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    Subject Term: "New technologies"

    9 publications with a total of 15 open recommendations including 2 priority recommendations
    Director: Daniel Bertoni
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that it provides all eligible populations access to its services and that its eligibility requirements are consistent with currently accepted practices, the Library of Congress should re-examine and potentially revise its requirement that medical doctors must certify eligibility for the NLS program for those with a reading disability caused by organic dysfunction.

    Agency: Library of Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Library of Congress indicated that the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has contracted for a study of how eligibility based on reading disability should be certified. This study will look at medical advances in the diagnosis of reading disabilities, the NLS authorizing statute, and the potential impact of a regulatory change on the program. The expected completion date is December 2017. To close this recommendation, the Library of Congress must demonstrate that this study has been completed and that NLS has determined whether a change in its requirements is warranted.
    Recommendation: To ensure funds are directed to the most cost-effective outreach efforts, NLS should evaluate the effectiveness of its outreach efforts, including the extent to which different outreach efforts have resulted in new users.

    Agency: Library of Congress: National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Library of Congress indicated that the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has begun revising the program application form so that it captures information on how applicants were referred to the program. NLS expects to have all libraries nationwide using this revised application by sometime in 2018. In addition, the Library of Congress indicated that NLS has contracted for a multi-year, multi-media advertising campaign. This effort will assess the effectiveness of different approaches by connecting direct responses to ads with verified program enrollment. The campaign is expected to be fully underway by January 2018. To close this recommendation, the Library of Congress will need to demonstrate that NLS has fully implemented one or more of its planned new approaches for evaluating outreach.
    Recommendation: To help it determine the most cost-effective approach for its next audio player, NLS should comprehensively assess the alternatives of designing its own specialized audio player versus providing commercially available players to its users.

    Agency: Library of Congress: National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Library of Congress indicated that the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has contracted for a study of the different commercially available audio players for their usability, life-cycle costs, maintenance needs, and durability. The study is expected to be completed by December 2017, and will guide NLS in its decision about how to develop its next generation of audio players. To close this recommendation as implemented, the Library of Congress will have to demonstrate that this study has been conducted and that NLS has considered its findings in making a decision about its next generation audio player.
    Recommendation: To help it determine whether to supplement its collection of human-narrated audio materials with text-to-speech materials, NLS should thoroughly assess the text-to-speech option versus continuing to provide only human-narrated materials.

    Agency: Library of Congress: National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Library of Congress indicated that the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has developed a library of 100 text-to-speech (synthetic speech) talking books. In September 2017, NLS will begin a 3-month pilot in which a group of NLS users try out these talking books and provide input to NLS. Also, NLS will require that its next generation of audio players have the capacity to play synthetic speech talking books, and the study it has contracted of commercially available players will consider this requirement among other factors. To close this recommendation as implemented, NLS needs to demonstrate that it has completed its text-to-speech pilot and has decided on an approach going forward with regards to expanding this program.
    Director: Michael J. Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve technology transition planning and outcomes at DARPA, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director, DARPA, to oversee assessments of technology transition strategies for new and existing DARPA programs as part of existing milestone reviews used to assess scientific and technical progress to inform transition planning and program changes, as necessary. Our analysis identified four factors that could underpin these assessments, but the uniqueness of individual DARPA programs suggests that other considerations may also be warranted.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Although DOD partially concurred with this recommendation, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering stated in August 2016 that DOD did not agree with directing the DARPA Director to mandate assessments of technology transition beyond what is currently being conducted throughout the agency. He further stated that the Director of DARPA already participates in technology transition discussions throughout DARPA program's lifecycle to include the initial briefing of a program and milestone reviews. Furthermore, he stated that in 2013, the Director, DARPA directed the Adaptive Execution Office (AEO) to assist DARPA Program Managers with engagement and technology transition strategies for their programs, and AEO tracks and documents the final transition status of DARPA programs. A DARPA representative stated in June 2017 that there has been no change in status and that no additional related actions are planned. We will continue to track any developments that relate to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve technology transition planning and outcomes at DARPA, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director, DARPA, to increase technology transition training requirements and offerings for DARPA program managers, leveraging existing DOD science and technology training curricula, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Although DOD partially concurred with this recommendation, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering stated in August 2016 that DOD disagreed with directing the DARPA Director to increase training requirements. He stated that DOD believes DARPA's current approach of uniquely tailored training focusing on a programs unique transition needs is most appropriate. He further noted that DARPA continues to explore opportunities to draw from existing DOD and other training materials to offer tailored and streamlined training to its program managers that works within the relatively short tenure of a DARPA program manager. A DARPA representative stated in June 2017 that there has been no change in status and that no additional related actions are planned. We will continue to track any developments that relate to this recommendation.
    Director: Cristina T. Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve technology planning and ensure planning efforts are clearly aligned with the SBIRS follow-on, the Secretary of the Air Force should establish a technology insertion plan as part of the SBIRS follow-on acquisition strategy that identifies obsolescence needs as well as specific potential technologies and insertion points.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation. DOD's planned action on the scope and focus of technology insertion will be based on the direction provided in the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Follow-on Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) and will be executed through the SBIRS Space Modernization Initiative (SMI). The SBIRS AoA was completed in March 2016; however, as of June 2017, the SMI schedule has yet to show how technology will be inserted into the follow-on system.
    Director: Jeszeck, Charles A
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of the Treasury should consider requiring pension plan sponsors to provide participants with an opportunity to opt out of all forms of electronic delivery, including (but not limited to) disclosures sent by default electronic delivery and disclosures posted on a secure continuous access website.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2013, DOL stated that it was appropriate to consider the merits of broader rights to opt out of electronic delivery and would want to consult with the Treasury Department/IRS on the agencies' different opt-out standards. In FY14, the agency reiterated that dfferent opt-out standards may be appropriate for general plan information versus individual account or other personal information and would consult with Treasury/IRS. They will consider this matter as part of any future rulemaking that modifies or amends the current regulatory safe harbor. In FY15, Labor stated that different opt-out standards may be appropriate for general plan information versus individual account or other personal information, but that was an issue for Labor to consider in consultation with the Treasury Department/IRS should Labor pursue future rulemaking that modifies or amends the current regulatory safe harbor. In July 2016, DOL confirmed that the agency continues to plan to take the above action. As of July 2017, DOL indicated that no decisions had been made concerning future rulemaking in this area.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of the Treasury should consider requiring pension plan sponsors to send a periodic paper notice to participants reminding them of their right to change their preferred delivery method at any time and the steps they must take to make these changes.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: In FY13, DOL stated that it was appropriate to obtain further input on requiring some periodic paper reminder notice. In FY14, the agency reported that the sort of periodic notice described by GAO could be a safeguard against malfunctions in the electronic communication system and act as a reminder that important plan information is being provided through electronic media. DOL will consider and obtain further input on requiring a periodic paper reminder of as part of any future rulemaking that modifies or amends the current regulatory safe harbor. In FY15, Labor stated that the agency intends to consider and obtain further input on requiring a periodic paper reminder should we pursue future rulemaking that modifies or amends the current regulatory safe harbor. In July 2016, DOL confirmed that the agency continues to plan to take the above action. As of July 2017, DOL indicated that no decisions had been made concerning future rulemaking in this area.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure Ford-class carrier acquisitions are supported by sound requirements and a comprehensive testing strategy, and to promote the introduction of reliable, warfighting capable ships into the fleet, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to take the following action prior to accepting delivery of Gerald R. Ford CVN 78. The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to conduct a cost-benefit analysis on (1) currently required capabilities, including increased sortie generation rates and reduced manning and (2) the time and money needed to field systems to provide these capabilities, in light of known and projected reliability shortfalls for critical systems. This analysis should be informed by demonstrated system performance from land-based testing, including updated reliability growth projections, and should identify trade space among competing cost, schedule, and performance parameters. The analysis should also consider whether the Navy should seek requirements relief from the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, to the extent necessary, to maximize its return on investment to the warfighter. The Navy should report the results of this analysis to Congress within 30 days of CVN 78 commissioning.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: We recommended that DOD conduct a cost-benefit analysis on currently required capabilities, and report the results to Congress within 30 days of CVN 78 commissioning. DOD agreed with our recommendation for a cost-benefit analysis, but disagreed with the timing of it, stating that it plans to measure CVN 78 capabilities through completion of operational testing after ship delivery. Since the release of our report, the Navy completed cost-benefit analyses to determine the acquisition strategy for CVN 79, making two major changes to the ship (replacing the Dual Band Radar (DBR) with a different radar solution and introducing a phased construction and delivery approach.) While these are major program changes, the department did not evaluate the fundamental reason for conducting a cost-benefit analysis, namely that known and projected reliability shortfalls make it unlikely that the program will achieve its sortie generation requirements. In December 2016, an Independent Review Team commissioned by the Under Secretary of Defense, Acquisition, Technology and Logistics completed a comprehensive assessment of the CVN 78's systems, but did not recommend any capability trade-offs or requirements relief.
    Recommendation: To ensure Ford-class carrier acquisitions are supported by sound requirements and a comprehensive testing strategy, and to promote the introduction of reliable, warfighting capable ships into the fleet, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to take the following action prior to accepting delivery of CVN 78. The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to adjust the planned post-delivery test schedule to ensure that system integration testing is completed prior to entering initial operational test and evaluation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Until the Navy updates the test plan in February 2018, we will not know if it will fully address our recommendation. However, recent test schedules suggest an overlap remains between integration testing and the start of initial operational test and evaluation.
    Director: Gomez, Jose A
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve EPA's management of the conditional registration process, the Administrator of EPA should direct the Director of the Office of Pesticide Programs to complete plans to automate data related to conditional registrations to more readily track the status of these registrations and related registrant and agency actions and identify potential problems requiring management attention.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, EPA reported that until upgrades to OPP's database architecture are complete in the FY 18 timeframe, the agency cannot complete plans to automate data related to conditional registrations. The agency informed us that plans are currently underway to improve the functionality and accuracy of OPP databases, including the tracking of information on conditional registration. However, until this work is complete, the recommendation will remain open.
    Director: Sullivan, Michael J
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve visibility and management of the department's efforts to transition technologies to support the needs of the warfighter, the Secretary of Defense should require that all technology transition programs track and measure project outcomes, to include not only whether technologies transitioned to an intended user but also the longer-term impact of whether the technologies benefitted acquisition programs or military users in the field.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on GAO's recommendation, DOD indicated it would continue to anecdotally measure the results of technology investments for 3, 5, or even 10 years after investment and highlight the long-term benefits, as needed, to validate the investment levels associated with the research and development programs. However, the department did not plan to formally require its technology transition programs to track and measure project outcomes, noting concern that tracking and measuring outcomes for hundreds of technology projects would be a labor-intensive and very time-consuming process. DOD's own tracking of its response to this recommendation indicates no planned action and considers the recommendation closed. Nevertheless, GAO continues to monitor the department's activities related to technology transition, as several ongoing DOD efforts may eventually sufficiently address the intent of this recommendation. For example, DOD continues to pursue improvement to technology transition as part of its Better Buying Power 3.0 initiative. This includes a best practices handbook that is expected to address ways to increase collaboration between DOD and commercial industry and, among other things, support technology transition. In August 2017, the Defense Laboratory Office within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering confirmed that the handbook, which was stated in summer 2016 to be nearly finalized, stalled out in its completion for an unknown reason and remains on hold. Interest remains in completing it but no definitive plans exist for when that may occur. We will continue to monitor DOD's efforts to track and measure technology transition outcomes, particularly as they relate to completing the handbook, as previous indications were that the handbook could potentially fulfill the intent of our recommendation.
    Director: Goldstein, Mark L
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide clarity on how sponsorship identification requirements apply to activities not directly addressed by FCC's current guidance, such as the use of video news releases, and to update its guidance to reflect current technologies and recent FCC decisions about video news releases, the Chairman of the FCC should initiate a process to update its sponsorship identification guidance and consider providing additional examples relevant to more modern practices.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, GAO contacted FCC for an update on this status of this recommendation, but received no information from the agency.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to report to Congress in its annual long-range shipbuilding plan on its plans for a future, larger surface combatant, carrying a more capable version of AMDR and the costs and quantities of this ship.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As in past years, the Congressional Budget Office completed an analysis of the Navy's Fiscal Year 2017 Shipbuilding Plan. The most recent analysis states that the Navy's Long Range Shipbuilding Plan for Fiscal Year 2017 indicates plans to procure 26 DDG 51 Flight III destroyers but provides little specific information regarding a future large surface combatant ship other than noting plans to begin buying the first of 40 ships in 2030 and an estimated cost of $1.9 billion per ship. This lack of detailed information is consistent with past plans. We will keep this recommendation open and will review the Navy's Fiscal Year 2018 plan to determine if greater detail on a future large surface combatant has been developed as a result of changes in the Navy's shipbuilding outlook currently under discussion.