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    Subject Term: "Procurement practices"

    20 publications with a total of 53 open recommendations including 12 priority recommendations
    Director: Timothy J. DiNapoli
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help foster strategic decision making and improvements in the acquisition of services, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics should, as part of its effort to update the January 2016 instruction, reassess the roles, responsibilities, authorities, and organizational placement of key leadership positions, including functional domain experts, senior services managers, and component level leads.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
    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 foster strategic decision making and improvements in the acquisition of services, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics should, as part of its effort to update the January 2016 instruction, clarify the purpose and timing of the Services Requirements Review Board process to better align it with DOD's programming and budgeting processes.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Marie A. Mak
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that ACPV armoring and quality standards are met, that evolving department and component policies are consistent, and that they are consistently applied, the Secretary of Defense should, until the department approves and implements the updated armoring and inspection standards, direct the Secretary of the Army to conduct in-progress inspections at the armoring vendor's facility for each procurement.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that ACPV armoring and quality standards are met, that evolving department and component policies are consistent, and that they are consistently applied, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to designate a central point of contact for collecting and reporting ACPV information to facilitate Defense Intelligence Agency's oversight of armoring and inspection standards in these contracts.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Director: Timothy J. DiNapoli
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    5 open recommendations
    including 4 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To better promote federal agency accountability for implementing the FSSI and category management initiatives, the Administrator of Federal Procurement Policy should ensure that transition plans are submitted and monitored as required by FSSI guidance and guidance governing specific category management initiatives.

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

    Comments: In October 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff agreed that agency transitions plans should be submitted and monitored in accordance with guidance, as GAO recommended in October 2016. OMB staff indicated that all FSSIs are now being evaluated against best in class criteria as part of the migration to a category management approach to federal procurement. Further, OMB staff stated that OMB will issue additional policy or guidance as necessary. GAO believes these actions, if implemented, would meet the intent of the recommendation. As of August 1, 2017, OMB staff indicated they are continuing efforts to implement this recommendation. Given that transition plans were also required under FSSI guidance but were not submitted or monitored, it will be important for OMB to ensure that agencies follow through on submitting required plans going forward.
    Recommendation: To better promote federal agency accountability for implementing the FSSI and category management initiatives, the Administrator of Federal Procurement Policy should update the Leadership Council charter to establish an expectation that Leadership Council agencies develop agency-specific targets for use of the solutions approved.

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

    Comments: In October 2016, OMB staff agreed with the need for agency-specific targets for use of FSSI and category management initiatives as GAO recommended. OMB staff recommended, however, that this be accomplished through the Category Management governance and reporting procedures and processes that will be instituted in upcoming guidance, rather than an update to the Leadership Council charter. In October 2016, OMB issued a draft circular on category management establishing that spend under management will be the principal measure OMB will use to assess agency adoption of category management. OMB staff indicated that they plan to evaluate at least annually agencies' spend under management results, which includes agency adoption of best in class solutions, and then review with agency leaders progress toward meeting goals. As of August 1, 2017, OMB staff indicated they are continuing efforts to implement this recommendation. Given the low agency usage of the FSSIs, without such actions, and ensuring these targets and measures are set, OMB, and specifically the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, will lack the means to monitor progress and hold large procurement agencies accountable for using existing FSSIs or best in class solutions identified under subsequent category management efforts.
    Recommendation: To better promote federal agency accountability for implementing the FSSI and category management initiatives, the Administrator of Federal Procurement Policy should revise the 2015 category management guidance to establish a process for setting targets and performance measures for each Leadership Council agency's adoption of proposed FSSIs and category management solutions and ensure agency specific targets and measures are set.

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

    Comments: In October 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff agreed that Leadership Council agency progress towards implementing category management should be tracked and measured as we recommended. OMB staff reported that guidance is in draft form in which agency progress will be measured using the Spend Under Management (SUM) model which provides an assessment of category management maturity for each of the ten government-wide categories as evaluated against five attributes: leadership, strategy, data, tools, and metrics. OMB will assess agency progress no less than annually and will engage agency leaders in regularly reviewing progress toward their goals. In addition, OMB will track agency spend through best in class contracts and these data will likely be used as an internal category metric and shared with the agencies. Taken together, these actions are responsive to GAO?s recommendations. As of August 1, 2017, OMB staff indicated they are continuing efforts to implement this recommendation. Given the low use of the FSSIs, OMB should continue to carefully monitor category management implementations as it moves forward and ensure that OFPP uses the planned targets and measures to hold agencies accountable for individual results. In short, greater accountability can lead to increased savings.
    Recommendation: To better promote federal agency accountability for implementing the FSSI and category management initiatives, the Administrator of Federal Procurement Policy should report on agency specific targets and metrics as part of the category management Cross-Agency Priority goal.

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

    Comments: In October 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff agreed that agency specific targets and metrics should be reported as GAO recommended in October 2016. OMB staff indicated that results achieved relative to the Category Management Cross Agency Priority (CAP) goal targets will continue to be reported on a quarterly basis on Peformance.gov but that they will likely not include agency specific targets and metrics. Rather, OMB staff indicated that agency spending through best in class solutions will be tracked and used as an internal category metric and that OMB will engage agency leaders in regularly reviewing progress toward their goals and assess agencies no less than annually. GAO believes these actions, if implemented, would meet the intent of the recommendation. As of August 1, 2017, OMB staff indicated they are continuing efforts to implement this recommendation. Given the low agency usage of the FSSIs, OMB needs to monitor progress and hold large procurement agencies accountable for using existing FSSIs or best in class solutions identified under subsequent category management efforts.
    Recommendation: To improve the management of current FSSIs, the GSA FSSI program management office should provide oversight and support to the Information Retrieval FSSI to better align their practices with current strategic sourcing guidance related to collecting and using transactional data to calculate savings.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, GSA conducted a gap analysis of the Information Retrieval FSSI and its compliance with FSSI standards and provided the Library of Congress with FSSI best practice tools and resources related to collecting transactional data and calculating savings. According to GSA, the Library of Congress intends to address gaps to support the goal of implementation in the next Information Retrieval award in 2018. GSA will monitor progress, and provide feedback and assistance.
    Director: Shea, Rebecca
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve federal agency LMR procurement practices, the Director of OMB should direct the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to examine the feasibility of including LMR technology in the category management initiative.

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

    Comments: OMB generally agreed with this recommendation and noted that it is working to identify which information-technology strategies will produce the best return on investment and that it continues to evaluate its category-specific plans. We will update the status of this recommendation after we receive additional information from OMB.
    Recommendation: To improve federal agency LMR procurement practices, the Director of OMB should direct the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to, if warranted, include LMR technology within the appropriate spend category.

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

    Comments: OMB generally agreed with this recommendation and noted that it is working to identify which information-technology strategies will produce the best return on investment and that it continues to evaluate its category-specific plans. We will update the status of this recommendation after we receive additional information from OMB.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    8 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to ensure universal usage and reduce duplicate work, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Office of Acquisition and Logistics (OAL) to work with the National Acquisition Center to develop a plan for adding functionality to the Electronic Contract Management System (eCMS) that will alleviate the need for National Acquisition Center contracting officers to enter obligations for high-tech medical equipment into two different data systems.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken actions necessary to implement it. However, in its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA stated that it plans to pursue a new financial and contracting systems that will be interoperable.
    Recommendation: In order to ensure that VA's procurement data is complete and accurate, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Office of Acquisitions and Logistics to develop policies and procedures to ensure that obligations made through prime vendor orders--such as medical-surgical orders--are consistently captured in eCMS.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken actions necessary to implement it. In its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA noted an April 2016 policy that requires monthly reporting of orders to contracting officers, but additional guidance and processes are required to implement this policy.
    Recommendation: In order to ensure that contracting officers have clear and effective policies as soon as possible, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the OAL to identify measures to expedite the revision of the Veterans Affairs Acquisition Regulation (VAAR), which has been ongoing for many years, and the issuance of the VA Acquisition Manual.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it. However, in its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA stated that it anticipated that the updated VAAR would be issued by December 2018.
    Recommendation: To help contracting officers use current policy that is in effect in the period before the updated VAAR and VA Acquisition Manual are released, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct OAL to take interim steps to clarify its policy framework, including establishing and adhering to set time frames for completing the process of reviewing all Information Letters, and either rescinding them or reissuing updated policy through Procurement Policy Memoranda.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation but has not yet completed the actions necessary to implement it. In its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA stated that some Information Letters are still awaiting review and rescission or reissuance.
    Recommendation: To address remaining ambiguities in roles and customer relationships, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction to assess whether additional policy or guidance is needed to clarify the roles of VA's national contracting organizations, beyond that provided in its March 2013 memorandum outlining the current structure.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it. However, in its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA stated that it planned to issue updated guidance on roles for its national contracting organizations.
    Recommendation: To facilitate consolidation of similar requirements and leverage buying power across medical centers within VISNs, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct VHA Procurement and Logistics to conduct a review of VISN-level strategic sourcing efforts, identify best practices, and, if needed, issue guidance.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation. In July 2017, Veterans Health Administration officials stated that they would take further action to collect and disseminate best practices, which they estimate will be complete by late 2017.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Senior Procurement Executive to issue guidance to the Heads of Contracting Activity to focus internal compliance reviews on ensuring that required contract documents are properly prepared and documented.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation. In its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA stated that it is beginning coordination between the Senior Procurement Executive (SPE) and its Heads of Contracting Activity (HCA) on using the findings of OMB A-123 reviews to focus its contract compliance reviews. The SPE and HCA developed a memorandum of understanding for this effort in late 2016, but VA has not yet provided information on any new guidance to focus compliance reviews.
    Recommendation: To maximize compliance with mandatory national contracts during the transition to the new medical-surgical prime vendor (MSPV) process, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Strategic Acquisition Center (SAC) and VHA Procurement and Logistics to take steps to ensure that: (1) SAC has mechanisms in place to collect and monitor transaction data to determine the extent to which Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) and their medical centers are complying with the requirement to use national contracts. (2) They establish achievable time frames for eliminating the ability for ordering officers to directly order Federal Supply Schedule items from the MSPV catalog once SAC awards national contracts for these items and monitor progress on an ongoing basis. (3) The ordering interfaces developed by the prime vendors clearly distinguish and prioritize standardized national contracts over items on Federal Supply Schedule contracts.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation. VA has taken steps to monitor compliance with mandatory national contracts. However, VA has not yet established achievable timeframes for replacing Federal Supply Schedule items made available through non-competitive agreements its new Medical-Surgical Prime Vendor program, nor has it taken steps to distinguish these items from competitive national contracts in the ordering interface.
    Director: Neumann, John
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOE's control activities continue to be relevant and effective for managing supply chain risk, the Secretary should direct the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, as the Administrator of the NNSA, to work with the Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence and other DOE organizations, as appropriate, to assess the circumstances that might warrant using the enhanced procurement authority, and (1) if this assessment identifies circumstances that might warrant using the authority, the Secretary should direct the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security to work with other DOE organizations, as appropriate, to establish processes for using it and examine whether adequate resources are in place to support those processes, and (2) communicate the results of this assessment to the relevant congressional committees for their use in determining whether to extend the authority past its current termination date.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In an October 7, 2016, letter the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) said he agreed with GAO's recommendation to assess situations that might warrant the use of the enhanced procurement authority and, should specific circumstances be identified for use of the authority, NNSA would develop a process for its use. The assessment would include an examination of resources to support use of the authority. NNSA would work with other Department of Energy organizations as appropriate in conducting the assessment. The results would be shared with relevant congressional committees, as GAO recommended. NNSA had anticipated completion of the assessment by March 2017, but on June 1, 2017, NNSA officials told us they anticipated the completion date would be September 30, 2017.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that agencies are provided with more complete guidance for contracts for cloud computing services, the Director of OMB should include all ten key practices in future guidance to agencies.

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

    Comments: We are following up with OMB on its service level agreement (SLA) guidance to agencies.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of effective cloud computing SLAs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the appropriate officials to ensure key practices are fully incorporated for cloud services as the contracts and associated SLAs expire. These efforts should include updating the Department of Defense memorandum on acquiring cloud services and current Defense Acquisition Regulations System to more completely include the key practices.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are following up with DOD on updating their service level agreement (SLA) guidance.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of effective cloud computing SLAs, the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs should direct appropriate officials to develop SLA guidance and ensure key practices are fully incorporated as the contract and associated SLAs expire.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are following up with DHS on the finalization of its service level agreement (SLA) guidance.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of effective cloud computing SLAs, the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs should direct appropriate officials to develop SLA guidance and ensure key practices are fully incorporated as the contract and associated SLAs expire.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are following up with HHS on their service level agreement (SLA) guidance.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of effective cloud computing SLAs, the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs should direct appropriate officials to develop SLA guidance and ensure key practices are fully incorporated as the contract and associated SLAs expire.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are following up with Treasury on their service level agreement (SLA) guidance.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of effective cloud computing SLAs, the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs should direct appropriate officials to develop SLA guidance and ensure key practices are fully incorporated as the contract and associated SLAs expire.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are following up with VA on their service level agreement (SLA) guidance.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance DHS leadership's ongoing efforts to improve the affordability of the department's major acquisition portfolio, and to ensure adequate communication with Congress, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security should ensure that the fiscal year 2017 Future Years Homeland Security Program report, which DHS must submit to Congress at or about the same time as the President's fiscal year 2018 budget request, reflects the results of any tradeoffs stemming from the acquisition affordability reviews recommended above.

    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 fiscal year 2017 Future Years Homeland Security Program (FYHSP) report would reflect decisions made in response to our second recommendation. DHS expected to release the FYHSP report shortly after the President's fiscal year 2018 budget request in May 2017. However, the transition to a new administration delayed the release of the FYHSP report. Once available, GAO will evaluate the FYHSP report to determine whether DHS has met the intent of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance DHS leadership's ongoing efforts to improve the affordability of the department's major acquisition portfolio, and to help ensure programs secure stable funding that matches resources to requirements, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security should require components to establish formal, repeatable processes for addressing major acquisition affordability issues, similar to the process the Transportation Security Administration has established.

    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 DHS headquarters would ensure all components are updating their cost estimates each year to inform the annual resource allocation process by March 31, 2017. However, DHS did not establish a requirement that components do so through formal, repeatable processes for addressing major acquisition affordability issues, similar to the process the Transportation Security Administration has established. As of August 2017, seven of DHS's components were in the process of establishing formal, repeatable processes for addressing affordability issues, but had not completed these efforts. GAO will continue to review the components' progress to determine whether the components' actions meet the intent of this recommendation.
    Director: Cindy Brown Barnes
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Chairman of the National Mediation Board should develop and implement written policies and processes to reflect the agency's current procurement environment.

    Agency: National Mediation Board
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2016, NMB indicated it was reviewing its procurement policies and would develop and implement new policies that reflect the outsourced procurement environment in which the agency is now operating. It anticipated that the drafting of these new policies would be completed in fiscal year 2017. In February 2017, GAO began another review of NMB. The status of this recommendation will be updated at the conclusion of that review, estimated for 2018.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to help ensure consistent, effective oversight of DHS's acquisition programs, and to make the CASR more useful, starting with the report reflecting fiscal year 2015 program data, the Secretary of DHS should adjust the CASR to do the following: (1) report an individual rating for each program's cost, schedule, and technical risks; (2) report a best estimate of procurement quantities or indicate why this is not applicable, as appropriate; (3) report all programs' significant changes in acquisition cost, quantity, or schedule from the previous CASR report by determining a means to account for programs that lack acquisition program baselines; (4) report major program events that are included in acquisition program baselines, such as scheduled acquisition decision events; and (5) report the level at which the program's life-cycle cost estimate was approved.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation, and took some actions to address it. The Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management (PARM) updated its template for the Comprehensive Acquisition Status Report (CASR) to reflect the following changes: individual ratings for each program's cost, schedule, and technical risks; significant changes in programs' acquisition cost, quantity, or schedule; and major events included in the acquisition program baselines. In addition, PARM intended to revise the reporting information for the level at which a program's life-cycle cost estimate was approved and its estimate of procurement quantities. However, the 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act discontinued the requirement to submit the CASR with future budget requests and DHS did not submit one for 2017. Recently introduced legislation would reestablish the CASR requirement and we will revisit this recommendation pending the outcome of that legislation.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Before making decisions on whether to disaggregate DOD's protected satellite communications, SBIRS, or environmental monitoring satellite systems, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to develop common measures for resilience.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has not yet developed common measures for resilience, but has stated standard metrics are under development. Results from a recent study by the National Security Space Enterprise Vision Tiger Team are expected to develop resilience requirements and options for attaining resiliency. DOD plans to use the Space Based Infrared System Follow-on as a test case for describing resilience as a system requirement. The Air Force approved a draft capability development document in February 2017, and a full capability development document is under development. In addition, DOD has identified mission assurance and resiliency as priorities for the next Space Strategic Portfolio Review. GAO's ongoing review of hosted payloads, to be conducted over the next year, will likely review issues related to this area.
    Recommendation: Before making decisions on whether to disaggregate DOD's protected satellite communications, SBIRS, or environmental monitoring satellite systems, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to expand demonstration efforts to examine the operational feasibility of disaggregation by empirically quantifying its benefits and limitations as well as addressing longstanding barriers that could hinder its implementation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has not yet empirically quantified the benefits and limitations of disaggregation, or addressed longstanding barriers that could hinder its implementation, through a demonstration of operational feasibility. However, DOD stated it has considered the disaggregation of certain capabilities in previous war games, and lessons learned will be carried forward into future war games. For example, the most recent war games focused on ways to increase space system resilience by expanding and integrating international and private sector capabilities, and increasing the number of sensors and associated coverage.
    Recommendation: Before making decisions on whether to disaggregate DOD's protected satellite communications, Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS), or environmental monitoring satellite systems, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to comprehensively examine--either through the Analysis of Alternatives studies or through other assessments--the full range of disaggregation issues, including those that go beyond the satellite systems themselves.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has made progress toward assessing disaggregation through its analysis of alternatives (AOA) efforts for individual satellite programs within three areas: protected satellite communications services (PSCS), space-based environmental monitoring (SBEM), and the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS). However, DOD has not yet completed a comprehensive examination of the full range of disaggregation issues. DOD completed the SBEM AOA in October 2013, the SBIRS Follow-on AOA in December 2015, and the PSCS AOA in February 2016. These AOAs each included cost, capability, and risk analyses for aggregated and disaggregated alternatives, though each did not assess the full range of disaggregation issues for the subject area. For example, the SBEM AOA evaluated options including placing sensors on host satellites, placing satellites in different orbits, and relying on international and U.S. civil partners to provide some capabilities, but it focused on the space segment and did not analyze alternative ground segment components. The AOA team determined impacts to the ground segment would need to be assessed more thoroughly once DOD decided on a solution. In October 2016, the Air Force approved an acquisition strategy for the planned solution, called the Weather System Follow-on - Microwave. The program has not yet assessed ground segment impacts, but the Air Force stated it will be assessed further once a contract is awarded. For the PSCS and SBIRS areas, the Air Force conducted subsequent studies on resiliency in 2016, which evaluated the benefits of resiliency in future architectures for satellite communications missions and informed resilience requirements for the SBIRS Follow-on. GAO has ongoing work in these areas and plans to complete reviews of the AOAs in the fall of 2017 and a hosted payload review in the next year.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    6 open recommendations
    including 5 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security should designate the headquarters consolidation program a major acquisition, consistent with DHS acquisition policy, and apply DHS acquisition policy requirements.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In alignment with GAO's recommendation, on September 16, 2014, DHS issued an Acquisition Decision Memorandum designating the DHS-funded portions of the headquarters consolidation program as a Major Acquisition Program to be overseen by the departmental Acquisition Review Board (ARB). DHS made further progress implementing this recommendation by conducting and documenting an ARB of the program on November 15, 2016. The ARB process provided DHS greater oversight of headquarters consolidation, and provided a forum for officials to consider a wide range of issues affecting consolidation efforts, such as funding and project scope. However, DHS and General Services Administration (GSA) were required to revise their cost and schedule estimates subsequent to the ARB's review. In addition, as of March 2017, DHS, in coordination with GSA, had not submitted the report to Congress on DHS Headquarters Consolidation mandated by Pub. L. No. 114-150. GAO will reassess the status of this recommendation after cost and schedule estimates are finalized and DHS and GSA submit the required report to Congress, i.e., when there is more certainty about the future direction of the project overall and DHS's funded portion in particular.
    Recommendation: In order to improve transparency and allow for more informed decision making by congressional leaders and DHS and GSA decision-makers, before requesting additional funding for the DHS headquarters consolidation project, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work jointly to conduct the following assessments and use the results to inform updated DHS headquarters consolidation plans: (1) a comprehensive needs assessment and gap analysis of current and needed capabilities that take into consideration changing conditions, and (2) an alternatives analysis that identifies the costs and benefits of leasing and construction alternatives for the remainder of the project and prioritizes options to account for funding instability.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015 (Pub. L. No. 114-150) was enacted on April 29, 2016. Among other things, the act requires DHS, in coordination with GSA, to submit information to Congress about DHS headquarters consolidation efforts not later than 120 days of enactment. As of March 2017, DHS and GSA had not submitted the information to Congress required by Pub. L. No. 114-150. Officials stated that the information would be submitted as soon as possible, but exact timeframes were uncertain given ongoing project deliberations and internal reviews. Required information includes a comprehensive assessment of property and facilities utilized by DHS in the National Capital Region, and an analysis that identifies the costs and benefits of leasing and construction alternatives for the remainder of the consolidation project. DHS and GSA have made significant progress in developing a revised plan for headquarters consolidation since 2014, including the completion of a business case analysis to support the new plan. GAO will review the latest information on DHS headquarters consolidation efforts when it is provided to Congress, and will assess the materials in the context of this recommendation at that time. Continued DHS and GSA attention to following leading capital planning practices is critical given the project's multi-billion dollar cost and impact on future departmental operations.
    Recommendation: In order to improve transparency and allow for more informed decision making by congressional leaders and DHS and GSA decision-makers, before requesting additional funding for the DHS headquarters consolidation project, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work jointly to conduct the following assessments and use the results to inform updated DHS headquarters consolidation plans: (1) a comprehensive needs assessment and gap analysis of current and needed capabilities that take into consideration changing conditions, and (2) an alternatives analysis that identifies the costs and benefits of leasing and construction alternatives for the remainder of the project and prioritizes options to account for funding instability.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: GSA agreed with both recommendations to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment and gap analysis and to update cost and schedule estimates. The Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015 (Pub. L. No. 114-150), enacted on April 29, 2016, mirrors GAO recommendations in this area. Among other things, the act requires DHS, in coordination with GSA, to submit information to Congress about DHS's headquarters consolidation efforts not later than 120 days of enactment. As of March 2017, DHS and GSA had not submitted the information to Congress required by Pub. L. No. 114-150. Officials stated that the information would be submitted as soon as possible, but exact timeframes were uncertain given ongoing project deliberations and internal reviews. Required information includes a comprehensive needs assessment, a costs and benefits analysis, and updated cost and schedule estimates. Furthermore, the act requires the Comptroller General to evaluate the cost and schedule estimates not later than 90 days after their submittal to Congress. DHS and GSA have made significant progress in developing an Enhanced Plan for headquarters consolidation since 2014, including the completion of a business case analysis to support the new plan. In addition, GSA is leading efforts to revise the project's cost and schedule estimates, and according to GSA officials, the revised figures will take into account GAO's leading cost-estimation practices. We will review the latest information on DHS's headquarters consolidation efforts when it is provided to Congress, and will assess the materials in the context of these recommendations at that time. Continued DHS and GSA attention to following leading practices for capital planning and cost and schedule estimation is critical given the project's multi-billion dollar cost and impact on future departmental operations.
    Recommendation: In order to improve transparency and allow for more informed decision making by congressional leaders and DHS and GSA decision-makers, before requesting additional funding for the DHS headquarters consolidation project, after revising the DHS headquarters consolidation plans, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work jointly to develop revised cost and schedule estimates for the remaining portions of the consolidation project that conform to GSA guidance and leading practices for cost and schedule estimation, including an independent evaluation of the estimates.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015 (Pub. L. No. 114-150) was enacted on April 29, 2016. Among other things, the act requires DHS, in coordination with GSA, to submit information to Congress about DHS headquarters consolidation efforts not later than 120 days of enactment. As of March 2017, DHS and GSA had not submitted the information to Congress required by Pub. L. No. 114-150. Officials stated that the information would be submitted as soon as possible, but exact timeframes were uncertain given ongoing project deliberations and internal reviews. Required information includes updated cost and schedule estimates for the consolidation project that are consistent with GAO's recommendations in GAO-14-648. Furthermore, the act requires the Comptroller General to evaluate the cost and schedule estimates not later than 90 days after their submittal to Congress. GSA is leading efforts to revise project cost and schedule estimates, and according to GSA officials, the revised figures will take into account GAO's leading estimation practices. GAO will review the latest DHS headquarters consolidation cost and schedule estimates when they are provided to Congress, and will assess the materials in the context of this recommendation at that time. Continued DHS and GSA attention to following leading cost and schedule estimation practices is critical given the project's multi-billion dollar cost and impact on future departmental operations.
    Recommendation: In order to improve transparency and allow for more informed decision making by congressional leaders and DHS and GSA decision-makers, before requesting additional funding for the DHS headquarters consolidation project, after revising the DHS headquarters consolidation plans, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work jointly to develop revised cost and schedule estimates for the remaining portions of the consolidation project that conform to GSA guidance and leading practices for cost and schedule estimation, including an independent evaluation of the estimates.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015 (Pub. L. No. 114-150) was enacted on April 29, 2016. Among other things, the act requires DHS, in coordination with GSA, to submit information to Congress about DHS headquarters consolidation efforts not later than 120 days of enactment. As of March 2017, DHS and GSA had not submitted the information to Congress required by Pub. L. No. 114-150. Officials stated that the information would be submitted as soon as possible, but exact timeframes were uncertain given ongoing project deliberations and internal reviews. Required information includes updated cost and schedule estimates for the consolidation project that are consistent with GAO's recommendations in GAO-14-648. Furthermore, the act requires the Comptroller General to evaluate the cost and schedule estimates not later than 90 days after their submittal to Congress. GSA is leading efforts to revise project cost and schedule estimates, and according to GSA officials, the revised figures will take into account GAO's leading estimation practices. GAO will review the latest DHS headquarters consolidation cost and schedule estimates when they are provided to Congress, and will assess the materials in the context of this recommendation at that time. Continued DHS and GSA attention to following leading cost and schedule estimation practices is critical given the project's multi-billion dollar cost and impact on future departmental operations.
    Recommendation: Congress should consider making future funding for the St. Elizabeths project contingent upon DHS and GSA developing a revised headquarters consolidation plan, for the remainder of the project, that conforms with leading practices and that (1) recognizes changes in workplace standards, (2) identifies which components are to be colocated at St. Elizabeths and in leased and owned space throughout the National Capital Region, and (3) develops and provides reliable cost and schedule estimates.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015 (Pub. L. No. 114-150) was enacted on April 29, 2016. Among other things, the act requires DHS, in coordination with GSA, to submit information to Congress about DHS headquarters consolidation efforts not later than 120 days of enactment. As of March 2017, DHS and GSA had not submitted the information to Congress required by Pub. L. No. 114-150. Officials stated that the information would be submitted as soon as possible, but exact timeframes were uncertain given ongoing project deliberations and internal reviews. Required information includes: a comprehensive assessment of property and facilities utilized by DHS in the National Capital Region; an analysis that identifies the costs and benefits of leasing and construction alternatives for the remainder of the consolidation project; and updated cost and schedule estimates for the project that are consistent with GAO's recommendations in GAO-14-648. Furthermore, the act requires the Comptroller General to evaluate the cost and schedule estimates not later than 90 days after their submittal to Congress. A comprehensive report to Congress on DHS headquarters consolidation, along with reliable project cost and schedule estimates, could inform Congress's funding decisions.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that it receives accurate information on the full effect of funding decisions on acquisition programs, Congress should consider amending the law that governs the 5-year Capital Investment Plan to require the Coast Guard to submit cost and schedule information that reflects the impact of the annual President's budget request on each acquisition across the portfolio--in addition to the current practice of reporting the cost and schedule estimates in current program baselines.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Thus far no congressional action has been taken on this Matter. We will continue to follow up with relevant congressional committees.
    Recommendation: To help the Coast Guard improve the long-term outlook of its portfolio, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should develop a 20-year fleet modernization plan that identifies all acquisitions needed to maintain the current level of service and the fiscal resources necessary to build the identified assets. The plan should also consider trade-offs if the fiscal resources needed to execute the plan are not consistent with annual budgets.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard
    Status: Open

    Comments: Based on this recommendation, Congress has requested that the Coast Guard develop a 20-year plan that identifies all acquisitions needed to maintain the Coast Guard's current level of service and the financial commitment necessary to achieve this plan. As a part of a series of testimonies in June and July 2017, we found that Coast Guard officials stated they are developing a 20-year Capital Investment Plan (CIP), but the timeframe for completion is unknown. The Coast Guard does, however, submit a 5-year CIP annually to Congress that projects acquisition funding needs for the upcoming 5 years. GAO found the CIPs do not match budget realities in that tradeoffs are not included. In the 20-year CIP, GAO would expect to see all acquisitions needed to maintain current service levels and the fiscal resources to build the identified assets as well as tradeoffs in light of funding constraints.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better communicate acquisition funding needs to Congress, the Secretary of Homeland Security should enhance the content of future Future Years Homeland Security Program (FYHSP) reports--for fiscal years 2016-20 and beyond--by presenting acquisition programs' annual cost estimates and any anticipated funding gaps.

    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 it provides Congress Comprehensive Acquisition Status Reports (CASR) on a quarterly basis that include cost estimates for all major acquisition programs. However, the CASRs do not disaggregate the cost estimates to identify how much the programs are expected to cost each year, and therefore the proposed approach would not allow Congress to identify funding gaps on an annual basis. In April 2016, DHS presented an alternative approach that would incorporate annual funding gaps into future FYHSP reports. DHS stated it plans to initially include these annual funding gaps in the fiscal years 2018-22 FYHSP report, which was expected to be released shortly after the President's fiscal year 2018 budget request in May 2017. However, the transition to a new administration delayed the release of the FYHSP report. Once available, GAO will evaluate the FYHSP report to determine whether DHS has met the intent of this recommendation.
    Director: Dinapoli, Timothy J
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better position DOD to determine whether its actions have improved service acquisition, the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in consultation with the military departments' senior services managers, should identify baseline data on the status of service acquisition, in part, by using budget and spending data and leveraging its ongoing efforts to gauge the effects of its actions to improve service acquisition.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation and is in the process of developing baseline data on the current status of its service acquisitions. In July 2014, DOD issued its annual Performance of the Defense Acquisition report. For the first time, this report included information on its contracted services, such obligations for each service portfolio group, competition rates, and small business participation information. DOD expects to develop service acquisition related goals and metrics in 2017 from which it can develop additional baseline data.
    Recommendation: To better position DOD to determine whether its actions have improved service acquisition, the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in consultation with the military departments' senior services managers, should develop specific goals associated with their actions to improve service acquisition.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation and is in the process of developing service acquisition goals and metrics as well as an action plan for improving service acquisition. As of February 2017, DOD began a review of internal guidance that will include an analysis of the roles, responsibilities, authorities, goals, metrics, and structure associated with managing service acquisitions.
    Recommendation: To better position DOD to determine whether its actions have improved service acquisition, the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in consultation with the military departments' senior services managers, should establish metrics to assess progress in meeting these goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation and is in the process of developing service acquisition goals and metrics as well as an action plan for improving service acquisition. As of February 2017, DOD began a review of internal guidance that will include an analysis of the roles, responsibilities, authorities, goals, metrics, and structure associated with managing service acquisitions.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202)512-4859

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve NASA management and oversight of its spaceflight projects, and to improve the reliability of project EVM data, the NASA Administrator should direct the appropriate offices to modify the NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) 7120.5 to require projects to implement a formal surveillance program that: (1) Ensures anomalies in contractor-delivered and in-house monthly earned value management reports are identified and explained, and report periodically to the center and mission directorate's leadership on relevant trends in the number of unexplained anomalies. (2) Ensures consistent use of work breakdown structures (WBS) for both the EVM report and the schedule. (3) Ensures that lower level EVM data reconcile to project level EVM data using the same WBS structure. (4) Improves underlying schedules so that they are properly sequenced using predecessor and successor dependencies and are free of constraints to the extent practicable so that the EVM baseline is reliable.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: NASA partially agreed with this recommendation. NASA has implemented several initiatives related to EVM training tools and support material to enhance EVM implementation, but has not modified the NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) 7120.5 to require projects to implement a formal surveillance program. In May 2017, officials reiterated NASA's position that they do not plan to implement a formal surveillance plan due to resource constraints. We continue to believe that implementing this recommendation for projects to implement a formal surveillance program would be beneficial and prevent anomalies in EVM data from occurring. Without implementing proper surveillance, projects may be utilizing unreliable EVM data in its analyses to inform its cost and schedule decision making.
    Director: Russell, Cary B
    Phone: (202)512-5431

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure camouflage uniforms being developed by the military services meet mission requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics to ensure that the services have and consistently use clear policies and procedures and a knowledge-based approach to produce successful outcomes.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of a Defense for Supply Chain Integration (DASD (SCI)) stated that the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics will place additional emphasis on the importance of following existing policies and procedures through oversight by the Joint Clothing and Textile Governance Board. The (DASD (SCI)) stated that existing guidance and the joint criteria, developed by the JCTGB, are sufficient and provide the policy and procedures necessary to ensure uniforms produce successful outcomes. The guidance on joint criteria states that future ground combat uniforms will use these criteria as the minimum standards during development and initial fielding. The official told us that they do not plan to develop any additional guidance to address our recommendation. However, based on review of DOD's actions thus far, it is not clear that the joint criteria and guidance alone will ensure that the services 1) consistently use existing policies and procedures to change their varying, fragmented processes, which in the past have not consistently ensured the development of effective camouflage uniforms, or 2) adopt a knowledge-based approach to manage uniform acquisition activities.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202) 512-7773

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To capitalize on the increase in knowledge gained by creating new baselines for Deepwater assets, and to better manage acquisitions of further assets and capabilities, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should complete, and present to Congress, a comprehensive review of the Deepwater Program that clarifies the overall cost, schedule, quantities, and mix of assets that are needed to meet mission needs and what trade-offs need to be made considering fiscal constraints, given that the currently approved Deepwater baseline is no longer feasible.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken actions necessary to implement it. Since this report, DHS and the Coast Guard have each completed studies examining the mix of assets that composed the Deepwater Program. To date, the Coast Guard has not yet provided the Congress with a comprehensive review that clarifies the program's cost, schedule, quantities, and mix of assets or takes into account the Coast Guard's needs and available resources and makes recommendations about what trade-offs may be necessary. In 2015, we found that the Coast Guard is currently conducting a fleet-wide analysis, including surface, aviation, and information technology, intended to be a fundamental reassessment of the capabilities and mix of assets the Coast Guard needs to fulfill its missions. The Coast Guard is undertaking this effort consistent with direction from Congress. Specifically, the Coast Guard plans first to rewrite its mission needs statement and concept of operations by 2016. Then, it will use a complex model to develop the full fleet mix study. Based on this, the Coast Guard plans to recommend a set of assets that best meets these needs in terms of capability and cost. The Coast Guard plans to complete the full study in time to inform the fiscal year 2019 budget, though specific dates for these events have not been set forth. As of July 2016, the Coast Guard informed GAO that the modeling is complete and the CONOPS report is being developed with a target date of September 30 for completion.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202)512-7773

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy should direct agencies to require their competition advocates to actively involve program offices in highlighting opportunities to increase competition.

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

    Comments: In July 2017, Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) officials confirmed that they do not plan to issue guidance on increasing the role of program officials in promoting competition, but stated that they have engaged with the Chief Acquisition Officers Council regarding the issue, and reminded them of GAO?s 2010 findings. In addition, OMB officials noted that they have developed agency-level benchmarks to better measure competition that are specifically focused on reducing financial risk to the government and on the level of competition where only one offer is received.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: 2025128984

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve Amtrak's efforts in addressing financial management challenges and better support management decision making, the president of Amtrak should perform a comprehensive risk assessment of financial reporting processes that support preparation of monthly performance reports and the RPI, to include determining areas of vulnerability, implementing appropriate compensating and mitigating internal controls, and ongoing monitoring to ensure compliance.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO is continuing to work with Amtrak to obtain information on the status of this recommendation and will update provide updates as available.
    Recommendation: To improve Amtrak's efforts in addressing financial management challenges and better support management decision making, the president of Amtrak should document policies and procedures related to controlling the information in the monthly performance reports, including the RPI. The policies and procedures should cover how expenses are allocated to Amtrak's routes, as well as specific guidance on documenting the justification and authorization of changes made to allocation methods.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: We will continue to work with Amtrak to obtain information about the status of this recommendation and will provide updates as available.
    Recommendation: To improve Amtrak's efforts in addressing financial management challenges and better support management decision making, the president of Amtrak should develop a comprehensive action plan for immediately implementing preventive controls to enhance the reliability of financial data and address the reportable condition over accounting for capital assets in the most recent reports and letters of comment from the independent public accountant.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: We will continue to work with Amtrak to obtain information about this recommendation and will provide updates as available.
    Recommendation: To ensure that Amtrak can better meet the challenge of increasing its efficiency and reducing its operating costs, the president of Amtrak should establish efficiency and unit cost measures with clear inputs to benchmark individual asset and corporate productivity, which will demonstrate efficient use of Amtrak's resources.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: We will continue to work with Amtrak to obtain information about the status of this recommendation and will provide updates as available.