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    Results:

    Subject Term: "Systems evaluation"

    11 publications with a total of 30 open recommendations including 11 priority recommendations
    Director: Jacqueline M. Nowicki
    Phone: (617) 788-0580

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better manage any challenges states may face implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Secretary of Education should direct the Office of State Support to evaluate its oversight process in light of the challenges states encountered in implementing the Flexibility initiative to identify lessons learned and, as appropriate, incorporate any lessons into plans for overseeing the ESSA, particularly around issues such as the design and implementation of states' monitoring systems.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education agreed that it is important to continuously evaluate its work and to consider ways to improve its efficiency and effectiveness and cited examples of the agency doing so during ESEA Flexibility implementation. For example, Education said it developed the Office of State Support, in part based on lessons learned while implementing the Flexibility initiative. In addition, Education said that since the ESSA was enacted in December 2015, it has continued to informally evaluate ESEA Flexibility implementation and oversight and cited several examples relevant to ESEA Flexibility and other Education programs and initiatives. Further, the agency provided is piloting quarterly calls between Education program officers and states and piloting a fiscal review in eight states focused on components of the law it says did not change significantly between NCLBA and ESSA. As Education continues its efforts to evaluate lessons learned from the Flexibility initiative - including the peer review process - and apply them to its oversight of ESSA, we encourage Education to incorporate these lessons into how it oversees the design and implementation of states' monitoring systems which are key to the success of ESSA's accountability provisions. As of August 2017, Education reported that action is still pending to address this recommendation.
    Director: Diana C. Maurer
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To allow for more efficient use of data on missing and unidentified persons contained in the NCIC's Missing Persons and Unidentified Persons files and NamUs, the Directors of the FBI and NIJ should evaluate the feasibility of sharing certain information among authorized users, document the results of this evaluation, and incorporate, as appropriate, legally and technically feasible options for sharing the information.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In commenting on GAO's June 2016 report, DOJ disagreed with our recommendation, because DOJ believes it does not have the legal authority to fulfill the corrective action as described in the proposed recommendation. Specifically, DOJ stated that the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) does not qualify, under federal law, for access to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and is not an authorized user to receive NCIC data. Therefore, DOJ does not believe there is value in evaluating the technical feasibility of integrating these two databases. In March 2017, DOJ reiterated its position that any such sharing was prohibited by law. We understand the legal framework placed on NCIC and that it may be restricted from fully integrating with a public database. However, this statutory restriction does not preclude DOJ from exploring options to more efficiently share information within the confines of the current legal framework. Until DOJ studies whether such feasible mechanisms exist, it will be unable to make this determination, risking continued inefficiencies through fragmentation and overlap.
    Recommendation: To allow for more efficient use of data on missing and unidentified persons contained in the NCIC's Missing Persons and Unidentified Persons files and NamUs, the Directors of the FBI and NIJ should evaluate the feasibility of sharing certain information among authorized users, document the results of this evaluation, and incorporate, as appropriate, legally and technically feasible options for sharing the information.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs: National Institute of Justice
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In commenting on GAO's June 2016 report, DOJ disagreed with our recommendation, because DOJ believes it does not have the legal authority to fulfill the corrective action as described in the proposed recommendation. Specifically, DOJ stated that the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) does not qualify, under federal law, for access to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and is not an authorized user to receive NCIC data. Therefore, DOJ does not believe there is value in evaluating the technical feasibility of integrating these two databases. In March 2017, DOJ reiterated its position that any such sharing was prohibited by law. We understand the legal framework placed on NCIC and that it may be restricted from fully integrating with a public database. However, this statutory restriction does not preclude DOJ from exploring options to more efficiently share information within the confines of the current legal framework. Until DOJ studies whether such feasible mechanisms exist, it will be unable to make this determination, risking continued inefficiencies through fragmentation and overlap.
    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: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to help DOD's sexual assault prevention and response program realize the full benefit of the data it collects on sexual assault incidents, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the Secretaries of the military services, to develop a plan for data-driven decision making to prioritize program efforts.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD was contacted on July 26, 2016 for an update on efforts to address this recommendation and responded that they are working on the report required by the NDAA on male victims of sexual assault and they believe that the report will, at a minimum, take some steps to address this recommendation. DOD also noted that the report required by the NDAA is due in the first quarter of FY 17 and that they will provide us with a copy once it has been approved. We will provide updated information when we confirm any actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to address challenges faced by male servicemembers as DOD continues to seek to transform its culture to address sexual assault, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the Secretaries of the military services, to develop clear goals with associated metrics to drive the changes needed to address sexual assaults of males and articulate these goals, for example in the department's next sexual assault prevention strategy.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD was contacted on July 26, 2016 for an update on efforts to address this recommendation and responded that they are working on the report required by the NDAA on male victims of sexual assault and they believe that the report will, at a minimum, take some steps to address this recommendation. DOD also noted that the report required by the NDAA is due in the first quarter of FY 17 and that they will provide us with a copy once it has been approved. We will provide updated information when we confirm any actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to address challenges faced by male servicemembers as DOD continues to seek to transform its culture to address sexual assault, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the Secretaries of the military services, to include information about the sexual victimization of males in communications to servicemembers that are used to raise awareness of sexual assault and the department's efforts to prevent and respond to it.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD was contacted on July 26, 2016 for an update on efforts to address this recommendation and responded that they are working on the report required by the NDAA on male victims of sexual assault and they believe that the report will, at a minimum, take some steps to address this recommendation. DOD also noted that the report required by the NDAA is due in the first quarter of FY 17 and that they will provide us with a copy once it has been approved. We will provide updated information when we confirm any actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to address challenges faced by male servicemembers as DOD continues to seek to transform its culture to address sexual assault, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the Secretaries of the military services, to revise sexual assault prevention and response training to more comprehensively and directly address the incidence of male servicemembers being sexually assaulted and how certain behavior and activities--like hazing--can constitute a sexual assault.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD was contacted on July 26, 2016 for an update on efforts to address this recommendation and responded that they are working on the report required by the NDAA on male victims of sexual assault and they believe that the report will, at a minimum, take some steps to address this recommendation. DOD also noted that the report required by the NDAA is due in the first quarter of FY 17 and that they will provide us with a copy once it has been approved. We will provide updated information when we confirm any actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to help ensure that all of DOD's medical and mental health providers are generally aware of any gender-specific needs of sexual assault victims, and that victims are provided the care that most effectively meets those needs, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs should, in collaboration with the services' Surgeons General, systematically evaluate the extent to which differences exist in the medical and mental health-care needs of male and female sexual assault victims, and the care regimen, if any, that will best meet those needs.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs)
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD was contacted on July 26, 2016 for an update on efforts to address this recommendation and responded that they are working on the report required by the NDAA on male victims of sexual assault and they believe that the report will, at a minimum, take some steps to address this recommendation. DOD also noted that the report required by the NDAA is due in the first quarter of FY 17 and that they will provide us with a copy once it has been approved. We will provide updated information when we confirm any actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to help ensure that all of DOD's medical and mental health providers are generally aware of any gender-specific needs of sexual assault victims, and that victims are provided the care that most effectively meets those needs, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs should, in collaboration with the services' Surgeons General, develop and issue guidance for the department's medical and mental health providers--and other personnel, as appropriate--based on the results of this evaluation that delineates these gender-specific distinctions and the care regimen that is recommended to most effectively meet those needs.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs)
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD was contacted on July 26, 2016 for an update on efforts to address this recommendation and responded that they are working on the report required by the NDAA on male victims of sexual assault and they believe that the report will, at a minimum, take some steps to address this recommendation. DOD also noted that the report required by the NDAA is due in the first quarter of FY 17 and that they will provide us with a copy once it has been approved. We will provide updated information when we confirm any actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Director: Valerie C. Melvin
    Phone: (202) 512-6304

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and modernization of HUD's IT environment, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the department's Chief Information Officer to establish a means for evaluating progress toward institutionalizing management controls and commit to time lines for activities and next steps.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, HUD had not yet established a means for evaluating progress toward institutionalizing IT management controls. According to HUD officials, the department expects to evaluate the controls through an update to its IT Management Framework scheduled to be completed during fiscal year 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and modernization of HUD's IT environment, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the department's Chief Information Officer to define the scope, implementation strategy, and schedule of its overall modernization approach, with related goals and measures for effectively overseeing the effort.

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

    Comments: In August 2016, HUD officials reported that the department was taking actions intended to establish a new, stronger enterprise approach for IT development and operations. As of April 2017, the department reported that it was in phase 2 of a 4-phase application assessment initiative expected to address this recommendation. However, HUD has not yet provided evidence of how the new approach is expected to define the scope, implementation strategy, and schedule for modernizing the department's IT.
    Director: Gomez, Jose A
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

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

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

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

    3 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to strengthen investment decisions, place the chosen investments on a sound acquisition footing, provide a better means of tracking investment progress, and improve the management and transparency of the U.S. missile defense approach in Europe, the Secretary of Defense should direct MDA's new Director to add risk reduction non-intercept flight tests for each new type of target missiles developed.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Despite partially concurring with our recommendation in 2013, MDA has not adjusted its test plans to include risk-reduction (i.e., non-intercept) flight tests for new target types prior to their inclusion in an intercept flight test. MDA officials have not done so because such decisions must be balanced against potential cost, schedule, and programmatic impacts and flight test preparation processes, like dry-runs and quality control checks, are sufficient to discover issues prior to an intercept test. While test preparation processes are valuable, they are not a substitute for risk reduction flight tests. This was proven in June 2015 when MDA launched a new intermediate-range target that had 6 different test preparation processes but not a risk-reduction flight test and the target failed, which resulted in significant cost, schedule, and programmatic impacts. Moving forward, despite the impacts from its recent target failure, MDA plans to use a new medium-range target during its third, and most complex operational test in the second quarter of fiscal year 2019. We maintain our stance that risk reduction flight tests would reduce the risk for the associated test and the overall flight test plan; however, MDA's action to-date suggest that it has no intention of including risk-reduction flight tests for new targets. However, we will continue to monitor its progress in this regard.
    Recommendation: In order to strengthen investment decisions, place the chosen investments on a sound acquisition footing, provide a better means of tracking investment progress, and improve the management and transparency of the U.S. missile defense approach in Europe, the Secretary of Defense should direct MDA's new Director to include in its resource baseline cost estimates all life cycle costs, specifically the operations and support costs, from the military services in order to provide decision makers with the full costs of ballistic missile defense systems.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with our recommendation that decisionmakers should have insight into the full lifecycle costs of MDA's programs. However, as of August 2017, MDA is still not including the military services' operations and sustainment costs--which are a part of the full lifecycle costs--in the resource baselines it reports in the Ballistic Missile Defense System Accountability Report. MDA is trying to determine how to report the full lifecycle costs to decisionmakers, but has indicated that the Ballistic Missile Defense System Accountability Report is not the appropriate forum for reporting the military services' operation and support costs. We continue to believe that including the full lifecycle costs of MDA's programs enables decisionmakers to make funding determinations that are based on a comprehensive understanding of the depth and breadth of each program's costs.
    Recommendation: In order to strengthen investment decisions, place the chosen investments on a sound acquisition footing, provide a better means of tracking investment progress, and improve the management and transparency of the U.S. missile defense approach in Europe, the Secretary of Defense should direct MDA's new Director to stabilize the acquisition baselines, so that meaningful comparisons can be made over time that support oversight of those acquisitions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation regarding the need for MDA to stabilize its acquisition baselines, but also noted MDA's need to adjust its baselines to remain responsive to evolving requirements and threats; both of which are beyond MDA's control. Further, DOD highlighted the MDA Director's authority to make adjustments to the agency's programmatic baselines, within departmental guidelines. Our recommendation, however, is not designed to limit the Director's authority to adjust baselines or to prevent adjusting baselines as appropriate. Rather, our recommendation is designed to address traceability issues we have found with MDA's baselines, which are within its control. Specifically, for MDA to be able to effectively report longer-term progress of its acquisitions and provide the necessary transparency to Congress, it is critical that the agency stabilize its baselines so that once set, any revisions can be tracked over time. At this point we have not seen any indication that MDA is working to implement this recommendation. For example, in 2016, MDA's Director made changes to the Targets and Countermeasures program's baseline that omit the costs of some targets and may make tracking progress against prior years and the original baseline very difficult, and in some instances, impossible. We will continue to monitor MDA's baselines to determine any progress in this area or implementation of this recommendation.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: 202-512-9338

    5 open recommendations
    including 4 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure the credibility of IRIS assessments by enhancing their timeliness and certainty, the EPA Administrator should require the Office of Research and Development to assess the feasibility and appropriateness of the established time frames for each step in the IRIS assessment process and determine whether different time frames should be established, based on complexity or other criteria, for different types of IRIS assessments.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of Fall 2017, EPA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program officials told GAO that IRIS assessments that support policy and regulatory decisions for EPA's programs and regions, and state agencies, are being consolidated into a new portfolio to optimize the application of best available science and technology. According to IRIS Program officials, the IRIS workflow will be reoriented and timelines and resources will be tailored to fit the intended purpose of the IRIS assessment. This approach was presented to EPA's Science and Technology Policy Council in July 2017 and was presented to the Science Advisory Board's Chemical Assessment Advisory Committee in September 2017 for their consideration and evaluation. In addition, according to EPA IRIS officials, there were improvements in project management for IRIS assessments, such as working with IRIS assessment chemical managers individuals who manage IRIS assessments to develop timelines and a system that tracks the portfolio of IRIS products in development, to allow the IRIS Program to more effectively use resources across assessment projects and ensure timely delivery of products. GAO continues to believe that these efforts show important progress, but that EPA needs to continue to determine whether different time frames should be established for different types of assessments, and the feasibility and appropriateness of the established time frames.
    Recommendation: To better ensure the credibility of IRIS assessments by enhancing their timeliness and certainty, the EPA Administrator should require the Office of Research and Development, should different time frames be necessary, to establish a written policy that clearly describes the applicability of the time frames for each type of IRIS assessment and ensures that the time frames are realistic and provide greater predictability to stakeholders.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of Fall 2017, EPA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program officials told GAO that they met with the Science Advisory Board's Chemical Assessment Advisory Committee in September 2017 to discuss responses to this recommendation. After the meeting, EPA's IRIS Program officials expect to issue a public statement that will emphasize the new portfolio approach to chemical evaluation and reflect that IRIS milestones will be varying based on the scale and type of assessment needed. EPA's IRIS Program officials told GAO that these activities will also provide the Program an opportunity to evaluate whether additional training on project management has provided the consistency in planning and delivery that was expected. GAO continues to believe that EPA has made progress and we will continue to review information provided by EPA as the agency works to ensure that the time frames are realistic and provide greater predictability to stakeholders.
    Recommendation: To ensure that current and accurate information on chemicals that EPA plans to assess through IRIS is available to IRIS users--including stakeholders such as EPA program and regional offices, other federal agencies, and the public--the EPA Administrator should direct the Office of Research and Development to annually publish the IRIS agenda in the Federal Register each fiscal year.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of Fall 2017, EPA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program officials told GAO that starting in 2017, on an annual basis, the IRIS Program is reviewing the information in the December 2015 Multi-Year Agenda to ensure that it remains responsive to GAO's recommendation. According to IRIS Program officials, this process was informal in 2017 but will be formalized starting in 2018 and updates to the Multi-Year Agenda will be published on the IRIS website and disseminated appropriately. GAO continues to believe that current and accurate information on the chemicals EPA plans to assess through IRIS should be made available to IRIS users. As the program continues its work, GAO will monitor EPA's progress to determine if information is provided annually in the Federal Register.
    Recommendation: To ensure that current and accurate information on chemicals that EPA plans to assess through IRIS is available to IRIS users--including stakeholders such as EPA program and regional offices, other federal agencies, and the public--the EPA Administrator should direct the Office of Research and Development to indicate in published IRIS agendas which chemicals EPA is actively assessing and when EPA plans to start assessments of the other listed chemicals.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of Fall 2017, EPA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program officials told GAO that starting in 2017, on an annual basis, the IRIS Program is reviewing the information in the December 2015 Multi-Year Agenda to ensure that it remains responsive to GAO's recommendation. According to IRIS Program officials, this process was informal in 2017, but will be formalized starting in 2018, and updates to the Multi-Year Agenda will be published on the IRIS website and disseminated appropriately. EPA IRIS Program officials stated that they received feedback from the Science Advisory Board's Chemical Assessment Advisory Committee in September 2017. IRIS officials intend to publish an updated Agenda that will list which chemicals EPA is actively assessing and when EPA plans to start assessments of the other listed chemicals. GAO continues to believe that annually providing current and accurate information on chemicals that EPA plans to assess through the IRIS program is critical for IRIS users as well as specifically identifying which chemicals EPA is actively assessing and when EPA plans to start assessments of the other listed chemicals.
    Recommendation: To ensure that current and accurate information on chemicals that EPA plans to assess through IRIS is available to IRIS users--including stakeholders such as EPA program and regional offices, other federal agencies, and the public--the EPA Administrator should direct the Office of Research and Development to update the IRIS Substance Assessment Tracking System (IRISTrack) to display all current information on the status of assessments of chemicals on the IRIS agenda, including projected and actual start dates, and projected and actual dates for completion of steps in the IRIS process, and keep this information current.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of August 2017, EPA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program officials stated that starting in 2017, on an annual basis, the IRIS Program is reviewing the information in the December 2015 Multi-Year Agenda to ensure that it remains responsive to GAO's recommendation. According to EPA IRIS Program officials, this process was informal in 2017 but will be formalized starting in 2018, and updates to the Multi-Year Agenda will be published on the IRIS website and disseminated appropriately. EPA IRIS Program officials stated that they received feedback from the Science Advisory Board's Chemical Assessment Advisory Committee in September 2017. Officials indicated that after the feedback is received, the IRIS website will be updated with information consistent with GAO's recommendation, such as projected and actual start dates. GAO will monitor EPA's progress, and consider whether updates are annually providing current and accurate information on chemicals that EPA plans to assess through the IRIS program, as necessary for IRIS users.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-2757

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the Bureau's use of its master schedule to manage the 2020 decennial census, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to include estimates of the resources, such as labor, materials, and overhead costs, in the 2020 integrated schedule for each activity as the schedule is built, and prepare to carry out other steps as necessary to conduct systematic schedule risk analyses on the 2020 schedule.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. The Bureau continues to refine its 2020 Census master schedule, which it recently announced it completed in July 2016. Bureau officials have periodically described their intent to link resources to activities within their schedules, but as of July 2016 had confirmed that it had not yet done so. The Bureau has provided us with copies of its schedule, but not yet satisfactory evidence of having completed such an analysis. We are beginning an audit of the Bureau's scheduling practices this summer and will review actions the Bureau may have taken to address this recommendation. As of July 2017, we have received initial documents as we begin this review.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202)512-3604

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help implement a fair, effective, and credible performance management system for its civilian employees--whether NSPS or another--the Secretary of Defense should review and evaluate the effectiveness of the department's training.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 which repealed the National Security Personnel System required that DOD (1) take all actions necessary for the orderly termination of NSPS and (2) transition of all employees and positions from NSPS to legacy personnel systems or, if applicable, to the personnel systems that would have applied if NSPS had never been established. The law also mandated that the transition be completed by no later than January 1, 2012 and required DOD to establish a new performance management system, among other things. At the time of last update in June 2013, DOD had completed its efforts to research and design a new performance management system, in coordination with the unions. More recently, on July 24, 2014, the department released its 3rd update to Congress on the design and implemenation of its new personnel management system. DOD is required to report every 6 months on its progress. In its most recent report, DOD discusses its intent to implement a new multi-level rating system, but does not provide specific details about any steps taken that would allow us to close the recommendation nor has it taken actions to implement a system at this time. According to the DOD official overseeing this effort, DOD has made progress and the next update scheduled to be issued in Decembr 2014 will have significant more detail about the efforts taken.
    Recommendation: To help implement a fair, effective, and credible performance management system for its civilian employees--whether NSPS or another--the Secretary of Defense should ensure that guidance is in place for conducting a postdecisional analysis that specifies what process the components should follow to investigate and eliminate potential barriers to fair and equitable ratings.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 which repealed the National Security Personnel System required that DOD (1) take all actions necessary for the orderly termination of NSPS and (2) transition of all employees and positions from NSPS to legacy personnel systems or, if applicable, to the personnel systems that would have applied if NSPS had never been established. The law also mandated that the transition be completed by no later than January 1, 2012 and required DOD to establish a new performance management system, among other things. At the time of last update in June 2013, DOD had completed its efforts to research and design a new performance management system, in coordination with the unions. More recently, on July 24, 2014, the department released its 3rd update to Congress on the design and implemenation of its new personnel management system. DOD is required to report every 6 months on its progress. In its most recent report, DOD discusses its intent to implement a new multi-level rating system, but does not provide specific details about any steps taken that would allow us to close the recommendation nor has it taken actions to implement a system at this time. According to the DOD official overseeing this effort, DOD has made progress and the next update scheduled to be issued in Decembr 2014 will have significant more detail about the efforts taken.
    Recommendation: To help implement a fair, effective, and credible performance management system for its civilian employees--whether NSPS or another--the Secretary of Defense should include, as part of the department's monitoring of the implementation of its system, efforts to monitor and evaluate how the safeguards specifically are implemented by lower-level organizations across the department.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 which repealed the National Security Personnel System required that DOD (1) take all actions necessary for the orderly termination of NSPS and (2) transition of all employees and positions from NSPS to legacy personnel systems or, if applicable, to the personnel systems that would have applied if NSPS had never been established. The law also mandated that the transition be completed by no later than January 1, 2012 and required DOD to establish a new performance management system, among other things. At the time of last update in June 2013, DOD had completed its efforts to research and design a new performance management system, in coordination with the unions. More recently, on July 24, 2014, the department released its 3rd update to Congress on the design and implemenation of its new personnel management system. DOD is required to report every 6 months on its progress. In its most recent report, DOD discusses its intent to implement a new multi-level rating system, but does not provide specific details about any steps taken that would allow us to close the recommendation nor has it taken actions to implement a system at this time. According to the DOD official overseeing this effort, DOD has made progress and the next update scheduled to be issued in Decembr 2014 will have significant more detail about the efforts taken.
    Director: Daly, Kay L
    Phone: 2025124063

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better understand the relationship of costs and revenues related to fees SSA collects for administering state SSI supplementation programs, the Commissioner of SSA should direct appropriate officials to study those costs to determine the full cost, including the cost of services provided by other entities for the benefit of SSA.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA is continuing with the roll out of the Employee Office Sampler to all field offices across the nation. According to SSA, this tool removes the manual aspect of the District Office Work Sampling process. A decision was made by SSA to update the Standard Time Values (STVs) used for costing out the full cost SSA incurs for processing state Social Security Insurance claims. SSA stated that it completed these studies in fiscal year 2012 and placed the new STVs into its Cost Analysis System for use in fiscal year 2013. According to SSA, this update allows SSA to more accurately capture the full cost of this work for the agency. In December 2016, SSA stated that it has completed the roll out of the Employee Office Sampler (EOS) to the field offices in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016. The Office of Financial Policy and Operations is currently working on a proposal for the IT Investment Process (ITIP) to roll out the EOS to the remaining operational components, targeted for early 2017.