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    Subject Term: "Cost and schedule"

    38 publications with a total of 104 open recommendations including 18 priority recommendations
    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: David Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The NNSA Administrator should set a time frame for when the agency will (1) develop the complete scope of work for the overall uranium program to the extent practicable and (2) prepare a life-cycle cost estimate and an integrated master schedule for the overall uranium program.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear 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: Carol C. Harris
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve the modernization of FMCSA's IT systems, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to update FMCSA's IT strategic plan to include well-defined goals, strategies, measures, and timelines for modernizing its systems.

    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 help improve the modernization of FMCSA's IT systems, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to ensure that the IT investment process guidance lays out the roles and responsibilities of all working groups and individuals involved in the agency's governance process.

    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 help improve the modernization of FMCSA's IT systems, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to finalize the restructure of the Office of Information Technology, including fully defining the roles and responsibilities of the CIO.

    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 help improve the modernization of FMCSA's IT systems, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to ensure that appropriate governance bodies review all IT investments and track corrective actions to closure.

    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 help improve the modernization of FMCSA's IT systems, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to ensure that required operational analyses are performed for Aspen, Motor Carrier Management Information System, Sentri 2.0, and Unified Registration System on an annual basis.

    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: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: In order to ensure that the Congress is able to make informed resource decisions regarding a viable EM-1 launch readiness date, the NASA Administrator or Acting Administrator should direct the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to propose a new, more realistic EM-1 date if warranted and report to Congress on the results of its EM-1 schedule analysis.

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

    Comments: NASA agreed with this recommendation and stated that it is reassessing the launch readiness schedule.
    Director: Michael J. Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD adequately prioritizes its resources to finish F-35 baseline development and delivers all of the promised warfighting capabilities and that Congress is fully informed when making fiscal year 2018 budget decisions, the Secretary of Defense should reassess the additional cost and time needed to complete developmental testing using historical program data.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency has not taken any action to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD adequately prioritizes its resources to finish F-35 baseline development and delivers all of the promised warfighting capabilities and that Congress is fully informed when making fiscal year 2018 budget decisions, the Secretary of Defense should delay the issuance of the Block 4 development request for proposals at least until developmental testing is complete and all associated capabilities have been verified to work as intended.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency has not taken any action to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD adequately prioritizes its resources to finish F-35 baseline development and delivers all of the promised warfighting capabilities and that Congress is fully informed when making fiscal year 2018 budget decisions, the Secretary of Defense should finalize the details of DOD and contractor investments associated with an economic order quantities (EOQ) purchase in fiscal year 2018, and submit a report to Congress with the fiscal year 2018 budget request that clearly identifies the details, including costs and benefits of the finalized EOQ approach.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency partially concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    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: Michael J. Courts
    Phone: (202) 512-8980

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better assess OBO's performance, the Secretary of State should determine whether the existing OBO program performance measure and annual target of moving 1,500 people into safe, secure, and functional facilities is still appropriate or needs to be revised.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: OBO stated that it would perform a multi-year, comprehensive evaluation of this performance metric and determine whether the target remains appropriate. As of October 2017, OBO anticipated this evaluation to be completed in fiscal year 2019.
    Recommendation: To better assess OBO's performance, the Secretary of State should establish additional performance measures applicable to the new goals of the Excellence approach in support of the Capital Security Construction Program.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017, OBO had stated it would develop Excellence-related performance metrics to assess the execution and delivery of its projects. Specifically, these would be tied to the Bureau's strategic plan, which is reviewed annually and updated every three years. The next strategic plan update was estimated to occur in early 2020.
    Recommendation: To better assess OBO's performance, the Secretary of State should finalize the mechanisms OBO will use to better track and evaluate the actual operations and maintenance performance of its buildings--whether Excellence or SED--and document through appropriate policies, procedures, or guidance.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017, OBO was engaged in a life cycle cost analysis methodology project intended to take an in-depth look at OBO's processes, practices, and procedures, compare and contrast them with best industry practices, and make recommendations to the bureau. OBO anticipated finalizing this by early 2018.
    Recommendation: To better assess OBO's performance, the Secretary of State should finalize the mechanisms OBO will use to centrally manage project management data (to include project cost and schedule information), currently termed the Ideal Operational State, and document through appropriate policies, procedures, or guidance.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017, OBO was working on the implementation of its Ideal Operational State initiative, which it envisioned as a multi-year effort subject to budget realities. OBO anticipates having an integrated program schedule by early 2018, although full implementation would take longer.
    Director: Dave Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-5731

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve VA's management of medical-facility construction projects and its accountability and to allow for more informed decision making by Congress and VA, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should establish a mechanism to monitor the extent that major facilities projects are following guidelines on change orders' time frames and design changes.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: GAO reviewed VA's 60 day letter and identified that VA did not address the part of GAO?s recommendation that is intended to help VA ensure that information on the reasons for change orders is collected to better inform managers whether guidelines regarding changes are being followed on construction projects. Consequently, in May 2017, GAO requested that VA provide documentation indicating that its current system collects the necessary information on change order processing timeframes for managers to ensure compliance with processing time guidelines. GAO will continue to monitor and update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve VA's management of medical-facility construction projects and its accountability and to allow for more informed decision making by Congress and VA, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should develop an activation cost estimate for the Denver project that is reliable and conforms with best practices as described in the GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its 60-day letter to Congress, VA said that it had analyzed its Activation Cost Budget Model (ACBM), which VA uses to estimate activation costs for new medical facilities, and its activation funding process, to improve cost forecasting and management of the activations process. VA said that it has modified ACBM to better support funding estimates and began using it in February 2017. GAO will continue to monitor and update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve VA's management of medical-facility construction projects and its accountability and to allow for more informed decision making by Congress and VA, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should clarify Office of Construction and Facilities Management (CFM) policies to require that: (1) all projects have an integrated master schedule to ensure that the integrated master schedules include and link all construction and activation activities, and (2) the policies on integrated master schedule for projects managed by CFM and USACE are consistent.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its 60-day letter to Congress, VA said that it is clarifying its policy and standard operation procedure on developing and maintaining an integrated master schedule. VA will also develop a standard operation procedure specifically for projects that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is managing for VA. GAO will continue to monitor and update the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to promote effective implementation of the MAC-MO contracting strategy, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to complete the following action: Assign responsibility to a single entity comprised of representatives from the fleet and shore-based maintenance communities, such as Surface Team 1, to perform systematic assessments of MAC-MO's implementation that include the following: (1) Review of lessons learned and identification of changes to Navy processes, including staffing, needed to support the MAC-MO strategy, (2) Evaluation of performance against anticipated cost, schedule, and quality objectives, as outlined in the MAC-MO acquisition strategy, and (3) Input and recommendations from all Navy parties that participate in the scheduling, planning, budgeting, oversight, and policy development for the repair, maintenance, and modernization of non-nuclear surface ships.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation. Navy has since responded that it is in the process of preparing its first biennial report on its assessment of the MAC-MO contracting strategy and this report will address the elements of our recommendation. This first report is due by December 31, 2017. As of early August 2017, the Navy has completed its review of the completed availabilities under the MAC-MO contract and analyzed data.
    Director: Michael J. Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance program oversight and provide more robust input to budget deliberations, Congress should consider requiring DOD to report on each major acquisition program's systems engineering status in the department's annual budget request, beginning with the budget requesting funds to start development. The information could be presented on a simple timeline--as done for the case studies in this report--and at a minimum should reflect the status of a program's functional and allocated baselines as contained in the most current version of the program's systems engineering plan.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not yet taken action on the matter for consideration. GAO will continue to monitor.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that NNSA will acquire sufficient plutonium analysis equipment and space to meet its needs, including pit production to support critical life extension programs, the Secretary should direct that the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, in his capacity as the NNSA Administrator, update the program requirements document for the revised CMRR project to identify a key performance parameter that describes the plutonium analysis capacity the CMRR project is required to provide to support specific pit production rates.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, NNSA plans to perform an analysis to identify the plutonium analysis capacity that the CMRR project is required to provide and reference that information in an updated version of the CMRR program requirements document. NNSA estimated that it will complete this action by September 30, 2017. We will evaluate NNSA's action once it is complete.
    Recommendation: To ensure that NNSA will acquire sufficient plutonium analysis equipment and space to meet its needs, including pit production to support critical life extension programs, the Secretary should direct that the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, in his capacity as the NNSA Administrator, specify plans for how the agency will obtain additional plutonium analysis capacity if the revised CMRR project will not provide sufficient plutonium analysis capacity to support NNSA's pit production plans.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, NNSA planned to update its Plutonium Strategy to identify additional means, if necessary, to achieve sufficient plutonium analysis capacity to support pit production plans. NNSA estimated that it will complete this action by September 30, 2017. We will evaluate NNSA's action once it is complete.
    Recommendation: To ensure that NNSA will provide clear information to stakeholders about the program needs that the revised CMRR project will satisfy, the Secretary should direct the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, in his capacity as the NNSA Administrator, to update the program requirements document for the revised CMRR project to clarify whether the project will provide plutonium analysis equipment to meet the needs of DOE and NNSA programs other than those in the Office of Defense Programs.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, NNSA planned to update the CMRR program requirements document to clarify that the CMRR project will not install any unique analysis equipment required solely for non-defense related programs. NNSA estimated that it would complete this action by December 31, 2017. We will evaluate NNSA's action once it is complete.
    Recommendation: To ensure that NNSA's future schedule estimates for the revised CMRR project provide the agency with reasonable assurance regarding meeting the project's completion dates, the Secretary should direct the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, in his capacity as the NNSA Administrator, to develop future schedules for the revised CMRR project that are consistent with current DOE project management policy and scheduling best practices. Specifically, the Under Secretary should develop and maintain an integrated master schedule that includes all project activities under all subprojects prior to approving the project's first CD-2 decision.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, NNSA said it had identified the key milestone dates for the future subprojects including critical decisions and completion. We will update the status of this recommendation after we review the documentation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that NNSA's future schedule estimates for the revised CMRR project provide the agency with reasonable assurance regarding meeting the project's completion dates, the Secretary should direct the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, in his capacity as the NNSA Administrator, to develop future schedules for the revised CMRR project that are consistent with current DOE project management policy and scheduling best practices. Specifically, the Under Secretary should conduct a comprehensive schedule risk analysis that applies to the integrated master schedule to identify the likelihood the project can meet its completion dates.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, NNSA said that it had completed risk analyses to satisfy the recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation after we review the documentation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that NNSA is better positioned to objectively consider alternatives before making its selection of an alternative for the Plutonium Modular Approach, the Secretary should direct the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, in his capacity as the NNSA Administrator, before completing the analysis of alternatives, to rephrase the statement of mission need and requirements for the Plutonium Modular Approach so that they are independent of a particular solution.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: NNSA did not agree to implement the recommendation as stated in the report. However, NNSA stated that it would conduct the analysis of alternatives independent of a particular solution. NNSA has not estimated a completion date for the final analysis of alternatives. After the analysis is complete, we will review it to determine whether it includes information that meets the intent of our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that NNSA has information about program-specific needs to inform its analysis of alternatives for the Plutonium Modular Approach and to provide a clearer basis for selecting a project alternative, the Secretary should direct the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, in his capacity as the NNSA Administrator, before completing the analysis of alternatives, to identify key performance parameters and program-specific requirements for the Plutonium Modular Approach.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: NNSA did not agree to implement the recommendation as written in the report. However, NNSA stated that it would develop key parameters and project requirements as part of the analysis of alternatives. NNSA has not estimated a completion date for the AOA. After the analysis is complete, we will review it to determine whether it includes information that meets the intent of our recommendation.
    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: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To provide the Congress and NASA a reliable estimate of program cost and schedule that are useful to support management and stakeholder decisions, the NASA Administrator should direct the Orion program to perform an updated JCL analysis including updating cost and schedule estimates in adherence with cost and schedule estimating best practices.

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

    Comments: NASA partially agreed with this recommendation, stating that the agency reviewed, in detail, the Orion integrated cost/schedule and risk analysis methodology and determined the rigor to be a sufficient basis for the agency commitments. We still contend that NASA should update its analysis that informed its baseline because we found that the cost and schedule estimates underlying those baselines are not reliable as they did not conform to best practices.
    Recommendation: To have a full understanding of the cost, schedule, and safety impact of deferring work, the NASA Administrator should direct the Orion program to perform an analysis on the cost of deferred work in relation to levels of management reserves and unallocated future expenses and actual contractor performance, and report the results of that analysis to NASA management.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: NASA concurred with this recommendation, but characterized its deferral of work to date as task-level deferrals, lasting only several months and not affecting major program milestone or the critical path. NASA did agree to include an analysis of how these deferrals affect budget reserves and program performance in future routine management reporting. NASA officials told us that they are currently evaluating work flow for the first and second mission as the agency revisits the launch date for the first mission. Given this is currently being analyzed, officials were not able to provide any analysis at this time about the potential cost impact of changes in scheduled work.
    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: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance DHS leadership's ongoing efforts to improve the affordability of the department's major acquisition portfolio, and to ensure adequate communication with Congress, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security should ensure that the fiscal year 2017 Future Years Homeland Security Program report, which DHS must submit to Congress at or about the same time as the President's fiscal year 2018 budget request, reflects the results of any tradeoffs stemming from the acquisition affordability reviews recommended above.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred with this recommendation, and stated that the fiscal year 2017 Future Years Homeland Security Program (FYHSP) report would reflect decisions made in response to our second recommendation. DHS expected to release the FYHSP report shortly after the President's fiscal year 2018 budget request in May 2017. However, the transition to a new administration delayed the release of the FYHSP report. Once available, GAO will evaluate the FYHSP report to determine whether DHS has met the intent of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance DHS leadership's ongoing efforts to improve the affordability of the department's major acquisition portfolio, and to help ensure programs secure stable funding that matches resources to requirements, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security should require components to establish formal, repeatable processes for addressing major acquisition affordability issues, similar to the process the Transportation Security Administration has established.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred with this recommendation, and stated that DHS headquarters would ensure all components are updating their cost estimates each year to inform the annual resource allocation process by March 31, 2017. However, DHS did not establish a requirement that components do so through formal, repeatable processes for addressing major acquisition affordability issues, similar to the process the Transportation Security Administration has established. As of August 2017, seven of DHS's components were in the process of establishing formal, repeatable processes for addressing affordability issues, but had not completed these efforts. GAO will continue to review the components' progress to determine whether the components' actions meet the intent of this recommendation.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better position DOD as it continues pursuing GPS modernization, to have the information necessary to make decisions on how best to improve that modernization, and to mitigate risks to sustaining the GPS constellation, the Secretary of Defense should convene an independent task force comprising experts from other military services and defense agencies with substantial knowledge and expertise to provide an assessment to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics of the OCX program and concrete guidance for addressing the OCX program's underlying problems, particularly including: (1) A detailed engineering assessment of OCX defects to determine the systemic root causes of the defects; (2) Whether the contractor's software development procedures and practices match the levels described in the OCX systems engineering and software development plans; and (3) Whether the contractor is capable of executing the program as currently resourced and structured.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. Prior to the program declaring a Nunn-McCurdy breach on June 30, 2016, the only independent assessment was conducted by Defense Digital Services and was limited in focus to software development. Air Force notes a completion date of independent assessment on Sept 29, 2017. Once received, we will evaluate whether that meets the intent of the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better position DOD as it continues pursuing GPS modernization, to have the information necessary to make decisions on how best to improve that modernization, and to mitigate risks to sustaining the GPS constellation, the Secretary of Defense should develop high confidence OCX cost and schedule estimates based on actual track record for productivity and learning curves.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. Prior to the program declaring a Nunn-McCurdy breach on June 30, 2016, no high confidence cost assessment was completed. The Air Force and contractor provided schedule assessments that were not evaluated and considered low-risk, but were directed to execute a 24 month schedule extension with no assessment of its feasibility and that did not take into account past contractor performance. Pending Nunn-McCurdy documentation and repeat of Milestone B, there is no evidence a high confidence cost or schedule has been put in place. Once we receive documentation on approval of Milestone B, we will reevaluate.
    Recommendation: To better position DOD as it continues pursuing GPS modernization, to have the information necessary to make decisions on how best to improve that modernization, and to mitigate risks to sustaining the GPS constellation, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force to retain experts from the independent task force as a management advisory team to assist the OCX program office in conducting regular systemic analysis of defects and to help ensure OCX corrective measures are implemented successfully and sustained.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. Prior to the program declaring a Nunn-McCurdy breach on June 30, 2016, Defense Digital Services were initially retained for a month and subsequently remain embedded with contractor software developers to provide advice on development and process improvements. Upon completion of the Nunn-McCurdy review and continued involvement of Defense Digital Services, we will examine the extent to which the program has met this recommendation if the program is recertified to determine if this recommendation was met. Air Force did not provide an update to this recommendation in 2017, but program still has not had Milestone B approved and the Defense Digital Services group is no longer engaged on OCX.
    Recommendation: To better position DOD as it continues pursuing GPS modernization, to have the information necessary to make decisions on how best to improve that modernization, and to mitigate risks to sustaining the GPS constellation, the Secretary of Defense should put in place a mechanism for ensuring that the knowledge gained from the OCX assessment is used to determine whether further programmatic changes are needed to strengthen oversight.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. Senior quarterly reviews continue of the OCX program and have been in place since December 2015. Documentation still pending on Milestone B to see if these reviews have informed programmatic changes that better position DOD to complete this acquisition.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: When planning for the next phase of national security space launches, Phase 2, the Secretary of the Air Force should consider using an incremental approach to the next launch services acquisition strategy. Planning for acquisitions on a short term basis will help ensure that the Air Force does not commit itself to a strategy until the appropriate amount of data is available to make an informed decision, and will allow for flexibility in responding to a changing launch industry.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet completed actions necessary to implement it. The acquisition strategy for the next phase of national security launches, Phase 2, has not yet been finalized by the Air Force. The EELV program office expects it to be completed in the summer of 2018.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

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

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

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

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The SLS program concurred with our recommendation. According to NASA officials, the program has taken steps to track and report progress relative to the agency's external committed cost and schedule baselines within the program's quarterly reports to NASA headquarters. The program, however, has not yet provided documentation of these actions to GAO.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve NNSA's ability to choose the best alternative that satisfies the mission need for lithium production, the Secretary of Energy should request that NNSA's Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs take steps to ensure that NNSA objectively consider all alternatives, without preference for a particular solution, as it proceeds with the analysis of alternatives process. Such steps could include clarifying the statement of mission need for lithium production so that it is independent of a particular solution.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, NNSA has not finalized its analysis of alternatives. However, documents provided and statements made by agency officials indicate that NNSA plans to construct a Lithium Production Facility. NNSA's preference for constructing a lithium production facility prior to finalizing its analysis of alternatives is not consistent with our recommendation.
    Director: David Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to institutionalize sound IT management practices and build FSA's IT management capacity while improving service to the Nation's farmers and ranchers, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the FSA Administrator to establish and implement an improvement plan to guide the agency in adopting recognized best practices and following agency policy.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: FSA developed a Strategic IT Roadmap to assist the agency's business and IT leadership in prioritizing IT investments. In addition, FSA stated that it will develop and document a comprehensive improvement plan that is to delineate tactical steps, timelines, and performance metrics to track incremental progress in adopting recognized best practices and program management capabilities. We will continue to monitor the agency's progress in documenting and implementing its improvement plan.
    Recommendation: In order to institutionalize sound IT management practices and build FSA's IT management capacity while improving service to the Nation's farmers and ranchers, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the FSA Administrator to adhere to recognized best practices and agency policy in developing and managing system requirements before proceeding with any further system development to deliver previously envisioned MIDAS functionality. Specifically, the Administrator should ensure that requirements are complete, unambiguous, and prioritized; commitment to requirements is obtained through a formal requirements baseline; differences (or gaps) between the requirements and capabilities of the intended solution (including commercial off-the-shelf solutions) are analyzed; strategies to address any gaps are developed; and requirements are traced forward and backward among development products.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: FSA reported that it will improve the rigor and adherence to requirements management processes for all IT projects, utilizing processes and tools that will support the integrity of the requirements throughout the lifecycle, to ensure that requirements are complete, formally baselined, gaps are analyzed, and fully traceable forward and backward. FSA also noted that it is pursuing an enhanced, more comprehensive governance structure that will further support its commitment to increasing rigor and adherence to defined requirements management processes. We will continue to monitor the agency's implementation of these efforts.
    Recommendation: In order to institutionalize sound IT management practices and build FSA's IT management capacity while improving service to the Nation's farmers and ranchers, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the FSA Administrator to adhere to recognized best practices and agency policy in planning and monitoring projects. Specifically, the Administrator should ensure that project plans include predefined expectations for cost, schedule, and deliverables before proceeding with any further system development; updates to the project plan are made through change control processes; and progress against the project plan, including work performed by contractors, is monitored.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: FSA noted that it began an initiative to improve the agency's use of capital planning guidance from the Office of Management and Budget and would prepare corrective action plans to address identified weaknesses in fiscal year 2016. FSA also noted that it was conducting a series of training classes on capital planning and IT project management across the agency, developing a risk management program, and strengthening the use of earned value management. We will continue to monitor the agency's progress on its project planning efforts.
    Recommendation: In order to institutionalize sound IT management practices and build FSA's IT management capacity while improving service to the Nation's farmers and ranchers, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the FSA Administrator to adhere to recognized best practices and agency policy in system testing. Specifically, the Administrator should establish well-defined test plans before proceeding with any further system development, and ensure that testing of (a) individual system components, (b) the integration of system components, and (c) the end-to-end system are conducted.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: FSA stated that going forward the agency will adhere to recognized best practices and agency policy in pursuing consistent or increased rigor around system testing. The agency noted that it plans to demonstrate that its testing capabilities are consistent and repeatable across all FSA IT projects. We will continue to monitor the agency's implementation of these efforts.
    Recommendation: In order to institutionalize sound IT management practices and build FSA's IT management capacity while improving service to the Nation's farmers and ranchers, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the FSA Administrator to adhere to recognized best practices and agency policy in executive-level IT governance before proceeding with any further system development. Specifically, an executive-level governance board should (1) review and approve a comprehensive business case that includes a life cycle cost estimate, a cost-benefit analysis, and an analysis of alternatives for proposed solutions that are to provide former MIDAS requirements prior to their implementation; (2) ensure that any programs that are to accommodate former MIDAS requirements are fully implementing the IT program management disciplines and practices identified in this report; (3) conduct a post-implementation review and document lessons learned for the MIDAS investment; and (4) reassess the viability of the MIDAS technical solution before investing in further modernization technologies.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: FSA stated that, as part of its organizational transformation efforts, the CIO is evaluating its governance structure and updating the charter for the agency-wide IT investment review board with the support of the agency's Executive Leadership Council. FSA also noted that it will adhere to the department's governance framework and processes. We will continue to monitor the agency's implementation of these efforts and how they address our recommendation.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    5 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's management and oversight of the WTP project, the Secretary of Energy should, in assessing the alternatives, revise cost and schedule estimates for the Low Activity Waste Pretreatment System and the Tank Waste Characterization and Staging facility in accordance with industry best practices.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: We will monitor the status of this proposed requirement.
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's management and oversight of the WTP project, the Secretary of Energy should revise the statements of mission need for the two proposed projects to allow DOE to consider a variety of alternatives without limiting potential solutions, consistent with the DOE requirement that mission need statements should not identify particular solution such as equipment, facility, or technology.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOE DARTS report on 5/19/16, revision of the statement of mission for the Low Activity Waste Pretreatment System "has become overcome by events". We will continue to follow up on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's management and oversight of the WTP project, the Secretary of Energy should, in accordance with DOE's Office of River Protection quality assurance policy, conduct an extent-of-condition review for WTP's High Level Waste and Low Activity Waste facilities' systems that have not been reviewed by DOE.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOE agreed with the recommendations and in its written responses to our report stated that it had implemented them. However, we believe additional actions are needed, as indicated in the priority recommendations letter we sent to DOE in 2017. To fully address the recommendations, DOE should conduct an extent-of-condition review for WTP's High Level Waste and Low Activity Waste facilities' systems.
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's management and oversight of the WTP project, the Secretary of Energy should consider whether or to what extent construction activities for the High Level Waste and Low Activity Waste facilities should be further limited until aggressive risk mitigation strategies are developed and employed to address technical challenges that DOE, the contractor, and others have identified but not yet resolved.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOE has noted that these activities were already limited and stated that a specific set of criteria has been established for resuming construction on the High Level Waste facility. However, as we noted in our report, an extent-of-condition review has not been performed on the remainder of the facility's systems, and recommendations from the facility's design and operability review have not been implemented. DOE also stated that construction on the Low Activity Waste facility is nearly complete, that the WTP Federal Project Director has a detailed risk register, and that each remaining risk is being proactively mitigated. This statement, however, does not fully reflect the extent or potential seriousness of the technical risks that remain. An extent-of-condition review may mean limiting the production of new design documents until this review is complete in order to avoid potential costly rework. We believe additional actions are needed. To fully address the recommendation, DOE should consider whether or to what extent construction activities for those facilities should be further limited until this review is completed and aggressive risk mitigation strategies are developed and employed.
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's management and oversight of the WTP project, the Secretary of Energy should enlist the services of another agency or external entity to serve as an owner's agent to assist the Office of River Protection in reviewing and evaluating the WTP contractor's design and approach to mitigating design challenges.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress required DOE to meet this requirement in the 2016 NDAA, and DOE reports that they issued a contract to Parsons Government Services on September 29, 2015. We have requested a copy of this contract for review to ensure that the recommendation has been addressed.
    Director: Mike Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to collect and maintain reliable data on its acquisitions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in consultation with DOD components, to establish guidelines on what constitutes a "current" ACAT II or III program for reporting purposes; the types of programs, if any, that do not require ACAT designations; and whether the rules for identifying current MDAPs would be appropriate for ACAT II and III programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2015, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition requested that DOD components review existing policies and determine whether they needed to be altered or supplemented to facilitate data collection and reporting on ACAT II and III programs. In November 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics stated that, based on the results of these reviews, it does not plans to take any action to implement this recommendation. However, a planned DOD IG review in fiscal year 2018 could lead to further action on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to collect and maintain reliable data on its acquisitions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in consultation with DOD components, to determine what metrics should be used and what data should be collected on ACAT II and III programs to measure cost and schedule performance; and whether the use of DAMIR and the MDAP selected acquisition report format may be appropriate for collecting data on ACAT II and III programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics reviewed information on DOD component efforts to collect data on the cost and schedule performance of ACAT II and III programs and stated that it does not plan to take any action to implement this recommendation. However, a planned DOD IG review in fiscal year 2018 could lead to further action on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to collect and maintain reliable data on its acquisitions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy and the Commander of SOCOM to assess the reliability of data collected on ACAT II and III programs and work with PEOs to develop a strategy to improve procedures for the entry and maintenance of data.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2015, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition requested that DOD components evaluate the data they collect on ACAT II and III programs, report on their assessment of the data's reliability, and provide an update on their plans to improve the availability and quality of the data. In November 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics stated that it does not plan to take any additional action to implement this recommendation. However, a planned DOD IG review in fiscal year 2018 could lead to further action on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to collect and maintain reliable data on its acquisitions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy and the Commander of SOCOM to develop implementation plans to coordinate and execute component initiatives to improve data on ACAT II and III programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DOD partially concurred with this recommendation, but the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics stated that it does not plan to take any additional action to implement this recommendation. However, we are keeping this recommendation open at this time.
    Recommendation: To help ensure compliance with relevant provisions of DOD acquisition policy with the purpose of improving DOD's ability to provide oversight for ACAT II and III programs, including those programs that may become MDAPs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force and Commander of SOCOM to establish a mechanism to ensure compliance with APB requirements in DOD policy.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2015, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition requested that DOD components review their mechanisms for establishing and enforcing the APB requirements for all ACAT II and III programs. In November 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics stated that, based on the results of these reviews, it does not plans to take any action to implement this recommendation. However, we are keeping this recommendation open at this time.
    Recommendation: To help ensure compliance with relevant provisions of DOD acquisition policy with the purpose of improving DOD's ability to provide oversight for ACAT II and III programs, including those programs that may become MDAPs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy to improve component procedures for notifying the Defense Acquisition Executive of programs with a cost estimate within 10 percent of ACAT I cost thresholds.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency partially concurred with this recommendation. The Army and Navy have reiterated existing guidance and the Air Force is evaluating additional actions it might take to improve its notification procedures.
    Director: Carol R.Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics to require MAIS programs to establish their first acquisition program baseline within 2 years of beginning work on the programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department developed a draft process document that states that business system (e.g. financial management, logistics management) programs should start development on at least one release within 24 months after programs have identified the needed capabilities and received approval to conduct further analysis into the potential delivery of the capabilities. We will follow-up with the Department for the final process document and guidance, when available.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller) to complete a plan for conducting auditability testing of LMP Increment 2 functionality to ensure that such testing occurs prior to the LMP program management office deploying future functionality.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD officials, in response to our recommendation, the department developed a plan to conduct system testing on LMP Increment 2 in accordance with the Federal Information System Controls Audit Manual. The officials stated that the department's plan was to conduct this testing both prior to and after the deployment of new functionality to users. We have requested additional information and documentation from DOD regarding these LMP Increment 2 test plans in order to determine whether the testing associated with auditability of the system was to be conducted before deployment to users.
    Director: David Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and reporting of investment performance information and management of selected major investments, the Commissioner of the IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to modify reporting of the Affordable Care Act Administration testing status to senior management to include a comprehensive report on all impacted systems--including an explanation for why impacted systems were not tested at a particular level--and ensure this reporting is aligned with the manner in which testing is being performed.

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

    Comments: IRS disagreed with this recommendation at the time we made it stating that it followed a rigorous risk-based process for planning the tests of ACA-impacted systems, including the types and levels of testing, and that it had comprehensive reporting for the filing season 2015 release, which included ACA impacted systems. However, as noted in our report, our review of ACA Testing Review Checkpoint reports and filing season reports, which officials stated were used to provide comprehensive reports to senior managers, did not identify the status of testing for all systems impacted by ACA Releases 5.0 and 6.0. We therefore concluded that the recommendation was still valid. As of July 2017, IRS had not changed its position. We will be following up with the agency to discuss the recommendation.
    Director: Dave Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address risks in the GOES-R program development and to help ensure that the satellite is launched on time, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the NOAA Administrator to address shortfalls in defect management identified in this report, including the lack of clear guidance on defect definitions, what defect metrics should be collected and reported, and how to establish a defect's priority or severity.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation. The agency subsequently reported that contractors are required to report defects and that the agency can place a hold or put liens against contractors if defects are not addressed. NOAA also provided documentation to support its recurring meetings at which defects are addressed. Additionally, NOAA provided documentation on its defect reporting requirements and definitions. However, NOAA did not provide documentation showing what defect metrics should be collected and reported, and how to establish a defect's priority or severity. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to provide additional information and analyses to effectively manage the program and account for new risks identified after the 2011 replan, the NASA Administrator should direct JWST project officials to follow best practices while conducting a cost risk analysis on the prime contract for the work remaining and ensure the analysis is updated as significant risks emerge.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: JWST did conduct a cost risk analysis and provided the results to GAO. We reported in GAO-16-112 that it substantially met best practices. However, the project stated they did not plan to update the analysis as significant risks emerged, which is a key element of the recommendation.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The legislated cost cap for Ford-class aircraft carrier construction provides a limit on procurement funds. However, the legislation also provides for adjustments to the cost cap. To understand the true cost of each Ford-class ship, Congress should consider revising the cost cap legislation to ensure that all work included in the initial ship cost estimate that is deferred to post-delivery and outfitting account is counted against the cost cap. If warranted, the Navy would be required to seek statutory authority to increase the cap.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: This recommendation remains open to allow Congress time to consider legislation amending the cost cap for the Ford class of aircraft carriers. The current version of the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2810) does not amend the current cost cap legislation.
    Director: Asif A. Khan
    Phone: (202) 512-9869

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve the implementation of GCSS-Army, the Secretary of the Army should ensure that the Under Secretary of the Army, in his capacity as the Chief Management Officer, directs the GCSS-Army Program Management Office to develop an updated schedule that fully incorporates best practices, including (1) assigning resources to all activities, (2) establishing durations of all activities, (3) confirming that the critical path is valid, and (4) ensuring reasonable total float.

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

    Comments: We are in the process of obtaining an updated integrated master schedule from DOD to determine if Army fully incorporated best practices. As of June 2017,Army officials told us that the integrated master schedule and revised cost estimate will not be available until December 2017. This recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To help improve the implementation of GCSS-Army, the Secretary of the Army should ensure that the Under Secretary of the Army, in his capacity as the Chief Management Officer, directs the GCSS-Army Program Management Office to update the cost estimate to fully incorporate best practices by documenting the results of (1) a risk and uncertainty analysis, (2) the cross-checking of major cost elements to see if results are similar, and (3) a sensitivity analysis.

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

    Comments: We are in the process of obtaining an updated cost estimate from DOD to determine if Army fully incorporated best practices. As of June 2017, Army officials told us that the integrated master schedule and revised cost estimate will not be available until December 2017. This recommendation remains open.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    6 open recommendations
    including 5 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security should designate the headquarters consolidation program a major acquisition, consistent with DHS acquisition policy, and apply DHS acquisition policy requirements.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In alignment with GAO's recommendation, on September 16, 2014, DHS issued an Acquisition Decision Memorandum designating the DHS-funded portions of the headquarters consolidation program as a Major Acquisition Program to be overseen by the departmental Acquisition Review Board (ARB). DHS made further progress implementing this recommendation by conducting and documenting an ARB of the program on November 15, 2016. The ARB process provided DHS greater oversight of headquarters consolidation, and provided a forum for officials to consider a wide range of issues affecting consolidation efforts, such as funding and project scope. However, DHS and General Services Administration (GSA) were required to revise their cost and schedule estimates subsequent to the ARB's review. In addition, as of March 2017, DHS, in coordination with GSA, had not submitted the report to Congress on DHS Headquarters Consolidation mandated by Pub. L. No. 114-150. GAO will reassess the status of this recommendation after cost and schedule estimates are finalized and DHS and GSA submit the required report to Congress, i.e., when there is more certainty about the future direction of the project overall and DHS's funded portion in particular.
    Recommendation: In order to improve transparency and allow for more informed decision making by congressional leaders and DHS and GSA decision-makers, before requesting additional funding for the DHS headquarters consolidation project, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work jointly to conduct the following assessments and use the results to inform updated DHS headquarters consolidation plans: (1) a comprehensive needs assessment and gap analysis of current and needed capabilities that take into consideration changing conditions, and (2) an alternatives analysis that identifies the costs and benefits of leasing and construction alternatives for the remainder of the project and prioritizes options to account for funding instability.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015 (Pub. L. No. 114-150) was enacted on April 29, 2016. Among other things, the act requires DHS, in coordination with GSA, to submit information to Congress about DHS headquarters consolidation efforts not later than 120 days of enactment. As of March 2017, DHS and GSA had not submitted the information to Congress required by Pub. L. No. 114-150. Officials stated that the information would be submitted as soon as possible, but exact timeframes were uncertain given ongoing project deliberations and internal reviews. Required information includes a comprehensive assessment of property and facilities utilized by DHS in the National Capital Region, and an analysis that identifies the costs and benefits of leasing and construction alternatives for the remainder of the consolidation project. DHS and GSA have made significant progress in developing a revised plan for headquarters consolidation since 2014, including the completion of a business case analysis to support the new plan. GAO will review the latest information on DHS headquarters consolidation efforts when it is provided to Congress, and will assess the materials in the context of this recommendation at that time. Continued DHS and GSA attention to following leading capital planning practices is critical given the project's multi-billion dollar cost and impact on future departmental operations.
    Recommendation: In order to improve transparency and allow for more informed decision making by congressional leaders and DHS and GSA decision-makers, before requesting additional funding for the DHS headquarters consolidation project, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work jointly to conduct the following assessments and use the results to inform updated DHS headquarters consolidation plans: (1) a comprehensive needs assessment and gap analysis of current and needed capabilities that take into consideration changing conditions, and (2) an alternatives analysis that identifies the costs and benefits of leasing and construction alternatives for the remainder of the project and prioritizes options to account for funding instability.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: GSA agreed with both recommendations to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment and gap analysis and to update cost and schedule estimates. The Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015 (Pub. L. No. 114-150), enacted on April 29, 2016, mirrors GAO recommendations in this area. Among other things, the act requires DHS, in coordination with GSA, to submit information to Congress about DHS's headquarters consolidation efforts not later than 120 days of enactment. As of March 2017, DHS and GSA had not submitted the information to Congress required by Pub. L. No. 114-150. Officials stated that the information would be submitted as soon as possible, but exact timeframes were uncertain given ongoing project deliberations and internal reviews. Required information includes a comprehensive needs assessment, a costs and benefits analysis, and updated cost and schedule estimates. Furthermore, the act requires the Comptroller General to evaluate the cost and schedule estimates not later than 90 days after their submittal to Congress. DHS and GSA have made significant progress in developing an Enhanced Plan for headquarters consolidation since 2014, including the completion of a business case analysis to support the new plan. In addition, GSA is leading efforts to revise the project's cost and schedule estimates, and according to GSA officials, the revised figures will take into account GAO's leading cost-estimation practices. We will review the latest information on DHS's headquarters consolidation efforts when it is provided to Congress, and will assess the materials in the context of these recommendations at that time. Continued DHS and GSA attention to following leading practices for capital planning and cost and schedule estimation is critical given the project's multi-billion dollar cost and impact on future departmental operations.
    Recommendation: In order to improve transparency and allow for more informed decision making by congressional leaders and DHS and GSA decision-makers, before requesting additional funding for the DHS headquarters consolidation project, after revising the DHS headquarters consolidation plans, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work jointly to develop revised cost and schedule estimates for the remaining portions of the consolidation project that conform to GSA guidance and leading practices for cost and schedule estimation, including an independent evaluation of the estimates.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015 (Pub. L. No. 114-150) was enacted on April 29, 2016. Among other things, the act requires DHS, in coordination with GSA, to submit information to Congress about DHS headquarters consolidation efforts not later than 120 days of enactment. As of March 2017, DHS and GSA had not submitted the information to Congress required by Pub. L. No. 114-150. Officials stated that the information would be submitted as soon as possible, but exact timeframes were uncertain given ongoing project deliberations and internal reviews. Required information includes updated cost and schedule estimates for the consolidation project that are consistent with GAO's recommendations in GAO-14-648. Furthermore, the act requires the Comptroller General to evaluate the cost and schedule estimates not later than 90 days after their submittal to Congress. GSA is leading efforts to revise project cost and schedule estimates, and according to GSA officials, the revised figures will take into account GAO's leading estimation practices. GAO will review the latest DHS headquarters consolidation cost and schedule estimates when they are provided to Congress, and will assess the materials in the context of this recommendation at that time. Continued DHS and GSA attention to following leading cost and schedule estimation practices is critical given the project's multi-billion dollar cost and impact on future departmental operations.
    Recommendation: In order to improve transparency and allow for more informed decision making by congressional leaders and DHS and GSA decision-makers, before requesting additional funding for the DHS headquarters consolidation project, after revising the DHS headquarters consolidation plans, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work jointly to develop revised cost and schedule estimates for the remaining portions of the consolidation project that conform to GSA guidance and leading practices for cost and schedule estimation, including an independent evaluation of the estimates.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015 (Pub. L. No. 114-150) was enacted on April 29, 2016. Among other things, the act requires DHS, in coordination with GSA, to submit information to Congress about DHS headquarters consolidation efforts not later than 120 days of enactment. As of March 2017, DHS and GSA had not submitted the information to Congress required by Pub. L. No. 114-150. Officials stated that the information would be submitted as soon as possible, but exact timeframes were uncertain given ongoing project deliberations and internal reviews. Required information includes updated cost and schedule estimates for the consolidation project that are consistent with GAO's recommendations in GAO-14-648. Furthermore, the act requires the Comptroller General to evaluate the cost and schedule estimates not later than 90 days after their submittal to Congress. GSA is leading efforts to revise project cost and schedule estimates, and according to GSA officials, the revised figures will take into account GAO's leading estimation practices. GAO will review the latest DHS headquarters consolidation cost and schedule estimates when they are provided to Congress, and will assess the materials in the context of this recommendation at that time. Continued DHS and GSA attention to following leading cost and schedule estimation practices is critical given the project's multi-billion dollar cost and impact on future departmental operations.
    Recommendation: Congress should consider making future funding for the St. Elizabeths project contingent upon DHS and GSA developing a revised headquarters consolidation plan, for the remainder of the project, that conforms with leading practices and that (1) recognizes changes in workplace standards, (2) identifies which components are to be colocated at St. Elizabeths and in leased and owned space throughout the National Capital Region, and (3) develops and provides reliable cost and schedule estimates.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015 (Pub. L. No. 114-150) was enacted on April 29, 2016. Among other things, the act requires DHS, in coordination with GSA, to submit information to Congress about DHS headquarters consolidation efforts not later than 120 days of enactment. As of March 2017, DHS and GSA had not submitted the information to Congress required by Pub. L. No. 114-150. Officials stated that the information would be submitted as soon as possible, but exact timeframes were uncertain given ongoing project deliberations and internal reviews. Required information includes: a comprehensive assessment of property and facilities utilized by DHS in the National Capital Region; an analysis that identifies the costs and benefits of leasing and construction alternatives for the remainder of the consolidation project; and updated cost and schedule estimates for the project that are consistent with GAO's recommendations in GAO-14-648. Furthermore, the act requires the Comptroller General to evaluate the cost and schedule estimates not later than 90 days after their submittal to Congress. A comprehensive report to Congress on DHS headquarters consolidation, along with reliable project cost and schedule estimates, could inform Congress's funding decisions.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide the Congress with the necessary insight into program planning and affordability, and to decrease the risk of cost and schedule overruns, NASA's Administrator should direct the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to take the following action: To promote affordability, before finalizing acquisition plans for future capability variants, NASA should assess the full range of competition opportunities and provide to the Congress the agency's assessment of the extent to which development and production of future elements of the SLS could be competitively procured.

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

    Comments: NASA agreed with this recommendation. NASA competitively awarded a contract to develop and build a universal stage adapter and provided justifications for other than full and open competition for the Exploration Upper Stage and Exploration Upper Stage engines as well as for the acquisition of six additional RS-25 engines. NASA, however, did not provide support that in advance of awarding these sole source contracts that it provided to Congress the agency's assessment of the extent to which development and production of future elements of the SLS could be competitively procured. To fully implement this recommendation, NASA should conduct such an analysis and provide this assessment to Congress for the new advanced boosters that it plans to acquire.
    Recommendation: To provide the Congress with the necessary insight into program planning and affordability, and to decrease the risk of cost and schedule overruns, NASA's Administrator should direct the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to take the following action: To allow for a continued assessment of progress and affordability, NASA should structure each future increment of SLS capability with a total cost exceeding the $250 million threshold for designation as a major project as a separate development effort within the SLS program. In doing so, NASA should require each increment to complete both the technical and programmatic reviews required of other major development projects, per the agency's acquisition and system engineering policies.

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

    Comments: NASA agreed with this recommendation. In May 2017, NASA officials stated that efforts to address this recommendation are in progress.
    Recommendation: To provide the Congress with the necessary insight into program planning and affordability, and to decrease the risk of cost and schedule overruns, NASA's Administrator should direct the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to take the following action: Provide decision makers with an informed basis for making investment decisions regarding the SLS program, NASA should identify a range of possible missions for each future SLS variant that includes cost and schedule estimates and plans for how those possible missions would fit within NASA's funding profile.

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

    Comments: NASA agreed with this recommendation. NASA officials stated they have taken steps to address it through issuing its September 2016 Human Exploration and Operations Exploration Objectives document. This document is a positive step in providing additional details about NASA?s vision as it includes more details on the objectives that NASA plans to accomplish in its phases of exploration. To fully address this recommendation, however, NASA still needs to identify cost and schedule estimates for any possible SLS missions beyond its first exploration mission, EM-1, and how its planned missions would fit within NASA's funding profile.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To reduce uncertainty about the expected cost and schedule of the U.S. ITER Project and its potential impact on the U.S. fusion program, once the ITER Organization completes its reassessment of the international project schedule, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Associate Director of the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences to use that schedule, if reliable, to propose a final, stable funding plan for the U.S. ITER Project, approve a performance baseline with finalized cost and schedule estimates, and communicate this information to Congress.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of June 2017, the ITER Council had approved a revised international project schedule through the achievement of first plasma, and DOE had used that revised schedule to establish a performance baseline for the first plasma portion of the U.S. ITER Project. DOE had also communicated that performance baseline to Congress through its fiscal year 2018 budget request. However, DOE has not yet set a performance baseline for the post-first plasma portion of the U.S. ITER Project. DOE officials told us they planned to do so once the Secretary of Energy has made a decision on whether the U.S. would continue to participate in ITER, a decision which officials expected to happen at the end of 2017.
    Recommendation: To reduce uncertainty about the expected cost and schedule of the U.S. ITER Project and its potential impact on the U.S. fusion program, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Associate Director of the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences to direct the U.S. ITER Project Office to revise and update the project's cost estimate to meet all characteristics of high-quality, reliable cost estimates. Specifically, the U.S. ITER Project Office should revise the project's cost estimate to ensure it is credible by including a comprehensive sensitivity analysis that includes all significant cost elements and conducting an independent cost estimate.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, DOE had revised and updated the cost estimate for the first plasma portion of the U.S. ITER Project. Officials reported that, as part of that update, the U.S. ITER Project Office had completed a comprehensive sensitivity analysis and that the Office of Science's Office of Project Assessment had conducted a review of the revised cost estimate. However, DOE had yet to revise and update the cost estimate for the post-first plasma portion of the U.S. ITER Project. DOE officials told us they planned to do so when they set a performance baseline for that portion of the project, which they expected to do once the Secretary of Energy has made a decision on whether the U.S. would continue to participate in ITER. Officials expected that decision to happen at the end of 2017.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of reported cost and schedule variance information for major investments, the Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to report cumulative investment and investment segment cost and schedule information in the quarterly reports to Congress, consistent with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requirements for measuring progress towards meeting goals.

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

    Comments: In its fiscal year 2016 second quarter report to Congress, IRS included cumulative cost and schedule information for one of the five investments highlighted in the report. IRS stated that it was awaiting findings of our report issued in June 2016 to determine the future direction of the quarterly reporting to Congress. We will continue to monitor IRS's quarterly reporting to Congress to determine the extent to which this recommendation has been addressed.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of reported cost and schedule variance information for major investments, the Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to ensure that projected cost and schedule variances for in-process activities are updated monthly, for the six investments for which we reviewed monthly updates, consistent with OMB and Treasury reporting requirements, by ensuring investment staff have a consistent understanding of the information to be included in monthly reports.

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

    Comments: To address this recommendation, IRS provided training in October 2014, which focused on, among other things, the monthly update of investment performance information. As of July 2016, we are reviewing cost and schedule reporting for the six selected investments to determine the extent to which the training provided has improved the timeliness of cost and schedule performance reporting.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of reported cost and schedule variance information for major investments, until a quantitative measure of scope is developed, the Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to qualitatively report on how delivered scope compares to what was planned in its quarterly reports to Congress, for the seven investments for which we reviewed scope reporting.

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

    Comments: In its fiscal year 2016 second quarter report to Congress, IRS proposed a quantitative measure of scope solution for one investment; specifically, it listed specific scope elements for the Return Review Program investment and identified the elements it had implemented to date. In addition, in our June 2016, report summarizing our review of IRS's major IT investments, we noted that IRS had developed a quantitative measure of scope for two investments, although we noted that the measure could be improved by accounting for the work performed by IRS staff in accordance with best practices (see GAO-16-545). The measure used in the quarterly report to Congress and the one we noted during our recent review are positive steps. We will continue to monitor IRS's actions to address our recommendation.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To identify lessons learned from and provide assurance of preventing recurrence of cost increases for the MOX facility and WSB, and to develop reliable cost estimates for the Plutonium Disposition program, the Secretary of Energy should direct the DOE and NNSA Offices of Acquisition and Project Management and the NNSA office responsible for managing the Plutonium Disposition program, as appropriate, to revise and update the program's life-cycle cost estimate following the 12 key steps described in the GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide for developing high-quality cost estimates, such as conducting an independent cost estimate to provide an objective and unbiased assessment of whether the estimate can be achieved.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE is currently evaluating dilute and dispose as a potential alternative approach to the MOX approach. As a result, DOE does not plan to update the Plutonium Disposition Program life-cycle estimate until a decision is made on which approach to pursue. We will continue to monitor this situation and update the status of this recommendation once DOE has made a decision on the approach taken by this program.
    Recommendation: To identify lessons learned from and provide assurance of preventing recurrence of cost increases for the MOX facility and WSB, and to develop reliable cost estimates for the Plutonium Disposition program, the Secretary of Energy should direct the DOE and NNSA Offices of Acquisition and Project Management and the NNSA office responsible for managing the Plutonium Disposition program, as appropriate, to ensure that the MOX contractor revises its proposal for increasing the cost of the MOX facility to meet all best practices for a high-quality, reliable cost estimate--for example, by cross-checking major cost elements to determine whether alternative estimating methods produce similar results.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE is currently evaluating dilute and dispose as a potential alternative approach to the MOX approach. As a result, DOE does not plan to update the proposal for increasing the cost of the MOX facility until a decision is made on which approach to pursue. We will continue to monitor this situation and update the status of this recommendation once DOE has made a decision on the approach taken by this program.
    Recommendation: To ensure that future DOE projects benefit from lessons learned that reflect the underlying causes of cost increases or schedule delays experienced by other projects, and that Congress and DOE have life-cycle cost estimates for DOE programs that include individual construction projects, the Secretary of Energy should revise DOE's project management order or otherwise implement a departmentwide requirement by requiring life-cycle cost estimates covering the full cost of programs that include both construction projects and other efforts and activities not related to construction.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE revised its project management order in May 2016 but did not make any changes in regards to this recommendation. We will continue to monitor DOE activities, if any, related to this recommendation.
    Director: Rectanus, Lori
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator to collect data, on an ongoing basis, about which local public agencies are administering federal-aid projects.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, FHWA informed us it had no plans to collect data about which local public agencies are administering federal-aid projects.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator to collect information, on an ongoing basis, from state DOTs on local public agencies' capabilities.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, FHWA informed us that it did not plan collect information on the capabilities of local public agencies on an ongoing basis. In 2017 FHWA released the results of a compliance assessment review which assessed the capabilities of selected local public agencies. We are reviewing FHWA's efforts and the extent to which they address our recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator to identify and disseminate minimum and uniform qualification criteria for state DOTs to determine whether local public agencies are capable and equipped to administer federal-aid projects.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, FHWA informed us it had no plans to identify and disseminate minimum and uniform qualification criteria for state DOTs to determine whether local public agencies are capable and equipped to administer federal-aid projects.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator to explore opportunities to make administration of federal-aid projects by local public agencies more efficient by examining: (a) the circumstances in which issuing guidance on administrative flexibilities targeted at local agencies would be appropriate, and (b) a potential dollar threshold under which the use of federal funds may no longer be cost-effective.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, FHWA informed us that it did not plan to explore a dollar threshold under which the use of federal funds may no longer be cost-effective. However, FHWA told us it has provided guidance in this regard, and has continued disseminating guidance on administrative flexibilities beneficial to locally administered projects. We are reviewing FHWA's actions and the extent to which its these efforts address our recommendation.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to strengthen investment decisions, place the chosen investments on a sound acquisition footing, provide a better means of tracking investment progress, and improve the management and transparency of the U.S. missile defense approach in Europe, the Secretary of Defense should direct MDA's new Director to add risk reduction non-intercept flight tests for each new type of target missiles developed.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Despite partially concurring with our recommendation in 2013, MDA has not adjusted its test plans to include risk-reduction (i.e., non-intercept) flight tests for new target types prior to their inclusion in an intercept flight test. MDA officials have not done so because such decisions must be balanced against potential cost, schedule, and programmatic impacts and flight test preparation processes, like dry-runs and quality control checks, are sufficient to discover issues prior to an intercept test. While test preparation processes are valuable, they are not a substitute for risk reduction flight tests. This was proven in June 2015 when MDA launched a new intermediate-range target that had 6 different test preparation processes but not a risk-reduction flight test and the target failed, which resulted in significant cost, schedule, and programmatic impacts. Moving forward, despite the impacts from its recent target failure, MDA plans to use a new medium-range target during its third, and most complex operational test in the second quarter of fiscal year 2019. We maintain our stance that risk reduction flight tests would reduce the risk for the associated test and the overall flight test plan; however, MDA's action to-date suggest that it has no intention of including risk-reduction flight tests for new targets. However, we will continue to monitor its progress in this regard.
    Recommendation: In order to strengthen investment decisions, place the chosen investments on a sound acquisition footing, provide a better means of tracking investment progress, and improve the management and transparency of the U.S. missile defense approach in Europe, the Secretary of Defense should direct MDA's new Director to include in its resource baseline cost estimates all life cycle costs, specifically the operations and support costs, from the military services in order to provide decision makers with the full costs of ballistic missile defense systems.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with our recommendation that decisionmakers should have insight into the full lifecycle costs of MDA's programs. However, as of August 2017, MDA is still not including the military services' operations and sustainment costs--which are a part of the full lifecycle costs--in the resource baselines it reports in the Ballistic Missile Defense System Accountability Report. MDA is trying to determine how to report the full lifecycle costs to decisionmakers, but has indicated that the Ballistic Missile Defense System Accountability Report is not the appropriate forum for reporting the military services' operation and support costs. We continue to believe that including the full lifecycle costs of MDA's programs enables decisionmakers to make funding determinations that are based on a comprehensive understanding of the depth and breadth of each program's costs.
    Recommendation: In order to strengthen investment decisions, place the chosen investments on a sound acquisition footing, provide a better means of tracking investment progress, and improve the management and transparency of the U.S. missile defense approach in Europe, the Secretary of Defense should direct MDA's new Director to stabilize the acquisition baselines, so that meaningful comparisons can be made over time that support oversight of those acquisitions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation regarding the need for MDA to stabilize its acquisition baselines, but also noted MDA's need to adjust its baselines to remain responsive to evolving requirements and threats; both of which are beyond MDA's control. Further, DOD highlighted the MDA Director's authority to make adjustments to the agency's programmatic baselines, within departmental guidelines. Our recommendation, however, is not designed to limit the Director's authority to adjust baselines or to prevent adjusting baselines as appropriate. Rather, our recommendation is designed to address traceability issues we have found with MDA's baselines, which are within its control. Specifically, for MDA to be able to effectively report longer-term progress of its acquisitions and provide the necessary transparency to Congress, it is critical that the agency stabilize its baselines so that once set, any revisions can be tracked over time. At this point we have not seen any indication that MDA is working to implement this recommendation. For example, in 2016, MDA's Director made changes to the Targets and Countermeasures program's baseline that omit the costs of some targets and may make tracking progress against prior years and the original baseline very difficult, and in some instances, impossible. We will continue to monitor MDA's baselines to determine any progress in this area or implementation of this recommendation.
    Director: Powner, David A
    Phone: (202)512-9286

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of reported cost and schedule variance information for the seven major investments we reviewed, the Acting Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to improve the reliability of cost estimates by addressing the weaknesses we identified in this report so that each investment at least substantially meets each of the characteristics of a reliable cost estimate.

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

    Comments: We followed up on the status of IRS's actions to address this recommendation for the Customer Account Data Engine (CADE) 2, the Return Review Program (RRP), and IRS.gov, the three investments with significant planned expenditures for development in fiscal year 2017, according to data reported on the Federal IT dashboard (the remaining four investments in our 2013 review are primarily in operations and maintenance based on the same IT dashboard data). We selected CADE 2, RRP, and IRS.gov because they would benefit most from improvements to cost estimates given their life cycle stage. In the Summer of 2017, IRS provided documentation to demonstrate actions taken to address the weaknesses we had identified with the CADE 2, and RRP cost estimates. We are currently analyzing this information. For IRS.gov, IRS told us the investment had been in operations and maintenance for several years and was therefore not producing the cost documentation that is typically associated with development efforts. We requested documentation supporting this claim and as of September 2017 were waiting to receive it.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of reported cost and schedule variance information for the seven major investments we reviewed, the Acting Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to improve the extent to which schedules are well-constructed and controlled by addressing the weaknesses we identified in this report so that each investment at least substantially meets each of these characteristics.

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

    Comments: We followed up on the status of IRS's actions to address this recommendation for the Customer Account Data Engine (CADE) 2, the Return Review Program (RRP), and IRS.gov, the three investments with significant expenditures planned for development in fiscal year 2017, according to data reported on the Federal IT dashboard (the remaining four investments in our 2013 review are primarily in operations and maintenance based on the same IT dashboard data). We selected CADE 2, RRP, and IRS.gov because they would benefit most from improvements to schedule estimates given their life cycle stage. In the Summer of 2017, IRS provided documentation to demonstrate actions taken to address the weaknesses we had identified with the CADE 2, and RRP schedule estimates. We are currently analyzing this documentation. For IRS.gov, IRS told us the investment had been in operations and maintenance for several years and was therefore not producing the schedule estimates that are typically associated with development efforts. We requested documentation supporting this claim and as of September 2017 were waiting to receive it.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of reported cost and schedule variance information for the seven major investments we reviewed, the Acting Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to develop and implement guidance that specifies best practices--such as including evaluating critical path (for projected schedule), using earned value management data, evaluating the performance of completed work and comparing it to the remaining budget, assessing commitment values for material needed to complete remaining work, and estimating future conditions--to consider when determining projected cost and schedule amounts.

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

    Comments: In June 2016, we reported on IRS's development and implementation of its Investment Performance Tool for tracking cost, schedule and scope metrics for its IT investments. At the time, IRS was using the tool for two investments. As of September 2017, we were reviewing the agency?s use of the tool as part of an ongoing review. We plan to further examine the use of the tool and the supporting guidance to determine the extent to which they address this recommendation.
    Director: Melvin, Valerie C
    Phone: (202) 512-6304

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that GCSS-Army implements effective risk management and project monitoring and control practices, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the GCSS-Army program office to specify the roles and responsibilities of the IV&V agent to ensure that it acts as a third party that validates and verifies the risks and mitigation plans developed by the program office and system integrator.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to officials from Army's Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems in July 2017, the Army is working to draft an updated independent verification and validation policy in response to our recommendation. These officials expected the policy to be signed by the Program Executive Officer later this summer. We will continue to follow-up with the Army regarding this draft policy and the implementation of this recommendation.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help the Coast Guard create stability in the acquisition process and provide decision makers, including DHS, Office of Management and Budget, and Congress, with current information to make decisions about budgets, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should conduct a comprehensive portfolio review to develop revised baselines that reflect acquisition priorities as well as realistic funding scenarios.

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

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation. Since 2014, we found efforts are underway to address this issue, but, so far, these efforts have not led to the significant trade-off decisions needed to improve the affordability of the Coast Guard's portfolio. The Coast Guard is currently conducting a fleet-wide analysis, including surface, aviation, and information technology, intended to be a fundamental reassessment of the capabilities and mix of assets the Coast Guard needs to fulfill its missions. The Coast Guard is undertaking this effort consistent with direction from Congress based upon this and other GAO recommendations. Specifically, the Coast Guard has completed its new mission needs statement and plans to release a fleet-wide concept of operations by the end of fiscal 2016. Then, it will use a complex model to develop the full fleet mix study. Based on this, the Coast Guard plans to recommend a set of assets that best meets these needs in terms of capability and cost. The Coast Guard plans to complete the full study in time to inform the fiscal year 2019 budget, though specific dates for these events have not been set forth.