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    Results:

    Subject Term: "Cost drivers"

    3 publications with a total of 5 open recommendations including 4 priority recommendations
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure the Bureau produces a reliable cost estimate for the 2020 Census, the Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should direct the Census Bureau to take the following steps to meet the characteristics of a high-quality estimate: (1) Comprehensive--among other practices, ensure the estimate includes all life-cycle costs and documents all cost-influencing assumptions. (2) Well-documented--among other practices, ensure that its planned documentation plan captures the source data used; contains the calculations performed and the estimating methodologies used for each element; and describes step by step how the estimate was developed. (3) Accurate--among other practices, ensure the estimating technique for each cost element is used appropriately and that variances between planned and actual cost are documented, explained, and reviewed. (4) Credible--among other practices, ensure the estimate includes a sensitivity analysis, major cost elements are cross-checked to see whether results are similar, and an independent cost estimate is conducted to determine whether other estimating methods produce similar results.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. The Bureau should provide a cost estimate more current than the October 2015 estimate and ensure that the estimate is comprehensive, well-documented, accurate, and credible. In doing this the Bureau should consult the GAO's cost assessment guide (GAO-09-3SP) and Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government (GAO-14-704G). High-quality estimates will: explicitly consider all life-cycle costs and assumptions, offer a clear step-by-step account of the methods and data sources used to compile the estimate, ensure the proper estimation techniques are used, reconcile any variances between actual and estimated costs, and allow cross-checking with independent cost estimates as verification of results. In August 2016, the Bureau laid out its action plan to implement this recommendation. The Bureau planned to develop a Cost Estimation Enhancement Plan that would mature the 2020 Census cost estimate and its associated processes via a series of 3-month sprints. According to the Bureau, the areas targeted for improvement were (I) Documentation, (2) Process, (3) Cost Estimate, and (4) Cost Integration. The Bureau's action plan reported the following deliverables: Incorporating the Decennial Census Management Division program work breakdown structure into the 2020 Census Cost Estimate (target completion was Q4 FY 2016); developing a formal basis of estimate document to address the cost elements, process flow, and calculations for the 2020 Census Cost Estimate (Q2 FY 2017); internal communication and training efforts to ensure these changes are widely shared and communicated (Q2 FY 2017); engaging with internal stakeholders to increase the amount of source and derivation documentation for estimates/model parameters currently based on expert judgment (Q4 FY 2016); developing a formal BOE document to address how 2020 Census program risk and uncertainty are dealt with in the 2020 Census Cost Estimate (Q2 FY 2017); and regularly comparing the results of the independent cost estimate conducted by the Office of Cost Estimation, Analysis and Assessment to the 2020 Census Cost Estimate and investigate/reconcile any significant differences (Q3 FY 2017). As of July 2017, we await this and other documentation from Bureau that may address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To further ensure the credibility of data used in cost estimation, the Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should direct the Census Bureau to establish clear guidance on when information for cost assumptions can and should be changed as well as the procedures for documenting such changes and traceable sources for information being used.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. The Bureau should implement processes for controlling and changing cost assumptions. These processes should include methods for evaluating the justification for any changes and documentation requirements that clearly show the information changed and the basis for the change. In August 2016, Bureau officials laid out their action plan to address this recommendation. The action plan described developing a Decennial Census Cost Estimation and Analysis Process and supporting policy to improve the maturity levels in this area and mentioned developing a draft internal communication and training plan for staff--target date is Q2 FY 2017. As of July 2017, we await this and other documentation from Bureau that may address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure Bureau and congressional confidence that the Bureau's budgeted contingencies are at appropriate levels, the Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should direct the Census Bureau to improve control over how risk and uncertainty are accounted for and communicated with the Bureau's decennial cost estimation process, such as by implementing and institutionalizing processes or methods for doing so with clear guidance.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. The Bureau should ensure that its budget for contingencies reflects an accurate accounting of risk and uncertainty. In doing this, the Bureau should improve controls over risk and uncertainty accounting, ensure that risk accounting informs any relevant budgets and cost estimates, and institutionalize these controls by providing clear methods for their use. In August 2016, the Bureau laid out its action plan to implement this recommendation, describing that it would ensure regular review of 2020 Census program risks that would have high cost impacts if they occur and ensure estimates of these impacts are accounted for and documented in each iteration of the life-cycle cost estimates--target date is Q2 FY 2017. As of July 2017, we await documentation from Bureau that may address this recommendation.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of its cost estimates, as NRC revises its cost estimating procedures, the NRC Chairman should ensure that the agency aligns the procedures with relevant cost estimating best practices identified in the GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide and ensure that future cost estimates are prepared in accordance with relevant cost estimating best practices.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In February 2017, the NRC staff released draft updated cost-benefit guidance, with a public comment period beginning in March 2017. In January 2018, NRC staff plan to provide a draft of the final guidance to the Commission. The final updated cost-benefit guidance is expected to be issued for use in March 2018.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that satellites storage is fully considered at the beginning of the acquisition process for all satellite programs and sufficient detailed cost data are maintained, the Secretary of Defense should provide guidance regarding when and how to use storage in the acquisition process, and establish mechanisms so that more detailed data are maintained for use in evaluating the reasonableness of contractors' storage cost proposals and for informing DOD's oversight of satellite acquisitions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its response to the report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and noted that it is important to develop guidance regarding the use of satellite storage in the acquisition process. In addition, DOD agreed that it is important to establish mechanisms such that more detailed data are available to evaluate storage cost proposals and inform the oversight of satellite acquisitions. In October 2015, DOD provided GAO with draft language that it planned to include in the Space Systems chapter of the Defense Acquisition Guidebook (DAG) when the final chapter was to be published. In an August 24, 2016, response to a GAO inquiry regarding the language not appearing in the on-line version of the DAG, the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD/AT&L) explained that the Space Systems chapter of the DAG had been deleted. USD/AT&L stated it was working to incorporate the proposed language in the next revision of the DAG, scheduled to be completed in December 2016. A September 12, 2017, search of DOD's on-line guidance did not locate any guidance related to satellite storage. DOD liaison was contacted, but no information has been provided yet as of September 2017.