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    Subject Term: "Needs assessment"

    19 publications with a total of 40 open recommendations including 3 priority recommendations
    Director: Andrew Von Ah
    Phone: (213) 830-1011

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The DOD's Deputy Chief Management Officer should strengthen its approach to track DOD Executive Agents to ensure that its list and contact information are current and complete.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The DOD's Deputy Chief Management Officer should verify that the OSD Principal Staff Assistants for all DOD Executive Agents have completed their required assessments every 3 years.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The DOD's Deputy Chief Management Officer should issue implementing guidance that OSD Principal Staff Assistants should document the assessments of DOD Executive Agents, including documenting how the assessments address the DOD Executive Agents' continued need, currency, and effectiveness and efficiency in meeting end-user needs.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better assess whether RSCs are meeting USRAP objectives, the Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration should develop outcome-based indicators, as required by State policy.

    Agency: Department of State: Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better assess whether RSCs are meeting USRAP objectives, the Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration should monitor RSC performance against such indicators on a regular basis.

    Agency: Department of State: Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that USCIS officers effectively adjudicate applications for refugee status, the Director of USCIS should develop and implement a plan to deploy officers with national security expertise on circuit rides.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that USCIS officers effectively adjudicate applications for refugee status, the Director of USCIS should conduct regular quality assurance assessments of refugee application adjudications across USCIS's Refugee Affairs Division and International Operations Division.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: USCIS provided documentation that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials conducted a quality assurance assessment of refugee adjudications in July 2017 and has plans to conduct an additional quality assurance assessment in January or February 2018. To fully address this recommendation, USCIS should demonstrate a continued commitment to conducting regular quality assurance assessments of refugee application adjudications.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that USRAP applicant fraud prevention and detection controls are adequate and effectively implemented, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State should conduct regular joint assessments of applicant fraud risk across USRAP.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that USRAP applicant fraud prevention and detection controls are adequate and effectively implemented, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State should conduct regular joint assessments of applicant fraud risk across USRAP.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Mark L. Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To more fully address stakeholder concerns and help ensure FirstNet's resources reflect expected changes in responsibilities, FirstNet should assess the long-term staffing needs in the Network Program Office prior to requesting to assume full responsibility from Interior for administering the network contract.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: National Telecommunications and Information Administration: First Responder Network Authority
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To more fully address stakeholder concerns and help ensure FirstNet's resources reflect expected changes in responsibilities, FirstNet should request that the Public Safety Advisory Committee's Tribal Working Group fully explore tribal concerns and propose actions, as needed, to address those concerns.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: National Telecommunications and Information Administration: First Responder Network Authority
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Chris P. Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance its ability to fulfill its role as the facilitator of cross-sector collaboration and best-practices sharing, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Assistant Secretary of Infrastructure Protection, Office of Infrastructure Protection, to explore with key critical infrastructure partners, whether and what opportunities exist to harmonize federally-administered screening and credentialing access control efforts across critical infrastructure sectors.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that SCO uses its time and resources to pursue the most efficient and effective screening and credentialing harmonization goals on behalf of the department, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Screening Coordination, Office of Policy, to establish goals and objectives to support its broader strategic framework for harmonization.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

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

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order for drug sponsors to benefit from FDA's revised guidance on antibiotic development and take full advantage of the QIDP designation, FDA should clarify how drug sponsors should utilize draft guidance documents that were released in accordance with GAIN.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Food and Drug Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS gave GAO information on its Good Guidance Practices, which provide that guidance documents are not binding on FDA or the public and that sponsors can use alternative approaches consistent with applicable statutes. HHS also noted that FDA issues guidance in draft form to solicit public comment before finalizing its current thinking and recommendations. This practice, as reflected by language on applicable QIDP draft guidance documents indicating that the guidance will represent FDA's current thinking "when finalized," created uncertainty for sponsors in planning their antibiotic drug development programs. Without clarifying the role of draft guidance in the QIDP designation and process, this uncertainty will continue to persist. GAO considers this recommendation open.
    Recommendation: In order for drug sponsors to benefit from FDA's revised guidance on antibiotic development and take full advantage of the QIDP designation, FDA should develop and make available written guidance on the QIDP designation that includes information about the process a drug sponsor must undertake to request the fast track designation and how the agency is applying the market exclusivity incentive.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Food and Drug Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to HHS, FDA intends to begin developing guidance on the QIDP designation and will eventually make this guidance publicly available.
    Director: Kathleen M. King
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency's enrollment screening process, the Administrator of CMS should establish objectives and performance measures for assessing progress toward achieving its goals.

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

    Comments: As of August 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) considers this recommendation still open. HHS noted that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is planning to implement this recommendation in early 2018. GAO will continue to monitor the agency's progress and will update the status of the recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: Susan A. Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen FRA's grants management practices, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FRA Administrator to enhance the process outlined in the Grants Manual to monitor project performance for future grants to include: (1) performance measures directly linked to project goals, and (2) fully incorporating timely and actionable information on grantee performance into FRA's review process to help determine whether current efforts are in line with the overall project goals.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT agreed with this recommendation and stated that FRA will enhance the grants management manual content linking performance measures to project goals, and incorporating timely and actionable information on grant performance into monitoring and oversight activities. DOT stated FRA would complete these actions by June 30, 2017.
    Recommendation: To strengthen FRA's grants management practices, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FRA Administrator to develop and provide written guidance to grantees to include FRA's expectations on the type of information grantees should provide, such as guidance specific to deliverables and milestones for each grant project.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT agreed with this recommendation and stated that FRA will identify gaps in existing guidance and develop and disseminate revised guidance to grantees. DOT stated FRA would complete these actions by December 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: To strengthen FRA's grants management practices, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FRA Administrator to analyze training needs and formalize a training plan for grantees and agency staff, which could include training on grant-specific procedures and policies.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT agreed with this recommendation and FRA developed a revised formal training plan in March 2017. As of May 2017, we are reviewing this plan.
    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: J. Alfredo Gómez
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: As EPA and USDA continue to consider ways to track and promote water utilities' implementation of asset management, the Administrator of EPA should direct the Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water and Office of Wastewater Management to continue to include questions on water utilities' use of asset management in the clean water needs assessment and consider including questions about water utilities' use of asset management in future drinking water infrastructure needs assessment surveys.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 2017, EPA has convened a workgroup of 40 people representing states, technical advisers, EPA, and USDA. It will develop new asset management outreach tools directed towards local decision makers. The group will meet quarterly and plans to issue tools and resources by fall 2017.
    Recommendation: As EPA and USDA continue to consider ways to track and promote water utilities' implementation of asset management, the Administrator of EPA, and the Secretary of USDA, through the Rural Development Agency, should consider compiling into one document the existing cases and examples of the benefits and costs of asset management and widely share this information with water utilities.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, EPA has convened a workgroup of 40 people representing states, technical advisers, EPA, and USDA. It will develop new asset management outreach tools directed towards local decision makers. The group will meet quarterly and plans to issue tools and resources by fall 2017.
    Recommendation: As EPA and USDA continue to consider ways to track and promote water utilities' implementation of asset management, the Administrator of EPA, and the Secretary of USDA, through the Rural Development Agency, should consider compiling into one document the existing cases and examples of the benefits and costs of asset management and widely share this information with water utilities.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, EPA had convened a workgroup of 40 people representing states, technical advisers, EPA, and USDA. It will develop new asset management outreach tools directed towards local decision makers. The group will meet quarterly and plans to issue a best practices document by April 2017 and a webinar by May 2017.
    Director: Andrew Sherrill
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To inform decisions on any potential future iterations of the veterans' employment workshop, the Secretary of Labor should assess and report to Congress the extent to which further delivery of employment workshops to veterans and their spouses could fill a niche not fully served by existing federal programs. Such an assessment could involve collaboration with VA and other stakeholder organizations.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, DOL repeated its assertion that the employment needs of veterans and spouses are best met through the services offered by their local American Job Centers. Additionally, DOL's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) has published its employment workshop TAP curriculum in eBook form, making it accessible to all veterans and spouses. VETS planned to report to Congress in 2017 on whether a need exists to provide an employment workshop to veterans and spouses. DOL has not provided an update to GAO on that assessment. Further, VETS is conducting a pilot to identify additional options to connect veterans and spouses to employment services available at American Job Centers, and plans to report its initial findings to Congress in 2018.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DHS's management of major acquisition programs, the Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure future baselines for all of TSA's major acquisition programs capture the overall historical record of change.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred with this recommendation, and stated that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will begin to incorporate an addendum to future Acquisition Program Baselines (APB) that will provide a single source to show the changes to cost, schedule, and performance metrics, beginning with the initial program baseline and showing traceability of all interim approved versions to the current APB. DHS estimated it would complete this effort April 30, 2016. As of August 2017, DHS leadership had approved updated versions of the two APBs that were the basis for this recommendation. Both included addendums with metrics from prior APBs, but raised questions about traceability to the current cost, schedule, and performance metrics. GAO will assess the updated APBs as a part of its annual review of select DHS major acquisition programs to determine whether the department has addressed the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To more accurately communicate DHS's funding plans for USCG's major acquisition programs, the Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure the funding plans presented to Congress in fiscal year 2015 are comprehensive and clearly account for all operations and maintenance funding DHS plans to allocate to each of the USCG's major acquisition programs.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred with this recommendation, and stated that the U.S. Coast Guard and the DHS Chief Financial Officer will develop a plan to address this recommendation by September 30, 2015, then work together to fully implement the plan. DHS estimated it would complete this effort March 31, 2016. However, the USCG encountered technical challenges during this process and was unable to implement the plan by that time. The U.S. Coast Guard has revised the estimated completion date, and now anticipates it will be able to address this recommendation in fiscal year 2020.
    Director: Mark L. Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The FCC should conduct a program evaluation to determine the extent to which the Lifeline program is efficiently and effectively reaching its performance goals of ensuring the availability of voice service for low-income Americans while minimizing the contribution burden on consumers and businesses.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a 2016 Lifeline modernization order, which FCC adopted March 31, 2016, FCC instructed the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to hire an outside, independent third-party evaluator to complete a program evaluation of the modernized Lifeline program. FCC noted that the program evaluation would enable FCC and the public to have better information about the operation and effectiveness of the Lifeline program. Such an evaluation will likely address our recommendation. FCC's order stipulated that USAC must submit the evaluation's findings to FCC by December 2020. We will update the status of this recommendation after we receive additional information from FCC.
    Director: David Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the transparency of the FRPP data and help GSA make more informed decisions regarding the planning, effective and efficient management, and disposal of civilian warehouse assets, in GSA's landlord role, which is performed by the Public Buildings Service, and as part of its efforts to address our 2012 recommendation to develop and publish a comprehensive 5-year capital plan, GSA should develop and implement a strategy specific to warehouses. This strategy should apply capital-planning leading practices, involving prioritization and long-term planning, to the warehouse portion of GSA's portfolio.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The General Services Administration (GSA) analyzed warehouse data and determined that the existing tools and processes are the most appropriate way to treat warehouses because these tools and processes consider warehouses within the context of local markets, client agencies, and GSA's short and long-term investment plans. However, GSA continues to lack a strategic approach to prioritize warehouses and make long-term, informed decisions about government warehouse space. Further, in light of GSA's aging warehouse inventory and agencies' modern-day storage needs, there is potentially a growing gap between what GSA can provide from the government's owned portfolio and what the tenant agencies require. Because the agency lacks a strategy focused on its warehouse portfolio, GSA may have limited ability to address this potentially growing gap as well as the unique challenges facing GSA's warehouse portfolio. Such a strategy would enable GSA and tenant agencies to prioritize their needs and take a long-term view of the warehouse inventory to support better informed decisions. We will follow-up with GSA regarding this recommendation, which is intended to enhance GSA's existing tools and processes, as they relate to warehouses.
    Director: Martin, Belva M
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Recognizing that there are widespread requirements to know what is militarily critical, the Secretary of Defense should determine the best approach to meeting users' needs for a technical reference, whether it be MCTL, other alternatives being used, or some combination thereof.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet implemented it. As of August 2017, multiple approaches to maintaining a technical reference are still being considered.
    Recommendation: Recognizing that there are widespread requirements to know what is militarily critical, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that resources are coordinated and efficiently devoted to sustain the approach chosen.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, multiple approaches to maintaining a technical reference are still being considered.
    Director: Cosgrove, James C
    Phone: (202)512-7029

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To increase D-SNPs' accountability and ensure that CMS has the information it needs to determine whether D-SNPs are providing the services needed by dual-eligible beneficiaries, especially those who are most vulnerable, the Administrator of CMS should conduct an evaluation of the extent to which D-SNPs have provided sufficient and appropriate care to the population they serve, and report the results in a timely manner.

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

    Comments: As of October 2016, HHS has not implemented this recommendation. CMS noted that, in 2012, they conducted two independent reviews to evaluate how well SNPs, including D-SNPs, developed and implemented a quality improvement tool used to ensure that the unique needs of SNP enrollees are identified and addressed through the plan's care management practices. However, CMS has not conducted an evaluation of the extent to which D-SNPs have provided sufficient and appropriate care to the population they serve. In prior updates, CMS officials said that they were uncertain whether an evaluation of D-SNPs would be conducted in the future, since the likelihood of an evaluation would be dependent on availability of funding for an independent contract. However, they noted that, to the extent that CMS is able to develop solid care coordination outcome measures (which would be incorporated into the HEDIS requirements), that they expect these measures will serve as key indicators of D-SNP performance. For this recommendation to be closed as implemented, CMS will need to conduct an evaluation of the extent to which D-SNPs have provided sufficient and appropriate care to the population they serve.
    Director: Russell, Cary B
    Phone: (202)512-8365

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve oversight and ensure consistency in the reporting of total reset costs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in coordination with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics, the services, and the Joint Staff to act on the tasking in the Resource Management Decision 700 to develop and publish a DOD definition of reset for use in the DOD overseas contingency operations budgeting process.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2011, we recommended that the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in coordination with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics, the services, and the Joint Staff to act on the tasking in the Resource Management Decision 700 to develop and publish a DOD definition of reset for use in the DOD overseas contingency operations budgeting process. According to OSD, a definition of reset for use in the overseas contingencies operations budgeting process has been developed and incorporated into a draft update to the DOD Financial Management Regulations. During coordination within the Department, the draft definition went to DOD Office of General Counsel for consultation on the exact wording of the definition of reset. The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) plans to include the definition in the next update to the FMR currently set for January 2016. According to DOD OIG, the reset definition has been added to a draft update to DOD's Financial Management Regulation. The definition was originally submitted for an update to the Financial Management Regulation glossary in November 2012. In 2014, the department reported that the update was still in the Office of General Counsel for final legal review with issuance expected in January 2015. In 2015, the department reported that after consultation with the DOD Office of General Counsel (OGC) on the exact wording of the definition of reset, OUSD Comptroller plans to include the definition in the next update to the FMR currently set for January 2016. As of September 2016, DOD has still not issued its planned update to the FMR. Consequently, this recommendation will remain open.
    Director: Stephenson, John B
    Phone: (202)512-6225

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that EPA's library network continues to meet its users' needs, the Administrator of EPA should, in future assistance agreements, make explicit that EPA can include in the agency's public online database, without obtaining prior permission from the copyright holder, any documents produced under the agreements.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: EPA developed a draft agencywide implementation plan to make research publications and data resulting from contracts and assistance agreements freely available to the public. EPA is currently in the process of revising the draft plan in response to comment from the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). As of September 2016, EPA plans to submit the final document to OSTP soon. In the meantime, EPA?s Office of Research and Development (ORD) began implementing increased public access to intramural research publications and associated data in January 2016. ORD has also established a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Institutes of Health to use PubMed Central as the public-use repository for intramural research publications.
    Recommendation: To ensure that EPA's library network continues to meet its users' needs, and for future assistance agreements where EPA cannot make such an arrangement, EPA should digitize documents produced under the agreements and make them available to federal employees and other authorized users for federal government purposes.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: EPA has developed a draft agencywide implementation plan to make research publications and data resulting from contracts and assistance agreements freely available to the public. EPA is currently in the process of revising the draft plan in response to comment from the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). As of September 2016, EPA plans to submit the final document to OSTP soon.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-2757

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide more meaningful access to LEP populations, the Administrator of SBA should finalize and issue its LEP plan and recipient guidance.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: Executive Order 13166 requires federal agencies to examine how to improve access for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) to programs, services, and activities conducted by both federal agencies as well as state, local, and regional entities that receive federal financial assistance (a group referred to in the Executive Order as "recipients"). While the Executive Order does not prescribe specific approaches for improving access for LEP persons, it does require federal agencies to develop guidelines (referred to as "recipient guidance") that clarify the obligations of state, local, and regional entities. Agencies are also required to prepare LEP plans outlining the steps the agency will take to ensure that eligible LEP persons can access their programs and activities. In our April 2010 report on language access issues, we determined that the Small Business Administration (SBA) had not issued its recipient guidance or LEP plan. SBA officials attributed the delay to several factors, including staff turnover in key positions responsible for developing and approving their LEP Plan and recipient guidance as well as a major transformation effort involving SBA's business operations, goals, and staffing arrangements. As a result, our report recommended that the SBA Administrator finalize and issue SBA's LEP Plan and recipient guidance. As of February 2017, SBA's audit liaison reported that SBA's LEP Plan and recipient guidance are being revised based on comments from a review by the Department of Justice.
    Director: Gambler, Rebecca S
    Phone: (202)512-8816

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and accountability of checkpoint performance results to the Congress and the public, the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection should establish internal controls for management oversight of the accuracy, consistency, and completeness of checkpoint performance data.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: In our review of Border Patrol traffic checkpoints, we found inconsistencies in the way field agents collected and entered performance data into the checkpoint information system. As a result, data reported in the system were unreliable. We recommended that Border Patrol establish internal controls to ensure the accuracy, consistency, and completeness of checkpoint performance data. In October 2009, the Border Patrol reported internal control solutions were underway, which would primarily involve upgrading its existing checkpoint data systems and creating a checkpoint data oversight protocol. In June 2013, Border Patrol reported that it was developing a redesigned checkpoint information system that should address the data errors and issues identified by our report. The agency also noted that it was exploring ways to implement a data oversight procedure and training on the importance of accurate data collection. In October 2014, the Border Patrol reported that the recommendation was being addressed in various phases, with a new expected completion date of March 2015. In June 2015, Border Patrol revised the expected completion date to September 2015. In September 2016, Border Patrol officials stated that the agency had not yet updated its checkpoint data system or created a data oversight protocol. Without established internal controls, the integrity of Border Patrol's performance and accountability system with regard to checkpoint operations remains uncertain.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and accountability of checkpoint performance results to the Congress and the public, the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection should implement the quality of life measures that have already been identified by the Border Patrol to evaluate the impact that checkpoints have on local communities. Implementing these measures would include identifying appropriate data sources available at the local, state, or federal level, and developing guidance for how data should be collected and used in support of these measures.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: In our review of Border Patrol traffic checkpoints, we found that the Border Patrol had identified some measures to evaluate the impact that checkpoints have on local communities in terms of quality of life, but Border Patrol had not implemented the measures. As a result, the Border Patrol lacked information on how checkpoint operations could affect nearby communities. In October 2009, the Border Patrol reported that it was reevaluating its checkpoint performance measures, including quality of life measures. In June 2012, Border Patrol reported that the University of Arizona and the University of Texas, El Paso had completed a study for CBP on checkpoints. This study made several recommendations to Border Patrol on evaluating the impact of checkpoints on local communities using quantitative measures and with maintaining regular contact with the public to elicit opinions on experiences with the checkpoint, both positive and negative. At the time, the Border Patrol noted it intended to develop quantitative measures on community impact, such as on public safety and quality of life, using information collected in the new checkpoint information system it was planning. Border Patrol also noted that it was considering the budgetary feasibility of (1) conducting a survey of checkpoint travelers to gather detailed information about the community and impact metrics that are of highest importance to the public and (2) implementing an expedited lane for regular and pre-approved travelers. In July 2014, the Border Patrol revised the expected completion date for this recommendation to March 2015, noting that it planned to request ideas from the field commanders on what the agency could measure that would accurately depict the impact of checkpoints on the community. In June 2015, Border Patrol revised the expected completion date to September 2015. In September 2016, officials from Border Patrol's Checkpoint Program Management Office said quality of life measures had not been implemented and they were not aware of any plans to develop and implement such measures.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and accountability of checkpoint performance results to the Congress and the public, the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection should use the information generated from the quality of life measures in conjunction with other relevant factors to inform resource allocations and address identified impacts.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: In our review of Border Patrol traffic checkpoints, we found that while the Border Patrol's national strategy cites the importance of assessing the community impact of Border Patrol operations, the implementation of such measures was lacking in terms of checkpoint operations. We recommended that Border Patrol implement such measures in areas of community concern to provide greater attention and priority in Border Patrol operational and staffing decisions to address any existing issues. In October 2009, the Border Patrol reported that once it had completed an upgrade of its existing checkpoint data systems and had reevaluated its checkpoint performance measures, the agency would begin using information garnered by these performance measures to inform future resource allocation decisions. This was originally expected to be completed by September 30, 2010, but due to budgetary and other issues, the checkpoint system upgrades were not yet completed as of June 2013. Border Patrol reported to us in June 2013 that the redesigned and upgraded checkpoint information system was expected to be implemented in September 2014. In July 2014, however, Border Patrol revised its expected completion date to March 2016. In June 2015, Border Patrol reported that it was on target to meet this March 2016 completion date. However, in September 2016, officials from Border Patrol's Checkpoint Program Management Office stated that they were not aware of any planned or completed actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the checkpoint design process results in checkpoints that are sized and resourced to meet operational and community needs, the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection should, in connection with planning for new or upgraded checkpoints, conduct a workforce planning needs assessment for checkpoint staffing allocations to determine the resources needed to address anticipated levels of illegal activity around the checkpoint.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: In our review of Border Patrol traffic checkpoints, we found that Border Patrol's checkpoint strategy to push illegal aliens and smugglers to areas around checkpoints-which could include nearby communities-underscores the need for the Border Patrol to ensure that it deploys sufficient resources and staff to these areas. We recommended that Border Patrol conduct a needs assessment when planning for a new or upgraded checkpoint in order to better ensure that officials consider the potential impact of the checkpoint on the community and plan for a sufficient number of agents and resources. In October 2009, Border Patrol reported that the agency was evaluating its checkpoint policy regarding the establishment of a new checkpoint or the upgrade of an old checkpoint, and checkpoint policy changes would be finalized by September 30, 2010. Border Patrol also reported that checkpoint system upgrades that capture data on checkpoint performance would help management determine future resource needs at checkpoints. In June 2013, Border Patrol reported that due to budget and other issues, the checkpoint system upgrade had not been completed, and the rewritten checkpoint data protocol had not been approved. In June 2013, Border Patrol reported that as part of the checkpoint study conducted by the DHS Centers of Excellence, the Centers created checkpoint simulation tools that would help inform resource allocations when determining the number of inspection lanes on current or new checkpoints. The Border Patrol agreed with the utility of such a model, but noted that the Border Patrol would need to purchase modeling software--a cost-prohibitive measure in the current budget environment. In the interim, Border Patrol is developing a formal workforce staffing model to identify staffing strategies for all Border Patrol duties. Border Patrol expected to implement this model for checkpoint staffing assignments in fiscal year 2014. However, in July 2014, Border Patrol reported that the Border Patrol Personnel Requirements Determination project was still being developed and would not be complete until 2015. That process will inform staffing at checkpoints. As a result, Border Patrol revised its expected implementation date to September 2015. In June 2015, Border Patrol reported that it was on target to implement this recommendation by September 2015. In September 2016, Border Patrol officials reported that the agency's Personnel Requirements Determination process would not provide information on staffing needs until fiscal year 2017 or 2018, and also noted that this effort is not specifically examining staffing needs at checkpoints. Officials said there could be additional ways to address the recommendation, but that there were no ongoing efforts to do so apart from any information that may be available from the Personnel Requirements Determination process.