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    Subject Term: "Management challenges"

    12 publications with a total of 46 open recommendations including 7 priority recommendations
    Director: Rusco, Franklin W
    Phone: (202)512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Board of Directors should ensure that TVA better document and communicate its goals to reduce its debt and unfunded pension liabilities in its performance plans and reports, including detailed strategies for achieving these goals.

    Agency: Tennessee Valley Authority
    Status: Open

    Comments: TVA concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. When we confirm what actions the TVA has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Board of Directors should ensure that TVA propose, and work with the TVA Retirement System board to adopt, funding rules designed to ensure the plan's full funding.

    Agency: Tennessee Valley Authority
    Status: Open

    Comments: TVA neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. We continue to believe action is needed and will monitor TVA's efforts to address it.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    13 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 Agriculture should describe the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) 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 USDA's agency performance plan.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, USDA had not taken any actions to implement our recommendation. When the 2019 annual performance plan is issued, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    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.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting of major management challenges and to ensure performance information is useful, transparent, and complete, the Secretary of Defense should include planned actions for each of the Department of Defense's (DOD) major management challenges and ensure that required information about its major management challenges, currently in DOD's Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2015-2018, be included in its agency performance plan so that progress toward resolving each of its major management challenges is transparent and reported annually.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, the Department of Defense had not taken any actions to implement our recommendation. When the 2019 annual performance plan is issued, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting of major management challenges and to ensure performance information is useful, transparent, and complete, the Secretary of Energy should describe the Department of Energy'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 Energy's agency performance plan.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, the Department of Energy had not taken any actions to implement our recommendation. When the 2019 annual performance plan is issued, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting of major management challenges and to ensure performance information is useful, transparent, and complete, the Attorney General should describe the Department of Justice's major management challenges and include performance goals, performance measures, milestones, planned actions and an agency official responsible for resolving each of its major management challenges as part of the Department of Justice's agency performance plan.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the Department of Justice's action plan to address GAO's recommendations, it will report the Office of Inspector General Top Management Challenges in both the Annual Financial Report (AFR) and the Annual Performance Report(APR)/Annual Performance Plan(APP). For the APR/APP, the Department of Justice will also include the appropriate performance goals, performance measures, milestones, planned actions addressing the challenges and the name(s) of agency official(s) responsible for resolving each of its major management challenges. As of August 2017, however, the Department of Justice had not taken any actions to implement our recommendation. When the 2019 annual performance plan is issued, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting of major management challenges and to ensure performance information is useful, transparent, and complete, the Secretary of Labor should describe the Department of Labor's major management challenges and include performance goals, performance measures, milestones, planned actions, and an agency official responsible for resolving each of its major management challenges as part of the Department of Labor's agency performance plan.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the Department of Labor's action plan to address GAO's recommendations, it will comply with the updated Circular A-11 guidance to report on major management challenges in its next Annual Performance Report (APR), published with the FY 2018 Congressional Budget Justification. In its most recent APR, the Department of Labor took steps to implement this recommendation by including planned actions and an agency official responsible for each of the three issues it identified as a major management challenge. Further action is needed to establish performance goals, performance measures, and milestones. When the Fiscal Year 2017 APR is issued, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting of major management challenges and to ensure performance information is useful, transparent, and complete, the Secretary of Transportation should describe the Department of Transportation's major management challenges and include performance goals, performance measures, milestones, planned actions and an agency official responsible for resolving major management challenges as part of the Department of Transportation's agency performance plan.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, the Department of Transportation had not taken any actions to implement our recommendation. When the 2019 annual performance plan is issued, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting of major management challenges and to ensure performance information is useful, transparent, and complete, the Secretary of the Treasury should include performance goals, performance measures, milestones, and an agency official responsible for resolving major management challenges as part of the Department of the Treasury's agency performance plan.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, Treasury had not taken any actions to implement our recommendation. When the 2019 annual performance plan is issued, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting of major management challenges and to ensure performance information is useful, transparent, and complete, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should include performance goals, performance measures, milestones, planned actions and an agency official responsible for resolving each of its major management challenges as part of EPA's agency performance plan.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its Fiscal Year 2018 APP, EPA took steps to implement this recommendation by clearly identifying its major management challenges and including planned actions for resolving them. Further action is needed to establish performance goals, performance measures, milestones, and identify an agency official responsible for resolving the challenge. When the 2019 annual performance plan is issued, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting of major management challenges and to ensure performance information is useful, transparent, and complete, the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) should describe GSA'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 GSA's agency performance plan.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its Fiscal Year 2018 APP, GSA took steps to implement this recommendation by clearly identifying three major management challenges and including planned actions, performance measures, milestones, and an agency official responsible for resolving them. Further action is needed to establish performance goals. When the 2019 annual performance plan is issued, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting of major management challenges and to ensure performance information is useful, transparent, and complete, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) should include performance goals, milestones and an agency official responsible for resolving each of HHS's major management challenges as part of HHS's agency performance plan.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to its website, for fiscal year 2018, HHS is meeting its performance reporting requirements as designated in the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 and OMB Circular A-11 through the program performance information provided in the FY 2018 HHS Budget Justifications to Congress. As of August 2017, however, HHS has not taken action to implement our recommendation. Our review of HHS' 2018 Congressional Budget Justification found that it did not include recommended information. When the 2019 CBJ is issued, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting of major management challenges and to ensure performance information is useful, transparent, and complete, the Secretary of the Interior should describe the Department of Interior's major management challenges and include performance goals, performance measures, planned actions, milestones and an agency official responsible for resolving each of its major management challenges as part of the Department of the Interior's agency performance plan.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, the Department of Interior had not taken any actions to implement our recommendation. It is unclear in the APP what Interior considers to be its major management challenges and, if there are such issues, which performance information aligns with resolving those issues. When the 2019 annual performance plan is issued, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting of major management challenges and to ensure performance information is useful, transparent, and complete, the Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) should describe NSF's major management challenges and identify performance goals, performance measures, milestones, and an agency official responsible for resolving each of its major management challenges as part of NSF's agency performance plan.

    Agency: National Science Foundation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its Fiscal Year 2018 APP, NSF took steps to implement this recommendation by clearly identifying its major management challenges and including planned actions for resolving them. Further action is needed to establish performance goals, performance measures, milestones, and identify an agency official responsible for resolving the challenge. When the 2019 annual performance plan is issued, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Michelle Sager
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enable a more effective approach in working with states to adopt the NDRF, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Administrator of FEMA to conduct a systematic analysis of the information generated from FEMA's readiness assessments to determine the extent of regional office efforts to help states implement the NDRF, including conducting education and outreach.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. According to FEMA, its Office of Readiness Assessment (ORA) launched the 2016 bi-annual FEMA Readiness Assessment Program in April 2016, which includes NDRF related assessment discussions in five FEMA regions. We met with officials in April 2017, who told us that ORA plans to incorporate into this year's assessments, a retrospective review of NDRF findings and progress made in implementing the NDRF since 2013. We will continue to monitor this to see what additional actions the agency takes in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enable a more effective approach in working with states to adopt the NDRF, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Administrator of FEMA to develop best practices and lessons learned with regard to conducting NDRF education and outreach to states based on the analysis of readiness assessments and create a mechanism to disseminate and share those best practices and lessons learned to FEMA regional offices.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. According to FEMA, its Recovery Support Function Leadership Group initiated an information management workgroup, which shares best practices information as one of its objectives. The workgroup has piloted the use of an existing interagency portal as a potential platform for improved information sharing. We met with officials in April 2017, who told us that FEMA will incorporate its 2016 readiness review findings and best practices from regional Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinators for stakeholder outreach and education into the final platform build-out. We will continue to monitor this to see what additional actions the agency takes in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enable a more effective approach in working with states to adopt the NDRF, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Administrator of FEMA to clarify with regional offices and Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinators (FDRCs) the role of the regional implementation plans in FDRC performance plans and how they will be used to assess NDRF regional implementation efforts.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. According to FEMA, to achieve greater integration of FEMA's field leadership components, FEMA's Field Operations Directorate (FOD) convened a Field Leadership Working Group of senior subject matter experts to conduct a mission analysis of FEMA's Field Leadership function (which includes Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinators as well as Federal Coordinating Officers and Incident Management Assistance Teams team leads). According to FEMA, one of the assigned tasks of the group involves developing performance metrics to define a steady state and operational performance framework for field leaders, to include Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinators. According to FEMA, the Working Group is currently underway and is preparing a Field Leader Manual for review by FOD leadership. We will continue to monitor this to see what additional actions the agency takes in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enable a more effective approach in working with states to adopt the NDRF, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Administrator of FEMA to align the annual FDRC performance expectations with clearly defined organizational goals and priorities, consistent with key management practices.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. According to FEMA, the Field Leadership Working Group will implement the elements of this recommendation alongside efforts to clarify the role of the regional National Disaster Recovery Framework implementation plans. FEMA also provided documentation to GAO noting that the Working Group is progressing in its work on its Field Leadership Professional Development Plan. We will continue to monitor this to see what additional actions the agency takes in response to this recommendation.
    Director: Dave Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the quality and transparency of data entered into FRPP as GSA transitions the database to a platform that would enable greater government-wide use, the Administrator of GSA, in consultation with OMB and federal agencies, should (1) assess the reliability of FRPP data by determining how individual agencies collect and report FRPP data for each FRPP field, including any supplemental guidance used by agencies to comply with government-wide FRPP data definitions as part of the annual certification of FRPP data; (2) analyze the differences in collecting and reporting practices used by these agencies; and (3) identify and make available to FRPP users the limitations of using FRPP data, in the context of how the data are intended to be used in real property decision making and to measure real property performance across agencies and update federal guidance to address limitations, as needed.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: GSA partially agreed with the recommendation noting that it has limited resources to fully analyze and map the data relative to FRPP data definitions, and that it is the responsibility of individual agencies to ensure reliability of the data and compliance with FRPP definitions. As of October 2016, GSA has taken some action to implement this recommendation. GSA told us it has made progress by conducting an in-depth survey in June 2106 focusing on several data elements including: replacement value, status, owned and otherwise management operating costs, repair needs, utilization, and lease costs. The survey asked agencies questions regarding the processes/resources used to source and compile these data elements from agency IT systems as well as internal agency guidance. GSA received responses from 24 agencies and stated it plans to complete its initial analysis of the survey in the fall of 2016 and indicate limitations of these data elements. GSA plans to conduct a series of working group meetings with agencies to conduct an in depth review of the survey results and to develop a set of recommendations for the Federal Real Property Council. GSA said these recommendations may include, but are not limited to, altering data dictionary definitions, sharing best or common practices for reporting these data elements, and sharing the limitations on the use of these data elements. Based on the working group outcomes and input from the Federal Real Property Council and OMB, GSA plans to produce a white paper on these topics by the latter part of 2017.
    Recommendation: To enhance the usefulness of the National Strategy for managing federal real property government-wide, the Director of OMB should expand the National Strategy to further address long-standing real property management challenges by: (1) expanding the scope to include maintenance and repair needs; (2) articulating planned actions and identifying alternative approaches, including alternative-funding mechanisms, to address underlying causes of the real property problems; (3) ensuring that performance measures at the agency level inform the overall progress of the National Strategy; and (4) determining the government-wide costs, benefits, and risks by leveraging agencies' long-term capital plans and identifying approaches to optimally manage that risk.

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

    Comments: When we confirm the actions that OMB has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: William Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    6 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA assesses the effectiveness of its programs, the SBA Administrator should prioritize resources to conduct additional program evaluations.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    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 management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA fully meets GPRAMA requirements, the SBA Administrator should use the results of additional evaluations it conducts in its strategic planning process and ensure the agency's next strategic plan includes required information on program evaluations, including a schedule of future evaluations.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: SBA officials stated that, as of October 2016, the agency had taken several steps to prioritize resources and establish an implementation plan for future evaluations, including hiring its first lead program evaluator to develop a long-term evaluation agenda and initiating four program evaluations. They stated that once completed, the evaluations would be incorporated into the agency's fiscal year 2018-2022 strategic plan. As of May 2017, SBA had started reviewing guidance on drafting this plan, which is due in February 2018.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to improve SBA's human capital management, the SBA Administrator should incorporate into its next training plan key principles such as goals and measures for its training programs and input on employee development goals.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    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 management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA's organizational structure helps the agency meet its mission, the SBA Administrator should document the assessment of the agency's organizational structure, including any necessary changes to, for example, better ensure areas of authority, responsibility, and lines of reporting are clear and defined.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    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 management of the Small Business Administration and to improve SBA's program and management guidance, the SBA Administrator should set time frames for periodically reviewing and updating its SOPs as appropriate.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    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 management of the Small Business Administration and to help ensure that SBA's IT operations and maintenance investments are continuing to meet business and customer needs and the agency's strategic goals, the SBA Administrator should direct the appropriate officials to perform an annual operational analysis on all SBA investments in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

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

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better determine the costs needed to sustain the equipment to support a Marine Air Ground Task Force capability, the Commandant of the Marine Corps should direct the Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics to incorporate the four characteristics of reliable cost estimates in the Marine Corps' forthcoming prepositioning programs budget development policy, and specifically to ensure that estimates are accurate and well-documented, require all relevant departments and subordinate commands to provide documentation of cost-estimating details that include both source data and calculations.

    Agency: Department of Defense: United States Marine Corps
    Status: Open

    Comments: Based on our review of DOD's database on DOD's actions addressing GAO recommendations and follow up with DOD officials, as of September 1, 2017, DOD has not yet addressed this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better determine the costs needed to sustain the equipment to support a Marine Air Ground Task Force capability, the Commandant of the Marine Corps should direct the Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics to incorporate the four characteristics of reliable cost estimates in the Marine Corps' forthcoming prepositioning programs budget development policy, and specifically to ensure that estimates are credible, implement management requirements to establish and conduct formal cross-checks of major cost elements among the relevant departments and subordinate commands to determine whether they are replicable.

    Agency: Department of Defense: United States Marine Corps
    Status: Open

    Comments: Based on our review of DOD's database on DOD's actions addressing GAO recommendations and follow up with DOD officials, as of September 1, 2017, DOD has not yet addressed this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better determine the costs needed to sustain the equipment to support a Marine Air Ground Task Force capability, the Commandant of the Marine Corps should direct the Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics to incorporate the four characteristics of reliable cost estimates in the Marine Corps' forthcoming prepositioning programs budget development policy, and specifically to ensure that estimates are comprehensive, implement a standardized structure for collecting all the necessary details used to develop and support cost estimates from all relevant departments and subordinate commands.

    Agency: Department of Defense: United States Marine Corps
    Status: Open

    Comments: Based on our review of DOD's database on DOD's actions addressing GAO recommendations and follow up with DOD officials, as of September 1, 2017, DOD has not yet addressed this recommendation.
    Recommendation: As part of its quality assurance program for ensuring that the Marine Corps has accurate and reliable information on inventory data for stored assets used to support combatant commanders' requirements, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, in consultation with the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organization, should take steps to update the Technical Manual on Logistics Support for the Marine Corps Prepositioning Program - Norway and the Local Bilateral Agreement, to incorporate guidance and instructions on conducting a quality assurance review that assesses the accuracy and reliability of the Norwegian Equipment Information Management System.

    Agency: Department of Defense: United States Marine Corps
    Status: Open

    Comments: Based on our review of DOD's database on DOD's actions addressing GAO recommendations and follow up with DOD officials, as of September 1, 2017, DOD has not yet addressed this recommendation.
    Director: Beryl H. Davis
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide increased performance audit coverage of Commerce's bureaus and offices, the Commerce IG should augment the OIG's risk-based audit planning process to consider (1) a rotation of performance audit coverage among the smaller bureaus and offices to help ensure that the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of their programs are periodically reviewed and (2) all applicable high-risk areas identified by GAO.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Office of the Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has taken actions to augment its annual risk assessment to consider (I) a rotation of performance audit coverage among the smaller bureaus and offices and (2) all applicable high-risk areas identified by GAO. For example, OIG's fiscal year (FY) 2016 audit plan included performance audits of Bureau of Industry and Security, Economic Development Administration, and Economic Development Administration, which are three of Commerce's smaller bureaus. It also included a performance audit of federal real property, a high-risk area identified by GAO. Further, OIG indicated completion of its FY 2017 risk assessment in June, and will be completing its FY 2017 audit plan in September - which will include performance audits of several of the Commerce's smaller bureaus, as well as consider the following high-risk areas identified by GAO in its 2015 report that could be applicable to Commerce. We believe OIG met the intent of GAO recommendation with regards to augmenting its annual risk assessment to consider (1) a rotation of performance audit coverage among the smaller bureaus and offices and (2) all applicable high-risk areas identified by GAO. We base our conclusion given that OIG has either conducted or scheduled to conduct performance audits to cover smaller bureaus and high-risk areas identified by GAO, which we verified on the OIG's website. However, we believe the intent of GAO's recommendation is for these audits to be performed in subsequent years going forward and not just in FY 2017. OIG was not able to provide us support to show it has formal procedures or policies in place to ensure these performance audits will be performed in future years on a rotational and periodic basis. As a result, we don't believe DOC OIG has fully met the intent of the recommendation. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that written hotline policies and procedures are consistently followed and complaints are handled effectively, the Commerce IG should enhance the existing internal control activities for the OIG's hotline operations through monitoring, including self-assessment evaluations conducted by the hotline unit of itself, periodic reviews of control design, and direct testing of internal controls.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Office of the Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce's Office of Inspector General (OIG) stated that it conducted a self-assessment of its hotline operations in fiscal year 2016, updated its complaint management policy, and is securing independent quality control reviews. We have reviewed OIG quality assessment memorandum dated 11/3/15 and verified it shows that OIG performed a self-assessment of its hotline operations, which included (1) evaluating proper handling of complaints; (2) assignment of disposition codes; and (3) time frames for processing complaints. In addition, we have reviewed OIG's updated complaint management policy and verified it contains detailed policies and procedures over its hotline operations. Therefore, we believe OIG met the intent of the recommendation with regards to conducting a self-assessment evaluation. However, we did not see where OIG met the intent of GAO recommendation with regards to having in place control activities for conducting periodic reviews of control design and direct testing of internal controls. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    5 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's management and oversight of the WTP project, the Secretary of Energy should, in assessing the alternatives, revise cost and schedule estimates for the Low Activity Waste Pretreatment System and the Tank Waste Characterization and Staging facility in accordance with industry best practices.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: We will monitor the status of this proposed requirement.
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's management and oversight of the WTP project, the Secretary of Energy should revise the statements of mission need for the two proposed projects to allow DOE to consider a variety of alternatives without limiting potential solutions, consistent with the DOE requirement that mission need statements should not identify particular solution such as equipment, facility, or technology.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOE DARTS report on 5/19/16, revision of the statement of mission for the Low Activity Waste Pretreatment System "has become overcome by events". We will continue to follow up on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's management and oversight of the WTP project, the Secretary of Energy should, in accordance with DOE's Office of River Protection quality assurance policy, conduct an extent-of-condition review for WTP's High Level Waste and Low Activity Waste facilities' systems that have not been reviewed by DOE.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOE agreed with the recommendations and in its written responses to our report stated that it had implemented them. However, we believe additional actions are needed, as indicated in the priority recommendations letter we sent to DOE in 2017. To fully address the recommendations, DOE should conduct an extent-of-condition review for WTP's High Level Waste and Low Activity Waste facilities' systems.
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's management and oversight of the WTP project, the Secretary of Energy should consider whether or to what extent construction activities for the High Level Waste and Low Activity Waste facilities should be further limited until aggressive risk mitigation strategies are developed and employed to address technical challenges that DOE, the contractor, and others have identified but not yet resolved.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOE has noted that these activities were already limited and stated that a specific set of criteria has been established for resuming construction on the High Level Waste facility. However, as we noted in our report, an extent-of-condition review has not been performed on the remainder of the facility's systems, and recommendations from the facility's design and operability review have not been implemented. DOE also stated that construction on the Low Activity Waste facility is nearly complete, that the WTP Federal Project Director has a detailed risk register, and that each remaining risk is being proactively mitigated. This statement, however, does not fully reflect the extent or potential seriousness of the technical risks that remain. An extent-of-condition review may mean limiting the production of new design documents until this review is complete in order to avoid potential costly rework. We believe additional actions are needed. To fully address the recommendation, DOE should consider whether or to what extent construction activities for those facilities should be further limited until this review is completed and aggressive risk mitigation strategies are developed and employed.
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's management and oversight of the WTP project, the Secretary of Energy should enlist the services of another agency or external entity to serve as an owner's agent to assist the Office of River Protection in reviewing and evaluating the WTP contractor's design and approach to mitigating design challenges.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress required DOE to meet this requirement in the 2016 NDAA, and DOE reports that they issued a contract to Parsons Government Services on September 29, 2015. We have requested a copy of this contract for review to ensure that the recommendation has been addressed.
    Director: Scott, George A
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to develop and implement decision-making procedures for BIE that specify who should be involved in the decision-making process for key decisions that affect BIE and its schools to ensure that BIE has effective management controls, is accountable for the use of federal funds, and comports with federal laws and regulations. Such procedures should be clearly documented in management directives, administrative policies, or operating manuals.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) officials stated that they have developed decision-making procedures for BIE in consultation with staff from across the bureau. They indicated that the procedures will be implemented in the coming weeks, pending final approval from the Office of Regulatory Affairs and Collaborative Action and the Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs. We reviewed Indian Affairs' draft procedures, which they plan to incorporate into Indian Affairs' policy manual. The procedures identify, by position, BIE leaders whose involvement in the decision-making process is necessary and define roles and responsibilities of such individuals, among other areas. We will consider whether Indian Affairs' actions fully address this recommendation once the agency provides us with its finalized procedures.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to develop a strategic plan that includes detailed goals and strategies for BIE and for those offices that support BIE's mission, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, to help Indian Affairs effectively implement its realignment. Development of the strategic plan should incorporate feedback from BIE officials and other key stakeholders. To gather stakeholder input, we recommend that the plan include a comprehensive communications strategy to improve communication within Indian Affairs and between Indian Affairs and BIE staff.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, Indian Affairs officials stated that the draft strategic plan for BIE developed by the agency several years ago did not address our recommendation. Officials also told us they began holding strategic planning sessions in March 2017, which they said would continue through late September 2017. Indian Affairs drafted several key elements of its new strategic plan for BIE. The draft includes information on its mission, vision, values and goals. According to agency officials, they are currently developing additional elements to include milestones, measures, and specific action plans. Officials also noted that BIE has reached out to external subject matter expert organizations, such as the Council of Chief State School Officers, in developing its strategic plan. Officials reported they expect to implement the new plan no later than the end of calendar year 2017. We will continue to monitor Indian Affairs' efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to revise its strategic workforce plan to ensure that employees providing administrative support to BIE have the requisite knowledge and skills to help BIE achieve its mission and are placed in the appropriate offices to ensure that regions with a large number of BIE schools have sufficient support.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Although BIE completed a strategic workforce planning effort in 2016, the agency has not fully addressed this recommendation. We will monitor the agency's efforts to finish implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Bertoni, Daniel
    Phone: (202)512-5988

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The incoming Commissioner of Social Security should determine if realigning the agency's headquarters, regional, or field office structure could yield increases in the agency's effectiveness and efficiency by launching an exploratory effort to assess the utility and feasibility of such a realignment or consolidation. These efforts could include holding discussions with other federal agencies, such as the Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service, to learn about their experiences undergoing similar transformations and studying the likely costs and benefits of consolidation, as well as other potential impacts.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA has determined that it will realign its office structure to support expanded online service delivery, but the agency has not yet taken steps to fully assess the utility and feasibility of such a realignment, such as studying the likely costs, benefits, and other potential impacts. In its March 2014 Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2014-2018, SSA stated its intent to expand online services and encourage customers to conduct business with SSA online and said that the agency will streamline its field office structure, as well as its administrative office structure, to reduce costs and make the best use of its employees' time and skills. SSA also consulted with other federal agencies to learn about their experiences with similar efforts. In its April 2015 Vision 2025 document, SSA stated that the agency will align its physical infrastructure to efficiently meet customer and business needs. However, SSA needs to take additional concrete steps, such as defining specific actions the agency will need to take and resources required to achieve this vision.
    Director: Czerwinski, Stanley J
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should, in collaboration with the members of COFAR, develop and make publicly available an implementation schedule that includes performance targets, goal leaders who can be held accountable for each goal, and mechanisms to monitor, evaluate, and report on results.

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

    Comments: In January 2017, GAO reported that although COFAR had released its updated priorities for Fiscal Years 2016 through 2017, it had not released to the public an implementation schedule that included key elements such as performance targets, mechanisms to monitor, evaluate, and report on progress made toward its stated priorities. For this reason, this recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should, in collaboration with the members of COFAR, clarify the roles and responsibilities for various streamlining initiatives and steps for decision making, in particular how COFAR will engage with relevant grant-making agency stakeholders and utilize agency resources.

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

    Comments: In January 2017, GAO reported that although COFAR had released its updated priorities for Fiscal Years 2016 through 2017, the document did not provide clarification on roles and responsibilities for its members. For this reason, this recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should, in collaboration with the members of COFAR, improve efforts to develop an effective two-way communication strategy that includes the grant recipient community, smaller grantmaking agencies that are not members of COFAR, and other entities involved with grants management policy.

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

    Comments: In January 2017, GAO reported that although COFAR had released its updated priorities for Fiscal Years 2016 through 2017, the document did not provide a detailed communication strategy for the grant recipient community. For this reason, this recommendation remains open.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help mitigate the risk of poor acquisition outcomes and strengthen the department's investment management activities, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management to, once the department's acquisition programs comply with DHS acquisition policy, prioritize major acquisition programs departmentwide and ensure that the department's acquisition portfolio is consistent with DHS's anticipated resource constraints.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DHS concurred with this recommendation, and stated that its effort to more fully reflect portfolio management practices in its acquisition policy will help DHS prioritize its major acquisition programs departmentwide. DHS also stated that the revised portfolio management approach will help ensure that the department's acquisition portfolio is consistent with anticipated resource constraints. However, it has taken years for some of the department's major acquisition programs to comply with DHS's acquisition policy, which requires getting approval for key acquisition documentation that contains the critical knowledge needed for DHS to make effective portfolio management decisions. In February 2017, we found that DHS had approved the required acquisition documentation for all of its major acquisition programs and planned to continue to ensure that all major acquisition programs have approved documents, such as acquisition program baselines. Now that major acquisition programs are in compliance with DHS's acquisition policy, GAO will evaluate the department's implementation of its revised portfolio management approach to determine whether DHS has met the intent of this recommendation by ensuring that the department's acquisition portfolio is consistent with DHS's anticipated resource constraints.