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    Results:

    Subject Term: "Government information"

    18 publications with a total of 70 open recommendations including 10 priority recommendations
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should continue to provide ongoing technical assistance that significantly contributes to agencies making their own determinations about their DATA Act reporting requirements and monitor agency submissions. (Recommendation 1)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should clarify and align existing guidance regarding the appropriate definitions agencies should use to collect and report on Primary Place of Performance and establish monitoring mechanisms to foster consistent application and compliance. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    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 the Treasury should reasonably assure that the process for determining whether required agencies are submitting spending data is in place and operating as designed. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    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 the Treasury should reasonably assure that ongoing monitoring controls to help ensure the completeness and accuracy of agency submissions are designed, implemented, and operating as designed. (Recommendation 4)

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    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 the Treasury should disclose known data quality issues and limitations on the new USAspending.gov. (Recommendation 5)

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    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 the Treasury should make the known data limitations found in Senior Accountable Official certifications more accessible and evident to users of the new USAspending.gov. (Recommendation 6)

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Jennifer Grover
    Phone: (202) 512-7141

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Commandant of the Coast Guard should either develop new performance goals to address mission activity gaps, or explain in the Coast Guard's Annual Performance Report (APR) why certain aspects of mission performance are measured while others are not. (Recommendation 1)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Commandant of the Coast Guard, in coordination with the Secretary of Homeland Security, should make the Coast Guard's future Annual Performance Reports publicly available on the Coast Guard's website. (Recommendation 2)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Commandant of the Coast Guard, should coordinate with the Secretary of Homeland Security, and assess the extent to which documentation on performance data reliability, including Performance Measure Definition Forums and DHS and Coast Guard APRs, contain appropriate information on known data reliability limitations, and update these documents, as needed, based on the results of the assessment. (Recommendation 3)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Commandant of the Coast Guard should develop and document, in its APR or elsewhere, corrective actions for unmet performance goals that are measurable and include time frames for implementation. (Recommendation 4)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Commandant of the Coast Guard should document, in its APR or elsewhere, its efforts to monitor and evaluate the implementation of corrective actions for unmet performance goals. (Recommendation 5)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Randall Williamson
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Undersecretary for Health should take additional steps to ensure that VA's website reports health care quality measures that cover a broad range of health care services, highlights key differences in the clinical quality of care, and presents this information in an easily accessible and understandable way (Recommendation 1).

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Undersecretary for Health should direct VA Central Office to conduct a systematic assessment of the completeness and accuracy of patient clinical information across VAMCs that is used to calculate the health care quality measures VA reports and address any deficiencies that affect the accuracy of these measures (Recommendation 2).

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further improve security over personnel and other sensitive information at the agency, the Acting Director of OPM should update the plans of action and milestones to reflect expected completion dates for implementing the recommendations made by US-CERT.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: OPM concurred with the recommendation. The agency plans to update the plans of action and milestones with the current status, including expected completion dates.
    Recommendation: To further improve security over personnel and other sensitive information at the agency, the Acting Director of OPM should improve the timeliness of validating evidence associated with actions taken to address the US-CERT recommendations.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: OPM partially concurred with the recommendation. The agency is working on making improvements to its automated system to further support its remedial action management processes, including timely closure.
    Recommendation: To further improve security over personnel and other sensitive information at the agency, the Acting Director of OPM should update policy to reflect deployment of Department of Homeland Security threat indicators and the specific 24-hour scanning requirement.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: OPM concurred with the recommendation. The agency is in the process of updating security policies.
    Recommendation: To further improve security over personnel and other sensitive information at the agency, the Acting Director of OPM should develop and implement role-based training requirements for staff using Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation tools.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: OPM concurred with the recommendation. The agency is in the process of defining role-based training requirements for its continuous monitoring program.
    Recommendation: To further improve security over personnel and other sensitive information at the agency, the Acting Director of OPM should provide detailed guidance on the quality assurance process that includes evaluating security control assessments.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: OPM concurred with the recommendation. The agency is in the process of developing additional standards for evaluating security controls testing and asserts it will use these standards for evaluating security control assessments.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure agencies fulfill their requirements, including implementing IQA guidelines and helping to promote easier public access to IQA information on agency websites, the Director of OMB should consolidate and centralize on OMB's IQA guidance website a government-wide summary of requests for correction submitted under the IQA.

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

    Comments: Spoke with OMB Contact on 1/30/17. She agreed to provide an update on OMB's actions in response to this recommendation in the near future.
    Recommendation: To better ensure agencies fulfill their requirements, including implementing IQA guidelines and helping to promote easier public access to IQA information on agency websites, the Director of OMB should work with the Department of Defense and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to help ensure that they post their IQA administrative mechanisms and IQA guidance online.

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

    Comments: Spoke with OMB Contact on 1/30/17. She agreed to provide an update on OMB's actions in response to this recommendation in the near future.
    Recommendation: To better ensure agencies fulfill their requirements, including implementing IQA guidelines and helping to promote easier public access to IQA information on agency websites, the Director of OMB should provide additional guidance for agencies to help improve the transparency and usability of their IQA websites to help ensure the public can easily find and access online information about agency IQA implementation. Such guidance should include (1) specific time frames for agencies to post information on the IQA correction requests they have received, including making it clear when agencies have not received IQA requests; (2) instructions for agencies to include a statement on their IQA websites that the agencies may address correction requests through other administrative processes; (3) instructions for agencies to include, when responding to correction requests, whether those agencies plan to address the request through another administrative processes, and if so, which process they will use; and (4) suggestions for improving usability of agencies' websites including fixing broken links.

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

    Comments: Spoke with OMB Contact on 1/30/17. She agreed to provide an update on OMB's actions in response to this recommendation in the near future.
    Director: J. Alfredo Gómez
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help federal, state, local, and private sector decision makers access and use the best available climate information, the Executive Office of the President should designate a federal entity to develop and periodically update a set of authoritative climate change observations and projections for use in federal decision making, which state, local, and private sector decision makers could also access to obtain the best available climate information.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of 6/7/17, the Executive Office of the President has yet to take action in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help federal, state, local, and private sector decision makers access and use the best available climate information, the Executive Office of the President should designate a federal entity to create a national climate information system with defined roles for federal agencies and nonfederal entities with existing statutory authority.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of 6/7/17, the Executive Office of the President has yet to take action in response to this recommendation.
    Director: Melvin, Valerie C
    Phone: (202) 512-6304

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the management of DHS FOIA requests, the Secretary of DHS should direct the Chief FOIA Officer to improve reporting of FOIA costs by including salaries, employee benefits, non-personnel direct costs, indirect costs, and costs for other offices.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In responding to our recommendation, DHS said it has developed a spreadsheet that is to be used by its components to track FOIA costs. However, as of September 2017, DHS has not yet provided information containing such details as when its components will be required to use the spreadsheet and if the spreadsheet is to track all the categories of costs discussed in our report. We plan to update the status of this recommendation when DHS provides documentation that further explains, and confirms the department's use of, the spreadsheet.
    Recommendation: To improve the management of DHS FOIA requests, the Secretary of DHS should direct the Chief FOIA Officer to direct USCIS and Coast Guard to fully implement the recommended FOIA processing system capabilities and the section 508 requirement.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, DHS issued a memo to all of the department's FOIA officers in March 2015 which focused on ensuring that each component's FOIA processing systems are 508 compliant. However, as of September 2017, DHS has not yet provided us with evidence that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Coast Guard have implemented system capabilities that are 508 compliant. When DHS provides information concerning its actions taken to make the systems compliant, we will update the status of the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the management of DHS FOIA requests, the Secretary of DHS should direct the Chief FOIA Officer to determine the viability of re-establishing the service-level agreement between the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to eliminate duplication in the processing of immigration files. If the benefits of doing so would exceed the costs, re-establish the agreement.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS has stated that it is taking steps to determine if the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will re-establish the service-level agreement to process FOIA requests related to immigration files. In addition, the department has stated that duplication no longer exists in the processing of these type of requests. However, DHS has not yet provided evidence, such as a cost-benefit analysis, that could demonstrate the steps it is taking regarding the service-level agreement. Further, GAO has not yet received evidence from the department to support its assertion that duplication no longer exists in the processing of immigration files. We will update the status of this recommendation when DHS provides documentation.
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    16 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of Energy should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, a system test plan is developed.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. However, DOE has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation. We plan to validate the department's actions when DOE informs us that it has satisfactorily implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of Energy should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, a system test is fully executed.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. However, DOE has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation. We plan to validate the department's actions when DOE informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of Energy should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, test results are reviewed by agency officials.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. However, DOE has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation. We plan to validate the department's actions when DOE informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of State should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, security and privacy requirements are communicated to contractors.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State concurred with our recommendation and is planning to develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for each contractor-operated, contractor-owned system. However, STATE has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation. We plan to validate the department's actions when STATE informs us that it has satisfactorily implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of State should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, an independent assessor is selected to assess the system.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State concurred with our recommendation and is planning to develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for each contractor-operated, contractor-owned system. However, STATE has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation. We plan to validate the department's actions when STATE informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of State should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, a system test is fully executed.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State concurred with our recommendation and is planning to develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for each contractor-operated, contractor-owned system. However, STATE has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation. We plan to validate the department's actions when STATE informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of State should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, test results are reviewed by agency officials.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State concurred with our recommendation and is planning to develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for each contractor-operated, contractor-owned system. However, STATE has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation. We plan to validate the department's actions when STATE informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of State should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, plans of action and milestones with estimated completion dates and resources assigned for resolution are maintained.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State concurred with our recommendation and is planning to develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for each contractor-operated, contractor-owned system. However, STATE has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation. We plan to validate the department's actions when STATE informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of Transportation should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, security and privacy requirements are communicated to contractors.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In written comments on a draft of this report, the department agreed to consider our recommendations. We continue to believe that the department needs to develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for each contractor-operated system. DOT has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has taken these actions. We plan to validate the department's actions when DOT informs us that it has satisfactorily implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of Transportation should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, a system test is fully executed.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In written comments on a draft of this report, the department agreed to consider our recommendations. We continue to believe that the department needs to develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for each contractor-operated system. DOT has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has taken these actions. We plan to validate the department's actions when DOT informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of Transportation should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, test results are reviewed by agency officials.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In written comments on a draft of this report, the department agreed to consider our recommendations. We continue to believe that the department needs to develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for each contractor-operated system. DOT has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has taken these actions. We plan to validate the department's actions when DOT informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of Transportation should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, plans of action and milestones with estimated completion dates and resources assigned to resolution are maintained.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In written comments on a draft of this report, the department agreed to consider our recommendations. We continue to believe that the department needs to develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for each contractor-operated system. DOT has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has taken these actions. We plan to validate the department's actions when DOT informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, a system test is fully executed.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: EPA concurred with our recommendation. However, EPA has not yet provided evidence that it has implemented the recommendation. We plan to validate the department's actions when EPA informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, plans of action and milestones with estimated completion dates and resources assigned for resolution are maintained.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: EPA concurred with our recommendation. However, EPA has not yet provided evidence that it has implemented the recommendation. We plan to validate the department's actions when EPA informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that a system test is fully executed for each contractor-operated system.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: OPM concurred with our recommendation. However, as of April 2017, OPM had not implemented the recommendation to develop, document and implement oversight procedures to ensure that a system test is fully executed for each contractor-operated system. We will monitor OPM's efforts and validate OPM actions when evidence discloses that the recommendation has been implemented.
    Recommendation: To be able to effectively assist agencies with their contractor oversight programs, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in collaboration with the Secretary of Homeland Security, should develop and clarify reporting guidance to agencies for annually reporting the number of contractor-operated systems.

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

    Comments: We requested comments on a draft of this report from the Office of Management and Budget, but none were provided. In June 2017, OMB stated that its and DHS's annual reporting requirements now contain an expanded list of criteria for contractor-operated systems, including definitions in related guidance from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. However, although the reporting requirements call for agencies to report on their total number of contractor-operated systems, neither the requirements or related guidance clarify which agency systems that have contractor relationships should be categorized as contractor-operated. The lack of clear instructions may continue to result in incomplete information regarding the number of contractor-operated systems within the government.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

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

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

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

    Comments: The Census Bureau agreed with this recommendation and states it is taking steps to improve its scheduling practices and to initiate a comprehensive workforce planning process for those working on decennial project schedules. Bureau officials state they are currently evaluating the skills needed for scheduling support of the 2020 Census and will take the appropriate steps to acquire and develop the appropriate mix of skill sets, including but not limited to developing certified scheduling staff, hiring expert contractors to assist with periodic training, and scheduling standards implementation. They also state that the Bureau is committed to continuing to strengthen the schedule management plan, practices, and methods in place for the 2020 Census. The Bureau has experienced turnover in the leadership of the team responsible for 2020 scheduling, and, as of July 2017, Bureau officials have said they are working to collect artifacts that may demonstrate how this recommendation was addressed.
    Director: Khan, Asif A
    Phone: (202) 512-9869

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen the design of controls over active duty Army military payroll, and to assure the effectiveness of the UCFR process as a compensating control for confirming the accuracy of its military pay, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to revise AR 37-104-4, Military Pay and Allowances Policy, to establish a requirement for periodic monitoring of the effectiveness of unit commander UCFR reviews.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2013, DOD and Army officials told us that the Army and Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) performed an analysis of the effectiveness of the Unit Commander Finance Report (UCFR) in preventing payroll errors. The officials shared a February 21, 2013, Army memo on the results of the analysis, which indicated that while the UCFR was an effective tool as a snapshot of a Soldier's pay, it was not comprehensive enough to provide the level of detail needed to manage many pay entitlements. Additionally, analytical results showed that in most cases, having units certify and return UCFRs to the Finance Office did not result in corrective action in the month the condition requiring action first appeared on the report. The officials told us the Army intends to rely on existing primary controls over pay transactions and the implementation of the Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army (IPPS-A), which was targeted for implementation in 2017, to address the issues we reported rather than revising AR-37-104-4 to require certification of the UCFR and its return to the Finance Office. The Army concluded that if used properly, the UCFR could provide a secondary control for units to identify a limited number of pay discrepancies. The Army's Finance Command Director subsequently told us that because the analysis showed that the UCFR was not being used as an effective tool by unit commanders, the Army would continue to pursue methods to improve pay transaction timeliness through training and command awareness efforts, to include use of the UCFR, pending implementation of IPPS-A. For example, the Army expanded the list of entitlements that, similar to UCFRs, are sent to commands for review and increased the frequency of the command reviews. The Army also implemented a process for monitoring high-risk special pays that have an anniversary date, such as Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus, Basic Allowance for Housing, and Basic Allowance for Subsistence, and confirming that the certifications have not expired. However, DOD's May 2017 FIAR Plan Status Report showed that the Army's IPPS-A is not expected to be fully implemented until April 2020. We will continue to assess DOD's efforts to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen the design of controls over active duty Army military payroll, and to assure the effectiveness of the UCFR process as a compensating control for confirming the accuracy of its military pay, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to revise AR 37-104-4, Military Pay and Allowances Policy, to require unit commanders to review and submit documentation showing completion of all monthly UCFR reviews.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2013, DOD and Army officials told us that the Army and Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) performed an analysis of the effectiveness of the Unit Commander Finance Report (UCFR) in preventing late transactions for updating pay. The results of an Army analysis showed that units certifying and returning UCFRs to the Finance Office did not increase timely corrective actions being taken to a soldier's pay. In a memo dated Feb. 21, 2013, the Army stated, "Creating a mandatory process of requiring Commanders to certify and return the UCFR (even when there are no errors) imposes additional administrative requirements and associated costs on the unit, the Finance Office and DFAS." The memo further stated that, based on the sample taken, most units are already certifying UCFRs and returning them to Finance -- with little impact on Soldiers' pay." Army officials told us that based on the Feb. 21, 2013, memo and subsequent follow up, the Army intended to rely on existing primary controls over pay transactions and the implementation of the Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army (IPPS-A) targeted for August 2017 to address the issues we reported, rather than revise AR-37-104-4 to require certification of the UCFR and its return to the Finance Office. Army officials told us they would continue to pursue methods to improve pay transaction timeliness through training and command awareness efforts, to include use of the UCFR. The Army stated that the development and fielding of IPPS-A offers opportunities for reducing errors and manual inputs, while providing improved transaction timeliness and pay accuracy. However, DOD's May 2017 FIAR Plan Status Report showed that the Army's IPPS-A is not expected to be fully implemented until April 2020. We will continue to assess DOD's efforts to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen the design of controls over active duty Army military payroll, and to assure the effectiveness of the UCFR process as a compensating control for confirming the accuracy of its military pay, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to revise AR 37-104-4, Military Pay and Allowances Policy, to specify the time frame for submitting UCFRs, such as no later than the 10th of the month.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a Feb. 21, 2013 memo, the Army stated that its regulations require units to take immediate action when an error is discovered during a review of an Unit Commander Finance Report (UCFR). According to the Army, specifying a timeframe for the review and submission of UCFRs, such as 10 days, would also require the development of additional controls and monitoring procedures and create exceptions/waivers for those units deployed or on training exercises. As a result, the Army intended to rely on existing primary controls over pay transactions and the targeted implementation of the Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army (IPPS-A) in August 2017 to address the issues, rather than revise AR-37-104-4. With the slippage in implementation of IPPS-A integrated military personnel and pay functionality to April 2020, the Army needs to reconsider our recommendation along with reasonable timeline accommodations for deployed units. We will continue to assess the Army's efforts to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen the design of controls over active duty Army military payroll, and to provide a means for monitoring the overall accuracy of the Army's military payroll, the Secretary of Defense should direct the DOD Comptroller to require DFAS-IN to develop criteria and establish a comprehensive metric to capture and measure all types of pay errors affecting accuracy.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2013, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS)-Indianapolis Director told us that DFAS conducted a gap analysis for two installations (Ft. Carson and Ft. Gordon). This analysis compared data on the effective date of pay impacting transactions (e.g., Basic Allowance for Housing, Foreign Language Proficiency Pay, etc.); the date transactions were entered into the pay system; the elapsed time in days from the effective date through each step of the process to the date pay was input to the military pay system. The Army's analysis concluded that most errors that occurred were due to units' late submissions of source documents. The Army's position is that the key metric for military pay accuracy is the timeliness of processing of pay impacting transactions. The Army intended to rely on the targeted August 2017 implementation of the Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army (IPPS-A) to address pay transaction timeliness and address any other identified issues rather than require DFAS-Indianapolis to develop additional criteria and metrics within the current systems environment to measure all types of conditions affecting accuracy. However, DOD's May 2017 FIAR Plan Status Report showed that the Army's IPPS-A is not expected to be fully implemented until April 2020. We will continue to assess DOD's efforts to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen the design of controls over active duty Army military payroll, and to provide a means for monitoring the overall accuracy of the Army's military payroll, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Department of Defense (DOD) Comptroller to require DFAS-IN to establish an interim mechanism at DFAS-IN for identifying and analyzing the extent and causes of all types of military payroll errors processed by Defense Military Pay Offices (DMPOs), Army Finance Offices, Defense Joint Military Pay System-Active Component (DJMS-AC), and Case Management System (CMS) to address any systemic control weaknesses.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2013, DOD and Army officials stated that DFAS, as part of its pre-assertion audit readiness efforts for the Military Pay Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 16, Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization examination, has identified and validated many controls over the completeness, accuracy and validity of military pay. This included identifying gaps in internal controls and developing and implementing corrective action plans to mitigate any gaps. The Army subsequently engaged another independent public accounting firm to assess its audit readiness for the Statement of Budgetary Resources, including audit readiness for its military pay. In addition, the Army underwent an audit of its fiscal year 2015 General Fund Schedule of Budgetary Activity. Both audit engagements identified military pay issues requiring corrective action. Most recently, the audit of the Army's fiscal year 2016 Budgetary Schedule resulted in a disclaimer of opinion, in part, due to the Army's inability to produce a complete and accurate population of accession, separation, promotion/reduction, special pay, and leave populations for Active Duty, Reserve, and Guard soldiers. In January 2016, the Army auditor reported that "without the ability to produce complete populations, the risk exists that a soldier is improperly accessed, separated, promoted/reduced, awarded special pay, and/or had his or her leave account adjusted incorrectly. Further, the Army's ability to identify and correct any errors is significantly reduced, potentially misstating payroll obligations and outlays reported on the schedule." Army officials stated that it intends to rely on its current transaction timeliness metrics, pre-payment statistical sampling, Improper Payment Elimination and Reporting Act (IPERA) reporting, and eventually implementation of the Integrated Personnel and Pay System - Army (IPPS-A) to address the issues regarding completeness, accuracy, and validity of military pay. However, DOD's May 2017 FIAR Plan Status Report showed that the Army's IPPS-A is not expected to be fully implemented until April 2020. Therefore, we believe that the Army needs to revisit our recommendation and establish an interim mechanism for identifying and analyzing the extent and causes of military payroll errors and take appropriate action to address any systemic control weaknesses. We will continue to assess the Army's efforts to address this recommendation.
    Director: King, Kathleen M
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: In order to promote greater use of effective prepayment edits and better ensure proper payment, and to promote implementation of effective edits based on national policies, the CMS Administrator should develop written procedures to provide guidance to agency staff on all steps in the processes for developing and implementing edits based on national policies, including (1) time frames for taking corrective actions, (2) methods for assessing the effects of corrective actions, and (3) procedures for ensuring consideration of automated edits whenever possible, including for all existing NCDs and other national policies.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. CMS developed written procedures in November 2012 to provide guidance to agency staff on procedures for ensuring consideration of automated edits whenever possible, as GAO recommended in November 2012, but these procedures do not include several key elements of GAO's recommendation. For example, the written procedures do not include time frames for making decisions on whether an edit will be developed for all existing National Coverage Determinations (NCD) and national policies. The written procedures also do not include requirements for methods to assess the effects of corrective actions taken. Implementing a comprehensive written process for developing edits for national policies could help ensure that edits are implemented whenever possible to reduce improper payments. As of September 2017, CMS had not provided us updated documentation that addressed these aspects of our recommendation. Once received, we will review the information and update this recommendation accordingly.
    Director: Powner, David A
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    5 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To ensure that major steady state IT investments are being adequately analyzed, the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and the Treasury should direct appropriate officials to develop an OA policy, annually perform OAs on all investments, and ensure the assessments include all key factors.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has stated it is developing OA policy, but has yet to provide a timeframe for when it will be completed. In addition, we are waiting for fiscal year 2016 OAs.
    Recommendation: To ensure that major steady state IT investments are being adequately analyzed, the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and the Treasury should direct appropriate officials to develop an OA policy, annually perform OAs on all investments, and ensure the assessments include all key factors.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Treasury has developed an OA policy and is currently performing OAs on investments. However, we are waiting for fiscal year 2016 investment OAs to determine if all key factors are being met.
    Recommendation: To ensure that major steady state IT investments are being adequately analyzed, the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and the Treasury should direct appropriate officials to develop an OA policy, annually perform OAs on all investments, and ensure the assessments include all key factors.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are waiting for VA to provide its finalized OA policy and for fiscal year 2016 OAs.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services should direct their Chief Information Officers to ensure OAs are performed annually on all major steady state investments and the assessments include all key factors.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security has updated their OA policy and is currently performing OAs on investments. We received fiscal year 2016 OAs for CBP but are waiting for the rest of the departments OAs for FY2016.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services should direct their Chief Information Officers to ensure OAs are performed annually on all major steady state investments and the assessments include all key factors.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are waiting for HHS's fiscal year 2016 OAs.
    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: Khan, Asif A
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help provide for the successful implementation of Army and Air Force ERPs, and to help ensure that DFAS users have the training needed, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to ensure that time lines are established and monitored for those issues identified by DFAS that are impacting their efficient and effective use of GFEBS.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the draft report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and cited action(s) being taken by the Army to ensure that time lines are established and monitored for those issues identified by DFAS that are impacting their efficient and effective use of GFEBS. We have made attempts to follow up with Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) Acquisition Technology and Logistics officials to obtain documentation of actions taken and to determine whether the Army has taken sufficient action to address this recommendation. However, as of July 2017, we have not been able to obtain documentation that supports that this recommendation was addressed.
    Recommendation: To help provide for the successful implementation of Army and Air Force ERPs, and to help ensure that DFAS users have the training needed, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to ensure that time lines are established and monitored for those issues identified by DFAS that are impacting their efficient and effective use of DEAMS.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the draft report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and cited action(s) being taken by the Air Force to ensure that time lines are established and monitored for those issues identified by DFAS that are impacting their efficient and effective use of DEAMS. We have made attempts to follow up with Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) Acquisition Technology and Logistics officials to obtain documentation of actions taken to determine whether the Army has taken sufficient action to address this recommendation. However, as of July 2017, we have not been able to obtain documentation that supports that this recommendation was addressed.
    Recommendation: To help provide for the successful implementation of Army and Air Force ERPs, and to help ensure that DFAS users have the training needed, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to improve training for GFEBS users by providing training on actual job processes in a manner that allows users to understand how the new processes support their job responsibilities and the work they are expected to perform.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the draft report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and cited action(s) being taken by the Army to improve training for GFEBS users on actual job processes. We have made attempts to follow up with Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) Acquisition Technology and Logistics officials to obtain documentation of actions taken to determine whether the Army has taken sufficient action to address this recommendation. However, as of July 2017, we have not been able to obtain documentation that supports that this recommendation was addressed.
    Recommendation: To help provide for the successful implementation of Army and Air Force ERPs, and to help ensure that DFAS users have the training needed, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to improve training for DEAMS users by providing training on actual job processes in a manner that allows users to understand how the new processes support their job responsibilities and the work they are expected to perform.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the draft report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and cited action(s) being taken by the Air Force to improve training for DEAMS users on actual job processes. We have made attempts to follow up with Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) Acquisition Technology and Logistics officials to obtain documentation of actions taken to determine whether the Army has taken sufficient action to address this recommendation. However, as of July 2017, we have not been able to obtain documentation that supports that this recommendation was addressed.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-2757

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to maintain progress in maximizing the efficiency of existing data sources, and to improve the broader efficiency of the federal statistical system and improve communication among agencies and others, the Director of OMB, in consultation with the Chief Statistician, should work with the ICSP, when OMB next updates guidance on agency survey and statistical information collection and dissemination methods, to include additional details on actions agencies can take to meet requirements to identify duplication, to consult with persons outside of the agency, and address other requirements as appropriate.

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

    Comments: OMB concurred with our recommendation. As of August 2017, the team is awaiting an update from the agency on the status of OMB's actions to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: In order to maintain progress in maximizing the efficiency of existing data sources, and to improve the broader efficiency of the federal statistical system and improve communication among agencies and others, the Director of OMB, in consultation with the Chief Statistician, should work with the ICSP to create new methods or enhance existing methods to improve the dissemination of information and resources produced by interagency statistical committees. For example, such enhancements could include increasing the timeliness and availability of information on websites to better capture the full range of products and identify committee priorities.

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

    Comments: OMB concurred with our recommendation and in July 2014 reported that it plans to implement it by launching a new website for the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology. The new website will be hosted by the General Services Administration and will give interagency statistical committees the ability to manage their own webpages and disseminate products. As of August 2017, the team is awaiting an update from the agency on the status of OMB's actions to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: In order to maintain progress in maximizing the efficiency of existing data sources, and to increase the reliability of the information presented on the Reginfo.gov website and in OMB's internal system, the Director of OMB, in consultation with the Chief Statistician, should work with the ICSP to implement quality-control procedures designed to identify and remedy any differences between cost and burden information provided on the website and in the related supporting statement documentation that underlies this information.

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

    Comments: OMB concurred with our recommendation. As of August 2017, the team is awaiting an update from OMB on the status of actions taken to implement this recommendation.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    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.
    Recommendation: GAO previously recommended that the Secretary of Commerce direct the Bureau to establish guidance, policies, and procedures for cost estimation that would meet best practice criteria. To help ensure that the Bureau produces a reliable and high-quality cost estimate for the 2020 Census, the Bureau should finalize guidance, policies, and procedures for cost estimation in accordance with best practices prior to developing the Bureau's initial 2020 life cycle cost estimate.

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

    Comments: Commerce neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. In October 2015, the Bureau announced an estimate of its 2020 Census life-cycle cost. In our June 30, 2016 report (GAO-16-628), we assessed the Bureau's guidance, policies, and procedures underlying that estimate. We found that the Bureau's cost estimate partially met the characteristics of two best practices (comprehensive and accurate) described in the GAO Cost Guide and minimally met the other two (well-documented and credible). In addition, best practices state that a risk and uncertainty analysis should be performed to determine the level of risk associated with the cost estimate. The Bureau carried out such an analysis only for a portion of estimated costs for fiscal years 2018 to 2020, covering $4.6 billion. This amounts to about 37 percent of the $12.5 billion total estimated life-cycle cost, and less than one-half of the total estimated cost of the Bureau to comply with best practices for cost estimation. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to implement specific controls over its cost estimation process for the 2020 Census, such as guidance that documents who is responsible for what and when, and what information flows where and when. As of July 2017, Bureau officials are currently gathering artifacts to support implementation of this recommendation.
    Director: Engel, Gary T
    Phone: (202)512-8815

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, in coordination with the Controller of OMB's Office of Federal Financial Management, to develop and implement effective processes for monitoring and assessing the effectiveness of internal control over the processes used to prepare the CFS.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of the completion of our fiscal year 2016 consolidated financial statements (CFS) audit, Treasury and OMB agreed that this recommendation remained open. Treasury designed and implemented an OMB Circular No. A-123 internal control review for the CFS compilation processes. In fiscal year 2017, Treasury plans to use the internal control review to support its assessment on the effectiveness of internal controls over the processes used to prepare the CFS. We will follow-up on progress made by Treasury and OMB as part of our fiscal year 2017 CFS audit, which is ongoing as of March 2017.
    Director: Shear, William B
    Phone: (202)512-4325

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure compliance with federal contracting regulations and to more transparently disclose the extent to which subcontracting opportunities are available to small businesses, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Defense and the Administrator of General Services should consider asking their respective Inspectors General to conduct a review at an appropriate future date to ensure that this guidance and related requirements are being followed.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS issued a chapter on its small business subcontracting program in its DHS Acquisition Manual in October 2009 and developed a subcontracting plan checklist that officials are to use when awarding a contract. In May 2010, DHS officials stated that these documents were examples of progress they have made to address the recommendation on ensuring compliance with federal contracting regulations and other related requirements. We disagreed with the agency and do not believe that these documents constitute agency guidance on the contract administration duties to monitor contractor compliance with subcontracting plan reporting requirements. In the fall of 2017, we met with DHS officials to discuss the recommendation. Subsequently, in September 2017, DHS emailed a description of the role of the OSDBU in ensuring that: (a) prime contractors report timely on their small business subcontracting accomplishments, and (b) determinations that call for no subcontracting plans are properly vetted. We requested formal documentation of the roles and responsibilities of the OSDBU, as well as evidence of the work performed, in September 2017. The recommendation remains open until DHS provides documentation to support its written description of the OSDBU's efforts to help ensure guidance and related requirements related to subcontracting opportunities for small businesses are being followed.