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    Subject Term: Aircraft

    29 publications with a total of 78 open recommendations including 5 priority recommendations
    Director: Jennifer Grover
    Phone: (202) 512-7141

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of TSA should explore and pursue methods to assess the deterrent effect of TSA's passenger aviation security countermeasures; such an effort should identify FAMS—a countermeasure with a focus on deterring threats—as a top priority to address. (Recommendation 1)

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

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. When we confirm what actions TSA has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of TSA should systematically evaluate the potential cost and effectiveness tradeoffs across countermeasures, as TSA improves the reliability and extent of its information on the effectiveness of aviation security countermeasures. (Recommendation 2)

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

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and in its September 2017 response to our report, DHS stated that TSA will continue efforts to improve both its analysis of information related to security effectiveness and its cost information, leading to better informed cost-benefit decisions for individual countermeasures. To address the intent of our recommendation, TSA will need to evaluate the costs and effectiveness of individual aviation security countermeasures and then use this information to systematically evaluate the potential cost and effectiveness tradeoffs across countermeasures. When we confirm what actions TSA has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of CBP to assess and document how the alternative technological solutions being considered will fully meet operational needs related to ultralight aircraft.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and stated that it plans to assess and document requirements related to ultralight aircraft threats and how technological solutions will address these requirements as part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations air domain awareness efforts. DHS plans to complete these efforts by July 2018.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of CBP and the Director of ICE to jointly establish and monitor performance measures and targets related to cross-border tunnels.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and stated that U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will review available information and develop performance measures and targets as deemed appropriate by February 2018.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of CBP to establish and monitor performance targets related to ultralight aircraft.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred and stated that within U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations and the U.S. Border Patrol are developing a joint performance measure and targets for interdicting ultralight aircraft. DHS plans to complete these efforts by October 2017.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)-U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tunnel committee to convene and establish standard operating procedures for addressing cross-border tunnels, including procedures for sharing information.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS did not concur with this recommendation. However, CBP and ICE agreed that strengthening operational procedures may be beneficial and stated that they will jointly review procedures and discuss revising and/or consolidating the procedures. We continue to believe that the recommendation is valid and will monitor DHS's efforts to address it.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Commissioner of CBP, and the Director of ICE to establish and monitor Regional Coordinating Mechanisms performance measures and targets related to panga boat and recreational vessel smuggling.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS did not concur with this recommendation. DHS stated that that it believes that by establishing common terminology to address our first recommendation, the RECOMs will have more reliable, usable analyses to inform their maritime interdiction efforts. However, DHS did not believe that performance measures and targets related to smuggling by panga boats would provide the most useful strategic assessment of operations to prevent all illicit trafficking, regardless of area of operations or mode of transportation. DHS also cited the recent creation of the DHS Office of Policy, Strategy, and Plans that is to work with U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and other components and offices to better evaluate the effectiveness of all operations that work to prevent the illegal entry of goods and people into the country, as appropriate. We continue to believe that the recommendation is valid and will monitor DHS's efforts to address it.
    Director: Brian Lepore
    Phone: (202) 512-4523

    9 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the Department of Defense's ability to maintain its capability in the Asia-Pacific region, the Secretary of Defense should direct the appropriate entities to resolve selected identified capability deficiencies associated with the relocation in the movement of Marine Corps units by, for example, reconsidering when units should move to Guam to minimize leaving facilities vacant.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation and stated that the Marine Corps' plans for movement of units from Okinawa to Guam has considered many factors, including, among others, the capabilities required to support Pacific Command and the logistical requirements associated with the movement of forces. In its response, DOD stated that the Marine Corps is already working to ensure that its plan is continually refined to balance fiscal and construction realities with operational risk, capability requirements, and readiness. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the Department of Defense's ability to maintain its capability in the Asia-Pacific region, the Secretary of Defense should direct the appropriate entities to resolve selected identified capability deficiencies associated with the relocation in training needs in Iwakuni, Hawaii, and CNMI by, for example, identifying other suitable training areas.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation and stated that it has already conducted an extensive analysis of training needs. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the Department of Defense's ability to maintain its capability in the Asia-Pacific region, the Secretary of Defense should direct the appropriate entities to resolve selected identified capability deficiencies associated with the relocation in reduction in runway length at the Futenma Replacement Facility by, for example, selecting other runways that would support mission requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation and stated that it disagreed that the length of the runway planned at the Futenma Replacement Facility is a capability deficiency for the Marine Corps. DOD stated that, at the time of its agreement with Japan, it understood that the Futenma Replacement Facility would not possess a long runway and that the Marine Corps drove the final requirements to support the capabilities required for their missions at the Futenma Replacement Facility. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the Department of Defense's ability to maintain its capability in the Asia-Pacific region, the Secretary of Defense should direct the appropriate entities to resolve selected identified capability deficiencies associated with the relocation in challenges in Australia regarding seasonal changes and biosecurity requirements that affect equipment downtime by, for example, deciding on a location for the wet season and identifying a solution for biosecurity requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation and stated that these factors are not capability deficiencies but rather real-world constraints around which DOD and Australia are working to develop the most bilaterally beneficial annual program possible. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide DOD with reliable information on potential sources of delays for the design and construction of infrastructure in Guam, the Secretary of Defense should direct the appropriate entities to update the Marine Corps' integrated master schedule for Guam so that it meets the comprehensive, well-constructed, and credible characteristics for a reliable schedule. For example, the update to the schedule should include resources for nonconstruction activities.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation and stated it has begun updating its integrated master schedule based on our review to conform to the GAO Schedule Assessment Guide and plans to adopt the best practices of assigning resources and establishing activity durations to ensure the schedule is comprehensive. In its response, DOD also stated it plans to continue to work to verify that the schedule can be traced horizontally and vertically and conduct a schedule risk analysis. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide DOD and Congress with sufficient information to mitigate risks for infrastructure construction and sustainment, the Secretary of Defense should direct the appropriate entities to complete a Risk Management Plan for Guam, and include, at a minimum, plans to address: (1) construction labor shortages, (2) explosive--ordnance detection, (3) cultural-artifact discovery and preservation, and (4) protection of endangered species.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation and identified plans to mitigate risks for infrastructure construction and sustainment, such as coordinating with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to address foreign-worker visas, approving an explosive-safety exemption for construction projects in Guam and CNMI, and developing a monitoring and mitigation tracking plan to ensure Navy compliance and execution of environmental requirements. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide DOD and Congress with more-reliable information to inform funding decisions associated with the relocation of Marines to Guam, the Secretary of Defense should direct the appropriate entities to revise the cost estimates for Guam to address all best practices established by GAO's cost estimating guide. Specifically, the revisions to the cost estimates should include: a unifying Work Breakdown Structure, risk and sensitivity analyses, and an independent cost estimate.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD nonconcurred with this recommendation and stated that the department does not accept the assertion that GAO's best practices are universally applicable to a wide range of activities that includes military construction, acquisition, or basing. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide DOD and Congress with more-reliable information to inform funding decisions associated with the relocation of Marines to Hawaii and the establishment of a rotational presence in Australia, the Secretary of Defense should direct the appropriate entities to revise the DOD cost estimates for Hawaii to address all best practices for the comprehensive characteristic established by the GAO cost estimating guide, specifically to capture entire life-cycle costs and develop a Work Breakdown Structure.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation. In its response, the department agreed that good cost estimating practices are prudent for good decision making but did not agree that it should expend effort to update its cost estimates for the Hawaii program due to reasons of timing. Specifically, DOD stated that, for Hawaii, high-level cost estimates are sufficient at this early planning stage and a detailed Work Breakdown Structure is not needed. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide DOD and Congress with more-reliable information to inform funding decisions associated with the relocation of Marines to Hawaii and the establishment of a rotational presence in Australia, the Secretary of Defense should revise the DOD cost estimates for Australia to address all best practices for the comprehensive characteristic established by the GAO cost estimating guide, specifically to capture entire life-cycle costs and develop a Work Breakdown Structure.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation. In its response, the department agreed that good cost estimating practices are prudent for good decision making but did not agree that it should expend effort to update its cost estimates for the Australia program due to reasons of international agreements. Specifically, DOD stated in its response that, for Australia, the costs borne by DOD under this program will be subject to international agreement rather than the GAO cost estimating guide. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve its efforts to coordinate Predator B operations among supported agencies and assess the effectiveness of its Predator B and tactical aerostat programs, the Commissioner of CBP should develop and document procedures for Predator B coordination among supported agencies in all operating locations.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve its efforts to coordinate Predator B operations among supported agencies and assess the effectiveness of its Predator B and tactical aerostat programs, the Commissioner of CBP should update and maintain guidance for recording Predator B mission information in its data collection system.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve its efforts to coordinate Predator B operations among supported agencies and assess the effectiveness of its Predator B and tactical aerostat programs, the Commissioner of CBP should provide training to users of CBP's data collection system for Predator B missions.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve its efforts to coordinate Predator B operations among supported agencies and assess the effectiveness of its Predator B and tactical aerostat programs, the Commissioner of CBP should record air support forms for Predator B mission requests from non-CBP law enforcement agencies in its data collection system for Predator B missions.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve its efforts to coordinate Predator B operations among supported agencies and assess the effectiveness of its Predator B and tactical aerostat programs, the Commissioner of CBP should update Border Patrol's data collection practices to include a mechanism to distinguish and track asset assists associated with TARS from tactical aerostats.

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

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

    11 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help the Air Force in its effort to address UAS pilot shortfalls, and to help ensure that the Air Force strategies to address UAS pilot shortages are tailored to address remaining issues, such as the significant amount of pilots who are temporarily assigned to the UAS pilot career, the limited amount of cadet interest in the UAS pilot career, and the workload of UAS pilots, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to revise the Get Well Plan to address these issues.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help the Air Force in its effort to address UAS pilot shortfalls, and to help the Air Force ensure that its strategies are having the intended effects, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to monitor the extent to which that achieving the human capital goals in its strategy helps the Air Force achieve its programmatic goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help the Air Force in its effort to address UAS pilot shortfalls, and to help the Air Force ensure that it is poised to meet future needs for UAS pilots, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to explore the potential use of additional flexibilities that would enable it to increase the number of UAS pilots in its workforce.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help the Army in its effort to address UAS unit training shortfalls, and to help the Army identify challenges that UAS pilots face in completing their training, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to collect feedback from UAS pilots in UAS units, such as by surveying, or conducting focus groups with them.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help the Army in its effort to address UAS unit training shortfalls, and to help the Army identify challenges that UAS pilots face in completing their training, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to incorporate such feedback into the Army's strategy to address UAS training shortfalls.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help the Army in its effort to address UAS unit training shortfalls, and to help ensure that Army Shadow units meet minimum training requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to revise its strategy to address UAS training shortfalls to ensure that it is fully tailored to address training issues and address factors such as lack of adequate facilities, lack of access to airspace, and the inability to fly more than one UAS at a time.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help the Army in its effort to address UAS unit training shortfalls, and to help the Army ensure that it is basing its decisions to select individuals for UAS pilot training on sound evidence and to help it take advantage of the key benefits associated with effective personnel selection that could include reducing training costs, improving job performance, improving retention of qualified personnel, enabling leadership development, and enhancing organizational effectiveness, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to validate that the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery is an effective predictor of UAS pilot candidate performance in UAS pilot training and job performance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help the Army in its effort to address UAS unit training shortfalls, and to help the Army ensure that it is basing its decisions to select individuals for UAS pilot training on sound evidence and to help it take advantage of the key benefits associated with effective personnel selection that could include reducing training costs, improving job performance, improving retention of qualified personnel, enabling leadership development, and enhancing organizational effectiveness, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to assess existing research that has been performed that identifies UAS pilot competencies.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help the Army in its effort to address UAS unit training shortfalls, and to help the Army ensure that it is basing its decisions to select individuals for UAS pilot training on sound evidence and to help it take advantage of the key benefits associated with effective personnel selection that could include reducing training costs, improving job performance, improving retention of qualified personnel, enabling leadership development, and enhancing organizational effectiveness, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to incorporate relevant findings from such research into the Army's approach for selecting UAS pilot candidates, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help address personnel shortages and meet mission needs cost effectively, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, through the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness) should direct the Air Force and the Army to evaluate the workforce mix and the use of federal civilians for UAS pilot positions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help address personnel shortages and meet mission needs cost effectively, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, through the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness) should direct the Air Force and the Army to conduct cost analyses consistent with DOD guidance to inform their workforce decisions and ensure cost effectiveness of the UAS pilot workforce mix.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD's biennial core reporting procedures align with the reporting requirements in Section 2464 and each reporting agency provides accurate and complete information, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to update DOD's guidance--in particular DOD Instruction 4151.20--to require future Biennial Core Reports to include instructions to the reporting agencies on how to (1) report additional depot workload performed that has not been identified as a core requirement, (2) accurately capture inter-service workload, (3) calculate shortfalls, and (4) estimate the cost of planned workload.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To increase the transparency of future Biennial Core Reports, Congress should consider amending 10 USC 2464 to require DOD to include information such as (1) workload shortfalls at lower-level categories; (2) executed workload in similar categories that could be used to mitigate shortfalls; (3) progress on implementing mitigation plans; (4) data reported at the first-level category of the work breakdown structure, except for when shortfalls are identified; (5) explanations for first-level categories (i.e., Special Interest Items and Other) of the work breakdown structure; and (6) whether the core requirements reported in the previous Biennial Core Report have been executed.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we determine what steps the Congress has taken, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D.
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To respond to changes in the aviation and commercial space-transportation industries, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to fully examine and document whether the current regulatory framework is appropriate for aircraft that could be considered space support vehicles, and if not, suggest legislation or develop regulatory changes, or both, as applicable.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

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

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that annual training plans are aligned with the Air Force's stated goals to ensure that its forces can successfully achieve missions across a broad range of current and emerging threats, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to comprehensively reassess the assumptions underlying its annual training requirements--including, but not limited to, the total annual training requirements by aircraft, the criteria for designating aircrews as experienced or inexperienced, and the mix between live and simulator training--and make any appropriate adjustments in future training plans.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Air Force has taken steps to address this recommendation. As of August 2017, Air Force officials identified a recently completed study, as well as an ongoing study, intended to reassess the assumptions underlying its annual training requirements for fighter aircrews. For example, Air Force officials stated a study was completed in August 2017 reassessing the criteria for designating aircrews as experienced or inexperienced for 4th generation fighter aircraft. In addition, Air Force officials stated that there is an ongoing study to define the optimum mix of annual training requirements for fighter aircrews. These officials stated that an initial briefing of the study results will be provided to Air Force senior leaders in September 2017. Completion of these studies and the corresponding adjustments to annual training requirements should help the Air Force ensure that their training plans are aligned to achieve a range of missions for current and emerging threats as recommended by GAO in its September 2016 report.
    Recommendation: To improve the Air Force's ability to consistently monitor training results and better position it to allocate resources to address factors that limit the effectiveness of training, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to establish desired learning objectives and training support elements needed to accomplish the training expectations in its annual Ready Aircrew Program tasking memorandums, and develop a process to collect data to assess the effectiveness of annual training against these features.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, no executive action has been taken. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the Air Force's ability to develop the capabilities needed to meet its virtual training needs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to continue to refine its planning for virtual training to incorporate the desirable characteristics of a comprehensive strategy, including developing a risk-based investment strategy that identifies and prioritizes capability needs and includes a time line for addressing them.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Air Force has taken steps to address this recommendation. As of August 2017, Air Force officials stated that the service is in the process of updating its Air Force Operational Training Infrastructure 2035 Flight Plan. This plan will be accompanied by an infrastructure funding strategy and classified supplement. These officials stated that among these three documents the Air Force will incorporate all of the desirable characteristics of a comprehensive strategy. Air Force officials estimate that these documents will be finalized in the fall of 2017. Completion of these documents should help the Air Force incorporate the desirable characteristics of a comprehensive strategy and better enable the Air Force to acquire virtual training devices based on sound requirements and priorities, as recommended by GAO in its September 2016.
    Director: John H. Pendleton
    Phone: (202) 512-3489

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To make a well-informed decision about the future of its A-10 aircraft, before again recommending divestment of the A-10, the Secretary of the Air Force should: (1) Develop quality information that fully identifies gaps in capacity or capability that would result from A-10 divestment, including the timing and duration of any identified gaps, and the risks associated with those gaps; and (2) Use that information to develop strategies to mitigate any identified gaps.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To further inform decisions about the future of the A-10, the Secretary of the Air Force should, in considering divestment, develop a high-quality, reliable cost estimate utilizing best practices.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure that senior leaders have the quality information on which to base future force structure decisions, the Secretary of Defense should develop and promulgate department-wide guidance that establishes specific informational requirements to be met before proposing divestment of major weapon systems that have not reached the end of their expected service lives.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202) 512-28334

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance FAA's risk-based approach for oversight of repair stations, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to develop and implement a process in Flight Standards for incorporating into SAS the volume of critical maintenance that each U.S. airline contracts to repair stations.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA did not concur with this recommendation. In July 2017, GAO confirmed that FAA does not plan to implement the recommendation because the agency believes the subjective nature of volume of work makes it an ineffective risk indicator. While FAA does not specifically assess volume of work as a primary factor in determining risk at repair stations, the agency does monitor many risks factors as primary risk indicators. Many of these risk indicators are associated with important aspects of work volume such as high workforce turnover; changes in management; rapid growth or downsizing; changes in aircraft complexity/programs; financial conditions; age of fleet and increases in aircraft discrepancies. FAA considers these factors and the criticality of a specific maintenance action on the safe operation of an aircraft to be primary risk indicators.
    Recommendation: To enhance FAA's risk-based approach for oversight of repair stations, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to develop and implement an evaluative process with measurable performance goals and measures to determine the effectiveness of SAS as the SMS safety assurance component.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, GAO confirmed that FAA plans to develop overall program goals and metrics as part of the next implementation phase of its new Safety Assurance System. These metrics are expected to be fully developed based on the final design of the new system and the program requirements identified, which is scheduled to be completed in December 2017.
    Director: Susan A. Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve PHMSA's oversight of the explosives classification process, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the PHMSA Administrator to develop and implement a systematic approach for improving the guidance PHMSA provides test labs.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: PHMSA concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. When we confirm what actions PHMSA has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Asif A. Khan
    Phone: (202) 512-9869

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve budgeting and management of carryover, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Army Materiel Command to incorporate in its regulation provisions for a repair process that includes upfront communication and coordination among AMC and non-AMC stakeholders that will result in the development of a well-defined scope of work and parts needed by the Industrial Operations activities to perform the repair work that will help reduce carryover.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD stated that the Army will enforce policy and business rules that require Organic Industrial Base facilities to communicate with their customers early to verify the scope of work and ensure that the Army has the required capability, capacity, equipment, and parts needed to meet delivery schedules and avoid excessive carryover. DOD also stated that it will update its policy and publish its draft regulation during fiscal year 2017.
    Director: Jennifer Grover
    Phone: (202) 512-7141

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better position the Coast Guard to effectively plan its Arctic operations, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should develop measures, as appropriate, for gauging how the agency's actions have helped to mitigate the Arctic capability gaps.

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

    Comments: In June 2016, we reviewed and reported on the U.S. Coast Guard's efforts in the Arctic. We found that the Coast Guard had taken actions to implement its Arctic strategy and conduct Arctic operations, which may help the Coast Guard to better understand and mitigate identified Arctic capability gaps. Further, we found that the Coast Guard was tracking, or had plans to track, its various activities in the Arctic, but that it had not developed measures to systematically assess how its actions have helped to mitigate Arctic capability gaps. We recommended that the Coast Guard develop measures, as appropriate, for gauging how the agency's actions have helped to mitigate the Arctic capability gaps. In response to our recommendation, in August 2016, the Coast Guard reported that specific measures for some activities would be developed and included as part of the Coast Guard's update to its implementation plan for its Arctic strategy. In March 2017, the Coast Guard reported that it completed an annual review of its implementation plan in January 2017. However, officials stated that technology updates and modifications to its tracking tool are required to better represent the completion percentage. To fully address this recommendation, the Coast Guard will need to finalize the development of its measures to gauge how its actions have helped to mitigate Arctic capability gaps.
    Recommendation: To better position the Coast Guard to effectively plan its Arctic operations, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should design and implement a process to systematically assess the extent to which actions taken agency-wide have helped mitigate the Arctic capability gaps for which it has responsibility.

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

    Comments: In June 2016, we reviewed and reported on the U.S. Coast Guard's efforts in the Arctic. We found that the Coast Guard had taken actions to implement its Arctic strategy and conduct Arctic operations, which may help the Coast Guard to better understand and mitigate identified Arctic capability gaps. Further, we found that the Coast Guard was tracking, or had plans to track, its various activities in the Arctic, but that it had not systematically assessed how its actions have helped to mitigate Arctic capability gaps. We recommended that the Coast Guard design and implement a process to systematically assess the extent to which actions taken agency-wide have helped mitigate the Arctic capability gaps for which it has responsibility, so that it will better understand the status of these gaps and be better positioned to effectively plan its Arctic operations. In August 2016, the Coast Guard reported that through its annual review of its implementation plan for its Arctic Strategy, that it will systematically assess how its actions have mitigated capability gaps for which it is the lead agency under the Implementation Framework for the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. In March 2017, the Coast Guard reported that it completed an annual review of its implementation plan in January 2017 which resulted in the consolidation, removal, and addition of Arctic initiatives. Further, officials stated that the Coast Guard will continue to work with the Arctic Executive Steering Committee to provide information for the tracking and measurement of national capabilities, needs and gaps, and impacts in the Arctic Region. To fully address this recommendation, the Coast Guard will need to assess how its actions have helped to mitigate Arctic capability gaps, and provide documentation that identifies the progress it has made in helping to mitigate Arctic capability gaps.
    Director: Jennifer A. Grover
    Phone: (202) 512-7141

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve transparency in allocating its limited resources, and to help ensure that its resource allocation decisions are the most effective ones for fulfilling its missions given existing risks, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should document how the risk assessments conducted were used to inform and support its annual asset allocation decisions.

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

    Comments: On December 14, 2016, the Coast Guard noted that the FY 2017 Strategic Planning Direction (SPD) was issued on October 1, 2016, which addresses GAO's recommendation and requested closure of this recommendation. In reviewing the FY 2017 SPD, however, it was not clear how risk assessments were conducted or the impact, if any, that risk factors had on asset allocations. GAO requested details on these issues on 12-17-2016 and as of 1-25-2017 GAO had not received any additional information, so this recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To ensure that high priority mission activities are fully supported with the appropriate number of staff possessing the requisite mix of skills and abilities, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should develop a systematic process that prioritizes manpower requirements analyses for units that are the most critical for achieving mission needs.

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

    Comments: On December 14, 2016, the Coast Guard noted the following: CG-1B submitted two FY 2019 Resource Proposals to staff and equip the Manpower Requirements Determination Division to conduct the analysis as described in the recommendation. Estimated completion: TBD. On March 24, 2017, the Coast Guard noted that it continues to prioritize and analyze manpower requirements and is tracking an initiative to catalogue and validate all DHS manpower modeling/analysis programs, but noted that the estimated completion for the recommendation remains as TBD.
    Recommendation: To improve the strategic allocation of assets, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should incorporate field unit input, such as information on assets' actual performance from Operational Performance Assessment Reports and Planning Assessments, to inform more realistic asset allocation decisions--in addition to asset performance capacities currently used--in the annual Strategic Planning Directions to more effectively communicate strategic intent to field units.

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

    Comments: On December 14, 2016, the Coast Guard noted that the Atlantic Area and Pacific Area Commands' Operational Planning Directions (OPDs) were approved and provided to their field units in July 2016 and August 2016, respectively, and that the OPDs took into account the actual performance of the assets in the allocation of asset hours to field units in line with GAO's recommendation. The Coast Guard requested closure of this recommendation. However, in reviewing the provided planning documents, it was not clear how asset allocations were changed to reflect actual asset performance by the field units, so GAO asked for further details on 12-17-2016. As of 1-25-2017, GAO had not received any updated information, so this recommendation remains open.
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that risks associated with ALIS are addressed expediently and holistically, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer to improve the reliability of its cost estimates, conduct uncertainty and sensitivity analyses consistent with cost-estimating best practices identified in GAO's Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD officials, the F-35 Program regularly performs sensitivity analysis in its cost estimates. The F-35 Cost Team runs drills throughout the year on varying ground rules and assumptions for all elements of the sustainment Annual Cost Estimate (ACE), including ALIS cost elements. These drills are used to assess cost impacts of various proposed requirements changes from the F-35 Program Office and the Services. The cost models capture the sensitivity of those technical baseline changes and the F-35 Program Office and Services use those results to inform the final technical baseline definition that becomes the basis of the annual estimate update. Although these measures are regularly performed, they do not constitute a direct uncertainty or sensitivity analysis on ALIS itself. For that reason, as of September 2017, this recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To ensure that risks associated with ALIS are addressed expediently and holistically, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer to improve the reliability of its cost estimates, ensure that future estimates of ALIS costs use historical data as available and reflect significant program changes consistent with cost-estimating best practices identified in GAO's Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD officials, as part of the cost estimating processes in the F-35 Program Office, the sustainment Annual Cost Estimate does incorporate the latest available historical cost data and reflects the latest approved technical baseline. For example, the latest hardware procurement costs from the most recent annual contracts for the F-35 were incorporated into the 2016 Annual Cost Estimate update as were the manpower assembly installation costs based on final delivered item prices. Although these are positive measures for the program and the cost estimate, the program has not incorporated a range of potential future costs that may better reflect actual ALIS costs. Until this step is taken, the recommendation will remain open.
    Director: Gerald Dillingham, Ph.D
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve the U.S. aviation sector's preparedness for future communicable disease threats from abroad, the Secretary of Transportation should work with relevant stakeholders, such as the Department of Health and Human Services, to develop a national aviation-preparedness plan for communicable disease outbreaks. Such a plan could establish a mechanism for coordination between the aviation and public health sectors and provides clear and transparent planning assumptions for a variety of types and levels of communicable disease threats.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

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

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To implement a more effective international strategy for achieving NextGen interoperability with other nations, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to conduct a risk assessment to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities to NextGen interoperability and establish timeframes for periodically re-evaluating these risks.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To implement a more effective international strategy for achieving NextGen interoperability with other nations, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to identify and document actions FAA will undertake to mitigate these risks, using information from the risk assessment as a basis for making management decisions about how to allocate resources for these activities.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

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

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In October 2016, DOD had undertaken multiple efforts to re-evaluate the F-35 warfighting requirements. The Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a memo in May 2016 to the congressional defense committees that revalidated the program's current procurement profile. However, the memo noted that there were a number of factors that will need to be analyzed to fully re-evaluate the F-35 warfighting requirements including production and sustainment costs, force structure, and DOD's ability to achieve strategic and operational objectives under its current plans. As of May 2017, the Department was in the process of conducting an affordability analysis and preparing a final response. The final response is expected to be completed in the summer of 2017.
    Director: Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D.
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To better ensure that cybersecurity threats to NextGen systems are addressed, given the challenges FAA faces in meeting the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) guidance to implement the latest security controls in the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) revised guidelines within one year of issuance, the Secretary of Transportation should instruct the FAA Administrator to develop a plan to fund and implement the NIST revisions within OMB's time frames.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOT concurred with this recommendation. FAA officials told us the agency is unable to implement all requirements within OMB's one-year time frame based on resource availability to address the number of FAA's FISMA reportable systems and NIST's newly revised requirements. As such, FAA's approach to achieve compliance with the most current NIST security controls (NIST SP 800-53 Revision 4) is to adopt a three-year assessment cycle where at least one-third (1/3) of these controls for all systems are assessed each year over a three year period. Each system will be fully assessed against all new and modified security controls in the current revision by the end of fiscal year 2017. Systems with weaknesses that could be exploited by adversaries may be at increased risk if relevant controls are not implemented. A three-year assessment cycle may not be adequate to maintain currency with NIST standards as future revisions are released. Therefore, FAA should report to OMB on how its alternative plan for implementing revised NIST standards will be adequate to protect the security of NextGen systems. As of October 2016, FAA is in the final stages of developing a plan to fund and implement the NIST revisions within OMB's time frames. FAA said it plans to implement the recommendation in 2017. The agency will request closure for the recommendation once the plan has been completed.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The legislated cost cap for Ford-class aircraft carrier construction provides a limit on procurement funds. However, the legislation also provides for adjustments to the cost cap. To understand the true cost of each Ford-class ship, Congress should consider revising the cost cap legislation to ensure that all work included in the initial ship cost estimate that is deferred to post-delivery and outfitting account is counted against the cost cap. If warranted, the Navy would be required to seek statutory authority to increase the cap.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: This recommendation remains open to allow Congress time to consider legislation amending the cost cap for the Ford class of aircraft carriers. The current version of the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2810) does not amend the current cost cap legislation.
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    6 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help DOD develop an affordable sustainment strategy for the F-35, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics to direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer to establish affordability constraints linked to, and informed by, military service budgets that will help guide sustainment decisions, prioritize requirements, and identify additional areas for savings by March 2015, at which point the Future Support Construct decision will be approved.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation and stated in April 2017 that the F-35 Program Executive Officer and the F-35 enterprise have expanded their collaborative effort to reduce F-35 operating and support (O&S) costs to ensure that they deliver affordable readiness for the F-35 fleet. In an effort to reduce overall O&S costs, the department has undertaken several initiatives. For example, according to DOD, as of January 2017, a program office "cost war room" initiative had reduced the 2012 F-35 annual cost estimate by $60.7 billion. Additionally, according to DOD, a Reliability and Maintainability Improvement Program has resulted in a $1.7 billion O&S cost avoidance through the program's life cycle. Other efforts are also under way that aim to help reduce O&S costs by better informing sustainment decision-making. While the department is taking steps to try to reduce overall O&S costs, the program has yet to develop affordability constraints linked to the military services' budgets. Without affordability constraints that are linked to military service budgets, it remains unclear the extent to which the military services can afford to operate and sustain the F-35 throughout its life cycle as currently planned.
    Recommendation: To help DOD address key risks to F-35 affordability and operational readiness, and to improve the reliability of its O&S cost estimates for the life cycle of the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer, to enable DOD to better identify, address, and mitigate performance issues with the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) that could have an effect on affordability, as well as readiness, to establish a performance-measurement process for ALIS that includes, but is not limited to, performance metrics and targets that (1) are based on intended behavior of the system in actual operations and (2) tie system performance to user requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD officials, the ALIS Integrated Product Team (IPT) is continuing to work with the Joint Program Office's Performance Based Logistics (PBL) team to further develop and refine appropriate metrics for inclusion into future sustainment contracts. Although DOD has made progress in developing performance metrics for ALIS, as of September 2017, DOD has yet to develop metrics that are based on intended behavior of the system and tie system performance to user requirements. Until this progression is made, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To help DOD address key risks to F-35 affordability and operational readiness, and to improve the reliability of its O&S cost estimates for the life cycle of the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer, to develop a high level of confidence that the aircraft will achieve its R+M goals, to develop a software reliability and maintainability (R+M) assessment process, with metrics, by which the program can monitor and determine the effect that software issues may have on overall F-35 R+M issues.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has an R&M assessment process in place, but as of September 2017, had not developed a process that would focus directly on software reliability and maintainability. Until DOD develops a process more focused on software and its effects on overall R&M issues, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To help DOD address key risks to F-35 affordability and operational readiness, and to improve the reliability of its O&S cost estimates for the life cycle of the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer, to promote competition, address affordability, and inform its overarching sustainment strategy, to develop a long-term Intellectual Property (IP) Strategy to include, but not be limited to, the identification of (1) current levels of technical data rights ownership by the federal government and (2) all critical technical data needs and their associated costs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has still not developed an overall strategy that would identify data rights ownership, needs, and costs. As of September 2017, the program had taken some steps to develop an Intellectual Property Strategy, but has not identified all critical needs and their associated costs. Program office officials said that they are currently working with the prime contractor to develop a list of technical data requirements. Until this strategy is developed, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To help DOD address key risks to F-35 affordability and operational readiness, and to improve the reliability of its O&S cost estimates for the life cycle of the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer, to understand the potential range of costs associated with the JPO F-35 O&S cost estimate, to conduct uncertainty analyses on future JPO estimates.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, DOD had not applied risk/uncertainty analyses to its cost estimates. Until it does so, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of the CAPE F-35 O&S cost estimate, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of CAPE, for future F-35 O&S cost estimates, to conduct uncertainty analyses to understand the potential range of costs associated with its estimates to reflect the most likely costs associated with the program.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD officials, the Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) has not updated its F-35 estimate subsequent to the release of GAO-14-778. Pending a major program change, CAPE will update the F-35 O&S estimate for the full-rate production decision point in the second quarter of fiscal year 2019. Until CAPE updates its F-35 estimate, we will not be able to determine if they will perform any uncertainty analyses on its cost estimate; therefore, this recommendation will remain open as of September 1, 2017.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that NOAA has sufficient information and analysis to guide long-term decisions regarding its aircraft, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the NOAA Administrator to ensure that the agency links and integrates its multiple planning efforts as it finalizes a capital asset plan for aircraft.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations is working to complete its various planning efforts activities and integrate the key components with a comprehensive aircraft modernization plan that it expects to finalize in fall 2017.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

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

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

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

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

    Comments: Based on this recommendation, Congress has requested that the Coast Guard develop a 20-year plan that identifies all acquisitions needed to maintain the Coast Guard's current level of service and the financial commitment necessary to achieve this plan. As a part of a series of testimonies in June and July 2017, we found that Coast Guard officials stated they are developing a 20-year Capital Investment Plan (CIP), but the timeframe for completion is unknown. The Coast Guard does, however, submit a 5-year CIP annually to Congress that projects acquisition funding needs for the upcoming 5 years. GAO found the CIPs do not match budget realities in that tradeoffs are not included. In the 20-year CIP, GAO would expect to see all acquisitions needed to maintain current service levels and the fiscal resources to build the identified assets as well as tradeoffs in light of funding constraints.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure the accuracy of its Senior Federal Official Travel Reports, the Administrator of GSA should collect additional information from agencies on instances where travel is not being reported because of an exemption for intelligence agencies, as opposed to some other reason, and include such information in its reports where departmental data do not include trips pursuant to an agency's exercise of a reporting exemption.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Chris P. Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal agencies fully reimburse DOD for special air missions when required to do so, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer to revise guidance and require that DOD organizations develop and implement a process that identifies and tracks each special air mission, such as tracking by mission number or another unique identifier, from billing through reimbursement for all applicable costs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2014, DOD does not have any information on actions taken on this recommendation. As of July 2015, the Department plans to address this recommendation during the next policy rewrite cycle. In the short term, the Special Air Missions office in coordination with OSD Executive Secretary has stressed with external agencies requesting reimbursable travel include the mission number as well as a line of accounting on their travel request memorandum. The Financial Management office at Joint Base Andrews as well as DFAS have also revamped their procedures and are tracking each reimbursable mission by a unique five digit mission number. According to a senior officer at the Special Air Missions Office, they continue to process the monthly bills in the same manner as before the audit and provide the 89th Airlift Wing/Financial Management with a monthly accounting by mission number for the various missions flown. The mission number along with the cost of the reimbursable travel is provided by CVAM to the Financial Management office at Joint Base Andrews. According to an officer in the 89th Airlift Wing Comptroller at Joint Base Andrews, they are still waiting for a policy re-write from DoD for special air missions. In the meantime, they track each mission by mission number from billing through the reimbursement process, and process the bills for reimbursement on a monthly basis after receiving the consolidated list from CVAM. There have been a couple of glitches with a few users that did not send funding before traveling and the comptroller is working to resolve that issue.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help the agencies enhance their abilities to identify their firefighting aircraft needs and better ensure they obtain aircraft that meet those needs, the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior should direct the Chief of the Forest Service and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Safety, Resource Protection, and Emergency Services, respectively, to, subsequent to the completion of the first two recommendations, update the agencies' strategy documents for providing a national firefighting aircraft fleet to include analysis based on information on aircraft performance and effectiveness and to reflect input from stakeholders throughout the fire aviation community.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to Forest Service and Interior officials, the National Interagency Aviation Committee, which includes members from both agencies, has drafted an Aviation Strategy and has solicited feedback from interagency stakeholders. The committee plans to present the strategy for senior level review in October 2017. The Forest Service additionally reports that it has begun developing its own aviation strategy for 2019-2023, and expects to certify it by September, 2018. The Forest Service strategy will be linked to the Interagency Aviation Strategy.
    Recommendation: To help the agencies enhance their abilities to identify their firefighting aircraft needs and better ensure they obtain aircraft that meet those needs, the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior should direct the Chief of the Forest Service and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Safety, Resource Protection, and Emergency Services, respectively, to, subsequent to the completion of the first two recommendations, update the agencies' strategy documents for providing a national firefighting aircraft fleet to include analysis based on information on aircraft performance and effectiveness and to reflect input from stakeholders throughout the fire aviation community.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to Forest Service and Interior officials, the National Interagency Aviation Committee, which includes members from both agencies, has drafted an Aviation Strategy and has solicited feedback from interagency stakeholders. The committee plans to present the strategy for senior level review in October 2017.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help maximize the use of available capacity at slot-controlled airports, enhance competition through greater airline access to slots, and enhance transparency of slot information, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to apply slot rules to individual slots, as opposed to pools of slots within a slot period.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2015, the FAA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the New York City area airports. The proposal included changes to how the FAA would determine compliance with minimum slot usage rules similar to GAO's recommendation and the WSG. Under that concept, a slot would only be considered for a flight or series of flights in a single slot and not potentially applied or averaged to more than one slot. The NPRM was withdrawn by DOT and FAA in April 2016 to allow further evaluation of recent changes in demand, competition, operations, and other factors in the New York City area airports. The FAA and the Office of the Secretary continue to evaluate the circumstances at the New York City area airports and DCA and, if necessary, will consider steps to ensure compliance with minimum slot usage, including future rulemaking.
    Recommendation: To help maximize the use of available capacity at slot-controlled airports, enhance competition through greater airline access to slots, and enhance transparency of slot information, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to periodically disclose information, which may include current slot holders and operators, on currently available slots.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The FAA currently provides the public with slot holder and slot operator information and allocated slot levels by period upon request. Additionally, the FAA regularly discusses slot availability with interested parties. The FAA is also working on a Slot Administration Office webpage that would include references to current rules, orders, other agency actions, and related guidance materials. We anticipate the website will be available in 2017. The website will include commonly requested reports, such as slot holder, slot operator, and uneven slot transfer lists on a quarterly basis.
    Recommendation: To help maximize the use of available capacity at slot-controlled airports, enhance competition through greater airline access to slots, and enhance transparency of slot information, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to collect and disclose data, including the relationship between lessors and lessees, on slot leases.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The FAA has historically maintained a listing of slot transfers between non-commonly owned or non-commonly marketed carriers. These are known as uneven transfers and include transfers other than one-for-one-swaps at the same airport. This list is regularly made available on request. The uneven transfer information will be placed on the FAA Slot Administration Office website discussed in the update to Recommendation 4. The FAA also requires carriers to submit information on the specific slot(s) to be transferred, including the gaining and losing carriers and the effective dates.
    Recommendation: With respect to possible future regulatory action, the DOT Secretary should consider requiring airlines to schedule a certain percentage, or all, of their slot allocations, similar to practices maintained elsewhere in the world.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department concurs that any future rulemaking should consider changes to the minimum slot usage rules to improve slot utilization at the slot controlled airports and provide greater harmonization with industry standards applied at airports outside the U.S. The FAA and the Department of Transportation stated that they will evaluate the circumstances at the New York City area airports and DCA and, if necessary, will consider steps to improve slot utilization, including future rulemaking.
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202)512-4803

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help FAA improve the data on and the safety of air cargo operations, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to gather comprehensive and accurate data on all part 135 cargo operations to gain a better understanding of air cargo accident rates and better target safety initiatives. This can be done by separating out cargo activity in FAA's annual survey of aircraft owners or by requiring all part 135 cargo carriers to report operational data as part 121 carriers currently do.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2017, FAA reported that the agency has determined that a redesign of the General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Survey (GA Survey) is not required to address the recommendation, as originally considered. Beginning with the GA survey for year 2016--survey results are being processed--FAA will identify aircraft certified for cargo operations and use the certificate type to break out operational data for cargo operations. FAA also discussed this plan with stakeholders, including the Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association, and believe this new approach will meet the recommendation for gathering comprehensive and accurate data on all part 135 cargo operations. In June 2017, FAA informed us that the agency expects to release the 2016 GA survey by October 31, 2017.