identifying goals and metrics, as well as identifying challenges preventing the military services from rebuilding readiness. The department had also taken steps to develop a 60-day Action Plan in response to the January 2017 Executive Order. However, DOD had not submitted its plan for rebuilding the readiness of the force to Congress, nor had the department taken steps to fully address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the department can implement readiness rebuilding efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Departments of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force to identify external factors that may impact readiness recovery plans, including how they influence the underlying assumptions, to ensure that readiness rebuilding goals are achievable within established time frames. This should include, but not be limited to, an evaluation of the impact of assumptions about budget, maintenance time frames, and training that underpin the services' readiness recovery plans.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD has not yet taken steps to identify external factors that may impact readiness recovery plans. In the Senate Report accompanying the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress required DOD to submit a detailed plan for rebuilding the readiness of the military force, to include identification of external factors that may impact recovery plans and potential mitigations. DOD did not provide this plan by the September 30, 2016 deadline. In October 2016, we confirmed that DOD had begun efforts to develop a plan for rebuilding readiness, but the plan did not materialize. In January 2017, the White House issued an executive order requiring the Secretary of Defense to conduct a readiness review assessing the current condition of readiness and identifying actions that can be implemented to improve readiness. As of April 2017, DOD had begun taking steps to develop a readiness rebuilding plan, including identifying goals and metrics, as well as identifying challenges preventing the military services from rebuilding readiness. The department had also taken steps to develop a 60-day Action Plan in response to the January 2017 Executive Order. However, DOD had not submitted its plan for rebuilding the readiness of the force to Congress, nor had the department taken steps to fully address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the department has adequate oversight of service readiness rebuilding efforts and that these efforts reflect the department's priorities, the Secretary of Defense should validate the service-established readiness rebuilding goals, strategies for achieving the goals, and metrics for measuring progress, and revise as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD has not yet taken steps to validate the service-established readiness rebuilding goals, strategies for achieving the goals, and metrics for measuring progress, and revise as appropriate. In the Senate Report accompanying the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress required DOD to submit a detailed plan for rebuilding the readiness of the military force, to include plans for department-level oversight of service readiness recovery efforts. DOD did not provide this plan by the September 30, 2016 deadline. In October 2016, we confirmed that DOD had begun efforts to develop a plan for rebuilding readiness, but the plan did not materialize. In January 2017, the White House issued an executive order requiring the Secretary of Defense to conduct a readiness review assessing the current condition of readiness and identifying actions that can be implemented to improve readiness. As of April 2017, DOD had begun taking steps to develop a readiness rebuilding plan, including identifying goals and metrics, as well as identifying challenges preventing the military services from rebuilding readiness. The department had also taken steps to develop a 60-day Action Plan in response to the January 2017 Executive Order. However, DOD had not submitted its plan for rebuilding the readiness of the force to Congress, nor had the department taken steps to fully address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the department has adequate oversight of service readiness rebuilding efforts and that these efforts reflect the department's priorities, the Secretary of Defense should develop a method to evaluate the department's readiness recovery efforts against the agreed-upon goals through objective measurement and systematic analysis.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD has not yet developed a method to evaluate the department's readiness recovery efforts against the agreed-upon goals through objective measurement and systematic analysis. In the Senate Report accompanying the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress required DOD to submit a detailed plan for rebuilding the readiness of the military force, to include plans for department-level oversight of service readiness recovery efforts. DOD did not provide this plan by the September 30, 2016 deadline. In October 2016, we confirmed that DOD had begun efforts to develop a plan for rebuilding readiness, but the plan did not materialize. In January 2017, the White House issued an executive order requiring the Secretary of Defense to conduct a readiness review assessing the current condition of readiness and identifying actions that can be implemented to improve readiness. As of April 2017, DOD had begun taking steps to develop a readiness rebuilding plan, including identifying goals and metrics, as well as identifying challenges preventing the military services from rebuilding readiness. The department had also taken steps to develop a 60-day Action Plan in response to the January 2017 Executive Order. However, DOD had not submitted its plan for rebuilding the readiness of the force to Congress, nor had the department taken steps to fully address this recommendation.
    Director: Cary B. Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to better integrate virtual training devices into operational training, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to specify in Army guidance for developing virtual training device requirements that training developers consider and document the time available to train with the devices and intended usage rates to achieve training tasks and proficiency goals during operational training.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) partially concurred with this recommendation. As of August 2017, the Army reported taking limited steps to address this recommendation. Army officials stated that the Army has established target usage rates for existing virtual training devices, and has promulgated guidance and tracking tools for recording usage. However, the Army has not modified its guidance for developing new virtual training devices to reflect consideration of time available to train with a new device or expected usage rates to achieve training tasks and proficiency goals during operational training, as GAO recommended in August 2016.
    Recommendation: In order to better integrate virtual training devices into operational training, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to provide additional guidance on how to use virtual non-system training devices in operational training and explore opportunities to incorporate virtual training devices more fully into training strategies.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with this recommendation. As of August 2017, the Army has taken steps towards addressing it. Specifically, during the period May to November 2017, Headquarters, Department of the Army is leading an in-depth analysis of regular Army formations' readiness training models in support of operational demand. The outcome of this analysis will be viable and executable training models which will also inform future budget requests. According to Army officials, key stakeholders and relevant subject matter experts will identify and update unit training models to reflect training events and tasks to achieve training proficiency, to include key virtual training capabilities that enable specified training events. Key virtual training capabilities will be reflected for each collective and individual training event/task, which will better incorporate virtual training devices into training strategies, as GAO recommended in August 2016.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOE develops and uses reliable cost and schedule estimates and AOAs, the Secretary of Energy should direct Office of Environmental Management (EM) to revise its protocol governing cleanup operations activities to require use of best practices in developing cost and schedule estimates.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. In its written comments, DOE stated that EM is transitioning from the operations activities protocol to a new directive that is expected to include a key decision approving a cost and schedule baseline. As EM develops the guidance for this key decision, it will include the use of cost and schedule best practices. In April 2017, however, EM indicated that it plans to issue a revised EM operations activities protocol in fiscal year 2017 for use in fiscal year 2018 instead of a new directive. According to an EM official, EM will include best practices for cost and schedule estimation in the revised protocol. When EM completes the revised protocol, we will evaluate the actions taken and whether the recommendation should be closed.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOE develops and uses reliable cost and schedule estimates and AOAs, the Secretary of Energy should direct EM to implement the recommendation made by DOE's Office of Project Management Oversight and Assessments in its independent review of the AOA for WIPP's new permanent ventilation system to perform a cost-benefit analysis consistent with best practices for conducting an AOA, or justify and document why the office does not intend to do so.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with clarification to the recommendation. In its written comments to our report, DOE stated that in accordance with GAO best practices, it will conduct further cost-benefit analysis on the WIPP ventilation system project prior to approval of Critical Decision-2, Approve Performance Baseline. DOE stated that several alternatives remain to be evaluated including the size of the ventilation system and the location of the exhaust shaft. In March 2017, a DOE Carlsbad Field Office official overseeing the project said that the project team completed an additional analysis of alternatives (AOA) for the ventilation system project at WIPP and a revised business case for the alternative to construct a safety significant confinement ventilation system and exhaust shaft that addresses the recommendations from the Department of Energy's Office of Project Management Oversight and Assessment. After we obtain a copy of the completed AOA, we will evaluate the action taken to determine whether to close the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOE develops and uses reliable cost and schedule estimates and AOAs, the Secretary of Energy should direct DOE to revise its Order 413.3B to require that DOE offices implement any recommendations from an independent review of the extent to which an AOA followed best practices, or justify and document the rationale for not doing so.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation and in its written comments to our report stated that it will prepare a project management policy on how DOE offices should respond to recommendations from independent reviews by December 2016. In addition, DOE stated that it will update DOE Order 413.3B with the new policy at the next available opportunity. In November 2017, a DOE official from the Office of Project Management, Oversight, and Assessments (PMOA) said that PMOA developed a project management policy statement on how DOE offices should disposition recommendations from independent reviews and PMOA intended to incorporate the policy into its planned update of DOE Guide 413.3-9 Project Review Guide for Capital Asset Projects, which was to be completed by December 2016. As of April 2017, according to a DOE official, development of the updated project review guide was on hold indefinitely along with all other actions to publish new, or update existing departmental directives in response to the two Presidential Executive Orders issued in January and February 2017 that directed federal agencies to, among other things, reduce and reform agency regulations.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To help strengthen the government's ability to compete in the labor market for top talent, and to improve the federal hiring process, for hiring authorities for which OPM oversees, the Director of OPM, in conjunction with the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) Council, should conduct a study or assessment of specific hiring authorities and/or processes to gain insight into why these agencies relied on the authorities, the relationship between the agencies' choices and the agency mission and broader public policy goals, consistent with merit systems principles, and determine whether modernization is necessary. For agency-specific hiring authorities and/or processes, OPM should collaborate with the CHCO Council to obtain similar insights agencies may have regarding their authorities and/or processes and to determine whether there are lessons learned which may be relevant to government-wide modernization efforts.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of August 2017, OPM has undertaken or completed some reviews of agency use of hiring authorities. In August 2016, OPM published the findings of a recent study on the use and effectiveness of the Pathways Programs' hiring authorities. In October 2016, OPM issued a report on hiring authorities used by the National Park Service to help meet its seasonal workforce needs. In August 2017, OPM said it had started a study of agencies' use of excepted service hiring authorities and it plans to issue a report in fiscal year 2018. We will continue to monitor OPM's efforts to assess the use and effectiveness of hiring authorities and any determination of the need for modernization.
    Recommendation: To help strengthen the government's ability to compete in the labor market for top talent, and to improve the federal hiring process, the Director of OPM, in conjunction with the CHCO Council, should use this information to determine whether opportunities exist to refine, consolidate, eliminate, or expand agency-specific authorities to other agencies and implement changes where OPM is authorized, including seeking presidential authorization (as necessary) in order to do so. In cases where legislation would be necessary to implement changes, OPM should work with the CHCO Council to develop legislative proposals.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of August 2017, OPM said it plans to explore opportunities for improving the hiring system by analyzing and reviewing existing hiring authorities with an eye towards modernization. For example, OPM said it plans to use information from its current study of excepted service hiring authorities to consider changes or refinements to these authorities once that study has been completed in fiscal year 2018. OPM also said its future plans to improve the hiring system will be informed by its current strategic planning efforts.
    Director: Susan A. Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve PHMSA's oversight of the explosives classification process, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the PHMSA Administrator to develop and implement a systematic approach for improving the guidance PHMSA provides test labs.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: PHMSA concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. When we confirm what actions PHMSA has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Garcia-diaz, Daniel
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to more fully implement key practices and meet requirements and to better institutionalize standards and practices, the Secretary of HUD should clearly link HUD's strategic goals and objectives with federal priority goals in the next annual performance plan.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information
    Recommendation: In order to more fully implement key practices and meet requirements and to better institutionalize standards and practices, the Secretary of HUD should describe the reasons that goals were not met and HUD's plans for achieving them in the next annual performance report.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information
    Recommendation: In order to more fully implement key practices and meet requirements and to better institutionalize standards and practices, the Secretary of HUD should establish a process and schedule for regularly reviewing, revising, and updating HUD's human capital strategic plan, strategic workforce plan, and succession plan.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information
    Recommendation: In order to more fully implement key practices and meet requirements and to better institutionalize standards and practices, the Secretary of HUD should establish a process and schedule for reviewing and updating policies and procedures to help ensure that policies and procedures for key management functions remain current and complete.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information
    Recommendation: In order to more fully implement key practices and meet requirements and to better institutionalize standards and practices, the Secretary of HUD should formalize lines of communication between the Chief Information Officer and the agency head, consistent with OMB guidance and internal control standards.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    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

    6 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's ability to evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of policies that call for all organizations, including contractors, to embrace a strong safety culture and create a work environment that encourages a questioning attitude by all employees, the Secretary of Energy should develop and implement an independent evaluation process for routinely and accurately measuring contractor employees' willingness to raise safety and other concerns without fear of retaliation. This process should ensure that an independent third party develops, conducts, and consistently applies the evaluation methodology--which should include safeguards that protect anonymity. The process should also enable DOE to oversee and ensure that appropriate corrective actions are taken in response to evaluation results.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. In December 2016, the Office of Enterprise Assessments formed a working group to address our recommendations. According to DOE, as of March 2017 the working group developed a strategy and plan to independently analyze data associated with willingness to raise concerns within contractor organizations at DOE sites with high hazard nuclear facilities. We will continue to monitor DOE's efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the organizational placement and practices of DOE- and contractor- provided Employee Concerns Programs (ECP) do not inhibit contractor employees from raising safety and other concerns, the Secretary of Energy should revise DOE's ECP order and guidance to (1) require that the organizational placement and practices of contractor ECP's do not compromise or impair their independence, (2) clarify the circumstances under which DOE's ECP is permitted to transfer and refer concerns to contractors, and notify or require approval of the contractor employee raising the concern, and (3) provide criteria for overseeing and evaluating the effectiveness and independence of contractor-provided ECPs.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. To address this recommendation, DOE planned to update DOE Order 442.1A, Department of Energy Employee Concerns Program, to (1) address the potential for conflicts of interest that could affect the independence of contractor ECPs, (2) clarify the circumstances under which an employee concern can be referred or transferred from a DOE ECP to a contractor ECP, and (3) specify that the processes already identified in DOE Order 226.1B, Implementation of Department of Energy Oversight Policy, be used as part of the oversight processes for contractor-provided ECPs, to include evaluation of their effectiveness and independence. According to DOE, the draft order was affected by a Presidential Memorandum issued in January 2017, which put a temporary stop to the DOE directives process. We will continue to monitor the status of DOE's implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Congress has the information it needs as it considers whether or not to make permanent the enhanced whistleblower pilot program and that DOE has assurance that contractor employees have an effective mechanism to seek remedy for unlawful retaliation, the Secretary of Energy should fully evaluate the extent to which the pilot program has been implemented and whether its provisions will mitigate challenges associated with DOE's 708 program. This evaluation should include, at a minimum, an assessment of (1) contractors that have adopted the pilot program and the date they did so; (2) contractors that have not adopted the pilot program and an explanation of why not; (3) cases filed under the pilot program, if any; and (4) the pilot program's potential for mitigating challenges associated with the 708 program.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred in principle with the recommendation. In response to this recommendation, the Office of Hearings and Appeals conducted a review of the Part 708 program that, according to DOE, evaluated each of the areas of concern and compared current part 708 regulations with the pilot program. We will update the status of this recommendation after we review the resulting report.
    Recommendation: To help improve DOE's ability to take enforcement action against unlawful retaliation when appropriate and take action against contractors that create a chilled work environment, the Secretary of Energy should expedite the department's time frames for codifying in regulatory language its policy that retaliation for nuclear safety-related disclosures is a nuclear safety violation and develop a specific schedule for issuing the proposed and final rules.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation and planned to amend its regulations to clarify which DOE regulations constitute DOE Nuclear Safety Requirements. DOD planned to expedite the schedule for this rulemaking. We will update the status of this recommendation after we confirm DOE's actions
    Recommendation: To help improve DOE's ability to take enforcement action against unlawful retaliation when appropriate and take action against contractors that create a chilled work environment, the Secretary of Energy should direct DOE's Office of Enforcement to routinely collect information from the Department of Labor and other sources regarding substantiated cases of retaliation and take appropriate enforcement action.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOE, the Office of Enforcement has revised its internal implementing procedure to require that a review of DOE Office of Hearings and Appeals whistleblower cases, Department of Labor complaints submitted under the Energy Reorganization Act, and an online legal research service (for court decisions) be conducted each quarter to identify cases wherein a DOE contractor may have retaliated against an employee for reporting a safety concern and evaluate the information for potential enforcement action. We will update the status of this recommendation after we review the updated procedure.
    Recommendation: To help improve DOE's ability to take enforcement action against unlawful retaliation when appropriate and take action against contractors that create a chilled work environment, the Secretary of Energy should revise DOE's Integrated Safety Management policy and guidance to clarify what constitutes evidence of a chilled work environment and define the appropriate steps DOE should take to hold contractors accountable for creating a chilled work environment.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. DOE officials said that the department was revising the Integrated Safety Management policy but the revisions are currently on hold indefinitely along with all other actions to publish new, or update existing departmental directives in response to two Presidential Executive Orders issued in January and February 2017 that directed federal agencies to, among other things, reduce and reform agency regulations.
    Director: Jacqueline M. Nowicki
    Phone: (617) 788-0580

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better manage any challenges states may face implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Secretary of Education should direct the Office of State Support to evaluate its oversight process in light of the challenges states encountered in implementing the Flexibility initiative to identify lessons learned and, as appropriate, incorporate any lessons into plans for overseeing the ESSA, particularly around issues such as the design and implementation of states' monitoring systems.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education agreed that it is important to continuously evaluate its work and to consider ways to improve its efficiency and effectiveness and cited examples of the agency doing so during ESEA Flexibility implementation. For example, Education said it developed the Office of State Support, in part based on lessons learned while implementing the Flexibility initiative. In addition, Education said that since the ESSA was enacted in December 2015, it has continued to informally evaluate ESEA Flexibility implementation and oversight and cited several examples relevant to ESEA Flexibility and other Education programs and initiatives. Further, the agency provided is piloting quarterly calls between Education program officers and states and piloting a fiscal review in eight states focused on components of the law it says did not change significantly between NCLBA and ESSA. As Education continues its efforts to evaluate lessons learned from the Flexibility initiative - including the peer review process - and apply them to its oversight of ESSA, we encourage Education to incorporate these lessons into how it oversees the design and implementation of states' monitoring systems which are key to the success of ESSA's accountability provisions.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve reporting of emissions data on the OGOR, the Secretary of the Interior should direct BLM to provide additional guidance on how to estimate natural gas emissions from federal oil and gas leases.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to the Methane and Waste Prevention Rule, which became effective January 17, 2017, Interior stated that BLM will work with ONRR to issue technical guidance on acceptable methods for measuring or estimating natural gas emissions from federal oil and gas leases, including reporting on the estimation method that the operator used to generate the reported estimates. As of March 2017, BLM and ONRR have not issued additional guidance on how to estimate natural gas emissions from federal oil and gas leases. We will continue to follow up with BLM and ONRR as they continue to take action on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve reporting of emissions data on the OGOR, the Secretary of the Interior should direct ONRR to provide additional guidance on how to differentiate between combusted and noncombusted lease use volumes reported on the OGOR, which could assist Interior in measuring its progress toward greenhouse gas reduction goals.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior stated that the Methane and Waste Prevention Rule, which became effective on January 17, 2017, identifies unallowable and allowable lease uses, and indicates which allowable lease uses require prior BLM approval. Interior further stated that to the extent that BLM and other relevant agencies provide guidance on how to estimate or measure combusted or non-combusted volumes, as well as an allocation methodology for reporting at the lease or agreement level, ONRR will develop new disposition codes to match these uses. As of March 2017, ONRR had not provided additional guidance on how to differentiate between combusted and noncombusted lease use volumes reported on the OGOR. We will continue to follow up with ONRR as it continues to take action on this recommendation.
    Director: Krause, Heather M
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the contributions of tax expenditures toward the achievement of agency goals are identified and measured, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, should work with agencies to identify which tax expenditures contribute to their agency goals, as appropriate--that is, they should identify which specific tax expenditures contribute to specific strategic objectives and agency priority goals.

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

    Comments: In July 2017, OMB staff said that although they still agreed with our recommendation, it was not an effort they were pursuing due to competing priorities, as well as capacity and resource constraints.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: Because some quantities of radioactive materials are potentially dangerous to human health if not properly handled, NRC should take action to better track and secure these materials and verify the legitimacy of the licenses for those who seek to possess them. Specifically, the NRC should take the steps needed to include category 3 sources in the National Source Tracking System and add agreement state category 3 licenses to the Web-based Licensing System as quickly as reasonably possible.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In October 2016, NRC issued a Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM) "Proposed Staff Re-Evaluation of Category 3 Source Accountability," (SRM-COMJMB-16-0001) and directed NRC staff to take specific actions to evaluate whether it is necessary to revise NRC regulations or processes governing source protection and accountability for Category 3 sources. Among other things, this re-evaluation will consider GAO's recommendations. This re-evaluation is due to be submitted to the Commission by August 2017.
    Recommendation: Because some quantities of radioactive materials are potentially dangerous to human health if not properly handled, NRC should take action to better track and secure these materials and verify the legitimacy of the licenses for those who seek to possess them. Specifically, the NRC should at least until such time that category 3 licenses can be verified using the License Verification System, require that transferors of category 3 quantities of radioactive materials confirm the validity of a would-be purchaser's radioactive materials license with the appropriate regulatory authority before transferring any category 3 quantities of licensed materials.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In October 2016, NRC issued a Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM) "Proposed Staff Re-Evaluation of Category 3 Source Accountability," (SRM-COMJMB-16-0001) and directed NRC staff to take specific actions to evaluate whether it is necessary to revise NRC regulations or processes governing source protection and accountability for Category 3 sources. Among other things, this re-evaluation will consider GAO's recommendations. This re-evaluation is due to be submitted to the Commission by August 2017. The License Verification and Transfer of Category 3 Sources Working Group (LVWG) evaluated this recommendation, and its analysis will be considered by the Category 3 Source Security and Accountability Working Group in the development of the notation vote paper that will be submitted to the Commission in August 2017.
    Recommendation: Because some quantities of radioactive materials are potentially dangerous to human health if not properly handled, NRC should take action to better track and secure these materials and verify the legitimacy of the licenses for those who seek to possess them. Specifically, the NRC should, as part of the ongoing efforts of NRC working groups meeting to develop enhancements to the prelicensing requirements for category 3 licenses, consider requiring that an on-site security review be conducted for all unknown applicants of category 3 licenses to verify that each applicant is prepared to implement the required security measures before taking possession of licensed radioactive materials.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, NRC issued a Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM) "Proposed Staff Re-Evaluation of Category 3 Source Accountability," (SRM-COMJMB-16-0001) and directed NRC staff to take specific actions to evaluate whether it is necessary to revise NRC regulations or processes governing source protection and accountability for Category 3 sources. Among other things, this re-evaluation will consider GAO's recommendations. This re-evaluation is due to be submitted to the Commission by August 2017.
    Director: Katherine Iritani
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure efficient use of federal resources, the Administrator of CMS should improve alignment of Medicare UC payments with hospital uncompensated care costs by basing these payments on hospital uncompensated care costs.

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

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services concurred with this recommendation and indicated that the agency planned to implement it beginning in fiscal year 2021 to allow time for hospitals to collect and report reliable uncompensated care cost data. We believe this action could be implemented sooner.
    Recommendation: To ensure efficient use of federal resources, the Administrator of CMS should account for Medicaid payments a hospital has received that offset uncompensated care costs when determining hospital uncompensated care costs for the purposes of making Medicare UC payments to individual hospitals.

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

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services concurred with this recommendation and indicated that the agency planned to implement it beginning in fiscal year 2021 to allow time for hospitals to collect and report reliable uncompensated care cost data. We believe this action could be implemented sooner.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help IRS improve its process for determining IT funding priorities and to provide timely information on the progress of its investments, the Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to document IRS's process for selecting and prioritizing operations support activities.

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

    Comments: In its August 2016 statement of actions to address our recommendations, IRS reported that it was documenting the process for selecting and prioritizing all non-Business Systems Modernization activities, and noted that it expects to have draft documentation by September 2016, and finalized documentation no later than April 2017. We will be following-up with the agency to obtain documentation of actions taken to address this recommendation, and will update this status accordingly.
    Recommendation: To help IRS improve its process for determining IT funding priorities and to provide timely information on the progress of its investments, the Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to establish, document, and implement policies and procedures for selecting new and reselecting ongoing business systems modernization activities, consistent with IRS's process for prioritizing operations support priorities, which addresses (1) prioritization and comparison of IT assets against each other, (2) criteria for making selection and prioritization decisions, and (3) ensuring IRS executives' final funding decisions on IT proposals are based on IRS's prioritization process.

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

    Comments: In its August 2016 statement of actions to address our recommendations, IRS highlighted process improvements, which it noted would influence its efforts to address this recommendation. IRS committed to documenting the prioritization policies and procedures for its Business Systems Modernization activities as these new process improvements stabilize. We will be following-up with IRS to obtain documentation of actions taken to address this recommendation, and will update this status accordingly.
    Recommendation: To help IRS improve its process for determining IT funding priorities and to provide timely information on the progress of its investments, the Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to modify existing processes for Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Return Review Program (RRP) for measuring work performed by IRS staff to incorporate best practices, including accounting for actual work performed and using the level of effort measure sparingly.

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

    Comments: In its August 2016 statement of actions to address our recommendations, IRS stated it would evaluate the use of a more quantitative measure for work performed and thereby use the level of effort measure sparingly. IRS stated that it would meet with GAO to discuss the results of this evaluation by the end of January 2017. We plan to meet with IRS in the near future to discuss this recommendation, and will update this status accordingly.
    Recommendation: To help IRS improve its process for determining IT funding priorities and to provide timely information on the progress of its investments, the Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to report on actual costs and scope delivery at least quarterly for the Customer Account Data Engine 2 and the Affordable Care Act Administration. For these investments, IRS should develop metrics similar to FATCA and RRP.

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

    Comments: In its August 2016 statement of actions to address our recommendations, IRS stated that the Customer Account Data Engine 2 program management office is currently standing up processes to report on planned versus actual costs and scope delivery on a monthly basis. Additionally, IRS stated that it would consider the approach currently being used by the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and Return Review Program investments. The agency stated that development work for the Affordable Care Act Administration investment was minimal, and as a result, application of this recommendation would not be beneficial. We will be following-up with IRS to obtain documentation of actions taken to address this recommendation, and will update this status accordingly.
    Director: Marcia Crosse
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve FDA's strategic planning for regulatory science efforts, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of FDA to develop and document measurable goals, such as targets and time frames, for its regulatory science efforts so it can consistently assess and report on the agency's progress in regulatory science efforts.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: On 9/6/16, FDA provided an update on its actions to address this recommendation. FDA concurred with the recommendation and reiterated that it plans to identify opportunities for setting measurable goals related to regulatory science. The agency indicated that it would provide an update by 3/6/17.
    Recommendation: In order to improve FDA's strategic planning for regulatory science efforts, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of FDA to systematically track funding of regulatory science projects across each of its priority areas.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: On 9/6/16, FDA provided an update on its actions to address this recommendation. FDA concurred with the recommendation and reiterated that it is identifying mechanisms to improve its tracking of funding across the priority areas. The agency indicated that it would provide an update by 3/6/17.
    Director: Michael J. Courts
    Phone: (202) 512-8980

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen DHS's ability to fulfill legislative requirements for the VWP and protect the security of the United States and its citizens, the Secretary of Homeland Security should specify time frames for working with VWP countries to institute the additional VWP security requirements, including the requirement that the countries fully implement agreements to share information about known or suspected terrorists through the countries' Homeland Security Presidential Directive 6 arrangements and Preventing and Combating Serious Crime agreements with the United States.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, DHS reported that nearly all VWP countries have begun sharing information on known or suspected terrorists through Homeland Security Presidential Directive 6 arrangements and that DHS also made progress in fully implementing Preventing and Combating Serious Crime agreements. According to DHS, all VWP countries were informed of the new VWP requirements in July 2016. In its initial response, DHS stated that it planned to conduct a comprehensive assessment of VWP countries' compliance with the new VWP requirements and establish a time frame for each VWP country to reach full compliance as part of each country's next formal review. However, as of April 2017, DHS needs to provide documentation to GAO to support all of these actions. GAO will continue to monitor DHS efforts to fully address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen DHS's ability to fulfill legislative requirements for the VWP and protect the security of the United States and its citizens, the Secretary of Homeland Security should take steps to improve DHS's timeliness in reporting to Congress, within the statutory time frame, the department's determination of whether each VWP country should continue participating in the program and any effects of the country's participation on U.S. law enforcement and security interests.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: Since 2016, DHS has issued several reports on VWP countries to Congress that have addressed several of the overdue reports identified in 2016, but some gaps remain. As of April 2017, DHS reported plans to deliver additional reports in 2017 to address these gaps. In its initial response, DHS reported that the department had taken steps to ensure timely reporting to Congress and committed to providing Congress with advance notification of any delays in delivering future reports. To fully address this recommendation, DHS needs to issue reports to Congress on VWP countries that have not been covered within the last two years. GAO will continue to monitor DHS efforts.
    Director: Cindy Brown Barnes
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen DOL's efforts to ensure employers protect the safety and health of workers at meat and poultry plants, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health, working together with the Commissioner of Labor Statistics as appropriate, to develop and implement a cost-effective method for gathering more complete data on musculoskeletal disorders.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL generally agreed with this recommendation and stated that its implementation would make a difference in working conditions in the meat and poultry industry. The agency also noted that resource constraints may make it difficult to implement.
    Recommendation: To develop a better understanding of meat and poultry sanitation workers' injuries and illnesses, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health and the Commissioner of Labor Statistics to study how they could regularly gather data on injury and illness rates among sanitation workers in the meat and poultry industry.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL generally agreed with this recommendation and stated that its implementation would make a difference in working conditions in the meat and poultry industry. The agency also noted that resource constraints may make it difficult to implement.
    Recommendation: To develop a better understanding of meat and poultry sanitation workers' injuries and illnesses, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to have the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conduct a study of the injuries and illnesses these workers experience, including their causes and how they are reported. Given the challenges to gaining access to this population, NIOSH may want to coordinate with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to develop ways to initiate this study.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation and noted the previous difficulties NIOSH has had gaining access to these workplaces and the potential resource commitment involved in conducting such a study. We acknowledge this access challenge and noted in our report that OSHA has negotiated access for NIOSH in other industries, hence the rationale for recommending that NIOSH may want to coordinate with OSHA. The agency reported that it would reach out to stakeholders, such as worker unions, USDA and OSHA, to discuss the range of types of study that could be conducted to provide useful information. GAO will await the progress of this effort and close the recommendation when the agency initiates a study.
    Director: Alfredo Gómez
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure protection of underground drinking water from the injection of wastewater associated with domestic oil and gas production, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should require and collect well-specific data on inspections from state and EPA-managed programs, including when the wells were inspected, the types of inspections conducted, and the results of the inspections in order to track progress toward state and EPA-managed annual inspection goals.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, EPA said that it is working toward establishing a complete, regularly updated data set. It will work toward expanding the agency's access to well-specific data and will expand the data it has in its national UIC database. And, the agency said that it will continue to work with DOE and the Groundwater Protection Council to develop a national oil and gas gateway for well-specific data. Until such data are made available, we will leave this recommendation as open.
    Recommendation: To help ensure protection of underground drinking water from the injection of wastewater associated with domestic oil and gas production, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should complete the aquifer exemption database and establish a way to update it to provide EPA headquarters and regions with sufficient information on aquifer exemptions to oversee state and EPA-managed programs.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In December 2016, EPA published a map of aquifer exemptions online, with the exception of region 9 data. The public dataset shows the data in two dimensions and includes information such as depth of injection, surrounding geology and injectate characteristics. EPA plans to update the database annually. We will keep this recommendation open until EPA completes work on region 9.
    Recommendation: To help ensure protection of underground drinking water from the injection of wastewater associated with domestic oil and gas production, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should clarify guidance on what data should be reported on the 7520-4 form to help ensure that the data collected are complete and consistent across state and EPA-managed programs and to provide the information EPA needs to assess whether it must take enforcement actions.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, EPA said that it is working toward establishing a complete, regularly updated data set. It will work toward expanding the agency's access to well-specific data and will expand the data it has in its national UIC database. And, the agency said that it will continue to work with DOE and the Groundwater Protection Council to develop a national oil and gas gateway for well-specific data. Until such data are made available, we will leave this recommendation open.
    Recommendation: To help ensure protection of underground drinking water from the injection of wastewater associated with domestic oil and gas production, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should conduct a workforce analysis to identify the human capital and other resources EPA needs to carry out its oversight of state and EPA-managed programs.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, EPA disagreed and said that the best approach is to expand its evaluation of agency oversight to include elements of inspection and enforcement. Once the evaluation is complete, EPA will consider its oversight of state programs. We will keep this recommendation open until EPA completes its review and determines what it will do with its oversight.
    Director: Steve D. Morris
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of federal efforts to monitor wild, native bee populations, the Secretary of Agriculture, as a co-chair of the White House Pollinator Health Task Force, should coordinate with other Task Force agencies that have monitoring responsibilities to develop a mechanism, such as a federal monitoring plan, that would (1) establish roles and responsibilities of lead and support agencies, (2) establish shared outcomes and goals, and (3) obtain input from relevant stakeholders, such as states.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, USDA had taken relevant and positive actions but had not yet fully implemented the recommendation related to monitoring wild, native bees. In June 2017, USDA held a stakeholder listening session to gather input to prepare for the development of a monitoring plan. Prior to that, in February 2017, USDA chaired a meeting with representatives from USDA and Interior to discuss how to proceed in replying to the native bee monitoring recommendation. According to a senior USDA official, the meeting participants agreed to form a team to address the recommendation. The participants also planned future relevant activities. These included plans to (1) hold a stakeholder listening session in June 2017 to determine what will be needed to conduct a robust native bee survey, including the identification of any non-Federal entities that might be able to contribute to a native bee monitoring initiative; (2) develop a prospectus in August 2017 that will be shared with all the agencies represented on the Pollinator Health Task Force to ensure minimal duplication of effort and to capitalize on any other activities; (3) hold a December 2017 workshop of stakeholders and scientists to write a white paper on how to combine Federal resources to address the need for a native bee survey; (4) develop the white paper in February 2018 with information on the status of monitoring efforts, current and future needs for effective and comprehensive monitoring, and the status of monitoring partnerships between Federal agencies, State agencies, and nongovernmental organizations; (5) continue bi-weekly conference calls with task teams to address what can be done with current resources; and (6)complete a gaps analysis in May 2018 to determine how to allocate additional resources.
    Recommendation: To increase the accessibility and availability of information about USDA-funded research and outreach on bees, the Secretary of Agriculture should update the categories of bees in the Current Research Information System to reflect the categories of bees identified in the White House Pollinator Health Task Force's research action plan.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, the agency informed GAO that it planned to complete the recommendation by October 2017.
    Recommendation: To better ensure the effectiveness of USDA's bee habitat conservation efforts, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrators of FSA and NRCS to, within available resources, increase evaluation of the effectiveness of their efforts to restore and enhance bee habitat plantings across the nation, including identifying gaps in expertise and technical assistance funding available to field offices.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, the agency had not acted on our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that EPA is reducing the risk of unreasonable harm to important pollinators, the Administrator of EPA should direct the Office of Pesticide Programs to develop a plan for obtaining data from pesticide registrants on the effects of pesticides on nonhoney bee species, including other managed or wild, native bees.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, the agency had taken actions relevant to the recommendation but had not fully developed a plan to obtain data from pesticide registrants on the effects of pesticides on non-honey bee species. According to EPA, until suitable test methods have been developed, the agency has continued to rely on honey bees as a surrogate for the broader range of bee species that include both solitary and social non-honey bees. The agency continues to track the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD's) efforts to develop suitable test methods to evaluate the effects of pesticides on non-honey bees. EPA provided comments to the OECD on the acute oral and acute contact toxicity test guidelines developed for bumble bees, which are social non-honey bee managed bees; these test methods were recently finalized by OECD as formal test guidelines. Also, EPA staff serve as members of the International Commission on Plant-Pollinator Relationship (ICP-PR), for which a non-honey bee workgroup has been developing acute and chronic toxicity test methods for other managed non-honey bees, including the solitary mason bee. EPA researchers in the National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (within the Office of Research and Development) are developing methods for measuring effects of pesticides on bumble bee colonies through the use of micro-colonies, and will be participating in field studies over the next two years to determine the effectiveness of these methods in evaluating impacts to bumble bees from the use of pesticides used in horticulture. According to the agency, once sufficient data are available, EPA will be in a better position to determine the extent to which honey bees serve as reasonable surrogates for estimating the sensitivity of non-honey bees to pesticides. According to agency officials, EPA included the recent OECD acute contact and acute oral toxicity tests with bumble bees with the suite of laboratory and semi-field studies in a rulemaking effort that would codify these tests as formal data requirements for registrants. EPA had planned to solicit public comment on the proposed bumble bee testing requirements; however, the rulemaking effort has been delayed until the regulatory burden of the rule can be more thoroughly evaluated. According to agency officials, in January 2017, EPA hosted an international workshop on non-honey bees to evaluate the extent to which the primary routes of exposure for honey bees (i.e., contact and ingestion of residues in pollen/nectar) are protective and serve as suitable surrogates for evaluating exposure of non-honey bees to pesticides. Workshop participants discussed data needed to evaluate exposure for solitary and social non-honey bees. The proceedings of this workshop will be published in a peer-reviewed journal, and will inform EPA's understanding of whether additional routes of exposure need to be considered as part of EPA's risk assessment framework for pollinators. While these are positive developments, they do not constitute full implementation of the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help comply with the directive in the White House Pollinator Health Task Force's strategy, the Administrator of EPA should direct the Office of Pesticide Programs to identify the pesticide tank mixtures that farmers and pesticide applicators most commonly use on agricultural crops to help determine whether those mixtures pose greater risks than the sum of the risks posed by the individual pesticides.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, EPA had taken actions relevant to this recommendation but had not fully implemented it. According to EPA, during February and March 2017, the Office of Pesticide Programs continued its efforts to monitor residues in honey bee colonies providing pollination services in almond orchards. In April 2017, EPA requested that the California Department of Pesticide Regulation provide Pesticide Use Reporting data, including specific formulation and quantities applied to specific sites on specific dates during almond bloom. EPA has also reached out to the Almond Board, as well as to beekeepers and almond growers, to request information on the most common tank mixes applied during almond bloom. Although EPA has previously requested Pesticide Use Reporting data from California and the state has provided preliminary data, the information was not sufficiently detailed to extract actual formulations applied on specific dates to specific areas within the almond growing region of California. The combination of information requested from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and the Almond Board is expected to provide data to evaluate and identify commonly used pesticide tank mixes applied during almond pollination as a case study. According to EPA officials, data from California indicate that the use of tank mixtures in almond orchards decreased by roughly 60 percent from 2014 through 2016, suggesting that best management practices recommended by the Almond Board may be having a positive effect on almond grower practices with respect to tank mixtures. While these are positive developments, they do not yet fully implement the recommendation. It is not yet clear that EPA has used information on the identity of the most common tank mixtures to determine whether they pose greater risks than the sum of the risks posed by the individual pesticides. In addition, it is not yet clear that EPA has identified tank mixtures commonly used on crops other than almonds.
    Recommendation: To measure their contribution to the White House Pollinator Health Task Force strategy's goal to restore and enhance 7 million acres of pollinator habitat, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrators of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop an improved method, within available resources, to track conservation program acres that contribute to the goal.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, USDA had not acted on this recommendation.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To aid ARNG officials in conducting their oversight of the states and territories, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to establish a permanent program for monitoring state-level recruiting activities either by extending the Recruiting Standards Branch or establishing some other similar program.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the report follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To aid ARNG officials in understanding the effectiveness of efforts to meet force requirements, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to take steps to help ensure that the ARNG collects consistent, complete, and valid data on the specific reasons why soldiers do not complete initial military training and when these soldiers separate from the ARNG during the training process. Such steps could include modifying the Standard Installation/Division Personnel System (SIDPERS) to capture this information or if unable to modify SIDPERS, taking actions to ensure that information collected in the Vulcan Recruit Sustainment Program database is valid.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To aid ARNG officials in understanding the effectiveness of efforts to meet force requirements, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to regularly track whether ARNG soldiers who join in a given fiscal year complete their initial term of service.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To aid ARNG officials in understanding the effectiveness of efforts to meet force requirements, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to periodically estimate, such as on an annual basis or other time period as appropriate, the total cost of recruiting and initial training for a soldier who joins the ARNG.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To help ARNG officials in using financial incentives to fill critical positions as required by Army and National Guard regulation, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to provide recruiters with training to better enable the use of available financial incentives.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To help determine whether ARNG officials are effectively using financial incentives, the Secretary of the Army should , in conjunction with the Director, ARNG, exercise their oversight responsibilities by evaluating and documenting the effectiveness of ARNG's incentives program in meeting its goals. The evaluation should also determine whether incentives are being effectively awarded in military occupational specialties that have been under or over authorized levels, and whether changes are needed to effectively use existing incentives.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: Given that the reporting of information related to the amounts of incentives obligated has been a requirement but not carried out in recent years, the Office of the Secretary of Defense should, in order to ensure continued reporting in the future, enforce its requirement for the National Guard and Reserve Component to submit information on the amounts of incentives obligated and incorporate the required information in the recruiting resources reports.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Actions ongoing.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's management of initiatives directed at increasing the recruitment and accessions of women into the officer corps, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense, Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the service Secretaries, to develop an oversight framework that includes or incorporates (consistent with applicable law): (1) Service-wide program goals for initiatives directed at female officers' recruitment, such as goals related to the composition of the applicant pool; (2) Performance measures linked to program goals; and (3) Resource allocations linked to program goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's management of initiatives directed at increasing the recruitment and accessions of women into the officer corps, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense, Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the service Secretaries, to conduct evaluations for key recruitment initiatives to help ensure these initiatives are achieving their intended purpose.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: To improve the Coast Guard's management of initiatives to increase the recruitment and accessions of women into the officer corps, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should develop an oversight framework that includes or incorporates (consistent with applicable law): (1) Service-wide program goals for initiatives directed at female officers' recruitment, such as goals related to the composition of the applicant pool; (2) Performance measures linked to program goals; and (3) Resource allocations linked to program goals.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: To improve the Coast Guard's management of initiatives to increase the recruitment and accessions of women into the officer corps, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should conduct evaluations for key recruitment initiatives to help ensure these initiatives are achieving their intended purpose.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Director: J. Lawrence Malenich
    Phone: (202) 512-9399

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Foundation's Executive Director should update the Foundation's draft written policies and procedures over its contracting practices to include all key internal control activities, issue them in final form, and establish a date by which these actions will be completed.

    Agency: Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Foundation concurred with our recommendation and stated that it will implement the recommended actions. In addition, the Foundation stated that our recommendations will be incorporated in the Foundation's risk assessment documentation, established as a priority, and included in the Foundation's fiscal year 2016 Corrective Action Plan. As of July 2017, the Foundation has not implemented corrective actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: William Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    6 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA assesses the effectiveness of its programs, the SBA Administrator should prioritize resources to conduct additional program evaluations.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA fully meets GPRAMA requirements, the SBA Administrator should use the results of additional evaluations it conducts in its strategic planning process and ensure the agency's next strategic plan includes required information on program evaluations, including a schedule of future evaluations.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: SBA officials stated that, as of October 2016, the agency had taken several steps to prioritize resources and establish an implementation plan for future evaluations, including hiring its first lead program evaluator to develop a long-term evaluation agenda and initiating four program evaluations. They stated that once completed, the evaluations would be incorporated into the agency's fiscal year 2018-2022 strategic plan. As of May 2017, SBA had started reviewing guidance on drafting this plan, which is due in February 2018.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to improve SBA's human capital management, the SBA Administrator should incorporate into its next training plan key principles such as goals and measures for its training programs and input on employee development goals.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA's organizational structure helps the agency meet its mission, the SBA Administrator should document the assessment of the agency's organizational structure, including any necessary changes to, for example, better ensure areas of authority, responsibility, and lines of reporting are clear and defined.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to improve SBA's program and management guidance, the SBA Administrator should set time frames for periodically reviewing and updating its SOPs as appropriate.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to help ensure that SBA's IT operations and maintenance investments are continuing to meet business and customer needs and the agency's strategic goals, the SBA Administrator should direct the appropriate officials to perform an annual operational analysis on all SBA investments in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Kimberly Gianopoulos
    Phone: (202)512-8612

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen agency performance measurement related to deterring child smuggling, the Secretary of Homeland Security should instruct DHS's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to establish annual performance targets associated with the performance measures it has established for its Transnational Criminal Investigative Units.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the report in July 2015, the Department of Homeland Security stated that it concurred with this recommendation, and that it would work with host nation partners to establish goals to measure these units' investigative activities and capacity development. In September 2015, DHS noted that it planned to use law enforcement data to measure TCIU success rates and inform efforts going forward. GAO has followed up with DHS--most recently in June 2017--on the status of its efforts to establish performance targets, but has not yet received a response.
    Director: Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.,
    Phone: (202) 512-7331

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Given that countering violent extremism is a priority for the U.S. government in general and State's Bureau of Counterterrorism (CT Bureau), the Secretary of State should take steps to ensure that CVE program efforts abroad are evaluated.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2017, the CT Bureau indicated that a third-party evaluation of the CVE program has been completed. The evaluation focused on process and programming, including all CVE projects funded between fiscal years 2012 and 2016 and resulted in two related but disparate sets of recommendations and findings. The CT Bureau indicated that it has begun incorporating the recommendations made in the evaluation into its overall CVE efforts.
    Recommendation: To improve State's CT Bureau's program management efforts, the Secretary of State should take steps to ensure the Bureau of Counterterrorism establishes specific time frames for addressing recommendations from program evaluations.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2017, the CT Bureau indicated it is in the process of reviewing recommendations from the CVE evaluation, and will soon be assigning timelines to those recommendations that the bureau deems relevant and achievable. For other evaluations, the CT Bureau indicated that it has already acknowledged the need to assign specific timelines to evaluation recommendations and has adjusted accordingly.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    15 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help agencies more consistently perform their oversight responsibilities and oversee contractors' measurement and verification activities, the Secretary of Energy should direct FEMP to monitor agencies' oversight of ESPC projects that agencies have awarded using the DOE contract vehicle, including whether agencies witnessed the contractors' measurement and verification activities and reviewed and certified acceptance of the measurement and verification report.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, we were working with DOE officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on the effects of changing circumstances on the performance of their ESPC portfolios, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should establish a process to systematically evaluate their ESPC projects--including baseline assumptions about facilities' energy use, utility prices, and interest rates--to determine how their ESPC portfolios are performing and the extent to which they are achieving expected savings. Agencies could consider conducting such evaluations either after a certain number of years, or in response to events, such as changes in utility prices or market interest rates, or appropriations becoming available that could be used for modifications or terminations.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, DOD partially concurred with this recommendation. As of December 2016, we were working with DOD officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on the effects of changing circumstances on the performance of their ESPC portfolios, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should establish a process to systematically evaluate their ESPC projects--including baseline assumptions about facilities' energy use, utility prices, and interest rates--to determine how their ESPC portfolios are performing and the extent to which they are achieving expected savings. Agencies could consider conducting such evaluations either after a certain number of years, or in response to events, such as changes in utility prices or market interest rates, or appropriations becoming available that could be used for modifications or terminations.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, we were working with DOE officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on the effects of changing circumstances on the performance of their ESPC portfolios, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should establish a process to systematically evaluate their ESPC projects--including baseline assumptions about facilities' energy use, utility prices, and interest rates--to determine how their ESPC portfolios are performing and the extent to which they are achieving expected savings. Agencies could consider conducting such evaluations either after a certain number of years, or in response to events, such as changes in utility prices or market interest rates, or appropriations becoming available that could be used for modifications or terminations.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, the Department of Justice agreed with the recommendation. As of December 2016, we were working with Department of Justice officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on the effects of changing circumstances on the performance of their ESPC portfolios, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should establish a process to systematically evaluate their ESPC projects--including baseline assumptions about facilities' energy use, utility prices, and interest rates--to determine how their ESPC portfolios are performing and the extent to which they are achieving expected savings. Agencies could consider conducting such evaluations either after a certain number of years, or in response to events, such as changes in utility prices or market interest rates, or appropriations becoming available that could be used for modifications or terminations.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, the Department of Veterans Affairs agreed with the recommendation. As of December 2016, we were working with Department of Veterans Affairs officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on the effects of changing circumstances on the performance of their ESPC portfolios, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should establish a process to systematically evaluate their ESPC projects--including baseline assumptions about facilities' energy use, utility prices, and interest rates--to determine how their ESPC portfolios are performing and the extent to which they are achieving expected savings. Agencies could consider conducting such evaluations either after a certain number of years, or in response to events, such as changes in utility prices or market interest rates, or appropriations becoming available that could be used for modifications or terminations.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, GSA agreed with the recommendation. As of December 2016, we were working with GSA officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help agencies decide whether to use ESPCs to consolidate federal data centers, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should document, for the purposes of scoring ESPCs, (1) what qualifies as energy-related savings and (2) the allowable proportion of energy and energy-related cost savings.

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

    Comments: OMB did not comment on its plans to implement this recommendation in its review of a draft of the report and, as of December 2016, had not provided us with requested information on its actions to implement this recommendation. We will continue to follow-up on the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help agencies more consistently perform their oversight responsibilities and oversee contractors' measurement and verification activities, the Secretary of Energy should direct DOE's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) to evaluate existing training and determine whether additional training is needed on observing contractors' measurement and verification activities and reviewing and certifying measurement and verification reports.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, we were working with DOE officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on ESPC performance to oversee whether future and current contracts are achieving their expected savings, the Secretaries of Defense and Energy should specify in the scheduled revisions to their ESPC contract vehicles or in guidance to agencies that measurement and verification reports for future projects are to include estimates of cost and energy savings that were not achieved because of agency actions. Additionally, the Department of Energy (DOE) may wish to consider periodically analyzing data on other factors that may affect savings, such as utility prices, to provide information on how savings achieved by ESPCs awarded through its contract vehicle have been affected by changing utility prices since its prior study in 2007.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, DOD concurred with this recommendation. As of December 2016, we were working with DOD officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on ESPC performance to oversee whether future and current contracts are achieving their expected savings, the Secretaries of Defense and Energy should specify in the scheduled revisions to their ESPC contract vehicles or in guidance to agencies that measurement and verification reports for future projects are to include estimates of cost and energy savings that were not achieved because of agency actions. Additionally, the Department of Energy (DOE) may wish to consider periodically analyzing data on other factors that may affect savings, such as utility prices, to provide information on how savings achieved by ESPCs awarded through its contract vehicle have been affected by changing utility prices since its prior study in 2007.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, we were working with DOE officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on ESPC performance to oversee whether future and current contracts are achieving their expected savings, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work with contractors to determine the best way to obtain estimates of cost and energy savings that are not achieved because of agency actions in order to include these estimates in future measurement and verification reports for existing contracts, in accordance with DOE guidance, and where economically feasible.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, DOD concurred with this recommendation. As of December 2016, we were working with DOD officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on ESPC performance to oversee whether future and current contracts are achieving their expected savings, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work with contractors to determine the best way to obtain estimates of cost and energy savings that are not achieved because of agency actions in order to include these estimates in future measurement and verification reports for existing contracts, in accordance with DOE guidance, and where economically feasible.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, we were working with DOE officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on ESPC performance to oversee whether future and current contracts are achieving their expected savings, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work with contractors to determine the best way to obtain estimates of cost and energy savings that are not achieved because of agency actions in order to include these estimates in future measurement and verification reports for existing contracts, in accordance with DOE guidance, and where economically feasible.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, the Department of Justice agreed with the recommendation. As of December 2016, we were working with Department of Justice officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on ESPC performance to oversee whether future and current contracts are achieving their expected savings, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work with contractors to determine the best way to obtain estimates of cost and energy savings that are not achieved because of agency actions in order to include these estimates in future measurement and verification reports for existing contracts, in accordance with DOE guidance, and where economically feasible.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, the Department of Veterans Affairs did not agree with the recommendation, but suggested changes, which we incorporated. As of December 2016, we were working with Department of Veterans Affairs officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on ESPC performance to oversee whether future and current contracts are achieving their expected savings, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work with contractors to determine the best way to obtain estimates of cost and energy savings that are not achieved because of agency actions in order to include these estimates in future measurement and verification reports for existing contracts, in accordance with DOE guidance, and where economically feasible.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, GSA agreed with the recommendation. As of December 2016, we were working with GSA officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Director: Carol R. Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve Transformation Program governance, the Secretary of DHS should direct the Under Secretary for Management to ensure that the Acquisition Review Board is effectively monitoring the Transformation Program's performance and progress toward a predefined cost and schedule; ensuring that corrective actions are tracked until the desired outcomes are achieved; and relying on complete and accurate program data to review the performance of the Transformation Program against stated expectations.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had demonstrated that it had taken steps to address this recommendation, but additional steps were needed. Since we issued this recommendation in May 2015, the Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management (PARM), which serves as the Acquisition Review Board (ARB) executive secretariat and is to oversee DHS's acquisition portfolio, in coordination with the Office of the Chief Information Officer, has actively increased program oversight. For example, beginning in May 2015, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) demonstrated that it submitted data supporting cost, schedule, and technical performance metrics to DHS on a monthly basis. The ARB has also held a number of meetings to discuss the Transformation Program and issued associated Acquisition Decision Memoranda with related action items. In addition, in February 2016, PARM demonstrated that DHS developed a procedure to help ensure acquisition decision memorandum actions, including corrective actions, are tracked until the desired outcomes are achieved. However, as of August 2017, the USCIS Transformation Program was in breach of its previously approved schedule expectations and was taking a strategic pause in developing new software while working to re-baseline cost and schedule expectations. During this strategic pause, the program is working to complete various action items assigned by the Acquisition Review Board, including completing an updated Release Roadmap and submitting it to PARM no later than December 29, 2017; updated Lifecycle Cost Estimate and providing it to the Cost Analysis Division no later than December 29, 2017; updated Test and Evaluation Master Plan and submitting it to the Office of Test and Evaluation no later than January 31, 2018; and an updated Acquisition Program Baseline and providing it to PARM no later than December 29, 2017. We will continue to monitor DHS?s efforts to re-baseline the USCIS Transformation Program and the Acquisition Review Board's efforts to monitor the Transformation Program's performance and progress toward a predefined cost and schedule; ensure that corrective actions are tracked until the desired outcomes are achieved; and rely on complete and accurate program data to review the performance of the Transformation Program against stated expectations until and after a new baseline is established.
    Recommendation: To improve Transformation Program governance, the Secretary of DHS should direct the DHS Under Secretary for Management, in coordination with the Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, to ensure that the Executive Steering Committee is effectively monitoring the Transformation Program's performance and progress toward a predefined cost and schedule and relying on complete and accurate program data to review the performance of the Transformation Program against stated expectations.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had demonstrated that it had taken steps to address this recommendation, but additional steps were needed. More specifically, as of July 2016, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Transformation program office provided evidence that the Executive Steering Committee (ESC) continued to discuss cost, schedule, and operational performance metrics as part of the program's ESC meetings. However, as of August 2017, the USCIS Transformation Program was in breach of its previously approved schedule expectations and was taking a strategic pause in developing new software while working to re-baseline its cost and schedule expectations. During this strategic pause, the program is working to complete various action items assigned by the Acquisition Review Board, including completing an updated Release Roadmap and submitting it to the Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management (PARM) no later than December 29, 2017; updated Lifecycle Cost Estimate and providing it to the Cost Analysis Division no later than December 29, 2017; updated Test and Evaluation Master Plan and submitting it to the Office of Test and Evaluation no later than January 31, 2018; and an updated Acquisition Program Baseline and providing it to PARM no later than December 29, 2017. In addition, according to the program?s August 2017 Acquisition Decision Memorandum, the ESC has been transformed into a component-only body with no headquarters involvement, and the program was to establish a Program Management Integrated Product Team, which was to meet bi-weekly beginning in September 2017. We will continue to monitor DHS's efforts to re-baseline the USCIS Transformation Program, the impact of changes to the ESC, and the ESC?s efforts to effectively monitor the Transformation Program's performance and progress toward a predefined cost and schedule and rely on complete and accurate program data to review the performance of the Transformation Program against stated expectations until and after a new program baseline is established.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that assessments prepared by the Office of the Chief Information Officer in support of the department's updates to the federal IT Dashboard more fully reflect the current status of the Transformation Program, the Secretary of DHS should direct the department's Chief Information Officer to use accurate and reliable information, such as operational assessments of the new architecture and cost and schedule parameters approved by the Under Secretary of Management.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had demonstrated that it had taken steps to address this recommendation, but additional steps were needed. In particular, in February 2016, the DHS Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), in coordination with the Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management (PARM), had consolidated the department's Investment Management System and Next Generation Periodic Reporting System tools into a single enterprise information management and repository system named Investment Evaluation, Submission, and Tracking (INVEST). According to the department, this effort should improve the reliability of the metrics used by OCIO's Enterprise Business Management Office (EBMO), as well as the other line of business and component program offices, and ensure data integrity. The data reported in INVEST include cost, schedule, and operational performance metrics that are to align with the OMB's Information Technology (IT) Dashboard reporting requirements. In addition, as of September 2017, the program was listed as a high-risk program on the federal IT dashboard, in contrast to its April 2015 rating of medium risk. However, as of August 2017, the program was in breach of its previously approved schedule expectations and was taking a strategic pause in developing new software while working to re-baseline its cost and schedule expectations. We will continue to monitor DHS?s efforts to re-baseline the USCIS Transformation Program and the Office of the Chief Information Officer's efforts to use accurate and reliable information to update the federal IT dashboard until and after a new program baseline is established.
    Director: David Gootnick
    Phone: (202) 512-3149

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve USAID's ability to measure progress in achieving a quantitative reading goal in any future education strategy, the Acting USAID Administrator should ensure that the future strategy includes targets that will allow USAID to monitor interim progress toward its goal in comparison with planned performance.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In written comments on the report, USAID agreed to implement GAO's recommendation. USAID told GAO in August 2015 that a new Education Strategy will continue to focus on primary grade reading through 2020. The current strategy was scheduled to end in December 2015. USAID noted that as it expands its body of knowledge surrounding achievements of current reading projects, it will be better able to set achievable project and country level targets and report interim progress toward the new strategy's aggregate primary grade reading goal. USAID announced on August 28, 2017 that it has extended the 2011-2015 Education Strategy until December 2017, to allow adequate time for development of a new strategy with "the full backing and ownership of the new Administration." This recommendation will be applicable once USAID establishes a new strategy with new targets. According to a USAID official, as of September 14, 2017, the current strategy remains extended through December 2017. We will continue to monitor this recommendation.
    Director: Linda T. Kohn
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that HHS fully addresses its dissemination requirements under PPACA, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct AHRQ to expand dissemination efforts to federal and private health plans and vendors of health information technology focused on clinical decision support.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS officials provided information in 2017 on dissemination efforts conducted as part of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Clinical Decision Support Learning Network. However, we have not yet identified the extent to which these efforts are specifically focused on federal and private health plans, or on health IT vendors, as specified in the GAO recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that HHS fully addresses its dissemination requirements under PPACA, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct AHRQ to document and complete plans to develop a publicly available database, including plans to meet the needs of various potential users in the general public.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS officials provided information in 2017 to describe AHRQ's approach to address dissemination requirements through a website that includes instructions and links for searching multiple different publicly available databases that have information on comparative effectiveness research. However, we have not yet identified the extent to which AHRQ has plans to meet the needs of various potential users in the general public, as specified in GAO's recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that HHS fully addresses its dissemination requirements under PPACA, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct AHRQ to develop specific plans on how it will collaborate with the National Institutes of Health on its dissemination activities.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: AHRQ officials provided information in 2017 on how AHRQ and NIH officials have been meeting with each other to collaborate on dissemination activities. However, we have not yet identified specific plans for this collaboration, as specified in GAO's recommendation.
    Director: Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-7331

    3 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: Given the significant unobligated balances of about $260 million in the ESF account for Egypt previously allocated for a cash transfer that the administration has stated it no longer intends to carry out, the Secretary of State and the USAID Administrator should work to develop plans for an alternate use of these funds, in consultation with the appropriate committees of Congress. As part of planning for these funds, State should also consider ways that this funding could potentially be used to offset future budget requests.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In written comments on our draft report, State and USAID generally concurred with our recommendation. State and USAID reported in May 2016 that the agencies had reprogrammed $230 million of the $260 million previously allocated for the cash transfer to the Egyptian government for programs in Syria, Iraq, Tunisia, and Egypt, among other countries. As of May 2017, State and USAID had not yet made a decision on how to best utilize the remaining $30 million. GAO will continue to monitor agency efforts to fully implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Given the significant unobligated balances of about $260 million in the ESF account for Egypt previously allocated for a cash transfer that the administration has stated it no longer intends to carry out, the Secretary of State and the USAID Administrator should work to develop plans for an alternate use of these funds, in consultation with the appropriate committees of Congress. As part of planning for these funds, State should also consider ways that this funding could potentially be used to offset future budget requests.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In written comments on our draft report, State and USAID generally concurred with our recommendation. State and USAID reported in May 2016 that the agencies had reprogrammed $230 million of the $260 million previously allocated for the cash transfer to the Egyptian government for programs in Syria, Iraq, Tunisia, and Egypt, among other countries. As of May 2017, State and USAID had not yet made a decision on how to best utilize the remaining $30 million. GAO will continue to monitor agency efforts to fully implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the timely completion of an evaluation of security assistance to Egypt that is required by State policy, the Secretary of State should establish specific time frames for completing such an evaluation.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State agreed with this recommendation. State noted that while evaluation of security assistance to Egypt poses challenges, it views evaluation as a critical tool for accountability and program improvement and will continue to pursue a formal evaluation of security assistance to Egypt. As of August 2017, State had not established specific time frames for such an evaluation. However, according to State officials, the department had begun preliminary data collection in anticipation of an evaluation at some point in the future. GAO will continue to monitor agency efforts to fully implement this recommendation.
    Director: Marie A. Mak
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure a consistent and more collaborative approach to the protection of critical technologies, the Secretaries of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; as well as the Attorney General of the United States, who have lead and stakeholder responsibilities for the eight programs within the critical technologies portfolio, should take steps to promote and strengthen collaboration mechanisms among their respective programs while ongoing initiatives are implemented and assessed. These steps need not be onerous; for example, they could include conducting an annual meeting to discuss their programs, including the technologies they are protecting, their programs' intent, any new developments or changes planned for their programs, as well as defining consistent critical technologies terminology and sharing important updates.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation. Relevant efforts by DHS to finalize memoranda of understanding with other agencies and by the Export Enforcement Coordination Center to share information and data across the export control enforcement community are ongoing. As of Sept 2017, DHS did not identify relevant actions to coordinate on critical technologies among other agencies.
    Recommendation: To ensure a consistent and more collaborative approach to the protection of critical technologies, the Secretaries of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; as well as the Attorney General of the United States, who have lead and stakeholder responsibilities for the eight programs within the critical technologies portfolio, should take steps to promote and strengthen collaboration mechanisms among their respective programs while ongoing initiatives are implemented and assessed. These steps need not be onerous; for example, they could include conducting an annual meeting to discuss their programs, including the technologies they are protecting, their programs' intent, any new developments or changes planned for their programs, as well as defining consistent critical technologies terminology and sharing important updates.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: Commerce has identified various efforts to collaborate across multiple agencies within individual critical technologies programs, but has not taken steps to promote collaboration on critical technologies through a larger group discussion.
    Recommendation: To ensure a consistent and more collaborative approach to the protection of critical technologies, the Secretaries of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; as well as the Attorney General of the United States, who have lead and stakeholder responsibilities for the eight programs within the critical technologies portfolio, should take steps to promote and strengthen collaboration mechanisms among their respective programs while ongoing initiatives are implemented and assessed. These steps need not be onerous; for example, they could include conducting an annual meeting to discuss their programs, including the technologies they are protecting, their programs' intent, any new developments or changes planned for their programs, as well as defining consistent critical technologies terminology and sharing important updates.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has identified numerous activities within DOD to coordinate across the critical technologies portfolio, in particular the Arms Transfer and Technology Release Senior Steering Group. In some cases, these activities include other departments, most commonly State. However, officials have stated that they are not aware of any high-level coordination on critical technologies among the larger group of agencies. On Sept. 5, 2017, DOD provided an update on multiple DOD efforts, including CFIUS, but none are collaborating among all of the agencies cited in the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure a consistent and more collaborative approach to the protection of critical technologies, the Secretaries of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; as well as the Attorney General of the United States, who have lead and stakeholder responsibilities for the eight programs within the critical technologies portfolio, should take steps to promote and strengthen collaboration mechanisms among their respective programs while ongoing initiatives are implemented and assessed. These steps need not be onerous; for example, they could include conducting an annual meeting to discuss their programs, including the technologies they are protecting, their programs' intent, any new developments or changes planned for their programs, as well as defining consistent critical technologies terminology and sharing important updates.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of the Attorney General
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, the agency identified coordination actions being taken across the agencies with export control responsibilities--including through the Export Control Enforcement Center--and through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. However, it is not clear how, or if, these coordination efforts are tied to the larger, government-wide portfolio of critical technologies programs. As of Sept. 2017, Justice has no additional updates.
    Recommendation: To ensure a consistent and more collaborative approach to the protection of critical technologies, the Secretaries of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; as well as the Attorney General of the United States, who have lead and stakeholder responsibilities for the eight programs within the critical technologies portfolio, should take steps to promote and strengthen collaboration mechanisms among their respective programs while ongoing initiatives are implemented and assessed. These steps need not be onerous; for example, they could include conducting an annual meeting to discuss their programs, including the technologies they are protecting, their programs' intent, any new developments or changes planned for their programs, as well as defining consistent critical technologies terminology and sharing important updates.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2016, a Treasury official identified coordination actions being taken across the agencies with export control responsibilities and through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. However, coordination efforts are not tied to larger, government-wide collaboration on critical technologies. In March 2017, Treasury provided an update on actions taken, but did not address the recommendation for coordination among the critical technologies programs.
    Recommendation: To ensure a consistent and more collaborative approach to the protection of critical technologies, the Secretaries of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; as well as the Attorney General of the United States, who have lead and stakeholder responsibilities for the eight programs within the critical technologies portfolio, should take steps to promote and strengthen collaboration mechanisms among their respective programs while ongoing initiatives are implemented and assessed. These steps need not be onerous; for example, they could include conducting an annual meeting to discuss their programs, including the technologies they are protecting, their programs' intent, any new developments or changes planned for their programs, as well as defining consistent critical technologies terminology and sharing important updates.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it. In Sept. 2017, State provided updates on actions taken within the department, but none across affected agencies.
    Director: Linda Kohn
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help determine if programs are effective at supporting those individuals with serious mental illness, the Secretaries of Defense, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and the Attorney General--which oversee programs targeting individuals with serious mental illness--should document which of their programs targeted for individuals with serious mental illness should be evaluated and how often such evaluations should be completed.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense's position is that it already engages in periodic program evaluation of its psychological health programs as required. It noted that on November 24, 2014, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness directed the Military Departments and other Department of Defense components to assist in an initiative to evaluate Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury programs across the Department of Defense. As of September 2017, we have not received a further update on the Department of Defense's actions. We will continue to monitor these efforts and seek to determine whether they result in documentation of which programs should be evaluated and how such evaluations should be completed.
    Recommendation: To help determine if programs are effective at supporting those individuals with serious mental illness, the Secretaries of Defense, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and the Attorney General--which oversee programs targeting individuals with serious mental illness--should document which of their programs targeted for individuals with serious mental illness should be evaluated and how often such evaluations should be completed.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS did not concur with this recommendation. The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Reform Act of 2016 enacted in December 2016 included a requirement for HHS to develop a strategy for conducting ongoing evaluations of programs related to mental illness--including serious mental illness--and substance use disorders. As of August 2017, HHS is in the process of preparing a report that identifies key programs and activities across the department, as well as summarizes data on those programs and develops criteria for use in prioritizing programs for evaluation. However, this report is not yet complete. We will continue to monitor HHS's efforts in this regard and look for documentation of HHS plans for future evaluations of programs for individuals with serious mental illness.
    Director: Brown, Kay E
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To encourage broader adoption and evaluation of promising approaches and address impediments to the use of the career pathways approach among TANF agencies, HHS should, in consultation with Congress, identify potential changes that would address the lack of incentives for states and localities to adopt promising approaches and then develop and submit a legislative proposal outlining those changes.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2015, HHS noted that the agency's fiscal year 2016 budget includes a proposal to increase incentives for states to implement or strengthen subsidized employment programs and notes the Administration's willingness to work with Congress to improve the TANF program's effectiveness in accomplishing its goals. Additionally, HHS reported that it continues to provide technical assistance and disseminate research to help encourage TANF agencies to adopt or strengthen employment-focused approaches. While we commend these efforts, we continue to believe it is important for HHS, in consultation with Congress, to identify potential changes that would address the lack of incentives for states and localities to adopt promising approaches and develop and submit a legislative proposal outlining those changes.
    Director: Emrey Arras, Melissa H
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the usefulness of information from school evaluations, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop a plan for future school evaluations that includes, among other things, clearly-defined evaluation questions and an assessment of the experience, expertise, and skills needed by the personnel from the entity or entities conducting the school evaluations.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2016, DOD reported that it had contracted with a recognized industry leader to provide expert research and analysis of the Department's needs and offer best practices in compliance across industry and government. In 2017, DOD reported that it awarded the contract for conducting the school evaluations and as part of that contract, specified the required experience and education for key staff conducting the evaluation. To guide the evaluations, DOD developed several data collection instruments to collect information on schools participating in the program and service members' experiences in the program. GAO will consider closing this recommendation once the first round of evaluations are completed and we obtain any evaluations based on the DCIs.
    Director: Garcia-diaz, Daniel
    Phone: (202) 512-4529

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To build on task force and working group efforts already underway to coordinate, consolidate, or improve housing programs, and help inform Congress's decision-making process, the Secretaries or other designated officials of HUD, Treasury, USDA, and VA should evaluate and report on the specific opportunities for consolidating similar housing programs, including those that would require statutory changes.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: Through their rental policy working group and single-family program task force, HUD, USDA, and Treasury have continued their efforts to improve operations and better coordinate and align certain requirements among the agencies' multifamily and single-family housing programs. For example, in 2014, the agencies implemented a pilot in 26 states and 808 multifamily housing properties to test the feasibility of conducting a single physical inspection that would satisfy all agencies' inspection requirements. Additionally, HUD, USDA, and Treasury signed a memorandum of understanding in November 2016 to formalize interagency efforts on federal rental housing policy. They are also developing a white paper to document the history and best practices of the rental policy working group. Further, USDA's Rural Housing Service (RHS) has entered into a shared service agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to manage real-estate owned (REO) preservation and disposition of single-family properties acquired through RHS's direct loan program. RHS stated that it also meets with FHA and VA to discuss single-family housing issues and opportunities for collaboration. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the current administration may reevaluate ongoing collaborative efforts across the different agencies, which could have implications for housing program consolidation. OMB has participated in interagency discussions on federal housing assistance, credit budgeting, and management of HUD, VA, and USDA housing programs. Nonetheless, the charters of both the rental policy working group and the single-family program task force limit their missions to issues that can be dealt with administratively. As of March 2017, neither group has reported on the areas where specific statutory changes are needed to help mitigate overlap and fragmentation and decrease costs.
    Recommendation: To build on task force and working group efforts already underway to coordinate, consolidate, or improve housing programs, and help inform Congress's decision-making process, the Secretaries or other designated officials of HUD, Treasury, USDA, and VA should evaluate and report on the specific opportunities for consolidating similar housing programs, including those that would require statutory changes.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: Through their rental policy working group and single-family program task force, HUD, USDA, and Treasury have continued their efforts to improve operations and better coordinate and align certain requirements among the agencies' multifamily and single-family housing programs. For example, in 2014, the agencies implemented a pilot in 26 states and 808 multifamily housing properties to test the feasibility of conducting a single physical inspection that would satisfy all agencies' inspection requirements. Additionally, HUD, USDA, and Treasury signed a memorandum of understanding in November 2016 to formalize interagency efforts on federal rental housing policy. They are also developing a white paper to document the history and best practices of the rental policy working group. Further, USDA's Rural Housing Service (RHS) has entered into a shared service agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to manage real-estate owned (REO) preservation and disposition of single-family properties acquired through RHS's direct loan program. RHS stated that it also meets with FHA and VA to discuss single-family housing issues and opportunities for collaboration. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the current administration may reevaluate ongoing collaborative efforts across the different agencies, which could have implications for housing program consolidation. OMB has participated in interagency discussions on federal housing assistance, credit budgeting, and management of HUD, VA, and USDA housing programs. Nonetheless, the charters of both the rental policy working group and the single-family program task force limit their missions to issues that can be dealt with administratively. As of March 2017, neither group has reported on the areas where specific statutory changes are needed to help mitigate overlap and fragmentation and decrease costs.
    Recommendation: To build on task force and working group efforts already underway to coordinate, consolidate, or improve housing programs, and help inform Congress's decision-making process, the Secretaries or other designated officials of HUD, Treasury, USDA, and VA should evaluate and report on the specific opportunities for consolidating similar housing programs, including those that would require statutory changes.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: Through their rental policy working group and single-family program task force, HUD, USDA, and Treasury have continued their efforts to improve operations and better coordinate and align certain requirements among the agencies' multifamily and single-family housing programs. For example, in 2014, the agencies implemented a pilot in 26 states and 808 multifamily housing properties to test the feasibility of conducting a single physical inspection that would satisfy all agencies' inspection requirements. Additionally, HUD, USDA, and Treasury signed a memorandum of understanding in November 2016 to formalize interagency efforts on federal rental housing policy. They are also developing a white paper to document the history and best practices of the rental policy working group. Further, USDA's Rural Housing Service (RHS) has entered into a shared service agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to manage real-estate owned (REO) preservation and disposition of single-family properties acquired through RHS's direct loan program. RHS stated that it also meets with FHA and VA to discuss single-family housing issues and opportunities for collaboration. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the current administration may reevaluate ongoing collaborative efforts across the different agencies, which could have implications for housing program consolidation. OMB has participated in interagency discussions on federal housing assistance, credit budgeting, and management of HUD, VA, and USDA housing programs. Nonetheless, the charters of both the rental policy working group and the single-family program task force limit their missions to issues that can be dealt with administratively. As of March 2017, neither group has reported on the areas where specific statutory changes are needed to help mitigate overlap and fragmentation and decrease costs.
    Recommendation: To build on task force and working group efforts already underway to coordinate, consolidate, or improve housing programs, and help inform Congress's decision-making process, the Secretaries or other designated officials of HUD, Treasury, USDA, and VA should evaluate and report on the specific opportunities for consolidating similar housing programs, including those that would require statutory changes.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In responding to the draft report, VA concurred in principle with this recommendation but would not support unilateral reporting and evaluation in this area. VA maintains that the consolidation of the VA Home Guarantee Program with housing program of HUD or another agency is counter to statute that authorizes that its program be operated by VA. VA participates in the single-family interagency task force, along with HUD, USDA, and OMB. A tangible result from that task force is that VA has established an inter-agency agreement with USDA in an effort to increase efficiency and reduce costs by using VA processes for disposing of USDA real estate assets. However, the task force's charter limits its mission to issues that can be dealt with administratively and thus has not reported on areas where specific statutory changes are needed. The recommendation calls for the Secretaries or other designated officials to evaluate and report on opportunities to consolidate similar housing programs, including those that would require statutory changes. As such, the recommendation will stay open until the agencies provide sufficient evidence that they are working together to identify such opportunities. According to the VA, the agency will not take any action to identify opportunities that require statutory changes.