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    Subject Term: "Information systems investments"

    3 publications with a total of 8 open recommendations
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help IRS improve its process for determining IT funding priorities and to provide timely information on the progress of its investments, the Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to establish, document, and implement policies and procedures for selecting new and reselecting ongoing business systems modernization activities, consistent with IRS's process for prioritizing operations support priorities, which addresses (1) prioritization and comparison of IT assets against each other, (2) criteria for making selection and prioritization decisions, and (3) ensuring IRS executives' final funding decisions on IT proposals are based on IRS's prioritization process.

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

    Comments: In April 2017, IRS stated that it had several process improvements underway that would impact its documentation of policies and procedures for prioritizing business systems modernization activities. The agency committed to addressing the recommendation by December 2017.
    Recommendation: To help IRS improve its process for determining IT funding priorities and to provide timely information on the progress of its investments, the Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to modify existing processes for Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Return Review Program (RRP) for measuring work performed by IRS staff to incorporate best practices, including accounting for actual work performed and using the level of effort measure sparingly.

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

    Comments: In April 2017, IRS reported that it was continuing to examine methods for modifying existing processes to measure work performed by IRS staff for the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and Return Review programs. We are monitoring IRS's efforts as part of an ongoing review of the agency's information technology operations.
    Recommendation: To help IRS improve its process for determining IT funding priorities and to provide timely information on the progress of its investments, the Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to report on actual costs and scope delivery at least quarterly for the Customer Account Data Engine 2 and the Affordable Care Act Administration. For these investments, IRS should develop metrics similar to FATCA and RRP.

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

    Comments: IRS began reporting on actual costs and scope delivery at least quarterly using metrics similar to FATCA and RRP and provided the quarterly reports for fiscal year 2016 and the first two quarters of fiscal year 2017 to GAO. As of September 2017, the agency had not implemented the recommendation for the Affordable Care Act Administration investment because it did not see the benefit in doing so given that development work was minimal. We are following up with IRS on this as part of an ongoing review of the agency's information technology operations.
    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: Powner, David A
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should designate a senior agency official who has departmentwide responsibility, accountability, and authority for geospatial information issues. The Secretary of Transportation direct the designated senior official for geospatial information to prepare, maintain, publish, and implement a strategy for advancing geographic information and related geospatial data activities appropriate to its mission.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, a Transportation official told GAO that the department had completed a draft of the geospatial strategic plan that month. According to a Transportation official, as of March 1, 2017, the draft was under review. On September 8, 2017, a Transportation official stated that the department plans to issue the plan by November 1, 2017.
    Recommendation: To improve OMB oversight of geospatial information and assets, and minimize duplication of federal geospatial investments, the Director of OMB should develop a mechanism, or modify existing mechanisms, to identify and report annually on all geospatial related investments, including dollars invested and the nature of the investment.

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

    Comments: OMB has made progress in developing a way to identify and report annually on all geospatial-related investments, but has not completed its efforts. In March 2014, the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) issued its National Geospatial Data Asset (NGDA) Management Plan. The plan was developed in conjunction with OMB officials. One of the objectives of the plan is to develop and apply a standard definition of a geospatial investment in order to facilitate reporting on budgeted geospatial data investments, due to the fact that different definitions are being used by OMB, the FGDC community, and individual agencies. There are two supporting actions for this objective. The first action was completed with the finalization and issuance of the FGDC's Geospatial Investment Definitions for Tracking and Reporting Geospatial Investment Costs document in April 2016. The document contains a set of geospatial definitions with specific examples for each. The second action is for the geospatial community to apply the definitions in submissions to OMB during the annual federal government budget planning and reporting process. According to FGDC officials, they expect this to be challenging for a number of reasons, including the need for agencies to determine how they can align their investment tracking systems to accommodate the new definitions and the extent to which agencies will be able to use a common reporting capability. As a result, a two-pronged approach is being used. First, FGDC developed a reporting method using the theme implementation plans to support federal geospatial data investment tracking. For example, in February 2017, an official provided an implementation plan from January 2017 which included an estimate of the amount of time federal employees spent on NGDA work, and reported this as a percentage of full-time equivalents. Second, OMB worked with FGDC to revise geospatial investment reporting guidance found in OMB Circular No. A-11. Starting with fiscal year 2018 allocations (Circular No. A-11 revised July 2016), agencies are required to report on annual aggregated geospatial data investments of $100,000 or greater using the Marketplace feature of the Geospatial Platform. According to an agency official, this approach leverages existing, federal government-wide reporting methods already in place and minimizes the potential for agencies to implement separate, potentially duplicative reporting mechanisms that are not integrated with existing OMB reporting procedures. According to OMB officials as of September 7, 2017, OMB anticipates that since fiscal year 2018 will be the first year of implementation, some agencies may have challenges identifying and reporting their data. As a result, OMB states that the content and completeness of the reported information will need to be evaluated prior to determining its fitness and application for overseeing geospatial investments.