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    Subject Term: "Project management"

    26 publications with a total of 58 open recommendations including 14 priority recommendations
    Director: Asif A. Khan
    Phone: (202) 512-9869

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The DHS Under Secretary for Management should develop and implement effective processes and improve guidance to reasonably assure that future AAs fully follow AOA process best practices and reflect the four characteristics of a reliable, high-quality AOA process. (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 DHS Under Secretary for Management should improve the Risk Management Planning Handbook and other relevant guidance for managing risks associated with financial management system modernization projects to fully incorporate risk management best practices, including (1) defining thresholds to facilitate review of performance metrics to determine when risks become unacceptable; (2) identifying and analyzing risks to include periodically reconsidering risk sources, documenting risks specifically related to the lack of sufficient, reliable cost and schedule information needed to help properly manage and oversee the project, and timely disposition of IV&V contractor-identified risks; (3) developing risk mitigation plans with specific risk-handling activities, the costs and benefits of implementing them, and contingency plans for selected critical risks; and (4) implementing risk mitigation plans to include establishing periods of performance for risk-handling activities and defining time intervals for updating and certifying the accuracy and completeness of information on risks in DHS's risk register. (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.
    Director: Paula M. Rascona
    Phone: (202) 512-9816

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB and the Secretary of the Treasury should establish mechanisms to assess the results of independent audits and reviews of agencies' compliance with the DATA Act requirements, including those of agency OIGs, to help inform full implementation of the act's requirements across government.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Treasury stated it will establish mechanisms to assess the results of independent audits and reviews of agencies' compliance with the DATA Act requirements, including those of agency OIGs. Treasury also stated these mechanisms will inform Treasury's efforts on whether and how to tailor its future outreach efforts to help agencies meet their DATA Act requirements. We will continue to assess Treasury's efforts to address this recommendation as IGs plan to issue their required reports in November 2017.
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB and the Secretary of the Treasury should establish mechanisms to assess the results of independent audits and reviews of agencies' compliance with the DATA Act requirements, including those of agency OIGs, to help inform full implementation of the act's requirements across government.

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

    Comments: OMB stated that it reviewed available IG readiness review reports in its assessment of agency implementation efforts, and it also relied on other, more up-to-date sources of information from agencies including data obtained from one-on-one meetings and agency self-assessments. We will continue to assess OMB's efforts to address this recommendation as IGs plan to issue their required reports in November 2017.
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help FAA better manage and oversee its portfolio of R&D activities, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA to take a more strategic approach to identifying research priorities across the agency, including developing guidance to identify long-term priorities and emerging issue areas, as part of FAA's portfolio development process.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, FAA officials said they were redesigning the agency?s National Aviation Research Plan (NARP) to, among other things, better align research to agency outcomes. FAA officials said that the redesigned NARP will provide the agency a strategic view of R&D and a better understanding of the driving forces for research, such as longer term strategic needs and emerging issues. The officials also said that the redesigned NARP will allow for a more effective framework from which to prioritize research. FAA plans to finalize the redesign of the NARP by February 2019.
    Recommendation: To help FAA better manage and oversee its portfolio of R&D activities, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA to clarify its portfolio development guidance to call for each Program Planning Teams to disclose the process it used for prioritizing and selecting research projects so that decision-making is more transparent for FAA management.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, FAA officials said they were developing guidance that will require the Program Planning Teams to identify and document their process for prioritizing and selecting research projects. FAA plans to finalize the guidance by November 2017.
    Recommendation: To help FAA better manage and oversee its portfolio of R&D activities, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA to develop guidance to ensure that future National Aviation Research Plans (NARP) and R&D Annual Reviews meet statutory requirements to the extent practicable, including (a) The NARP lists activities that are carried under cooperative agreements. (b) The NARP describes the rationale for the prioritized research programs. (c) The NARP identifies how resources were allocated for long-term and near-term research. (d) The NARP identifies REDAC recommendations that are accepted, not accepted, and the reasons for non-acceptance. (e) The NARP provides a detailed description of technology transfer to government, industry, and academia. (f) The Annual Review describes new technologies developed and the dissemination of research results to the private sector. (g) The Annual Review allows a comparison to the NARP. (h) The Annual Review is prepared and presented in accordance with agency performance reporting requirements.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, FAA officials said they were redesigning the National Aviation Research Plan (NARP) and R&D Annual Review to include, among other things, information required by statute. FAA plans to finalize the redesign of the NARP and Annual Review by February 2019.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure future large-scale rehabilitation projects are in line with leading project management practices, WMATA should develop a policy that requires and includes relevant procedures specifying that, prior to starting large-scale projects, WMATA should use detailed data on the conditions of assets to develop project objectives and scope.

    Agency: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure future large-scale rehabilitation projects are in line with leading project management practices, WMATA should develop a policy that requires and includes relevant procedures specifying that, prior to starting large-scale projects, WMATA should evaluate and compare alternative ways of accomplishing the project objectives, including estimates for the alternatives' costs and impacts.

    Agency: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure future large-scale rehabilitation projects are in line with leading project management practices, WMATA should develop a policy that requires and includes relevant procedures specifying that, prior to starting large-scale projects, WMATA should develop a comprehensive project management plan for the selected alternative--to include key elements such as detailed plans for managing the project's scope, schedule, and cost--for those projects that may not be designated major capital projects.

    Agency: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Dave Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-5731

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve VA's management of medical-facility construction projects and its accountability and to allow for more informed decision making by Congress and VA, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should establish a mechanism to monitor the extent that major facilities projects are following guidelines on change orders' time frames and design changes.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: GAO reviewed VA's 60 day letter and identified that VA did not address the part of GAO?s recommendation that is intended to help VA ensure that information on the reasons for change orders is collected to better inform managers whether guidelines regarding changes are being followed on construction projects. Consequently, in May 2017, GAO requested that VA provide documentation indicating that its current system collects the necessary information on change order processing timeframes for managers to ensure compliance with processing time guidelines. GAO will continue to monitor and update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve VA's management of medical-facility construction projects and its accountability and to allow for more informed decision making by Congress and VA, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should develop an activation cost estimate for the Denver project that is reliable and conforms with best practices as described in the GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its 60-day letter to Congress, VA said that it had analyzed its Activation Cost Budget Model (ACBM), which VA uses to estimate activation costs for new medical facilities, and its activation funding process, to improve cost forecasting and management of the activations process. VA said that it has modified ACBM to better support funding estimates and began using it in February 2017. GAO will continue to monitor and update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve VA's management of medical-facility construction projects and its accountability and to allow for more informed decision making by Congress and VA, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should clarify Office of Construction and Facilities Management (CFM) policies to require that: (1) all projects have an integrated master schedule to ensure that the integrated master schedules include and link all construction and activation activities, and (2) the policies on integrated master schedule for projects managed by CFM and USACE are consistent.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its 60-day letter to Congress, VA said that it is clarifying its policy and standard operation procedure on developing and maintaining an integrated master schedule. VA will also develop a standard operation procedure specifically for projects that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is managing for VA. GAO will continue to monitor and update the status of this recommendation.
    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: 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: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOE develops and uses reliable cost and schedule estimates and AOAs, the Secretary of Energy should direct Office of Environmental Management (EM) to revise its protocol governing cleanup operations activities to require use of best practices in developing cost and schedule estimates.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. In its written comments, DOE stated that EM is transitioning from the operations activities protocol to a new directive that is expected to include a key decision approving a cost and schedule baseline. As EM develops the guidance for this key decision, it will include the use of cost and schedule best practices. In April 2017, however, EM indicated that it plans to issue a revised EM operations activities protocol in fiscal year 2017 for use in fiscal year 2018 instead of a new directive. According to an EM official, EM will include best practices for cost and schedule estimation in the revised protocol. When EM completes the revised protocol, we will evaluate the actions taken and whether the recommendation should be closed.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOE develops and uses reliable cost and schedule estimates and AOAs, the Secretary of Energy should direct EM to implement the recommendation made by DOE's Office of Project Management Oversight and Assessments in its independent review of the AOA for WIPP's new permanent ventilation system to perform a cost-benefit analysis consistent with best practices for conducting an AOA, or justify and document why the office does not intend to do so.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with clarification to the recommendation. In its written comments to our report, DOE stated that in accordance with GAO best practices, it will conduct further cost-benefit analysis on the WIPP ventilation system project prior to approval of Critical Decision-2, Approve Performance Baseline. DOE stated that several alternatives remain to be evaluated including the size of the ventilation system and the location of the exhaust shaft. In March 2017, a DOE Carlsbad Field Office official overseeing the project said that the project team completed an additional analysis of alternatives (AOA) for the ventilation system project at WIPP and a revised business case for the alternative to construct a safety significant confinement ventilation system and exhaust shaft that addresses the recommendations from the Department of Energy's Office of Project Management Oversight and Assessment. After we obtain a copy of the completed AOA, we will evaluate the action taken to determine whether to close the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOE develops and uses reliable cost and schedule estimates and AOAs, the Secretary of Energy should direct DOE to revise its Order 413.3B to require that DOE offices implement any recommendations from an independent review of the extent to which an AOA followed best practices, or justify and document the rationale for not doing so.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation and in its written comments to our report stated that it will prepare a project management policy on how DOE offices should respond to recommendations from independent reviews by December 2016. In addition, DOE stated that it will update DOE Order 413.3B with the new policy at the next available opportunity. In November 2017, a DOE official from the Office of Project Management, Oversight, and Assessments (PMOA) said that PMOA developed a project management policy statement on how DOE offices should disposition recommendations from independent reviews and PMOA intended to incorporate the policy into its planned update of DOE Guide 413.3-9 Project Review Guide for Capital Asset Projects, which was to be completed by December 2016. As of April 2017, according to a DOE official, development of the updated project review guide was on hold indefinitely along with all other actions to publish new, or update existing departmental directives in response to the two Presidential Executive Orders issued in January and February 2017 that directed federal agencies to, among other things, reduce and reform agency regulations.
    Director: Paula M. Rascona
    Phone: (202) 512-9816

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure effective government-wide implementation and that complete and consistent spending data will be reported as required by the DATA Act, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, should establish or leverage existing processes and controls to determine the complete population of agencies that are required to report spending data under the DATA Act and make the results of those determinations publicly available.

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

    Comments: OMB stated that each agency is responsible for determining whether it is subject to the DATA Act. To help agencies make that determination, OMB published guidance in the form of frequently asked questions and stated that the agencies may consult with OMB for additional counsel. In response to our recommendation, OMB staff told us they have reached out to federal agencies to identify which agencies have determined that they are exempt from reporting under the DATA Act and prepared a list of such agencies. However, OMB has not provided us the list or the procedures for reviewing agency determinations and compiling the results. In addition, OMB has not established procedures for ensuring non-exempt agencies are reporting spending data as required. Finally, OMB has not stated whether it will make the results of the determinations publicly available. Further, additional clarification would improve the usefulness of the frequently asked questions. For example, they state "Any Federal agency submitting data that OMB posts on its SF 133 Report on Budget Execution and Budgetary Resources is required to comply with DATA Act reporting." However, the SF 133 Report for the third quarter of 2016 includes entities such as the Postal Service which are not required by the DATA Act to report financial and payment information. In explaining the frequently asked questions to us, OMB officials clarified that they meant that an entity is required to report if its data appears on the SF 133 and it meets the applicable statutory definition of agency. The frequently asked questions document does not clearly communicate this two-prong approach. Additionally, OMB's verbal clarification when meeting with us does not account for those entities that meet the statutory definition of agency and are required by the DATA Act to report financial and payment information but do not appear on the SF 133. We will continue to assess OMB's efforts to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure effective government-wide implementation and that complete and consistent spending data will be reported as required by the DATA Act, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, should reassess, on a periodic basis, which agencies are required to report spending data under the DATA Act and make appropriate notifications to affected agencies.

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

    Comments: OMB does not have plans to reassess, on a periodic basis, which agencies are required to report spending data under the DATA Act. We continue to believe action on this recommendation is important to effectively implement the DATA Act. We will continue to assess OMB's efforts to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure effective implementation of the DATA Act by the agencies and facilitate the further establishment of overall government-wide governance, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, should request that non-CFO Act agencies required to report federal spending data under the DATA Act submit updated implementation plans, including updated timelines and milestones, cost estimates, and risks, to address new technical requirements.

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

    Comments: On June 15, 2016, OMB directed CFO Act agencies to update key components of their implementation plans by August 12, 2016. The requirement did not extend to non-CFO Act agencies. OMB stated that it is monitoring non-CFO Act agencies by providing feedback to non-CFO Act agencies through workshops instead of requesting updated implementation plan information. According to OMB officials, OMB has not followed-up with non-CFO Act agencies or requested updated implementation plan information because they are working with the CFO Act agencies which comprise approximately 90 percent of federal spending. In addition to these outreach efforts, OMB has worked with Treasury to engage with small and independent agencies through weekly phone calls and other forms of communication. However, the DATA Act applies to most federal agencies, and we believe that it is important to monitor smaller agencies' implementation plans as well as large agencies. We will continue to assess OMB's efforts to address this recommendation.
    Director: Andrew Von Ah
    Phone: (213) 830-1011

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and oversight of DHS programs receiving fees and other collections, and to ensure that component management take the following actions for each fee and other collections program that they administer, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the DHS Chief Financial Officer to use some means, such as the DHS Fee Governance Council, to document the processes and analyses for assessing and, as appropriate, for managing the difference between program costs and collections and document resulting decisions.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS's Fee Governance Council, led by the Deputy CFO plans to draft and publish a revised section of the Financial Management Policy Manual devoted to documenting the processes and analyses for assessing and managing the difference between program costs and collections and document resulting decisions. The Council is currently working to establish interim milestones associated with this objective.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and oversight of DHS programs receiving fees and other collections, and to ensure that component management take the following actions for each fee and other collections program that they administer, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the DHS Chief Financial Officer to use some means, such as the DHS Fee Governance Council, to establish processes for managing unobligated carryover balances, to include targets for minimum and maximum balances for programs that lack such processes and targets.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Fee Governance Council will draft and publish a revised section of the Financial Management Policy Manual devoted to managing unobligated carryover balances. The Council is currently working to develop specific milestones associated with this objective.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and oversight of DHS programs receiving fees and other collections, and to ensure that component management take the following actions for each fee and other collections program that they administer, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the DHS Chief Financial Officer to use some means, such as the DHS Fee Governance Council, to conduct reviews to identify any management and operational deficiencies.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The DHS Fee Governance Council plans to publish a revised section of the Financial Management Policy Manual devoted to how components conduct studies of fee programs to identify any management or operational deficiencies. The Council is currently working to establish specific milestones associated with this objective.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and oversight of DHS programs receiving fees and other collections, and to ensure that component management take the following actions for each fee and other collections program that they administer, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the DHS Chief Financial Officer to use some means, such as the DHS Fee Governance Council, to take action to track and report on management and operational deficiencies--including reasons supporting any decisions to not pursue recommended actions--identified in fee reviews or through other means.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The DHS Fee Governance Council will publish a revised section of the Financial Management Policy Manual devoted to how regular biennial reviews are conducted at DHS and how any findings and recommendations on management and operational deficiencies identified in these fee studies are tracked and reported.
    Director: Kimberly M. Gianopoulos
    Phone: (202) 512-8612

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further improve OPIC's monitoring processes, the President and CEO of OPIC should assess the current monitoring processes to ensure that the risk associated with the use of client-reported data and limited site visits for monitoring is acceptable for meeting OPIC's program goals.

    Agency: Overseas Private Investment Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In written comments on the draft report, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) concurred with the recommendation. In February 2017, OPIC executed two contracts with an external group to assist it in assessing the Office of Information Policy's current monitoring processes to ensure that the risks associated with the use of client-reported data and limited site visits for monitoring are acceptable and meet OPIC's program goals. The work is currently underway.
    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: 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 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: Linda T. Kohn
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that HHS fully addresses its dissemination requirements under PPACA, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct AHRQ to expand dissemination efforts to federal and private health plans and vendors of health information technology focused on clinical decision support.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS officials provided information in 2017 on dissemination efforts conducted as part of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Clinical Decision Support Learning Network. However, we have not yet identified the extent to which these efforts are specifically focused on federal and private health plans, or on health IT vendors, as specified in the GAO recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that HHS fully addresses its dissemination requirements under PPACA, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct AHRQ to document and complete plans to develop a publicly available database, including plans to meet the needs of various potential users in the general public.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS officials provided information in 2017 to describe AHRQ's approach to address dissemination requirements through a website that includes instructions and links for searching multiple different publicly available databases that have information on comparative effectiveness research. However, we have not yet identified the extent to which AHRQ has plans to meet the needs of various potential users in the general public, as specified in GAO's recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that HHS fully addresses its dissemination requirements under PPACA, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct AHRQ to develop specific plans on how it will collaborate with the National Institutes of Health on its dissemination activities.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: AHRQ officials provided information in 2017 on how AHRQ and NIH officials have been meeting with each other to collaborate on dissemination activities. However, we have not yet identified specific plans for this collaboration, as specified in GAO's recommendation.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To develop reliable cost estimates for the TRU waste removal project and for the TWF construction project at LANL, the Secretary of Energy should direct NNSA and the Office of Environmental Management to revise the cost estimate for the TRU waste removal project to ensure that it uses updated assumptions based on the current understanding of project conditions, such as the status of WIPP.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, Department of Energy (DOE) officials indicated that a revised life-cycle baseline cost estimate was prepared for all Office of Environmental Management mission work at Los Alamos National Laboratory, including transuranic waste removal work. DOE approved the revised cost estimate in July 2016. After we review documentation of the estimate, we will evaluate whether it is sufficient to close the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To develop reliable cost estimates for the TRU waste removal project and for the TWF construction project at LANL, the Secretary of Energy should direct NNSA to revise and update the TWF project's cost estimate by following all best practices for developing a reliable cost estimate that covers all life-cycle costs for better managing the project going forward.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Energy (DOE) agreed with the recommendation. As of March 2017, DOE indicated that Los Alamos National Laboratory prepared a cost estimate for the operations and maintenance of the Transuranic Waste Facility (TWF) facility in December 2015, which was reviewed and accepted by the responsible program offices. DOE indicated that the revised estimate reflected operational costs for a seven-year window and incorporated applicable best practices, including documentation of any significant deviations and uncertainties impacting the estimate, among other things. After we obtain documentation of the estimate, we will evaluate the action to determine whether it is sufficient to close the recommendation as implemented.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To minimize the risk of developing unreliable AOAs and incurring major cost increases and schedule delays on projects, the Secretary of Energy should direct DOE's Office of Acquisition and Project Management to update its project management order requirements to incorporate best practices for conducting an AOA.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In May 2016, DOE updated its project management order (Order 413.3B) to require that AOAs for capital asset acquisition projects be consistent with published GAO best practices. DOE also planned to issue an AOA guide that will be critical to ensuring implementation of the new AOA requirement by providing DOE procedures for conducting reliable AOAs. According to a DOE official, development of the guide was on hold indefinitely along with all other actions to publish new, or update existing departmental directives in response to the two Presidential Executive Orders issued in January and February 2017 that directed federal agencies to, among other things, reduce and reform agency regulations. In the interim, DOE issued an AOA handbook in April 2017 but will not have fully addressed the recommendation until it completes the guide.
    Director: David Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance NNSA's ability to develop reliable cost estimates for its projects and for its programs that have project-like characteristics, the Secretary of Energy should revise DOE directives that apply to programs to require that DOE and NNSA and its contractors develop cost estimates in accordance with the 12 cost estimating best practices, including developing life-cycle cost estimates for programs.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In its written comments, DOE stated that it is in the process of substantially revising the existing DOE Order 130.1, and that as part of this effort, DOE will assess the requirement for program cost estimates and will revise the order to provide more specificity on the cost estimating requirements. Further, DOE stated that the revised order will (1) define which DOE and NNSA program budget requests require cost estimates and (2) clarify that cost estimates for program budget submissions shall be conducted in accordance with the DOE cost estimating guide (or its successor policy). As of October 2016, DOE stated that it is working to implement a new funding execution system that has delayed revision of DOE Order 130.1. The new system will impact the budget practices, planning, policies and processes that will be outlined in the revised DOE 130.1. The department is in the final testing phases of the system and can now begin to initiate internal approval to update DOE Order 130.1. DOE stated that it anticipated issuance of a fully approved DOE Order 130.1 by August 30, 2017
    Recommendation: To enhance NNSA's ability to develop reliable cost estimates for its projects and for its programs that have project-like characteristics, the Secretary of Energy should revise DOE requirements and guidance that apply to programs to ensure that program reviews are conducted periodically, including reviews of the life-cycle cost estimates for programs.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In written comments, DOE stated that it is in the process of substantially revising the existing DOE Order 130.1, and that as part of this effort the department will assess requirements for program reviews and the linkage between program reviews and the budget formulation process. As of October 2016, DOE stated that it is working to implement a new funding execution system that has delayed revision of DOE Order 130.1. The new system will impact the budget practices, planning, policies and processes that will be outlined in the revised DOE Order 130.1. DOE is in the final testing phases of the system and can now begin to initiate internal approval to update the order. The department anticipated issuance of a fully approved DOE Order 130.1 by August 30, 2017.
    Director: J. Alfredo Gómez
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To develop an estimate of the scope of work remaining to address uranium contamination on or near the Navajo reservation, Congress should consider requiring that the Environmental Protection Agency take the lead and work with the other federal agencies to develop an overall estimate of the remaining scope of the work, time frames, and costs.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, we are not aware of any legislation being enacted to address this matter for congressional consideration.
    Recommendation: In light of the problems BIA has encountered in managing the cleanup at the Tuba City Dump site, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to employ best practices in creating the schedule and cost estimates for the remedial action cleanup phase.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is awaiting action by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: In light of the problems BIA has encountered in managing the cleanup at the Tuba City Dump site, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to identify and examine any lessons learned from managing the remedial investigation and feasibility study contract and consider these lessons as part of the acquisition planning process for the remedial action contract.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is awaiting action by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    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: Fennell, Anne-marie Lasowski
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve communication between the Corps and nonfederal sponsors of flood control projects, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers take steps to ensure that flood control project delivery teams comply with agency guidance to develop communications plans for flood control projects.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is awaiting action by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Director: Melvin, Valerie C
    Phone: (202)512-6304

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To ensure that HUD effectively and efficiently manages its modernization efforts aimed at improving its IT environment to support mission needs, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the Deputy Secretary to establish a plan of action that identifies specific time frames for correcting the deficiencies highlighted in this report for both its ongoing projects, as applicable, and its planned projects, to include (1) developing charters that define what constitutes project success and establish accountability, (2) finalizing deliverable-oriented work breakdown structures and associated dictionaries that define the detailed work needed to accomplish project objectives, (3) completing comprehensive project management plans that reflect cost and schedule baselines and fully incorporate subsidiary management plans, (4) establishing requirements management plans that include prioritization methods to be applied and metrics for determining how products address requirements, (5) completing matrixes to include requirements traceability from mission needs through implementation, and (6) establishing strategies to guide how acquisitions are managed in accordance with other processes and that performance metrics are established.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: HUD did not agree or disagree with, but stated it had planned actions intended to address, our recommendation. As of April 2017, HUD provided evidence of its updated project planning and management process, including requirements for improvements to project charters and management plans, but we have not yet seen evidence that HUD's actions have fully addressed deficiencies in other project management documentation.
    Recommendation: To improve development and use of the department's project management framework, the Secretary should direct the Customer Care Committee to review the role and responsibilities of the Technical Review Subcommittee and ensure that the department's governance structure operates as intended and adequately oversees the management of all of its modernization efforts.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: HUD agreed with our recommendation and reported plans for the Customer Care Committee to review the roles and responsibilities of the Technical Review Subcommittee. As of March 2017, HUD had finalized an updated Subcommittee charter. We are reviewing changes made to the charter and plan to observe the Subcommittee's operation under the revised guidance.
    Director: Melito, Thomas
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To more effectively manage NDF's resources, increase program accountability, and ensure that NDF has the information necessary to improve program performance, the Secretary of State should direct ISN and NDF to periodically and systematically conduct and document program evaluations of NDF.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State concurred with the recommendation. We contacted State in September 2016 to ascertain what it has done to address this recommendation. State responded on February 17, 2017. The Department responded by saying that to date, it has not conducted a formal evaluation of the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund as called for under the Department's evaluation policy.
    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: Bertoni, Daniel
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help ensure that SSA's disability decisions are as equitable and consistent with modern views of disability as possible, the Commissioner of Social Security should conduct limited and focused studies on the availability and effects of considering more fully assistive devices and workplace accommodations in its disability determinations.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: On September 30, 2015 a committee convened by the Health and Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine initiated a study on assistive technology and workplace accommodations. As of April, 2017, SSA reported that the committee held public sessions on May 16, 2016, July 18, 2016, and September 27, 2016 at which several experts presented on relevant topics. The committee will use the information from these presentations along with their own research and literature to review and provide findings and conclusions for their final report which is expected by July 31, 2017. In April 2017, SSA also indicated it has collected additional information on consideration of reasonable accommodations through the Idea Scale system--a crowd sourcing technology. Depending on the results of the HMD study, SSA may potentially collect additional information on work accommodations through the Bureau of Labor Statistics' OIS project. We will continue to monitor the status and results of the HMD analysis and SSA's actions based on the committee's results and recommendations.
    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.