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    Subject Term: "Cost effectiveness analysis"

    40 publications with a total of 171 open recommendations including 9 priority recommendations
    Director: Jennifer Grover
    Phone: (202) 512-7141

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of TSA should explore and pursue methods to assess the deterrent effect of TSA's passenger aviation security countermeasures; such an effort should identify FAMS—a countermeasure with a focus on deterring threats—as a top priority to address. (Recommendation 1)

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

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. When we confirm what actions TSA has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of TSA should systematically evaluate the potential cost and effectiveness tradeoffs across countermeasures, as TSA improves the reliability and extent of its information on the effectiveness of aviation security countermeasures. (Recommendation 2)

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

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and in its September 2017 response to our report, DHS stated that TSA will continue efforts to improve both its analysis of information related to security effectiveness and its cost information, leading to better informed cost-benefit decisions for individual countermeasures. To address the intent of our recommendation, TSA will need to evaluate the costs and effectiveness of individual aviation security countermeasures and then use this information to systematically evaluate the potential cost and effectiveness tradeoffs across countermeasures. When we confirm what actions TSA has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Barbara Bovbjerg
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency to develop a long-term facility plan that explicitly links to SSA's strategic goals for service delivery, and includes a strategy for consolidating or downsizing field offices in light of increasing use of and geographic variation in remote service delivery.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint, such as co-locating field and hearing offices and reducing warehouse space. SSA will also work within the existing Memorandum of Understanding to conduct a proof of concept on space sharing by employees who telework.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency to reassess and, if needed, revise its field office space standards to ensure they provide sufficient flexibility to accommodate both unexpected growth in the demand for services and new service delivery technologies.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency to ensure the Real Estate and Lease Tracking application has the capacity to accurately track the composition of SSA's office inventory over time.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency to develop a cost-effective approach to identifying the most common issues with online benefit claims that require staff follow-up with applicants, and use this information to inform improvements to the online claims process.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency for its alternative customer services approaches, including desktop icons and video services in third-party sites, to develop performance goals and collect performance data related to these goals.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint, such as expanding video hearing capacity.
    Director: Zina D. Merritt
    Phone: (202) 512-5257

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To clarify the flat rate per diem policy and ensure that the department has the full range of information needed by decision-makers when considering a major Joint Travel Regulations change, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee, in coordination with the Military and Civilian Advisory Panels, to revise the Joint Travel Regulations policy related to the flat rate per diem to provide clear language concerning (1) what is meant by proof of lodging, and (2) at what point in the travel process the meals and incidental expenses waiver for actual expenses should be requested and approved.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To clarify the flat rate per diem policy and ensure that the department has the full range of information needed by decision-makers when considering a major Joint Travel Regulations change, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee, in coordination with the Military and Civilian Advisory Panels, to establish procedures to ensure that required processes to inform major Joint Travel Regulations policy changes are completed prior to the approval of those changes.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To clarify the flat rate per diem policy and ensure that the department has the full range of information needed by decision-makers when considering a major Joint Travel Regulations change, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee, in coordination with the Military and Civilian Advisory Panels, to incorporate principles from Office of Management and Budget Circular A-94, including the costs and benefits of effects that may be difficult to quantify or monetize, into future assessments related to major Joint Travel Regulations changes.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To clarify the flat rate per diem policy and ensure that the department has the full range of information needed by decision-makers when considering a major Joint Travel Regulations change, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee, in coordination with the Military and Civilian Advisory Panels, to incorporate principles from Office of Management and Budget Circular A-94, including the costs and benefits of effects that may be difficult to quantify or monetize, into future assessments related to the flat rate per diem policy, such as the draft Performance Measurement Plan.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Brian J. Lepore
    Phone: (202) 512-4523

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve operational efficiencies and reduce costs related to product management and services that support commissary operations, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chief Executive Officer of DeCA to develop a plan with objectives, goals, and time frames on how it will improve efficiency in product management, such as offering products based on store sales or customer demand.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) started to implement the Category Performance Improvement process which could help improve efficiencies by offering products based on store sales and customer demand. In addition, DeCA is also offering commissary brand items which have improved efficiencies in inventory and stocking products. By making these improvements, DeCA could improve operational efficiencies. However, DeCA is in the early stages of implementing these actions and it is unclear to what extent these efficiencies have helped reduce costs related to product management.
    Recommendation: To improve operational efficiencies and reduce costs related to product management and services that support commissary operations, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chief Executive Officer of DeCA to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses to guide decisions on implementing the most cost-effective option as stocking and custodial services contracts are renewed, and on choosing product distribution options.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, the Defense Commissary Agency has not taken action that addresses GAO's March 2017 recommendation to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses to guide decisions on implementing the most cost-effective option as stocking and custodial services contracts are renewed, and on choosing product distribution options.
    Director: Debra A. Draper
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Defense should collaborate to develop time frames and interim milestones for tracking and implementing each of their jointly developed recommended improvements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Defense should collaborate to develop time frames and interim milestones for tracking and implementing each of their jointly developed recommended improvements.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Defense should collaborate to conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis for the FHCC to establish a baseline for measuring the facility's efficiency over time.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Defense should collaborate to conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis for the FHCC to establish a baseline for measuring the facility's efficiency over time.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

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

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help states effectively address ongoing challenges related to ensuring the appropriate use of psychotropic medications for children in foster care, the Secretary of HHS should consider cost-effective ways to convene state child welfare, Medicaid, and other stakeholders to promote collaboration and information sharing within and across states on psychotropic medication oversight.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS agreed with this recommendation and provided examples of the virtual convening of contingency groups they employed to provide technical assistance and peer to peer networking in child welfare. The agency plans to offer additional technical assistance that is specifically related to the topic of mental health and psychotropic medication. GAO will consider closing the recommendation when the agency completes these efforts.
    Director: Rebecca Shea
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide circuits with information needed to help guide future space-reduction and use decisions, the Director of AOUSC should document and share additional practices on innovative and cost-effective use or design of appellate courtrooms and judges' chambers, such as scheduling, redesign, and sharing arrangements, and any other potential approaches, with all regional circuits in order to help them determine the feasibility of these options for their circuit.

    Agency: Administrative Office of the United States Courts
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assess and enhance the value of Pacific Pathways, and to fully determine the value of Pacific Pathways and communicate it to decision makers, the Secretary of the Army direct the Commander of U.S. Army Pacific to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the benefits of Pacific Pathways relative to its costs. Such an analysis could both: (1) incorporate financial and non-financial costs and benefits of the initiative, to include readiness benefits for logistics and sustainment units, any training efficiencies or cost avoidance resulting from Pacific Pathways, and non-financial costs, such as decreased equipment readiness rates; and (2) compare the costs with the benefits of training conducted under the Pacific Pathways initiative against that conducted through other Army trainings, such as home station training, combat training centers, or other exercises.

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

    Comments: As of June 2017, officials reiterated USARPAC's position that the command does not plan to conduct a deliberate analysis of the costs of Pacific Pathways relative to its benefits. However, USARPAC is currently studying the impacts of Pacific Pathways on sustainable readiness. Headquarters, Department of the Army has requested the results of this study by September 2018. Pending completion of that study or other related actions, this recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To assess and enhance the value of Pacific Pathways, and to better synchronize planning across all commands and units and thereby achieve a more cohesive operation, the Secretary of the Army direct the Commander of U.S. Army Pacific to modify existing USARPAC and I Corps planning processes and clarify guidance, as appropriate, that integrates all stakeholders and clearly identifies the objectives, assumptions, and level of authority appropriate for key decisions prior to the exercise planning cycle for each Pathway operation.

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

    Comments: As of June 2017, USARPAC officials stated that the command is still working on actions to address this recommendation, with a target completion date of September 2017. Pending those efforts, this recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To assess and enhance the value of Pacific Pathways, and to more fully leverage the theater-wide training value of Pacific Pathways for all participating units, the Secretary of the Army direct the Commander of U.S. Army Pacific to seek and incorporate supporting units' training objectives, as appropriate, into the Pacific Pathways planning process.

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

    Comments: As of June 2017, USARPAC officials stated that the command is still working on actions to address this recommendation, with a target completion date of September 2017. Pending those efforts, this recommendation remains open.
    Director: Kay E. Brown
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

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

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) agreed with this recommendation. The agency noted it has been moving in this general direction and would build on current efforts to address it. GAO will monitor these efforts and consider closing the recommendation when these efforts have been completed.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's analyses of the financial costs and benefits of renewable energy projects, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to modify guidance for presenting land values in project documentation to apply to the range of alternative financing mechanisms DOD has used.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's analyses of the financial costs and benefits of renewable energy projects, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to clarify the guidance to direct all project documentation for alternatively financed projects involving land use agreements to include the value of the land, the compensation DOD would receive for it, and how the value of the land compared with the value of the compensation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's analyses of the financial costs and benefits of renewable energy projects involving long-term PPAs on its land, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to revise guidance to develop consistent sources for assumptions for escalation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's analyses of the financial costs and benefits of renewable energy projects involving long-term PPAs on its land, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to revise guidance to clarify how to describe sensitivity analyses in project documentation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the information available to approving officials on projects' contributions to DOD's renewable energy goals and energy security objective and to help ensure the consistency and completeness of project documentation, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to develop guidance to clarify that projects should specify their contribution to DOD's energy production and consumption goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the information available to approving officials on projects' contributions to DOD's renewable energy goals and energy security objective and to help ensure the consistency and completeness of project documentation, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to develop guidance to clarify the type of energy security benefit that projects will provide and state whether any such benefit is immediately available or would require additional investments and, for projects that would require additional investment, provide a detailed estimate of those investments.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the information available to approving officials on projects' contributions to DOD's renewable energy goals and energy security objective and to help ensure the consistency and completeness of project documentation, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to develop guidance to clarify that a consistent approach is to be taken to estimate the value of the energy security benefit of providing assured access to power during a grid outage and that a description of this approach is provided in project documentation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that costs savings estimates are reliable, the Director of the USMS should direct its Prisoner Operations Division to develop reliable methods for estimating cost savings and validating reported savings achieved.

    Agency: Department of Justice: United States Marshals Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2016, we reported on United States Marshals Service's (USMS) actions to reduce prisoner-related costs from fiscal years 2010 through 2015. During the course of our review, we found that while USMS implemented actions that it reports have continued to save prisoner-related costs, USMS's methods to determine savings for certain actions were not reliable. For example, USMS identified $375 million in savings from the alternatives to pre-trial detention program for fiscal years 2010 through 2015, but did not verify the data or methodology used to develop the estimate or provide documentation supporting its reported savings for fiscal years 2012 onward. Consequently, we recommended that USMS direct its prisoner operations division to develop reliable methods for estimating cost savings and validating reports savings achieved. USMS concurred with our recommendation. In July 2016, USMS provided more information about how it would address the recommendation by confirming that its future cost savings estimates would be consistent with OMB guidelines for conducting benefit-cost analyses and GAO-identified practices for assessing the reliability of computer-processed data. Aligning USMS estimates with these identified practices would better position the agency to assess the effectiveness of its cost savings efforts. As USMS develops such mechanisms, we will request and consider documentation and other evidence to determine that USMS has implemented this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enable USMS to more consistently identify deficiencies and monitor corrective actions, the Director of the USMS should establish a mechanism to aggregate and analyze the results of annual district self-assessments.

    Agency: Department of Justice: United States Marshals Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2016, we reported on United States Marshals Service's (USMS) actions to design systems to help identify cost savings opportunities. During the course of our review, we found that USMS has designed several systems for identifying cost savings, including, for example, developing a strategic plan and guidance for district officials that reinforce policies to provide for the safe, secure, and cost-effective containment of its prisoners. In addition, USMS requires districts to conduct annual self-assessments of their procedures to identify any deficiencies which could lead to cost savings. However, USMS cannot aggregate and analyze the results of the assessments across districts. As a result, we recommended that USMS establish a mechanism to aggregate and analyze the results of annual district self-assessments. USMS concurred with our recommendation. In July 2016, USMS informed us that the agency will develop a method to aggregate and analyze the results of the annual district self-assessments. However, it has not provided information on its plans or timelines to implement the recommendation. As USMS develops such mechanisms, we will consider documentation and other evidence to determine that USMS has implemented this recommendation.
    Director: Marie A. Mak
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    8 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help identify opportunities for cost savings, the Secretary of the Department of Defense should direct the Office of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy to issue guidance or instruction to help ensure that components make reasonable efforts to analyze component-level purchase card spend patterns to identify areas for possible savings.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation and stated that the department will issue guidance to help ensure that components make reasonable efforts to analyze component-level purchase card spend patterns to identify areas of potential savings. In September 2016, DOD issued guidance asking its components to analyze purchase card spend for potential cost savings and to consider broader application of cost savings opportunities across the department. We will continue to follow up with DOD to determine what steps have been taken to communicate findings.
    Recommendation: To help identify opportunities for cost savings, the Secretary of the Department of Energy should take reasonable steps to regularly analyze agency-wide purchase card spend patterns to identify areas such as high-use vendors or frequently purchased commodities for further analysis.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency concurred with this recommendation and has begun implementation of a Spend Analytics Database to support capture and analysis of data on agency-wide spending patterns. The department has compiled data and begun testing the new databases to determine if useful reports can be generated to assist agency-wide purchase card spending analysis.
    Recommendation: To ensure that good practices are shared within agencies, the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, the Interior, Homeland Security, and Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency should develop guidance that encourages local officials to examine purchase card spend patterns to identify opportunities to obtain savings and to share information on such efforts. Where applicable, we further recommend that these agencies determine the feasibility for broader application of these efforts across the agency or organization.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The department concurred with this recommendation and updated its purchase card manual November 2016 to encourage components to perform additional spend analysis for the identification of strategic sourcing opportunities, but it is unclear how results of analysis will be communicated for broader application across the agency. The department is also working with industry partners to increase the level of shared data for purchase card transactions and will develop a plan to communicate these data across the agency to support information sharing and increases strategic sourcing opportunities.
    Recommendation: To ensure that good practices are shared within agencies, the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, the Interior, Homeland Security, and Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency should develop guidance that encourages local officials to examine purchase card spend patterns to identify opportunities to obtain savings and to share information on such efforts. Where applicable, we further recommend that these agencies determine the feasibility for broader application of these efforts across the agency or organization.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation and stated that guidance that encourages local examination of purchase card spend patterns to identify opportunities for cost savings will be developed. In September 2016, DOD issued guidance asking its components to analyze purchase card spend for potential cost savings and to consider broader application of cost savings opportunities across the department. The guidance also asked components and services to report the results of these analysis to purchase card management officials. We will continue to follow up with DOD to determine what steps have been taken to communicate findings.
    Recommendation: To ensure that good practices are shared within agencies, the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, the Interior, Homeland Security, and Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency should develop guidance that encourages local officials to examine purchase card spend patterns to identify opportunities to obtain savings and to share information on such efforts. Where applicable, we further recommend that these agencies determine the feasibility for broader application of these efforts across the agency or organization.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency concurred with this recommendation and will update its guidance, policy, and procedures to encourage local officials to examine purchase card spend patterns to identify opportunities to obtains savings and to share information on such efforts. Revisions were under review by the department in August 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure that good practices are shared within agencies, the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, the Interior, Homeland Security, and Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency should develop guidance that encourages local officials to examine purchase card spend patterns to identify opportunities to obtain savings and to share information on such efforts. Where applicable, we further recommend that these agencies determine the feasibility for broader application of these efforts across the agency or organization.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: The department partially concurred with this recommendation, agreeing that it would be useful to perform analysis of purchase card spend patterns to identify opportunities for savings. However, rather than issue guidance, it will encourage its bureau charge card leads to use available tools to extract and share data with buyers and program managers. The department will also encourage bureau program and acquisition managers to share spend data across regional boundaries to identify potential opportunities to negotiate lower costs for commonly used items.
    Recommendation: To ensure that good practices are shared within agencies, the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, the Interior, Homeland Security, and Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency should develop guidance that encourages local officials to examine purchase card spend patterns to identify opportunities to obtain savings and to share information on such efforts. Where applicable, we further recommend that these agencies determine the feasibility for broader application of these efforts across the agency or organization.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: The department concurred with our recommendation and plans to develop guidance and implement strategic sourcing for all purchasing requirements to include purchase cards. Additionally the department will update purchase card policy to encourage agency officials to analyze spend patterns to identify opportunities to obtain savings and share information on these efforts. Further, the agency has developed a quarterly report to identify the top merchants receiving payment through the purchase card program in order to assist officials in identifying opportunities for strategic sourcing.
    Recommendation: To ensure that good practices are shared within agencies, the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, the Interior, Homeland Security, and Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency should develop guidance that encourages local officials to examine purchase card spend patterns to identify opportunities to obtain savings and to share information on such efforts. Where applicable, we further recommend that these agencies determine the feasibility for broader application of these efforts across the agency or organization.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency provided comments indicating its concurrence with this recommendation, noting that it looks forward to opportunities to benchmark with other agencies and share information on approaches taken to identify opportunities which led to positive strategic sourcing outcomes.
    Director: Lori Rectanus
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Postmaster General should direct executive leaders to establish guidance that clarifies when USPS should develop cost-savings estimates using a rigorous approach that includes, for example, a sensitivity analysis and consideration of other factors that could affect net costs and savings, versus when it is sufficient to develop a rough estimate.

    Agency: United States Postal Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, USPS provided documentation that demonstrates the current processes cost-savings estimates would be developed under, which includes additional rigor testing. As of August 2017, this recommendation remains open pending additional review of the documentation provided and discussions with USPS about these current processes.
    Recommendation: The Postmaster General should direct executive leaders to verify that calculations of changes in revenue at POStPlan post offices in USPS's revenue analyses are consistent with USPS's definition of POStPlan post offices and take steps to consider when it may be appropriate to develop an approach for these analyses that will allow USPS to more fully consider the effects of POStPlan on retail revenue across USPS.

    Agency: United States Postal Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to USPS officials as of June 2017, USPS has updated the calculations in its re-occurring POStPlan revenue analyses to reflect the inconsistencies GAO identified and has had internal discussions to consider at what benchmark it would be appropriate to develop an approach for these analyses that more fully considers POStPlan?s effects on retail revenue across USPS. As of August 2017, this recommendation remains open pending additional documentation from USPS supporting its statements about the updates to its revenue analyses and additional information from USPS about the results of its benchmarking considerations.
    Director: Dave Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-5731

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the CFTC makes cost-effective leasing decisions, and considers options for reducing future lease costs, prior to entering into any new or expanded lease agreements, the Chairman of the CFTC should ensure that as CFTC revises its leasing policies and procedures, it includes comprehensive details on lease procurement that are consistent with leading government guidance and standards to assure cost-effective decisions.

    Agency: Commodity Futures Trading Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: On July 5, 2017, CFTC told us that in August, 2016, it had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the General Services Administration (GSA), whereby GSA will procure and administer all new leases for CFTC consistent with GSA policies and procedures. The MOU provides a framework by which GSA will apply its expertise in the leasing field to satisfy CFTC's real property space requirements, while ensuring compliance with appropriations laws and regulations applicable to real property transactions. GSA will procure new CFTC leases consistent with CFTC's demonstrated needs and requirements, GSA's practices and procedures as well as relevant statutes, Executive Orders, and supplemental agency policies and guidance. As part of its service offering, GSA will work with CFTC to maximize and increase efficiency in its planning for future space requirements and to consider alternatives to acquiring additional office space, such as consolidation, co-location, teleworking, and hoteling. CFTC has retained all responsibilities for its existing leases, but will leverage GSA's experience for administering them. Through the MOU, GSA will consult with and advise CFTC in administering its existing leases, which may also include implementing one or more of the initiatives described above for maximizing the efficiency of CFTC's current leasing inventory.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the CFTC makes cost-effective leasing decisions, and considers options for reducing future lease costs, prior to entering into any new or expanded lease agreements, the Chairman of the CFTC should establish a timeline for evaluating and documenting options to potentially improve space utilization and reduce leasing costs including, but not restricted to, (1) moving offices to less costly locations, (2) implementing enhanced telework, and (3) consolidating the Kansas City and Chicago regional offices.

    Agency: Commodity Futures Trading Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: On July 5, 2017, CFTC said that it does not have any plans, at this time, to relocate or consolidate its offices. However, CFTC said that as it enters the planning phase for acquiring new space, as its existing leases expire, beginning in April 2018, it will perform a comprehensive review of its space needs and utilization.
    Director: Daniel Bertoni
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of Social Security should direct the Deputy Commissioner of Operations to further consider cost savings as part of its prioritization of full medical reviews. Such options could include considering the feasibility of prioritizing different types of beneficiaries on the basis of their estimated average savings and, as appropriate, integrating case-specific indicators of potential cost savings, such as beneficiary age and benefit amount, into its modeling or prioritization process.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, SSA stated that there is no accepted way to accurately predict future benefit payments at the individual level and that any improvement from implementing this recommendation would be minimal - and would be reduced over time as the continuing disability review (CDR) backlog diminishes - because SSA already considers expected return on investment by cohort in its overall approach to releasing CDRs. It is unclear whether SSA will be able to achieve and sustain currency in its CDR workloads. Even if SSA were to eliminate the backlog of full medical reviews, refining its prioritization process would enable the agency to more efficiently use its resources with any future backlogs. SSA could use actuarial considerations to prioritize refined cohorts of beneficiaries (e.g., types of DI beneficiaries) on the basis of their estimated average savings. SSA Operations could collaborate with SSA's Office of the Actuary on this work as needed. SSA previously agreed that it could look for ways to improve its return on conducting CDRs, but also stated that its statistical models and prioritization process already do much of what we recommend. For example, SSA stated that age is already a strong variable in its statistical models. However, these models predict medical improvement and are not designed to take expected cost savings into account. We continue to believe that to maximize expected cost savings SSA could refine its prioritization process by factoring in additional actuarial considerations.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of Social Security should direct the Deputy Commissioner of Budget, Finance, Quality, and Management to complete a re-estimation of the statistical models that are used to prioritize CDRs and determine a plan for re-estimating these models on a regular basis to ensure that they reflect current conditions.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, SSA re-estimated the statistical models that it uses to prioritize CDRs. However, as of October 2017, SSA has not yet produced a plan for re-estimating the models on a regular basis to ensure that they continually reflect current conditions.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of Social Security should direct the Deputy Commissioner of Budget, Finance, Quality, and Management to monitor the characteristics of CDR errors to identify potential root causes and report results to the Disability Determination Services. For example, SSA could analyze CDRs with and without errors to identify trends by impairment, beneficiary type, or other characteristics.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendation and stated that it reports all errors to the relevant DDS for corrective action. SSA further stated that its identification of root causes is limited by the relatively few reviewed CDRs that have errors. However, in fiscal year 2014 as an example, SSA identified over 600 CDRs with errors. Although these CDRs make up a small percentage of the CDRs reviewed by SSA that year, the agency could analyze the characteristics of CDRs with errors by comparing relevant percentages without modeling. In addition, SSA could combine data from multiple years if it determined that considering more CDRs with errors would be helpful. There is no change in the status of this recommendation for 2017.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of Social Security should direct the Deputy Commissioner of Budget, Finance, Quality, and Management to regularly track the number and rate of date errors, which can affect benefit payments (e.g., incorrect cessation dates), and consider including those errors in its reported CDR accuracy rates.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA disagreed with this recommendation and stated that, per SSA regulation, the agency does not consider date errors when calculating accuracy rates because date errors do not affect the decision to cease or continue benefits. SSA also stated its stewardship reviews examine the non-medical quality of benefit payment decisions. However, these reviews are not focused on CDRs, and SSA does not report results from them for CDRs specifically. SSA also explained that it does not track the number and rate of date errors because they are infrequent. However, SSA's regulations do not prevent the agency from tracking date errors, and until it does, SSA cannot definitively determine the frequency of these errors. In addition, we found that considering date errors substantially reduced some states' estimated CDR accuracy rates. Without tracking these errors, SSA cannot assess their effect and consider whether including them in its reported CDR accuracy rates has merit. There is no change in the status of this recommendation for 2017.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of Social Security should direct the Deputy Commissioner of Budget, Finance, Quality, and Management to adjust its approach to sampling CDRs to efficiently produce reliable accuracy rate estimates for continuances and cessations separately in each state.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA disagreed with this recommendation and stated that some states do not generate enough CDR decisions, particularly cessations, to generate statistically valid samples. However, for states with CDR samples that are consistently too small to produce reliable results, SSA could, for example, pool decisions from more months than it currently does to generate statistically valid samples by state. Conversely, for states with CDR samples that are consistently larger than necessary to efficiently achieve reliable results, SSA could, for example, reduce sample sizes. Because CDR accuracy rates vary by state and cessations are consistently less accurate than continuances, we maintain that SSA should adjust its approach to sampling CDRs. There is no change in the status of this recommendation for 2017.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of Social Security should direct the Chief Actuary to better document the methods including data sources, assumptions, and limitations that factor into its estimates of CDR cost savings.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendation and stated that it will improve and expand its existing documentation as time and resources permit. As of July 2017, SSA had begun to improve documentation of its OASDI estimates and plans further enhancements including documenting the methods of its SSI estimates.
    Director: Andrew Sherrill
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase accountability for program performance, the Secretary of VA should establish measures to report on program outcomes for Post-9/11 GI Bill OJT and apprenticeship programs, including considering relevant data sources and seeking legislative authority to gain access to data, if necessary.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) agrees that program performance metrics should be developed to report on program outcomes. In March 2016, VBA officials said that VBA's Education Service is working with DoD, ED, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to determine the feasibility of collecting and publishing post-graduation data to include data for OJT and apprenticeship programs. The target completion date was June 1, 2016.
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should develop a risk-based, cost-effective strategy to verify that states are implementing a process for assessing whether any teacher preparation programs are low-performing.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education reported adding additional questions about states' processes for identifying low-performing and at-risk programs to its annual state data collection form. The Department reported that this revised data collection form was submitted to OMB in April 2016 and was still undergoing OMB review as of September 2017. In the meantime, Education reported that it is conducting a temporary risk-based monitoring approach to determine how states report information on low-performing teacher preparation programs. GAO will monitor Education's efforts to finalize and implement these initiatives.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should study the usefulness of Title II data elements for policymakers and practitioners, and, if warranted, develop a proposal for Congress to eliminate or revise any statutorily-required elements that are not providing meaningful information.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education reported that its regulations published in October 2016 included new Title II data elements related to program quality. However, this action is distinct from our recommendation to assess whether existing fields required by law should be eliminated or revised. During our review, Education officials noted that such data elements could only be eliminated or revised through legislation, rather than regulation. Therefore, we continue to believe that it would be valuable for Education to review the existing data elements required by law and submit a proposal to Congress to eliminate or revise any of these fields, if warranted.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should develop and implement mechanisms to systematically share information about teacher preparation program quality with relevant Department of Education program offices and states (including state Independent Standards Boards).

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education reported that, subject to available staff resources, the agency would be designing an internal work group to increase information-sharing about teacher preparation program quality within and outside the Department. As of August 2017, ED reported that actions on this recommendation were pending. GAO will monitor Education's continued steps to design and implement this working group.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

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

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

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

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

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

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

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

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

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

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

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

    Comments: As of August 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had made progress in implementing this recommendation by requiring agencies to track savings; however, it had not yet reported progress in achieving its goal of cost savings. Specifically, in August 2016, OMB issued a policy requiring covered agencies to appoint, by November 2016, a dedicated lead for mobile devices and services. The official is expected to work closely with senior agency officials to establish and maintain an agency-wide inventory of mobile contracts, identify opportunities for contract consolidation, and track savings, among other things. In addition, according to an official in OMB's Office of Federal Procurement, a team led by OMB, the General Services Administration, and the departments of Defense and Homeland Security, is to develop an approach for measuring savings related to mobile devices and services.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

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

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

    Comments: NNSA recently awarded an M&O contract for Sandia NL. NNSA will have to produce a report on the costs and benefits of its competition, which will need to be delivered in early spring, 2017. Upon delivery to Congress, GAO will be able to assess whether NNSA fulfilled this recommendation.
    Director: David Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    8 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to ensure that all IT investments are assessed for suitability for migration to a cloud computing service.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are in the process of reviewing agency documentation and waiting for additional supporting documentation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to ensure that all IT investments are assessed for suitability for migration to a cloud computing service.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: We contacted the agency and are awaiting its response on the status of efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to ensure that all IT investments are assessed for suitability for migration to a cloud computing service.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State established a requirement for completing a cloud computing service alternatives analysis for all new projects, and that existing IT projects be evaluated for the viability to migrate to a cloud computing environment. Further, the department established key factors for consideration when selecting applications for migration to a cloud environment. However, State has not yet evaluated a majority of its IT investments for cloud alternatives. The department said it plans to complete evaluations for some of these investments by the end of FY2017, but has not yet established plans to evaluate over a third of its investments.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to ensure that all IT investments are assessed for suitability for migration to a cloud computing service.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are waiting for a response from SBA on the status of efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to establish evaluation dates for those investments identified in this report that have not been assessed for migration to the cloud.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are in the process of waiting for additional department documentation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to establish evaluation dates for those investments identified in this report that have not been assessed for migration to the cloud.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are waiting for a response from the department on the status of efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to establish evaluation dates for those investments identified in this report that have not been assessed for migration to the cloud.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State established a requirement for completing a cloud computing service alternatives analysis for all new projects, and that existing IT projects be evaluated for viability to migrate to a cloud computing environment. Further, the department established key factors for consideration when selecting applications for migration to a cloud environment. However, the department has not yet established evaluation dates for the vast majority of the investments that have not been assessed for migration to the cloud. Specifically, the department plans to complete evaluations for some of these investments by the end of fiscal year 2017, but does not plan to do so for most of them.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to establish evaluation dates for those investments identified in this report that have not been assessed for migration to the cloud.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are waiting for a response from the department on the status of efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Director: Michelle Sager
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve transparency in the rulemaking process, provide agencies and the public with information on why regulations are considered to be significant regulatory actions, and promote consistency in the designation of rules as significant regulatory actions, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should work with agencies to clearly communicate the reasons for designating a regulation as a significant regulatory action. Specifically, OMB should encourage agencies to clearly state in the preamble of final significant regulations the section of Executive Order 12866's definition of a significant regulatory action that applies to the regulation.

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

    Comments: In a May 14, 2015 letter to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Director of OMB stated that nothing in the Executive Order 12866 prevents agencies from identifying the particular relevant definition of significance in rules, and that some rules do contain this information. However, OMB believes it is appropriate to leave agencies flexibility in how they comply with Executive Order 12866, since such specific procedures for including such information is not a requirement of the Executive Order itself. As of February 2017, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has not taken action. We will continue to monitor this to see whether action is taken.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure effective evaluation of federal training programs and enhance DHS's stewardship of resources for federal training programs, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct DHS components to ensure that their documented training evaluation processes fully address attributes for effective training evaluation processes as they are drafted, updated, or revised.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2014, we reported on the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) training efforts, including the extent to which DHS has a documented process to evaluate training and development programs. We found that all five DHS components in GAO's review--U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center--have a documented process to evaluate their training programs. Their documented processes fully included three of six attributes of effective training evaluation processes identifying goals, programs to evaluate, and how results are to be used. However, the documented processes did not consistently include the other three attributes: methodology, timeframes, and roles and responsibilities. We concluded that by updating documentation to address these attributes, DHS components would have more complete information to guide its efforts in conducting effective evaluations. We therefore recommended that DHS direct its components to ensure that their documented training evaluation processes fully address attributes for effective training evaluation processes as they are drafted, updated, or revised. In September 2016, DHS officials reported that a DHS-wide self-audit of training evaluation processes was completed on March 31, 2016 and found that DHS has current documentation addressing effective learning evaluation programs and that there are commonalities in evaluation procedures across the components. As a part of the self-audit, components provided policy and procedures documents related to their training evaluation processes and found that they adhere to sound instructional systems design models. However, the self-audit focused on identifying the specific training evaluation practices for a sample of courses at each component and not whether the component-level guidance included the attributes for effective training evaluation processes we identified in our report. Further, although DHS updated its department-wide guidance on training evaluation in April 2016 to incorporate the attributes for effective training evaluation processes and some components have followed suit, other components have not. For example, we found that some components, such as Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard, had updated their training evaluation guidance to include the attributes we identified in our report. Others, such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were in the process of updating their guidance. However, as of April 2017, the guidance from the Transportation Security Administration remained in draft and the guidance from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center had not been updated since our review. Therefore, this recommendation remains open pending action on the above noted items.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective evaluation of federal training programs and enhance DHS's stewardship of resources for federal training programs, the Secretary of Homeland Security should identify existing challenges that prevent DHS from accurately capturing training costs department-wide and, to the extent that the benefits of addressing those challenges exceed the costs, implement corrective measures to overcome these challenges..

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2014, we reported on the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) training efforts, including the extent to which DHS has a documented process to reliably capture costs. We found that DHS identified efficiencies and cost savings for delivering a number of training programs. However, different methods are used for capturing training costs across the department, which poses challenges for reliably capturing these costs across DHS. Components capture training costs differently, contributing to inconsistencies in training costs captured across DHS. Variation in methods used to collect data can affect the reliability and quality of DHS-wide training program costs. However, DHS has not identified all challenges that contribute to these inconsistencies. We concluded that DHS could improve its awareness about the costs of training programs DHS-wide and thereby enhance its resource stewardship by identifying existing challenges that prevent DHS from accurately capturing training costs and implementing corrective measures. We therefore recommended that DHS identify existing challenges that prevent DHS from accurately capturing training costs department-wide and, to the extent that the benefits of addressing those challenges exceed the costs, implement corrective measures to overcome these challenges. As of September 2016, DHS reported that its Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer and Office of the Chief Financial Officer worked together to research the issue and determine the best course of action to standardize training cost reporting. However, this did not require a formal root cause analysis. In order to identify a way for the components to capture training costs in a standardized manner, DHS formed a Tiger Team that included officials from each component which identified 12 common functional areas for training to capture training costs. Components were directed to prepare implementation plans outlining how they will begin capturing cost data within the identified functional training areas and, according to DHS, began capturing the data on September 29, 2016. In January 2017, the DHS Chief Financial Officer provided guidance to the components as to how they are to report their training costs to DHS on a quarterly basis. Components provided their first quarterly submission to DHS in January 2017. These steps are in line with the intent of our recommendation. This recommendation will remain open as we monitor its continued implementation over the next two quarters.
    Director: James R. White
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress should consider providing the Secretary of the Treasury with the regulatory authority to lower the threshold for electronic filing of W-2s from 250 returns annually to between 5 to 10 returns, as appropriate.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, no legislative action identified. Lowering the threshold would help IRS prevent identity theft refund fraud by enhancing its ability to verify the employment information reported on tax returns before issuing refunds. Additionally, lowering the threshold would reduce the Social Security Administration's administrative costs of processing W-2 information.
    Recommendation: To provide timely, accurate, and actionable feedback to all relevant lead-generating third parties, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should provide aggregated information on (1) the success of external party leads in identifying suspicious returns and (2) emerging trends (pursuant to section 6103 restrictions).

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

    Comments: As of March 2017, IRS had taken steps to address GAO's August 2014 recommendation, including developing timeliness metrics for managing leads and holding six feedback sessions with financial institutions participating in the External Leads Program, but had not provided GAO with documentation that the agency is providing meaningful feedback to external parties. In November 2015, IRS reported that it had developed a database to track leads submitted by financial institutions and the results of those leads. IRS also stated that it had held six sessions with financial institutions to provide feedback on external leads provided to IRS. These quarterly feedback sessions contained various types of information, including overall statistics for the External Leads Program, individual statistics tailored to a specific external party, and solicitations for how to improve the program. In December 2015, IRS officials stated that the agency sent a customer satisfaction survey asking financial institutions for feedback on the external leads process and was considering other ways to provide feedback to financial institutions. In August 2016, an industry group representing financial institutions reported that IRS had not begun providing meaningful feedback to financial institutions that are providing leads to IRS. In March 2017, IRS officials told us they were holding more frequent, monthly, feedback sessions with financial institutions. GAO will follow up with financial institutions to understand the extent to which IRS's feedback has been timely and is actionable. Without accurate, timely, and actionable feedback, the more than 600 external parties participating in the External Leads Program do not know if the leads they provide to IRS are useful and they may not be able to assess their success in identifying IDT refund fraud or improve their detection tools.
    Recommendation: To provide timely, accurate, and actionable feedback to all relevant lead-generating third parties, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop a set of metrics to track external leads by the submitting third party.

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

    Comments: As of March 2017, IRS had taken steps to address GAO's August 2014 recommendation, including developing timeliness metrics for managing leads and holding six feedback sessions with financial institutions participating in the External Leads Program, but had not provided GAO with documentation that the agency is providing meaningful feedback to external parties. In November 2015, IRS reported that it had developed a database to track leads submitted by financial institutions and the results of those leads. IRS also stated that it had held six sessions with financial institutions to provide feedback on external leads provided to IRS. These quarterly feedback sessions contained various types of information, including overall statistics for the External Leads Program, individual statistics tailored to a specific external party, and solicitations for how to improve the program. In December 2015, IRS officials stated that the agency sent a customer satisfaction survey asking financial institutions for feedback on the external leads process and was considering other ways to provide feedback to financial institutions. In August 2016, an industry group representing financial institutions reported that IRS had not begun providing meaningful feedback to financial institutions that are providing leads to IRS. In March 2017, IRS officials told us they were holding more frequent, monthly, feedback sessions with financial institutions. GAO will follow up with financial institutions to understand the extent to which IRS's feedback has been timely and is actionable. Without accurate, timely, and actionable feedback, the more than 600 external parties participating in the External Leads Program do not know if the leads they provide to IRS are useful and they may not be able to assess their success in identifying IDT refund fraud or improve their detection tools.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD has the necessary information to determine the extent to which cost savings result from any future consolidation of training within METC or the Education and Training Directorate, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs should direct the Director of the DHA to develop baseline cost information as part of its metrics to assess achievement of cost savings.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs)
    Status: Open

    Comments: The House Report Accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, citing our work on this subject, required DOD to submit a report by January 31, 2015 detailing, among other things, an explanation of the purpose and goals of the medical education and training shared service with regard to its role in improving the cost efficiency of delivering training, including the challenges it will address, the practices it will put in place to address these challenges, and the resulting cost savings. However, as of September 2015, DOD has not submitted this report. Until DOD develops baseline cost information as part of its metrics to assess achievement of cost savings, this recommendation should remain open.
    Recommendation: To help realize the reform effort's goal of achieving cost savings, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs should direct the Director of the DHA to conduct a fully developed business case analysis for the Education and Training Directorate's reform effort. In this analysis the Director should (1) identify the cost-related problem that it seeks to address by establishing the Education and Training Directorate, (2) explain how the processes it has identified will address the costrelated problem, and (3) conduct and document an analysis of benefits, costs, and risks.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs)
    Status: Open

    Comments: The House Report Accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, citing our work on this subject, required DOD to submit a report by January 31, 2015 detailing, among other things, an explanation of the purpose and goals of the medical education and training shared service with regard to its role in improving the cost efficiency of delivering training, including the challenges it will address, the practices it will put in place to address these challenges, and the resulting cost savings. However, as of September 2015, DOD has not submitted this report. We reported in September 2015 that DOD has not yet presented a fully developed business case for its Medical Education and Training shared service. Until DOD addresses these concerns, this recommendation should remain open.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure appropriate levels of employees' supervision and guidance for the workforces of USDA's service center agencies, consistent with OPM guidance, the Secretary of Agriculture, through the Chief Human Capital Officer, should revise departmental policy targeting a uniform supervisory ratio so that the service center agencies can identify appropriate supervisory ratios based on a documented analysis of their specific customer needs and workload distribution.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 15, 2016, USDA has not taken action on this recommendation. We will continue to monitor USDA's efforts.
    Recommendation: To ensure appropriate levels of employees' supervision and guidance for the workforces of USDA's service center agencies, consistent with federal internal control standards, the Secretary of Agriculture, through the Chief Human Capital Officer, should communicate to the service center agencies the departmental guidance for calculating supervisory ratios and ensure its use.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 15, 2016, USDA has not taken action on this recommendation. We will continue to monitor USDA's efforts.
    Recommendation: To help USDA's service center agencies effectively implement office closures and meet internal control standards, the Secretary should take action to amend USDA's policy on organizational changes to include such leading practices as presenting a business-case or cost-benefit analysis and using the change management practice of measuring progress toward stated goals.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to USDA the Department is in the process of revising its policy on organizational changes, but as of December 15, 2016, this revision is not yet finalized. We will continue to monitor USDA's efforts.
    Recommendation: To improve the use of buyout or early retirement incentives, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct its service center agencies, FSA and RD, to document clear links between their buyout and early retirement incentives and their reshaping or overall strategic goals.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 15, 2016, USDA has not taken action on this recommendation. We will continue to monitor USDA's efforts.
    Recommendation: To improve the use of buyout or early retirement incentives, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct its service center agencies, FSA, NRCS, and RD, to establish a system for identifying and evaluating relevant data on buyout and early retirement incentive recipients.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 15, 2016, USDA has not taken action on this recommendation. We will continue to monitor USDA's efforts.
    Director: Thomas Melito
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen USAID's ability to help ensure that its food aid prepositioning program meets the goal of reducing delivery time frames in a cost-effective manner, the USAID Administrator should systematically collect, and ensure the reliability and validity of, data on delivery time frames for all emergency food aid shipments, including prepositioned food aid shipments.

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

    Comments: USAID concurred with this recommendation and noted that Food for Peace (FFP) was reviewing what actions are needed to ensure that reliable data on delivery time frames for all emergency aid is collected from cooperating sponsors. In 2015, USAID officials noted that they were exploring options for developing a prepositioning tracking system, but were still in the early stages. As of April 2017, the new system has yet to be operational.
    Recommendation: To strengthen USAID's ability to help ensure that its food aid prepositioning program meets the goal of reducing delivery time frames in a cost-effective manner, the USAID Administrator should systematically monitor and assess data on delivery time frames for prepositioned food aid shipments.

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

    Comments: USAID concurred with this recommendation and noted that it awarded a contract for an independent evaluation of the timeliness of prepositioning activities, which, along with the GAO report, will inform the ongoing revision to FFP's strategy for the prepositioning program. As of April 2017, USAID has yet to address this recommendation of systematically monitoring and assessing data on delivery time frames for prepositioned food aid shipments.
    Recommendation: To strengthen USAID's ability to help ensure that its food aid prepositioning program meets the goal of reducing delivery time frames in a cost-effective manner, the USAID Administrator should systematically monitor and assess costs associated with commodity procurement, shipping, and storage for prepositioned food aid shipments.

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

    Comments: USAID concurred with this recommendation and noted that it awarded a contract for an independent evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of prepositioning activities, which, along with the GAO report, will inform the ongoing revision to FFP's strategy for the prepositioning program. As of April 2017, USAID has yet to address this recommendation on systematically monitoring and assessing costs associated with commodity procurement, shipping, and storage for prepositioned food aid shipments.
    Director: Brown, Kay E
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to help inform federal, state, and local initiatives to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse by school personnel, the Secretary of Education should lead an effort, in collaboration with the Secretary of HHS and the Attorney General, to leverage resources, expertise, and capacities across the departments to determine the most cost-effective way to disseminate federal information so that relevant state and local educational agencies, child welfare agencies, and criminal justice entities are aware of and have access to it.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2016, the Department of Education reported that on November 16, 2015, the Office of Safe and Healthy Students within the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education convened a meeting with federal partners to explore ways in which the agencies can better support states and to devise dissemination strategies for sharing information and providing technical assistance in the most cost- effective ways to state and local educational agencies and child welfare agencies, and ensure that resources are accessible to the various stakeholders. It noted several next steps including creating and implementing a Federal dissemination plan for the new adult sexual misconduct guidance, repository of federal resources, and for information on all state-level mandates and policies addressing adult sexual misconduct in schools. GAO will consider this recommendation closed when the department provides timelines for the completion of these activities and documentation of their completion.
    Recommendation: In order to help inform federal, state, and local initiatives to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse by school personnel, the Secretary of Education should lead an effort, in collaboration with the Secretary of HHS and the Attorney General, to leverage resources, expertise, and capacities across the departments to identify mechanisms to better track and analyze the prevalence of child sexual abuse by school personnel through existing federal data collection systems, such as the School Survey on Crime and Safety, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, and the National Crime Victimization Survey.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education reported that experts within the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) consulted with research partners in the Department of Justice and academic research experts to determine if an effective item or item set about this important issue could be derived. After review of extant sources and consultation with item development experts, a clear question that would result in meaningful information from school administrator respondents could not be developed. They also noted that they understand there is continuing interest on this issue and will continue studying item possibilities for the next School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS) provided the collection is funded. As of May 2016, NCES does not have funds to field SSOCS after 2016, but there is a request in the 2016 budget to support a 2018 collection. GAO will consider this recommendation closed when the department has taken the above mentioned action to continue studying item possibilities for the next SSOCS if the collection is funded.
    Director: Wilshusen, Gregory C
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    17 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To make government-wide computer matching program planning efforts more consistent, the Director of OMB should revise guidance on computer matching to clarify whether front-end verification queries are covered by the Computer Matching Act.

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

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate the agency's actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To make government-wide computer matching program planning efforts more consistent, the Director of OMB should direct agencies to address all key elements when preparing cost-benefit analyses.

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

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To make government-wide computer matching program planning efforts more consistent, the Director of OMB should ensure that agencies receive assistance in implementing computer matching programs as envisioned by the act.

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

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Agriculture should develop and implement policies and procedures for cost-benefit analyses related to computer matching agreements to include key elements such as personnel and computer costs, as well as avoidance of future improper payments and recovery of improper payments and debts.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Agriculture should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Agriculture should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on the agency's computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Education should develop and implement policies and procedures for cost-benefit analyses related to computer matching agreements to include key elements such as personnel and computer costs, as well as avoidance of future improper payments and recovery of improper payments and debts.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received sufficient information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate the agency's actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on agency computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information needed to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Homeland Security should develop and implement policies and procedures for cost-benefit analyses related to computer matching agreements to include key elements such as personnel and computer costs, as well as avoidance of future improper payments and recovery of improper payments and debts.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on agency computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Labor should develop and implement policies and procedures for cost-benefit analyses related to computer matching agreements to include key elements such as personnel and computer costs, as well as avoidance of future improper payments and recovery of improper payments and debts.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Labor should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Labor should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on agency computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate the agency's actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Administrator of Social Security should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on agency computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Director: Cha, Carol R
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve planning and execution of the next telecommunications transition, the Administrator of General Services, in coordination with the Office of Personnel Management, should examine potential government-wide telecommunications expertise shortfalls and use the study to shape the NS2020 strategic approach.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The General Services Administration (GSA) has not addressed this recommendation. In June 2014, the agency reported that it had coordinated with OPM to incorporate key objectives in its NS2020 strategy to address and mitigate challenges with regards to government-wide expertise needed to execute the NS2020 program. However, as of May 2017, GSA had not demonstrated that it had studied potential government-wide telecommunications expertise shortfalls or used the study to shape the NS2020 strategic approach.
    Recommendation: To improve planning and execution of the next telecommunications transition, the Administrator of General Services should ensure that the lessons are applied, based on priority and available resources, to the next transition strategy.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The General Services Administration has not implemented this recommendation but has taken steps to address it. In April 2014, the agency developed a strategy for transitioning to the next telecommunications contract vehicle. The strategy described the lessons learned that contributed to the delay in the prior transition and identified approaches the agency planned to take to apply the lessons learned. For example, it identified high level plans for addressing the need for improved management of the complex acquisition process and the need for technical and contracting telecommunications expertise across the government. As of August 2016, GSA had prioritized the lessons learned and considered the resources needed to apply them. However, as of May 2017, the agency had not demonstrated that it had ensured that the lessons were applied, based on priority and available resources, to the next transition strategy. We will continue to monitor GSA's efforts to implement the recommendation.
    Director: Bertoni, Daniel
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to enhance the accuracy of and ensure appropriate agency access to SSA's death data, and to clarify how SSA applies the eligibility requirements of the Social Security Act and enhance agencies' awareness of how to obtain access, the Social Security Administration's Acting Commissioner should direct the Deputy Commissioner of Operations to develop and publicize guidance it will use to determine whether agencies are eligible to receive SSA's full death file.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Social Security Administration (SSA) disagreed with this recommendation, stating that each request to obtain the full death file is unique, and that officials must review them on a case-by-case basis to ensure compliance with various legal requirements. It also expressed concern that developing this guidance as we recommended would require agency expenditures unrelated to its mission in an already fiscally constrained environment. SSA noted that any federal agency that would like to explore accessing the full death master file (which includes state death records) should submit a request to SSA. SSA will review the file and, if satisfactory, enter into an Information Exchange Agreement covering terms, conditions and reimbursement for the exchange. As of April 2017, SSA reports that it is continuing its efforts and there is no change in status. GAO appreciates that agencies may base their request for the full death file on different intended uses, and supports SSA's efforts to ensure compliance with all applicable legal requirements. However, developing such guidance could help to ensure consistency in SSA's future decision making by the new Office of Data Exchange, and enhance agencies' ability to obtain the data in a timely and efficient manner.
    Recommendation: In order to enhance the accuracy of and ensure appropriate agency access to SSA's death data, and to increase transparency among recipient agencies, the Social Security Administration's Acting Commissioner should direct the Deputy Commissioner of Operations to share a more detailed explanation of how it determines reimbursement amounts for providing agencies with death information.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Social Security Administration (SSA) reported that it has implemented improvements in its estimating procedures for future reimbursable agreements to ensure consistent estimates for all customers. It reviews all reimbursable requests on a case-by-case basis to determine full costs (including direct and indirect expenses) to provide goods, resources, or services. However, the agency stated that it is not a typical government business practice to share these detailed costs for reimbursable agreements. As of April 2017, SSA reports that it is continuing its efforts and there is no change in status. We are encouraged that SSA has made efforts to standardize the estimates it shares with its federal partners. While we recognize that there may be limitations on the type of cost details SSA can provide to recipient agencies, we continue to believe that more transparency in conveying the factors that lead to the estimated and final reimbursement amounts recipient agencies are charged could help them make more informed decisions.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    4 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To help maintain a more thorough and insightful 2020 Census development schedule in order to better manage risks to a successful 2020 Census, the Secretary of Commerce and Undersecretary of Economic Affairs should direct the U.S. Census Bureau to improve the comprehensiveness of schedules, including ensuring that all relevant activities are included in the schedule.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Bureau agreed with this recommendation and stated that it is reviewing and refining project schedules to ensure that they include the full scope of work needed to reach operational decision points for the 2020 Census. The 2020 Research and Planning Office currently has 55 decennial project schedules, consisting of more than 3,700 activities. Several project schedules were re-baselined and pushed into production in January 2014. Focused integration sessions occurred in late January and February 2014, resulting in revised schedules. The Bureau released its operational plan and other documentation in November 2015, and announced in June 2016 that it would finalize and release its 2020 Census schedule in July 2016. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to include within its integrated master activity schedule at lower levels the activities and milestones it has already identified as needed throughout the 2020 Census lifecycle. We are beginning an audit of the Bureau's scheduling practices this summer and will review actions the Bureau may have taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help maintain a more thorough and insightful 2020 Census development schedule in order to better manage risks to a successful 2020 Census, the Secretary of Commerce and Undersecretary of Economic Affairs should direct the U.S. Census Bureau to improve the construction of schedules, including ensuring complete logic is in place to identify the preceding and subsequent activities as well as a critical path that can be used to make decisions.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Bureau agreed with this recommendation and stated that it has already begun maturing project schedules to ensure that the logical relationships between discrete schedules are put into place. Schedule integration sessions across projects and programs were held in late January 2014 and into February 2014 and periodically since then, where work is deconstructed into detailed schedules. As the Bureau continues to mature its schedule and scheduling process for the 2020 Census and related tests, its officials say they are taking care to ensure that logical linkages are in place within the schedule and that they are adding additional activities on a rolling basis. Bureau officials believe this ongoing work with the 2020 schedule will ensure they have a robust tool to help manage the 2020 program and make key decisions. The Bureau released its operational plan and other documentation in November 2015 and announced in June 2016 that it would finalize and release its 2020 Census schedule in July 2016. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to ensure linkage between activities and the estimated resources needed to complete them. We are beginning an audit of the Bureau's scheduling practices this summer and will review actions the Bureau may have taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help maintain a more thorough and insightful 2020 Census development schedule in order to better manage risks to a successful 2020 Census, the Secretary of Commerce and Undersecretary of Economic Affairs should direct the U.S. Census Bureau to improve the credibility of schedules, including conducting a quantitative risk assessment.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Bureau agreed with this recommendation and stated that it has already begun maturing project schedules to ensure that the logical relationships between discrete schedules are put into place. Schedule integration sessions across projects and programs were held in late January 2014 and into February 2014 and periodically since then, where work is deconstructed into detailed schedules. As the Bureau continues to mature its schedule and scheduling process for the 2020 Census and related tests, its officials say they are taking care to ensure that logical linkages are in place within the schedule and that they are adding additional activities on a rolling basis. Bureau officials believe this ongoing work with the 2020 schedule will ensure they have a robust tool to help manage the 2020 program and make key decisions. The Bureau released its operational plan and other documentation in November 2015 and announced in June 2016 that it would finalize and release its 2020 Census schedule in July 2016. As part of the maturation process, the Bureau expects to conduct a quantitative risk assessment of decennial project schedules. In 2015, the Bureau provided us with a preliminary output from its risk analysis software as a demonstration of the type of analysis it is committed to, but more recently its officials said that they may not be able to take all the steps needed to satisfy this recommendation. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to conduct quantitative schedule risk analyses with the resulting schedule. We are beginning an audit of the Bureau's scheduling practices this summer and will review actions the Bureau may have taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Director of the U.S. Census Bureau should initiate a robust workforce planning process for those working on schedules related to the Master Address File, including actions such as an analysis of skills needed, to identify and address gaps in scheduling skills.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Bureau of the Census
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Census Bureau agreed with this recommendation and states it is taking steps to improve its scheduling practices and to initiate a comprehensive workforce planning process for those working on decennial project schedules. Bureau officials state they are currently evaluating the skills needed for scheduling support of the 2020 Census and will take the appropriate steps to acquire and develop the appropriate mix of skill sets, including but not limited to developing certified scheduling staff, hiring expert contractors to assist with periodic training, and scheduling standards implementation. They also state that the Bureau is committed to continuing to strengthen the schedule management plan, practices, and methods in place for the 2020 Census. The Bureau has experienced turnover in the leadership of the team responsible for 2020 scheduling, and, as of July 2017, Bureau officials have said they are working to collect artifacts that may demonstrate how this recommendation was addressed.
    Director: Wise, David J
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

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

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

    Comments: In March 2015, GAO met with OMB officials about their implementation of a new cost estimating model that would largely implement this recommendation. OMB officials said they had engaged a contractor to develop the model and in the coming months they would be contacting member agencies on the Federal Real Property Council to obtain their feedback, with hopes of eventually incorporating the model into ongoing real property reform efforts. As of May 2016, GAO was inquiring about the status of this effort and was anticipating a meeting with OMB in the coming weeks to discuss this and other related real property efforts aimed at addressing GAO's high risk designation for this area.
    Director: Wise, David J
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance transparency and allow for more informed decision making related to the appropriate role of leasing in GSA's real property portfolio, the Administrator of GSA should include in the lease prospectus a description of the length of time that an agency estimates it will need the space, an historical account of how long the agency has been in the particular building it is occupying at the time of the prospectus, and any major investments the agency will have to make to the leased space to meet its mission. For those spaces for which the agency has a long-term projected need, also include an appropriate form of cost-to-lease versus cost-to-own analysis.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, GSA had not incorporated the recommended information into its fiscal year 2016 lease prospectuses and did not plan to do so in future prospectuses. GSA officials stated that GSA may not know how long an agency will need the space or the amount of investment that will be needed, so this information would be difficult to incorporate. However, in its 2013 review, GAO found that 9 of the 12 case study leases included space for long-term or mission critical space needs for tenant agencies. Some of the tenant agencies in these leases had been housed in multiple successive leases far longer than the statutory term limit of 20 years for a single GSA lease-situations that would lend themselves to analyzing the extent to which it would be more cost-effective for the government to own rather than lease. Moreover, GSA and the agency are likely to have general information on the complexity and likely investment needed to meet an agency's mission-related needs in leased space that could be included in the prospectus. Including the recommended information would increase transparency and facilitate more informed decision making by Congress.
    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: Clowers, Angela N
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    11 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To strengthen the rigor and transparency of their regulatory analyses, the federal financial regulators should take steps to better ensure that the specific practices in OMB's regulatory analysis guidance are more fully incorporated into their rulemaking policies and consistently applied.

    Agency: National Credit Union Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, NCUA told us that it is nearing completion of agency internal policies that standardize and institutionalize the rulemaking process within NCUA. According to agency officials, these policies will document NCUA's current practice related to OMB's regulatory analysis guidance. The policies will be issued to appropriate staff by the end of 2016. At that time, we will review the policies to review the extent to which they incorporate the practices in OMB's regulatory analysis guidance.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To maximize the usefulness of the required retrospective reviews, the federal financial regulatory agencies should develop plans that determine how they will measure the impact of Dodd-Frank Act regulations--for example, determining how and when to collect, analyze, and report needed data.

    Agency: National Credit Union Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, NCUA noted that all of the agency's regulations are reviewed at least every three years, during an established rotation, so that every year one-third of the agency's regulations are open to comment from the public. NCUA reported that it recently launched a comprehensive multi-year project to update the agency's main data collection and analytic systems. Agency officials stated that the updates will ensure that the agency collects the data needed to assess the effectiveness and impact of applicable regulations. We will continue to monitor NCUA's progress in updating its information systems for purposes of retrospective reviews.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To maximize the usefulness of the required retrospective reviews, the federal financial regulatory agencies should develop plans that determine how they will measure the impact of Dodd-Frank Act regulations--for example, determining how and when to collect, analyze, and report needed data.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, the federal banking regulators sent Congress their report of the second Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act (EGRPRA). Under EGRPRA, the regulators must jointly conduct a review of their regulations every 10 years and consider whether any of the regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome. The regulators included within their review's scope some regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act. To carry out the EGRPRA review, the regulators generally solicited public comments on their covered regulations through Federal Register notices and public outreach meetings. Although the regulators addressed some of the issues raised by EGRPRA commenters to reduce regulatory burden, they generally focused on identifying regulatory burdens, as required by the law, and not on measuring the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act regulations to assess the extent to which they are achieving their intended purposes. For this reason, our recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To strengthen the rigor and transparency of their regulatory analyses, the federal financial regulators should take steps to better ensure that the specific practices in OMB's regulatory analysis guidance are more fully incorporated into their rulemaking policies and consistently applied.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System
    Status: Open

    Comments: We sought information from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in May 2016 regarding the status of the recommendation, but did not receive any new information. Therefore, the recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To maximize the usefulness of the required retrospective reviews, the federal financial regulatory agencies should develop plans that determine how they will measure the impact of Dodd-Frank Act regulations--for example, determining how and when to collect, analyze, and report needed data.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, the federal banking regulators sent Congress their report of the second Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act (EGRPRA). Under EGRPRA, the regulators must jointly conduct a review of their regulations every 10 years and consider whether any of the regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome. The regulators included within their review's scope some regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act. To carry out the EGRPRA review, the regulators generally solicited public comments on their covered regulations through Federal Register notices and public outreach meetings. Although the regulators addressed some of the issues raised by EGRPRA commenters to reduce regulatory burden, they generally focused on identifying regulatory burdens, as required by the law, and not on measuring the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act regulations to assess the extent to which they are achieving their intended purposes. For this reason, our recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2015, FSOC created the Regulations and Resolutions Committee to identify potential gaps in regulation that could pose risks to the U.S. financial stability. The committee's duties include serving as a forum for information sharing and coordination among the FSOC staff, member agencies and other federal and state agencies, as appropriate, regarding domestic financial services policy development, and consulting, as appropriate, on the development of regulations to implement the Dodd-Frank Act's orderly liquidation authority. While the committee's duties should help promote greater collaboration, they do not constitute a formal rulemaking coordination policy addressing, for example, when coordination should occur, processes for soliciting and addressing comments, and FSOC role in facilitating coordination among and between the financial regulators. In its 2010 comment letter, FSOC noted that it provides a forum for interagency collaboration and consultation, in part through its committees, and has not indicated any plans to develop a formal rulemaking coordination policy as we recommended, in part because of its need to preserve the independence of the regulators. Therefore, the recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2015, FSOC created the Regulations and Resolutions Committee to identify potential gaps in regulation that could pose risks to the U.S. financial stability. The committee's duties include serving as a forum for information sharing and coordination among the FSOC staff, member agencies and other federal and state agencies, as appropriate, regarding domestic financial services policy development, and consulting, as appropriate, on the development of regulations to implement the Dodd-Frank Act's orderly liquidation authority. While the committee's duties should help promote greater collaboration, they do not constitute a formal rulemaking coordination policy addressing, for example, when coordination should occur, processes for soliciting and addressing comments, and FSOC role in facilitating coordination among and between the financial regulators. In its 2010 comment letter, FSOC noted that it provides a forum for interagency collaboration and consultation, in part through its committees, and has not indicated any plans to develop a formal rulemaking coordination policy as we recommended, in part because of its need to preserve the independence of the regulators. Therefore, the recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2015, FSOC created the Regulations and Resolutions Committee to identify potential gaps in regulation that could pose risks to the U.S. financial stability. The committee's duties include serving as a forum for information sharing and coordination among the FSOC staff, member agencies and other federal and state agencies, as appropriate, regarding domestic financial services policy development, and consulting, as appropriate, on the development of regulations to implement the Dodd-Frank Act's orderly liquidation authority. While the committee's duties should help promote greater collaboration, they do not constitute a formal rulemaking coordination policy addressing, for example, when coordination should occur, processes for soliciting and addressing comments, and FSOC role in facilitating coordination among and between the financial regulators. In its 2010 comment letter, FSOC noted that it provides a forum for interagency collaboration and consultation, in part through its committees, and has not indicated any plans to develop a formal rulemaking coordination policy as we recommended, in part because of its need to preserve the independence of the regulators. Therefore, the recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2015, FSOC created the Regulations and Resolutions Committee to identify potential gaps in regulation that could pose risks to the U.S. financial stability. The committee's duties include serving as a forum for information sharing and coordination among the FSOC staff, member agencies and other federal and state agencies, as appropriate, regarding domestic financial services policy development, and consulting, as appropriate, on the development of regulations to implement the Dodd-Frank Act's orderly liquidation authority. While the committee's duties should help promote greater collaboration, they do not constitute a formal rulemaking coordination policy addressing, for example, when coordination should occur, processes for soliciting and addressing comments, and FSOC role in facilitating coordination among and between the financial regulators. In its 2010 comment letter, FSOC noted that it provides a forum for interagency collaboration and consultation, in part through its committees, and has not indicated any plans to develop a formal rulemaking coordination policy as we recommended, in part because of its need to preserve the independence of the regulators. Therefore, the recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency: Commodity Futures Trading Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, CFTC officials stated that FSOC has written protocols for consulting on rules for which coordination is required under the Dodd-Frank Act. Specifically, in May 2015, FSOC created the Regulations and Resolutions Committee to identify potential gaps in regulation that could pose risks to the U.S. financial stability. The committee's duties include serving as a forum for information sharing and coordination among the FSOC staff, member agencies and other federal and state agencies, as appropriate, regarding domestic financial services policy development, and consulting, as appropriate, on the development of regulations to implement the Dodd-Frank Act's orderly liquidation authority. While the committee's duties should help promote greater collaboration, they do not constitute a formal rulemaking coordination policy addressing, for example, when coordination should occur, processes for soliciting and addressing comments, and FSOC role in facilitating coordination among and between the financial regulators. In its 2010 comment letter, FSOC noted that it provides a forum for interagency collaboration and consultation, in part through its committees, and has not indicated any plans to develop a formal rulemaking coordination policy as we recommended, in part because of its need to preserve the independence of the regulators. Therefore, the recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency: National Credit Union Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, NCUA stated that it continues to work closely with the other federal financial agencies regarding rulemaking, and formally coordinates with them during joint rulemaking initiatives. Agency officials said they would comply with any future coordination guidance provided by FSOC. In May 2015, FSOC created the Regulations and Resolutions Committee to identify potential gaps in regulation that could pose risks to the U.S. financial stability. The committee's duties include serving as a forum for information sharing and coordination among the FSOC staff, member agencies and other federal and state agencies, as appropriate, regarding domestic financial services policy development, and consulting, as appropriate, on the development of regulations to implement the Dodd-Frank Act's orderly liquidation authority. While the committee's duties should help promote greater collaboration, they do not constitute a formal rulemaking coordination policy addressing, for example, when coordination should occur, processes for soliciting and addressing comments, and FSOC role in facilitating coordination among and between the financial regulators. In its 2010 comment letter, FSOC noted that it provides a forum for interagency collaboration and consultation, in part through its committees, and has not indicated any plans to develop a formal rulemaking coordination policy as we recommended, in part because of its need to preserve the independence of the regulators. Therefore, the recommendation remains open.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to coordinate with the services on conducting research, as appropriate, to determine optimal bonus amounts.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a July 2012 report, the USD (P&R) stated that it continues to believe that a study to determine optimal bonus amounts would be beneficial. As of September 2015, DOD is working with the RAND Corporation to develop a model to analyze the impact of adjusting bonuses and special pays for certain personnel communities. According to officials at USD (P&R) the goal of this effort is to provide the services with a tool that can be used to set bonuses and special pays more efficiently. The officials added that models have been developed for officers in the aviation community, and are currently being developed for officers in the healthcare and special operations communities.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, as the consolidation of the special and incentive pay programs is completed over the next 7 years and the instructions directing the services on how to administer the new programs are revised, to monitor the implementation of this consolidation to determine whether it is in fact resulting in greater flexibility and more precise targeting of resources and what impact the consolidation is having on DOD's budget.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a July 2012 report, the USD (P&R) states that it continues to consolidate special and incentive pay authorities. However, because this consolidation is not yet complete, it has not yet determined whether this consolidation has resulted in greater flexibility, as GAO recommended. In June 2013, OSD reported that OSD was about halfway through with its effort to consolidate special pay authorities, and in September 2015 USD (P&R) officials stated that this effort is continuing. The officials added that, while the Department is tracking the impact of the consolidation on the cost of special and incentive pays, it had not assessed whether the consolidation had resulted in greater flexibility.
    Director: Cosgrove, James C
    Phone: (202)512-7029

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that savings are realized from the implementation of an MPPR or other policies that reflect efficiencies occurring when services are furnished together, Congress may wish to consider exempting these savings from budget neutrality.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, we are awaiting an update from HHS on the status of this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: White, James R
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide clarity for which taxpayers with rental real estate activity must report expense payments on information returns and to provide greater information reporting, Congress may wish to consider amending the Internal Revenue Code to make all taxpayers with rental real estate activity subject to the same information reporting requirements as other taxpayers operating a trade or business.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, no legislation had been identified to make owners of rental real estate subject to the same payment reporting requirements regardless of whether they engaged in a trade or business under current law. In the 112th Congress, Congress enacted the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-240), which contained a provision that required, in general, persons receiving rental income from real estate to be considered engaged in a trade or business and therefore subject to the reporting requirements of section 6041 of the Internal Revenue Code, which was consistent with GAO's August 2008 matter for congressional consideration. However, Congress repealed the provision on April 14, 2011, by section 3 of the Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-9).
    Director: Iritani, Katherine
    Phone: (212) 512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress may wish to consider requiring increased attention to fiscal responsibility in the approval of section 1115 Medicaid demonstrations by requiring the Secretary of HHS to improve the demonstration review process through steps such as (1) clarifying criteria for reviewing and approving states' proposed spending limits, (2) better ensuring that valid methods are used to demonstrate budget neutrality, and (3) documenting and making public material explaining the basis for any approvals.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2015, no legislation on this topic had been passed, although at least one bill had been introduced in Congress that would make budget neutrality a statutory requirement for Medicaid demonstrations.The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing in June 2015 examining HHS's approval of spending under Medicaid demonstrations. In addition, the House Oversight and Government Reform and House Energy and Commerce Committees had sent letters to the Administration inquiring as to how HHS was responding to GAO findings and recommendations to improve the process and methods used to set demonstration spending limits.
    Recommendation: Congress may wish to consider addressing whether demonstrations that allow states to operate public managed care organizations and retain excess revenue to support programs previously funded by the state--including the Vermont demonstration--are within the scope of the Secretary of HHS's authority under section 1115 of the Social Security Act.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2015, Congress had not passed legislation in response to our matter for congressional consideration.