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    Subject Term: "Data storage"

    4 publications with a total of 19 open recommendations including 2 priority recommendations
    Director: James R. McTigue, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further deter noncompliance in the Taxpayer Protection Program, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should, in accordance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) e-authentication guidance, conduct an updated risk assessment to identify new or ongoing risks for TPP's online and phone authentication options, including documentation of time frames for conducting the assessment

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

    Comments: As of March 2017, IRS is taking steps to assess the risks of TPP authentication options, as GAO recommended in its May 2016 report. In November 2016, IRS reported that it will implement the recommendation by October 2017. According to IRS, the agency assessed the e-authentication risk for the TPP web application based on OMB and NIST guidance. Based on the results of these assessments, the agency stated that officials are working to improve the level of assurance for the web application. In the interim, IRS reported that taxpayers will authenticate their identities by phone or in-person until the TPP web application has been sufficiently updated. In March 2017, officials stated that they recently completed a risk assessment for TPP's phone and in-person authentication. Additionally, according to officials, IRS has implemented a new authentication process for TPP's phone authentication that began in February 2017. GAO requested documentation on IRS's risk assessment and authentication process. Once GAO receives and reviews documentation of these actions, it will determine the extent to which IRS has implemented the recommendation. Conducting an updated risk assessment for TPP in accordance with e-authentication and risk management standards, enabled IRS to identify appropriate opportunities to strengthen TPP authentication and prevent IDT fraudsters from passing and potentially receiving millions of dollars in refunds. In addition, strengthening TPP could improve IRS's return on investment by ensuring that efforts to flag fraudulent returns result in fewer refunds paid to IDT fraudsters.
    Recommendation: To further deter noncompliance in the Taxpayer Protection Program, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should, in accordance with OMB and NIST e-authentication guidance, implement appropriate actions to mitigate risks identified in the assessment.

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

    Comments: As of March 2017, IRS is taking steps to assess the risks of TPP authentication options, as GAO recommended in its May 2016 report. In November 2016, IRS reported that it will implement the recommendation by October 2017. According to IRS, the agency assessed the e-authentication risk for the TPP web application based on OMB and NIST guidance. Based on the results of these assessments, the agency stated that officials are working to improve the level of assurance for the web application. In the interim, IRS reported that taxpayers will authenticate their identities by phone or in-person until the TPP web application has been sufficiently updated. In March 2017, officials stated that they recently completed a risk assessment for TPP's phone and in-person authentication. Additionally, according to officials, IRS has implemented a new authentication process for TPP's phone authentication that began in February 2017. GAO requested documentation on IRS's risk assessment and authentication process. Once GAO receives and reviews documentation of these actions, it will determine the extent to which IRS has implemented the recommendation. Conducting an updated risk assessment for TPP in accordance with e-authentication and risk management standards, enabled IRS to identify appropriate opportunities to strengthen TPP authentication and prevent IDT fraudsters from passing and potentially receiving millions of dollars in refunds. In addition, strengthening TPP could improve IRS's return on investment by ensuring that efforts to flag fraudulent returns result in fewer refunds paid to IDT fraudsters.
    Recommendation: To improve the quality of the Taxonomy's IDT refund fraud estimates, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should remove refund thresholds from criteria used to develop IRS's refunds-paid estimates.

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

    Comments: In August 2016, IRS reported that the agency removed the lower limit threshold from the modeling dataset in March 2016, which will expand the population of returns considered for the 2015 Filing Season Taxonomy refund fraud estimates. Further, the agency noted that, to mitigate other thresholds, other returns receive manual reviews. GAO will analyze the 2015 Filing Season Taxonomy estimates, when available, to determine the extent to which GAO's recommendation has been implemented.
    Recommendation: To improve the quality of the Taxonomy's IDT refund fraud estimates, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should utilize return-level data--where available--to reduce overcounting and improve the quality and accuracy of the refunds-prevented estimates.

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

    Comments: In August 2016, IRS reported that the agency did not agree with GAO's recommendation and noted that the agency does not think that adopting a different methodology for Taxonomy estimates is an effective use of agency resources. According to IRS, the agency established the Global Identity Theft Report (Global Report) as a standardized report that uses return-level data for most of the identity theft protected categories and summary data elsewhere. Further, IRS reported that the agency will continue to improve the Global Report, which will flow into the Taxonomy. However, as we reported in May 2016, by using the Global Report to calculate Taxonomy estimates for refunds prevent, IRS may have overestimated the refunds protected or recovered. For example, electronically filed returns that are rejected are overcounted because the same return can be rejected multiple times. Additionally, IRS already has a count of known and potential identity theft returns in its modeling dataset that the agency could use to help calculate the refunds protected estimates. GAO will analyze the 2015 Filing Season Taxonomy estimates, when available, to determine the extent to which GAO's recommendation has been implemented.
    Director: Valerie Melvin
    Phone: (202) 512-6304

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that FDA's IT strategic planning activities are successful in supporting the agency's mission, goals, and objectives, the Commissioner of FDA should require the CIO to establish schedules and milestones for completing a version of an IT strategic plan that incorporates elements to align the plan's strategies with agency-wide priorities; includes results-oriented goals and performance measures that support the agency's mission, along with targets for measuring the extent to which outcomes of IT initiatives support FDA's ability to achieve agency-wide goals and objectives; identifies key IT initiatives that support the agency's goals; and describes interdependencies among the initiatives.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Food and Drug Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: FDA concurred with the recommendation and stated that the agency plans to implement it. We contacted the agency in March 2017 and have requested documents regarding FDA's actions to address the recommendation. We are waiting to receive the documents. We will update the status of the agency's actions after we receive and evaluate their response.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that FDA's IT strategic planning activities are successful in supporting the agency's mission, goals, and objectives, the Commissioner of FDA should require the CIO to implement the plan to ensure that expected outcomes of the agency's key IT initiatives are achieved.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Food and Drug Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: FDA concurred with the recommendation and stated that the agency plans to implement it. We contacted the agency in March 2017 and have requested documents regarding FDA's actions to address the recommendation. We are waiting to receive the documents. We will update the status of the agency's actions after we receive and evaluate their response.
    Director: Debra A. Draper
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To eliminate the fragmentation and duplication in the storage of unclassified OEHS data, the Secretary of Defense should determine which IT system--DOEHRS or MESL--should be used to store specific types of unclassified OEHS data, clarify the department's policy accordingly, and require all other departmental and military-service-specific policies to be likewise amended and implemented to ensure consistency.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, officials told us that draft versions of the revised DoDI 6490.03, Deployment Health, and the new Defense Health Agency Procedural Instruction (DHA PI) 6490.03, Deployment Health, are still under review with DOD components. These revised and updated documents will address the recommendation on OEHS data storage. Additionally, DoDI 6055.05, Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH), and Military Service and Combatant Command policy and guidance documents are still being revised to be consistent with DoDI 6490.03 and DHA PI 6490.03 after they are published. These revisions will ensure the consistency among policies. As of November 2016, the entire process is expected to be complete within 10 to 14 months.
    Recommendation: To ensure the reliability of OEHS data, the Secretary of Defense should establish clear policies and procedures for performing quality assurance reviews of the OEHS data collected during deployment, to include verifying the completeness and the reasonableness of these data, and require that all other related military-service-specific policies be amended and implemented to ensure consistency.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, officials told us that draft versions of the revised DoDI 6490.03, Deployment Health, and the new Defense Health Agency Procedural Instruction (DHA PI) 6490.03, Deployment Health, are in review among the DOD Components. Further, DoDI 6055.05, Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH) and Military Service and Combatant Command policy and guidance documents will be revised to be consistent with DoDI 6490.03 and DHA PI 6490.03 after they are published. In addition, DOD is exploring improvement to the data quality assurance functionality within the Defense Occupational and Environmental Health Readiness System Industrial Hygiene (DOEHRS-IH). A new DOEHRS-IH version (2.0.18.1) was released on August 19, 2016 that contained several system enhancements and defect corrections to improve overall data quality in the system. DOD anticipates additional releases in FY 2017 that will further improve DOEHRS-IH data quality. The revised policies and the new DOEHRS-IH functionality will appropriately address the recommendation on quality assurance of OEHS data.
    Recommendation: To ensure that potential occupational and environmental health risks are mitigated for servicemembers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Secretary of Defense should require CENTCOM to revise its policy to ensure that base commanders' decisions on whether to implement risk mitigation recommendations identified in OEHSAs are adequately documented and consistently monitored by the appropriate command.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, officials told us that the current DoDI 6055.01, DoD Safety and Occupational Health Program, requires DoD components to establish procedures that document, archive, and reevaluate risk management decisions on a recurring basis. Draft versions of the revised DoDI 6490.03, Deployment Health, and the new Defense Health Agency Procedural Instruction (DHA PI) 6490.03, Deployment Health, include language that is consistent with DoDI 6055.01. Additionally, U.S. Central Command Regulation 40-2 (CCR 40-2), which was updated as of March 8, 2016, references the requirement to establish procedures to assure risk management decisions are documented, archived, and reevaluated on a recurring basis. The DOD is also exploring a risk management decision and monitoring functionality in DOEHRS-IH. It has identified and approved the necessary system change requests required to improve risk management decisions and monitoring functionality. These functionalities are primarily focused around the Occupational & Environmental Health Site Assessment (OEHSA) and associated exposure pathways, sampling plans, and assessments. Subject to the availability of FY 2017 funding, DOD will implement the system change requests, and achieve the required enhancements to DOEHRS-IH. These policies once published and the new DOEHRS-IH functionality will appropriately address the recommendation on documenting and monitoring risk management decisions.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    10 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HHS, the Interior, Justice, and Labor, and the Administrators of GSA and NASA should complete action plans for addressing their challenges in reporting cost savings, as discussed in this report.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation. In June 2015, the department reported that it had begun an effort to calculate the tangible cost savings and avoidances derived from closing over 50 data centers as part of its data center consolidation efforts. As of March 2017, the department reported that it had closed a total of 74 data centers and had identified $6.64 million in cost savings and avoidances, which is approximately $2.30 million more than what we reported in September 2014. However, the identified cost savings does not include any savings from fiscal years 2015 or 2016. Accordingly, we conclude the department has not yet completed efforts to address challenges in calculating cost savings and avoidances. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HHS, the Interior, Justice, and Labor, and the Administrators of GSA and NASA should complete action plans for addressing their challenges in reporting cost savings, as discussed in this report.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of the Interior agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation. Specifically, in December 2014, the Interior's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget established a series of steps toward addressing our recommendation. The steps include, for example, consolidating and streamlining data center consolidation reporting processes, developing a template that all department bureaus and offices are required to use, and issuing a directive requiring consistent reporting for all data center cost savings and avoidances. In addition, the department submitted a Data Center Optimization Initiative strategic plan to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in September 2016. In the plan, the department reported closing 53 data centers and achieving $4.4 million in cost savings and avoidances in fiscal year 2016. However, the plan does not indicate how the department will address identified challenges nor does it indicate whether the department has successfully implemented its directive on consistent monitoring of cost savings and avoidances. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HHS, the Interior, Justice, and Labor, and the Administrators of GSA and NASA should complete action plans for addressing their challenges in reporting cost savings, as discussed in this report.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation. In September 2015, the department stated that its Office of the Chief Information Officer was working to develop an enterprise data center inventory as part of the department-wide Data Center Consolidation Initiative Working Group. In September 2016, the department submitted its Data Center Optimization Initiative plan to the Office of Management and Budget. The plan reported that the department had closed 28 non-tiered data centers in fiscal year 2016 and indicated that the department had historical cost savings of $4.85 million to date. However, as of March 2017, the department had not yet reported any resulting cost savings or avoidances in its quarterly report to OMB. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, the Interior, Transportation, the Treasury, and Department of Veterans Affairs; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct responsible officials to report all data center consolidation cost savings and avoidances to OMB in accordance with established guidance.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation. In September 2014, we found that the department reported fiscal year 2012 through 2015 cost savings and avoidances of $244.17 million to GAO, but had only reported $71.20 million to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)--a difference of approximately $172.97 million. Moreover, as of March 2017, the department still had not yet fully reported its savings to OMB, as we recommended. Specifically, the department had reported a total of about $25.07 million in cost savings and avoidances to OMB from fiscal years 2012 to 2016--an amount that is approximately $219.1 million short of the total savings and avoidances that the department had reported to GAO as of September 2014. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, the Interior, Transportation, the Treasury, and Department of Veterans Affairs; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct responsible officials to report all data center consolidation cost savings and avoidances to OMB in accordance with established guidance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD concurred with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our priority recommendation. In March 2016, we determined that the department had identified a total of about $1.07 billion in data center consolidation cost savings from fiscal year 2012 through 2016. However, as of March 2017, the department had not yet fully reported its savings to the Office of Management and Budget, as we recommended. Specifically, as of June 2016, the department reported $859 million in savings to the Office of Management and Budget--an amount $211 million less than the $1.07 billion previously reported to us. However, as of March 2017, the department only reported $331 million to the Office of Management and Budget--a decrease of $528 million and $739 million less than what was previously reported to us. In light of the department's considerable planned savings, and the significant decrease in what is being reported, full and accurate reporting by the department is critical toward ensuring that the Office of Management and Budget and Congress have the ability to oversee DOD's progress against key data center consolidation initiative goals.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, the Interior, Transportation, the Treasury, and Department of Veterans Affairs; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct responsible officials to report all data center consolidation cost savings and avoidances to OMB in accordance with established guidance.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of the Interior agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation. In September 2014, we found that the department had reported fiscal year 2012 to 2015 cost savings and avoidances of $84.42 million to GAO, but had only reported $13.59 million to OMB--a difference of approximately $70.83 million. Moreover, as of February 2017, the department had not yet fully reported its savings to OMB, as we recommended. Specifically, the department had reported a total of about $13.61 million in cost savings and avoidances to OMB from fiscal years 2012 to 2016--an amount that is approximately $70.81 million short of the total savings and avoidances that the department had reported to GAO as of September 2014. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, the Interior, Transportation, the Treasury, and Department of Veterans Affairs; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct responsible officials to report all data center consolidation cost savings and avoidances to OMB in accordance with established guidance.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Transportation agreed with our recommendation, but had not yet taken steps to implement it. In September 2014, we found that the department had reported fiscal year 2012 to 2015 cost savings and avoidances of $140.18 million to GAO, but had only reported $7.36 million to OMB--a difference of approximately $132.82 million. However, in February 2017, the department had still only reported a total of $4.89 million in data center consolidation savings and avoidance to OMB. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, the Interior, Transportation, the Treasury, and Department of Veterans Affairs; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct responsible officials to report all data center consolidation cost savings and avoidances to OMB in accordance with established guidance.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Treasury did not comment on this recommendation and has not comprehensively reported cost savings and avoidances, as we recommended. For example, as of March 2017, Treasury had reported about $1.14 billion in data center consolidation-related cost avoidances in its quarterly report to OMB--an increase of about $734 million compared to a previous report. However, the department has not yet reported to OMB other cost avoidances totaling about $210 million that the department had previously reported to us. We will continue to monitor Treasury's progress against this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, the Interior, Transportation, the Treasury, and Department of Veterans Affairs; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct responsible officials to report all data center consolidation cost savings and avoidances to OMB in accordance with established guidance.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of Personnel Management agreed with our recommendation, but has not yet taken steps to implement it. In September 2014, we found that the agency had reported fiscal year 2012 to 2015 cost savings and avoidances of $3.40 million to GAO, but had not reported any of its savings and avoidances to the Office of Management and Budget as required. As of March 2017, the agency had not yet reported any data center consolidation cost savings and avoidances to the Office of Management and Budget. We will continue to evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) improves governmental efficiency and achieves cost savings, the Director of OMB should direct the Federal chief information officer (CIO) to utilize the existing PortfolioStat review sessions to assist the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Interior, Justice, Labor, the General Services Administration (GSA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in identifying data center consolidation cost savings opportunities.

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

    Comments: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation. Specifically, in June 2015, OMB issued a memorandum that discussed the fiscal year 2015 PortfolioStat requirements, including that agencies should hold PortfolioStat sessions on a quarterly basis (versus annually, as done previously) with OMB, the agency chief information officer, and other attendees. The memorandum also stated that, during these sessions, agencies are expected to discuss a strategy to reduce duplication and waste within the IT portfolio of the agency, identify projected cost savings resulting from such strategy, and identify ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of IT investments, among other things. However, as of March 2017, several agencies were still reporting limited savings from their consolidation efforts. For example, the Department of Transportation reported closing 146 data centers through February 2017, but had reported only $4.9 million in savings. As another example, the Department of Labor reported closing 25 data centers through February 2017, but reported no resulting cost savings. Until OMB assists these agencies with limited or no cost savings reported, they may not be able to identify the full extent of savings from their consolidation efforts. We will continue to evaluate OMB's progress in implementing this recommendation.