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    Subject Term: "Mission statement"

    5 publications with a total of 18 open recommendations
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512- 5431

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to establish a strategic policy that incorporates key elements of leading practices for sound strategic management planning, such as a mission statement and long-term goals, to inform the military services' plans for retrograde and reset to support overseas contingency operations and to improve DOD's response to section 324 of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2014.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: This recommendation remains open because we found in our review of DOD's second update (GAO-17-530R) that DOD has not established a strategic policy for retrograde and reset consistent with leading practices on sound strategic management planning. Nor has DOD, as of June 2017, selected an appropriate organization to lead the effort on developing such a policy. We continue to believe that our recommendation remains valid because without a strategic policy for retrograde and reset that incorporates key elements of strategic management planning, DOD cannot ensure that its efforts to develop retrograde and reset guidance provide the necessary strategic planning framework to inform the military services' implementation plans for retrograde and reset. A necessary first step, as DOD has indicated and as we stated in our May 2016 report, is the selection of an appropriate organization to lead the development of the policy.
    Recommendation: To enhance the accuracy of budget reporting to Congress, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in coordination with the DOD Comptroller, to develop and require the use of consistent information and descriptions of key terms regarding retrograde and reset in relevant policy and other guidance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: This recommendation remains open because we found in our review of DOD's second update (GAO-17-530R) that DOD has not developed and required the use of consistent information and descriptions of key terms regarding retrograde and reset in policy and guidance. Thus, descriptions of retrograde and reset still vary, and the services use the same terms differently. In its written comments on our report, DOD partially concurred with our recommendation and stated that the Financial Management Regulation had recently been updated to include the definitions of both reset and retrograde that will be used to estimate and report Overseas Contingency Operations costs starting in Fiscal Year 2018, referencing the chapter on Contingency Operations. However, contrary to the department's claim, as of April 2017, the Financial Management Regulation chapter regarding Contingency Operations has not been updated since September 2007.21 An official we met with from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) told us that this office will be updating DOD's Financial Management Regulation to include the expanded definition of reset. According to this official, however, the updated Financial Management Regulation will likely not include a definition for retrograde. As we reported in May 2016, major operations typically involve retrograde. However, the chapter of the DOD Financial Management Regulation specific to contingency operations does not provide a definition of retrograde or include any information describing how retrograde costs should be considered or calculated. We continue to believe that if DOD does not ensure the use of consistent terms--especially retrograde and reset--and descriptions in policy and other departmental documents used to inform budget estimates on retrograde and reset, Congress may not receive the consistent and accurate information that it needs to make informed decisions concerning retrograde and reset.
    Recommendation: To improve Army, Navy, and Air Force planning, budgeting, and execution for retrograde and reset efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to develop service-specific implementation plans for retrograde and reset that incorporate elements of leading practices for sound strategic management planning, such as strategies that include how a goal will be achieved, how an organization will carry out its mission, and the resources required to meet goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: This recommendation remains open because we found in our review of DOD's second update (GAO-17-530R) that the Army, Navy, and Air Force have not yet developed implementation plans for the retrograde and reset of their equipment, according to service officials. As previously discussed, in May 2016 we recommended that the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force develop service-specific implementation plans for retrograde and reset that incorporate elements of leading practices for sound strategic management planning. In its response to our recommendation, DOD partially concurred, stating that the department would determine the appropriate Principal Staff Assistant to lead the development and application of service-related implementation plans. However, as of June 2017, DOD has not identified a lead for this effort. We continue to believe that Army, Navy, and Air Force service-specific implementation plans that articulate goals and strategies for retrograde and reset of equipment, among other things, are important and that reset-related maintenance costs may not consistently be tracked, and resources and funding for retrograde and reset may not be consistently or effectively budgeted for and distributed within each service. For this reason, we continue to believe that our prior recommendation remains valid and reinforces the need for DOD to establish a strategic policy consistent with leading practices on sound strategic management planning to guide and inform the services' plans.
    Director: James R. McTigue, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure SB/SE's audit selection program meets its mission and selects returns fairly, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should clearly define and document the key term "fairness" for return selection activities.

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

    Comments: IRS agreed to incorporate a definition of fairness into the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM), which serves as a single point of reference for guidance to IRS examiners. In February 2016, the Deputy Commissioner of Services and Enforcement (S&E) reiterated IRS's definition of fairness in the examination process to S&E employees. In January 2017, IRS issued interim guidance on fairness in examination case selection. IRS officials said that this guidance is considered "final" until the IRM is updated, no later than January 2019. In February 2017, IRS issued an article on its IRWeb and a message from the Deputy Commissioner S&E on defining fairness in the exam process. We are awaiting resolution of how this definition will be used in three other recommendations on communicating examples as well as developing both a related objective and measure.
    Recommendation: To help ensure SB/SE's audit selection program meets its mission and selects returns fairly, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should clearly communicate examples of fair selections to staff to better assure consistent understanding.

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

    Comments: IRS agreed to communicate examples of fairness to managers and examiners involved in selecting tax returns for examination. In March 2017, the Director of IRS Small Business/Self Employed (SB/SE) Examination-Headquarters issued a memo to SB/SE examination directors that included examples illustrating the fairness definition in return selection. The examples were to be shared with directors, management, and examiners involved in return selection. To close this recommendation, we are waiting for resolution of how the fairness definition will be implemented through related recommendations on developing program objectives and measures assessing fairness in return selection.
    Recommendation: To help ensure SB/SE's audit selection program meets its mission and selects returns fairly, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop, document, and implement program-level objective(s) to evaluate whether the return selection process is meeting its mission of applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all.

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

    Comments: IRS agreed to review its current objectives for the SB/SE examination program and found that an additional program-level objective to evaluate fairness in the return selection was necessary. The new objective is "Ensure examinations are initiated based on indicators of noncomplicance. In addition, ensure a review of the decisions to survey a return (i.e., not initiate an examination) are based on upon factors outlined in the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) and approved by an appropriate level of management." In March 2017, IRS issued interim guidance communicating the new objective, which was sent to Examination Directors. The guidance and objective were also posted on the IRweb, which is available to all IRS employees. IRS officials said that the interim guidance is considered final until it can be incorporated into the IRM, which should be done within 2 years of when the interim guidance is issued. We are awaiting IRS's response to a related recommendation on developing a measure for this selection objective before deciding to close this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that SB/SE's audit selection objective(s) on fairness are used and met, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop, document, and implement related performance measures that would allow SB/SE to determine how well the selection of returns for audit meets the new objective(s).

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

    Comments: IRS agreed to develop, document, and implement additional performance measures if new objectives related to fair return selection were implemented. In March 2017, IRS developed a new objective on fair return selection. In April 2017, IRS officials said that they were working on performance measures related to the new objective on fair return selection. They plan to meet with GAO in 1-2 months to obtain our feedback on the measures.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that SB/SE's audit selection objective(s) on fairness are used and met, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should incorporate the new objective(s) for fair return selection into the SB/SE risk management system to help identify and analyze potential risks to fair selections.

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

    Comments: IRS agreed to consider any new objectives related to fair return selection within SB/SE's current risk management process framework. In March and April 2017, SB/SE developed a tool (RAFT) to include the fair selection objective (and related activities) into its risk register, which is monitored quarterly. IRS provided documentation from the Exam Risk Council meeting that they have discussed and assessed these risks. IRS is still working on documentation to show they are addressing our recommendations and the associated risks. IRS officials said the documentation is due in August 2017.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop and implement consistent documentation requirements to clarify the reasons for selecting a return for audit and who reviewed and approved the selection decision.

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

    Comments: IRS agreed to evaluate the need to improve its documentation of return selection decisions and the review and approval process. In March 2017, various IRS functions completed templates showing the current status of return selection documentation requirements. As a result, they found that they could improve the consistency and clarity in documentation, approval and review requirements across workstreams by clearly defining procedures and ensuring they are formally documented in the IRM. The Director of Exam Case Selection issued a memo directing that documentation requirements be made consistent in the IRM. IRS officials said that revised documentation requirements are due in August 2017, with IRM incorporation at a later date.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop, document, and implement monitoring procedures to ensure that decisions made and coding used to select returns for audit are appropriate.

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

    Comments: IRS agreed to review its current procedures for monitoring return selection decisions and coding used to select returns. In April 2017, IRS officials provided documentation showing they had reviewed campus examination selection dollar thresholds and campus source code definitions. They found that improvements could be made in clarifying source code definitions and reviewing dollar thresholds used to categorize and select, respectively, returns for examination. IRS has issued an IRM procedural update to implement these changes. During our meeting with IRS, we clarified that our recommendation covered monitoring selection decisions more broadly, which IRS acknowledged. Officials said that additional documentation on monitoring selection decisions will be due by August 2017.
    Director: James R. McTigue, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure the IRS collection program meets its mission and selects cases fairly, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should establish, document, and implement objectives for the collection program and ACS, and define the key term of "fairness" as it applies to collection activities, which can be communicated to IRS staff.

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

    Comments: In January 2017, IRS supplied documentation on how it had established a fairness policy statement, which is incorporated into the Internal Revenue Manual, communicated to staff in email, and provided via a powerpoint present to staff. IRS also established and documented collection program objectives as part of its FY2017 Collect Program Letter. However, IRS still needs to identify how these objectives have been implemented and how ACS contributes to specific objectives. IRS plans to provide this documentation by September 2017.
    Director: Mctigue Jr, James R
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure the IRS collection program meets its mission and selects cases fairly, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should establish, document, and implement clear objectives for the collection program and enterprise-wide case categorization and routing processes, and define key terms, such as "fairness" and "risk."

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

    Comments: IRS agreed with the recommendation. In March 2017, IRS provided a document intended define the objectives and "fairness," but it did not clearly define objectives for the collection program and enterprise-wide case categorization and routing processes, but instead identified division-level objectives and fiscal year 2017 collection strategies. The document also did not clearly define and communicate objectives--to include fairness--to staff in measurable terms that would be easily understood. Further, the objectives definitions were not were not clear and sufficient to support the design of internal control for related risks, the development of performance measures to determine whether objectives were achieved, and control assessments to assure case selections effectively support the collection program mission over time, including fairness. In August 2017, we shared this assessment with IRS and asked whether or when Collection plans to develop or provide additional documents.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the IRS collection program meets its mission and selects cases fairly, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should build upon existing Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) guidance to help managers identify internal and external risks to collection program objectives, and better understand how long-standing risk processes integrate with new ERM approaches; incorporate this guidance into existing or future ERM or collection program risk assessment processes.

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

    Comments: IRS agreed with the recommendation and said it would continue to build upon existing risk management guidance by finalizing and making available training for managers, which would assist them in understanding their responsibilities for identifying internal and external risks to Collection program objectives. In November 2016, IRS provided documentation of risk management training for managers. However, since objectives for the collection program, enterprise-wide case categorization and routing processes, and fairness were not yet clearly defined, such guidance cannot be effectively incorporated into risk assessment processes to identify internal and external risks to collection program objectives. In August 2017, we shared this assessment with IRS and asked whether or when Collection plans to develop or provide additional documents.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the IRS collection program meets its mission and selects cases fairly, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should clearly establish, document, and implement case categorization and routing procedures--such as those for IDS, high priority case selection, and any other important processes--to support collection program objectives and IRS goals.

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

    Comments: IRS agreed with the recommendation and said it would review its case prioritization and selection processes and implement and communicate clear guidance and documentation to appropriate IRS staff. In November 2016, IRS provided documents on collection processes, but the information was either technical or covered Automated Collection System (ACS) or Field Collection processes rather than enterprise-wide processes to support collection program objectives and IRS goals. More specifically, the documents did not provide corrected guidance on the role of the Inventory Delivery System and modeling in shelving or routing cases to either ACS or the Field, or provide guidance on how management is to select priority area cases. In August 2017, we shared this assessment with IRS and asked whether or when Collection plans to develop or provide additional documents.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the IRS collection program meets its mission and selects cases fairly, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should establish, document, and implement procedures for the periodic evaluation of the efficiency and effectiveness of collection-wide case categorization, routing rules, and case selection processes.

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

    Comments: IRS said agreed that continually improving its performance is important and said that Collection would review and, if needed, update its internal management documents. In July 2017, IRS provided documents that identified and established responsibilities for periodic, regular review procedures to potentially update dollar thresholds used in routing collection inventory for potential selection, including IDS and its decision rules to route cases to one collections function instead of another (i.e., the Automated Collection System versus Field Collection. In August 2017, we asked IRS when it plans to conduct the first such evaluations and requested that it provide documentation of results of those implemented evaluations when available.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the IRS collection program meets its mission and selects cases fairly, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should establish, document, and implement procedures for periodic updates of dollar thresholds for categorizing case selection, including those identified as "high risk."

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

    Comments: IRS agreed that continually improving its performance is important and said that Collection would review and, if needed, update its internal management documents. In July 2017, IRS provided documents that identified and established responsibilities for periodic, regular review procedures to potentially update dollar thresholds used in systems that use a dollar threshold to prioritize Collection cases. In August 2017, we asked IRS when it plans to conduct the first such evaluations and requested that it provide documentation of results of those implemented evaluations when available.
    Director: Merritt, Zina Dache
    Phone: (202) 512-5257

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To develop and implement a process to monitor performance and independently validate the effectiveness and sustainability of corrective actions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to assess, and refine as appropriate, existing performance measures to ensure the measures assess the implementation of individual initiatives as well as progress towards achievement of the overarching goals and objectives in the Strategy.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2016, DOD has not implemented this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To demonstrate sustained progress in having implemented corrective measures, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in collaboration with the military services, to continue the implementation of identified initiatives, refining them over time as appropriate, and demonstrate that implementation of initiatives results in measurable outcomes and progress toward achieving improvements in asset visibility.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2016, DOD has not implemented this recommendation.