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    Subject Term: "Program management"

    164 publications with a total of 478 open recommendations including 34 priority recommendations
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress should consider requiring the NASA Administrator to direct the Exploration Systems Development organization within the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to establish separate cost and schedule baselines for work required to support SLS and EGS for Exploration Mission 2 and establish separate cost and schedule baselines for each additional capability that encompass all life cycle costs, to include operations and sustainment. (Matter for Consideration 1)

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we determine what steps the Congress has taken, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: Exploration Systems Development should no longer dual-hat individuals with both programmatic and technical authority responsibilities. Specifically, the technical authority structure within Exploration Systems Development should be restructured to ensure that technical authorities for the Offices of the Chief Engineer and Safety and Mission Assurance are not fettered with programmatic responsibilities that create an environment of competing interests that may impair their independence. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate: Exploration Systems Development Division
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Carol Harris
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    14 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office establishes and implements specific time frames for determining key strategic implementation details, including how the program will transition from the current state to the final TIM state. (Recommendation 1)

    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: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office establishes a schedule that provides planned completion dates based on realistic estimates of how long it will take to deliver capabilities. (Recommendation 2)

    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: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office establishes new time frames for implementing the actions identified in the organizational change management strategy and effectively executes against these time frames. (Recommendation 3)

    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: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office defines and documents the roles and responsibilities among product owners, the solution team, and any other relevant stakeholders for prioritizing and approving Agile software development work. (Recommendation 4)

    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: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office establishes specific prioritization levels for current and future features and user stories. (Recommendation 5)

    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: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office implements automated Agile management testing and deployment tools, as soon as possible. (Recommendation 6)

    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: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office updates the Systems Engineering Life Cycle Tailoring Plan to reflect the current governance framework and milestone review processes. (Recommendation 7)

    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: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office establishes thresholds or targets for acceptable performance-levels. (Recommendation 8)

    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: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office begins collecting and reporting on Agile-related cost metrics. (Recommendation 9)

    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: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office ensures that program velocity is measured and reported consistently. (Recommendation 10)

    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: The TSA Administrator should ensure that the TIM program management office ensures that unit test coverage for software releases is measured and reported accurately. (Recommendation 11)

    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: The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management to ensure that appropriate DHS leadership reaches consensus on needed oversight and governance changes related to the frequency of reviewing Agile programs, and then documents and implements associated changes. (Recommendation 12)

    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: The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management to ensure that the Office of the Chief Technology Officer completes guidance for Agile programs to use for collecting and reporting on performance metrics. (Recommendation 13)

    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: The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management to ensure that DHS-level oversight bodies review key Agile performance and cost metrics for the TIM program and use them to inform management oversight decisions. (Recommendation 14)

    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: Joseph W. Kirschbaum
    Phone: (202) 512-9971

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: CAPE, in coordination with the military departments and other DOD entities serving as offices of primary responsibility for implementing the recommendations, should develop additional guidance for these offices to identify associated risks and document information about these risks in the centralized tracking tool. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: DOD CIO--in coordination with CAPE, the military departments, Joint Staff, and U.S. Strategic Command--as the draft template and any other additional tools to aid in their approach are finalized, should identify and communicate to NC3 stakeholders performance measures and milestones to assist in tracking the progress of implementation of the recommendations from the 2015 NC3 report and evaluating the outcomes of implementation actions, and risks associated with the implementation of the recommendations from the 2015 NC3 report. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Nancy Kingsbury
    Phone: (202) 512-2700

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that federal agencies obtain the evidence needed to address the most important questions to improve program implementation and performance, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should direct each of the 24 Chief Financial Officer Act agencies to prepare an annual agency-wide evaluation plan that describes the (1) key questions for each significant evaluation study that the agency plans to begin in the next fiscal year, and (2) congressional committees; federal, state and local program partners; researchers; and other stakeholders that were consulted in preparing their plan. (Recommendation 1)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Zina D. Merritt
    Phone: (202) 512-5257

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in conjunction with the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) and the military departments, should assess whether risk mitigation actions have been identified in the event of a loss of each task critical assets (TCA) facility in the defense industrial base and, based on this assessment, develop risk mitigation actions with associated implementation plans and time lines, and provide this information to congressional and DOD decision makers. (Recommendation 1)

    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: The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in conjunction with DCMA and the military departments, should provide congressional and DOD decision makers with information on potential effects on defense capabilities in the event of a loss of each TCA facility in the defense industrial base. (Recommendation 2)

    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: The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in conjunction with DCMA and the military departments, should provide congressional and DOD decision makers with information on DOD organic facilities that have been identified as TCAs, similar to the information provided previously on commercial facilities. This information also should include (1) the potential effects on defense capabilities in the event of a loss of the facility and (2) risk mitigation actions and associated implementation plans with time lines. (Recommendation 3)

    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: The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in conjunction with DCMA and the military departments, should take steps to share information on risks identified through the annual Critical Asset Identification Process with relevant program managers or other designated service or program officials. At a minimum, relevant officials should receive information on the most critical facilities (such as TCAs) that produce parts supporting their programs. This information-sharing could occur through service-specific channels of communication or another method of internal communication deemed appropriate by DOD. (Recommendation 4)

    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: The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in conjunction with the military departments, should develop a mechanism to ensure that program offices obtain information from contractors on single source of supply risks. (Recommendation 5)

    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: The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in conjunction with the military departments, should issue department-wide DMSMS policy, such as an instruction, that clearly defines requirements of DMSMS management and details responsibilities and procedures to be followed by program offices to implement the policy. (Recommendation 6)

    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: Shelby S. Oakley
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The NNSA Deputy Administrator for DNN should revise the DNN program management policy to require DNN programs and subprograms to follow life-cycle program management. These requirements should include development of schedule and cost estimates that cover the life cycle of DNN programs and subprograms, use of methods to account for uncertainty and risk in such estimates, use of cost and schedule baselines to measure performance over program and subprogram life cycles, and development of program management plans. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration: Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: David Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The NNSA Administrator should set a time frame for when the agency will (1) develop the complete scope of work for the overall uranium program to the extent practicable and (2) prepare a life-cycle cost estimate and an integrated master schedule for the overall uranium program.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Shelby S. Oakley
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure the availability of Pu-238 and RPS for space exploration, the Secretary of Energy should develop an implementation plan with milestones and interim steps for the department's management approach for Pu-238 and RPS production.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    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 the availability of Pu-238 and RPS for space exploration, the Secretary of Energy should assess the long-term effects that known challenges may have on production quantities, time frames, or required funding, and communicate these potential effects to NASA.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    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 the availability of Pu-238 and RPS for space exploration, the Secretary of Energy should develop a more comprehensive system to track more systemic risks, beyond the specific technical risks identified by individual laboratories.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOE has a full understanding of the department's long-term TRU waste disposal requirements and the capability of WIPP to meet those requirements, the Secretary of Energy should develop a schedule for deciding whether the volumes of "potential waste" identified in the annual TRU waste inventory report can be disposed of at WIPP.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOE has a full understanding of the department's long-term TRU waste disposal requirements and the capability of WIPP to meet those requirements, the Secretary of Energy should develop guidance that helps sites produce a more comprehensive estimate for the volumes of TRU waste that may be generated in the future from cleanup operations, including estimates of buried waste, waste that may be generated from decontamination and decommissioning of nuclear facilities, and waste that may be generated past WIPP's expected closure date of 2050.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOE has a full understanding of the department's long-term TRU waste disposal requirements and the capability of WIPP to meet those requirements, the Secretary of Energy should develop a long-term plan for disposing of DOE's TRU waste that includes the need for excavating additional disposal space at WIPP and an integrated schedule that describes how DOE will complete the regulatory approval process and construction of new space before WIPP's existing space is full.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOE has a full understanding of the department's long-term TRU waste disposal requirements and the capability of WIPP to meet those requirements, the Secretary of Energy should develop a long-term plan for disposing of DOE's TRU waste that includes a timeline to help determine whether DOE can change its method of counting waste volumes to meet NNSA's 2020 milestone for resolving potential disposal space constraints at WIPP.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Thomas Melito
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Acting Director of DSCA should take steps to ensure the collection of data measuring the timeliness of the delivery of equipment and services to recipient countries. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Acting Director of DSCA should analyze data on all performance metrics to better identify deficiencies. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Acting Director of DSCA should develop a workforce plan. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Acting Director of DSCA should develop workload measures for its FMS workforce. (Recommendation 4)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Chief Executive Officer should direct the Chief Information Officer to take steps needed to ensure that system requirements are defined to align with the business needs of CNCS's future risk-based grants monitoring process (Recommendation 1).

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Chief Executive Officer should direct the Chief Information Officer to ensure that the system development project schedule identifies in the baseline both planned and actual dates for completing all project-level activities, and can be used to monitor and measure progress of the grant monitoring system project (Recommendation 2).

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Chief Executive Officer should direct the Chief Information Officer to ensure that test plans are defined and implemented to include the second version of the grant monitoring system in all stages of testing during development, and results of initial stages are approved before conducting subsequent test stages (Recommendation 3).

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service
    Status: Open

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

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve CMS's oversight of states' MLTSS programs, the Administrator of CMS should take steps to identify and obtain key information needed to oversee states' efforts to monitor beneficiary access to quality services, including, at a minimum, obtaining information specific to network adequacy, critical incidents, and appeals and grievances.

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

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

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's management of its prepositioned stocks and reduce potential duplication among the services' programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to revise DOD's strategic policy or include in other department-wide guidance a description of the department's vision and the desired end state for its prepositioned stock programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's management of its prepositioned stocks and reduce potential duplication among the services' programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to revise DOD's strategic policy or include in other department-wide guidance specific interim goals for achieving that vision and desired end state.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Melito, Thomas
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To support efforts to reduce staff fraud at RSCs, the Secretary of State should direct the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration to actively pursue efforts to ensure that RSCs comply with required, applicable measures in the Program Integrity Guidelines.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The State Department concurred with our recommendation and agreed with GAO's assessment that these measures will support efforts to reduce staff fraud at Resettlement Support Centers (RSC). According to State officials, the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) has developed new guidance to enhance monitoring of RSCs. They explained that a new monitoring and evaluation framework serves as the foundational document for this guidance, which has incorporated and formalized PRM's existing RSC monitoring practices and established further requirements to address gaps identified by internal and external evaluative processes. According to the officials, the framework outlines roles, responsibilities, and tools for program officers and refugee coordinators. These responsibilities include formalizing and expanding monitoring of RSC compliance with the Program Integrity Guidelines. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better identify risks from RSC staff fraud, the Secretary of State should direct the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration to update guidance, such as the Program Integrity Guidelines, to require each RSC to conduct regular staff fraud risk assessments that are tailored to each RSC's specific operations.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The State Department concurred with our recommendation and agreed with GAO's assessment that this requirement would strengthen Resettlement Support Centers' (RSCs) ability to identify risks of staff fraud. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that control activities are designed to mitigate identified RSC staff fraud risks, the Secretary of State should direct the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration to regularly review RSC staff fraud risk assessments and use them to examine the suitability of existing staff fraud controls and revise controls as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The State Department concurred with our recommendation and agreed with GAO's assessment that this would help ensure that control activities are designed to mitigate identified Resettlement Support Centers (RSC) staff fraud risks. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the management of the Armed Forces Sports Program and better determine whether the program is achieving its desired results, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop and implement performance measures for the Armed Forces Sports Program that measure the desired outcomes for the program and, at a minimum, demonstrate linkage to the program's goals or mission, have a measurable target, and include a baseline that can be used to demonstrate program performance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD acknowledged the issuance of our final report and concurred with this recommendation. We will provide an update when we confirm the actions DOD takes to develop and implement performance measures for the Armed Forces Sports Program.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure full compliance with SBIR and STTR spending and reporting requirements, the Secretary of Defense and the EPA Administrator should establish procedures to collect and submit obligations data or--through SBA, independently, or through a working group of agencies participating in the SBIR and STTR programs--propose to Congress an alternative methodology for calculating spending requirements for their agencies.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation in its comments on the draft report. In its June 2017 response to the final report, DOD stated that its position had not changed, but did not provide information on its plans for implementing the recommendation. We will continue to follow up on the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure full compliance with SBIR and STTR spending and reporting requirements, the Secretary of Defense and the EPA Administrator should establish procedures to collect and submit obligations data or--through SBA, independently, or through a working group of agencies participating in the SBIR and STTR programs--propose to Congress an alternative methodology for calculating spending requirements for their agencies.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, EPA concurred with the recommendation and stated that EPA will work with SBA to develop an alternative methodology for calculating spending requirements. In its August 2017 response to the final report, EPA confirmed its intent to work with SBA to develop an alternative methodology, but did not provide plans to implement the recommendation. We will continue to follow up on the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to develop and take corrective actions, in consultation with Interior's Designated Agency Safety and Health Official, to address BIA safety program weaknesses identified in prior Interior evaluations.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. The agency stated that the Designated Agency Safety and Health Official (DASHO) is working with the Indian Affairs' safety office and BIA regional leadership to discuss the current state of BIA's safety program and develop a corrective action plan to address identified safety program weaknesses.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to assign responsibility to a specific office or official to develop and implement a plan to assess employees' safety training needs and monitor employees' compliance with Indian Affairs' safety training requirements.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. Interior indicated that Indian Affairs is developing a safety training plan, which will establish program responsibilities and compliance requirements for safety training across BIA, among other areas. Interior also noted that line offices will track the implementation of the training plan and individuals' compliance with training requirements.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to ensure that BIA's employee performance standards on inspections are consistently incorporated into the appraisal plans of all BIA personnel with safety program responsibilities.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. Interior commented that the appraisal plans of BIA regional directors had been updated to include BIA's new performance standards on inspections, which we noted in our report. The agency also stated that Indian Affairs' work in addressing this recommendation was primarily completed. However, Interior did not provide evidence that the appraisal plans of all BIA staff with safety program responsibilities included all of the bureau's new performance standards on safety inspections. We continue to believe that it is important that BIA's employee performance standards on inspections are consistently incorporated in all BIA employee appraisal plans.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to develop a performance standard on inspection report quality and establish a process to routinely monitor the quality of inspection reports. Monitoring could include, but not be limited to, the following areas: accuracy of risk levels and abatement timeframes assigned to deficiencies and clarity of language to describe safety hazards and recommended corrections.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. The agency noted that Indian Affairs is developing written policies and procedures for safety inspections at BIE schools, which it says will address issues with report clarity and accuracy, among other areas. However, Interior did not provide us with information about whether it will establish a performance standard for report quality and a process for monitoring inspection quality, which are the two key actions we recommended. We maintain that these steps are needed to ensure that BIE schools receive thorough and accurate safety inspection reports.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to require safety inspectors to document when inspection reports are sent to schools and establish a process to routinely monitor the timeliness of reports against Indian Affairs' required 30-day timeframe.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. Interior stated that Indian Affairs will require inspectors to certify and report the dates on which inspectors send reports to schools. The agency also noted that Indian Affairs' safety office will monitor the timeliness of inspection reports sent to schools and report the results of its monitoring to Indian Affairs' senior leadership.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to use information gathered from monitoring the timeliness of school safety inspection reports to assess the performance of employees with safety program responsibilities and hold them accountable.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. Interior stated that supervisors will ensure that responsible employees are held accountable for complying with its performance standards on safety inspections. We continue to believe it is important that Indian Affairs use information from monitoring inspection report timeliness to assess employee performance.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    8 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve agencies' implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, the Administrator of SBA should confirm that each SBIR and STTR agency is implementing the minimum fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, by, for example, requesting documentation from agencies.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, SBA concurred with this recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, SBA stated that it will request that each participating agency confirm their implementation of its minimum fraud, waste, and Abuse prevention requirements by forwarding an email to each agency requesting confirmation of their compliance. We will review SBA's actions to address this recommendation once those actions are complete.
    Recommendation: To help improve agencies' implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, the Administrator of SBA should request input from the participating agencies regarding the clarity of the requirements; review all of the SBIR and STTR minimum fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements, including the agency requirement to post information about successful SBIR or STTR fraud prosecutions; determine whether any additional guidance is needed; and revise the policy directives accordingly.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, SBA concurred with this recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, SBA stated that it plans to discuss the issue with program managers at an upcoming meeting and will also contact all agencies in writing to inquire if additional clarity is needed regarding any of the FWA requirements. SBA said that additional guidance will be provided, if necessary. We will review SBA's actions to address this recommendation once those actions are complete.
    Recommendation: To help improve agencies' implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, the Administrator of SBA should revise the fraud, waste, and abuse provisions in the policy directives to reflect the definition of essentially equivalent work used elsewhere in the policy directives and require participating agencies to check for essentially equivalent work that they fund as well as such work funded by other agencies.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, SBA concurred with this recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, SBA stated that it will revise the SBIR and STTR Policy Directives to reflect the definition of essentially equivalent work as noted in section 3 of the policy directives. SBA also stated that it will work with all parties to determine how to best address the issue of duplication, noting that this is an important issue and a high priority for all parties involved. We will review SBA's actions to address this recommendation once those actions are complete.
    Recommendation: To help improve agencies' implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, the Administrator of SBA should evaluate SBIR and STTR agencies' fraud, waste, and abuse outcomes to ensure the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements are appropriate and meet their intended purpose for the SBIR and STTR programs.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, SBA concurred with this recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, SBA stated that it will survey the participating agencies regarding whether the requirements are necessary and meeting their intended purposes, are placing undue burdens on the agencies, or need to be revised, updated, or eliminated. We will review SBA's actions to address this recommendation once those actions are complete.
    Recommendation: To help improve the implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) should direct the HHS SBIR and STTR program offices to collect copies of the self-certification forms from its SBIR and STTR awardees.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of the report, HHS did not concur with our recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, HHS stated that the National Institutes of Health will collect life cycle certifications from SBIR and STTR program recipients through its electronic reporting system, which will allow other HHS components that use that system to also collect the forms. The National Institutes of Health plans to begin collecting the life cycle certification forms in fiscal year 2018. We will review the actions to address this recommendation once they are complete.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD is implementing the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements to the OIGs, the Inspectors General of the Army, Navy, and Air Force should implement the requirements themselves or delegate the implementation of the requirements to the investigative services.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: Office of the Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation in its comments on the draft report and confirmed its concurrence in its May 2017 letter on the final report.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD is implementing the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements to the OIGs, the Inspectors General of the Army, Navy, and Air Force should implement the requirements themselves or delegate the implementation of the requirements to the investigative services.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Naval Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation in its comments on the draft report and confirmed its concurrence in its May 2017 letter on the final report.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD is implementing the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements to the OIGs, the Inspectors General of the Army, Navy, and Air Force should implement the requirements themselves or delegate the implementation of the requirements to the investigative services.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Office of the Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation in its comments on the draft report and confirmed its concurrence in its May 2017 letter on the final report.
    Director: Allison B. Bawden
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the pilot programs for disconnected youth can be effectively implemented over the lifetime of the initiative, the Director of OMB should coordinate with relevant federal agencies to identify and estimate expected annual financial and staff resource contributions from each agency, including during the implementation and evaluation phases of the pilots.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal agencies involved in the disconnected youth pilots are able to evaluate pilot outcomes and ultimately communicate to Congress whether and to what extent the flexibilities tested by the pilots should be integrated into broader efforts, the Director of OMB should coordinate with relevant federal agencies to identify criteria or standards for assessing scalability, and collect data needed to address those criteria or standards.

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

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

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve RUS's management of the Infrastructure Program, Broadband Program, and Community Connect by more closely following leading practices for broadband loan- and grant-program management, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct RUS to develop and document clear goals and performance measures linked to those goals, for each program.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve RUS's management of the Infrastructure Program, Broadband Program, and Community Connect by more closely following leading practices for broadband loan- and grant-program management, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct RUS to establish and implement procedures to conduct a risk assessment of each program, including an examination of risk at both the programmatic and portfolio level for each program.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve RUS's management of the Infrastructure Program, Broadband Program, and Community Connect by more closely following leading practices for broadband loan- and grant-program management, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct RUS to establish and implement procedures to conduct periodic evaluations of completed grant projects to determine the outcomes associated with these projects, and analyze the information gained to assess if any programmatic changes are needed to improve the Community Connect program.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve RUS's management of the Infrastructure Program, Broadband Program, and Community Connect by more closely following leading practices for broadband loan- and grant-program management, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct RUS to establish a timeline for implementing a centralized internal system for staff to obtain relevant and timely program data for use in managing and monitoring loans and grant awards.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve RUS's management of the Infrastructure Program, Broadband Program, and Community Connect by more closely following leading practices for broadband loan- and grant-program management, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct RUS to develop, update, and maintain complete written policies and procedures for RUS's programs as a way to retain and communicate organizational knowledge internally among agency staff. RUS should determine the critical documentation that should be created or updated, including considering documentation such as loan-application review guidance and employee manuals for each of the three programs.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

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

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that DOD's Pilot Mentor-Protege Program meets its mission, the Director, DOD's Office of Small Business Programs, should conduct periodic reviews of the processes DOD components follow to approve agreements and take oversight actions, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of Small Business Programs
    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 DOD's Pilot Mentor-Protege Program meets its mission, the Director, DOD's Office of Small Business Programs, should complete actions to develop performance goals and related measures that are consistent with the program's stated purpose.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of Small Business Programs
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance interagency collaboration in the Manufacturing USA program, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to work with all non-sponsoring agencies whose missions contribute to or are affected by advanced manufacturing to revise the Manufacturing USA governance system to ensure the roles and responsibilities for how these agencies could contribute to the Manufacturing USA program are fully identified.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce responded to the recommendation with three actions. (1) Labor, DHS, and HHS were invited to participate in the Manufacturing USA program resulting in Labor, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and FDA agreeing to participate and naming representatives to the Manufacturing USA Interagency Working Team.(2) Labor was invited to present at and participate in the Spring 2017 Manufacturing USA Network meeting resulting in Labor participating in the meeting, presenting its apprenticeship programs, and continuing participation in the Manufacturing Education and Workforce Development team regular meetings. (3) The Manufacturing USA Interagency Working Team has begun discussions on expanding the Manufacturing USA network governance document to include activities, roles, and responsibilities of non-institute sponsoring agencies. Final program policy decisions will be made once the new Administration's agency leadership is in place. Completion is expected by Fall 2017.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To allow DOE management to effectively monitor invoice reviews and have assurance that this control activity is operating as intended, the Secretary of Energy should establish a DOE-wide invoice review policy that includes requirements for sites to establish well-documented invoice review operating procedures.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE stated that it already has an established, detailed DOE-wide invoice review policy provided in DOE's Financial Management Handbook and in the DOE Acquisition Guide, and that they are updating the Financial Management Handbook to include additional procedures to address intra-governmental payment and collection transactions that they believe will allow the recommendation to be closed by September 30, 2017. However, DOE officials with the office of the CFO at DOE headquarters previously told us that they do not have department-wide invoice review policies and procedures, and that CFOs and contracting officials in DOE field offices are responsible to develop their own invoice review policies and procedures. In addition, we reviewed the Financial Management Handbook and the Acquisition Guide and found that these documents do not contain the detail necessary to serve as an invoice review policy. We will continue to review DOE's implementation of this recommendation to determine whether its actions meet the intent of the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help DOE take a more strategic approach to managing improper payments and risk, including fraud risk, the Secretary of Energy should implement leading practices for managing the department's risk of fraud, including creating a structure with a dedicated entity within DOE to design and oversee fraud risk management activities.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE considers this recommendation to be closed without corrective action. Instead of establishing a dedicated entity within DOE to design and oversee fraud risk management activities, DOE will rely on the existing Office of Financial Policy and Internal Controls and on the DOE Office of Inspector General (OIG)to design and oversee financial fraud risk management activities. We disagree that reliance on these offices meets best practices because neither office is solely dedicated to designing or overseeing fraud risk management activities. Furthermore, according the best practices in GAO's Fraud Risk Framework, the dedicated entity should not be the OIG.
    Recommendation: To help DOE take a more strategic approach to managing improper payments and risk, including fraud risk, the Secretary of Energy should implement leading practices for managing the department's risk of fraud, including conducting fraud risk assessments that are tailored to each program and use the assessments to develop a fraud risk profile

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the substance of the recommendation; however they consider the recommendation to be closed without corrective action because its risk assessments meet the requirements of the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2012, as reported by the Office of Inspector General (OIG), and because it has implemented updates to OMB Circular A-123 that added requirements related to managing fraud risk and adherence to GAO's Fraud Risk Framework. However, we found that DOE has not conducted fraud risk assessments that are tailored to its programs and therefore do not allow the department to create a fraud risk profile. We also found that, although DOE updated its internal control assessment tools with a list of fraud risks as required by OMB Circular A-123, the list of risks were the same for all DOE sites and were not tailored to the sites' different programs.
    Recommendation: To help DOE take a more strategic approach to managing improper payments and risk, including fraud risk, the Secretary of Energy should implement leading practices for managing the department's risk of fraud, including developing and documenting an antifraud strategy that describes the programs' approaches for addressing the prioritized fraud risks identified during the fraud risk assessment.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with this recommendation but considers the recommendation closed without corrective action because DOE has implemented the updated OMB Circular A-123 and because DOE's anti-fraud strategy is imbedded in the DOE internal control program. However, DOE officials told us that they have not developed or documented a DOE-wide antifraud strategy or directed individual programs to develop program-specific strategies. Furthermore, DOE's implementation of OMB Circular A-123 included adding a list of potential risks to their internal control assessment tool that were the same for all DOE sites and were not tailored to the sites' different programs.
    Recommendation: To help DOE take a more strategic approach to managing improper payments and risk, including fraud risk, the Secretary of Energy should implement leading practices for managing the department's risk of fraud, including designing and implementing specific control activities, including fraud awareness training and data analytics, to prevent and detect fraud and other improper payments.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE believes that they are either implementing or have already implemented this recommendation and considers the recommendation closed without additional action. Specifically, DOE stated that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) already provides fraud awareness training and that the OIG provided expanded fraud risk training on June 12, 2017 through a CFO-hosted webinar. However, of the 10 field offices responsible for overseeing contractor costs, none required employees responsible for overseeing contractor costs to attend fraud awareness training.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that necessary data are available to employ data analytics as a tool to perform contractor cost-surveillance activities, the Secretary of Energy should require contractors to maintain sufficiently detailed transaction-level cost data that are reconcilable with amounts charged to the government, including (1) cost data that, at a minimum, represent a full data population and (2) the details necessary to determine the nature of each cost transaction, with such identifiers as transaction date, dollar amount, item or service description, and transaction codes to indicate the type of cost represented (e.g., construction materials, property lease, and office supplies).

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE did not agree to implement this recommendation because they believe that the recommendation establishes agency-specific requirements for DOE contractors that are more prescriptive than current federal requirements. DOE states that they plan to evaluate the merits of government-wide guidance for applying data-analytics to contract costs only if an OMB working group--established as a requirement of the Fraud Reduction and Data Analytics Act of 2015 to promote interagency coordination on fraud reduction and data analytics--requires them to do so. However, the purpose of the working group is to share fraud management best practices. It is not an implementing body and agencies do not need its permission before proceeding with fraud risk reduction efforts.
    Director: Jessica Farb
    Phone: (202) 512-6991

    10 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and usefulness of program evaluations for agency program and budget decisions, the Chief Executive Officer of MCC, the Administrator of USAID, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in cooperation with State's Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy) should each develop a plan for improving the quality of evaluations for the programs included in our review, focusing on areas where our analysis has shown the largest areas for potential improvement.

    Agency: Millennium Challenge Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a letter provided to GAO in May 2017, MCC stated that it had responded to our finding that MCC needed to more clearly document the independence of its evaluators and fully disclose any potential conflicts of interest in the published final evaluations. In response to this recommendation, MCC revised its standard evaluator contract language and now requires the evaluator's independence, and any potential conflicts of interest, be fully documented in the published evaluation report. GAO will follow up on documentation of this and any other steps responsive to our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and usefulness of program evaluations for agency program and budget decisions, the Chief Executive Officer of MCC, the Administrator of USAID, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in cooperation with State's Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy) should each develop a plan for improving the quality of evaluations for the programs included in our review, focusing on areas where our analysis has shown the largest areas for potential improvement.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and usefulness of program evaluations for agency program and budget decisions, the Chief Executive Officer of MCC, the Administrator of USAID, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in cooperation with State's Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy) should each develop a plan for improving the quality of evaluations for the programs included in our review, focusing on areas where our analysis has shown the largest areas for potential improvement.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, DOD provided a response to our final report, dated March 30, 2017. The response noted that, in January 2017, the Department established policy on assessment, monitoring, and evaluation (AM&E) for security cooperation with the goal of improving the quality of program evaluation across the Department. DOD also stated that it would review best practices for AM&E to determine those that are best suited for security assistance, and will discuss our findings and recommendations with the independent evaluator who conducts security assistance evaluations and encourage them to consider the recommendations in future evaluations. GAO will review the January 2017 guidance and will follow-up on specific steps taken by the DOD to incorporate best practices.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and usefulness of program evaluations for agency program and budget decisions, the Chief Executive Officer of MCC, the Administrator of USAID, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in cooperation with State's Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy) should each develop a plan for improving the quality of evaluations for the programs included in our review, focusing on areas where our analysis has shown the largest areas for potential improvement.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a response to GAO in May 2017, HHS stated that the CDC Operationalization of the Evaluation Standards of Practice (ESOP) was updated in January 2017 and provides guidance on evaluation planning, protocol development, implementation, reporting, dissemination, and use of evaluation results, as well as reporting requirements. HHS also stated that it now reviews all evaluation and performance monitoring plans and assess report quality at several stages prior to publication and has begun to provide webinars and templates for evaluators to ensure that standards are addressed and reflected in the report. GAO will review the updated documents and request documentation of the actions taken for responsiveness to our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and usefulness of program evaluations for agency program and budget decisions, the Chief Executive Officer of MCC, the Administrator of USAID, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in cooperation with State's Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy) should each develop a plan for improving the quality of evaluations for the programs included in our review, focusing on areas where our analysis has shown the largest areas for potential improvement.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a letter dated March 31, 2017, State reported that it would be expanding its evaluation policy into the new Program Design and Performance Management Policy for Programs, Projects, and Processes, expected to be in place by summer 2017. The policy and its implementation, along with the recently published Program Design and Performance Management toolkit, as well as updated policy guidance, constitute State's plan to improve evaluations. GAO will review the updated policy when it is released for its responsiveness to our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and usefulness of program evaluations for agency program and budget decisions, the Chief Executive Officer of MCC, the Administrator of USAID, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in cooperation with State's Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy) should each develop a plan for improving the quality of evaluations for the programs included in our review, focusing on areas where our analysis has shown the largest areas for potential improvement.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a letter provided to GAO in follow-up to our report, USAID stated that steps already taken include (1)recently updating and clarifying the requirements and quality standards for evaluations and (2) working to ensure that staff has the skills they need to manage evaluations through training and other capacity building actions. As of September 2017, GAO is reviewing the updated guidance and actions against the specific findings in our report to assess their responsiveness in addressing our findings.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the evaluation findings reach their intended audiences and are available to facilitate incorporating lessons learned into future program design or budget decisions, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to update its guidance and practices on the posting of evaluations to require President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) evaluations to be posted within the timeframe required by PEPFAR guidance.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a response to GAO in May 2017, HHS stated that the CDC, as of December 2016, now provides guidance noting that each new evaluation protocol specifically state that a report on the main findings of an evaluation will be produced in alignment with the PEPFAR ESOP and posted (in English) on a publically accessible website within 90 days of completion. GAO will review the updated document for responsiveness to our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the evaluation findings reach their intended audiences and are available to facilitate incorporating lessons learned into future program design or budget decisions, the Chief Executive Officer of MCC should adjust MCC evaluation practices to make evaluation reports available within the timeframe required by MCC guidance.

    Agency: Millennium Challenge Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a letter provided to GAO in May 2017, MCC stated that it had initiated a re-design of its evaluation monitoring information system to provide MCC with detailed timelines of each component of the evaluation review and publication process. GAO will follow up on documentation of this and any other steps responsive to our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the evaluation findings reach their intended audiences and are available to facilitate incorporating lessons learned into future program design or budget decisions, the Secretary of State should amend State's evaluation policy to require the completion of dissemination plans for all agency evaluations

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a letter dated March 31, 2017, State reported that it would be expanding its evaluation policy into the new Program Design and Performance Management Policy for Programs, Projects, and Processes, expected to be in place by summer 2017. State reported that it would add a requirement for dissemination plans to the new policy. GAO will review the updated policy when it is released for its responsiveness to our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the evaluation findings reach their intended audiences and are available to facilitate incorporating lessons learned into future program design or budget decisions, the Secretary of Agriculture should implement guidance and procedures for making FAS evaluations available online and searchable on a single website that can be accessed by the general public.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

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

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure quality financial execution information is available to guide the Joint Exercise Program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness to direct the combatant commanders to take steps to comply with current Execution Management System guidance to upload supporting documentation that is reconcilable to funds executed from the Combatant Commanders Exercise Engagement and Training Transformation account.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    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 quality financial execution information is available to guide the Joint Exercise Program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness to, as the department implements financial improvement plans in accordance with the Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness guidance, include specific internal control steps and procedures to address and ensure the completeness and accuracy of information captured for the Joint Exercise Program's Combatant Commanders Exercise Engagement and Training Transformation account.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Jennifer Grover
    Phone: (202) 512-7141

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that C-TPAT program managers are provided consistent data from the C-TPAT field offices on security validations, the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection should develop standardized guidance for the C-TPAT field offices to use in tracking and reporting information on the number of required and completed security validations.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: On April 28, 2017, CBP officials provided documentation--a common worksheet, instructions, and related standard operating procedures for C-TPAT field offices to use in tracking and reporting information to headquarters staff on security validations required and completed. We reviewed the information and interviewed C-TPAT officials in two field offices and C-TPAT's Plans and Operations Branch, which is responsible for overseeing these efforts, about the new procedures. In early August 2017, we asked for additional evidence that C-TPAT is ensuring one standard approach across its field offices for capturing and reporting security validations required and completed. The BBP liaison informed us that C-TPAT officials are to provide the additional evidence by the end of September 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the availability of complete and accurate data for managing the C-TPAT program and establishing and maintaining reliable indicators on the extent to which C-TPAT members receive benefits, the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection should determine the specific problems that have led to questionable data contained in the Dashboard and develop an action plan, with milestones and completion dates, for correcting the data so that the C-TPAT program can produce accurate and reliable data for measuring C-TPAT member benefits.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: On July 28, 2017, CBP provided us with documentation, to include: a schedule of completed and planned activities related to refining data reporting system requirements, testing of preliminary results from new data runs, developing a reporting system for tracking security examination rates, and a copy of the results of a preliminary data run identifying shipment examination rates by mode of transportation and C-TPAT member Tier level. CBP staff informed us that the steps being taken to address this recommendation are to continue through the end of the 2017. In the interim, we are reviewing the documents CBP provided to determine what, if any, additional information we may need to assess progress in addressing this recommendation.
    Director: Diana Maurer
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure grantees' compliance with the Drug-Free Communities Support Program's statutory requirements and to strengthen monitoring of grantee activities, SAMHSA should develop an action plan with time frames for addressing any deficiencies it finds through its reviews and making systemic changes to mitigate deficiencies on a prospective basis to strengthen the grant monitoring process.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA is currently in the process of implementing routine audits of all its grant files. SAMHSA will also conduct an audit specifically of DFC files to ensure compliance by the end of summer 2017. Additionally, SAMHSA will offer regular training to government project officers (GPO) on grant report requirements and will ensure DFC GPO participation. Finally, SAMHSA is actively implementing the Grants Enterprise Management System to streamline the grants management process and make the process for maintaining grant files automated. By the end of fall 2017, all newly awarded DFC grants will be in this system. By the end of fall 2018, all active DFC grants will utilize this system.
    Recommendation: To better ensure grantees' compliance with the Drug-Free Communities Support Program's statutory requirements and to strengthen monitoring of grantee activities, SAMHSA should develop and implement a method for ensuring that the grantee status reports it provides to ONDCP are complete and accurate.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA will develop a plan to ensure complete and accurate information is provided to ONDCP by the end of summer 2017.
    Director: Heather Krause
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that FLETC builds and maintains capacity to achieve its mission with existing levels of resources over the longer-term, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Director of FLETC to complete a revised strategic plan that encompasses the agency's long-term goals and objectives to address emerging challenges.

    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 FLETC builds and maintains capacity to achieve its mission with existing levels of resources over the longer-term, as part of its strategic planning process, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Director of FLETC to finalize the plan, including the steps and time frames, needed to further implement its Online Campus initiative.

    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 ETA continues to have the capacity to achieve its mission and manage changes in demand for services resulting from changes in the broader economy, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Administrator of ETA to systematically gather and evaluate information on the challenges that states faced administering the unemployment insurance program during the recession that began in 2007--such as rapidly ramping up staffing at the start of the recession and ramping down as the economy recovered--and identify and build upon any lessons learned from this experience that could be broadly shared to help the program respond to any changes in workload during a future economic downturn.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Powner, David A
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    5 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To facilitate the analysis of gaps between current skills and future needs, the development of strategies for filling the gaps, and succession planning, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Chief Information Officer, Chief Human Capital Officer, and other senior managers as appropriate to address the shortfalls in IT workforce planning noted in this report, including the following actions: (1) establish and maintain a workforce planning process; (2) develop competency and staffing requirements; (3) assess competency and staffing needs regularly; (4) assess gaps in competencies for all components of the workforce; (5) develop strategies and plans to address gaps in competencies and staffing; (6) implement activities that address gaps, including an IT acquisition cadre, cross-functional training of acquisition and program personnel, a career path for program managers, and special hiring authorities, if justified and cost-effective; (7) monitor the department's progress in addressing IT competency and staffing gaps; and (8) report to department leadership on progress in addressing competency and staffing gaps.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The department has not yet provided its written response to this recommendation. We will continue to monitor the department's progress in implementing the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To facilitate the analysis of gaps between current skills and future needs, the development of strategies for filling the gaps, and succession planning, the Secretary of Defense should require the Chief Information Officer, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and other senior managers as appropriate to address the shortfalls in IT workforce planning noted in this report, including the following actions: (1) develop competencies for all staff; (2) assess competency needs regularly for all positions; (3) assess gaps in competencies for all components of the workforce; (4) develop strategies and plans to address gaps in competencies; (5) implement activities that address gaps, including developing a program management career path, if justified and cost-effective; (6) monitor the department's progress in addressing competency gaps identified for IT staff; and (7) report to department leadership on progress in addressing competency gaps.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The department has provided a written response to this recommendation and we are currently evaluating it.
    Recommendation: To facilitate the analysis of gaps between current skills and future needs, the development of strategies for filling the gaps, and succession planning, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should require the Chief Information Officer, Chief Human Capital Officer, and other senior managers as appropriate to address the shortfalls in IT workforce planning noted in this report, including the following actions: (1) establish and maintain a workforce planning process inclusive of all staff; (2) develop staffing requirements for all positions; (3) assess staffing needs regularly; (4) assess gaps in competencies and staffing for all components of the workforce; (5) develop strategies and plans to address gaps in competencies and staffing; (6) implement activities that address gaps, including an IT acquisition cadre, if justified and cost-effective; (7) monitor the department's progress in addressing competency and staffing gaps; and (8) report to department leadership on progress in addressing competency and staffing gaps.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The department has provided a written response to this recommendation and we are currently evaluating it.
    Recommendation: To facilitate the analysis of gaps between current skills and future needs, the development of strategies for filling the gaps, and succession planning, the Secretary of Transportation should require the Chief Information Officer, Chief Human Capital Officer, and other senior managers as appropriate to address the shortfalls in IT workforce planning noted in this report, including the following actions: (1) establish a time frame for when the department is to finalize its draft workforce planning process and maintain that process; (2) develop staffing requirements for all positions; (3) assess competency and staffing needs regularly for all positions; (4) assess gaps in staffing for all components of the workforce; (5) develop strategies and plans to address gaps in competencies and staffing; (6) implement activities that address gaps, including an IT acquisition cadre, cross-functional training of acquisition and program personnel, a career path for program managers, and use of special hiring authorities, if justified and cost-effective;e (7) monitor the department's progress in addressing competency and staffing gaps; and (8) report to department leadership on progress in addressing competency and staffing gaps.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The department agreed with the recommendation and stated that it plans to fully implement the recommendation by December 2019. To fully implement this recommendation, DOT should prioritize the completion of its IT workforce planning process and then begin implementing the process in phases based on the availability of resources.
    Recommendation: To facilitate the analysis of gaps between current skills and future needs, the development of strategies for filling the gaps, and succession planning, the Secretary of the Treasury should require the Chief Information Officer, Chief Human Capital Officer, and other senior managers as appropriate to address the shortfalls in IT workforce planning noted in this report, including the following actions: (1) establish and maintain a workforce planning process; (2) develop competency and staffing requirements for all positions; (3) assess competency and staffing needs regularly; (4) assess gaps in competencies and staffing for all components of the workforce; (5) develop strategies and plans to address gaps in competencies and staffing for all components of the workforce; (6) implement activities that address gaps, including a career path for program managers and special hiring authorities, if justified and cost-effective; (7) monitor the department's progress in addressing competency and staffing gaps; and (8) report to department leadership on progress in addressing competency and staffing gaps for all components of the workforce.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: The department has not yet provided its written response to this recommendation. We will continue to monitor the department's progress in implementing the recommendation.
    Director: David Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that NNSA effectively manages the performance of its programs, the Secretary of Energy should establish a program management policy that (1) assigns responsibilities and delegates authority to program managers and establishes expectations of competence for them, in accordance with federal internal control standards, and (2) addresses leading program management practices, such as developing program plans.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of January 2017, DOE stated that it will address our recommendation as part of its effort to meet the requirements of the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act of 2016. This Act requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to adopt government-wide standards, policies, and guidelines for program and project management for agencies. It also requires agencies to appoint program management improvement officers, establishes training competencies for program managers, and creates a job series and career path for program managers. According to the Act, OMB will issue the standards, policies, and guidelines required under the Act no later than December 14, 2017.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that NNSA develops and maintains a cadre of professional, effective, and capable program managers in accordance with leading program management practices and federal internal control standards, the Secretary of Energy should establish a training program for program managers.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of January 2017, DOE stated that it will address our recommendation as part of its effort to meet the requirements of the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act of 2016. This Act requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to adopt government-wide standards, policies, and guidelines for program and project management for agencies. It also requires agencies to appoint program management improvement officers, establishes training competencies for program managers, and creates a job series and career path for program managers. According to the Act, OMB will issue the standards, policies, and guidelines required under the Act no later than December 14, 2017.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better assess whether the LOP and LOPC are having a measurable impact in meeting their program objectives, the Director of EOIR should develop and implement a system of performance measures, including establishing a baseline, to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of LOP and LOPC and assess whether the programs are achieving their stated goals.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Executive Office for Immigration Review
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, EOIR reported that the agency is working with a contractor to redesign EOIR's performance management system consistent with the principles outlined in the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010. In addition, EOIR reported that staff from its Office of Legal Access Programs (OLAP) plan to participate in strategic planning training, which will include how to establish performance measurements. To fully address the recommendation, EOIR should develop and implement a system of performance measures for LOP and LOPC, including establishing a baseline, and assess program performance against such measures.
    Director: Michelle Sager
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To facilitate collaboration and identify and broadly disseminate information on leading practices and lessons learned, the Director of OMB should establish a formal means for agencies to collaborate on tiered evidence grants. This could include creating a formal working group or providing collaboration technologies, such as an electronic mailing list or web portals.

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

    Comments: In July 2017, OMB staff told us that they had established an interagency working group and other mechanisms to facilitate collaboration and disseminate information on tiered evidence grants. We have requested documentation of such activities but have yet to receive it.
    Director: Currie, Christopher P
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better assess the impact of the fire grants program, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to establish measurable performance targets linked to AFG and SAFER program goals, such as the desired percentage of awardees who used grants to achieve compliance with equipment standards.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to officials, FEMA's Grant Programs Directorate is reviewing the current set of program metrics to determine the feasibility of establishing performance targets. FEMA plans to include approved targets in its annual report to Congress that will be issued for fiscal year 2016; the report was undergoing internal review for approval and release as of November 2016. Pending issuance of the report with measurable performance targets linked to AFG and SAFER program goals, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To enhance FEMA's efforts to assess and integrate the fire grant programs' contributions to national preparedness, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to use the National Preparedness Goal's definition of critical infrastructure as the basis of collecting information from applicants and using the National Critical Infrastructure Prioritization Program list to measure fire grant programs' performance in addressing national priorities.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to officials, FEMA's Grant Programs Directorate plans to incorporate the National Preparedness Goal definition of national critical infrastructure into fire grant performance measures in FEMA's fiscal year 2017 Annual Report to Congress. Specifically, they said FEMA plans to conduct an assessment of data from AFG program application and awards in order to verify recipients are reporting infrastructure that aligns with the National Preparedness Goal definition of critical infrastructure. In addition, FEMA plans to meet as needed with the National Programs and Protection Directorate's Office of Critical Infrastructure Analysis to determine how the Critical Infrastructure Prioritization Program list can be used in the application process. Pending completion of these efforts, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To enhance FEMA's efforts to incorporate new National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS) and Fire Community Assessment Response Evaluation System (FireCARES) data elements into fire grants program management activities, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to develop a project management plan for identifying relevant data elements in the new NFORS and FireCARES systems and determining how they can be used to improve fire grant applications and awards processes and the performance assessment system.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to officials, FEMA's Grant Programs Directorate intends to develop a plan to assess the data collected to determine feasibility for integration of NFORS and FireCARES data into the AFG programs. The plan will incorporate ways to improve the applications, awards processes, and tracking of performance. This plan should be completed by March 2017, and FEMA will continue to collaborate with stakeholders for the improvement of the AFG application, awards processes, and performance management. According to FEMA, the estimated completion of this effort is September 2017.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To effectively measure 18F's performance, the Administrator of GSA should direct the Commissioner for the Technology Transformation Service to ensure that goals and associated performance measures are outcome-oriented and that performance measures have targets, including (1) performance measures and targets tied to fully recovering program costs; and (2) goals, performance measures, and targets for how the program will achieve its mission after September 2016.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The General Services Administration (GSA) agreed with, and has begun to take steps to implement, this recommendation. Specifically, GSA developed a quarterly performance report for fiscal year 2017 that includes an outcome-oriented goal for 18F as well as associated performance measures and targets. According to a Technology Transformation Service official, GSA plans to expand its quarterly performance report for fiscal year 2018 to reflect additional 18F goals and performance measures, including measures tied to fully recovering program costs. We will continue to evaluate GSA's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To effectively measure 18F's performance, the Administrator of GSA should direct the Commissioner for the Technology Transformation Service to assess actual results for each performance measure.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The General Services Administration (GSA) agreed with, and has begun to take steps to implement, this recommendation. Specifically, GSA developed a quarterly performance report for fiscal year 2017 that includes an outcome-oriented goal for 18F as well as associated performance measures with targets. Additionally, GSA has assessed actual results of the performance measures for the first two quarters of fiscal year 2017. According to a Technology Transformation Service official, GSA plans to expand its quarterly performance report for fiscal year 2018 to include additional 18F goals and performance measures. We will continue to evaluate GSA's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To effectively measure performance, prioritize USDS's resources, and ensure that CIOs play an integral role in agency digital service teams, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should direct the Federal Chief Information Officer to ensure that all goals and associated performance measures are outcome-oriented and that performance measures have targets.

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

    Comments: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) generally agreed with, and has begun to take steps to implement, this recommendation. Specifically, in its December 2016 report to Congress, OMB developed three goals for U.S. Digital Service (USDS): (1) rethink how the federal government builds and buys digital services; (2) expand the use of common, platforms, services, and tools; and (3) bring top technical talent into public service. In addition, OMB established performance measures with targets for its third goal and for each of the program's major projects. However, OMB has not established performance measures for the first two USDS goals. Further, the program's third goal is not outcome-oriented. We will continue to evaluate OMB's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To effectively measure performance, prioritize USDS's resources, and ensure that CIOs play an integral role in agency digital service teams, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should direct the Federal Chief Information Officer to assess actual results for each performance measure.

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

    Comments: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) generally agreed with, and has begun to take steps to implement, this recommendation. Specifically, in its December 2016 report to Congress, OMB assessed the results of performance measures for one of the U.S. Digital Service (USDS) program's goals--bring top technical talent into public service--and for each of the program's major projects. However, OMB has not established performance measures for the other two USDS goals--rethink how the federal government builds and buys digital services; and expand the use of common, platforms, services, and tools. We will continue to evaluate OMB's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To effectively measure performance, prioritize USDS's resources, and ensure that CIOs play an integral role in agency digital service teams, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should direct the Federal Chief Information Officer to update USDS policy to clearly define the responsibilities and authorities governing the relationships between CIOs and the digital service teams and require existing agency digital service teams to address this policy. In doing so, the Federal Chief Information Officer should ensure that this policy is aligned with relevant federal law and OMB guidance on CIO responsibilities and authorities.

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

    Comments: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) generally agreed with, and has begun to take steps to implement, this recommendation. In particular, OMB updated its digital service team policy to require that teams appropriately inform their chief information officers (CIO) regarding U.S. Digital Service (USDS) projects. However, the policy does not describe the responsibilities or authorities governing the relationships between CIOs and digital service teams. We will continue to evaluate OMB's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Carol C. Harris
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to update the CEDCAP program office cost estimate to reflect the current status of the program as soon as appropriate information becomes available.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to implement it. In May 2017, the Census Bureau provided summary documentation that included the fiscal year 2015 through 2021 estimated lifecycle costs for the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCAP) program; however, this information lacked the level of detail needed to determine whether the cost estimate reflects the current status of the program. In addition, in June 2017, the Bureau developed a draft version of the CEDCAP Cost Analysis Requirements Description (CARD), which included descriptions of technical and programmatic features of the program and is intended to serve as the basis for preparing the Program Office Estimate and the Independent Cost Estimate. However, as of August 2017, the CARD had not yet been finalized. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to ensure that updates to the status of risks are consistently documented for CEDCAP's Internet and Mobile Data Collection and Survey (and Listing) Interview Operational Control projects.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to implement it. In August 2017, the Census Bureau provided risk management documentation, including a risk management plan and risk review board meeting minutes. However, this information did not include updated risk registers that documented risk status for the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCAP) Internet and Mobile Data Collection and Survey (and Listing) Interview Operational Control projects. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: TTo ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to ensure that CEDCAP's Internet and Mobile Data Collection, Survey (and Listing) Interview Operational Control, and Centralized Operational Analysis and Control projects establish detailed risk mitigation plans on a consistent basis and that the Internet and Mobile Data Collection and Centralized Operational Analysis and Control projects establish trigger events for all relevant risks.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to implement it. In August 2017, the Census Bureau provided risk management documentation, including a risk management plan and risk review board meeting minutes. However, this documentation did not include detailed risk mitigation plans for risks related to the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCAP) Internet and Mobile Data Collection, Survey (and Listing) Interview Operational Control, and Centralized Operational Analysis and Control projects. The Bureau's risk management documentation also did not include trigger events for all relevant risks for the Internet and Mobile Data Collection and Centralized Operational Analysis and Control projects. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to define, document, and implement a repeatable process to establish complete alignment between CEDCAP and 2020 Census programs by, for example, maintaining a single dependency schedule.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation, but has not yet taken steps to implement it. In August 2016, we reported that several issues can result from the lack of a single dependency schedule, including the need to manually identify activities, the inability to be dynamically responsive to change, and a limited ability to ensure that both the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCAP) and 2020 Census program are planning and measuring their activities according to the same agreed upon timeframe. However, as of August 2017, the Bureau had not yet established a single dependency schedule to ensure complete alignment between the CEDCAP and 2020 Census programs. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to establish a comprehensive and integrated list of all interdependent risks facing the CEDCAP and 2020 Census programs, and clearly identify roles and responsibilities for managing this list.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation, but has not yet taken steps to implement it. In August 2016, we reported that several issues can result from the lack of an integrated risk register, including inconsistencies in tracking and managing interdependent risks, redundant efforts to manage risks, and potentially conflicting risk mitigation efforts. As of August 2017, the Census Bureau had not yet developed an integrated risk register for the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCAP) and 2020 Census programs or documented the roles for managing it. Instead, Bureau officials stated that they flag risks in the risk register that affect both programs. However, as of August 2017, the Bureau had not provided evidence that relevant risks for both programs are flagged in the risk registers. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to identify when the 74 requirements related to redistricting data program and data products and dissemination will be tested.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to implement it. In June 2017, Census Bureau officials stated that, as part of the 2018 End-to-End Census Test, program-level integration testing of the requirements related to the redistricting program and the data products and dissemination are planned to occur from April 3, 2018, to August 1, 2018. However, as of August 2017, the Bureau had not provided supporting documentation for its plans for program-level integration testing of the requirements related to the redistricting program and data products and dissemination. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to make developing a better understanding of and identifying requirements related to non-ID response validation a high and immediate priority, or consider alternatives to avoid late definition of such requirements.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to implement it. In April 2017, the Census Bureau documented high-level milestones related to implementing a fraud detection process in an initial effort to better understand non-ID response validation. However, as of August 2017, the Bureau had not finalized the fraud detection process or documented milestones for implementing the non-ID response validation process. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Valerie Melvin
    Phone: (202) 512-6304

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address weaknesses in the department's financial management systems modernization efforts, the Secretary of HUD should direct the Chief Financial Officer to work with the Chief Information Officer in managing subsequent initiatives to define a high-level depiction of the IT systems anticipated in the future state, a description of the operations that must be performed and who must perform them, and an explanation of where and how the operations are to be carried out.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on our draft report, HUD neither agreed nor disagreed with our recommendations, but noted that it planned to improve management practices and IT governance for future modernization efforts. In May 2017, HUD's Deputy Chief Information Officer reported that that the office was managing multiple enterprise-level initiatives no longer classified as financial management modernization efforts, but which are intended to address certain previously reported financial systems modernization needs. The department provided early high-level requirements and a solution architecture for one such initiative, including a future requirement to support data required for HUD's financial reporting needs from Treasury. However, HUD does not yet have a plan to develop a high-level concept of operations for IT systems anticipated in the future state. We intend to follow up on HUD's actions.
    Recommendation: To address weaknesses in the department's financial management systems modernization efforts, the Secretary of HUD should direct the Chief Financial Officer to work with the Chief Information Officer in managing subsequent initiatives to develop comprehensive plans for scope, schedule and cost.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on our draft report, HUD neither agreed nor disagreed with our recommendations, but noted that it planned to improve management practices and IT governance for future modernization efforts. In May 2017, the department provided an early project oversight plan and critical task schedule for one initiative related to enterprise data management, but these plans are not comprehensive and do not include, among other things, detailed cost estimates. We intend to follow up on HUD's actions.
    Recommendation: To address weaknesses in the department's financial management systems modernization efforts, the Secretary of HUD should direct the Chief Financial Officer to work with the Chief Information Officer in managing subsequent initiatives to ensure requirements are fully documented and traceable.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on our draft report, HUD neither agreed nor disagreed with our recommendations, but noted that it planned to improve management practices and IT governance for future modernization efforts. In March 2017, the department reported that the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Information Officer intend to partner on future departmental financial management systems modernization efforts to fully document requirements and trace requirements to the functionality in the modernized system. In May 2017, department officials reported that the subsequent initiatives underway were following an Agile process yielding product-release backlogs as documentation of requirements for ongoing initiatives. They provided the initial backlog for an enterprise data management initiative. However, HUD could not demonstrate that these requirements were complete and traceable to mission needs. We intend to follow up on HUD's actions.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of HUD should also direct the Deputy Secretary to ensure that the Chief Information Officer takes action to improve IT governance control activities used for monitoring programs and identifying needed corrective actions, and strengthen investment oversight by improving coordination with stakeholders and alignment among IT modernization efforts.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on our draft report, HUD neither agreed nor disagreed with our recommendations, but noted that it planned to improve management practices and IT governance for future modernization efforts. In March 2017, the department reported on its fiscal year 2016 updates to charters of its IT governance boards, which provide oversight of all its IT investments, including financial management initiatives, and noted that business cases for proposed development and modernization initiatives had been discussed at governance meetings. HUD also reported that it had set up steering committees to supplement board governance and monitoring two enterprise-level modernization efforts and planned to apply mechanisms, such as project health assessments, intended to establish effective investment oversight. However, HUD has not yet demonstrated that the updated governance control activities have improved program monitoring and identified any needed corrective actions or that planned oversight mechanisms have improved coordination with stakeholders or alignment of modernization efforts. We intend to follow up on HUD's actions to ensure that planned improvements to governance and oversight mechanisms are effectively implemented and institutionalized.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To provide the Congress and NASA a reliable estimate of program cost and schedule that are useful to support management and stakeholder decisions, the NASA Administrator should direct the Orion program to perform an updated JCL analysis including updating cost and schedule estimates in adherence with cost and schedule estimating best practices.

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

    Comments: NASA partially agreed with this recommendation, stating that the agency reviewed, in detail, the Orion integrated cost/schedule and risk analysis methodology and determined the rigor to be a sufficient basis for the agency commitments. We still contend that NASA should update its analysis that informed its baseline because we found that the cost and schedule estimates underlying those baselines are not reliable as they did not conform to best practices.
    Recommendation: To have a full understanding of the cost, schedule, and safety impact of deferring work, the NASA Administrator should direct the Orion program to perform an analysis on the cost of deferred work in relation to levels of management reserves and unallocated future expenses and actual contractor performance, and report the results of that analysis to NASA management.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: NASA concurred with this recommendation, but characterized its deferral of work to date as task-level deferrals, lasting only several months and not affecting major program milestone or the critical path. NASA did agree to include an analysis of how these deferrals affect budget reserves and program performance in future routine management reporting. NASA officials told us that they are currently evaluating work flow for the first and second mission as the agency revisits the launch date for the first mission. Given this is currently being analyzed, officials were not able to provide any analysis at this time about the potential cost impact of changes in scheduled work.
    Director: Yvonne D. Jones
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help agencies determine the value of their telework programs, the Director of OPM, working with the Chief Human Capital Officers Council, should provide clarifying guidance on options for developing supporting data for benefits and costs associated with agency telework programs. For example, the guidance could identify potential data sources, such as the data generated in response to requirements under the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Reduce the Footprint Memorandum 2015-01 and Executive Order 13693.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: OPM concurred with the recommendation and its work-life policy office will work with the Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCO) Council to further agency efforts to determine the value of their telework programs. OPM stated that they will develop clarifying guidance for agencies with CHCO input and host a CHCO Academy session focused on evaluating the costs and benefits of telework programs. This guidance will review basic principles of cost-benefit analysis, highlight common costs and benefits, and identify potential data sources in areas such as real estate costs, energy use, commuting costs, and employee productivity.
    Director: Carol C. Harris
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    9 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help the department achieve the benefits anticipated from JIE, the Secretary should direct the DOD Chief Information Officer (CIO), and other entities, as appropriate, to develop a detailed JIE scope statement that is verified by stakeholders and approved by the Executive Committee.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, the Department of Defense had made progress in implementing the recommendation. Specifically, the department developed a draft Joint Information Environment (JIE) scope statement that can provide the context and framework for reporting, tracking, and controlling JIE activities. According to written comments on the status of the recommendation provided by the department in July 2017, this scope statement will be presented to the JIE Executive Committee in August 2017 for approval. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the department achieve the benefits anticipated from JIE, the Secretary should direct the DOD CIO and other entities, as appropriate, to establish a plan for managing, documenting, and communicating scope.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, the Department of Defense had made progress in implementing the recommendation. Specifically, the department developed a draft JIE scope statement, which documents the scope of JIE and describes how updates to its scope will be periodically reviewed and approved. According to written comments on the status of the recommendation provided by the department in July 2017, the draft will be presented to the JIE Executive Committee in August 2017 for approval. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the department achieve the benefits anticipated from JIE, the Secretary should direct the DOD CIO and other entities, as appropriate, to develop a reliable JIE cost estimate and baseline, consistent with the best practices described in this report.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, the Department of Defense had not implemented the recommendation. According to written comments on the status of the recommendation provided by the department, it developed cost baselines for two components of JIE. However, it did not develop cost estimates for the other JIE components. Specifically, the JIE Executive Committee approved the cost estimate for the Joint Regional Security Stacks in April 2017. In addition, the department's comments stated that the cost baseline for the Mission Partner Environment-Information System (MPE-IS) was included in the MPE-IS Business Case Analysis and presented to the department's Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation in July 2016. We are in the process of reviewing the cost estimates for these components. The department further stated that as solutions for other JIE efforts are established, their cost baselines will be added as appropriate.
    Recommendation: To help the department achieve the benefits anticipated from JIE, the Secretary should direct the DOD CIO and other entities, as appropriate, to develop a JIE schedule management plan and reliable schedule, consistent with practices described in this report.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, the department had not implemented the recommendation. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to address this recommendation by periodically requesting and evaluating updated information.
    Recommendation: To help the department achieve the benefits anticipated from JIE, the Secretary should direct the DOD CIO and other entities, as appropriate, to develop a JRSS schedule management plan and reliable JRSS schedule and schedule baseline, consistent with practices described in this report.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, the Department of Defense had not fully implemented this recommendation. In March 2017, the JIE Executive Committee approved a schedule baseline for the Non-secure Internet Protocol Router network component of JRSS. In addition, the Executive Committee memo approving this schedule baseline indicated that the Executive Committee planned to review and approve a schedule baseline for the Secure Internet Protocol Router network component of JRSS by the end of fiscal year 2017. However, the department has not demonstrated that it has a schedule management plan or that its schedule was developed consistent with the practices described in our report.
    Recommendation: To help the department achieve the benefits anticipated from JIE, the Secretary should direct the DOD CIO and other entities, as appropriate, to complete an assessment to determine the number of staff and the specific skills and abilities needed to effectively achieve JIE, consistent with the workforce planning practices described in this report.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, the Department of Defense had not implemented the recommendation. In its June 2016 written comments on a draft of our report, the department stated that the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Office of Personnel Management were to publish a coding structure in response to the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act of 2015. DOD stated that this structure would inform steps DOD planned to take to identify the type of personnel and specific skills required to support enterprise operations and services and the government capabilities needed to effectively achieve JIE. However, as of July 2017, the department had not demonstrated that it has taken action to implement our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help the department achieve the benefits anticipated from JIE, the Secretary should direct the DOD CIO and other entities, as appropriate, to develop a strategy for conducting JIE security assessments that describes the resources needed to execute the strategy, responsible organizations, and a schedule to complete the assessments.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, the Department had not implemented the recommendation. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to address this recommendation by periodically requesting and evaluating updated information.
    Recommendation: To help the department achieve the benefits anticipated from JIE, the Secretary should direct the DOD CIO and other entities, as appropriate, to develop a strategy and schedule to transition JRSS to the Risk Management Framework, and develop the security plan required by the new framework.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, the Department of Defense had not implemented this recommendation. In January 2017, the Joint Regional Security Stacks (JRSS) program received a six-month provisional Risk Management Framework Authority to Operate. According to a July 2017 update from the department on the status of this recommendation, the JRSS program management office was in the process of requesting another six-month provisional authority to operate. However, the department has not developed a strategy and schedule to complete transition of JRSS to the Risk Management Framework or developed the security plan required by the framework.
    Recommendation: To help the department achieve the benefits anticipated from JIE, the Secretary should direct the DOD CIO and other entities, as appropriate, to develop a reliable Joint Regional Security Stacks (JRSS) cost estimate and baseline, consistent with practices described in this report.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense had taken steps to address the recommendation and we are in the process of reviewing documentation the department provided in July 2017 to determine if it sufficiently addresses the recommendation. Specifically, in April 2017, the JRSS program office documented the methodology, ground rules, and assumptions, among other things, used to develop the cost estimate we reviewed in our report, and the JIE Executive Committee established the estimate as its JRSS cost baseline. We are in the process of reviewing the cost estimate documentation and will update this status after completing the review.
    Director: Thomas Melito
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    4 open recommendations
    including 4 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the financial oversight of U.S. programs to provide humanitarian assistance to people inside Syria, the USAID Administrator should update guidance to require non-governmental organizations to conduct risk assessments addressing the risk of fraud.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USAID concurred with our recommendation; however, as of April 2017, it has yet to fully implement this recommendation. In December 2016, the Office of Food for Peace updated its annual program statement to include language requiring organizations to complete an analysis of risks related to fraud, corruption, and mismanagement, with relevant mitigation measures. However, the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) has yet to officially update its guidance, although USAID has previously noted that OFDA will require all organizations seeking funding to address fraud risks and submit a detailed mitigation plan in their proposal package. We will continue to update the status of this recommendation as we receive information.
    Recommendation: To improve the financial oversight of U.S. programs to provide humanitarian assistance to people inside Syria, the USAID Administrator should use risk assessments submitted by implementing partners to inform USAID oversight activities, for example, using information from assessments to ensure that control activities for programs are designed to mitigate identified risks.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USAID concurred with our recommendation, stating that they plan to tailor their oversight activities to mitigate risks identified in the fraud risk mitigation plans that organizations will submit as part of their funding proposal packages in the future. In addition, USAID noted that it planned to hire a compliance officer by October 2016 to manage fraud mitigation and other compliance issues for OFDA and FFP's Syria and Iraq portfolios. However, as of April 2017, USAID has yet to fill this position. We will continue to track the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the financial oversight of U.S. programs to provide humanitarian assistance to people inside Syria, the USAID Administrator should ensure that field monitors in Syria are trained on assessing and identifying potential fraud risks.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USAID concurred with our recommendation, but has yet to implement this recommendation, as of April 2017. USAID has previously stated that it would work to provide the third-party monitoring organization with information specific to the Syria context that identifies methods to detect fraud. USAID also stated that it would work with the third-party monitoring organization to ensure that data collectors are trained on fraud risks and methods for identifying fraud. We will continue to track the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the financial oversight of U.S. programs to provide humanitarian assistance to people inside Syria, the USAID Administrator should instruct the third party monitoring organization monitoring Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance programs in Syria to modify the site visit forms to include specific guidance for documenting incidents of potential fraud.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USAID concurred with this recommendation, stating that it would seek to have site visit forms revised to include indications of fraud, waste, and abuse. However, as of April 2017, USAID has yet to implement the recommendation. We will continue to track the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Carol C. Harris
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    9 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that the program executes Agile software development for USCIS ELIS consistent with its own policies and guidance and follows applicable leading practices, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should direct the Director of USCIS to direct the USCIS Chief Information Officer (CIO), in coordination with the DHS CIO and the Chief of the Office of Transformation Coordination (OTC), to review and update, as needed, existing policies and guidance and consider additional controls to complete planning for software releases prior to initiating development and ensure software meets business expectations prior to deployment.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had taken steps to address this recommendation. In particular, in June 2017, USCIS provided an updated policy, dated April 2017, governing planning and deploying software releases. USCIS also demonstrated partial compliance with that policy. For example, it provided some release planning review documentation for recent releases that are required by the updated policy, including readiness review memos for releases 7.2 and 8.1. However, USCIS did not demonstrate that the program responsible for developing the USCIS Electronic Immigration System (USCIS ELIS) was consistently following its updated policy. For example, USCIS did not demonstrate that the program was completing all planning activities prior to initiating development, as called for in its updated policy. Moreover, the agency did not demonstrate compliance with its previous policy for all software releases planned and deployed since our July 2016 report. We will continue to work with USCIS to monitor actions the agency is taking to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that the program executes Agile software development for USCIS ELIS consistent with its own policies and guidance and follows applicable leading practices, the Secretary of DHS should direct the Director of USCIS to direct the USCIS CIO, in coordination with the DHS CIO and the Chief of OTC, to review and update, as needed, existing policies and guidance and consider additional controls to consistently implement the principles of the framework adopted for Agile software development.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, USCIS had taken steps to address this recommendation. For example, in May 2017, USCIS provided updated policy governing the development of software releases, dated April 2017, along with release planning artifacts specific to USCIS ELIS. The updated policy included an appendix devoted to generally accepted agency practices and applying Agile principles in the agency. However, USCIS had not clearly indicated if USCIS ELIS was to implement the practices described in the policy. For example, the updated policy did not require program compliance with the generally accepted agency practices. Moreover, supporting artifacts from the release planning process did not always define a commitment to a particular development methodology or set of development practices. For example, the team process agreements, which describe how members of individual teams will work with each other, did not indicate if developers were to adhere to the practices described in updated USCIS policy. We will continue to work with USCIS to obtain additional documentation about actions it is taking to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that the program executes Agile software development for USCIS ELIS consistent with its own policies and guidance and follows applicable leading practices, the Secretary of DHS should direct the Director of USCIS to direct the USCIS CIO, in coordination with the DHS CIO and the Chief of OTC, to review and update, as needed, existing policies and guidance and consider additional controls to define and consistently execute appropriate roles and responsibilities for individuals responsible for development activities consistent with its selected development framework.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, USCIS had taken steps to address this recommendation. For example, in June 2017, USCIS provided updated policy, dated April 2017, governing the development of software releases and release planning artifacts. The updated policy and release documentation defined some roles and responsibilities that were previously only described by USCIS in its informal November 2014 management model, such as the authority and responsibility of a product owner. However, program documentation and policy did not define all of the roles and responsibilities. For example, program documentation and policy did not define the roles and responsibilities of a facilitator, or Scrum Master, which is a position identified in leading practices for software development using Scrum, the development methodology previously identified by the program. In addition, USCIS did not demonstrate that it had defined and committed to an updated development methodology for software releases. Such a defined methodology will impact expectations for the roles and responsibilities in software development. Without such a defined methodology or approach to Agile software development, it is not clear if roles and responsibilities defined by previously documented approach to Agile software development are still applicable for the current development approach. Moreover, documentation associated with program releases and updated policy did not define all of the roles and responsibilities for positions described by USCIS in its May 2017 written response to GAO. We will continue to work with USCIS to obtain additional documentation about actions it is taking to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that the program executes Agile software development for USCIS ELIS consistent with its own policies and guidance and follows applicable leading practices, the Secretary of DHS should direct the Director of USCIS to direct the USCIS CIO, in coordination with the DHS CIO and the Chief of OTC, to review and update, as needed, existing policies and guidance and consider additional controls to identify all system users and involve them in release planning activities.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DHS and USCIS had not provided information demonstrating that the department has addressed this recommendation. In October 2016, DHS provided a written response stating that the USCIS Office of Information Technology and Office of Transformation Coordination were working closely with the various USCIS directorates to obtain and integrate feedback through regular review sessions with the end users and through additional end user testing. However, as of July 2017, DHS and USCIS have not provided new information about the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that the program executes Agile software development for USCIS ELIS consistent with its own policies and guidance and follows applicable leading practices, the Secretary of DHS should direct the Director of USCIS to direct the USCIS CIO, in coordination with the DHS CIO and the Chief of OTC, to review and update, as needed, existing policies and guidance and consider additional controls to write user stories that identify user roles, include estimates of complexity, take no longer than one sprint to complete, and describe business value.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, USCIS had provided GAO with documentation intended to demonstrate that the agency had taken steps to address this recommendation. For example, in May 2017, USCIS provided updated policy governing the development of software releases along with release planning artifacts specific to USCIS ELIS and an Independent Verification and Validation assessment. The agency also provided a series of backlogs that captured user stories for some software releases. In addition, the Independent Verification and Validation assessment indicated that the program was tracking user story quality as part of assessing whether value was continuously discovered and aligned to the mission. However, the assessment report provided to GAO indicated a negative trend for this outcome. Moreover, USCIS policy no longer set expectations regarding user story development. In addition, supporting artifacts from the release planning process did not always define a commitment to a particular development methodology, which is turn impacts the expectations for writing user stories. Finally, backlogs provided by USCIS did not cover all releases in development since our July 2016 report and did not include enough detail to assess all aspects of the user story process (e.g., story size and user involvement). We will continue to work with USCIS to obtain additional documentation about actions it is taking to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that the program executes Agile software development for USCIS ELIS consistent with its own policies and guidance and follows applicable leading practices, the Secretary of DHS should direct the Director of USCIS to direct the USCIS CIO, in coordination with the DHS CIO and the Chief of OTC, to review and update, as needed, existing policies and guidance and consider additional controls to establish outcomes for Agile software development.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, USCIS had taken steps to address this recommendation. For example, in April 2017, USCIS issued updated policy governing software development at the agency. The updated policy included an appendix devoted to generally accepted agency practices and applying Agile principles in the agency. This appendix also included a set of ten outcomes associated with using Agile practices at USCIS. For example, outcomes included that value is continuously discovered and aligned to the mission. However, the updated policy did not require program compliance with the practices and principles described in the appendix. Moreover, the agency did not demonstrate that USCIS ELIS had committed to achieving a specific set of outcomes for Agile software development, such as the outcomes described in the USCIS policy. We will continue to work with USCIS to obtain additional documentation about actions it is taking to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that the program executes Agile software development for USCIS ELIS consistent with its own policies and guidance and follows applicable leading practices, the Secretary of DHS should direct the Director of USCIS to direct the USCIS CIO, in coordination with the DHS CIO and the Chief of OTC, to review and update, as needed, existing policies and guidance and consider additional controls to monitor program performance and report to appropriate entities through the collection of reliable metrics.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, USCIS had taken steps to address this recommendation. For example, in May 2017, USCIS provided updated policy governing the development of software that called for teams to prepare an Operations Monitoring Plan or dashboard showing the practices, tools, and measures that will monitor applications in production. The agency also provided a series of documents from internal systems and processes intended to monitor performance, such as a product dashboard for analyzing code quality (i.e., SonarQube) and a report from its Independent Verification and Validation team. However, the program was undergoing a re-baseline and had yet to document updated cost, schedule, and performance expectations against which to monitor. Moreover, the agency did not demonstrate that other metrics, such as customer satisfaction and team velocity, were being reliably collected. We will continue to work with USCIS to obtain additional documentation about actions it is taking to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help manage the USCIS ELIS system, the Secretary of DHS should direct the Director of USCIS to direct the USCIS CIO, in coordination with the DHS CIO and the Chief of OTC, to review and update existing policies and guidance and consider additional controls to conduct unit and integration, and functional acceptance tests, and code inspection consistent with stated program goals.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, USCIS had taken steps to address this recommendation. For example, in May 2017, USCIS provided artifacts from internal systems in place to monitor software development performance. These metrics monitored aspects of testing, such as code quality and code coverage. However, the program did not provide an updated Test and Evaluation Master Plan, which is a document it will produce as part of its ongoing effort to re-baseline. A Test and Evaluation Master Plan sets the testing expectations for the program as agreed upon with its stakeholders in DHS and USCIS. The updated plan will provide a basis for further evaluation of the steps DHS and USCIS have taken to address this recommendation. Moreover, the agency did not demonstrate that functional acceptance tests were being conducted in accordance with stated program goals. For example, the agency did not provide acceptance criteria or the associated tests demonstrating that user stories passed the defined acceptance criteria. We will continue to work with USCIS to obtain additional documentation about actions it is taking to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help manage the USCIS ELIS system, the Secretary of DHS should direct the Director of USCIS to direct the USCIS CIO, in coordination with the DHS CIO and the Chief of OTC, to review and update existing policies and guidance and consider additional controls to develop complete test plans and cases for interoperability and end user testing, as defined in the USCIS Transformation Program Test and Evaluation Master Plan, and document the results.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DHS and USCIS had not provided information demonstrating that they had addressed this recommendation. In October 2016, DHS provided a written response indicating that an internal process for revisiting the USCIS ELIS Test and Evaluation Master Plan had been initiated, with participation from all relevant stakeholder groups. A Test and Evaluation Master Plan sets the testing expectations for the program as agreed upon with its stakeholders in DHS and USCIS. The updated plan will provide a basis for further evaluation of the steps DHS and USCIS have taken to address this recommendation. The letter also stated that USCIS had begun to work on a policy for new interoperability test procedures. Moreover, the letter added that end user testing is a continuing activity, including providing feedback of observed issues into the development queue, with the slow launch of the naturalization capabilities in USCIS ELIS being a model. However, as of July 2017, DHS and USCIS had not provided new information about the status of this recommendation. We will continue to work with DHS and USCIS to obtain additional documentation about actions they are taking to address this recommendation.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the Gold Star Advocate Program achieves its mission and objectives and to enhance outreach for the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the service secretaries, to develop interim policies to govern the program, to include identification of roles, responsibilities, and procedures.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) is planning to incorporate policies regarding the Gold Star Advocate Program into the revision of DOD Instruction 1300,18, Department of Defense (DOD) Personnel Casualty Matters, Policies, and Procedures. The revision is anticipated to be published in 2017. In the interim, DOD is planning to establish a charter for the Gold Star Advocate Program.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the Gold Star Advocate Program achieves its mission and objectives and to enhance outreach for the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the service secretaries, to determine outreach goals and metrics by which to measure progress in attaining those goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) is planning to determine outreach goals and metrics by the end of 2016. DOD is also planning to include a question concerning the Gold Star Advocate Program in its telephonic survey of survivors of deceased servicemembers to ensure awareness of the Gold Star Advocate Program amongst survivors.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the Gold Star Advocate Program achieves its mission and objectives and to enhance outreach for the program, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should develop interim policies to govern the program, to include identification of roles, responsibilities, and procedures.

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

    Comments: The Coast Guard Personnel Service Center is planning to publish a policy memorandum on the Personnel Service Center Casualty Matters website announcing the establishment of the Gold Star Advocate Program and outlining the policies, procedures, and responsibilities of the Gold Star Advocate Program.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the Gold Star Advocate Program achieves its mission and objectives and to enhance outreach for the program, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should determine outreach goals and metrics by which to measure progress in attaining those goals.

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

    Comments: The Coast Guard is planning to establish goals and metrics for the Coast Guard's Gold Star Advocate Program to include: identifying resources to support the program, creating a Gold Star Advocate Program website, updating the Coast Guard's "A Survivor's Guide to Benefits" and link it to the Gold Star Advocate Program website. The Coast Guard also plans to begin capturing addresses and other contact information for survivors of each active duty servicemember death and perform a one-time mass mailing to survivors to inform them of the program. They also plan to develop measures for outreach effectiveness and to partner with the Department of Defense to identify other ways to ensure that all survivors are contacted.
    Recommendation: To improve the efficacy of the training provided, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop indicators to help determine how casualty assistance officer training contributes to the quality of the casualty assistance program.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) is planning to develop two surveys to gauge how effective casualty assistance officers found the simulation training program that was developed by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (OUSD(P&R)).
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    13 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting of major management challenges and to ensure performance information is useful, transparent, and complete, the Secretary of Agriculture should describe the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) major management challenges and include performance goals, performance measures, milestones and an agency official responsible for resolving each of its major management challenges as part of USDA's agency performance plan.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the Department of Commerce' action plan to address GAO's recommendations, it will begin including a description of the Department's major management challenges, as well as related performance goals, performance milestones and an agency official responsible for resolving each of its major management challenges, in the Department's annual performance plan reporting, starting with the report to be issued concurrent with final fiscal year 2018 Congressional Budget Justifications (CBJ). As of August 2017, Commerce has not taken action to implement our recommendation. Our review of the Department of Commerce's 2018 CBJ found that it did not include recommended information. When the 2019 CBJ is issued, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the public reporting of major management challenges and to ensure performance information is useful, transparent, and complete, the Secretary of Defense should include planned actions for each of the Department of Defense's (DOD) major management challenges and ensure that required information about its major management challenges, currently in DOD's Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2015-2018, be included in its agency performance plan so that progress toward resolving each of its major management challenges is transparent and reported annually.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: National Science Foundation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its Fiscal Year 2018 APP, NSF took steps to implement this recommendation by clearly identifying its major management challenges and including planned actions for resolving them. Further action is needed to establish performance goals, performance measures, milestones, and identify an agency official responsible for resolving the challenge. When the 2019 annual performance plan is issued, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Valerie C. Melvin
    Phone: (202) 512-6304

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOL's management of FOIA requests, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Chief FOIA Officer to establish a time frame for implementing, and take actions to implement, section 508 requirements in the department's FOIA system and online portal.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, the Department of Labor had provided a response regarding its actions to address our recommendation. We have not yet verified if the actions meet the intent of our recommendation. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve DOL's management of FOIA requests, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Chief FOIA Officer to establish a time frame for implementing, and take actions to fully implement, recommended best practice capabilities for enhanced processing of requests in the department's FOIA system and online portal.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, the Department of Labor had provided a response regarding its actions to address our recommendation. We have not yet verified if the actions taken meet the intent of our recommendations. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve DOL's management of FOIA requests, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Chief FOIA Officer to require components to document in the Secretary's Information Management System for FOIA the rationales for delays in responding to FOIA requests, and to notify requesters of the delayed responses when processing requests.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, the Department of Labor had provided a response regarding its actions to address our recommendation. We have not yet verified if the actions taken meet the intent of our recommendations. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve DOL's management of FOIA requests, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Chief FOIA Officer to establish a time frame for consulting with the Department of Justice's Office of Information Policy on including language in DOL's response letters to administrative appeals notifying requesters of the National Archives and Records Administration's Office of Government Information Services' mediation services as an alternative to litigation, and then ensure that the department includes the language in the letters.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, the Department of Labor had provided a response regarding its actions to address our recommendation. We have not yet verified if the actions taken meet the intent of our recommendations. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken we will provide updated information.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Given the importance of addressing risks on the JPSS satellite program, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Administrator of NOAA to establish a plan to address the limitations in the program's efforts to test security controls, including ensuring that any changes in the system's inventory do not materially affect test results.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with our recommendation and has established a plan to address the limitations we identified in the program's efforts to test security controls. NOAA's plan outlines several actions, and the agency plans to complete these actions by Summer 2017. We will continue to evaluate NOAA's progress in implementing its planned actions.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of addressing risks on the JPSS satellite program, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Administrator of NOAA to, when establishing plans of action and milestones to address critical and high risk vulnerabilities, schedule the completion dates within 30 days, as required by agency policy.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with our recommendation and has established a plan to address it. This plan includes multiple actions that are to be completed by the end of July 2017. We will continue to evaluate NOAA's progress.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of addressing risks on the JPSS satellite program, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Administrator of NOAA to ensure that the agency and program are tracking and closing a consistent set of incident response activities.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with our recommendation and has made progress in addressing it. Specifically, NOAA developed a pilot of a new incident tracking and reporting system to manage its response activities. NOAA plans to complete additional steps to implement this recommendation. We will continue to evaluate NOAA's progress in addressing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of addressing risks on the JPSS satellite program, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Administrator of NOAA to evaluate the costs and benefits of different launch scenarios for the Polar Follow-on program based on updated satellite life expectancies to ensure satellite continuity while minimizing program costs.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation and provided some documentation on its efforts to evaluate different launch scenarios. However, the agency has not yet provided all of the documentation needed to confirm that this recommendation has been addressed. We continue to work with NOAA to obtain and review the documentation needed to address this recommendation.
    Director: Carolyn L. Yocom
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    3 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of states' and plans' Medicaid managed care (MMC) plan provider screening efforts, the Acting Administrator of CMS should consider which additional databases that states and MMC plans use to screen providers could be helpful in improving the effectiveness of these efforts and determine whether any of these databases should be added to the list of databases identified by CMS for screening purposes.

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

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. CMS analyzed 22 databases that were reported to GAO as being used by Medicaid managed care plans to screen providers. It determined that several were already in use by CMS and mentioned in its guidance, several required more study by CMS, and others were not reliable. In April 2017, we reviewed CMS's analysis. For 8 of the databases, CMS noted that more information is needed, including the availability of the data and whether CMS would need an identifier to link providers to the data. CMS has requested additional information for these databases and has not yet concluded whether the databases should be added to the list of databases it has identified for screening purposes. To close the recommendation, CMS will need to determine whether the remaining databases it has studied should be added to the CMS list of databases to be used for provider screening and take the appropriate action.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of states' and plans' MMC plan provider screening efforts, the Acting Administrator of CMS should collaborate with SSA to facilitate sharing CMS's Death Master File subscription with state Medicaid programs.

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

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. CMS has signed an Interagency Agreement that provides for the states' ability to access the SSA Death Master File. CMS said that it will provide Death Master File information to specific individuals within each state in the near future. To close the recommendation, CMS will need to begin to provide the states with access to Death Master File data and provide us with documentation that it has done so.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of states' and plans' MMC plan provider screening efforts, the Acting Administrator of CMS should coordinate with other federal agencies, as necessary, to explore the use of an identifier that is relevant for the screening of MMC plan providers and common across databases used to screen MMC plan providers.

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

    Comments: HHS concurred with the recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: Kay E. Brown
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure vulnerable unaccompanied children receive child advocate services, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services should direct ORR to develop a monitoring process that includes: (1) regularly reviewing referrals to the program contractor, including identifying which care providers in locations with a child advocate program do not make referrals; and (2) reviewing information on the children the program contractor determines it is unable to serve.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) reported that it is working with the child advocate contractor to develop standard operating procedures (SOP) to assign child advocates for children as well as address issues identified in the report and monitor the referral and selection process. ORR also reported that its field staff are working with care providers to ensure that care providers are making referrals for child advocates where a local program exists. In July 2017, ORR reported that new SOPs are under development and the program continues to deny cases when child advocates are unavailable due to the limited number of child advocates. Finalizing standard operating procedures for program referrals and developing a process to review information on the children the program contractor determines it is unable to serve would be positive steps towards addressing the recommendation.
    Director: Kathleen M. King
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to better ensure proper Medicare payments and protect Medicare funds, CMS should seek legislative authority to allow the RAs to conduct prepayment claim reviews.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In May 2016, we recommended that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should seek legislative authority to allow the Recovery Auditors (RAs) to conduct prepayment claim reviews. The Department of Health and Human Services did not concur with this recommendation. We continue to believe CMS should seek legislative authority to allow RAs to conduct these reviews. Until CMS seeks and implements this authority, it will be missing an opportunity to help identify improper payments before they are made.
    Recommendation: In order to ensure that CMS has the information it needs to evaluate MAC effectiveness in preventing improper payments and to evaluate and compare contractor performance across its Medicare claim review program, CMS should provide the MACs with written guidance on how to accurately calculate and report savings from prepayment claim reviews.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In May 2016, we recommended that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should provide the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) with written guidance on how to accurately calculate and report savings from prepayment claim reviews. HHS concurred with this recommendation and stated that it will develop a uniform method to calculate savings from prepayment claim reviews and issue guidance to the MACs. According to CMS, as of April 2017, the agency is in the process of developing a methodology for the MACs to use to estimate the amount that CMS would have paid providers had their claims not been denied. We will assess HHS's actions once we can review any guidance provided to the MACs.
    Director: Carolyn L. Yocom
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure the appropriate level of Medicaid program integrity oversight in the territories, the Acting Administrator of CMS should reexamine CMS's program integrity strategy and develop a cost-effective approach to enhancing Medicaid program integrity in the territories. Such an approach could select from a broad array of activities, including--but not limited to--establishing program oversight mechanisms, such as requiring territories to establish a Medicaid Fraud Control Unit or working with them to obtain necessary exemptions or waivers from applicable program oversight requirements; assisting territories in improving their information on Medicaid and CHIP program spending; and conducting additional program assessments of program integrity as warranted.

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

    Comments: CMS has plans that may enhance Medicaid program integrity in the territories, but as of September, 2016, they have not yet been implemented. In May 2016, CMS notified all territories regarding the requirement to create a Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) or seek a waiver of this requirement. As of September, 2016, according to CMS, Puerto Rico has indicated interest in establishing a MFCU, American Samoa and Guam have requested a waiver to the MFCU requirement, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands has indicated interest in seeking a waiver, and the agency is working with the United States Virgin Islands regarding its response to this requirement. CMS intends to conduct comprehensive reviews of program integrity activities in the territories during fiscal year 2017, which have the potential to strengthen program integrity. Although these planned activities have the potential to strengthen program oversight, they have not yet been implemented. As of September 2016, no territory has established a MFCU or been granted a waiver to this requirement and comprehensive program integrity reviews will not occur until fiscal year 2017.
    Director: Carol R. Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that FEMA's IT systems can adequately support its ability to respond to major disasters, the Secretary of DHS should direct the FEMA Administrator to define the scope, implementation strategy, and schedule of the agency's overall modernization approach, with related goals and measures for effectively overseeing the effort. At a minimum, the agency should update its IT strategic plan and complete its modernization plan.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security concurred with this recommendation, and reported on actions taken to update its IT Modernization Plan such as conducting cross-functional work sessions to establish an actionable implementation roadmap in line with agency priorities. However, as of April 2017, we have not yet obtained evidence that FEMA has fully updated its IT strategic plan and completed its modernization plan to address the weaknesses identified in our report. We will follow-up with the department to obtain supporting documentation and continue to monitor its progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that FEMA's IT systems can adequately support its ability to respond to major disasters, the Secretary of DHS should direct the FEMA Administrator to establish time frames for current and future IT workforce planning during its modernization efforts and ensure all regions and offices are included in these initiatives.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security concurred with, and has taken steps to implement our recommendation. For example, the department stated that FEMA completed the assessment of skills gap and identified and prioritized the skills required to staff and sustain the core competencies required to successfully implement FEMA's IT modernization efforts. However, we have not yet validated the agency actions to establish time frames for current and future IT workforce planning during its modernization efforts. We will follow-up with the department to obtain supporting documentation and continue to monitor its progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that FEMA adequately manages the selected emergency management systems, the FEMA Administrator should direct the DAIP, EMMIE, and IPAWS program offices, in conjunction with the FEMA CIO, to implement complete program plans that define overall budget and schedule, key deliverables and milestones, assumptions and constraints, description and assignment of roles and responsibilities, staffing and training plans, and an approach for maintaining these plans.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security concurred with our recommendation and in response updated its program management plans that support the program offices of the Disaster Assistance Improvement Plan, Emergency Management Mission Integrated Environment, and Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. The program plans addressed some of the weaknesses we identified in our report. For example, the program management plans identified and described the overall program management processes and methods to be used during all phases of projects and defined key deliverables and milestones, roles and responsibilities, staffing and training and an approach for maintaining the plans. However, the plans did not clearly define the knowledge and skills needed to carry out the program or provide sufficient details on the budget and scheduling for the programs under review. We will follow-up with the department to obtain supporting documentation and continue to monitor its progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that FEMA adequately manages the selected emergency management systems, the FEMA Administrator should direct the DAIP, EMMIE, and IPAWS program offices, in conjunction with the FEMA CIO, to implement a system integration plan that include all systems to be integrated with the system, roles and responsibilities for all relevant participants, the sequence and schedule for every integration step, and how integration problems are to be documented and resolved.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security concurred with, and has taken steps to implement our recommendation. For example, the department reported that the system owner for DAIP, EMMIE, and IPAWS programs have updated their respective system integration plans to address the risks identified within the recommendation. In addition, the agency provided documentation such as the IPAWS Integrated Logistics Support Plan, as well as the quality control plan, and test execution plans for both the DAIP and EMMIE programs. However, we have not yet completed our analysis and validated the agency actions on this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: As part of the effort of improving IT management at the three programs, the FEMA Administrator should direct the CIO to ensure that FEMA policy for managing IT programs includes guidance for implementing the key management practices.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security concurred with the recommendation. In its November 2016 update, FEMA reported that the System Owner for DAIP, EMMIE, and IPAWS have updated their respective IT management program and plans and coordinated with the FEMA CIO to address the risks identified within the recommendation. However, we have not yet validated the agency actions on this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Marcia Crosse
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    28 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Agriculture should revise existing department policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories to contain specific requirements for reporting laboratory incidents to senior department officials, including the types of incidents that should be reported, to whom, and when, or direct the Administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service to develop agency policies that contain these requirements.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016 USDA reported that its science and safety councils chartered a joint biorisk management policy committee to oversee the revisions of existing policies to include department-wide incident reporting requirements and time frames. USDA also reported that FSIS will collaborate with the department to ensure that FSIS policies comply with USDA reporting requirements. USDA did not provide an anticipated completion date for revising departmental polices.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Agriculture should review and update outdated department policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and direct the Administrators of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Agricultural Research Service to update their policies and, in the case of APHIS, establish a regular review schedule.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, USDA reported that the science and safety councils' joint biorisk management policy committee will review and update the existing outdated USDA policies. In addition, USDA reported that APHIS will review agency policies for biological laboratories every 3-5 years or sooner, if necessary, and that this schedule will be reflected in USDA policy. USDA did not provide an anticipated completion date for reviewing and updating departmental polices. USDA reported that ARS has finalized its policies for its institutional biological safety committee in April 2016. Once all USDA and component agency policies have been updated and review schedules established, we will close this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Agriculture should routinely analyze results of the department's laboratory inspections and incident reports to identify potential trends that may highlight recurring laboratory safety or security issues and share lessons learned with laboratory personnel.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, USDA reported that the joint biorisk management policy committee will oversee efforts to collect and analyze laboratory inspection and incident reports and share these reports and critical analyses with USDA senior leadership. USDA did not provide an anticipated start date for analyzing reports and sharing analyses with senior departmental officials. USDA stated that the joint biorisk committee also serves as an information-sharing platform across USDA agencies and, as such, is positioned to share lessons learned from analyses of inspection and incident reports with laboratory personnel as necessary. USDA also provided additional information on APHIS, ARS, and FSIS planned or ongoing inspection and incident report analyses.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Agriculture should require routine reporting of the results of department, agency, and select agent laboratory inspections to senior department officials.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, USDA reported that the joint biorisk management policy committee will oversee efforts to revise existing departmental regulations to include requirements for routine reporting of inspection results to senior USDA officials. USDA did not provide an anticipated completion date for revising existing departmental regulations. USDA also provided additional information on APHIS, ARS, and FSIS planned or ongoing reporting of inspection results or revisions of agency policies to require such reporting.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Agriculture should require routine reporting of incidents at agency laboratories to senior department officials.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, USDA reported that the joint biorisk management policy committee will oversee efforts to revise existing departmental regulations to include requirements for routine reporting of laboratory incidents to senior USDA officials. USDA did not provide an anticipated completion date for revising existing departmental regulations. USDA also provided additional information on APHIS, ARS, and FSIS planned or ongoing incident reporting or revisions of agency policies to require such reporting.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Defense should revise existing department policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories to contain specific requirements for inventory control for all of DOD's high-containment laboratories, not just for its select agent-registered laboratories, or direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy to revise their existing, respective policies to contain these requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, DOD noted that its comments on the final report--in which it agreed with all of our findings and recommendations for the department--had not changed. However, DOD did not provide us with an update on its status in implementing these recommendations.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force and Army to review and update their respective outdated policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, DOD noted that its comments on the final report--in which it agreed with all of our findings and recommendations for the department--had not changed. However, DOD did not provide us with an update on its status in implementing these recommendations.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Defense should routinely analyze agencies' inspection results and incident reports to identify potential trends that may highlight recurring laboratory safety or security issues and share lessons learned with laboratory personnel, or direct the Secretaries of the Army and Navy to do so.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, DOD noted that its comments on the final report--in which it agreed with all of our findings and recommendations for the department--had not changed. However, DOD did not provide us with an update on its status in implementing these recommendations.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Defense should require routine reporting of the results of Air Force, Army, and Navy inspections of non-select agent registered laboratories to senior department officials.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, DOD noted that its comments on the final report--in which it agreed with all of our findings and recommendations for the department--had not changed. However, DOD did not provide us with an update on its status in implementing these recommendations.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Defense should require routine reporting of laboratory incidents at Air Force, Army, and Navy non-select agent registered laboratories to senior department officials.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, DOD noted that its comments on the final report--in which it agreed with all of our findings and recommendations for the department--had not changed. However, DOD did not provide us with an update on its status in implementing these recommendations.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army and Navy to require reporting of agency and select agent laboratory inspection results to senior agency officials.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, DOD noted that its comments on the final report--in which it agreed with all of our findings and recommendations for the department--had not changed. However, DOD did not provide us with an update on its status in implementing these recommendations.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Defense should develop time frames for the 19 specific recommendations from the July 2015 review, or direct the Secretary of the Army to do so.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, DOD noted that its comments on the final report--in which it agreed with all of our findings and recommendations for the department--had not changed. However, DOD did not provide us with an update on its status in implementing these recommendations.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Energy should revise existing department policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories to contain specific requirements for inspections, or direct the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Director of the Office of Science to develop agency policies that contain this requirement.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, DOE reported that it is revising department policy for its select agent and toxin work to highlight oversight of facilities working with these agents and toxins. DOE will solicit input from NNSA, the Office of Science, and its biosurety executive team to determine if specific inspection requirements should be included in the select agent, or other department or agency policies. DOE provided us with information as to other department policies and regulations that allow for inspections. DOE plans to complete its efforts by the end of July 2017. We maintain that DOE should make laboratory inspection requirements explicit and that these requirements apply to all high-containment laboratories, not just those registered with the select agent program.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Energy should review and update its outdated policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, DOE reported that it is updating its outdated select agent policy and plans to complete this update by the end of July 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should revise existing EPA policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories to contain specific requirements for inventory control, or direct the Director of the Office of Pesticide Programs to incorporate this requirement into its policy.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: EPA agreed with this recommendation in its February 2016 comments on the draft report, but maintains that agency, or senior-level policies, exist that include this requirement. EPA officials cited a Microbiology Laboratory Branch standard operating procedure (SOP) as containing inventory control requirements for the agency's one high-containment laboratory. However, in July 2016, EPA officials told us that it disagreed with our assessment that the SOP, as a laboratory-level document, was insufficient to meet our expectations for senior-level policies. In November 2016, EPA officials reiterated its position stating that the SOP had been approved by senior agency management and, as the requirements in it are universally applied by all laboratory staff, appropriately represents an agency-level policy. EPA further noted that the Office of Pesticide Policy, in which the Microbiology Laboratory Branch is located, is a sub-office within EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), an Assistant Administrator-level office. We continue to believe that senior-level policies--in this case, either those policies issued at the EPA level or at the OCSPP/OPP level--that include all of the policy elements we analyzed reflect critical management commitment to and support for a culture of laboratory safety throughout the organization, regardless of the number of agency laboratories.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Administrator of EPA should review and update EPA's outdated policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and establish a regular schedule for reviewing and updating EPA and Office of Pesticide Programs policies.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, EPA reported that the policies and procedures for both the facility that houses its microbiology laboratory and the laboratory itself are reviewed and updated on a bi-yearly or yearly basis consistent with the EPA schedules for biosafety and laboratory plans set in policy. However, EPA did not provide us with the policy that sets the EPA schedules. In addition, our analysis focused on policy documents issued by EPA or its senior-level offices, such as EPA's Safety, Health, and Environmental Management Program manual, dated November 2012. When we analyzed that policy for the report, we were unable to determine whether it was up-to-date because it did not include a review and update schedule or a specific recertification date. As of November, 2016, EPA maintains that this recommendation has been completed, because the office revised the standard operating procedure that provides guidance for establishing the receipt, expiration dates, and disposal of biological inventory used in the laboratory. As of April 2017, we have reached out to EPA for documentation of the actions the agency stated it has taken. Until received, we continue to believe that EPA action on this recommendation is still needed, such as by providing an updated EPA-level safety manual that includes a schedule for reviewing and updating, or providing EPA's schedule set in policy, so long as it also applies to agency- or senior office-level policies.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Administrator of EPA should require routine reporting of the results of department, agency, and select agent laboratory inspections to senior department officials.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: EPA agreed with this recommendation in its February 2016 comments on the draft report. ?In July 2016, EPA reported that its high-containment laboratory will notify senior officials within 3 weeks of any laboratory inspection findings. ?This is a positive step. We are waiting for EPA to provide us with supporting documentation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should develop department policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories that contain specific requirements for reporting laboratory incidents to senior department officials, including the types of incidents that should be reported, to whom, and when, or direct the Director of CDC and the Commissioner of FDA to incorporate these requirements into their respective policies.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, HHS reported that both CDC and FDA were working to incorporate incident reporting requirements and time frames into formal agency policies and practices but did not provide an anticipated completion date. In summer 2017, CDC and FDA reported that they were continuing to incorporate incident reporting, which includes all laboratory incidents, accidents, injuries, infections, and near-misses, into formal agency policies. CDC did not provide an anticipated completion date. FDA anticipated completing the policy revisions/updates by summer 2018.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should develop department policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories that contain specific requirements for training and inspections for all high-containment component agency laboratories and not just for their select-agent-registered laboratories; or direct the Director of CDC to provide these requirements in agency policies.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, HHS reported that CDC plans to revise its policies to include training and inspection requirements for inspections for all high-containment laboratories but did not provide an anticipated completion date. In June 2017, HHS reported that CDC was in the process of revising its formal policies to ensure they included requirements for training and inspections for all of the agency's high-containment laboratories but did not provide an anticipated completion date.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should require routine reporting of the results of agency and select agent laboratory inspections to senior department officials.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, HHS reported that CDC was working with FDA and NIH to establish a process for notifying HHS leadership of inspection results through the department's Biosafety and Biosecurity Coordinating Council. HHS did not provide us with an anticipated time frame for implementing this notification practice or when the agencies plan to begin notifying HHS of inspection results.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Director of NIH and the Commissioner of FDA to require routine reporting of the results of agency laboratory inspections--and in the case of FDA, require routine reporting of select agent inspection results--to senior agency officials.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, HHS reported that FDA is working to establish a process for notifying senior agency officials of inspection results, and in August 2017, FDA reported that it was in the process of updating its policies to reflect such a notification process. FDA anticipated that the updated policies and processes would be in place by summer 2018. In August 2016, HHS reported that NIH's ongoing practice is to report the results of external inspections to senior agency officials and, in May 2016, developed a standard operating procedure that outlines this reporting process. In March 2017, NIH officials provided assurance that its Division of Occupational Safety and Health provides NIH's intramural governing body with information about NIH's safety performance at least annually; officials further assured that this information includes the overall results of annual inspections (or audits, as NIH calls them) of all NIH laboratories and discussion of the top 10 most report safety infractions for the year. GAO considers NIH to have implemented the recommended action. GAO will close the overall recommendation once FDA has taken equivalent, appropriate action.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should require routine reporting of incidents at CDC, FDA, and NIH laboratories to senior department officials.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, HHS reported that its Biosafety and Biosecurity Council is working to establish incident reporting requirements for CDC, FDA, and NIH but did not provide an anticipated completion date. HHS noted that NIH formally adopted a standard operating procedure that lays out the agency's requirements for reporting incidents to senior officials.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of the Interior should develop department policies, or direct the Directors of Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey to develop agency policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories that contain specific requirements for reporting laboratory incidents to senior department officials--including the types of incidents that should be reported, to whom, and when--and specific requirements for roles and responsibilities, training, inventory control, and inspections.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, DOI reported that the Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey will develop agency-level policies that contain the key elements GAO identified. DOI did not provide us with a time frame for these activities.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of the Interior should routinely analyze the results of the agency's laboratory inspections and incident reports to identify potential trends that may highlight recurring laboratory safety or security issues and share lessons learned with laboratory personnel, or direct the Directors of Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey to do so.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, DOI reported that its Biosafety Working Group, composed of officials across the department, including Fish and Wildlife Service and U. S. Geological Survey, is developing an automated process for analyzing results of laboratory inspections and incident reports to identify safety and security trends. The working group is also developing a process to share information gleaned from these analyses, including lessons learned, with laboratory personnel in a timely manner. DOI did not provide us with a time frame for these activities.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of the Interior should require routine reporting of the results of agency and select agent inspections to senior department officials.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, DOI reported that in according with the reporting requirements it plans to incorporate into agency-level policies in response to our first recommendation, Fish and Wildlife Service and U. S. Geological survey will be required to submit routine or periodic reports of the results of agency and select agent inspections to the department's designated agency safety and health official.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey to require routine reporting of the results of agency and select agent laboratory inspections to senior agency officials.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, DOI reported that the U. S. Geological Survey will modify and expand its existing policies to require reporting of agency and select agent inspection results to senior USGS officials.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should develop department policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories that contain specific requirements for reporting laboratory incidents to senior department officials--including the types of incidents that should be reported, to whom, and when--and requirements for inventory control for all of its high-containment laboratories, including its select agent-registered clinical laboratory, or direct the Under Secretary of Health to incorporate these requirements into its policies.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, VA reported that while it has policies for reporting laboratory incidents at the local level (VA medical center or laboratory level), VA plans to develop a national level policy for reporting laboratory incidents to senior department officials, including the types of incidents to report, to whom, and when. VA will convene a task force for the purposes of developing such a policy and anticipates that the task force will finalize its policy by March 2018. In June 2017, VA reported that the task force concluded that VA's existing emergency management plan contained all of the necessary requirements for laboratory incident reporting. However, VA has not provided GAO with the emergency management plan. VA further noted that a intradepartmental memorandum was sufficient for making employees aware of such policy requirements in the emergency plan and that such a memorandum was drafted and was being processed for dissemination throughout VA, with an anticipated completion date of August 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary of Health to review and update outdated agency policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA updated and finalized its outdated policy for its clinical laboratories in February 2016. In July 2016, VA reported that it has begun updating its policies for its research laboratories and anticipated finalizing them in 6 months. In June 2017, VA reported that its policies for its research laboratories remain under review and revision, with an anticipated completion date of December 2017.
    Director: Alfredo Gómez
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure protection of underground drinking water from the injection of wastewater associated with domestic oil and gas production, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should require and collect well-specific data on inspections from state and EPA-managed programs, including when the wells were inspected, the types of inspections conducted, and the results of the inspections in order to track progress toward state and EPA-managed annual inspection goals.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, EPA said that it is working toward establishing a complete, regularly updated data set. It will work toward expanding the agency's access to well-specific data and will expand the data it has in its national UIC database. And, the agency said that it will continue to work with DOE and the Groundwater Protection Council to develop a national oil and gas gateway for well-specific data. Until such data are made available, we will leave this recommendation as open.
    Recommendation: To help ensure protection of underground drinking water from the injection of wastewater associated with domestic oil and gas production, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should complete the aquifer exemption database and establish a way to update it to provide EPA headquarters and regions with sufficient information on aquifer exemptions to oversee state and EPA-managed programs.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In December 2016, EPA published a map of aquifer exemptions online, with the exception of region 9 data. The public dataset shows the data in two dimensions and includes information such as depth of injection, surrounding geology and injectate characteristics. EPA plans to update the database annually. We will keep this recommendation open until EPA completes work on region 9.
    Recommendation: To help ensure protection of underground drinking water from the injection of wastewater associated with domestic oil and gas production, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should clarify guidance on what data should be reported on the 7520-4 form to help ensure that the data collected are complete and consistent across state and EPA-managed programs and to provide the information EPA needs to assess whether it must take enforcement actions.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, EPA said that it is working toward establishing a complete, regularly updated data set. It will work toward expanding the agency's access to well-specific data and will expand the data it has in its national UIC database. And, the agency said that it will continue to work with DOE and the Groundwater Protection Council to develop a national oil and gas gateway for well-specific data. Until such data are made available, we will leave this recommendation open.
    Recommendation: To help ensure protection of underground drinking water from the injection of wastewater associated with domestic oil and gas production, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should conduct a workforce analysis to identify the human capital and other resources EPA needs to carry out its oversight of state and EPA-managed programs.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, EPA disagreed and said that the best approach is to expand its evaluation of agency oversight to include elements of inspection and enforcement. Once the evaluation is complete, EPA will consider its oversight of state programs. We will keep this recommendation open until EPA completes its review and determines what it will do with its oversight.
    Director: Chris Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enable FEMA to and more effectively respond to disasters, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to develop a workforce strategy to manage and improve retention that includes a process for systematically gathering attrition data and a plan to retain IMAT Cadre-of On-Call Response Employees.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, FEMA provided an update on the status of actions taken in response to our report. In the update, FEMA officials said they had issued a new FEMA Human Capital Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2016-2020 that includes an objective to build a scalable and skilled workforce with associated measures including a decrease in attrition rate for permanent full time employees, and an increase in disaster workforce through improvements in the recruitment and retention of incident management employees. FEMA also stated that pay issues and work-life balance have been identified as contributing to retention on National Type I and Regional Type II IMATs. FEMA is actively addressing the pay issues. FEMA provided a brief summary of the actions being taken--which includes development of a policy that provides information on establishing base pay under the new pay system, movement within the pay bands, and merit-based increases is in development. Until completion of the action items, this recommendation will remain open. FEMA officials plan to provide a status update in October 2017.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the activities carried out under the ITM program do not duplicate the efforts of other federal loan guarantee programs, such as SBA's 7(a) program, the Secretary of Commerce should direct EDA to work with SBA and NIST to further identify any gaps in capital access that may be present that the program could fill, and then develop marketing materials and conduct outreach to help target those gaps.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: Partially addressed. As of November 2016 the Economic Development Administration (EDA) had begun taking action on GAO's February 2016 recommendation to work with SBA and NIST to identify gaps in capital access and develop marketing materials and conduct outreach based on any gaps identified for the Federal Loan Guarantees for Innovative Technologies in Manufacturing program (ITM). Due to delays in establishing the program, however, these efforts are still in progress. According to EDA officials, as of November 28, 2016 EDA contractors working on the ITM program had held a preliminary discussion with SBA to discuss program marketing, outreach and potential gaps in capital access that the ITM program may be able to fill, among other topics, but had not yet initiated additional coordination with NIST. We continue to believe that coordination with SBA and NIST to identify gaps in capital access, and then marketing the program to target those gaps could help EDA ensure that ITM program activities do not duplicate the efforts of other federal loan guarantee programs.
    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: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Energy, Defense, and Health and Human Services should develop detailed guidance to ensure that ORISE program coordinators, mentors, and research participants are fully informed of the prohibition on nonfederal employees performing inherently governmental functions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2017 DOD developed a terms of agreement to be signed by each mentor and research participant, in which they acknowledge that they fully understand the restrictions on performing inherently governmental functions. However, DOD intended the terms of agreement to be used by a subset of the ORISE research participants at DOD (those participating in the Science and Technology Policy Fellowships program). To fully address this recommendation, DOD needs to take similar action for ORISE research participants not participating in this program.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Energy, Defense, and Health and Human Services should develop detailed guidance to ensure that ORISE program coordinators, mentors, and research participants are fully informed of the prohibition on nonfederal employees performing inherently governmental functions.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS had not provided information as of July 2017 on steps it has taken to address the recommendation.
    Director: Valerie Melvin
    Phone: (202) 512-6304

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that FDA's IT strategic planning activities are successful in supporting the agency's mission, goals, and objectives, the Commissioner of FDA should require the CIO to establish schedules and milestones for completing a version of an IT strategic plan that incorporates elements to align the plan's strategies with agency-wide priorities; includes results-oriented goals and performance measures that support the agency's mission, along with targets for measuring the extent to which outcomes of IT initiatives support FDA's ability to achieve agency-wide goals and objectives; identifies key IT initiatives that support the agency's goals; and describes interdependencies among the initiatives.

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

    Comments: FDA concurred with the recommendation and stated that the agency plans to implement it. We contacted the agency in March 2017 and have requested documents regarding FDA's actions to address the recommendation. We are waiting to receive the documents. We will update the status of the agency's actions after we receive and evaluate their response.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that FDA's IT strategic planning activities are successful in supporting the agency's mission, goals, and objectives, the Commissioner of FDA should require the CIO to implement the plan to ensure that expected outcomes of the agency's key IT initiatives are achieved.

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

    Comments: FDA concurred with the recommendation and stated that the agency plans to implement it. We contacted the agency in March 2017 and have requested documents regarding FDA's actions to address the recommendation. We are waiting to receive the documents. We will update the status of the agency's actions after we receive and evaluate their response.
    Director: Marcia Crosse
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the data on tracked safety issues and postmarket studies that are needed for required reporting and for systematic oversight of postmarket drug safety, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Commissioner of FDA to develop comprehensive plans, with goals and time frames, to help ensure that identified problems with the completeness, timeliness, and accuracy of information in its database on tracked safety issues and postmarket studies are corrected.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: FDA has started taking steps to help ensure that identified problems with its data on tracked safety issues and postmarket studies are corrected. For example, FDA plans to conduct an assessment of tracked safety data by 2022 and is developing a quality measurement plan that will include periodic audits of postmarket study data. However, as of August 2017, FDA has not provided specifics regarding what types of actions it will take once these assessments and audits are completed, including goals and time frames for when these actions will be completed. GAO is keeping this recommendation open until FDA provides information on how it will address issues identified in its assessments and audits and the time frames for doing so.
    Recommendation: To improve the data on tracked safety issues and postmarket studies that are needed for required reporting and for systematic oversight of postmarket drug safety, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Commissioner of FDA to work with stakeholders within FDA to identify additional improvements that could be made to FDA's current database or future information technology investments to capture information in a form that can be easily and systematically used by staff for oversight purposes.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: FDA has identified actions that could potentially improve FDA's process for overseeing tracked safety issues, but as of August 2017, FDA has not indicated that stakeholder input has been solicited specifically regarding improvements to FDA's IT systems that would facilitate systematic oversight of these issues. FDA may address this as part of a planned assessment of its data system that is not scheduled to be completed until FY 2022. For postmarket studies, FDA has indicated that it intends to formally assess the IT needs of users once it has transferred postmarket data to its new informatics platform, which will not occur until 2018 at the earliest. GAO is keeping this recommendation open until FDA has worked with stakeholders to identify improvements to FDA's IT systems to capture information in a form that can be used by staff for oversight purposes.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide greater assurance that the Interagency Rotation Program for national security personnel will be implemented as provided in section 1107 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, in collaboration with the Committee on National Security Personnel, should establish a clear leadership and oversight structure to guide future implementation efforts.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    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 greater assurance that the Interagency Rotation Program for national security personnel will be implemented as provided in section 1107 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, in collaboration with the Committee on National Security Personnel, should work with the departments and agencies to identify and take action on necessary next steps to proceed with the program's implementation, including developing and issuing required guidance for implementation within identified timeframes.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To aid ARNG officials in conducting their oversight of the states and territories, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to establish a permanent program for monitoring state-level recruiting activities either by extending the Recruiting Standards Branch or establishing some other similar program.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the report follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To aid ARNG officials in understanding the effectiveness of efforts to meet force requirements, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to take steps to help ensure that the ARNG collects consistent, complete, and valid data on the specific reasons why soldiers do not complete initial military training and when these soldiers separate from the ARNG during the training process. Such steps could include modifying the Standard Installation/Division Personnel System (SIDPERS) to capture this information or if unable to modify SIDPERS, taking actions to ensure that information collected in the Vulcan Recruit Sustainment Program database is valid.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To aid ARNG officials in understanding the effectiveness of efforts to meet force requirements, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to regularly track whether ARNG soldiers who join in a given fiscal year complete their initial term of service.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To aid ARNG officials in understanding the effectiveness of efforts to meet force requirements, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to periodically estimate, such as on an annual basis or other time period as appropriate, the total cost of recruiting and initial training for a soldier who joins the ARNG.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To help ARNG officials in using financial incentives to fill critical positions as required by Army and National Guard regulation, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to provide recruiters with training to better enable the use of available financial incentives.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To help determine whether ARNG officials are effectively using financial incentives, the Secretary of the Army should , in conjunction with the Director, ARNG, exercise their oversight responsibilities by evaluating and documenting the effectiveness of ARNG's incentives program in meeting its goals. The evaluation should also determine whether incentives are being effectively awarded in military occupational specialties that have been under or over authorized levels, and whether changes are needed to effectively use existing incentives.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: Given that the reporting of information related to the amounts of incentives obligated has been a requirement but not carried out in recent years, the Office of the Secretary of Defense should, in order to ensure continued reporting in the future, enforce its requirement for the National Guard and Reserve Component to submit information on the amounts of incentives obligated and incorporate the required information in the recruiting resources reports.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Actions ongoing.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist DOD in determining whether CIPP is meeting its intended purpose of enhancing retention and providing greater flexibility in the career path of servicemembers, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the service secretaries, to develop and implement a plan to evaluate the pilot that includes key features such as well-defined, clear, and measurable objectives and standards for determining pilot-program performance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with our recommendation, and recognized the importance of developing well defined measures to evaluate the effectiveness and utility of the career intermission pilot program (CIPP). In November 2015, DOD acknowledged receipt of our final report and noted that its position on the report has not changed since providing official written comments. In May 2017, we issued GAO-17-623R, which provided an update to the CIPP participant data in our initial report, and noted that DOD had not established performance measures in response to our recommendation. As of September 2017, DOD had still not developed these measures, noting the program was still in a pilot stage, and the final consolidated report due to Congress in June 2023 will include narratives from the service secretaries discussing the effectiveness and value of the program.
    Director: Daniel Bertoni
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure the best use of the VA Adaptive Sports Grant program funds, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Undersecretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs to systematically gather and disseminate, to all its grantees, techniques that can reduce the no-show rate at funded events.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA concurred with our recommendation. In 2015, VA stated that it would have grantees report on their policies, tools and experience with veterans and service members who do not show up for events; and measures grantees have taken to reduce no-shows. VA stated that it will analyze this information and disseminate best techniques, tools, and recommended actions to current and future grantees. We will close this recommendation when we receive documentation showing that VA is systematically gathering and disseminating information on best practices for reducing no-shows.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the best use of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Adaptive Sports Grant program funds, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Undersecretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs to revise the draft monitoring plan to include guidance on the number and frequency of annual site visits and desk audits.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA concurred with this recommendation. In 2015, VA reported that its final monitoring plan calls for conduct of site visits or desk audits of at least 10 percent of grantees in a grant year. We will close this recommendation when we receive a copy of the final plan for FY16 documenting this commitment.
    Director: William Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

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

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA fully meets GPRAMA requirements, the SBA Administrator should use the results of additional evaluations it conducts in its strategic planning process and ensure the agency's next strategic plan includes required information on program evaluations, including a schedule of future evaluations.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA's organizational structure helps the agency meet its mission, the SBA Administrator should document the assessment of the agency's organizational structure, including any necessary changes to, for example, better ensure areas of authority, responsibility, and lines of reporting are clear and defined.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to improve SBA's program and management guidance, the SBA Administrator should set time frames for periodically reviewing and updating its SOPs as appropriate.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to help ensure that SBA's IT operations and maintenance investments are continuing to meet business and customer needs and the agency's strategic goals, the SBA Administrator should direct the appropriate officials to perform an annual operational analysis on all SBA investments in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Valerie C. Melvin
    Phone: (202) 512-6304

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the oversight of states' marketplace IT projects, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to ensure that all CMS senior executives from IT and business units who are involved in the establishment of state marketplace IT projects review and approve funding decisions for these projects.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2015, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) concurred with the recommendation. The department, in its agency comments, stated that it already included senior executives in its funding decisions for these projects. However, as noted in our report, CMS did not provide evidence that key senior executives from CCIIO, CMCS, and OTS were involved in various funding decisions associated with the states' IT projects. For example, CMS did not demonstrate that senior-level executives from all relevant business and IT units were involved in the initial approval of grant awards or the release of restricted IT funds from marketplace grants as states progressed with their projects. In addition, CMS did not provide evidence of senior executive involvement in the approval of Medicaid funds for marketplace IT projects. Furthermore, as of March 10, 2017, CMS still had not provided evidence that it had taken such actions to support the implementation of this recommendation. By ensuring such executive involvement, CMS would increase accountability for decisions to fund states' IT projects and ensure that these decisions are well informed in order to make efficient use of federal funds.
    Recommendation: To improve the oversight of states' marketplace IT projects, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to ensure that states have completed all testing of marketplace system functions prior to releasing them into operation.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2015, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) concurred with the recommendation. The department noted that it would continue to follow its guidelines to determine if state marketplace system functions are ready for release. The department added that it would work closely with state-based marketplaces to improve their systems and verify that system requirements are met and fully tested before approving them for release into production. While CMS drafted guidance to update its process in June 2016, which required states to submit certain testing reports and supporting documentation, as of March 10, 2017, the agency had not provided evidence that it had determined that state systems had been sufficiently tested for release into operations.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To build upon the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Rental Policy Working Group's efforts to improve coordination of rental assistance, the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in consultation with the Rental Policy Working Group, should work with states and localities to develop an approach for compiling and reporting on the collective performance of federal, state, and local rental assistance programs. Such an effort may begin with one or more pilots to test approaches before they are considered for wider application.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, a HUD official said HUD is still working to respond to the GAO recommendation. He said HUD is currently in the planning stages for updating the existing "Picture of Subsidized Housing" database to add the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and HOME programs and that including LIHTC and HOME will give a more complete picture of governmental assistance since LIHTC is often combined with other subsidies and HOME funds are often put into state housing trust funds and issued together with funding from state revenue sources.
    Director: James R. McTigue, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

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

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

    Comments: In January 2017, IRS supplied documentation on how it had established a fairness policy statement, which is incorporated into the Internal Revenue Manual, communicated to staff in email, and provided via a powerpoint present to staff. IRS also established and documented collection program objectives as part of its FY2017 Collect Program Letter. However, IRS still needs to identify how these objectives have been implemented and how ACS contributes to specific objectives. IRS plans to provide this documentation by September 2017.
    Director: Valerie C. Melvin
    Phone: (202) 512-6304

    5 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve VA's efforts to effectively complete the development and implementation of VBMS, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Benefits and the Chief Information Officer to develop an updated plan for VBMS that includes (1) a schedule for when VBA intends to complete development and implementation of the system, including capabilities that fully support disability claims, pension claims, and appeals processing and (2) the estimated cost to complete development and implementation of the system.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) concurred with our recommendation calling for an updated plan for the Veterans Benefits Management System. However, as of June 2017, the department had not developed a plan that included a schedule for when the Veterans Benefits Administration intends to complete development and implementation of the system, as well as the estimated cost of doing so. We will continue to monitor VA's actions in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve VA's efforts to effectively complete the development and implementation of VBMS, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Benefits and the Chief Information Officer to establish goals for system response time and use the goals as a basis for periodically reporting actual system performance.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) concurred with this recommendation and reported that the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) program office has developed draft metrics for performance of the system. Specifically, VA stated that the office has established key performance indicators as a basis for monitoring the response times of the most commonly executed user transactions (or work events) within VBMS. According to the department, these indicators have been incorporated into the application's continuous monitoring tools for all service level agreements and these agreements are enforced by the VA Service Level Management Board. Nevertheless, as of June 2017, VA had not identified its goals for VBMS response times, nor had the department reported actual system response times. We will continue to monitor VA's actions toward addressing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve VA's efforts to effectively complete the development and implementation of VBMS, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Benefits and the Chief Information Officer to reduce the incidence of high- and medium-priority level defects that are present at the time of future VBMS releases.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) concurred with this recommendation and, in June 2017, reiterated its plans and procedures for decreasing the incidences of defects in each system release. However, the incidences of high- and medium-priority level defects at the time of recent VBMS releases (i.e., releases 10.1 and 11.0) had increased relative to the number of defects present at the time of the earlier release (i.e., release 8.1) that we described in our report. We will continue to monitor VA's actions and progress in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve VA's efforts to effectively complete the development and implementation of VBMS, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Benefits and the Chief Information Officer to develop and administer a statistically valid survey of VBMS users to determine the effectiveness of steps taken to make improvements in users' satisfaction.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) concurred with this recommendation and in January 2017, conducted a survey of VBMS users that was sent to over 16,000 claims processors at each of its 56 regional offices. Although 52 percent of respondents indicated that they were very satisfied or satisfied with VBMS, the department received only about 2500 responses to the survey for a 15 percent response rate. This low response rate raises concern about whether the survey results are statistically valid. We have requested additional information from VA to determine any actions the department has taken to ensure the statistical validity of its survey results and will assess any information that is provided.
    Recommendation: To improve VA's efforts to effectively complete the development and implementation of VBMS, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Benefits and the Chief Information Officer to establish goals that define customer satisfaction with VBMS and report on actual performance toward achieving the goals based on the results of GAO's survey of VBMS users and any future surveys VA conducts.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) concurred with this recommendation and conducted a survey of VBMS users in January 2017. However, as of June 2017, the department had yet to develop customer satisfaction goals for VBMS that would provide users with an expectation of the system response times they should anticipate, and management with an indication of how well the system is performing relative to performance goals.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: When planning for the next phase of national security space launches, Phase 2, the Secretary of the Air Force should consider using an incremental approach to the next launch services acquisition strategy. Planning for acquisitions on a short term basis will help ensure that the Air Force does not commit itself to a strategy until the appropriate amount of data is available to make an informed decision, and will allow for flexibility in responding to a changing launch industry.

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

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet completed actions necessary to implement it. The acquisition strategy for the next phase of national security launches, Phase 2, has not yet been finalized by the Air Force. The EELV program office expects it to be completed in the summer of 2018.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve transparency in future NNSA budget materials so that they are more useful for congressional decision makers, the Administrator of NNSA should, in instances where NNSA's internal cost estimates for a life extension program suggest that additional funding may be needed beyond what is included in the 5-year budget estimates to align with the program's plan, identify the amount of the shortfall in its budget materials and, what, if any, effect the shortfall may have on the program's cost and schedule or the risk of achieving program objectives.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the report, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) agreed with this recommendation and outlined planned actions to incorporate the recommendation into the agency's fiscal year 2017 budget materials. However, the level of additional transparency for life extension programs in NNSA's fiscal year 2017 budget materials appears mixed. GAO will conduct additional follow-up with NNSA in 2017 following release of the fiscal year 2018 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan to clarify and assess prospects for further transparency with respect to funding shortfalls for life extension programs.
    Recommendation: To improve transparency in future NNSA budget materials so that they are more useful for congressional decision makers, the Administrator of NNSA should, in instances where budget estimates do not achieve DOE benchmarks for maintenance and recapitalization investment over the 5-year budget estimates, identify in the budget materials the amount of the shortfall and the effects, if any, on the deferred maintenance backlog.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the report, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) agreed with this recommendation and outlined planned actions to incorporate the recommendation into the agency's fiscal year 2017 budget materials. However, the fiscal year 2017 NNSA budget materials do not support the benchmarked levels of funding needed to address maintenance and recapitalization, and there was no apparent discussion of the shortfall and likely effects on the deferred maintenance backlog in those materials. GAO will follow up on this recommendation in 2017 and 2018 to assess adequacy of funding in NNSA's fiscal year 2018 and 2019 budget materials and any applicable explanations of shortfalls.
    Director: Mctigue Jr, James R
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Comments: IRS agreed that continually improving its performance is important and said that Collection would review and, if needed, update its internal management documents. In July 2017, IRS provided documents that identified and established responsibilities for periodic, regular review procedures to potentially update dollar thresholds used in systems that use a dollar threshold to prioritize Collection cases. In August 2017, we asked IRS when it plans to conduct the first such evaluations and requested that it provide documentation of results of those implemented evaluations when available.
    Director: Beryl H. Davis
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen BLM's controls and reasonably assure accountability over mining law program expenditures, both payroll and nonpayroll, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to establish procedures for regular and timely communication to all BLM employees on policy and procedural changes affecting the mining law program's expenditure-related processes.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In support of closing this recommendation, officials from the Department of Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) provided us with an example of its timely communication (dated September 20, 2016) to BLM employees to announce the issuance of its revised Fund Code Handbook (dated August 12, 2016). They also re-iterated their policy about sending updates regarding guidance changes, which is included in its directives handbook. We reviewed the directives handbook and verified that it contains guidance for communicating policy and procedural changes affecting the mining law program's expenditure-related processes. However, we were unable to determine what procedures were established to ensure the regular and timely communication to all employees of policy and procedural changes take place. While we see the directives handbook is a good start towards meeting the intent of our recommendation, we did not see evidence within the directives handbook that requires these communications to be sent to employees within a specific timeframe (e.g., within 30 days of issuance of policy and procedural changes). We will continue to monitor the agency's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen BLM's controls and reasonably assure accountability over mining law program expenditures, both payroll and nonpayroll, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to develop and implement a training program that provides all BLM employees with an understanding of the use of the mining law program funds to reasonably assure uniform application and effective execution of BLM policies and procedures. This training, to be successful, should be provided to all BLM employees who charge the program and communicate clear instructions on how employees should charge, document, and review transactions related to mining law program expenditures.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agreed with our recommendation. On September 22, 2016, DOI's BLM informed us that the training material that will address this recommendation has been developed and reviewed by the BLM's Mining Law Administration Program and Budget leads. The BLM's National Training Center is currently preparing the training to be posted to "DOI Learn", the Department of the Interior's training portal. Once the training is ready for use, BLM anticipates issuing an Information Memorandum that directs targeted staff to complete the training. At the present time, the training is expected to be ready by end of fiscal year 2017. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen BLM's controls and reasonably assure accountability over mining law program expenditures, both payroll and nonpayroll, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to develop and implement internal control activities for regularly monitoring compliance with expenditure-related policies and procedures in the mining law program. These activities should, at a minimum, (1) determine whether transactions were recorded to the correct subactivity and verified by an approving official and (2) assure that documentary evidence of review is maintained, as required in BLM's policies and procedures.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agreed with our recommendation. On September 22, 2016, DOI's BLM informed us that DOI's BLM is developing a repeatable standardized annual internal control process which will include validation of Mining Law Administration Program (MLAP) expenditure transactions utilizing a "canned" report that is generated from the Financial Business Management System (FBMS), which is DOI's BLM's financial accounting system. This process will be incorporated into an existing DOI's BLM-wide budgetary review cycle requirement, such as the formal mid-year or 3rd quarter fiscal year reviews. The MLAP expenditures report will be distributed to DOI?s BLM state offices with instructions to obtain an adequate sample size from which to test MLAP fund transactions for compliance with Bureau policy. State budget officials will be required to identify their findings, corrective actions and certify the results from this exercise. It is anticipated that this requirement will be disseminated to the DOI's BLM state offices by Instruction Memorandum. The source report to be used for these reviews is still in the development stage and it is expected to be completed by end of fiscal year 2017. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.,
    Phone: (202) 512-7331

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Given that countering violent extremism is a priority for the U.S. government in general and State's Bureau of Counterterrorism (CT Bureau), the Secretary of State should take steps to ensure that CVE program efforts abroad are evaluated.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2017, the CT Bureau indicated that a third-party evaluation of the CVE program has been completed. The evaluation focused on process and programming, including all CVE projects funded between fiscal years 2012 and 2016 and resulted in two related but disparate sets of recommendations and findings. The CT Bureau indicated that it has begun incorporating the recommendations made in the evaluation into its overall CVE efforts.
    Recommendation: To improve State's CT Bureau's program management efforts, the Secretary of State should take steps to ensure the Bureau of Counterterrorism establishes specific time frames for addressing recommendations from program evaluations.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2017, the CT Bureau indicated it is in the process of reviewing recommendations from the CVE evaluation, and will soon be assigning timelines to those recommendations that the bureau deems relevant and achievable. For other evaluations, the CT Bureau indicated that it has already acknowledged the need to assign specific timelines to evaluation recommendations and has adjusted accordingly.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To ensure that the SLS cost and schedule estimates better conform with best practices and are useful to support management decisions, the NASA Administrator should direct SLS officials to update the SLS cost and schedule estimates, at least annually, to reflect actual costs and schedule and record any reasons for variances before preparing their budget requests for the ensuing fiscal year. To the extent practicable, these updates should also incorporate additional best practices including thoroughly documenting how data were adjusted for use in the update and cross-checking results to ensure they are credible.

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

    Comments: NASA agreed with this recommendation and reported taking steps to address it through its annual assessment of the SLS's current cost and schedule estimates against its Agency Baseline Commitment. The agency provided the results of this assessment but did not address the deficiencies we identified in NASA's original estimate, including thoroughly documenting how data were adjusted for the update and cross-checking the results to ensure credibility. In order to close this recommendation, NASA's estimate of its current costs would ideally include documentation of how data were adjusted for use in the updated estimate as well as an explanation of any estimating methodology crosschecks. At a minimum, the estimate documentation should include an explanation of variances between the original estimate and the current estimate.
    Recommendation: To provide more comprehensive information on program performance, the NASA administrator should direct the SLS program to expedite implementation of the program-level EVM system.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The SLS program concurred with our recommendation and has taken steps to implement a program-level earned value management (EVM) system. In May 2016, NASA and Boeing finalized its contract with Boeing for the SLS core stage, the largest development effort in the program. According to NASA officials, the SLS program began receiving contractor earned value management data derived from the new core stage performance measurement baseline in fall 2016. At that time the program implemented a program-level EVM system tracking both in-house and contractor effort.
    Recommendation: To ensure that decisionmakers are able to track progress toward the agency's committed launch readiness date, the NASA administrator should direct the SLS program to include as part of the program's quarterly reports to NASA headquarters a reporting mechanism that tracks and reports program progress relative to the agency's external committed cost and schedule baselines.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The SLS program concurred with our recommendation. According to NASA officials, the program has taken steps to track and report progress relative to the agency's external committed cost and schedule baselines within the program's quarterly reports to NASA headquarters. The program, however, has not yet provided documentation of these actions to GAO.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve NNSA's ability to choose the best alternative that satisfies the mission need for lithium production, the Secretary of Energy should request that NNSA's Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs take steps to ensure that NNSA objectively consider all alternatives, without preference for a particular solution, as it proceeds with the analysis of alternatives process. Such steps could include clarifying the statement of mission need for lithium production so that it is independent of a particular solution.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, NNSA has not finalized its analysis of alternatives. However, documents provided and statements made by agency officials indicate that NNSA plans to construct a Lithium Production Facility. NNSA's preference for constructing a lithium production facility prior to finalizing its analysis of alternatives is not consistent with our recommendation.
    Director: David Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to institutionalize sound IT management practices and build FSA's IT management capacity while improving service to the Nation's farmers and ranchers, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the FSA Administrator to establish and implement an improvement plan to guide the agency in adopting recognized best practices and following agency policy.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: FSA developed a Strategic IT Roadmap to assist the agency's business and IT leadership in prioritizing IT investments. In addition, FSA stated that it will develop and document a comprehensive improvement plan that is to delineate tactical steps, timelines, and performance metrics to track incremental progress in adopting recognized best practices and program management capabilities. We will continue to monitor the agency's progress in documenting and implementing its improvement plan.
    Recommendation: In order to institutionalize sound IT management practices and build FSA's IT management capacity while improving service to the Nation's farmers and ranchers, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the FSA Administrator to adhere to recognized best practices and agency policy in developing and managing system requirements before proceeding with any further system development to deliver previously envisioned MIDAS functionality. Specifically, the Administrator should ensure that requirements are complete, unambiguous, and prioritized; commitment to requirements is obtained through a formal requirements baseline; differences (or gaps) between the requirements and capabilities of the intended solution (including commercial off-the-shelf solutions) are analyzed; strategies to address any gaps are developed; and requirements are traced forward and backward among development products.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: FSA reported that it will improve the rigor and adherence to requirements management processes for all IT projects, utilizing processes and tools that will support the integrity of the requirements throughout the lifecycle, to ensure that requirements are complete, formally baselined, gaps are analyzed, and fully traceable forward and backward. FSA also noted that it is pursuing an enhanced, more comprehensive governance structure that will further support its commitment to increasing rigor and adherence to defined requirements management processes. We will continue to monitor the agency's implementation of these efforts.
    Recommendation: In order to institutionalize sound IT management practices and build FSA's IT management capacity while improving service to the Nation's farmers and ranchers, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the FSA Administrator to adhere to recognized best practices and agency policy in planning and monitoring projects. Specifically, the Administrator should ensure that project plans include predefined expectations for cost, schedule, and deliverables before proceeding with any further system development; updates to the project plan are made through change control processes; and progress against the project plan, including work performed by contractors, is monitored.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: FSA noted that it began an initiative to improve the agency's use of capital planning guidance from the Office of Management and Budget and would prepare corrective action plans to address identified weaknesses in fiscal year 2016. FSA also noted that it was conducting a series of training classes on capital planning and IT project management across the agency, developing a risk management program, and strengthening the use of earned value management. We will continue to monitor the agency's progress on its project planning efforts.
    Recommendation: In order to institutionalize sound IT management practices and build FSA's IT management capacity while improving service to the Nation's farmers and ranchers, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the FSA Administrator to adhere to recognized best practices and agency policy in system testing. Specifically, the Administrator should establish well-defined test plans before proceeding with any further system development, and ensure that testing of (a) individual system components, (b) the integration of system components, and (c) the end-to-end system are conducted.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: FSA stated that going forward the agency will adhere to recognized best practices and agency policy in pursuing consistent or increased rigor around system testing. The agency noted that it plans to demonstrate that its testing capabilities are consistent and repeatable across all FSA IT projects. We will continue to monitor the agency's implementation of these efforts.
    Recommendation: In order to institutionalize sound IT management practices and build FSA's IT management capacity while improving service to the Nation's farmers and ranchers, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the FSA Administrator to adhere to recognized best practices and agency policy in executive-level IT governance before proceeding with any further system development. Specifically, an executive-level governance board should (1) review and approve a comprehensive business case that includes a life cycle cost estimate, a cost-benefit analysis, and an analysis of alternatives for proposed solutions that are to provide former MIDAS requirements prior to their implementation; (2) ensure that any programs that are to accommodate former MIDAS requirements are fully implementing the IT program management disciplines and practices identified in this report; (3) conduct a post-implementation review and document lessons learned for the MIDAS investment; and (4) reassess the viability of the MIDAS technical solution before investing in further modernization technologies.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: FSA stated that, as part of its organizational transformation efforts, the CIO is evaluating its governance structure and updating the charter for the agency-wide IT investment review board with the support of the agency's Executive Leadership Council. FSA also noted that it will adhere to the department's governance framework and processes. We will continue to monitor the agency's implementation of these efforts and how they address our recommendation.
    Director: Carol R. Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve Transformation Program governance, the Secretary of DHS should direct the Under Secretary for Management to ensure that the Acquisition Review Board is effectively monitoring the Transformation Program's performance and progress toward a predefined cost and schedule; ensuring that corrective actions are tracked until the desired outcomes are achieved; and relying on complete and accurate program data to review the performance of the Transformation Program against stated expectations.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had demonstrated that it had taken steps to address this recommendation, but additional steps were needed. Since we issued this recommendation in May 2015, the Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management (PARM), which serves as the Acquisition Review Board (ARB) executive secretariat and is to oversee DHS's acquisition portfolio, in coordination with the Office of the Chief Information Officer, has actively increased program oversight. For example, beginning in May 2015, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) demonstrated that it submitted data supporting cost, schedule, and technical performance metrics to DHS on a monthly basis. The ARB has also held a number of meetings to discuss the Transformation Program and issued associated Acquisition Decision Memoranda with related action items. In addition, in February 2016, PARM demonstrated that DHS developed a procedure to help ensure acquisition decision memorandum actions, including corrective actions, are tracked until the desired outcomes are achieved. However, as of August 2017, the USCIS Transformation Program was in breach of its previously approved schedule expectations and was taking a strategic pause in developing new software while working to re-baseline cost and schedule expectations. During this strategic pause, the program is working to complete various action items assigned by the Acquisition Review Board, including completing an updated Release Roadmap and submitting it to PARM no later than December 29, 2017; updated Lifecycle Cost Estimate and providing it to the Cost Analysis Division no later than December 29, 2017; updated Test and Evaluation Master Plan and submitting it to the Office of Test and Evaluation no later than January 31, 2018; and an updated Acquisition Program Baseline and providing it to PARM no later than December 29, 2017. We will continue to monitor DHS?s efforts to re-baseline the USCIS Transformation Program and the Acquisition Review Board's efforts to monitor the Transformation Program's performance and progress toward a predefined cost and schedule; ensure that corrective actions are tracked until the desired outcomes are achieved; and rely on complete and accurate program data to review the performance of the Transformation Program against stated expectations until and after a new baseline is established.
    Recommendation: To improve Transformation Program governance, the Secretary of DHS should direct the DHS Under Secretary for Management, in coordination with the Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, to ensure that the Executive Steering Committee is effectively monitoring the Transformation Program's performance and progress toward a predefined cost and schedule and relying on complete and accurate program data to review the performance of the Transformation Program against stated expectations.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had demonstrated that it had taken steps to address this recommendation, but additional steps were needed. More specifically, as of July 2016, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Transformation program office provided evidence that the Executive Steering Committee (ESC) continued to discuss cost, schedule, and operational performance metrics as part of the program's ESC meetings. However, as of August 2017, the USCIS Transformation Program was in breach of its previously approved schedule expectations and was taking a strategic pause in developing new software while working to re-baseline its cost and schedule expectations. During this strategic pause, the program is working to complete various action items assigned by the Acquisition Review Board, including completing an updated Release Roadmap and submitting it to the Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management (PARM) no later than December 29, 2017; updated Lifecycle Cost Estimate and providing it to the Cost Analysis Division no later than December 29, 2017; updated Test and Evaluation Master Plan and submitting it to the Office of Test and Evaluation no later than January 31, 2018; and an updated Acquisition Program Baseline and providing it to PARM no later than December 29, 2017. In addition, according to the program?s August 2017 Acquisition Decision Memorandum, the ESC has been transformed into a component-only body with no headquarters involvement, and the program was to establish a Program Management Integrated Product Team, which was to meet bi-weekly beginning in September 2017. We will continue to monitor DHS's efforts to re-baseline the USCIS Transformation Program, the impact of changes to the ESC, and the ESC?s efforts to effectively monitor the Transformation Program's performance and progress toward a predefined cost and schedule and rely on complete and accurate program data to review the performance of the Transformation Program against stated expectations until and after a new program baseline is established.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that assessments prepared by the Office of the Chief Information Officer in support of the department's updates to the federal IT Dashboard more fully reflect the current status of the Transformation Program, the Secretary of DHS should direct the department's Chief Information Officer to use accurate and reliable information, such as operational assessments of the new architecture and cost and schedule parameters approved by the Under Secretary of Management.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had demonstrated that it had taken steps to address this recommendation, but additional steps were needed. In particular, in February 2016, the DHS Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), in coordination with the Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management (PARM), had consolidated the department's Investment Management System and Next Generation Periodic Reporting System tools into a single enterprise information management and repository system named Investment Evaluation, Submission, and Tracking (INVEST). According to the department, this effort should improve the reliability of the metrics used by OCIO's Enterprise Business Management Office (EBMO), as well as the other line of business and component program offices, and ensure data integrity. The data reported in INVEST include cost, schedule, and operational performance metrics that are to align with the OMB's Information Technology (IT) Dashboard reporting requirements. In addition, as of September 2017, the program was listed as a high-risk program on the federal IT dashboard, in contrast to its April 2015 rating of medium risk. However, as of August 2017, the program was in breach of its previously approved schedule expectations and was taking a strategic pause in developing new software while working to re-baseline its cost and schedule expectations. We will continue to monitor DHS?s efforts to re-baseline the USCIS Transformation Program and the Office of the Chief Information Officer's efforts to use accurate and reliable information to update the federal IT dashboard until and after a new program baseline is established.
    Director: Seto J. Bagdoyan
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further improve efforts to limit improper payments, including fraud, in the Medicaid program, the Acting Administrator of CMS should provide guidance to states on the availability of automated information through Medicare's enrollment database--the Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS)--and full access to all pertinent PECOS information, such as ownership information, to help screen Medicaid providers more efficiently and effectively.

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

    Comments: HHS considers this recommendation closed because they provide states with training and direct access to PECOS on an ongoing basis. Additionally, CMS also makes Medicare Enrollment data available to states through custom data extracts. We do not consider this action sufficient to close the recommendation, to provide states information on the availability of automated information through PECOS. For example, custom extracts do not constitute automated information containing all information in PECOS states need to screen providers in Medicaid. Additionally, the states the we interviewed for our study were not aware that custom extracts were available. CMS should provide guidance to state Medicaid programs that this information is available until fully automated access to PECOS is available. We reached out to CMS about the status of this recommendation. As of May 2017, we have not received a response. We will continue to monitor progress on this recommendation.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

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

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress required DOE to meet this requirement in the 2016 NDAA, and DOE reports that they issued a contract to Parsons Government Services on September 29, 2015. We have requested a copy of this contract for review to ensure that the recommendation has been addressed.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure the timely expenditure of VOCA grant funds and thereby limit the carryover of unexpended grant balances, minimize the need for multiple grant extensions, and strengthen OJJDP's capacity to collect and assess grantee performance information, the Assistant Attorney General for OJP should work with the Administrator of OJJDP to conduct a study to examine whether any of its administrative processes contribute to unnecessary delays in grantees' ability to expend VOCA funds within the established 12-month project period and make modifications to these processes as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs: Office of the Assistant Attorney General
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2015, we found that OJJDP had several administrative review and approval processes in place that had contributed to delays in grantees' ability to begin spending their award funds. For instance, grantees could not access their funds until OJJDP had completed its internal review of grantees' budgets--a step that had taken more than 2 months, on average, after the grantees' project period had begun. We recommended that OJP examine its processes and, if appropriate, make modifications to prevent unnecessary delays in grantees' ability to expend VOCA funds within the established project period. In March 2017, OJP reported that its Office of Audit, Assessment and Management (OAAM), worked with OJJDP to complete an assessment to determine the impact of administrative processes on VOCA awards. Focusing on VOCA grants awarded in fiscal years 2010 through 2015, OAAM assessed a number of factors, including (1) the average timeframe for approval of budget reviews; (2) the average timeframe for approval of conference cost requests, and (3) the number of no-cost extensions granted. OJP reported that OAAM continues to work with OJJDP to review documentation to support implementation of process improvements to address the issues the assessment identified. OAAM anticipates issuing a report by March 31, 2017 to OJP's Acting Assistant Attorney General to summarize the results of the assessment and provide updates on the process improvements OJJDP has begun to implement. Examining the delays associated with its administrative review processes and making modifications as necessary will help OJP ensure the effective administration and timely use of grant funds.
    Recommendation: To ensure the timely expenditure of VOCA grant funds and thereby limit the carryover of unexpended grant balances, minimize the need for multiple grant extensions, and strengthen OJJDP's capacity to collect and assess grantee performance information, the Assistant Attorney General for OJP should work with the Administrator of OJJDP to, considering the results of this study, examine whether the current 12-month project period is realistic in light of any administrative processes that cause delay but cannot be modified and extend the project period if necessary.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs: Office of the Assistant Attorney General
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2015, we found that VOCA grant activities were not being completed within the time parameters OJJDP established for the grant program, and that this may affect the ability of grantees to complete their grant goals and objectives. Specifically, we found that for the 28 VOCA grants that OJJDP awarded from fiscal years 2010 through 2013, grantees had expended less than 20 percent, on average, of each grant they received during the original 12-month project period. In particular, we found that OJJDP's processes for reviewing grantees' budgets and conference planning requests were contributing to delays in grantees' ability to begin spending their funds. We recommended that OJP examine whether 12 months is an appropriate project period length to ensure that VOCA grantees are well positioned to fully expend their grant funds. In March 2017, OJP reported that its Office of Audit, Assessment and Management (OAAM), worked with OJJDP to complete an assessment to determine the impact of administrative processes on VOCA awards. Focusing on VOCA grants awarded in fiscal years 2010 through 2015, OAAM assessed a number of factors, including (1) the average timeframe for approval of budget reviews; (2) the average timeframe for approval of conference cost requests, and (3) the number of no-cost extensions granted. OJP reported that OAAM continues to work with OJJDP to review documentation to support implementation of process improvements to address the issues the assessment identified. OAAM anticipates issuing a report by March 31, 2017 to OJP's Acting Assistant Attorney General to summarize the results of the assessment and provide updates on the process improvements OJJDP has begun to implement. Once OJJDP examines its administrative delays, makes any necessary changes, and reviews the original project period length, OJP will be better positioned to ensure that grantees have an appropriate period in which to expend VOCA grant awards.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve performance management of the Telecommunications Relay Service, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission should develop specific performance goals and measures for the TRS program. FCC should establish goals that would guide its efforts on major program dimensions--for example, consider goals and performance measures related to, but not limited to, service quality or competition among providers.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: On May 12, 2017, FCC's Liaison reported to us that FCC is working towards implementing these recommendations, but FCC does not have any specific achievements or documentation to report at this time. GAO will continue to monitor and update the status of this rec.
    Recommendation: To improve performance management of the Telecommunications Relay Service, following the establishment of TRS's performance goals, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission should conduct a robust risk assessment that can help FCC design a comprehensive internal-control system.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: On May 12, 2017, FCC's Liaison reported to us that FCC is working towards implementing these recommendations, but FCC does not have any specific achievements or documentation to report at this time. GAO will continue to monitor and update the status of this rec.
    Recommendation: To improve performance management of the Telecommunications Relay Service, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission should improve FCC's communication of TRS rules and procedures to the community of individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities and the companies providing TRS services through the creation and dissemination of a handbook, program manual, or other consolidation of TRS rules and procedures.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: On May 12, 2017, FCC's Liaison reported to us that FCC is working towards implementing these recommendations, but FCC does not have any specific achievements or documentation to report at this time. GAO will continue to monitor and update the status of this rec.
    Director: Mark L. Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the accountability and transparency of FirstNet's operations, and ensure that FirstNet is gaining as much knowledge from the early builder projects as possible, FirstNet should strengthen FirstNet's internal control system by fully assessing risks, developing standards of conduct, and evaluating performance against these standards.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    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: Michael J. Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: As DOD plans to significantly increase F-35 procurement funding over the next 5 years, the Secretary of Defense should conduct an affordability analysis of the program's current procurement plan that reflects various assumptions about future technical progress and funding availability.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In October 2016, DOD had undertaken multiple efforts to re-evaluate the F-35 warfighting requirements. The Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a memo in May 2016 to the congressional defense committees that revalidated the program's current procurement profile. However, the memo noted that there were a number of factors that will need to be analyzed to fully re-evaluate the F-35 warfighting requirements including production and sustainment costs, force structure, and DOD's ability to achieve strategic and operational objectives under its current plans. As of May 2017, the Department was in the process of conducting an affordability analysis and preparing a final response. The final response is expected to be completed in the summer of 2017.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of OMB streamlining efforts and ensure agency CIOs are better able to carry out their responsibilities in managing IT, including implementing OMB's IT reform initiatives, the Director of OMB should direct the Federal CIO, in collaboration with agency CIOs, to ensure there is a common understanding with agency CIOs on the priority of the current reporting requirements and related IT reform initiatives. This should include addressing underlying reasons cited by CIOs regarding the usefulness of requirements, including when department priorities are reportedly different than OMB's and the burdensome and duplicative nature of requirements.

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

    Comments: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) neither agreed or disagreed with our recommendation. Subsequently, OMB has taken steps to address some aspects of our recommendation. Specifically, in January 2017, OMB worked with the Chief Information Officer (CIO) Council to issue a report entitled "State of Federal Information Technology (SOFIT)" which outlined current IT trends and their key challenges, and made recommendations to improve implementation efforts. Notably, the report also identified differences in priorities between OMB and agency CIOs on key IT reform initiatives and the need for improved reporting requirements. In addition, in June 2017, OMB staff reported that they met the CIO and head of each agency this past spring regarding their priorities and challenges. While these are positive steps toward ensuring a common understanding of these initiatives and reporting requirements, OMB still needs to take action to address the underlying reasons for these differences in priorities and reduce burdensome and duplicative requirements. Until OMB takes action in these areas, there is a risk that key IT reform initiatives may not fully succeed. We will continue to evaluate OMB's progress in addressing our recommendation.
    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: Mike Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to collect and maintain reliable data on its acquisitions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in consultation with DOD components, to establish guidelines on what constitutes a "current" ACAT II or III program for reporting purposes; the types of programs, if any, that do not require ACAT designations; and whether the rules for identifying current MDAPs would be appropriate for ACAT II and III programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2015, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition requested that DOD components review existing policies and determine whether they needed to be altered or supplemented to facilitate data collection and reporting on ACAT II and III programs. In November 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics stated that, based on the results of these reviews, it does not plans to take any action to implement this recommendation. However, a planned DOD IG review in fiscal year 2018 could lead to further action on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to collect and maintain reliable data on its acquisitions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in consultation with DOD components, to determine what metrics should be used and what data should be collected on ACAT II and III programs to measure cost and schedule performance; and whether the use of DAMIR and the MDAP selected acquisition report format may be appropriate for collecting data on ACAT II and III programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics reviewed information on DOD component efforts to collect data on the cost and schedule performance of ACAT II and III programs and stated that it does not plan to take any action to implement this recommendation. However, a planned DOD IG review in fiscal year 2018 could lead to further action on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to collect and maintain reliable data on its acquisitions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy and the Commander of SOCOM to assess the reliability of data collected on ACAT II and III programs and work with PEOs to develop a strategy to improve procedures for the entry and maintenance of data.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2015, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition requested that DOD components evaluate the data they collect on ACAT II and III programs, report on their assessment of the data's reliability, and provide an update on their plans to improve the availability and quality of the data. In November 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics stated that it does not plan to take any additional action to implement this recommendation. However, a planned DOD IG review in fiscal year 2018 could lead to further action on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to collect and maintain reliable data on its acquisitions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy and the Commander of SOCOM to develop implementation plans to coordinate and execute component initiatives to improve data on ACAT II and III programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DOD partially concurred with this recommendation, but the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics stated that it does not plan to take any additional action to implement this recommendation. However, we are keeping this recommendation open at this time.
    Recommendation: To help ensure compliance with relevant provisions of DOD acquisition policy with the purpose of improving DOD's ability to provide oversight for ACAT II and III programs, including those programs that may become MDAPs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force and Commander of SOCOM to establish a mechanism to ensure compliance with APB requirements in DOD policy.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2015, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition requested that DOD components review their mechanisms for establishing and enforcing the APB requirements for all ACAT II and III programs. In November 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics stated that, based on the results of these reviews, it does not plans to take any action to implement this recommendation. However, we are keeping this recommendation open at this time.
    Recommendation: To help ensure compliance with relevant provisions of DOD acquisition policy with the purpose of improving DOD's ability to provide oversight for ACAT II and III programs, including those programs that may become MDAPs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy to improve component procedures for notifying the Defense Acquisition Executive of programs with a cost estimate within 10 percent of ACAT I cost thresholds.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency partially concurred with this recommendation. The Army and Navy have reiterated existing guidance and the Air Force is evaluating additional actions it might take to improve its notification procedures.
    Director: Carol R.Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics to require MAIS programs to establish their first acquisition program baseline within 2 years of beginning work on the programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department developed a draft process document that states that business system (e.g. financial management, logistics management) programs should start development on at least one release within 24 months after programs have identified the needed capabilities and received approval to conduct further analysis into the potential delivery of the capabilities. We will follow-up with the Department for the final process document and guidance, when available.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller) to complete a plan for conducting auditability testing of LMP Increment 2 functionality to ensure that such testing occurs prior to the LMP program management office deploying future functionality.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD officials, in response to our recommendation, the department developed a plan to conduct system testing on LMP Increment 2 in accordance with the Federal Information System Controls Audit Manual. The officials stated that the department's plan was to conduct this testing both prior to and after the deployment of new functionality to users. We have requested additional information and documentation from DOD regarding these LMP Increment 2 test plans in order to determine whether the testing associated with auditability of the system was to be conducted before deployment to users.
    Director: Sullivan, Michael J
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve DOD's milestone decision process, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics in collaboration with the military service acquisition executives, program executive officers, and program managers to, as a longer-term effort, select several current or new major defense acquisition programs to pilot, on a broader scale, different approaches for streamlining the entire milestone decision process, with the results evaluated and reported for potential wider use. The pilot programs should consider the following: (1) Defining the appropriate information needed to support milestone decisions while still ensuring program accountability and oversight. The information should be based on the business case principles needed for well-informed milestone decisions including well defined requirements, reasonable life-cycle cost estimates, and a knowledge-based acquisition plan. (2) Developing an efficient process for providing this information to the milestone decision authority by (a) minimizing any reviews between the program office and the different functional staff offices within each chain of command level and (b) establishing frequent, regular interaction between the program office and milestone decision makers, in lieu of documentation reviews, to help expedite the process.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of the Secretary of Defense issued a policy directive called Better Buying Power 3.0 in April 2015, which addresses this recommendation to pilot acquisition programs for streamlining. In September 2015, DOD designated one Navy program, the Next Generation Jammer, as a pilot program with streamlined oversight, processes, and documentation. The program manager believes that implementation of this model has allowed for more focus on improving program execution by significantly shortening decision cycle time and appropriately tailoring acquisition requirements. The Air Force and Army have not designated pilot programs at this time.
    Director: Jacqueline M. Nowicki,
    Phone: (617) 788-0580

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance participation in and strengthen management of federal student aid programs for teachers, the Secretary of Education should direct Federal Student Aid's Chief Operating Officer to explore and implement ways to raise awareness about the TEACH Grant and the loan forgiveness programs.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education noted that Federal Student Aid disseminates information about these programs through various channels, such as its website, social media, and materials posted to the Financial Aid Took Kit. Annual in-person training is also provided, as well as online guidance on these programs to Financial Aid Officers at Title IV institutions. Education will assess the effectiveness of these sources of program information and seek input from interested organizations outside the agency on ways to better publicize and promote the progress. They will also develop and implement additional outreach efforts and vehicles to more effectively raise awareness both among current and incoming students and, for loan forgiveness among potentially eligible individuals who have already entered the workforce. We will close this recommendation when these efforts are completed. As of August 2017, Education reported that it is preparing a response to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance participation in and strengthen management of federal student aid programs for teachers, the Secretary of Education should direct Federal Student Aid's Chief Operating Officer to take steps to determine why participants are not able to meet TEACH Grant service requirements and examine ways to address those challenges.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: In FY 2015, the Department of Education (Education) developed a survey for institutions that offer the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant and grant recipients to assess program issues and challenges. According to documentation posted in the Federal Register, the surveys will be administered in 2016 and will be used as part of a study to improve TEACH Grant program administration. Education has also indicated it is developing plans to analyze existing data on TEACH grant recipients and institutions. We will close the recommendation when the study is complete and Education has examined ways to address the challenges identified. As of August 2017, Education reported that it is preparing a response to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance participation in and strengthen management of federal student aid programs for teachers, the Secretary of Education should direct Federal Student Aid's Chief Operating Officer to review the underlying cause of the known erroneous conversions to ensure steps Education has taken are sufficient to address the problem, and establish time frames for transferring the approximately 2,600 loan conversions currently with other loan servicers.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education noted it has already taken steps to implement this recommendation, such as a comprehensive assessment to identify the causes of the conversions and the grants affected. After identifying the reasons, they worked with current grant services to ensure accuracy and make sure they understood program requirements. ED will also work with recipients to resolve issues related to grants that were converted in error. All active Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans that were converted from TEACH grants and not in default were transferred to FedLoan Servicing by December 2014. As of August 2017, Education reported that it is preparing a response to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance participation in and strengthen management of federal student aid programs for teachers, the Secretary of Education should direct Federal Student Aid's Chief Operating Officer to review the TEACH grant-to-loan conversion dispute process and disseminate to appropriate audiences clear, consistent information on it, including that recipients have an option to dispute, how to initiate a dispute, and the specific criteria considered in the adjudicating process.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education noted steps it has taken to address this recommendation. For example, the agency clarified the TEACH grant conversion dispute process, detailing the specific set of criteria under which FedLoan Servicing is authorized to convert loans back to grants. The agency reported that it will assess the current process for disseminating information on the dispute process to determine whether additional outreach or more extensive information is necessary to ensure that appropriate audiences have access to needed information. We will close this recommendation when this effort has been completed. As of August 2017, Education reported that it is preparing a response to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance participation in and strengthen management of federal student aid programs for teachers, the Secretary of Education should direct Federal Student Aid's Chief Operating Officer to establish program performance measures for the TEACH Grant and the loan forgiveness programs to assess against established goals and to inform program administration.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education reported that it will convene a group to review program data, identify appropriate metrics for which supporting data are available, and establish baselines and targets for those metrics. The agency will then incorporate those metrics, baselines and targets into its ongoing program management and policy development processes. We will close this recommendation when these efforts have been completed. As of August 2017, Education reported that it is preparing a response to address this recommendation.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: GSA should examine incorporating successful management practices--such as consistently involving tenants at various stages of the project--into its capital investment process to ensure that projects are managed efficiently and that tenant disruptions are minimized.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure that GSA's green Recovery Act projects meet relevant requirements, GSA should analyze environmental outcomes against relevant requirements for each of its full and partial-modernization Recovery Act projects and apply any lessons to future projects.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-7331

    3 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: Given the significant unobligated balances of about $260 million in the ESF account for Egypt previously allocated for a cash transfer that the administration has stated it no longer intends to carry out, the Secretary of State and the USAID Administrator should work to develop plans for an alternate use of these funds, in consultation with the appropriate committees of Congress. As part of planning for these funds, State should also consider ways that this funding could potentially be used to offset future budget requests.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In written comments on our draft report, State and USAID generally concurred with our recommendation. State and USAID reported in May 2016 that the agencies had reprogrammed $230 million of the $260 million previously allocated for the cash transfer to the Egyptian government for programs in Syria, Iraq, Tunisia, and Egypt, among other countries. As of May 2017, State and USAID had not yet made a decision on how to best utilize the remaining $30 million. GAO will continue to monitor agency efforts to fully implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Given the significant unobligated balances of about $260 million in the ESF account for Egypt previously allocated for a cash transfer that the administration has stated it no longer intends to carry out, the Secretary of State and the USAID Administrator should work to develop plans for an alternate use of these funds, in consultation with the appropriate committees of Congress. As part of planning for these funds, State should also consider ways that this funding could potentially be used to offset future budget requests.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In written comments on our draft report, State and USAID generally concurred with our recommendation. State and USAID reported in May 2016 that the agencies had reprogrammed $230 million of the $260 million previously allocated for the cash transfer to the Egyptian government for programs in Syria, Iraq, Tunisia, and Egypt, among other countries. As of May 2017, State and USAID had not yet made a decision on how to best utilize the remaining $30 million. GAO will continue to monitor agency efforts to fully implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the timely completion of an evaluation of security assistance to Egypt that is required by State policy, the Secretary of State should establish specific time frames for completing such an evaluation.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State agreed with this recommendation. State noted that while evaluation of security assistance to Egypt poses challenges, it views evaluation as a critical tool for accountability and program improvement and will continue to pursue a formal evaluation of security assistance to Egypt. As of August 2017, State had not established specific time frames for such an evaluation. However, according to State officials, the department had begun preliminary data collection in anticipation of an evaluation at some point in the future. GAO will continue to monitor agency efforts to fully implement this recommendation.
    Director: Marie A. Mak
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure a consistent and more collaborative approach to the protection of critical technologies, the Secretaries of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; as well as the Attorney General of the United States, who have lead and stakeholder responsibilities for the eight programs within the critical technologies portfolio, should take steps to promote and strengthen collaboration mechanisms among their respective programs while ongoing initiatives are implemented and assessed. These steps need not be onerous; for example, they could include conducting an annual meeting to discuss their programs, including the technologies they are protecting, their programs' intent, any new developments or changes planned for their programs, as well as defining consistent critical technologies terminology and sharing important updates.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation. Relevant efforts by DHS to finalize memoranda of understanding with other agencies and by the Export Enforcement Coordination Center to share information and data across the export control enforcement community are ongoing. As of Sept 2017, DHS did not identify relevant actions to coordinate on critical technologies among other agencies.
    Recommendation: To ensure a consistent and more collaborative approach to the protection of critical technologies, the Secretaries of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; as well as the Attorney General of the United States, who have lead and stakeholder responsibilities for the eight programs within the critical technologies portfolio, should take steps to promote and strengthen collaboration mechanisms among their respective programs while ongoing initiatives are implemented and assessed. These steps need not be onerous; for example, they could include conducting an annual meeting to discuss their programs, including the technologies they are protecting, their programs' intent, any new developments or changes planned for their programs, as well as defining consistent critical technologies terminology and sharing important updates.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: Commerce has identified various efforts to collaborate across multiple agencies within individual critical technologies programs, but has not taken steps to promote collaboration on critical technologies through a larger group discussion.
    Recommendation: To ensure a consistent and more collaborative approach to the protection of critical technologies, the Secretaries of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; as well as the Attorney General of the United States, who have lead and stakeholder responsibilities for the eight programs within the critical technologies portfolio, should take steps to promote and strengthen collaboration mechanisms among their respective programs while ongoing initiatives are implemented and assessed. These steps need not be onerous; for example, they could include conducting an annual meeting to discuss their programs, including the technologies they are protecting, their programs' intent, any new developments or changes planned for their programs, as well as defining consistent critical technologies terminology and sharing important updates.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has identified numerous activities within DOD to coordinate across the critical technologies portfolio, in particular the Arms Transfer and Technology Release Senior Steering Group. In some cases, these activities include other departments, most commonly State. However, officials have stated that they are not aware of any high-level coordination on critical technologies among the larger group of agencies. On Sept. 5, 2017, DOD provided an update on multiple DOD efforts, including CFIUS, but none are collaborating among all of the agencies cited in the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure a consistent and more collaborative approach to the protection of critical technologies, the Secretaries of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; as well as the Attorney General of the United States, who have lead and stakeholder responsibilities for the eight programs within the critical technologies portfolio, should take steps to promote and strengthen collaboration mechanisms among their respective programs while ongoing initiatives are implemented and assessed. These steps need not be onerous; for example, they could include conducting an annual meeting to discuss their programs, including the technologies they are protecting, their programs' intent, any new developments or changes planned for their programs, as well as defining consistent critical technologies terminology and sharing important updates.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of the Attorney General
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, the agency identified coordination actions being taken across the agencies with export control responsibilities--including through the Export Control Enforcement Center--and through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. However, it is not clear how, or if, these coordination efforts are tied to the larger, government-wide portfolio of critical technologies programs. As of Sept. 2017, Justice has no additional updates.
    Recommendation: To ensure a consistent and more collaborative approach to the protection of critical technologies, the Secretaries of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; as well as the Attorney General of the United States, who have lead and stakeholder responsibilities for the eight programs within the critical technologies portfolio, should take steps to promote and strengthen collaboration mechanisms among their respective programs while ongoing initiatives are implemented and assessed. These steps need not be onerous; for example, they could include conducting an annual meeting to discuss their programs, including the technologies they are protecting, their programs' intent, any new developments or changes planned for their programs, as well as defining consistent critical technologies terminology and sharing important updates.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2016, a Treasury official identified coordination actions being taken across the agencies with export control responsibilities and through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. However, coordination efforts are not tied to larger, government-wide collaboration on critical technologies. In March 2017, Treasury provided an update on actions taken, but did not address the recommendation for coordination among the critical technologies programs.
    Recommendation: To ensure a consistent and more collaborative approach to the protection of critical technologies, the Secretaries of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; as well as the Attorney General of the United States, who have lead and stakeholder responsibilities for the eight programs within the critical technologies portfolio, should take steps to promote and strengthen collaboration mechanisms among their respective programs while ongoing initiatives are implemented and assessed. These steps need not be onerous; for example, they could include conducting an annual meeting to discuss their programs, including the technologies they are protecting, their programs' intent, any new developments or changes planned for their programs, as well as defining consistent critical technologies terminology and sharing important updates.

    Agency: Department of State
    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. In Sept. 2017, State provided updates on actions taken within the department, but none across affected agencies.
    Director: Melvin, Valerie C
    Phone: (202) 512-6304

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the federal government's and states' investments in information systems result in outcomes that are effective in supporting efforts to save funds through the prevention and detection of improper payments in the Medicaid program, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of CMS to require states to measure quantifiable benefits, such as cost reductions or avoidance, achieved as a result of operating information systems to help prevent and detect improper payments. Such measurement of benefits should reflect a consistent and repeatable approach and should be reported when requesting approval for matching federal funds to support ongoing operation and maintenance of systems that were implemented to support Medicaid program integrity purposes.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on our report, agency officials agreed with this recommendation and provided information on CMS's plans to use a template to track cost savings resulting from state Medicaid offices' use of information systems for program integrity purposes. In April 2017, CMS officials said that they were no longer planning to use the template to gather information from the states, because of the varied approaches that states take to implement systems support for program integrity purposes. The officials stated that they are developing an alternative approach for capturing this information from the states, which will be provided to us when completed. We will continue to monitor CMS's progress toward addressing the recommendation.
    Director: Andrew Sherrill
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance communication with contractors about Job Corps program changes, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training to review the sufficiency of ETA's guidance for internal notices--including Program Instruction Notices, Policy and Requirements Handbook Change Notices, and Information Notices--to ensure that contractors are provided with adequate notification of program changes before they are expected to be implemented, and an adequate level of information to assist them in carrying out their responsibilities.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL concurred with this recommendation, acknowledging the importance of ensuring that Job Corps contractors are provided adequate notification of program changes before their expected implementation. To address this, DOL stated that it would review the sufficiency of Job Corps guidance for internal notices, and execute and distribute any contractual actions, such as modifications, in a timely manner. In FY16, DOL reported that ETA implemented a procedure for developing policy guidance that includes establishing an effective date for program changes that takes into consideration an appropriate amount of time for implementation. The agency referred to Change Notice 15-09 (dated February 4, 2016) and Information Notice 15-34, which extends the implementation date of this change from May 1 to June 1, 2016. GAO requested the written procedure ETA used to develop its policy guidance, but ETA officials were unable to provide it. The officials stated that they would review its response to this recommendation after the beginning of FY17.
    Director: Grover, Jennifer A
    Phone: (202)512-7141

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that TSA's planned testing yields reliable results, the TSA Administrator should take steps to ensure that TSA's planned effectiveness testing of the Managed Inclusion process adheres to established evaluation design practices.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: TSA continues to make progress on implementing this recommendation. In March 2017, TSA reported that an evaluation of the security effectiveness of the managed inclusion process is to be completed over the next few weeks. Once documentation for the evaluation is available, TSA will provide it for review and analysis.
    Director: Chris P. Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the Secretary of Homeland Security's ability to assess national preparedness and provide management oversight of federal interagency efforts to close previously identified capability gaps, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Administrator of FEMA--in coordination and collaboration with the National Security Council Staff and other federal departments and agencies--to collect information on and regularly report to the Secretary the status of federal interagency implementation of corrective actions identified (1) through prior national-level exercises and (2) following real-world incidents, specifically major disasters.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, FEMA officials reported that the agency had developed an approach for collecting and reporting on the status of federal interagency corrective actions from Level I disasters to add to the current practice of reporting on national level exercises. According to officials, the proposed approach was under review and the agency plans to coordinate with the other federal departments and agencies before submitting their proposal to DHS for final approval. In August 2017, FEMA's National Preparedness Directorate reported an expected completion date of December 29, 2017. Pending completion of this effort, this recommendation remains open.
    Director: Brown, Kay E
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To encourage broader adoption and evaluation of promising approaches and address impediments to the use of the career pathways approach among TANF agencies, HHS should, in consultation with Congress, identify potential changes that would address the lack of incentives for states and localities to adopt promising approaches and then develop and submit a legislative proposal outlining those changes.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2015, HHS noted that the agency's fiscal year 2016 budget includes a proposal to increase incentives for states to implement or strengthen subsidized employment programs and notes the Administration's willingness to work with Congress to improve the TANF program's effectiveness in accomplishing its goals. Additionally, HHS reported that it continues to provide technical assistance and disseminate research to help encourage TANF agencies to adopt or strengthen employment-focused approaches. While we commend these efforts, we continue to believe it is important for HHS, in consultation with Congress, to identify potential changes that would address the lack of incentives for states and localities to adopt promising approaches and develop and submit a legislative proposal outlining those changes.
    Director: Alicia Puente Cackley
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness, Congress should consider transferring the oversight of the markings of toy and imitation firearms in 15 U.S.C. 5001 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (within the Department of Commerce) to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: This matter is an action identified in GAO's annual Duplication and Cost Savings reports. There has been no legislative action identified. The Gun Look-Alike Case Act, H.R. 3224, which was introduced on July 27, 2015, in the 114th Congress, would transfer the authority to regulate the markings of toy, look-alike, and imitation firearms in section 5001 of title 15 of the U.S. Code from NIST to CPSC, as GAO suggested in November 2014. This bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade of the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the United States House of Representatives, and did not pass out of committee. As of March 1, 2017, the bill has not been reintroduced in the 115th Congress.
    Recommendation: To improve existing coordination of oversight for consumer product safety, Congress should consider establishing a formal comprehensive oversight mechanism for consumer product safety agencies to address crosscutting issues as well as inefficiencies related to fragmentation and overlap such as communication and coordination challenges and jurisdictional questions between agencies. Different types of formal mechanisms could include, for example, creating a memorandum of understanding to formalize relationships and agreements or establishing a task force or interagency work group. As a starting point, Congress may wish to obtain agency input on options for establishing more formal coordination.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: This matter is an action identified in GAO's annual Duplication and Cost Savings reports. There has been no legislative action identified. No legislation was introduced as of March 1, 2017, that would establish a collaborative mechanism to facilitate communication across the relevant agencies and to help enable them to collectively address crosscutting issues, as GAO suggested in November 2014. Some of the agencies with direct regulatory oversight responsibilities for consumer product safety reported that they continue to collaborate to address specific consumer product safety topics. However, without a formal comprehensive oversight mechanism, the agencies risk missing opportunities to better leverage resources and address challenges, including those related to fragmentation and overlap.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    8 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, revise relevant guidance to direct agencies to collaborate with each other in defining and identifying programs that contribute to common outcomes.

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

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, revise relevant guidance to provide a time frame for what constitutes "persistent over time" that agencies can use as a decision rule for whether to include short-term efforts as programs.

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

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, define plans for when additional agencies will be required to develop program inventories.

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

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, include tax expenditures in the federal program inventory effort by designating tax expenditure as a program type in relevant guidance.

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

    Comments: As of March 2017, OMB had not taken action to include tax expenditures in the federal program inventory, as GAO recommended in October 2014. The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires OMB to publish a list of all federal programs on a central, government-wide website. The federal program inventory is the primary tool for agencies to identify programs that contribute to their goals, according to OMB?s guidance. By including tax expenditures in the inventory, OMB could help ensure that agencies are properly identifying the contributions of tax expenditures to the achievement of their goals. Although OMB published an initial inventory covering the programs of 24 federal agencies in May 2013, OMB decided to postpone further development of the inventory in order to coordinate with the implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In July 2015, GAO recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to merge DATA Act purposes with the production of a federal program inventory. In June 2016, OMB staff said they continue to determine how best to implement the program inventory requirements in coordination with those of the DATA Act; OMB staff said there was no update as of March 2017. Without including tax expenditures in the inventory, OMB is missing an important opportunity to increase the transparency of tax expenditures and the outcomes to which they contribute.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, include tax expenditures in the federal program inventory effort by developing, in coordination with the Secretary of the Treasury, a tax expenditure inventory that identifies each tax expenditure and provides a description of how the tax expenditure is defined, its purpose, and related performance and budget information.

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

    Comments: As of March 2017, OMB had not taken action to include tax expenditures in the federal program inventory, as GAO recommended in October 2014. The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires OMB to publish a list of all federal programs on a central, government-wide website. The federal program inventory is the primary tool for agencies to identify programs that contribute to their goals, according to OMB?s guidance. By including tax expenditures in the inventory, OMB could help ensure that agencies are properly identifying the contributions of tax expenditures to the achievement of their goals. Although OMB published an initial inventory covering the programs of 24 federal agencies in May 2013, OMB decided to postpone further development of the inventory in order to coordinate with the implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In July 2015, GAO recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to merge DATA Act purposes with the production of a federal program inventory. In June 2016, OMB staff said they continue to determine how best to implement the program inventory requirements in coordination with those of the DATA Act; OMB staff said there was no update as of March 2017. Without including tax expenditures in the inventory, OMB is missing an important opportunity to increase the transparency of tax expenditures and the outcomes to which they contribute.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to help ensure that the information agencies provide in their inventories is useful to federal decision makers and key stakeholders, and to provide greater transparency and ensure consistency in federal program funding and performance information, revise relevant guidance to direct agencies to consult with relevant congressional committees and stakeholders on their program definition approach and identified programs when developing or updating their inventories.

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

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to help ensure that the information agencies provide in their inventories is useful to federal decision makers and key stakeholders, and to provide greater transparency and ensure consistency in federal program funding and performance information, revise relevant guidance to direct agencies to identify in their inventories the performance goal(s) to which each program contributes.

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

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to help ensure that the information agencies provide in their inventories is useful to federal decision makers and key stakeholders, and to provide greater transparency and ensure consistency in federal program funding and performance information, ensure, during OMB reviews of inventories, that agencies consistently identify, as applicable, the strategic goals, strategic objectives, agency priority goals, and cross-agency priority goals each program supports.

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

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve transparency and provide Congress and the public greater visibility into the types of highway activities funded with Highway Trust Fund monies, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator to explore the costs, feasibility, and options for collecting and publicly reporting consistent aggregate project-level spending data.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHWA agreed with the recommendation and stated that it was reviewing the feasibility and options for collecting and reporting aggregate project-level highway spending data, and that it intended to complete this review by December 2015. In December 2015, the President signed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act or "FAST Act". Sec. 1402 of the Act requires DOT to annually report, for all projects administered by FHWA with a total estimated cost of $25 million or more (and for all other projects to the extent practicable), on the total cost of funded projects, the amount of federal funds obligated, and other information, and to make this information "available in a user-friendly manner on the public Internet website of the Department of Transportation." GAO is monitoring DOT's efforts to implement this provision of the Act and the extent to which it fulfills GAO's recommendation.
    Director: Asif A. Khan
    Phone: (202) 512-9869

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve the implementation of GCSS-Army, the Secretary of the Army should ensure that the Under Secretary of the Army, in his capacity as the Chief Management Officer, directs the GCSS-Army Program Management Office to develop an updated schedule that fully incorporates best practices, including (1) assigning resources to all activities, (2) establishing durations of all activities, (3) confirming that the critical path is valid, and (4) ensuring reasonable total float.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are in the process of obtaining an updated integrated master schedule from DOD to determine if Army fully incorporated best practices. As of June 2017,Army officials told us that the integrated master schedule and revised cost estimate will not be available until December 2017. This recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To help improve the implementation of GCSS-Army, the Secretary of the Army should ensure that the Under Secretary of the Army, in his capacity as the Chief Management Officer, directs the GCSS-Army Program Management Office to update the cost estimate to fully incorporate best practices by documenting the results of (1) a risk and uncertainty analysis, (2) the cross-checking of major cost elements to see if results are similar, and (3) a sensitivity analysis.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are in the process of obtaining an updated cost estimate from DOD to determine if Army fully incorporated best practices. As of June 2017, Army officials told us that the integrated master schedule and revised cost estimate will not be available until December 2017. This recommendation remains open.
    Director: Gomez, Jose A
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that EPA's oversight of the class II program is effective at protecting drinking water sources from the underground injection of large amounts of wastewater that will be produced with increasing domestic oil and gas production, and to support nationwide reporting goals until the national UIC database is complete, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should (1) improve the 7520 data for reporting purposes, as well as to help with quality assurance for the national UIC database, by developing and implementing a protocol for states and regions to enter data consistently and for regions to check 7520 data for consistency and completeness to ensure that data collected from state and EPA-managed class II programs are complete and comparable for purposes of reporting at a national level, and (2) in the interim, develop a method to use the 7520 database to report UIC data, including data on class II wells, until the national UIC database is fully populated with state data.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, EPA said that its 7520 database is current as of 2014 and the quality assurance process has been completed. It is developing a method to use the database to report aggregated national data on the Underground Injection Control (UIC) program.
    Recommendation: To ensure that EPA's oversight of the class II program is effective at protecting drinking water sources from the underground injection of large amounts of wastewater that will be produced with increasing domestic oil and gas production, and to ensure that EPA maintains enforcement authority of state program requirements, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should (1) conduct a rulemaking to incorporate state program requirements, and changes to state program requirements, into federal regulations, and (2) at the same time, evaluate and consider alternative processes to more efficiently incorporate future changes to state program requirements into federal regulations without a rulemaking.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: EPA agrees with GAO's analysis that state program requirements and changes should be approved and codified in federal regulations. However, EPA does not agree with GAO's recommendation to conduct one comprehensive rulemaking to achieve this. In November 2016, EPA officials said they will continue to explore alternative methods for maintaining federal enforceability under the current statutory provisions; it plans to finish its efforts in January 2017. GAO will continue to monitor this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that EPA's oversight of the class II program is effective at protecting drinking water sources from the underground injection of large amounts of wastewater that will be produced with increasing domestic oil and gas production, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should evaluate and revise, as needed, UIC program guidance on effective oversight to identify essential activities that EPA headquarters and regions need to conduct to effectively oversee state and EPA managed programs.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, EPA stated that it has developed a national framework for oversight of the UIC program and to transfer knowledge to new staff. EPA said that it will continue to evaluate whether to update its guidance. We are continuing to monitor EPA's progress on this recommendation.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve compliance with the Small Business Act and enhance SBA's ability to provide oversight of the programs, the SBA Administrator should revise the language in the SBIR and STTR policy directives to accurately summarize the statutory provisions that describe the program spending requirements.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2016, SBA proposed an update to its SBIR and STTR policy directive to state that each participating agency must spend (obligate) the required amounts on the programs, which is consistent with the statutory provisions for program spending requirements. However, according to SBA officials, in January 2017, the policy directive was withdrawn from the Office of Management and Budget and is under further internal consideration in light of a recent executive order. As of April 2017, SBA has not established a time frame for publication of the final policy directive.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To reduce uncertainty about the expected cost and schedule of the U.S. ITER Project and its potential impact on the U.S. fusion program, once the ITER Organization completes its reassessment of the international project schedule, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Associate Director of the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences to use that schedule, if reliable, to propose a final, stable funding plan for the U.S. ITER Project, approve a performance baseline with finalized cost and schedule estimates, and communicate this information to Congress.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of June 2017, the ITER Council had approved a revised international project schedule through the achievement of first plasma, and DOE had used that revised schedule to establish a performance baseline for the first plasma portion of the U.S. ITER Project. DOE had also communicated that performance baseline to Congress through its fiscal year 2018 budget request. However, DOE has not yet set a performance baseline for the post-first plasma portion of the U.S. ITER Project. DOE officials told us they planned to do so once the Secretary of Energy has made a decision on whether the U.S. would continue to participate in ITER, a decision which officials expected to happen at the end of 2017.
    Recommendation: To reduce uncertainty about the expected cost and schedule of the U.S. ITER Project and its potential impact on the U.S. fusion program, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Associate Director of the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences to direct the U.S. ITER Project Office to revise and update the project's cost estimate to meet all characteristics of high-quality, reliable cost estimates. Specifically, the U.S. ITER Project Office should revise the project's cost estimate to ensure it is credible by including a comprehensive sensitivity analysis that includes all significant cost elements and conducting an independent cost estimate.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, DOE had revised and updated the cost estimate for the first plasma portion of the U.S. ITER Project. Officials reported that, as part of that update, the U.S. ITER Project Office had completed a comprehensive sensitivity analysis and that the Office of Science's Office of Project Assessment had conducted a review of the revised cost estimate. However, DOE had yet to revise and update the cost estimate for the post-first plasma portion of the U.S. ITER Project. DOE officials told us they planned to do so when they set a performance baseline for that portion of the project, which they expected to do once the Secretary of Energy has made a decision on whether the U.S. would continue to participate in ITER. Officials expected that decision to happen at the end of 2017.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help assess and improve the timeliness of the trusted traveler application adjudication process, the Commissioner of CBP should establish an updated performance target for completing application vetting and a process to modify that target, as needed, based on factors such as changes in the number of trusted traveler program applications and available resources.

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

    Comments: According to CBP, the agency is transitioning to a new vetting platform, which will allow them to more fully assess application data. The estimated completion date is December 30, 2015.
    Recommendation: To help assess and improve the timeliness of the trusted traveler application adjudication process, the Commissioner of CBP should assess the feasibility of practices to expedite the interview process, which could include assessing the potential trade-offs, costs, and benefits associated with any proposed practices, such as those currently proposed or implemented at specific enrollment centers, and implement those practices CBP determines to be feasible.

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

    Comments: According to CBP, the Office of Field Operations, Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) Division intends to complete the recommendation and provide a summary of findings and recommended best practices by December 30, 2015.
    Recommendation: To help assess and improve the timeliness of the trusted traveler application adjudication process, the Commissioner of CBP should develop a mechanism to track enrollment interview appointment availability data over time.

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

    Comments: According to CBP, the agency has initiated a redesign of the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES), to include GOES scheduling. A report on this effort, expected to further establish the project deliverables, level of effort, milestones and estimated completion timeline, is scheduled to be completed by December 30, 2015.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the trusted traveler eligibility criteria and applicant adjudication processes are consistently implemented in accordance with CBP policy at all enrollment centers and by partner countries, the Commissioner of CBP should establish a mechanism or mechanisms in GES to allow CBP officers to efficiently document the types of interview questions asked and the nature of applicant responses, when appropriate, and then use this information to monitor the implementation of the interview process.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information. Status last updated October 16, 2015.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: 202-512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should establish additional accountability measures for management of the TIGER program to (1) establish clear procedures for addressing late-arriving applications and communicate its decisions to either accept or reject these applications to the public, and (2) document and approve major decisions in the application evaluation and project selection process through a decision memorandum or similar mechanism that provides a clear rationale for decisions to: (a) advance for senior review applications other than those rated as highly recommended; (b) not advance applications rated as highly recommended; and (c) change the technical evaluation rating of an application.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO reviewed DOT's TIGER application evaluation process for the 2014 and 2015 funding rounds and found that DOT established guidance that it would no longer accept late-arriving TIGER applications and it improved its internal procedures for documenting major decisions in its application evaluation database, including decisions to advance for senior review applications other than those rated as "highly recommended." However, DOT did not document these procedures through a decision memorandum or similar mechanism to ensure a consistent and transparent process for approving major decisions in these and future TIGER rounds. Moreover, in reviewing the 2015 TIGER application evaluation process, GAO noted that DOT altered its procedures for evaluating applications while the review process was ongoing. According to DOT's Financial Assistance Guidance Manual, grant evaluations must be conducted in accordance with the evaluation plan created prior to the announcement, and may not be changed once applications have been received. As of August 2017, the Department's Inspector General is conducting an audit of the TIGER program to assess DOT's application evaluation procedures. GAO will review the Inspector General's findings when they become available.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide the Congress with the necessary insight into program affordability, ensure its ability to effectively monitor total program costs and execution, and to facilitate investment decisions, the NASA's Administrator should direct the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to establish a separate cost and schedule baseline for work required to support the SLS Block I Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2) and report this information to the Congress through NASA's annual budget submission. If NASA decides to fly the SLS Block I beyond EM-2, establish separate life cycle cost and schedule baseline estimates for those efforts, to include funding for operations and sustainment, and report this information annually to Congress via the agency's budget submission.

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

    Comments: NASA partially agreed with this recommendation, stating that it defined and documented life cycle costs for SLS to a first demonstrated capability, consistent with cost estimating best practices and NASA project and program management policy and that it would report costs associated with the second exploration mission via its annual budget submission. Best practices for cost estimating recognize that NASA's evolutionary development approach for SLS helps reduce risk and provide capabilities more quickly, but reporting costs via the budget alone will not provide information about potential costs over the long-term and progress cannot be assessed without a baseline that serves as a means to compare current costs against expected costs. To address this recommendation, NASA needs to establish separate cost and schedule baselines for work required to support SLS for EM-2.
    Recommendation: To provide the Congress with the necessary insight into program affordability, ensure its ability to effectively monitor total program costs and execution, and to facilitate investment decisions, because NASA intends to use the increased capabilities of the SLS, Orion, and Ground Systems Development and Operations efforts well into the future and has chosen to estimate costs associated with achieving the capabilities, the NASA's Administrator should direct the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to establish separate cost and schedule baselines for each additional capability that encompass all life cycle costs, to include operations and sustainment. When NASA cannot fully specify costs due to lack of well-defined missions or flight manifests, forecast a cost estimate range -- including life cycle costs -- having minimum and maximum boundaries. These baselines or ranges should be reported to Congress annually via the agency's budget submission.

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

    Comments: NASA partially agreed with this recommendation, stating that it had established separate programs for Space Launch System, Orion, and the ground systems and adopted a block upgrade approach for SLS. While NASA's prior establishment of SLS, Orion, and the ground systems as separate programs lends some insight into expected costs and schedule at the broader program level, it does not meet the intent of the recommendation because cost and schedule identified at that level is unlikely to provide the detail necessary to monitor the progress of each block against a baseline. To address this recommendation, NASA needs to establish separate cost and schedule baselines for each additional SLS, Orion, and Ground Systems Development and Operations capability blocks that encompass all life-cycle costs, to include operations and sustainment.
    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: Mak, Marie A
    Phone: (202) 512-2527

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To ensure consistent implementation of NASA's export control program, the NASA Administrator should establish guidance defining the appropriate level and organizational placement of the CEA function.

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

    Comments: NASA concurred with the recommendation. To fully implement this recommendation, NASA needs to complete a planned update to its NASA Procedural Requirement (NPR) 2190.1B concerning NASA's export control program to further codify this structure and provide us with the documentation for review.
    Director: Andrew Sherrill
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure servicemember participation in and completion of TAP, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness to require that all services provide unit commanders and their leaders information on TAP participation levels of servicemembers under their command, similar to that provided by the Army and Air Force. Such information could be used to help hold leaders accountable for ensuring TAP participation and completion.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD disagreed with this recommendation and, as of January 2016, has not taken action to address it. In its written comments published in GAO's 2014 report, DOD questioned GAO's concern that not having a mechanism to ensure a servicemember's completion of TAP by commander would result in commanders not supporting the release of servicemembers to attend TAP. DOD noted that GAO's concern is based on observations that preceded full implementation of the capstone event. In October 2013, DOD launched the capstone as a mandatory process by which commanders verify TAP participation and positively affirm that servicemembers have or have not met career readiness standards. In addition, DOD said that capstone event implementation was accompanied by a communications campaign to inform both commanders and the services. Finally, DOD said that capstone event completion is monitored departmentwide to ensure compliance. However, GAO believes that such monitoring does not provide routine information to commanders and their leaders and not all TAP locations will be monitored routinely. GAO's report noted that DOD reported that ensuring servicemember participation in capstone events was a challenge for most of the services possibly due, in part, to lack of commanders' support. Commander support for the program has been a long-standing challenge for the program. Therefore, we continue to believe that an accountability mechanism is needed for TAP that mirrors the level at which responsibility has been assigned. Since commanders are responsible for ensuring that eligible servicemembers have full access to and successfully complete required TAP components, providing them and their leaders information on TAP participation levels of servicemembers under their command could promote accountability and oversight. Servicemember participation in TAP is generally required by law and DOD policy, and also relates to a Cross-Agency Priority Goal, reinforcing the need for such a mechanism. For GAO to close this recommendation, DOD should require all services to provide unit commanders and their leaders information on TAP participation levels of servicemembers under their command.
    Recommendation: To provide information on the extent to which the revamped TAP is effective, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness to work with the partner agencies to develop a written strategy for determining which components and tracks to evaluate and the most appropriate evaluation methods. This strategy should include a plan to use the results of evaluations to modify or redesign the program, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has partially addressed GAO's recommendation on evaluating the effectiveness of the revamped TAP, information that is currently limited. DOD's May 2014 presentation to OMB on the status of TAP implementation and evaluation efforts lists specific TAP components and tracks in which VA, DOL, and SBA planned to assess TAP effectiveness or post-transition outcomes. Although the presentation to OMB indicated that VA planned a higher level evaluation, as of December 2015, VA officials said they are focusing on lower level evaluations, such as gauging participant reactions to training and monitoring. As of March 2016, DOL has been conducting a quasi-experimental evaluation of the Employment Workshop, which it expects to complete in 2017. Further, SBA officials said they are surveying Entrepreneurial track participants who agreed to a post-TAP, follow-up survey. However, DOD and the agencies have not fully demonstrated a strategic approach to planning higher level evaluations. Specifically, DOD and its partner agencies have not provided a rationale for why they chose to evaluate certain aspects of TAP and not others. A written rationale, along with how the agencies plan to use the results of the evaluations, is required for GAO to consider this recommendation closed.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To identify lessons learned from and provide assurance of preventing recurrence of cost increases for the MOX facility and WSB, and to develop reliable cost estimates for the Plutonium Disposition program, the Secretary of Energy should direct the DOE and NNSA Offices of Acquisition and Project Management and the NNSA office responsible for managing the Plutonium Disposition program, as appropriate, to revise and update the program's life-cycle cost estimate following the 12 key steps described in the GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide for developing high-quality cost estimates, such as conducting an independent cost estimate to provide an objective and unbiased assessment of whether the estimate can be achieved.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE is currently evaluating dilute and dispose as a potential alternative approach to the MOX approach. As a result, DOE does not plan to update the Plutonium Disposition Program life-cycle estimate until a decision is made on which approach to pursue. We will continue to monitor this situation and update the status of this recommendation once DOE has made a decision on the approach taken by this program.
    Recommendation: To identify lessons learned from and provide assurance of preventing recurrence of cost increases for the MOX facility and WSB, and to develop reliable cost estimates for the Plutonium Disposition program, the Secretary of Energy should direct the DOE and NNSA Offices of Acquisition and Project Management and the NNSA office responsible for managing the Plutonium Disposition program, as appropriate, to ensure that the MOX contractor revises its proposal for increasing the cost of the MOX facility to meet all best practices for a high-quality, reliable cost estimate--for example, by cross-checking major cost elements to determine whether alternative estimating methods produce similar results.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE is currently evaluating dilute and dispose as a potential alternative approach to the MOX approach. As a result, DOE does not plan to update the proposal for increasing the cost of the MOX facility until a decision is made on which approach to pursue. We will continue to monitor this situation and update the status of this recommendation once DOE has made a decision on the approach taken by this program.
    Recommendation: To ensure that future DOE projects benefit from lessons learned that reflect the underlying causes of cost increases or schedule delays experienced by other projects, and that Congress and DOE have life-cycle cost estimates for DOE programs that include individual construction projects, the Secretary of Energy should revise DOE's project management order or otherwise implement a departmentwide requirement by requiring life-cycle cost estimates covering the full cost of programs that include both construction projects and other efforts and activities not related to construction.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE revised its project management order in May 2016 but did not make any changes in regards to this recommendation. We will continue to monitor DOE activities, if any, related to this recommendation.
    Director: Dinapoli, Timothy J
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve civilian IC elements' or their respective departments' ability to mitigate risks associated with the use of contractors, the Director of National Intelligence, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Attorney General of the United States, and Secretaries of Energy and the Treasury should direct responsible agency officials to set time frames to develop guidance that fully addresses the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Policy Letter 11-01's requirements related to closely supporting inherently governmental functions.

    Agency: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation. ODNI has held roundtables to discuss OFPP PL 11-01 implementation with other IC agencies. ODNI also revised ICD 612 but has not developed implementing guidance for ODNI MSD.
    Recommendation: To improve civilian IC elements' or their respective departments' ability to mitigate risks associated with the use of contractors, the Director of National Intelligence, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Attorney General of the United States, and Secretaries of Energy and the Treasury should direct responsible agency officials to set time frames to develop guidance that fully addresses the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Policy Letter 11-01's requirements related to closely supporting inherently governmental functions.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its letter to OMB and the Congress, the agency concurred with this recommendation. In July 2015, the agency issued interim guidance, but the guidance does not fully address OFPP Policy Letter 11-01. The agency explained that once the Federal Acquisition Regulation is updated, the agency's acquisition regulation will be updated as necessary to reflect the new guidance. Since that time, no further action has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve civilian IC elements' or their respective departments' ability to mitigate risks associated with the use of contractors, the Director of National Intelligence, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Attorney General of the United States, and Secretaries of Energy and the Treasury should direct responsible agency officials to set time frames to develop guidance that fully addresses the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Policy Letter 11-01's requirements related to closely supporting inherently governmental functions.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its letter to OMB and the Congress, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken the actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: To improve civilian IC elements' or their respective departments' ability to mitigate risks associated with the use of contractors, the Director of National Intelligence, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Attorney General of the United States, and Secretaries of Energy and the Treasury should direct responsible agency officials to set time frames to develop guidance that fully addresses the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Policy Letter 11-01's requirements related to closely supporting inherently governmental functions.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its letter to OMB and the Congress, the agency concurred with this recommendation. Treasury issued additional supplemental guidance and is currently updating its procurement and workforce guidance to fully address OFPP Policy Letter 11-01.
    Recommendation: To improve civilian IC elements' or their respective departments' ability to mitigate risks associated with the use of contractors, the Director of National Intelligence, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Attorney General of the United States, and Secretaries of Energy and the Treasury should direct responsible agency officials to set time frames to develop guidance that fully addresses the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Policy Letter 11-01's requirements related to closely supporting inherently governmental functions.

    Agency: Central Intelligence Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency did not comment on our recommendation. Please contact Timothy DiNapoli at (202) 512-4841 or dinapolit@gao.gov for additional information on the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve congressional oversight and enhance civilian IC elements' insights into their use of core contract personnel, when reporting to congressional committees, the IC CHCO should clearly specify limitations and significant methodological changes and their associated effects.

    Agency: Office of the Director of National Intelligence: IC Chief Human Capital Officer
    Status: Open

    Comments: The IC CHCO described steps it was taking to implement the recommendation. For example, the IC CHCO stated it highlighted limitations to the data and the reasons for data adjustments from year-to-year in its FY 2014-2016 briefings to Congress. We will continue to follow up with the IC CHCO to determine whether these actions meet the intent of the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the ability of the civilian IC elements to strategically plan for their contractors and mitigate associated risks, the IC CHCO should revise the Intelligence Community Directive 612's provisions governing strategic workforce planning to require the IC elements to identify their assessment of the appropriate workforce mix on a function-by-function basis.

    Agency: Office of the Director of National Intelligence: IC Chief Human Capital Officer
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2015, IC CHCO revised Intelligence Community Directive 612 and removed the provisions governing strategic workforce planning. We will continue to follow up with IC CHCO to determine whether steps will be taken to require IC elements to identify an appropriate workforce mix.
    Director: Bertoni, Daniel
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Benefits to develop new measures of long-term employment that go beyond the minimum 60 days of post-placement monitoring that is currently required. In developing measures, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Benefits to consider the feasibility of using results from planned post-closure surveys of veterans as a data source.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, VA continues to develop its new Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Case Management System (VRE-CMS). The expected date of implementation for this system is September 2018, and it will enable VA to track participants' status post-case closure. VA indicated that after this system has been operational for six months and initial data have been collected on participants' post-case closure outcomes, the agency will develop new performance metrics tied to these outcomes. VA also indicated that it is exploring the possibility of tracking VR&E participants post-closure earnings data through a data sharing agreement with the Social Security Administration. To close this recommendation as implemented, VA will need to demonstrate that it has developed and implemented performance metrics related to long-term employment outcomes.
    Director: Gomez, Jose A
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    4 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the likelihood that TMDLs support the nation's waters' attainment of water quality standards and to strengthen water quality management, the Administrator of EPA should develop and issue new regulations requiring that TMDLs include additional elements--and consider requiring the elements that are now optional--specifically, elements reflecting key features identified by NRC as necessary for attaining water quality standards, such as comprehensive identification of impairment and plans to monitor water bodies to verify that water quality is improving.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In November 2016, EPA officials stated that they agree that broad implementation and monitoring requirements would be helpful, but disagree that they should issue regulations. Officials stated that they continue to follow the state Water Quality Management Plan requirement related to GAO's recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance the likelihood that TMDLs support the nation's waters' attainment of water quality standards and to strengthen water quality management, the Administrator of EPA should ensure more consistent application of existing TMDL elements and to provide greater assurance that TMDLs, if implemented, can achieve tangible water quality results, identify regional offices with criteria for interpreting and applying such elements in reviewing and approving state-developed TMDLs and issue guidance with more specificity, directing all regional offices to follow the same criteria, including requesting that states provide more-detailed information about pollution causes and abatement actions.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In November 2016, EPA officials said they had created a small workgroup to assess this recommendation. The group is continuing discussions about how to enhance consistent regional review. We will continue to monitor EPA's progress.
    Recommendation: To enhance the likelihood that TMDLs support the nation's waters' attainment of water quality standards and to strengthen water quality management, the Administrator of EPA should place conditions on states' annual use of nonpoint source management and water pollution control grants to ensure that the funds meet the purposes for which they are awarded and achieve greater reductions in nonpoint source pollution associated with TMDL implementation, such as by targeting funds to states and projects that incorporate factors needed for effective TMDL implementation (e.g., targeting grant funds to projects where implementation plans have been developed and where external agency assistance is available).

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, EPA officials said that they believe the 2013 nonpoint source guidance substantially addresses this recommendation. Specifically, in April 2013, EPA issued revised guidance for awarding section 319 grants to states to implement nonpoint source management programs and projects. The guidance updates previous guidance to EPA regional offices and states in four key areas: (1) state nonpoint source management program plans, (2) funding distribution, (3) reviews of states' watershed-based plans, and (4) regional offices' annual progress determinations. While this encourages states to target nonpoint source funding to watersheds with TMDLs, it does not incentivize it with funding. EPA continues to discuss approaches to address this recommendation. GAO will continue to monitor the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance the likelihood that TMDLs support the nation's waters' attainment of water quality standards and to strengthen water quality management, the Administrator of EPA should obtain missing data that currently impede EPA's efforts to determine whether and to what extent TMDLs have been implemented or to what extent implemented TMDLs have helped impaired waters attain water quality standards by (1) directing states to use and report specific Geographic Information Systems data when implementing projects to which TMDLs apply and (2) requesting that USDA ask landowners who participate in conservation programs funded by the department in areas subject to a TMDL to disclose information on the location, type, and number of projects implemented under these programs.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In November 2016, EPA officials said that they have created the Water Quality Framework to align and integrate the variety of water quality data in different systems. The first phase focuses on improvements to ATTAINS, the TMDL tracking system, to report on the status of healthy waters and restoring and improving impaired waters. EPA officials said that they have transitioned to the use of NHDPlus catchments to report on performance measures, allowing EPA to automate the calculation of data. In addition, in June 2016, EPA requested USDA to provide data on the location, type, and number of projects implemented by USDA programs. USDA has not provided the data. We will continue to monitor EPA's progress.
    Director: Cha, Carol R
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve planning and execution of the next telecommunications transition, the Administrator of General Services, in coordination with the Office of Personnel Management, should examine potential government-wide telecommunications expertise shortfalls and use the study to shape the NS2020 strategic approach.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The General Services Administration (GSA) has not addressed this recommendation. In June 2014, the agency reported that it had coordinated with OPM to incorporate key objectives in its NS2020 strategy to address and mitigate challenges with regards to government-wide expertise needed to execute the NS2020 program. However, as of May 2017, GSA had not demonstrated that it had studied potential government-wide telecommunications expertise shortfalls or used the study to shape the NS2020 strategic approach.
    Recommendation: To improve planning and execution of the next telecommunications transition, the Administrator of General Services should ensure that the lessons are applied, based on priority and available resources, to the next transition strategy.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The General Services Administration has not implemented this recommendation but has taken steps to address it. In April 2014, the agency developed a strategy for transitioning to the next telecommunications contract vehicle. The strategy described the lessons learned that contributed to the delay in the prior transition and identified approaches the agency planned to take to apply the lessons learned. For example, it identified high level plans for addressing the need for improved management of the complex acquisition process and the need for technical and contracting telecommunications expertise across the government. As of August 2016, GSA had prioritized the lessons learned and considered the resources needed to apply them. However, as of May 2017, the agency had not demonstrated that it had ensured that the lessons were applied, based on priority and available resources, to the next transition strategy. We will continue to monitor GSA's efforts to implement the recommendation.
    Director: Davis, Beryl H
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To proactively prepare for oversight of future disaster relief funding, the Director of OMB should develop standard guidance for federal agencies to use in designing internal control plans for disaster relief funding. Such guidance could leverage existing internal control review processes and should include, at a minimum, the following elements: (1) robust criteria for identifying and documenting incremental risks and mitigating controls related to the funding and (2) requirements for documenting the linkage between the incremental risks related to disaster funding and efforts to address known internal control risks.

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

    Comments: To address the recommendation, OMB should issue guidance on internal control for disaster relief funding, including criteria for identifying additional risks and mitigating controls related to the funding and a requirement to link these incremental risks to ongoing efforts to address known internal control risks. On July 15, 2016, OMB issued the revised Circular No. A-123, Management's Responsibility for Enterprise Risk Management and Internal Control. The Circular requires agencies to implement enterprise risk management, which includes the development of a risk profile that analyzes the risks faced in achieving strategic objectives and identifies options for addressing them. In April 2017, OMB staff stated that they believe that the implementation of enterprise risk management through Circular No. A-123 satisfies the intent our recommendation. Because the responsibility for implementing enterprise risk management lies with agency management, Circular No. A-123 does not include specific guidance for identifying risks related to disaster funding. Further discussion and documentation to support OMB's position that the revised Circular addresses our recommendation will be necessary.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that OSD, the military services, and congressional decision makers have a comprehensive understanding of whether ROTC programs are achieving desired results in a cost-effective and efficient manner, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military services, to establish a systematic process to routinely evaluate ROTC program performance that includes establishing performance measures that are clearly defined and include cost components.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that OSD, the military services, and congressional decision makers have a comprehensive understanding of whether ROTC programs are achieving desired results in a cost-effective and efficient manner, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military services, to establish a systematic process to routinely evaluate ROTC program performance that includes requiring routine evaluations of ROTC programs that measure progress against the strategic goals and objectives of ROTC programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that OSD, the military services, and congressional decision makers have a comprehensive understanding of whether ROTC programs are achieving desired results in a cost-effective and efficient manner, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military services, to establish a systematic process to routinely evaluate ROTC program performance that includes using the performance information resulting from ROTC program evaluations to assess and document the need for the existing number of units,

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. The Services have reviewed and adjusted their current procedures and metrics to better measure and evaluate their ROTC programs prior to the projected DoDI publication date. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Recommendation: To help improve the oversight and accountability of the military services' ROTC programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to reexamine and clarify DOD Instruction 1215.08 to clearly delineate roles and responsibilities for oversight of ROTC programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Recommendation: To help improve the oversight and accountability of the military services' ROTC programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to coordinate with the military services to ensure that service ROTC guidance aligns with the updated DOD instruction.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. The Services have reviewed and adjusted their current procedures and metrics to better measure and evaluate their ROTC programs prior to the projected DoDI publication date. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Recommendation: To help improve the oversight and accountability of the military services' ROTC programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop and implement, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military services, a strategy to periodically communicate with Congress and other key stakeholders on ROTC program performance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Director: Goldstein, Mark L
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the increasing risks of GPS disruptions to the nation's critical infrastructure are effectively managed, the Secretary of Homeland Security should increase the reliability and usefulness of the GPS risk assessment by developing a plan and time frame to collect relevant threat, vulnerability, and consequence data for the various critical infrastructure sectors, and periodically review the readiness of data to conduct a more data-driven risk assessment while ensuring that DHS's assessment approach is more consistent with the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP).

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS officials had previously indicated that DHS's Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP) and Office of Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis (OCIA) have discussed an update of the GPS risk assessment, noting that such an update may be included in fiscal year 2017 planning documents. However, as of February 2017, no documentation had been provided that demonstrates such plans. Additionally, information from DHS shows that DHS has continued other efforts to collect potentially relevant threat, vulnerability, and consequence data for various GPS equipment in use. For example, according to DHS officials, DHS has conducted visits to major maritime, finance, wireless communications, and electricity firms to gauge their understanding of GPS vulnerabilities and of technology- and strategy-based efforts to improve GPS resilience, and DHS documentation shows that DHS has held events to test GPS receivers as part of assessing vulnerabilities. We will update the status of this recommendation after we receive additional information from DHS.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the increasing risks of GPS disruptions to the nation's critical infrastructure are effectively managed, the Secretary of Homeland Security should, as part of current critical infrastructure protection planning with Sector-Specific Agencys (SSAs) and sector partners, develop and issue a plan and metrics to measure the effectiveness of GPS risk mitigation efforts on critical infrastructure resiliency.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 2017, DHS documentation shows that DHS has worked with Sector Specific Agencies (SSAs) and other interagency partners to help manage GPS risks and continues to communicate information on risks to critical infrastructure partners. For example, according to DHS officials, this included briefing field staff and developing questions for infrastructure surveys to gather information on GPS resilience at the facility level. According to DHS officials, at the national level DHS included GPS in discussions with SSAs on topics they could include in their Sector-Specific Plans (each SSA develops a Sector-Specific Plan to detail risk management in its critical infrastructure sector), but DHS has also indicated that sector-oriented metrics are not a viable means of assessing risk management actions. We will update the status of this recommendation after we receive additional information from DHS.
    Recommendation: To improve collaboration and address uncertainties in fulfilling the National Security Presidential Directive 39 (NSPD-39) backup-capabilities requirement, the Secretaries of Transportation and Homeland Security should establish a formal, written agreement that details how the agencies plan to address their shared responsibility. This agreement should address uncertainties, including clarifying and defining DOT's and DHS's respective roles, responsibilities, and authorities; establishing clear, agreed-upon outcomes; establishing how the agencies will monitor and report on progress toward those outcomes; and setting forth the agencies' plans for examining relevant issues, such as the roles of SSAs and industry, how NSPD-39 fits into the NIPP risk management framework, whether an update to the NSPD-39 is needed, or other issues as deemed necessary by the agencies.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 2017, the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Executive Steering group had established an interagency team called the "Complementary PNT Tiger Team" co-chaired by DHS, DOT, and DOD. This team was formed to manage the federal government's efforts to establish a national backup system to GPS. According to DHS officials, this organizational structure obviates the need for a formal, written agreement between DOT and DHS specific to GPS backup responsibilities. They also stated that, in a separate but related effort, DHS, DOT, and DOD are discussing a tri-lateral agreement that covers a broad spectrum of PNT-related responsibilities and activities. We will update the status of this recommendation after we receive additional information from DHS.
    Recommendation: To improve collaboration and address uncertainties in fulfilling the National Security Presidential Directive 39 (NSPD-39) backup-capabilities requirement, the Secretaries of Transportation and Homeland Security should establish a formal, written agreement that details how the agencies plan to address their shared responsibility. This agreement should address uncertainties, including clarifying and defining DOT's and DHS's respective roles, responsibilities, and authorities; establishing clear, agreed-upon outcomes; establishing how the agencies will monitor and report on progress toward those outcomes; and setting forth the agencies' plans for examining relevant issues, such as the roles of SSAs and industry, how NSPD-39 fits into the NIPP risk management framework, whether an update to the NSPD-39 is needed, or other issues as deemed necessary by the agencies.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 2017, the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Executive Steering group had established an interagency team--called the "Complementary PNT Tiger Team"--co-chaired by DHS, DOT, and DOD. This team was formed to manage the federal government's efforts to establish a national backup system to GPS. According to DHS officials, this organizational structure obviates the need for a formal, written agreement between DOT and DHS specific to GPS backup responsibilities. They also stated that, in a separate but related effort, DHS, DOT, and DOD are discussing a tri-lateral agreement that covers a broad spectrum of PNT-related responsibilities and activities. We will update the status of this recommendation after we receive additional information from DOT.
    Director: Rusco, Franklin W
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that participating agencies and SBA comply with spending and reporting requirements for the SBIR and STTR programs, the SBA Administrator should provide Congress with a timely annual report that includes a comprehensive analysis of the methodology each agency used for calculating the SBIR and STTR spending requirements, providing a clear basis for SBA's conclusions about whether these calculations meet program requirements.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to SBA officials, as of April 2017, SBA had completed a draft of its report to Congress for fiscal year 2014 and planned to send it to the participating agencies and Office of Management and Budget for review after SBA completed its internal review. The officials said that the report for fiscal year 2015 is being drafted, and SBA is in the process of reviewing the participating agencies' data for fiscal year 2016, which was due to SBA in March 2017. As of April 2017, SBA did not have an anticipated issuance date for the reports to Congress for fiscal years 2014, 2015, or 2016.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve its ability to oversee M&O contractor costs, including indirect costs, for its laboratories and make more effective use of DOE and contractor resources, the Secretary of Energy should take--or, as appropriate, direct the Administrator of NNSA to incorporate more specific benchmarking requirements into future laboratory contracts--similar to the benchmarking requirements used by DOE to assess and manage pension and post-retirement benefit costs--including which costs should be benchmarked, how frequently benchmarking should occur, and what process should be used to ensure corrective actions are taken, as needed.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, the Director of NNSA Office of Policy issued guidance to NNSA Laboratory Field Office Managers to update contracts to include a new clause requiring laboratory contractors to submit a strategic plan every year in accordance with guidance. Part of the annual plan requires contractors to discuss the costs of doing business and cost-increase factors at the sites, including overhead dollars. The annual strategic plan is due to the NNSA Office of Policy by August 15 each year. This plan is expected to allow NNSA to conduct the benchmarking activities recommended by our report, which can then be considered in current and future laboratory contracts.
    Director: Powner, David A
    Phone: (202)512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce should address the weaknesses in agency- and bureau-led TechStat processes and management outlined in this report.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency partially agreed with our assessment of the agency's TechStat process, but has not yet implemented our recommendation. At the time of our review, we identified several weaknesses in the agency's TechStat processes and management, including holding bureau-led TechStats, incorporating TechStats in its capital planning and governance structure, providing training on TechStats, and consistently capturing action steps, deadlines, and responsibilities in its TechStat memorandums. In an April 2017 update, the agency stated that it had not held any TechStats in 2016, but had identified several candidates for TechStats within the next 6 months. In addition, the agency plans to update its capital planning documents to include the TechStat program in late summer 2017. In addition, it has not finalized its TechStat training documentation, but plans to complete the documentation in late summer 2017. We will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
    Director: Powner, David A
    Phone: (202)512-9286

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of reported cost and schedule variance information for the seven major investments we reviewed, the Acting Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to improve the reliability of cost estimates by addressing the weaknesses we identified in this report so that each investment at least substantially meets each of the characteristics of a reliable cost estimate.

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

    Comments: We followed up on the status of IRS's actions to address this recommendation for the Customer Account Data Engine (CADE) 2, the Return Review Program (RRP), and IRS.gov, the three investments with significant planned expenditures for development in fiscal year 2017, according to data reported on the Federal IT dashboard (the remaining four investments in our 2013 review are primarily in operations and maintenance based on the same IT dashboard data). We selected CADE 2, RRP, and IRS.gov because they would benefit most from improvements to cost estimates given their life cycle stage. In the Summer of 2017, IRS provided documentation to demonstrate actions taken to address the weaknesses we had identified with the CADE 2, and RRP cost estimates. We are currently analyzing this information. For IRS.gov, IRS told us the investment had been in operations and maintenance for several years and was therefore not producing the cost documentation that is typically associated with development efforts. We requested documentation supporting this claim and as of September 2017 were waiting to receive it.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of reported cost and schedule variance information for the seven major investments we reviewed, the Acting Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to improve the extent to which schedules are well-constructed and controlled by addressing the weaknesses we identified in this report so that each investment at least substantially meets each of these characteristics.

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

    Comments: We followed up on the status of IRS's actions to address this recommendation for the Customer Account Data Engine (CADE) 2, the Return Review Program (RRP), and IRS.gov, the three investments with significant expenditures planned for development in fiscal year 2017, according to data reported on the Federal IT dashboard (the remaining four investments in our 2013 review are primarily in operations and maintenance based on the same IT dashboard data). We selected CADE 2, RRP, and IRS.gov because they would benefit most from improvements to schedule estimates given their life cycle stage. In the Summer of 2017, IRS provided documentation to demonstrate actions taken to address the weaknesses we had identified with the CADE 2, and RRP schedule estimates. We are currently analyzing this documentation. For IRS.gov, IRS told us the investment had been in operations and maintenance for several years and was therefore not producing the schedule estimates that are typically associated with development efforts. We requested documentation supporting this claim and as of September 2017 were waiting to receive it.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of reported cost and schedule variance information for the seven major investments we reviewed, the Acting Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to develop and implement guidance that specifies best practices--such as including evaluating critical path (for projected schedule), using earned value management data, evaluating the performance of completed work and comparing it to the remaining budget, assessing commitment values for material needed to complete remaining work, and estimating future conditions--to consider when determining projected cost and schedule amounts.

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

    Comments: In June 2016, we reported on IRS's development and implementation of its Investment Performance Tool for tracking cost, schedule and scope metrics for its IT investments. At the time, IRS was using the tool for two investments. As of September 2017, we were reviewing the agency?s use of the tool as part of an ongoing review. We plan to further examine the use of the tool and the supporting guidance to determine the extent to which they address this recommendation.
    Director: Mihm, J Christopher
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve performance management staff capacity to support performance management in federal agencies, the Director of OPM, in coordination with the PIC and the Chief Learning Officer (CLO) Council, should work with agencies to identify competency areas needing improvement within agencies.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO reached out to Performance Improvement Council (PIC) and Office of Management and Budget staff in November 2016 and February 2017 for an update on the status of this recommendation, but has not received a response. In May 2016, the PIC had reported that it has an ongoing series of survey and focus group work that includes some issues related to learning needs, but that they do not address competency areas directly as the PIC community does not find this framework useful.
    Recommendation: To improve performance management staff capacity to support performance management in federal agencies, the Director of OPM, in coordination with the PIC and the CLO Council, should work with agencies to identify agency training that focuses on needed performance management competencies.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO reached out to Performance Improvement Council (PIC) and Office of Management and Budget staff in November 2016 and February 2017 for an update on the status of this recommendation, but has not received a response. In May 2016, the PIC had reported that it had created and was piloting performance training to test the best way to make this training available to a broad audience. Previously, the PIC had planned to use a website, LearnPerformance.gov, to make courses on performance management competencies available. According to the PIC, the website had been taken down and there is ongoing discussion about what to do in its place.
    Recommendation: To improve performance management staff capacity to support performance management in federal agencies, the Director of OPM, in coordination with the PIC and the CLO Council, should work with agencies to share information about available agency training on competency areas needing improvement.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO reached out to Performance Improvement Council (PIC) and Office of Management and Budget staff in November 2016 and February 2017 for an update on the status of this recommendation, but has not received a response. In May 2016, the PIC had reported that it had created and was piloting performance training to test the best way to make this training available to a broad audience. Previously, the PIC had planned to use a website, LearnPerformance.gov, to make courses on performance management competencies available. According to the PIC, the website had been taken down and there is ongoing discussion about what to do in its place.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the PIC has a clear plan for accomplishing its goals and evaluating its progress, the Director of OMB should work with the PIC to update its strategic plan and review the PIC's goals, measures, and strategies for achieving performance, and revise them if appropriate.

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

    Comments: GAO reached out in November 2016 and February 2017 to staff at the Office of Management and Budget and Performance Improvement Council regarding the status of this recommendation, but has not received a response.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the resilience of the nation's infrastructure to climate change, the Executive Director of the United States Global Change Research Program or other federal entity designated by the Executive Office of the President should work with relevant agencies to identify for decision makers the "best available" climate-related information for infrastructure planning and update this information over time.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Science and Technology Policy: U.S. Global Change Research Program
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of 7/27/17, no federal entity has identified the best available climate-related information for infrastructure planning.
    Recommendation: To improve the resilience of the nation's infrastructure to climate change, the Executive Director of the United States Global Change Research Program or other federal entity designated by the Executive Office of the President should work with relevant agencies to clarify sources of local assistance for incorporating climate-related information and analysis into infrastructure planning, and communicate how such assistance will be provided over time.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Science and Technology Policy: U.S. Global Change Research Program
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of 7/27/17, no federal entity has comprehensively clarified sources of local assistance for incorporating climate-related information and analysis into infrastructure planning.
    Recommendation: To improve the resilience of the nation's infrastructure to climate change, the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality should finalize guidance on how federal agencies can consider the effects of climate change in their evaluations of proposed federal actions under the National Environmental Policy Act.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Council on Environmental Quality
    Status: Open

    Comments: On August 1, 2016, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued final guidance to federal departments and agencies on how to consider the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change when evaluating proposed federal actions in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. However, in March 2017, the White House issued Executive Order 13783, directing CEQ to rescind the guidance, among other things. CEQ rescinded the guidance on April 5, 2017.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    3 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To promote coordination as a practice to help avoid overlap, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and the Director of ONDCP should work through the Information Sharing and Access Interagency Policy Committee (ISA IPC) or otherwise collaborate to develop a mechanism, such as performance metrics related to coordination, that will allow them to hold field-based information-sharing entities accountable for coordinating with each other and monitor and evaluate the coordination results achieved.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Justice (DOJ), in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), has made progress toward addressing GAO's April 2013 recommendation but has not included all of the relevant field-based information sharing entities in its efforts. Through their involvement in an interagency policy committee within the Executive Office of the President, DHS, DOJ, and ONDCP have developed a mechanism to hold state and urban area fusion centers, Regional Information Sharing System (RISS) centers, and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Investigative Support Centers accountable for coordinating their analytical and investigative activities. However, the agencies have not fully addressed the action because DOJ's Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) and Field Intelligence Groups (FIG), two of the five field-based entities included in GAO's April 2013 report, have not participated in the assessment on which the mechanism is based. In December 2015, DHS developed a field-based partners report in which DHS, DOJ and ONDCP reported data for state and urban area fusion centers, RISS centers, and HIDTA Investigative Support Centers. These data were focused on field-based collaboration, including governance, colocation, and other information sharing, analytic, and deconfliction-focused topics. However, the report did not include data for DOJ's JTTFs or FIGs. DOJ has noted that JTTFs and FIGs are different from the other entities because JTTFs are operational law enforcement investigative entities and FIGs provide intelligence support to FBI Field Offices. However, GAO's April 2013 report identified areas in which the missions and activities of JTTFs and FIGs overlapped with those of the other entities and that coordination with other field based entities was important to prevent unnecessary overlap and potential duplication. Considering the exclusion of two of the five entities, the agencies do not have a collective mechanism that can hold FIGS and JTTFs accountable for coordinating with the other field-based information sharing entities and allow the agencies to monitor progress and evaluate results across entities. Such a mechanism can help entities maintain effective relationships when new leadership is assigned and avoid unnecessary overlap in activities, which in turn can help entities to leverage scarce resources. As of March 2017, DOJ had provided no new updates. GAO will continue to monitor DOJ's progress in this area.
    Recommendation: To help identify where agencies and the field-based entities they support could apply coordination mechanisms to enhance information sharing and reduce inefficiencies resulting from overlap, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and the Director of ONDCP should work through the ISA IPC or otherwise collaborate to identify characteristics of entities and assess specific geographic areas in which practices that could enhance coordination and reduce unnecessary overlap, such as cross-entity participation on governance boards and colocation of entities, could be further applied. The results of this assessment could be used by the agencies to provide recommendations or guidance to the entities to create coordinated governance boards or colocate entities, which can result in increased efficiencies through shared facilities and resources and reduced overlap through coordinated or collaborative products, activities, and services.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Justice (DOJ), in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), has made progress toward addressing GAO's April 2013 recommendation but has not included all of the relevant field-based information sharing entities in its efforts. The three agencies have taken the necessary steps to assess the extent to which practices that can enhance coordination are being implemented at state and urban area fusion centers, Regional Information Sharing System (RISS) centers, and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Investigative Support Centers through their involvement in an interagency policy committee within the Executive Office of the President. However, the assessment did not include DOJ's Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) or Field Intelligence Groups (FIG), two of the five field-based entities included in GAO's April 2013 report. In December 2015, DHS, DOJ, and ONDCP developed a field-based partners report in which DOJ and ONDCP collected and reported data elements for RISS centers and HIDTA Investigative Support Centers similar to those DHS uses in its annual fusion center assessment. These data were focused on field-based collaboration, including governance, colocation, and other information sharing, analytic, and deconfliction-focused topics. However, the report did not include data for DOJ's FBI JTTFs or FIGs. A collaborative assessment of where practices that enhance coordination can be applied to reduce overlap, collaborate, and leverage resources for all five field-based information-sharing entities would allow the agencies to provide recommendations or guidance to the entities on implementing these practices. As of March 2017, DOJ had provided no new updates. GAO will continue to monitor DOJ's progress in this area.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that an assessment of practices that could enhance coordination and reduce unnecessary overlap is shared and used to further enhance collaboration and efficiencies across agencies, the Program Manager, with input from the ISA IPC collaborating agencies, should report in the Information Sharing Environment (ISE) annual report to Congress the results of the assessment, including any additional coordination practices identified, efficiencies realized, or actions planned.

    Agency: Office of the Director of National Intelligence: Office of the Program Manager--Information Sharing Environment
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information. Status last updated August 31, 2017.
    Director: Shear, William B
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to demonstrate compliance across the program with the statutory limit on funds that can be used for administration, the Secretary of HUD should direct the Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development to develop a process for generating annual reports on compliance across the program, including making any requisite changes to IDIS to better ensure that the agency has complete and analyzable data to support such reporting.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In December 2016, a HUD official told us that the agency did not have the funding necessary to make any changes to IDIS. According to this official, HUD was willing to create the recommended across-program report, but did not have the information technology funding required to make other, higher-priority changes to IDIS (such as fixing identified defects) or the change GAO recommended.
    Director: Russell, Cary B
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To further the integration of operational contract support into all of the services' planning, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Navy and Air Force to provide comprehensive service-wide guidance for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force that describes how each service should integrate operational contract support into its respective organization to include planning for contingency operations.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of September 2017, the Marine Corps and Air Force has developed OCS guidance; however, the Navy has not. In September 2016, the Marine Corps published Marine Corps Order 4200.34 on the manning, equipping and training of OCS capability. The Corps has established a new task list to define OCS as an essential wartime fighting capability, which provides units the foundation and ability to establish Mission Essential Tasks (METs) needed to effectively and efficiently measure and report OCS mission readiness. Marine Corps also developed and published an OCS career progression plan. The Air Force has taken steps to incorporate OCS into existing guidance, and the Secretary of the Air Force issued a memorandum in April 2016 providing guidance on integrating OCS into the total force. Additionally, Air Force issued AFI 64-105, Contingency Contracting Support, in August 2016. The Navy has begun drafting-but not yet issued-an instruction for internal review. Until all the services issue OCS guidance, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To further the integration of operational contract support into all areas of the operation planning process, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to focus its training about operational contract support, which is currently focused on the logistics planners, on training all planners at the combatant commands and components as necessary.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, DOD has taken steps to focus OCS training to all planners, including those outside the logistics directorate. In December 2015, the Joint Staff J7 certified the Joint OCS Planning and Execution (JOPEC) course of instruction for Joint training. The Joint Staff, per this training certification, is working with the Joint Deployment Training Center and the Joint Force Staff College to provide student administrative and course catalog support for future JOPEC training. Due to demand for JOPEC training by the Combatant Commands and Services, an eighth JOPEC training course was added in late FY2015. In September 2017, OSD officials stated that a detailed analysis of alternatives required to transition JOPEC to a traditional program is on track to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2017. Results will be presented to Joint Staff senior leadership and the operational contract support Functional Capabilities Integration Board during the first quarter of fiscal year 2018. We will continue to monitor these efforts and this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To enable the integration of operational contract support into service component command-level planning efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to work with the military services as necessary to improve the level of expertise in operational contract support for the combatant commands' components.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has taken steps to improve the level of OCS expertise at the component commands. Since September 2013, the Army has complemented Joint Staff efforts by converting its Army Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures 4-10 into a Multi-Service TIP (MTTP) as a part of the DoD OCS Action Plan. The Army issued the MTTP in February 2016. Air Force and Marine Corps have also issued OCS guidance, but as of September 2017, Navy has not. We will continue to monitor these and other efforts, and the recommendation will remain open at this time.
    Director: Sherrill, Andrew
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance collaboration among the various entities involved in delivering employment services to military spouses and to better monitor the effectiveness of these services, the Secretary of Defense should consider incorporating key practices to sustain and enhance collaboration when developing and finalizing its spouse employment guidance, such as agreeing on roles and responsibilities and developing compatible policies and procedures.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation. While DOD said it would incorporate collaboration practices as the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program matures, it has already taken initial action in this area. For example, DOD noted that it created the advisory group, as well as partnerships developed with various organizations. These are laudable efforts, however, they do not directly address the specifics of our recommendation to develop and finalize guidance for spouse employment programs. Incorporating key collaboration practices into the guidance that DOD is developing, such as agreeing on roles and responsibilities, would be beneficial. In September 2014, the agency reported that the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program drafted a DoD Instruction (DoDI) and Field Guide that outlines roles and responsibilities and establishes compatible policies and procedures across DoD and MSEP programs. These documents include coordination from the Spouse Ambassador Network (SAN). A SECO DoDI Working Group will be convened in FY15 to assist in policy development and coordination. The estimated date of completion for the SECO DoDI and Field Guide was originally December 2015 but DOD reported in 2016 that possible coordination through the Federal Register may delay final publication until early 2016. SECO drafted a SECO Performance Management Plan that documents all elements of the comprehensive, integrated SECO program, including SECO Processes (Programs and Services), SECO Outputs (Products), SECO Outcomes (Product Results), and SECO Impact Evaluation (Product Effectiveness targets and measures). Due to its comprehensive nature, this tool will be tested and further refined during FY15.
    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: Gaffigan, Mark E
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that EM more effectively manages all its projects, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Senior Advisor for Environmental Management and the Director of the Office of Management, as appropriate, to provide the Office of Acquisition and Project Management with information on EM's project classification decisions to ensure that all capital asset projects have been appropriately classified and are managed in accordance with DOE Order 413.3B.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: When commenting on our report, DOE agreed with our recommendation. According to agency information provided in March 2017, DOE has ongoing internal discussions to develop and document a policy addressing EM capital asset project and operations activity classifications. However, DOE has not yet established and approved such a policy.
    Director: Scire, Mathew J
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help reduce voucher program costs or better ensure the efficient use of voucher program funds, the HUD Secretary should provide information to Congress on housing agencies' estimated amount of excess subsidy reserves. In taking these steps, the Secretary should determine a level of subsidy reserves housing agencies should retain on an ongoing basis to effectively manage their voucher programs.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to HUD officials, the Department quarterly reports to Congress and the Inspector General (1) total housing agency reserves and (2) 8.5 percent of total housing agency reserves, the amount the Department has determined that housing agencies collectively should maintain on an ongoing basis to manage the voucher program (all other reserves are generally considered "excess"). HUD has also taken steps to determine an appropriate level of subsidy reserves that individual housing agencies should retain on an ongoing basis to effectively manage their voucher programs. Specifically, HUD has proposed that small housing agencies (fewer than 50 vouchers) should maintain 12 percent of their monthly renewal budget authority in reserves; medium housing agencies (50-249 vouchers) should maintain 6 percent of monthly renewal budget authority; and large housing agencies (250 or more vouchers) should maintain 4 percent of monthly renewal budget authority. In setting these reserve levels, HUD considered several factors including program size and budget and voucher utilization rates, among other things. This recommendation will remain open until HUD implements these proposed changes. As of September 2017, HUD officials said that the administration was determining whether or not to move forward with this proposal.
    Recommendation: To help reduce voucher program costs or better ensure the efficient use of voucher program funds, the HUD Secretary should provide information to Congress on its criteria for how it will redistribute excess reserves among housing agencies so that they can serve more households. In taking these steps, the Secretary should determine a level of subsidy reserves housing agencies should retain on an ongoing basis to effectively manage their voucher programs.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to HUD officials, the Department quarterly reports to Congress and the Inspector General (1) total housing agency reserves and (2) 8.5 percent of total housing agency reserves, the amount the Department has determined that housing agencies collectively should maintain on an ongoing basis to manage the voucher program (all other reserves are generally considered "excess"). HUD has also taken steps to determine an appropriate level of subsidy reserves that individual housing agencies should retain on an ongoing basis to effectively manage their voucher programs. Specifically, HUD has proposed that small housing agencies (fewer than 50 vouchers) should maintain 12 percent of their monthly renewal budget authority in reserves; medium housing agencies (50-249 vouchers) should maintain 6 percent of monthly renewal budget authority; and large housing agencies (250 or more vouchers) should maintain 4 percent of monthly renewal budget authority. In setting these reserve levels, HUD considered several factors including program size and budget and voucher utilization rates, among other things. This recommendation will remain open until HUD implements these proposed changes. As of September 2017, HUD officials said that the administration was determining whether or not to move forward with this proposal.
    Director: Khan, Asif A
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help provide for the successful implementation of Army and Air Force ERPs, and to help ensure that DFAS users have the training needed, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to ensure that time lines are established and monitored for those issues identified by DFAS that are impacting their efficient and effective use of GFEBS.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the draft report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and cited action(s) being taken by the Army to ensure that time lines are established and monitored for those issues identified by DFAS that are impacting their efficient and effective use of GFEBS. We have made attempts to follow up with Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) Acquisition Technology and Logistics officials to obtain documentation of actions taken and to determine whether the Army has taken sufficient action to address this recommendation. However, as of July 2017, we have not been able to obtain documentation that supports that this recommendation was addressed.
    Recommendation: To help provide for the successful implementation of Army and Air Force ERPs, and to help ensure that DFAS users have the training needed, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to ensure that time lines are established and monitored for those issues identified by DFAS that are impacting their efficient and effective use of DEAMS.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the draft report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and cited action(s) being taken by the Air Force to ensure that time lines are established and monitored for those issues identified by DFAS that are impacting their efficient and effective use of DEAMS. We have made attempts to follow up with Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) Acquisition Technology and Logistics officials to obtain documentation of actions taken to determine whether the Army has taken sufficient action to address this recommendation. However, as of July 2017, we have not been able to obtain documentation that supports that this recommendation was addressed.
    Recommendation: To help provide for the successful implementation of Army and Air Force ERPs, and to help ensure that DFAS users have the training needed, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to improve training for GFEBS users by providing training on actual job processes in a manner that allows users to understand how the new processes support their job responsibilities and the work they are expected to perform.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the draft report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and cited action(s) being taken by the Army to improve training for GFEBS users on actual job processes. We have made attempts to follow up with Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) Acquisition Technology and Logistics officials to obtain documentation of actions taken to determine whether the Army has taken sufficient action to address this recommendation. However, as of July 2017, we have not been able to obtain documentation that supports that this recommendation was addressed.
    Recommendation: To help provide for the successful implementation of Army and Air Force ERPs, and to help ensure that DFAS users have the training needed, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to improve training for DEAMS users by providing training on actual job processes in a manner that allows users to understand how the new processes support their job responsibilities and the work they are expected to perform.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the draft report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and cited action(s) being taken by the Air Force to improve training for DEAMS users on actual job processes. We have made attempts to follow up with Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) Acquisition Technology and Logistics officials to obtain documentation of actions taken to determine whether the Army has taken sufficient action to address this recommendation. However, as of July 2017, we have not been able to obtain documentation that supports that this recommendation was addressed.
    Director: Hutton, John P
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better focus agencies' efforts to manage the risks related to professional and management support service contracts, the Director of OMB, through the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), should establish a near-term deadline for agencies to develop internal procedures required by OFPP Policy Letter 11-01, including for services that closely support inherently governmental functions.

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

    Comments: In providing comments on our report, OFPP generally agreed with this recommendation. During follow-up discussions, OFPP agreed to provide additional information to confirm the actions they have taken to address the recommendation. However, we have yet to receive this information. We will continue to follow this recommendation and provide updated information when available.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the risks of professional and management support service contracts are more fully considered and addressed, the Director of OMB, through the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, should include contracts coded in the Federal Procurement Data System - Next Generation (FPDS-NG) as Other Professional Services and Other Management Support Services in the cost savings initiative for management support services and planned service contract inventory guidance to agencies for conducting analysis of special interest functions.

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

    Comments: In providing comments on our report, OFPP generally agreed with this recommendation. We have had discussions with OFPP and they agreed to provide additional information on the actions taken to address the recommendation. However, we have yet to receive this information. We will continue to follow this recommendation and provide updated information when available.
    Director: St James, Lorelei
    Phone: (214)777-5719

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To know whether its data on committed spending can be relied on to determine state DOTs' progress in meeting goals, to enhance FHWA's ability to know whether state DOTs meet their DBE goals, and to help increase transparency in the reporting of spending on DBEs, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator, in the information it provides to decision makers, including Congress, to include statements about potential limitations of the data it uses to determine state DOTs' progress towards goals.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: An official from the Department of Transportation said that the agency expects the recommendation to be met with a final rule regarding disadvantaged business enterprises, which will be signed by the Secretary of the Department of Transportation by the end of the calendar year.
    Director: King, Kathleen M
    Phone: (202)512-5154

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To develop more accurate data for estimating the funds needed for the CHS program and improving IHS oversight, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Director of IHS to develop a written policy documenting how IHS evaluates need for the CHS program and disseminate it to area offices and CHS programs to ensure they understand how unfunded services data are used to estimate overall program needs.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, IHS reported in October 2015 that it was completing a comprehensive update of a policy chapter related to the Contract Health Services (CHS) Program (also called the Purchased/Referred Care Program). The agency indicated that this revised chapter would incorporate a written policy on how IHS evaluates need for the CHS program. It indicated that the chapter update had been under revision since December 20, 2012, with final approval anticipated in 2015. In July 2017, IHS indicated that the policy was still under development and would be issued to all IHS sites by September 30, 2017.
    Recommendation: To develop more accurate data for estimating the funds needed for the CHS program and improving IHS oversight, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Director of IHS to provide written guidance to CHS programs on a process to use when funds are depleted and there is a continued need for services, and monitor to ensure that appropriate actions are taken.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, IHS reported in October 2015 that it developed and distributed Fund Management Standardization guidance to Area Offices to monitor compliance by federal Contract Health Services (CHS) program (also called the Purchased/Referred Care program) Service Units. Also, IHS issued standardized spending plan procedures to all Area Offices and Federally-operated programs. Also, it indicated that spending plan guidance would be included in an update of a policy chapter related to the CHS program. The agency indicated that this chapter had been under revision since December 20, 2012, with final approval anticipated in 2015. In July 2017, IHS indicated that the policy was still under development and would be issued to all IHS sites by September 30, 2017.
    Director: Draper, Debra A
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: PPACA contained several important program integrity provisions for the 340B program, and additional steps can also ensure appropriate use of the program. Therefore, the Secretary of HHS should instruct the administrator of HRSA to finalize new, more specific guidance on the definition of a 340B patient.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, HRSA withdrew proposed guidance that included further specificity on the definition of 340B patient in response to the new administration's January 20 memorandum directing agencies to withdraw regulations that were pending before the Office of Management and Budget but had not yet been published in the Federal Register.
    Recommendation: PPACA contained several important program integrity provisions for the 340B program, and additional steps can also ensure appropriate use of the program. Therefore, the Secretary of HHS should instruct the administrator of HRSA to issue guidance to further specify the criteria that hospitals that are not publicly owned or operated must meet to be eligible for the 340B program.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, HRSA withdrew proposed guidance that included additional specificity regarding hospital eligibility in response to the new administration's January 20 memorandum directing agencies to withdraw regulations that were pending before the Office of Management and Budget but had not yet been published in the Federal Register.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve leadership's commitment to preventing and responding to incidents of sexual harassment, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop a strategy for holding individuals in positions of leadership accountable for promoting, supporting, and enforcing the department's sexual harassment policies and programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has updated its guidance on sexual harassment, but it has not yet implemented the recommendation. DOD concurred with this recommendation and stated that it would collaborate with the military services to systematically review existing accountability methods, with the goal of developing an overarching strategy. According to DOD, a 2013 memorandum from the Secretary of Defense on sexual assault prevention and response outlined requirements addressing leadership accountability for preventing sexual harassment. The Secretary of Defense also issued a memorandum addressing prevention and response of sexual harassment in 2014, and DOD updated its guidance on sexual harassment in 2015. In 2016, DOD stated that further revisions to guidance were forthcoming to provide a framework for oversight of sexual harassment. This framework, among other things, would address standards for holding leaders accountable for promoting, supporting, and enforcing sexual harassment policies. As of January 2017, those revisions had not been issued. We will continue to monitor DOD's actions.
    Recommendation: To improve implementation of the department's sexual harassment policies and programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the service secretaries to verify or track military commanders' compliance with existing requirements that commanders periodically determine their organizational health and functioning effectiveness by periodically assessing their equal opportunity climate through "command climate" assessments.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has updated its guidance on sexual harassment, including a requirement for sharing the results of command climate assessments with the next higher level of command, but has not yet implemented an oversight mechanism to verify and track commanders' compliance with requirements to conduct such assessments. DOD concurred with this recommendation and stated that it would implement the recommendation through revisions to its guidance. According to DOD, a 2013 memorandum from the Secretary of Defense on sexual assault prevention and response outlined requirements addressing leadership accountability for preventing sexual harassment. The memorandum included a requirement that the results of command climate surveys be provided to the next level up in the chain of command, and it directed service chiefs, through their respective military department secretaries, to develop methods to assess the performance of commanders in establishing command climates of dignity and respect. The Secretary of Defense also issued a memorandum addressing prevention and response of sexual harassment in 2014, and DOD updated its guidance on sexual harassment in 2015. In 2016, DOD stated that further revisions to guidance were forthcoming to provide a framework for oversight of sexual harassment. This framework, among other things, would address standards for holding leaders accountable for promoting, supporting, and enforcing sexual harassment policies. As of January 2017, those revisions had not yet been issued. We will continue to monitor DOD's actions.
    Director: Wise, David J
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To establish accountability for meeting the programs' goal of increasing the participation of traditionally underrepresented groups in the highway construction workforce, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator to create and implement an oversight mechanism that (1) holds states accountable for meeting federal training criteria and (2) clearly stipulates how FHWA will assess state program effectiveness, including what type of program achievement data states are to submit and how such data will be used. This oversight mechanism should include assessing the effectiveness of its division offices in overseeing state activities.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHWA has taken steps to implement an oversight mechanism that may address this recommendation. FHWA officials anticipate completing their work in response to this recommendation in mid- to late 2017.
    Director: Shear, William B
    Phone: (202)512-4325

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To more fully evaluate the effectiveness of their mentor-protege programs, the OSDBU and Mentor-Protege Program Directors of DHS, DOE, DOS, EPA, FAA, GSA, HHS, SBA, Treasury, and VA should consider collecting and maintaining protege postcompletion information.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
    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 evaluate the effectiveness of their mentor-protege programs, the OSDBU and Mentor-Protege Program Directors of DHS, DOE, DOS, EPA, FAA, GSA, HHS, SBA, Treasury, and VA should consider collecting and maintaining protege postcompletion information.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency: Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
    Status: Open

    Comments: Following issuance of the report, EPA established a working group to review mentor-protege policies and procedures and determine the viability and relevance of the program at EPA. The working group recommended that EPA maintain the mentor-protege program and suggested other program improvements. EPA has since suspended implementation of the working group recommendations pending finalization of SBA's revised mentor-protege program guidance. In addition, EPA noted in May 2015 that the agency did not have any mentor-protege agreements in place and thus no need to develop and implement a systemic methodology for tracking program results. EPA added that it anticipates taking steps necessary to implement program tracking in accordance with SBA's revised mentor-protege guidance once it is finalized.
    Recommendation: To more fully evaluate the effectiveness of their mentor-protege programs, the OSDBU and Mentor-Protege Program Directors of DHS, DOE, DOS, EPA, FAA, GSA, HHS, SBA, Treasury, and VA should consider collecting and maintaining protege postcompletion information.

    Agency: Department of Energy: Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Brown, Orice Williams
    Phone: (202)512-5837

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve strategic planning, performance management, and program oversight within and related to NFIP, the Secretary of DHS should direct the FEMA Administrator to develop a comprehensive workforce plan according to PKEMRA that identifies agency staffing and skills requirements, addresses turnover and staff vacancies, and analyzes FEMA's use of contractors.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to FEMA officials, as of July 2016, FEMA is in the process of developing a Workforce Strategic Plan they say will contribute to organizational performance and mission by enabling FEMA to align the overall workforce with strategic priorities. FEMA expected to complete the plan by the first quarter of FY2017. As of December 2016, FEMA officials said they were still working to implement this recommendation and agreed to provide us with an update of their progress.
    Recommendation: To improve FEMA's policies, procedures, and systems for achieving NFIP's program goals, the Secretary of DHS should direct the FEMA Administrator to consider the costs and benefits of implementing an interim system for FEMA and updating its document management policies and procedures while waiting for DHS to implement an agencywide electronic document management system.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: FEMA officials stated that, as of July 2016, FEMA is working to pilot an Electronic Records Management System (ERMS). They said that they expected to have all email records in an electronic state by December 31, 2016, and all records in an electronic state by December 31, 2019. They said that they expect the end state in 2019 to meet the Presidential Directive and NARA guidelines. As of December 2016, FEMA officials said they were still working to implement this recommendation and agreed to provide us with an update of their progress.
    Recommendation: To improve FEMA's policies, procedures, and systems for achieving NFIP's program goals, the Secretary of DHS should direct the FEMA Administrator to establish timelines for and complete the development and implementation of FEMA's revised acquisition process, in line with the DHS Acquisition Directive 102-01, including a rollout process with staff training and a mechanism to better ensure that all acquisitions undergo the necessary reviews.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: FEMA officials stated that, as of July 2016, a Disaster Acquisitions Response Team (DART) was in place along with metrics in place to monitor the team's success. They said they had also awarded a contract to serve as a contract file repository and that previously scanned contract files would be uploaded by December 31, 2016. As of December 2016, FEMA officials said they were still working to implement this recommendation and agreed to provide us with an update of their progress.
    Director: Aloise, Eugene E
    Phone: (202)512-6870

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Once the stewardship for the isotopes have been assigned, the Secretary of Energy should direct the head of the responsible office(s) to develop strategic plans that, among other things, systematically assess and document risks to managing the isotopes and supporting activities, such as not having control over the supply of these isotopes, and implement actions needed to mitigate them.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the Isotope Program, it has assessed supply and demand for some key isotopes and is working with stakeholders to manage supply and demand of isotopes for which the program does not control the supply of. We will review the program's actions and update the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Sherrill, Andrew
    Phone: (202)512-7252

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the number of new H-1B workers who are subject to the cap--both entering the United States and changing to H-1B status within the United States--does not exceed the cap each year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services should take steps to improve its tracking of the number of approved H-1B applications and the number of issued visas under the cap by fully leveraging the transformation effort currently under way, which involves the adoption of an electronic petition processing system that will be linked to the Department of State's tracking system. Such steps should ensure that linkages to the Department of State's tracking system will provide Homeland Security with timely access to data on visa issuances, and that mechanisms for tracking petitions and visas against the cap are incorporated into U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' business rules to be developed for the new electronic petition system.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2016, USCIS officials reported that, according to their current timeframes, the business rules associated with the nonimmigrant visa petition process (including Form I-129) in the USCIS Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) were slated to be developed in late 2017, with implementation projected for the beginning of 2018. They stated that during the requirements-gathering phase, the Service Center Operations officials and the Office of Transformation Program officials planned to discuss potential options for improving the tracking of the number of approved H-1B applications and the number of issued visas under the cap, including assessing the feasibility of linking DHS and State Department data. GAO will follow-up with USCIS on the status of this recommendation when business rules for the nonimmigrant line of the ELIS are developed and released.
    Director: St James, Lorelei
    Phone: (214)777-5719

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the management and oversight of the Low-Income Program, the Chairman of the FCC should conduct a robust risk assessment of the Low-Income Program.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Goldstein, Mark L
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve internal controls over the E-rate program, the Federal Communications Commission should, based on the findings of the risk assessment, conduct a thorough examination of the overall design of E-rate's internal control structure to ensure that the procedures and administrative resources related to internal controls are aligned to provide reasonable assurance that program risks are appropriately targeted and addressed.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2014, FCC approved USAC's hiring of a contractor to conduct a risk assessment of the E-rate program. FCC plans to implement this recommendation after the risk assessment is completed and the results of the risk assessment can be used to inform the examination of the internal control structure.
    Recommendation: To improve internal controls over the E-rate program, the Federal Communications Commission should implement a systematic approach to assess internal controls that appropriately considers the results of beneficiary audits and that is supported by a documented and approved set of policies and procedures.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2014, FCC approved the hiring of a contractor to conduct a risk assessment of the E-rate program. In July 2014, an FCC official said that the agency planning to take action on this recommendation before the risk assessment is completed.
    Recommendation: To improve internal controls over the E-rate program, the Federal Communications Commission should develop policies and procedures to periodically monitor the internal control structure of the E-rate program, including evaluating the costs and benefits of internal controls, to provide continued reasonable assurance that program risks are targeted and addressed.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2014, FCC approved the hiring of a contractor to conduct a risk assessment of the E-rate program. In July 2014, an FCC official said that the agency planning to take action on this recommendation before the risk assessment is completed.
    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: Aloise, Eugene E
    Phone: (202)512-6870

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To allow Congress to better oversee management of the nuclear security enterprise and to improve NNSA's management information with respect to the base capabilities necessary to ensure nuclear weapons are safe, secure, and reliable, the Administrator of NNSA should, once the Stockpile Services work breakdown structure reflects a product or capability basis, use this work breakdown structure to develop product/capability cost estimates that adequately justify the congressional budget request for Stockpile Services.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In process: NNSA has significantly improved its work breakdown structure for Stockpile Services. The work breakdown structure now reflects a product or capability basis to a much greater extent than it did previously. NNSA is continuing to work to develop cost estimates for these products and capabilities to adequately justify the congressional budget request for Stockpile Services. In 2014, the Senate Appropriations Committee's Energy and Water Development Subcommittee suggested changes to NNSA's budget structure to align it more closely with products and capabilities beginning with fiscal year 2016 appropriations. GAO will continue to monitor whether NNSA develops cost estimates for Stockpile Services products and capabilities that inform future years' budget requests and justifications.
    Director: Melvin, Valerie C
    Phone: (202)512-6304

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance VA's effort to successfully fulfill its forthcoming plans for the outpatient scheduling system replacement project and the HealtheVet program, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the CIO to ensure implementation of a requirements management plan that reflects leading practices for requirements development and management. Specifically, implementation of the plan should include analyzing requirements to ensure they are complete, verifiable, and sufficiently detailed to guide development, and maintaining requirements traceability from high-level operational requirements through detailed low-level requirements to test cases.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In written comments on our report, VA concurred with this recommendation and in August 2014, identified initial actions the department had taken in response. Specifically, as part of its plans to issue a request for proposals to acquire a replacement scheduling system under its Medical Appointment Scheduling System (MASS) project, VA developed a Business Requirements Document that defines its specific business needs, capabilities, features, and constraints. Additionally, the department reported that it intends to manage and document requirements using processes supported by a Web-based tool called Rational Doors. In August 2015, VA's Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction awarded a contract for the MASS project. However, in April 2016, the department paused MASS to evaluate an alternative project to enhance its legacy scheduling system. Subsequently, in early 2017, the department restarted the MASS project. Nevertheless, as of June 2017, the department had not developed a requirements management plan for MASS. Thus, the MASS project has not yet reached the point where the effectiveness of the requirements management activities we recommended can be assessed.
    Recommendation: To enhance VA's effort to successfully fulfill its forthcoming plans for the outpatient scheduling system replacement project and the HealtheVet program, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the CIO to adhere to the department's guidance for system testing including (1) performing testing incrementally and (2) resolving defects of average and above severity prior to proceeding to subsequent stages of testing.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In written comments on our report, VA concurred with this recommendation and stated that testing was managed using documented, repeatable processes that are included in the department's ProPath Web-based tool. According to the Acting Deputy Chief Information Officer for Product Development, the Medical Appointment Scheduling System (MASS) project is expected to incorporate Agile software development practices, including the use of incremental testing. In August 2015, the department awarded a contract for the MASS project that included task orders for the development of test plans. However, in April 2016, the department paused MASS to evaluate an alternative to enhance its legacy scheduling system. In early 2017, the department restarted the MASS project, but as of June 2017, had not developed a test plan for MASS. Thus, the project has not yet reached the point where adherence to the department's system testing guidance can be assessed.
    Recommendation: To enhance VA's effort to successfully fulfill its forthcoming plans for the outpatient scheduling system replacement project and the HealtheVet program, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the CIO to ensure that the policies and procedures VA is establishing to provide meaningful program oversight are effectively executed and that they include (1) robust collection methods for information on project costs, benefits, schedule, risk assessments, performance metrics, and system functionality to support executive decision making; (2) the establishment of reporting mechanisms to provide this information in a timely manner to department IT oversight control boards; and (3) defined criteria and documented policies on actions the department will take when development deficiencies for a project are identified.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Veterans Affairs concurred with this recommendation and identified various actions it has taken in response. Specifically, the department awarded a contract for its Medical Appointment Scheduling System (MASS) project in August 2015. However, in April 2016, it paused MASS to evaluate an alternative to enhance its legacy scheduling system. In June 2017, VA reported that the MASS project had been resumed and indicated that it would adhere to the department's Veteran-focused Intake Process (VIP), which is intended to ensure oversight, accountability, and traceability of all program activity. Also, the department reported that MASS had met its first VIP milestone, Critical Decision 1, in January 2017. However, key future activities, including product development and testing, have not yet been demonstrated, while VIP milestones (e.g., Critical Decision 2), have not yet been met. Thus, MASS has not reached the point where the effectiveness of project oversight can be fully assessed.
    Director: Dinapoli, Timothy J
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better inform acquisition decisions, assist DOD personnel in performing their management oversight responsibilities, and improve DOD's surveillance of services contracts, the Secretary of Defense should require before the award of any contract or issuance of task order for services closely supporting inherently governmental functions that program and contracting officials consider and document their assessment of the unique risks of these services and the steps that have been taken to mitigate such risks.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DOD concurred with this recommendation and had initiated actions to provide additional guidance. As of September 2017, however, DOD has not provided additional guidance to its contracting officers on considering, documenting, and mitigating the risks associated when obtaining services closely associated with inherently governmental functions.
    Recommendation: To better inform acquisition decisions, assist DOD personnel in performing their management oversight responsibilities, and improve DOD's surveillance of services contracts, the Secretary of Defense should develop guidance to identify approaches that DOD should take to enhance management oversight when contractors provide services that closely support inherently governmental functions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DOD concurred with this recommendation and had initiated actions to provide additional guidance. As of September 2017, however, DOD has not provided additional guidance to its contracting officers on the steps they should take to enhance oversight of contractors providing services closely associated with inherently governmental functions.
    Director: Williamson, Randall B
    Phone: (206)287-4860

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help DOD obtain reasonable assurance that all active and Reserve component servicemembers to whom the PDHRA requirement applies are provided the opportunity to have their health concerns identified, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and the military services should take steps to ensure that PDHRA questionnaires are included in DOD's central repository for each of these servicemembers.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments to this report, the Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with this recommendation. On October 2009, DOD's Force Health Protection and Response Office sent a memo to each of the military service Surgeons General emphasizing the need for the post-deployment health reassessment (PDHRA) to be offered to all service members who are eligible to complete the assessment. In 2010, DOD's noted that the services would work with the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center (AFHSC) repository to ensure PDHRAs are submitted correctly, without transmission errors. DOD's 2011 case records showed that the Air Force and Army had developed data verification processes to ensure that AFHSC received PDHRAs. Further, the Defense Medical Data Center (DMDC) had planed to create a file consisting of the date of deployment for deployed personnel, and that the file would be available to the services in order to match DMDC with data from each of the service-specific systems, in accordance to requirements. In September 2011, although DMDC and the services had agreed to match rosters of deployed service members, there were still inconsistencies in deployment dates. In March 2012, DOD was still verifying data inconsistencies which, until resolved, leads to inaccurate reporting based on errors in the deployment dates.
    Director: Herr, Phillip R
    Phone: (202) 512-8509

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To support the triennial review program's goal of having grantees consistently meet more federal requirements, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FTA Administrator to meet standards set forth in previous GAO work, based on the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, and develop performance measures to assess: (1) the outcomes of the triennial review program, such as a method for evaluating improvements in grantee performance in meeting more federal requirements over time (2) and the quality of the triennial review through improved contractor oversight, testing, or inspection.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: Federal Transit Administration (FTA) responded to our recommendations stating that it plans to improve the quality of oversight reviews. Actions aimed to improve quality are: (1) increasing oversight of contractors by emphasizing regional and headquarters' participation in all on-site triennial reviews and (2) increasing annual oversight conference participation and quarterly review workshops that focus on improving performance measures. These activities were to be specified in new procedures coming out in 2011.
    Recommendation: To support the triennial review program's goal of having grantees consistently meet more federal requirements, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FTA Administrator to improve the objectivity and reliability of the "Close Findings Timely" performance measure by: (1) developing an internal controls process to verify grantees have satisfactorily resolved findings before closing them (2) continuing to emphasize the use of OTRAK across all regions and developing a process to close out triennial reviews in OTRAK upon grantees' completion of corrective actions.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is working to strengthen the internal control process for closing out triennial review findings. Specifically, it is drafting operating procedures indicating that (1) the regional offices have the primary responsibility to provide the necessary technical assistance to grantees to close-out findings as well as ensure the findings are not closed-out prematurely and (2) program managers have a secondary responsibility to verify whether the findings were closed out properly. The procedures were to be issued in October 2010.
    Recommendation: To support the triennial review program's goal of having grantees consistently meet more federal requirements, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FTA to ensure that additional outcome and quality performance measures are balanced with the existing measures for assessing the timeliness of the triennial review program so that one priority is not emphasized at the expense of others.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: Federal Transit Administration (FTA) anticipates adding a performance measurement, called reduction in repeat findings, that relates to assessing the quality of the review. FTA officials told us that this new performance measurement is noncontroversial and was to be discussed at a June 2012 Oversight Meeting.
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202)512-9377

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Finance Officer at the Commission's European Regional (ER) office should instruct and monitor approving officials to ensure that expenditure transactions are dated when goods and services are received and approved before payments are processed.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission: European Regional Office
    Status: Open

    Comments: During our fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011 financial statement audits, we continued to find expenditure transactions being processed prior to the goods or services being received and approved for payment. During our fiscal year 2012 audit, the Commission informed us that since the transition to a new financial management system in August 2011, all receiving is conducted in the iProcurement system (part of the Oracle accounting system) and must be complete before an invoice is processed for payment in Oracle. Although we found that invoices were approved before payment, we continued to find instances where the invoices were not dated and/or signed when goods or invoices were received. During fiscal year 2017, the Commission informed us that they developed a related policy to address our recommendation. However, the Commission has not provided documentation or an explanation of the controls used by management for monitoring (i.e. evaluating or reviewing) the effective implementation of the procedures established related to this recommendation. Therefore, we will continue to follow up on this open recommendation with the Commission at a later date.
    Director: White, James R
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to ensure the most efficient, fair, and consistent administration of civil tax penalties, and that penalties are achieving their purpose of encouraging voluntary compliance, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct the Office of Servicewide Penalties (OSP) to evaluate penalty administration and penalties' effect on voluntary compliance.

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

    Comments: The Office of Servicewide Penalties (OSP) initiated a plan to comprehensively evaluate penalty administration and the impact of penalties on voluntary compliance. They stated that they understand such a plan will be useful in identifying priorities and determining additional potential resource needs. However, OSP put this plan on hold while they developed a business case for obtaining more staff and resources. OSP is in the process of obtaining feedback to refine their business case for final submission. While they await approval of the business case they have not done any work on the comprehensive plan. As the comprehensive plan remains incomplete, OSP has not yet undertaken an evaluation of penalties' effect on voluntary compliance. In December 2011 OSP formed a Civil Penalties Administrative Improvement Initiative team that has the goal of making improvements to civil penalty administration. Activities underway as of February 2013 include developing measures to improve taxpayer consistency and taking actions to improve the Reasonable Cause Assistant computer system. We learned in February 2015 that the program is now under a new executive. When we met with the new agency officials in April 2015 they told us that they had a new effort underway to develop a comprehensive strategy that examines the impact of penalties on voluntary compliance while ensuring quality. IRS finalized a Penalty Performance Plan on March 6, 2017, which we are currently reviewing.
    Recommendation: In order to ensure the most efficient, fair, and consistent administration of civil tax penalties, and that penalties are achieving their purpose of encouraging voluntary compliance, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct OSP to develop and implement a plan to collect and analyze penalty-related data. The plan should address the constraints officials have identified as impeding progress in analyzing penalties.

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

    Comments: Office of Servicewide Penalties (OSP) initiated a plan to comprehensively evaluate penalty administration and the impact of penalties on voluntary compliance. However, OSP put this plan on hold while they developed a business case for obtaining more staff and resources. As of February 2013 the business case has not progressed and OSP has taken no additional action to complete the comprehensive plan. We learned in February 2015 that the program is now under a new executive. When we met with the new agency officials in April 2015 they told us that they had a new effort underway to develop a comprehensive strategy that examines the impact of penalties on voluntary compliance while ensuring quality. IRS finalized a Penalty Performance Plan on March 6, 2017, which we are currently reviewing.
    Director: Trimble, David
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the management of the stockpile life extension program, the Administrator of NNSA should direct the Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs to develop a realistic schedule for the W76 warhead and future life extension programs that allows NNSA to (1) address technical challenges while meeting all military requirements and (2) build in time for unexpected technical challenges that may delay the program.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In past and ongoing work, GAO has identified areas where NNSA's modernization plans may not align with planned funding requests over the Future Years Nuclear Security Plan (FYNSP) and post-FYNSP periods. Based on the FY 2014 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan (SSMP), (GAO-14-45) NNSA plans to work on five LEPs or major alterations through 2038. The FY 2014 SSMP states that the LEP workload represents a resource and production throughput challenge that requires improvements in LEP planning and execution. GAO's analysis indicates there is limited contingency time built into the LEP schedules, all of which are technically ambitious. Any delays in schedules could lead to an increase in program costs or a reduction in the number built for any of the LEPs, both of which have occurred in prior and ongoing LEPs. While NNSA has acknowledged issues and identified some steps to improve the LEP process, this recommendation will remain open and unimplemented until NNSA demonstrates successful LEP and refurbishment execution. We recently reconfirmed this finding in GAO-17-341 where we found the following: In some cases, NNSA's fiscal year 2017 nuclear security budget materials do not align with the agency's modernization plans, both within the 5-year Future-Years Nuclear Security Program (FYNSP)for fiscal years 2017 through 2021 and beyond, raising concerns about the affordability of NNSA's planned portfolio of modernization programs.
    Recommendation: To improve the management of the stockpile life extension program, the Administrator of NNSA should direct the Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs to ensure that the program managers responsible for overseeing the construction of new facilities directly related to future life extension programs coordinate with the program managers of such future programs to avoid the types of delays and problems faced with the construction and operation of the Fogbank manufacturing facility for the W76 program.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: A number of Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plans (SSMP) states that the life extension program (LEP) workload represents a resource and production throughput challenge that requires improvements in LEP planning and execution. The officials elaborated that the main area that will be strained is pit production. The alternate plutonium strategy needs to be resourced fully to support the W78/88-1 LEP. Additionally, the officials said that the UPF transition needs to go as planned or there will be challenges in completing all of the planned LEPs. As such, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To improve the management of the stockpile life extension program, the Administrator of NNSA should direct the Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs to ensure that program managers for the construction of new facilities for future life extensions base their schedule for the construction and start-up of a facility on the life extension program managers' needs identified in their risk mitigation strategies.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: NNSA has generally improved its management of construction projects, to include requirements setting, Analysis of Alternatives, independent cost estimates, etc. However, it is too soon to tell if these positive developments will help-or hinder-LEPs that are underway or are being conducted. Key uranium activities, to include construction and operating funds will not be complete until 2025; key plutonium activities are underway as well, but will not be complete until the late 2020s. As a result, this recommendation will need to remain open.
    Director: Williams, Orice M
    Phone: (202)512-5837

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security should direct FEMA to take steps to ensure that its rate-setting methods and the data it uses to set rates result in full-risk premiums rates that accurately reflect the risk of losses from flooding. These steps should include, for example, verifying the accuracy of flood probabilities, damage estimates, and flood maps; ensuring that the effects of long-term planned and ongoing development, as well as climate change, are reflected in the flood probabilities used; and reevaluating the practice of aggregating risks across zones.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of January 2017, FEMA is taking steps to verify the accuracy of flood probabilities by collecting and analyzing data from flood insurance studies. FEMA is also continuing to monitor the completion of these studies to determine when a statistically valid amount of data is available so that it can better assess flood risk. To verify the accuracy of damage estimates, FEMA is collecting data required to revise its estimates of flood damage and is undertaking studies to determine factors beyond flood water depth that contribute to flood damage. FEMA will incorporate that information into its rate-setting methodology as the necessary data becomes available. To verify the accuracy of flood maps, FEMA continues to reassess flood risk, evaluate coastal flood maps, and update its overall map inventory. To ensure that flood probabilities reflect long-term and ongoing planned development and climate change, FEMA is working with the Technical Mapping Advisory Committee to ensure the best available information on flood probabilities is used for rate-setting. In addition, as FEMA collects information on flood probabilities, it will conduct analyses to evaluate the practice of classifying risk across zones.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security should direct FEMA to ensure that information is collected on the location, number, and losses associated with existing and newly created grandfathered properties in NFIP and to analyze the financial impact of these properties on the flood insurance program.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: To assess the impact of grandfathered properties on the NFIP, as of January 2017, FEMA has begun to develop a process to obtain current zone designations for all existing policyholders. In addition, FEMA is requiring zone determination data to be updated as flood maps change. According to FEMA, this will allow officials to determine which policyholders are grandfathered but will not allow the determination of a property-specific rate in all circumstances.
    Director: Shames, Lisa R
    Phone: (202)512-2649

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure sufficient oversight and management direction are provided to guide USDA's civil rights efforts, to make responsibility for improvement clear, and to make USDA's performance more transparent, Congress may wish to consider making USDA's Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights subject to a statutory performance agreement.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2013, action on a new farm bill is pending and it is not known whether Congress will make the Assistant Secretary subject to a performance agreement.
    Recommendation: To better ensure sufficient oversight and management direction are provided to guide USDA's civil rights efforts, to make responsibility for improvement clear, and to make USDA's performance more transparent, Congress may wish to consider establishing a USDA civil rights oversight board.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2013, action on a new farm bill is pending and it is not known whether Congress will establish a USDA civil rights oversight board.
    Recommendation: To improve USDA efforts to address civil rights issues and the participation of minority farmers and ranchers in USDA programs, the Secretary of Agriculture should prepare and implement an improvement plan for resolving discrimination complaints that sets time frame goals and provides management controls for resolving complaints from beginning to end.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: USDA has not fully implemented this recommendation. As of August 2012, USDA had developed a plan to improve resolution of discrimination complaints, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR) had implemented many of the plan's actions, such as placing priority on processing program complaints facing the statute of limitations. However, USDA had more work to do on (1) establishing an electronic records management system; (2) implementing the Lean Six Sigma (LSS) process; (3) conducting pilot efforts to explore establishing new time frame goals for intake, investigation, and adjudication activities to resolve employee and program complaints; and (4) providing documentation of new policies, procedures, guidance, and training needed to determine if new management controls cover the entire process for resolving complaints. As of September 2013, OASCR's electronic complaints management systems allow OASCR to scan in, store, and retrieve multiple records in a searchable environment. OASCR undertook a review of the program complaint process through LSS, and based on the results, extended the scope of the review to include the employment complaint process. OASCR implemented core changes through LSS that identify efficiencies to reduce time frames. OASCR has established time frame goals for processing program complaints; however, it has yet to establish them for investigating and adjudicating employment complaints. Time frame goals for the entire employment complaint resolution process would have to be final before management controls can be made final.
    Recommendation: To improve USDA efforts to address civil rights issues and the participation of minority farmers and ranchers in USDA programs, the Secretary of Agriculture should develop and implement a plan to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of ASCR's databases on customer and employee complaints, and that provides for independent validation of ASCR's data quality.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: USDA has not fully implemented this recommendation. As of August 2012, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights' (OASCR) efforts to ensure data reliability of the iComplaints employee complaints database included a comprehensive set of business rules, a data integrity tool, and a quality review management module. Also, OASCR had developed and was implementing a plan to check the accuracy of the data entered for every program complaint in the Program Complaints Management System (PCMS). However, OASCR had not provided all of the documentation needed to assess whether its planned efforts contain key elements to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of the iComplaints and PCMS databases. For example, OASCR officials had neither provided documentation showing that the office developed departmental policy to ensure the consistent use of iComplaints and PCMS nor training to ensure the completeness of data in PCMS. As of September 2013, OASCR officials provided standard operating procedures (SOPs) for processing program complaints, which include numerous steps to ensure the consistent use of PCMS. OASCR officials also provided SOPs for processing employment complaints; however, the SOPs have not been finalized for the investigation and adjudication phases of the processing and are therefore insufficient to ensure the consistent use of iComplaints. OASCR officials did provide documentation showing that OASCR has established a formal training program to ensure that OASCR and USDA civil rights practitioners are trained in the proper use of PCMS and iComplaints. In addition, the PCMS Data Integrity Team is working to correct discrepancies found as of October 2012. This effort is 85 percent complete.
    Recommendation: To improve USDA efforts to address civil rights issues and the participation of minority farmers and ranchers in USDA programs, the Secretary of Agriculture should develop a results-oriented department-level strategic plan for civil rights at USDA that unifies USDA's departmental approach with that of ASCR and the newly created Office of Advocacy and Outreach and that is transparent about USDA's efforts to address the concerns of stakeholders.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: USDA has not fully implemented this recommendation. As of August 2012, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR) had not updated its strategic plan since our report was issued in October 2008. From October 1, 2009, to November 20, 2011, OASCR was placed under Departmental Management and during that time was not required to develop or update its own strategic plan, according to OASCR officials. Since November 20, 2011, OASCR has reported directly to the Secretary and has been working to develop its own strategic plan. On July 31, 2012, we obtained a revised draft of OASCR's strategic plan that covers fiscal years 2011-2015. This draft still has a number of shortcomings. For example, it (1) focuses primarily on the activities OASCR plans and does not unify OASCR's approach with the Office of Advocacy and Outreach, other USDA agencies, or the department as a whole; (2) does not describe the viewpoints and interests of USDA's external stakeholders, such as community-based organizations; and (3) does not fully address other key issues identified in our report, such as measuring performance to gauge progress, using performance information for identifying performance gaps and making program improvements, and identifying external and internal factors that can influence the achievement of its long-term goals. As of September 2013, OASCR had, by November 2012, finalized and published its strategic plan for fiscal years 2011-2015. The published plan includes some time frame goals for processing program and employment complaints, but these goals are incomplete. The published plan also includes some minor editorial changes, but otherwise, it was almost identical to the draft plan we reviewed in July 2012 and still has the same shortcomings that we identified at that time.
    Director: White, James R
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide clarity for which taxpayers with rental real estate activity must report expense payments on information returns and to provide greater information reporting, Congress may wish to consider amending the Internal Revenue Code to make all taxpayers with rental real estate activity subject to the same information reporting requirements as other taxpayers operating a trade or business.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, no legislation had been identified to make owners of rental real estate subject to the same payment reporting requirements regardless of whether they engaged in a trade or business under current law. In the 112th Congress, Congress enacted the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-240), which contained a provision that required, in general, persons receiving rental income from real estate to be considered engaged in a trade or business and therefore subject to the reporting requirements of section 6041 of the Internal Revenue Code, which was consistent with GAO's August 2008 matter for congressional consideration. However, Congress repealed the provision on April 14, 2011, by section 3 of the Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-9).
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address other issues that may exist in IRS's master files that affect penalty calculations, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct appropriate IRS officials to, in instances where programs are not functioning in accordance with the intent of the IRM, take appropriate action to correct the programs so that they function in accordance with the IRM.

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

    Comments: According to IRS, it had substantially completed its corrective actions to address 19 penalty programming issues it had identified from its internal assessment of penalty computation programs. However, as of September 30, 2016, IRS had not provided us with supporting documentation to validate that it completed the corrective actions. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 financial statement audit.
    Director: Siggerud, Katherine A
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Taking action to address the challenges FMCSA faces to ensure that its drug testing program detects drivers who are using illegal drugs, and to keep drivers who have tested positive off the road until they have completed the return-to-duty process, provides an opportunity to improve safety on the roads. In order to assist the Department of Transportation (DOT) and FMCSA in addressing these challenges, and thereby improving road safety, Congress may wish to consider adopting legislation to ban subversion products.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: On February 4, 2009, Representative Engel introduced the Drug Testing Integrity Act of 2009 in the House of Representatives. The Act would ban products designed to defraud drug tests. On February 15, 2011 Representative Engel re-introduced the bill, which was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and then to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. Representative Engel re-introduced the bill in the 113th Congress in May of 2013. However, the bill has not been reintroduced since.
    Director: Herr, Phillip R
    Phone: (202)512-8984

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of the federal investment in surface transportation, meet the nation's transportation needs, and ensure a sustainable commitment to transportation infrastructure, Congress may wish to consider reexamining and refocusing surface transportation programs to be responsive to these principles so that they institute tools and approaches to that emphasize the return on the federal investment.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not yet acted on this recommendation. The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act; P.L. 114-94), signed into law in December 2015, is due to be reauthorized in fiscal year 2021.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of the federal investment in surface transportation, meet the nation's transportation needs, and ensure a sustainable commitment to transportation infrastructure, Congress may wish to consider reexamining and refocusing surface transportation programs to be responsive to these principles so that they address the current imbalance between federal surface transportation revenues and spending.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not yet acted on this recommendation. The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act; P.L. 114-94), signed into law in December 2015, did not address the current imbalance between federal surface transportation revenues and spending. The Act is due to be reauthorized in fiscal year 2021.
    Director: Iritani, Katherine
    Phone: (212) 512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress may wish to consider requiring increased attention to fiscal responsibility in the approval of section 1115 Medicaid demonstrations by requiring the Secretary of HHS to improve the demonstration review process through steps such as (1) clarifying criteria for reviewing and approving states' proposed spending limits, (2) better ensuring that valid methods are used to demonstrate budget neutrality, and (3) documenting and making public material explaining the basis for any approvals.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2015, no legislation on this topic had been passed, although at least one bill had been introduced in Congress that would make budget neutrality a statutory requirement for Medicaid demonstrations.The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing in June 2015 examining HHS's approval of spending under Medicaid demonstrations. In addition, the House Oversight and Government Reform and House Energy and Commerce Committees had sent letters to the Administration inquiring as to how HHS was responding to GAO findings and recommendations to improve the process and methods used to set demonstration spending limits.
    Recommendation: Congress may wish to consider addressing whether demonstrations that allow states to operate public managed care organizations and retain excess revenue to support programs previously funded by the state--including the Vermont demonstration--are within the scope of the Secretary of HHS's authority under section 1115 of the Social Security Act.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2015, Congress had not passed legislation in response to our matter for congressional consideration.
    Director: Aloise, Eugene E
    Phone: (202)512-6870

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that NNSA functions as a separately organized agency, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator, NNSA, should clearly define NNSA's status as a separately organized agency within the department.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In his 31 USC Section 720 response to our report, the Deputy Secretary of Energy stated that he did not concur with this recommendation. He stated that elements of the Department and the NNSA had executed memoranda of understanding specifying how certain Department-wide functions would be performed while respecting the statutory insulation of NNSA personnel. He also stated that the Department will consider issuing circumstance-specific guidance where required to correct misperceptions about the effect of the NNSA's act limitations. NNSA's relationship with DOE continues to evolve. NNSA asserted its independence aggressively through July 2012 when an important security incident took place at the Y-12 plant. Since that time, NNSA has been less independent.
    Recommendation: To ensure that NNSA functions as a separately organized agency, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator, NNSA, should clearly define NNSA's status as a separately organized agency within the department.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In his 31 USC Section 720 response to our report, the Deputy Secretary of Energy stated that he did not concur with this recommendation. He stated that elements of the Department and the NNSA had executed memoranda of understanding specifying how certain Department-wide functions would be performed while respecting the statutory insulation of NNSA personnel. He also stated that the Department will consider issuing circumstance-specific guidance where required to correct misperceptions about the effect of the NNSA's act limitations. Since we received the letter, there have been instances where the DOE/NNSA relationship has become less clear.
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Because of the importance of the successful planning and implementation of NGATS and the need for effective collaboration between diverse organizations, the Secretary of Transportation should direct JPDO to better ensure the involvement of all key stakeholders in the NGATS planning process, by determining whether key stakeholders and expertise are not represented on JPDO's integrated product teams, divisions, or elsewhere within its organization. For example, JPDO should consider the addition of active, subject matter expert air traffic controllers to its integrated product teams.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In multiple reports and testimonies on Air Traffic Control Modernization and subsequently the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) GAO has reported that a lack of stakeholder or expert involvement early and throughout a project can lead to cost increases and delays. We also found that the Joint Planning and Development Office within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had not adequately involved air traffic controllers or the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) in NextGen planning efforts, and have since reported on challenges facing FAA in involving controllers and other stakeholders as they begin to implement various NextGen improvements. GAO recommended that the Secretary of Transportation consider various actions to better ensure the involvement of all key stakeholders in planning and implementing NextGen and specifically recommended further involvement of active, subject matter expert air traffic controllers. Article 114 of the recently signed contract between the FAA and NATCA addresses this recommendation by directing full participation by NATCA to further the development and implementation of NextGen. The specifics of the agreement between FAA and NATCA regarding how and in what manner controllers will be included has yet to be determined, but the inclusion of Article 114 is a step in the right direction to ensuring active involvement. With greater active participation from air traffic controllers and NATCA, issues that cause cost increase and delays can be identified earlier and their effects mitigated.
    Recommendation: Given the technical complexity of the implementation of NGATS and FAA's past experiences, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA to undertake a formal exploration of FAA's strengths and weaknesses with regard to the technical expertise and contract management expertise that will be required to define, implement, and integrate the numerous complex programs and systems inherent in the transition to NGATS. For example, FAA should work to determine whether it will need to contract with an LSI, federally-funded not-for-profit corporation, or other technical or managerial entity to assist in the implementation of NGATS.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the Vice President for Planning, FAA, on June 13, 2007, FAA awarded a contract to the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) to do an independent assessment of FAA's technical and program management (i.e., contract management) skills required for NextGen implementation. The Vice President directly attributed FAA's ability to move the contract award to GAO's recommendation.
    Director: Siggerud, Katherine A
    Phone: (202)512-6570

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better demonstrate how FMCSA education and outreach programs contribute to achieving agency goals, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FMCSA to ensure that the agency describes and documents how education and outreach program activities link to and support broader program and agency goals in a planning, program, or budget document that is available to the public.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to GAO's recommendation that the agency describe and document how education and outreach program activities link to and support broader program goals, FMCSA included discussion of how their education and outreach activities supported a number of programs in its FY 2009 performance budget in response to GAO. FMCSA also provided more detailed logic models to GAO on the education and outreach activities that support a number of their programs such as New and Non Entrants, Share the Road Safely and Safety Belt Usage Improvement.
    Director: Goldstein, Mark L
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Given the critical importance of telecommunications technologies to schools and libraries, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission should direct FCC staff to establish performance goals and measures for the E-rate program that are consistent with the Government Performance and Results Act. FCC should use the resulting performance data to develop analyses of the actual impact of E-rate funding and to determine areas for improved program operations.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In an August 2007 order, FCC adopted two performance measures for the E-rate program, one for Internet connectivity and the other for application processing. The order did not include specific E-rate program goals, although FCC said in this order that it anticipated adopting performance goals as it and USAC gained experience with the performance measures. While FCC's efforts to develop performance measures have the potential to eventually produce better information than is currently available on E-rate program performance, these measures fall short when compared to the key characteristics of successful performance measures and FCC still has not established program goals. FCC says it is still working on developing goals and performance measures for the Universal Service programs.