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    Federal Agency: "Department of Commerce"

    52 publications with a total of 109 open recommendations including 23 priority recommendations
    Director: William B. Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Secretary of Commerce should comply with sections 15(k)(2), (k)(8), (k)(11), and (k)(17) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Energy, HHS, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and VA; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of EPA, GSA, and SBA; the Director of OPM; and the Chairman of NRC should take action to, within existing OMB reporting mechanisms, complete plans describing how the agency will achieve OMB's requirement to implement automated monitoring tools at all agency-owned data centers by the end of fiscal year 2018.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary of the Economics and Statistics Administration and the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to use the Bureau's evaluations before 2020 to determine the implications of in-office address canvassing on the cost and quality of address canvassing, and use this information to justify decisions related to its re-engineered address canvassing approach.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: Early in the next decennial cycle, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary of the Economics and Statistics Administration and the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to plan and execute more flexible, and perhaps smaller, address canvassing test and evaluation activity needed to support key design decisions having significant effect on the cost and quality of the census.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary of the Economics and Statistics Administration and the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to use productivity measures that track the progress in completing in-office address canvassing workload and the effectiveness of in-office address canvassing in reducing fieldwork in order to make informed decisions on allocating resources to current and future address canvassing workload so that the operation is completed in a timely and cost-effective manner.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

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

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should direct the NOAA Administrator to ensure that NOAA's efforts to improve its cost comparison reports include actions to fully track capital asset depreciation costs and account for ships in port undergoing major maintenance in accordance with its standard operating procedure.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, NOAA reported that it has taken steps to start developing procedures to fully track capital asset depreciation costs. NOAA expects to implement draft procedures by September 30, 2018, and fully implement them in fall 2019. In addition, NOAA stated that, by January 31, 2018, it will review and assess the current methodology it uses to account for the costs of ships in port undergoing major maintenance. NOAA intends to implement a revised methodology by February 28, 2018.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should direct the NOAA Administrator to develop a strategy for expanding NOAA's use of the private sector in its hydrographic survey program, as required by law.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, NOAA reported that it had begun developing a strategy to expand its hydrographic data collection program, and has determined that there are significant growth opportunities for private sector involvement in its program. NOAA intends to take several actions to promote the hydrographic surveying industry, and will compile the findings from the actions taken and issue a final strategy report by December 31, 2019.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance information available to operational unit managers, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the director of NOAA's WFMO to ensure that complete information on hiring requests is routinely communicated to NWS managers throughout the three phases of the hiring process, such as by supporting the development of improved tracking and reporting capabilities in the planned new Commerce-wide data system.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency agreed with our recommendation. We will provide updates when the agency takes action.
    Recommendation: To help ensure NWS's hiring actions are achieving expected results, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the NOAA Assistant Administrator for Weather Services to evaluate the extent to which NWS's actions are reducing the hiring backlog and achieving the goal of sustaining a highly skilled workforce; for example, NWS could evaluate these actions as part of the development of its strategic human capital plan.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency agreed with our recommendation. We will provide updates when the agency takes action.
    Director: David Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and described planned actions to address it. Specifically, the department stated that it will continue to aggregate its data center inventory and update its DCOI strategic plan by OMB's April 17, 2017, submission deadline. We reviewed the updated DCOI strategic plan and found that the department included planned savings figures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018 and achieved figures for 2016. However, Commerce did not include $517 million in historical savings that the department previously reported to the Office of Management and Budget, as was required to be included in the plan. Additionally, the department's chief information officer statement, regarding compliance with Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act reporting requirements, is not yet publicly available, as is required. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to address the recommendation.
    Recommendation: Finally, the following 11 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, and Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development) should also each take action to ensure that the amounts of achieved data center cost savings and avoidances are consistent across all reporting mechanisms, including the quarterly data submissions and DCOI strategic plans.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and described planned actions to address it. Specifically, the department stated that it will, through the integrated data collection process, continue to collect and report all initiatives resulting in cost savings and avoidances to ensure IT savings are being captured and realized. We will monitor the department's efforts to address this recommendation.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance interagency collaboration in the Manufacturing USA program, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to work with all non-sponsoring agencies whose missions contribute to or are affected by advanced manufacturing to revise the Manufacturing USA governance system to ensure the roles and responsibilities for how these agencies could contribute to the Manufacturing USA program are fully identified.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce responded to the recommendation with three actions. (1) Labor, DHS, and HHS were invited to participate in the Manufacturing USA program resulting in Labor, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and FDA agreeing to participate and naming representatives to the Manufacturing USA Interagency Working Team.(2) Labor was invited to present at and participate in the Spring 2017 Manufacturing USA Network meeting resulting in Labor participating in the meeting, presenting its apprenticeship programs, and continuing participation in the Manufacturing Education and Workforce Development team regular meetings. (3) The Manufacturing USA Interagency Working Team has begun discussions on expanding the Manufacturing USA network governance document to include activities, roles, and responsibilities of non-institute sponsoring agencies. Final program policy decisions will be made once the new Administration's agency leadership is in place. Completion is expected by Fall 2017.
    Director: Marie A. Mak
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and State should develop policies and processes to help ensure that the FAR clause 52.203-17 is inserted in new contracts and major modifications as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, Commerce concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and State should develop policies and processes to help ensure that contracting officials can determine whether a modification is major and the applicability of the FAR clause, and whether they are making their best efforts to include the clause into existing contracts during major modifications.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, Commerce concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken sufficient actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and State should develop policies and processes to help ensure that contracting officials communicate with contractors and subcontractors to help ensure employees are informed about the requirements and protections provided by the whistleblower protection pilot program.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, Commerce concurred with this recommendation. Commerce officials have said they plan to issue an Acquisition Notice to the acquisition community encouraging Commerce contracting officials to communicate the program's requirements and protections. We have requested a copy of the acquisition notice.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    4 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should direct the Census Bureau to determine the cause(s) for non-interviews experienced during the non-response follow-up operation and revise and test what, if any, changes need to be made to operational procedures, training, or both, including making contact with proxy respondents.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. In the Bureau's March 2017 action plan, it reported that analysis of the 2016 Census Test data is underway and that the 2016 Census Test experiences and the ongoing 2016 Census Test data analysis will inform the Bureau's evolution of operational methods and development of revised training content and provided a target completion date of December 2018, following completion and analyses of the nonresponse follow-up operation for the 2018 End-to-End Census Test. Evaluation data and studies of the 2016 Census Test experience could provide insight on what operational procedures, training, business rules, or other circumstances resulted in the higher-than-expected number of non-interviews. Making changes as needed, if any, in advance of the 2018 End-to-End Test would provide an opportunity to test them and better ensure that high rates of non-interviews do not adversely affect 2020 Census data quality.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should direct the Census Bureau to revise and test operational procedures for accessing incomplete closed cases and revise and test training material to reflect when this flexibility to access incomplete closed cases should be used by the enumerator.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. In the Bureau's March 2017 action plan, it reported that the Bureau had identified enhancements to methods to address this recommendation and would consider how procedures can provide flexibility, and how the enumerator training can evolve to communicate the availability of this flexibility, and when the capability should be leveraged. It reported that how the software solutions will reflect these enhancements will inform the development of the procedures and training used by enumerators for the 2018 Census End-to-End Census Test. It reported a target completion of December 2018 following completion and analyses of the nonresponse follow-up operation for the 2018 End-to-End Census Test.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should direct the Census Bureau to revise and test operational procedures and relevant training materials for initial property manager visits to ensure procedures and training material are communicated to and understood by enumerators and their supervisors.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. In the Bureau's March 2017 action plan, it reported that based on its 2016 Census Test experiences, it had identified modifications to the system capabilities and procedures for initial multiunit manager visits and that it would implement and further study these changes in future tests, including the 2018 End-to-End Census Test. It reported a target completion in December 2018, following completion and analyses of the nonresponse follow-up operation for the 2018 End-to-End Census Test following completion and analyses of the nonresponse follow-up (NRFU) operation for the 2018 End-to-End Census Test.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should direct the Census Bureau to revise and test procedures on how to better leverage enumerator-collected information on the best time or day to conduct interviews, and ensure enumerators are properly trained on these procedures.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. In the Bureau's March 2017 action plan, it reported that as the Census Bureau develops enhancements to the procedures and training for enumerators, it will reflect on what it has learned from 2016 Census Test experiences as well as from recommendations such as this. It reported a target completion of December 2018, following completion and analyses of the nonresponse follow-up operation for the 2018 End-to-End Census Test.
    Director: Powner, David A
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To facilitate the analysis of gaps between current skills and future needs, the development of strategies for filling the gaps, and succession planning, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Chief Information Officer, Chief Human Capital Officer, and other senior managers as appropriate to address the shortfalls in IT workforce planning noted in this report, including the following actions: (1) establish and maintain a workforce planning process; (2) develop competency and staffing requirements; (3) assess competency and staffing needs regularly; (4) assess gaps in competencies for all components of the workforce; (5) develop strategies and plans to address gaps in competencies and staffing; (6) implement activities that address gaps, including an IT acquisition cadre, cross-functional training of acquisition and program personnel, a career path for program managers, and special hiring authorities, if justified and cost-effective; (7) monitor the department's progress in addressing IT competency and staffing gaps; and (8) report to department leadership on progress in addressing competency and staffing gaps.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The department has not yet provided its written response to this recommendation. We will continue to monitor the department's progress in implementing the recommendation.
    Director: J. Alfredo Gomez
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help reduce federal fiscal exposure by enhancing the resilience of infrastructure to extreme weather, the Secretary of Commerce, through the Director of NIST, in consultation with MitFLG and USGCRP, should convene federal agencies for an ongoing governmentwide effort to provide the best available forward-looking climate information to standards-developing organizations for their consideration in the development of design standards, building codes, and voluntary certifications.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 5, 2017, NIST has not convened a governmentwide effort to provide the best available forward-looking climate information to standards developing-organizations.
    Director: David Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

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

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of our report, the department concurred with our recommendation. Subsequent to the department informing us that it has taken action to implement the recommendation, we will follow up.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help NMFS and the Councils incorporate climate information into the fisheries management process and better manage climate-related risks, the Secretary of Commerce should direct National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Assistant Administrator for Fisheries to develop guidance to direct the NMFS regions and Councils on how climate information should be incorporated into different parts of the fisheries management process.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce and NOAA agreed with this recommendation. On December 2, 2016, the Department of Commerce provided GAO with a letter stating that NMFS will continue to work with the Regional Fishery Management Councils and other stakeholders to identify how to best incorporate climate-related information into the fisheries management process. The letter also identified a number of NMFS' ongoing and planned efforts related to this goal. We plan to follow-up with the agency in Summer 2017 to obtain an update on the status of these efforts and the extent to which they address our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help NMFS and the Councils incorporate climate information into the fisheries management process and better manage climate-related risks, the Secretary of Commerce should direct NOAA's Assistant Administrator for Fisheries to, in finalizing the regional action plans for implementing the NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy, (1) incorporate the key attributes associated with successful performance measures in the final performance measures developed for the plans and (2) assess whether agency-wide performance measures may be needed to determine the extent to which the objectives of the Strategy overall are being achieved, and develop such measures, as appropriate, that incorporate the key attributes of successful performance measures.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce and NOAA agreed with this recommendation. In a letter to GAO on December 2, 2016, the Department of Commerce identified the following two actions that NMFS plans to take to address this recommendation by the end of calendar year 2017 - (1) NMFS will review the draft regional action plans and take appropriate action to ensure, to the extent possible, the performance measures in the final plans include key attributes of successful measures; and (2) NMFS will assess the need for agency-wide measures to track and evaluate achievement of the Strategy objective, and develop such measures as appropriate. We plan to follow-up with the agency in Summer 2017 to obtain an update on the status of these efforts.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Given the importance of providing accurate and clear information to facilitate congressional decision making and inform the public, the Secretary of Commerce should direct NOAA's Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services to require satellite programs to perform regular availability assessments and use these analyses to inform the flyout charts and support its budget requests.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation, but has not yet addressed it. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of providing accurate and clear information to facilitate congressional decision making and inform the public, the Secretary of Commerce should direct NOAA's Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services to establish and implement a consistent approach to depicting satellites that are expected to last beyond their design lives.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation and has taken steps to implement it. The agency updated its flyout chart policy and is in the process of drafting a separate policy to describe how the satellite's extended life is to be predicted and to establish the agency's criteria for publishing the information. This policy is expected to be completed in Fall 2017. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of providing accurate and clear information to facilitate congressional decision making and inform the public, the Secretary of Commerce should direct NOAA's Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services to revise and finalize the draft policy governing how flyout charts are to be updated to address the shortfalls with analysis, accuracy, consistency, and documentation noted in the above recommendations.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation and has taken steps to implement it. NOAA updated its policy governing how the flyout charts are to be updated. In doing so, the agency updated the policy's roles and responsibilities, guidelines, and its methodology for depicting extended life. However, the policy does not clearly define or describe fuel-limited life and its use, or establish standard artifacts for documenting and supporting planned changes to its flyout chart. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of providing accurate and clear information to facilitate congressional decision making and inform the public, the Secretary of Commerce should direct NOAA's Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services to ensure that flyout chart updates are consistent with supporting data from the program and from satellite availability assessments.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation, but has not yet demonstrated the steps it is taking to ensure that flyout chart updates are consistent with supporting data. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of providing accurate and clear information to facilitate congressional decision making and inform the public, the Secretary of Commerce should direct NOAA's Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services, for each flyout chart update, to maintain a complete package of documentation on the reasons for any changes and executive approval of the changes.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation and has taken steps to implement it. Specifically, NOAA provided its March 2017 flyout charts and the associated justification packages. However, NOAA has not established a standard set of artifacts to be included in the justification packages to support changes to its flyout charts. We are working with NOAA to obtain additional justification packages for the next iteration of flyout charts, and will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To fulfill the role assigned to it under the 1980 Act, the Secretary of Commerce should engage with industry stakeholders and continually identify and assess critical materials needs across a broad range of industrial sectors.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In December 2016, Commerce provided information on its implementation of the recommendation from GAO-16-699. Commerce stated that it had developed an action plan consisting of the following steps: (1)consulting with relevant offices and agencies, including: OSTP, DOD, the U.S. Geological Survey, DOE, the U.S. International Trade Commission, the Bureau of Industry and Security, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; (2) determining criteria to be used when it is necessary to collect information to identify and assess critical materials needs; (3) determining appropriate steps, which might include: (a) developing a summary of information that federal agencies currently collect on the domestic and international supply of critical raw materials; (b)soliciting input from a broad range of industries through a Federal Register notice; (c)assessing aggregate information, as allowable under law, that is submitted through the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill process over the course of Q1-2 of fiscal year 2017; and (d)consulting with federal advisory groups for advice; (4) determining the audience for collected information and methodology for information dissemination; (5) determining the process for identifying further information collection needs and methodology for disseminating collected information; and (6) determining the timeline and responsibilities for information collection and distribution. In an April 2017 update, Commerce stated that it had identified points of contacts in 7 of the 8 agencies listed in its action plan and is in the process of contacting them for input. Commerce stated that it hoped to identify an appropriate contact in the 8th agency in the near future. Commerce stated that it had also drafted questions to ask the agencies in order to implement the action plan. Commerce did not provide a timeframe for when it expected to complete implementation of the action plan.
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the CISO is defined in department policy in accordance with the FISMA 2014, the Secretary of Commerce should define the CISO's role in department policy for ensuring that plans and procedures are in place to ensure recovery and continued operations of the department's information systems in the event of a disruption.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce concurred with the recommendation, stating that the department's policy documents are expected to be updated by the end of the 4th Quarter in 2017. However, the Department has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Director: Kimberly M. Gianopoulos
    Phone: (202) 512-8612

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of the SEC's conflict minerals disclosure rule, the Secretary of Commerce should submit to the appropriate congressional committees a plan outlining steps that Commerce will take, with associated time frames, to (1) assess the accuracy of the independent private sector audits (IPSA) and other due diligence processes described under section 13(p) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; (2) develop recommendations for the process used to carry out such audits, including ways to improve the accuracy of the audits and establish standards of best practices for such audits; and (3) acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to carry out these responsibilities.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. In response to this recommendation, Commerce indicated in an October 25, 2016 letter to GAO that it has developed a three-step approach which parallels the three distinct elements of the recommendation. To fully implement this recommendation, Commerce needs to submit the said three-step plan, including associated timeframes for their completion, to the appropriate congressional committees. Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act defines "appropriate committees" to mean the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Ways and Means, and the Committee on Financial Services of the House of Representatives; and the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Finance, and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the quality of the seven departments' information on project incremental delivery reported to the IT Dashboard, the Secretaries of Commerce, Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Transportation, and the Treasury should direct their CIOs to review major IT investment project data reported on the IT Dashboard and update the information as appropriate in the following areas: (1) whether the project is in-progress or complete; (2) whether the project is a software development project or not; and (3) the status of the delivery of functionality every 6 months, ensuring that these data are consistent across all reporting channels.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce (Commerce) concurred with our recommendation and stated that these changes would be incorporated into the department?s Dashboard reporting. However, after our report was issued in August 2016, the IT Dashboard was not publicly updated from the end of August 2016 until the end of May 2017, during the formulation of the President's budget request. Now that the Dashboard is being publicly updated again, we will continue to analyze and monitor the department's progress in updating investment information on the Dashboard and the implementation of our recommendation.
    Director: Carol C. Harris
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to update the CEDCAP program office cost estimate to reflect the current status of the program as soon as appropriate information becomes available.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to implement it. In May 2017, the Census Bureau provided summary documentation that included the fiscal year 2015 through 2021 estimated lifecycle costs for the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCAP) program; however, this information lacked the level of detail needed to determine whether the cost estimate reflects the current status of the program. In addition, in June 2017, the Bureau developed a draft version of the CEDCAP Cost Analysis Requirements Description (CARD), which included descriptions of technical and programmatic features of the program and is intended to serve as the basis for preparing the Program Office Estimate and the Independent Cost Estimate. However, as of August 2017, the CARD had not yet been finalized. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to ensure that updates to the status of risks are consistently documented for CEDCAP's Internet and Mobile Data Collection and Survey (and Listing) Interview Operational Control projects.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to implement it. In August 2017, the Census Bureau provided risk management documentation, including a risk management plan and risk review board meeting minutes. However, this information did not include updated risk registers that documented risk status for the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCAP) Internet and Mobile Data Collection and Survey (and Listing) Interview Operational Control projects. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: TTo ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to ensure that CEDCAP's Internet and Mobile Data Collection, Survey (and Listing) Interview Operational Control, and Centralized Operational Analysis and Control projects establish detailed risk mitigation plans on a consistent basis and that the Internet and Mobile Data Collection and Centralized Operational Analysis and Control projects establish trigger events for all relevant risks.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to implement it. In August 2017, the Census Bureau provided risk management documentation, including a risk management plan and risk review board meeting minutes. However, this documentation did not include detailed risk mitigation plans for risks related to the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCAP) Internet and Mobile Data Collection, Survey (and Listing) Interview Operational Control, and Centralized Operational Analysis and Control projects. The Bureau's risk management documentation also did not include trigger events for all relevant risks for the Internet and Mobile Data Collection and Centralized Operational Analysis and Control projects. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to define, document, and implement a repeatable process to establish complete alignment between CEDCAP and 2020 Census programs by, for example, maintaining a single dependency schedule.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation, but has not yet taken steps to implement it. In August 2016, we reported that several issues can result from the lack of a single dependency schedule, including the need to manually identify activities, the inability to be dynamically responsive to change, and a limited ability to ensure that both the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCAP) and 2020 Census program are planning and measuring their activities according to the same agreed upon timeframe. However, as of August 2017, the Bureau had not yet established a single dependency schedule to ensure complete alignment between the CEDCAP and 2020 Census programs. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to establish a comprehensive and integrated list of all interdependent risks facing the CEDCAP and 2020 Census programs, and clearly identify roles and responsibilities for managing this list.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation, but has not yet taken steps to implement it. In August 2016, we reported that several issues can result from the lack of an integrated risk register, including inconsistencies in tracking and managing interdependent risks, redundant efforts to manage risks, and potentially conflicting risk mitigation efforts. As of August 2017, the Census Bureau had not yet developed an integrated risk register for the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCAP) and 2020 Census programs or documented the roles for managing it. Instead, Bureau officials stated that they flag risks in the risk register that affect both programs. However, as of August 2017, the Bureau had not provided evidence that relevant risks for both programs are flagged in the risk registers. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to identify when the 74 requirements related to redistricting data program and data products and dissemination will be tested.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to implement it. In June 2017, Census Bureau officials stated that, as part of the 2018 End-to-End Census Test, program-level integration testing of the requirements related to the redistricting program and the data products and dissemination are planned to occur from April 3, 2018, to August 1, 2018. However, as of August 2017, the Bureau had not provided supporting documentation for its plans for program-level integration testing of the requirements related to the redistricting program and data products and dissemination. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to make developing a better understanding of and identifying requirements related to non-ID response validation a high and immediate priority, or consider alternatives to avoid late definition of such requirements.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to implement it. In April 2017, the Census Bureau documented high-level milestones related to implementing a fraud detection process in an initial effort to better understand non-ID response validation. However, as of August 2017, the Bureau had not finalized the fraud detection process or documented milestones for implementing the non-ID response validation process. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve patent quality, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the USPTO to develop a consistent definition of patent quality, and clearly articulate this definition in agency documents and other guidance.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will update relevant agency guidance, conduct training, and take other actions in response to this recommendation by March 2017.
    Recommendation: To help improve patent quality, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the USPTO to further develop measurable, quantifiable goals and performance indicators related to patent quality as part of the agency's strategic plan.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will update existing indicators and, as appropriate, develop new measures by October 2016.
    Recommendation: To help improve patent quality, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the USPTO to analyze the time examiners need to perform a thorough patent examination. This action could be taken in conjunction with the recommendation in our report on USPTO's prior art search capabilities (GAO-16-479).

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will complete an examination of expectancy by April 2017.
    Recommendation: To help improve patent quality, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the USPTO to analyze how current performance incentives affect the extent to which examiners perform thorough examinations of patent applications.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will complete an assessment of examination quality across current incentive award tiers by September 2017.
    Recommendation: To help improve patent quality, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the USPTO to establish a process to provide data on the results of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) proceedings to managers and staff in the USPTO's Technology Centers, and analyze PTAB data for trends in patent quality issues to identify whether additional training, guidance, or other actions are needed to address trends.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will establish a process to provide examiners with information on various PTAB proceedings by September 2016.
    Recommendation: To help improve patent quality, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the USPTO to evaluate the effects of compact prosecution and other agency application and examination policies on patent quality. In doing so, USPTO should determine if any changes are needed to ensure that the policies are not adversely affecting patent quality.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will complete an assessment of various policies on patent quality by September 2017.
    Recommendation: To help improve patent quality, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the USPTO to consider whether to require patent applicants to include claim clarity tools--such as a glossary of terms, a check box to signal functional claim language, or claim charts--in each patent application.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will issue a request for comments on additional claim clarity tools by September 2017 and determine any new requirements by January 2018.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

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

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. The Bureau should ensure that its budget for contingencies reflects an accurate accounting of risk and uncertainty. In doing this, the Bureau should improve controls over risk and uncertainty accounting, ensure that risk accounting informs any relevant budgets and cost estimates, and institutionalize these controls by providing clear methods for their use. In August 2016, the Bureau laid out its action plan to implement this recommendation, describing that it would ensure regular review of 2020 Census program risks that would have high cost impacts if they occur and ensure estimates of these impacts are accounted for and documented in each iteration of the life-cycle cost estimates--target date is Q2 FY 2017. As of July 2017, we await documentation from Bureau that may address this recommendation.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting of major management challenges and to ensure performance information is useful, transparent, and complete, the Secretary of Commerce should describe the Department of Commerce's major management challenges and include performance goals, performance measures, milestones and an agency official responsible for resolving each of its major management challenges as part of the Department of Commerce's agency performance plan.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the Department of Commerce' action plan to address GAO's recommendations, it will begin including a description of the Department's major management challenges, as well as related performance goals, performance milestones and an agency official responsible for resolving each of its major management challenges, in the Department's annual performance plan reporting, starting with the report to be issued concurrent with final fiscal year 2018 Congressional Budget Justifications (CBJ). As of August 2017, Commerce has not taken action to implement our recommendation. Our review of the Department of Commerce's 2018 CBJ found that it did not include recommended information. When the 2019 CBJ is issued, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, Transportation, the Treasury, Veterans Affairs; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct their CIOs to ensure that their CIO ratings reflect the level of risk facing an investment relative to that investment's ability to accomplish its goals.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department agreed with our recommendation and, in a written response, stated that the CIO has revised the IT Dashboard assessment criteria to directly incorporate the degree of risk represented in the investments' Business Case documents. We will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To monitor whether existing investments are meeting the needs of their agencies, the Secretaries of Commerce and the Treasury should direct the respective agency CIO to ensure that required analyses are performed on investments in the operations and maintenance phase.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency agreed with the recommendation. In a May 2017 written update, the agency stated that it had updated its Capital Planning and Investment Control handbook with instructions on conducting operational analyses. However, the agency was unable to demonstrate that operational analyses were being completed on an annual basis, as required. We will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To address obsolete IT investments in need of modernization or replacement, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, the Treasury, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Commissioner of Social Security should direct their respective agency CIOs to identify and plan to modernize or replace legacy systems as needed and consistent with OMB's draft guidance, including time frames, activities to be performed, and functions to be replaced or enhanced.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency agreed with the recommendation. In May 2017, the agency stated that it was continuously assessing its current IT portfolio for opportunities to retire or modernize its mission critical legacy systems. Specifically, Commerce stated that it had identified two candidate systems for modernization--the National Weather Service Telecommunications Gateway and the USPTO Examiner Automated Search Tool. However, it is unclear how these plans will relate to OMB's guidance. We will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Given the importance of addressing risks on the JPSS satellite program, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Administrator of NOAA to establish a plan to address the limitations in the program's efforts to test security controls, including ensuring that any changes in the system's inventory do not materially affect test results.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with our recommendation and has established a plan to address the limitations we identified in the program's efforts to test security controls. NOAA's plan outlines several actions, and the agency plans to complete these actions by Summer 2017. We will continue to evaluate NOAA's progress in implementing its planned actions.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of addressing risks on the JPSS satellite program, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Administrator of NOAA to, when establishing plans of action and milestones to address critical and high risk vulnerabilities, schedule the completion dates within 30 days, as required by agency policy.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with our recommendation and has established a plan to address it. This plan includes multiple actions that are to be completed by the end of July 2017. We will continue to evaluate NOAA's progress.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of addressing risks on the JPSS satellite program, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Administrator of NOAA to ensure that the agency and program are tracking and closing a consistent set of incident response activities.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with our recommendation and has made progress in addressing it. Specifically, NOAA developed a pilot of a new incident tracking and reporting system to manage its response activities. NOAA plans to complete additional steps to implement this recommendation. We will continue to evaluate NOAA's progress in addressing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of addressing risks on the JPSS satellite program, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Administrator of NOAA to evaluate the costs and benefits of different launch scenarios for the Polar Follow-on program based on updated satellite life expectancies to ensure satellite continuity while minimizing program costs.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation and provided some documentation on its efforts to evaluate different launch scenarios. However, the agency has not yet provided all of the documentation needed to confirm that this recommendation has been addressed. We continue to work with NOAA to obtain and review the documentation needed to address this recommendation.
    Director: David Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In May 2016, the department stated in correspondence to GAO that it will work with its bureaus to develop and publish an annual strategic plan. The strategic plan will, among other things, describe a list of specific planned actions to improve data center optimization progress. For example, the department stated that, to increase facility utilization, the Bureau of Economic Analysis is co-locating computing resources within the Census Bureau's Bowie Computer Center. Further, Census planned to market the Bowie Computer Center as an opportunity for government-wide co-location. In addition, the department stated that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is building greater network capacity to National Weather Service forecast offices and will aim to reduce the number of local systems at forecast offices that are currently considered data centers (122 in total). However, as of July 2017, the Department of Commerce reports on the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) IT Dashboard that it does not yet meet any of the five data center optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Alicia Puente Cackley
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of the annual official U.S. estimate of remittances, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the BEA Director to conduct additional analyses of BEA's estimates using estimation techniques appropriate for dealing with the shortcomings of the data. Analyses should also be conducted to understand the effect of various assumptions behind and limitations of the data on the estimates.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    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 transparency and quality of BEA's international remittances estimate, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the BEA Director to follow established BEA best practices, OMB policies, and NRC guidance for documenting BEA's methods and analyses used to revise its model for estimating remittances and for producing its annual estimates.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

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

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the activities carried out under the ITM program do not duplicate the efforts of other federal loan guarantee programs, such as SBA's 7(a) program, the Secretary of Commerce should direct EDA to work with SBA and NIST to further identify any gaps in capital access that may be present that the program could fill, and then develop marketing materials and conduct outreach to help target those gaps.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: Partially addressed. As of November 2016 the Economic Development Administration (EDA) had begun taking action on GAO's February 2016 recommendation to work with SBA and NIST to identify gaps in capital access and develop marketing materials and conduct outreach based on any gaps identified for the Federal Loan Guarantees for Innovative Technologies in Manufacturing program (ITM). Due to delays in establishing the program, however, these efforts are still in progress. According to EDA officials, as of November 28, 2016 EDA contractors working on the ITM program had held a preliminary discussion with SBA to discuss program marketing, outreach and potential gaps in capital access that the ITM program may be able to fill, among other topics, but had not yet initiated additional coordination with NIST. We continue to believe that coordination with SBA and NIST to identify gaps in capital access, and then marketing the program to target those gaps could help EDA ensure that ITM program activities do not duplicate the efforts of other federal loan guarantee programs.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve NMFS' ability to capitalize on its efforts to improve fisheries data collection for managing marine recreational fisheries, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Assistant Administrator for Fisheries to develop a comprehensive strategy to guide NMFS' implementation of its marine recreational fisheries data collection program efforts, including a means to measure progress in implementing this strategy and to communicate information to stakeholders. As part of this strategy, NMFS should clearly identify and communicate programmatic goals, determine the program activities and resources needed to accomplish the goals, and establish time frames and performance measures to track progress in implementing the strategy and accomplishing goals.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, a NOAA official stated that the agency expects to develop a strategy in accordance with our recommendation not later than July 2017.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help ensure the Bureau focuses its resources on those activities that show promise for substantially reducing enumeration cost, in advance of the 2016 Census Test and later tests, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary of the Economics and Statistics Administration and the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to, ensure systematic capture of information about fieldwork cases that experience problems by including information in enumerator training about where to record the issues, who to contact, what details to include, and the importance of doing so.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce concurred with this recommendation. The Census Bureau informed us in December 2015 that no later than the end of December 2015, it would document how these matters have been addressed in the enumerator training (or in help screens on their mobile device) planned for the 2016 Census Test, and that it would use results and observations from that test to further refine such information for future tests and for the 2020 Census. The Bureau provided us with related training materials for the 2016 Test, yet we made similar observations during the test. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to identify what information from tests on a case-by-case basis it finds valuable to have from its enumerators, such as the incidence of specific technical problems with the survey instrument or mobile device and ensure that during tests enumerators and their first-line supervisors are made aware of the importance of recording such information and how to do so. As of July 2017, the Bureau is working to provide documentation that shows it has implemented this recommendation.
    Director: David Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the department's IT savings reinvestment plans, as part of any future update to the department's information resource management strategic plan or equivalent document, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the CIO to include information regarding the approach to reinvesting savings from the consolidation of commodity IT resources (including data centers) in accordance with OMB's guidance.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation, but has not yet taken steps to implement it. Specifically, as of May 2017, the department had not updated its IT Resource Management Strategic plan to include the approach to reinvesting savings from the consolidation of commodity IT resources. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the department's IT savings reinvestment plans, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the CIO to ensure that the department's integrated data collection submission to OMB includes, for all reported initiatives, complete plans to reinvest any resulting cost savings and avoidances from OMB-directed IT reform-related efforts.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation, but has not yet taken steps to implement it. Specifically, as of May 2017, the department's integrated data collection submission to the Office of Management and Budget had not been updated to include reinvestment plans for all reported cost savings and avoidance initiatives. For example, the department reported about $26 million in cost savings and avoidances related to its server virtualization efforts, but did not include plans regarding how these savings would be reinvested. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To more clearly communicate what NTIA hopes to achieve with its ongoing broadband adoption efforts and to demonstrate the agency's progress, the Secretary of Commerce should include in NTIA's annual performance plan a quantifiable outcome-based performance goal and a related performance indicator for the agency's broadband adoption efforts consistent with the strategic plan.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In responding to the recommendation in a draft of the report, the Department of Commerce stated that it agrees that outcome-based performance tools are important in evaluating the success of an agency program. However, it also stated that an outcome-based measure would not be an accurate measure of NTIA's performance because the agency's ongoing efforts to provide technical assistance to communities to support broadband adoption efforts are advisory and do not provide funding to communities. In August 2016, an NTIA official reiterated this position. We will continue to monitor NTIA's activities in this area, in case its broadband adoption efforts change.
    Director: Carol R. Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    3 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.
    Director: Marie A. Mak
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

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

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: Commerce has identified various efforts to collaborate across multiple agencies within individual critical technologies programs, but has not taken steps to promote collaboration on critical technologies through a larger group discussion.
    Director: Carol R. Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver an Internet response option for the 2020 Decennial Census, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs to direct the Director of the Census Bureau to ensure that the estimated costs associated with the Internet response option are updated to reflect significant changes in the program and to fully meet the characteristics of a reliable cost estimate.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Commerce neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. To fully implement this recommendation, the Census Bureau's updated cost estimate needs to reflect significant changes in the program as they relate to the Internet response option and fully meet the characteristics of a reliable cost estimate. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver an Internet response option for the 2020 Decennial Census, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs to direct the Director of the Census Bureau to ensure that the methodologies for answering the Internet response rate and IT infrastructure research questions are determined and documented in existing or future project plans in time to inform key design decisions.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Commerce neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. The Census Bureau has developed the methodologies for answering IT infrastructure research questions in its 2020 Census Enterprise Architecture and Infrastructure Transition Plan, which describes the Bureau's multi-year plan for evolving the IT infrastructure to support all 2020 Census operations. However, to fully implement this recommendation the Bureau needs to provide documentation that describes the methodology for determining the Internet response rate for the 2020 Census. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Dave Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

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

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation. The agency subsequently reported that contractors are required to report defects and that the agency can place a hold or put liens against contractors if defects are not addressed. NOAA also provided documentation to support its recurring meetings at which defects are addressed. Additionally, NOAA provided documentation on its defect reporting requirements and definitions. However, NOAA did not provide documentation showing what defect metrics should be collected and reported, and how to establish a defect's priority or severity. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that NOAA has sufficient information and analysis to guide long-term decisions regarding its aircraft, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the NOAA Administrator to ensure that the agency links and integrates its multiple planning efforts as it finalizes a capital asset plan for aircraft.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations is working to complete its various planning efforts activities and integrate the key components with a comprehensive aircraft modernization plan that it expects to finalize in fall 2017.
    Director: Carol R. Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    6 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective management of software licenses, the Secretary of Commerce should develop an agency-wide comprehensive policy for the management of software licenses that addresses the weaknesses we identified.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce concurred with our recommendation. In April 2017, the department reported that it has established an integrated project team (IPT) team with representation from the bureau enterprise architecture teams to develop a methodology of managing software licenses across the department. In addition, Commerce reported that the IPT is chartered to refine the department's software licenses policy over time and provide guidance in establishing an enterprise license software management practice. We will continue to monitor the department's progress in implementing a comprehensive software license management policy.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective management of software licenses, the Secretary of Commerce should employ a centralized software license management approach that is coordinated and integrated with key personnel for the majority of agency software license spending and/or enterprise-wide licenses.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce partially concurred with our recommendation. In April 2017, the department reported that it has established an integrated project team (IPT) with representation from the bureau enterprise architecture teams to develop a methodology of managing licenses across the department. In addition, the department reported that the IPT is chartered to refine the software policy over time and provide guidance in establishing an enterprise license management practice. We will continue to monitor the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective management of software licenses, the Secretary of Commerce should establish a comprehensive inventory of software licenses using automated tools for the majority of agency software license spending and/or enterprise-wide licenses.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Commerce partially concurred with our recommendation. In April 2017, Commerce reported that it has conducted an inventory of software licenses through a data call and inventory collection template. Commerce also reported that it is evaluating how to automate the inventory process by leveraging the portfolio of deployed network discovery tools for identifying installed licensed products, collating and ingesting the information into a repository for maintenance and reporting of the data. We will continue to monitor the department's progress in implementing automated discovery and inventory tools in support of its department-wide software license inventory.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective management of software licenses, the Secretary of Commerce should regularly track and maintain a comprehensive inventory of software licenses using automated tools and metrics.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce partially concurred with our recommendation. In April 2017, Commerce reported that it has conducted an inventory of software licenses through a data call and inventory collection template. Commerce also reported that it is evaluating how to automate the inventory process by leveraging the portfolio of deployed network discovery tools for identifying installed licensed products, collating and ingesting the information into a repository for maintenance and reporting of the data. We will continue to monitor the department's progress in implementing automated discovery and inventory tools in support of its department-wide software license inventory.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective management of software licenses, the Secretary of Commerce should analyze agency-wide software license data, such as costs, benefits, usage, and trending data, to identify opportunities to reduce costs and better inform investment decision making.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce partially concurred with our recommendation. In April 2017, the department reported that it has established an integrated project team (IPT) with representation from the bureau enterprise architecture teams to develop a methodology of managing licenses across the department. In addition, the department reported that the IPT is chartered to refine the software policy over time and provide guidance in establishing an enterprise license management practice. We will continue to monitor the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective management of software licenses, the Secretary of Commerce should provide software license management training to appropriate agency personnel addressing contract terms and conditions, negotiations, laws and regulations, acquisition, security planning, and configuration management.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce partially concurred with our recommendation. In April 2017, the department reported that it has established an integrated project team (IPT) with representation from the bureau enterprise architecture teams to develop a methodology of managing licenses across the department. In addition, the department reported that the IPT is chartered to refine the software policy over time and provide guidance in establishing an enterprise license management practice. We will continue to monitor the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Kimberly Gianopoulos
    Phone: (202) 512-8612

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve federal-state collaboration in providing export promotion services in accordance with the National Export Initiative, and the Export Enhancement Act of 1992, the Secretary of Commerce, as Chair of the TPCC, should take steps consistent with key practices to enhance, where possible, federal information sharing with state trade offices on Commerce's export promotion activities. This could include more formal guidance to Commerce staff regarding the circumstances, in light of legal restrictions, in which information can be shared with state trade offices and other nonfederal entities, and exploring ways for clients to give permission to release information useful to such nonfederal entities.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Commerce (Commerce) notified GAO that it did not fully concur with GAO's May 2014 recommendation, preferring instead to maintain a case-by-case approach rather than issuing more formal guidance on federal information sharing with state trade offices. According to Commerce, as of March 2016, the agency was in the process of implementing a new client relationship management system. Commerce officials said that as future iterations of this system and public websites come online, they would seek to identify ways for clients to give permission to release information useful to other federal agencies, state trade offices, and other local service providers. In February 2016, Congress passed The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, Public Law 114-125, which requires that within a year of the act's passing, Commerce must develop a federal-state export promotion coordination plan that addresses, among other things, information sharing between federal and state trade offices. The act also requires Commerce and state trade promotion agencies to develop a framework to share information on export successes, and report to Congress on this framework within a year of the law's enactment. Later in 2016, Commerce officials began holding monthly calls with SIDO and state trade offices to share information on topics such as client intake, performance measures, and new federal export promotion activities. In March 2017, Commerce officials informed GAO that after further review of information-sharing limitations under the Trade Secrets Act, Commerce has determined that Written Impact Narratives (WINs) that have been approved for public use by the clients can be shared with State trade agencies. Commerce is currently developing a policy to ensure they are shared in a timely manner. In addition, the newly formed Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) state and federal export promotion working group is expected to create a framework for information sharing. Without greater information sharing in the provision of similar services, Commerce will likely be limited in its ability to help ensure that export promotion services are efficiently managed across federal and state efforts, and that resources are appropriately leveraged.
    Recommendation: To improve federal-state collaboration in providing export promotion services in accordance with the National Export Initiative, and the Export Enhancement Act of 1992, the Secretary of Commerce, as Chair of the TPCC, should take steps consistent with key practices for collaboration to enhance TPCC agencies' partnering on export promotion with nonfederal entities, such as State International Development Organizations and Global Cities. This could include reassessing and strengthening the TPCC's intergovernmental partnerships by clarifying expected outcomes, defining roles and responsibilities, monitoring results, and planning resource needs.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Commerce (Commerce) and the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC), which is responsible for providing a unified national framework for export promotion, have taken some steps to enhance federal-state collaboration in export promotion, as GAO recommended in May 2014 and as called for in a subsequent law. In February 2016, Congress passed The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, Public Law 114-125, which according to the State International Development Organizations (SIDO), contained provisions intended to enhance federal-state collaboration in export promotion. First, the act directs the President to establish a state and federal export promotion coordination working group as a subcommittee of the TPCC and appoint at least one representative from a state trade promotion agency to the TPCC. Second, beginning in February 2017, the act requires Commerce to annually submit to the TPCC a federal-state export strategy for each state that submits its export strategy to Commerce for that year that, among other things, addresses efforts to reduce duplication. Third, the act requires Commerce and state trade promotion agencies to develop a coordinated set of performance metrics, and report to Congress on these metrics within a year of the law's enactment. Fourth, the act mandates an annual survey and analysis, in coordination with state trade promotion agencies, of the overall effectiveness of federal-state coordination in export promotion. In April 2016 Commerce and SIDO signed a memorandum of intent to develop joint strategies and implement activities to enhance federal and state agency coordination and cooperation . In September 2016 Commerce issued a Federal Register Notice announcing the establishment of a state and federal export promotion coordination working group under the TPCC. The Secretary of Commerce appointed 14 members to this new working group in January 2017, which has met several times according to Commerce officials. The working group is developing a federal-state export coordination strategy that is expected to define roles and responsibilities, among other things. Successfully completing these activities is important, because without joint federal-state planning, programs at different levels of government will likely continue to be duplicative, and effective resource planning will likely be hampered.
    Director: Powner, David A
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard provides accurate ratings, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the department CIO to ensure that the department's investments are appropriately categorized in accordance with existing statutes and that major IT investments are included on the Dashboard.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce disagreed with this recommendation. In written correspondence, the Department noted that, although it is no longer reporting three of the 10 investments reviewed for this engagement on the IT Dashboard, it is maintaining oversight through monthly Dashboard-like assessments. As of July 28, 2016, the Department stated that it did not have plans to re-categorize these three particular investments as IT and report the data on the IT Dashboard. We continue to believe that this recommendation has merit and will monitor the Department's efforts to maintain oversight for these investments.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    3 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.
    Director: Powner, David A
    Phone: (202)512-9286

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the department's implementation of PortfolioStat, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the CIO to reflect 100 percent of information technology investments in the department's enterprise architecture.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its January 2014 statement of actions to address our recommendations, the Department of Commerce stated that the majority of its IT investments were made at the operating unit level and it was therefore planning on issuing policy to require consistency between the operating units' enterprise architecture and the totality of IT investments as reflected in the annual capital asset plan and business case summary submission. The department noted it would also require that consistency between the department's enterprise architecture and the IT investment portfolio is confirmed before submission of either of these artifacts. We are following up with the department to determine the status of these planned actions.
    Recommendation: To improve the department's implementation of PortfolioStat, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the CIO to develop a complete commodity IT baseline.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its January 2014 statement of actions to address our recommendations, the Department of Commerce stated it had submitted two iterations of its commodity IT baseline to OMB since we made our recommendation. The department noted the PortfolioStat process and requirement to submit the baseline through the integrated data collection tool helped ensure the baseline was complete. We plan to follow up with Commerce officials.
    Director: Cha, Carol
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance federal agencies' ability to realize enterprise architecture benefits, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, the Air Force, the Army, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Homeland Security, the Interior, Labor, the Navy, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Small Business Administration; the Commissioners of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Social Security Administration; and the Directors of the National Science Foundation and the Office of Personnel Management should fully establish an approach for measuring enterprise architecture outcomes, including a documented method (i.e., steps to be followed) and metrics that are measurable, meaningful, repeatable, consistent, actionable, and aligned with the agency's enterprise architecture's strategic goals and intended purpose.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce has not implemented this recommendation. We reported in September 2012 that the department had established metrics to measure and report outcomes associated with its enterprise architecture program, such as information technology cost savings, but it had yet to establish a method (i.e. steps to be followed) for measuring such outcomes. In April 2017, a department liaison reported that the Office of the Chief Information Officer had developed an initial draft of an enterprise architecture value measurement plan. However, as of August 2017, the department had not demonstrated that the plan had been finalized.
    Recommendation: To enhance federal agencies' ability to realize enterprise architecture benefits, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, the Air Force, the Army, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Homeland Security, the Interior, Labor, the Navy, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Small Business Administration; the Commissioners of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Social Security Administration; and the Directors of the National Science Foundation and the Office of Personnel Management should periodically measure and report enterprise architecture outcomes and benefits to top agency officials (i.e., executives with authority to commit resources or make changes to the program) and to OMB.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce has not implemented this recommendation. In November 2012, the department reported architecture outcomes, such as information technology cost savings, to top agency officials. However, the department has not reported architecture outcomes again to top agency officials or to the Office of Management and Budget. In April 2017, a department liaison reported that the Office of the Chief Information Officer had developed an initial draft enterprise architecture value measurement plan, which the department expected to complete by May 2017. In addition, the official reported that the department was in the process of developing a communication plan, by May 2017, to brief executive leadership on architecture value measurement on a regular basis. However, as of August 2017, the department had not demonstrated that these plans had been finalized.
    Director: Gomez, Jose A
    Phone: (202)512-4101

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the performance measures used to evaluate the TAA for Firms program demonstrate program results and to help ensure that EDA can comprehensively evaluate the effectiveness of the program, the Secretary of Commerce should broaden the program's evaluation approach, for instance, by developing additional quantifiable outcome-oriented performance goals and measures for key program areas and conducting further analysis of the data to isolate the impact of the TAA for Firms program from other influences, such as economic trends.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce concurred with our findings and recommendations. In April 2017, EDA provided additional information on its progress in implementing our recommendation. In 2012, EDA commissioned a study to inform the development of performance metrics and evaluation methods for the TAA for Firms program. Issued in October 2014, the study provided recommendations to EDA on potential performance metrics, tested the metrics by conducting a statistical analysis of TAA for Firms clients against a control group as well as a survey, and suggested data sources for conducting future evaluations of the TAA for Firms program. According to EDA officials, the study will help provide a foundation for more robust longitudinal performance measurement and enhanced policy analysis, thereby enabling EDA to more comprehensively evaluate the program. These officials noted that, as of April 2017, EDA is continuing to collaborate with the authors of the study to help develop, validate, and implement recommended performance metrics. According to EDA officials, the authors of the study have finalized an operational toolkit containing recommended metrics and protocols for data collection and impact evaluation methods. EDA plans to review and pilot test these recommended metrics and evaluation methods to improve program evaluation. We will continue to monitor Commerce's efforts to implement our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the data available to manage and evaluate the TAA for Firms program, the Secretary of Commerce should develop a data system to consistently collect, maintain, and analyze sufficiently reliable and up-to-date data on program operations and participant firms.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce concurred with our findings and recommendations. In April 2017, EDA provided additional information on its progress in implementing our recommendation. Commerce's Office of the Chief Information Officer has undertaken a variety of activities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Commerce's data systems, including those of EDA. According to EDA officials, as of April 2017, EDA is evaluating its agency-wide data system and alternative systems for collecting data on program operations with which to measure program performance. According to these officials, EDA expects that the transition to the new data system for the TAA for Firms program will be completed pending the outcome of the evaluation. We will continue to monitor Commerce's efforts to implement our recommendation.
    Director: Shear, William B
    Phone: (202)512-4325

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should consistently collect information that would enable them to track the specific type of assistance programs provide and the entrepreneurs they serve and use this information to help administer their programs.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2017, Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) noted that it announced additional reporting requirements for grantees as part of its Fiscal Year 2017 Economic Development Assistance Programs federal funding opportunity that are intended to improve program evaluation. EDA added that it plans to work with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to finalize the new survey forms needed to implement the new requirements with a goal of piloting them in fiscal year 2017. In addition, Commerce participates in an OMB-led interagency working group convened to share best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance analysis. In March 2017, OMB noted that SBA and Commerce's Office of Performance and Risk Management plan to co-publish a report outlining several best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance. It will be important for Commerce to follow through on the initiatives described above.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should conduct more program evaluations to better understand why programs have not met performance goals and their overall effectiveness.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2017, Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) noted that it announced additional reporting requirements for grantees as part of its Fiscal Year 2017 Economic Development Assistance Programs federal funding opportunity that are intended to improve program evaluation. EDA added that it plans to work with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to finalize the new survey forms needed to implement the new requirements with a goal of piloting them in fiscal year 2017. In addition, Commerce participates in an OMB-led interagency working group convened to share best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance analysis. In March 2017, OMB noted that SBA and Commerce's Office of Performance and Risk Management plan to co-publish a report outlining several best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance. It will be important for Commerce to follow through on the initiatives described above and conduct evaluations of the three economic development programs that have not yet been assessed.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the Bureau's process of organizational transformation, long-term planning, and strategic workforce planning for the 2020 Census, and thus better position the Bureau to carry out a cost-effective decennial census, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs who oversees the Economics and Statistics Administration, as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to, in order to ensure prioritization and timely completion of all necessary research and testing efforts, as well as timely transition to later 2020 Census phases, develop and implement a long-term planning schedule that includes key milestones and deadlines, including (1) deadlines for decisions that directly affect activity in later 2020 Census phases; (2) a schedule for creating, revising, or updating governance, program management, and system engineering and architecture plans to be used in later 2020 Census phases beyond research and testing; and (3) expected times of delivery for Bureau-wide enterprise tools, processes, and standards that 2020 Census planning would be expected to use.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. Bureau officials released an operational plan in November 2015, including a high-level timeline for much of the remaining activity, but final schedules of delivery for Bureau-wide enterprise tools, processes, and standards are being revised and are not yet complete. In June 2016, officials announced that the Bureau would finalize its updated schedule in July 2016. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to finalize program management and other governance documents applicable to the current and later phases of the decennial lifecycle, as well as finalizing schedules for delivery of Bureau-wide enterprise tools, processes, and standards. As of July 2017, Bureau officials reported they were working to provide artifacts they believe may address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the Bureau's process of organizational transformation, long-term planning, and strategic workforce planning for the 2020 Census, and thus better position the Bureau to carry out a cost-effective decennial census, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs who oversees the Economics and Statistics Administration, as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to, in order to improve the Bureau's process for following up on Bureau and oversight agencies' recommendations to improve the 2020 Census, (1) assess the status of recommendation follow-up at regular intervals, such as every 12 months; and (2) periodically report on the status of recommendation follow-up--such as on the Bureau's intranet or Internet pages.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. The Bureau assigns outstanding recommendations from GAO and others within the Bureau's knowledge management database to various leads, such as specific 2020 Census research and testing project teams. The Bureau regularly collates status updates on our open recommendations as well as the Office of Inspector General for reporting to department officials. The Bureau has begun quarterly meetings with us to discuss open GAO recommendations. When the status of its own internal recommendations -- such as from evaluations of its earlier tests -- is more visible inside and outside the Bureau, the Bureau's knowledge management will be better positioned to help the Bureau achieve goals of a cost-effective census. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to implement mechanisms to capture lessons learned from its ongoing research and testing experience for recommendations in its database, and periodically report on the status of all open recommendations. As of July 2017, the Bureau is actively collecting artifacts, but has not yet provided evidence of either regular or open reporting on the status of other recommendations, such as from its own prior evaluations, ongoing tests, or the National Academy of Sciences.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the Bureau's ability to control costs for the 2020 decennial and balance cost and quality, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary of the Economics and Statistics Administration, as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, to finalize how the Bureau will apply cost as an evaluation criterion for choosing among design alternatives for 2020 and ensure that all criteria are transparent, well documented, and consistently applied before alternatives are eliminated.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: Commerce neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. According to the Census Bureau, each research and testing (R&T) project team was to develop a study plan outlining the goal of the project, the expected outcome, and the methodology to be used to arrive at data to inform trade off analysis and decision-making. To help ensure efficient use of resources for 2020 R&T projects, and that the conclusions reached by the projects were sound and provide decision makers with reliable findings, the Bureau planned to establish internal Scientific and Methodological Review Panels. These panels were to evaluate research designs, provide critical feedback and guidance to the research teams and assess the validity of any findings, conclusions and recommendations. In October 2015 the Bureau released an operational plan that described at a high level how cost was a consideration, but it did not lay out the criteria to be used. As of July 2017, we are following up with Census officials to obtain evidence that cost is being used as an evaluation criterion when choosing among design alternatives.
    Director: Wilshusen, Gregory C
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve individual agency cybersecurity workforce planning efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the department's Chief Information Officer, in consultation with its Chief Human Capital Officer, to develop and implement a departmentwide cybersecurity workforce plan or ensure that departmental components are conducting appropriate workforce planning activities.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce concurred with the recommendation. In fiscal year 2016, we verified that Commerce, in response to our recommendation, expected to develop a cybersecurity workforce plan by the second quarter of fiscal year 2017. This plan would address department-level skills. In addition, each component of Commerce would develop a subordinate workforce action plan to address component-level skills, as well as competency and certification gaps. As of August 2017, Commerce has not confirmed that it has developed a department-level workforce plan or that its components have developed workforce plans.
    Director: Wilshusen, Gregory C
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that PIV cards do not remain in the possession of staff whose employment or contract with the federal government is over, the Secretary of Commerce should establish controls, in addition to time frames for implementing a new tracking system, to ensure that PIV cards are revoked in a timely fashion.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, Commerce had not submitted information or plans regarding revoking PIV cards in a timely fashion.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-2757

    7 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to use evaluation results, response rate, and other data to develop a predictive model that would inform decisions on how much and how best to allocate paid media funds for 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: During 2013, the Bureau reported on the agency's assessments of the 2010 communications campaign. The Bureau concluded that extra investment of advertising in certain markets increased awareness of the Census. During 2015, the Bureau conducted research and testing on activities to support planning for the 2020 communications campaign. The Bureau based its testing, in part, on evaluation results of paid media activities the 2010 integrated communications program. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the contractor will develop a paid media plan based on tests of advertising with target audiences and complete analysis of media buys. The contractor will develop an ad tracking system to help inform decisions on allocating paid media funds for 2020. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. Bureau officials have indicated action on this recommendation is due by December 31, 2017, and as of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau progress in developing its approach for the 2020 Integrated Communications Program.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to develop mechanisms to increase coordination and communication between the partnership and local census office staff. Possible actions include offering more opportunities for joint training, establishing protocols for coordination, and more effectively leveraging the partnership contact database to better align partnership outreach activities with local needs.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2011, the Bureau reported on the agency's assessment of the partnership program. According to the Bureau, the Regional Partnership is developing a strategy for the 2020 Census Partnership and Outreach Program. In September 2014, the Bureau's Path to the 2020 Census, identified the Partnership Program as one of the best methods for communicating the importance of response and states its intent to map out details about the Partnership Program in early 2016. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the Contractor will collaborate with program areas, the Field Division, and regional offices to implement the partnership program. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. As of July 2017, Bureau officials are gathering artifacts that they believe may demonstrate progress with this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to improve the user-friendliness of the partnership database to help ensure more timely updates of contact information and enhance its use as a management tool.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2012, the Bureau issued an assessment of the partnership program that highlighted user problems with the partnership database. One of the report's recommendations was to ensure ease of data entry for users of the Integrated Partner Contact Database (IPCD). In 2014, the Bureau reported the agency is continuing to modifications to the Integrated Partner Contact Database (IPCD) system and discussing options for improving the efficiency and usability of the IPCD. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the Contractor will work closely with the regional offices to implement the partnership program. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. Bureau officials have indicated that action on this recommendation is due by September 30, 2017. As of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau progress in improving the efficiency and usability of its partnership database.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure that promotional materials, including in-language materials for the partnership program, are available when partnership staff are first hired.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2011, the Bureau issued an assessment of the partnership program. One of the report's recommendations was to provide promotional materials that fit partner needs. During April 2014, Bureau reported its staff in the field and communications directorates have plans to review assessments, lessons learned reports and debriefings with key staff, stakeholders, and partners to inform an effective strategy for the development, production, and delivery of promotional materials, including non-English language materials, for the 2020 Census. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the Contractor will produce materials such as promotional items for partners to use in promoting awareness of the census. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. As of July 2017, Bureau officials are attempting to identify and provide evidence that they met their April 1, 2017 deadline of implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve some of the Bureau's key efforts to enumerate HTC populations, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to assess visitation, response rate, and other applicable data on Be Counted/QAC locations and use that information to revise site selection guidance for 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: During May 2012 the Bureau reported on its assessment of the Be Counted/ Questionnaire Assistance Center program. The assessment included information on the number of individuals counted and number of location established but did not identify response rates for hard-to enumerate groups. In April 2013, the Bureau reported on its assessment of coverage measurement issues related to hard-to-enumerate populations. In its 2020 Census Operational Plan, issued in October 2015, the Bureau provided a high level overview of reengineered field operations plans and has not provided details on making decisions on special enumeration efforts such as Be Counted. As of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau's plans for special enumeration activities that target hard to enumerate groups, and Bureau officials are gathering artifacts to support implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve some of the Bureau's key efforts to enumerate HTC populations, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the factors that led to the staffing issues observed during SBE and take corrective actions to ensure more efficient SBE staffing levels in 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2012, the Bureau issued its assessment of the Service Based Enumeration Program. The assessment reported on the number of individuals counted and the complexities of this special enumeration activity. The assessment did not address the Bureau's approach to staffing this special enumeration activity. In its 2020 Census Operational Plan, issued in October 2015, the Bureau provided a high level overview of reengineered field operations plans and has not provided details on making decisions on special enumeration efforts. As of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau's plans for special enumeration activities that target hard to enumerate groups, and Bureau officials are gathering artifacts to support implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve some of the Bureau's key efforts to enumerate HTC populations, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to evaluate the extent to which each special enumeration activity improved the count of traditionally hard-to-enumerate groups and use the results to help inform decision making on spending for these programs in 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In 2012, the Bureau reported on assessments of many 2010 special enumeration activities such as the Service-Based Enumeration and the Be Counted/Questionnaire Assistance Center Programs. These assessments revealed the number of persons counted and spending for the special enumeration activities. Separately, the Bureau issued results of the 2010 Census Coverage Measurement Program that described the level of coverage of various hard-to-enumerate populations generally without attributing coverage to specific enumeration activities. In 2015, the Bureau issued its 2020 Census Operational Plan outlining design changes for enumeration activities. According to the Bureau, the changes are designed to optimize self-response and use administrative records and third party data to reduce field work. However, the Bureau had not provided details of its plans for various special enumeration activities. In April 2017 Bureau officials provided us with evaluation results of its 2010 communication efforts and other documents related to ongoing efforts to reduce errors in the census. As of mid-July 2017, Bureau officials reported they were working to provide other artifacts they believe may demonstrate that recommendation has been addressed.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-2757

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the Bureau's use of its master schedule to manage the 2020 decennial census, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to include estimates of the resources, such as labor, materials, and overhead costs, in the 2020 integrated schedule for each activity as the schedule is built, and prepare to carry out other steps as necessary to conduct systematic schedule risk analyses on the 2020 schedule.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. The Bureau continues to refine its 2020 Census master schedule, which it recently announced it completed in July 2016. Bureau officials have periodically described their intent to link resources to activities within their schedules, but as of July 2016 had confirmed that it had not yet done so. The Bureau has provided us with copies of its schedule, but not yet satisfactory evidence of having completed such an analysis. 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. As of July 2017, we have received initial documents as we begin this review.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-6794

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the Bureau's recruiting, hiring, and training of temporary field staff, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to modify recruiting and hiring tools, including the skills test and phone interview, to better differentiate applicants with the skills and competencies needed by crew leaders from those who would be better suited for other field positions.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: During April 2011, the Bureau reported on actions taken to modify recruiting and hiring tools. As of May 2014, the Bureau had drafted its 2020 Workforce Action Plan that will inform its decisions on managing human capital for 2020. The plan is expected to inform a variety of hiring and recruiting activities, including conducting a skills analysis for research and testing projects. We met with Bureau officials in August 2016 to discuss efforts they may have used in the 2016 Census Test in response to this recommendation. We discussed the status of this recommendation with Bureau officials in July 2017, and we await supporting documentation on possible actions taken.