Reports & Testimonies

  • GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed.

    GAO’s recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented. You can explore open recommendations by searching or browsing.

    GAO's priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention. We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues. These recommendations are labeled as such. You can find priority recommendations by searching or browsing our open recommendations below, or through our mobile app.

  • Browse Open Recommendations

    Explore priority recommendations by subject terms or browse by federal agency

    Search Open Recommendations

    Search for a specific priority recommendation by word or phrase



  • Governing on the go?

    Our Priorities for Policy Makers app makes it easier for leaders to search our recommendations on the go.

    See the November 10th Press Release


  • Have a Question about a Recommendation?

    • For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation.
    • For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.
  • « Back to Results List Sort by   

    Results:

    Subject Term: Assets

    20 publications with a total of 51 open recommendations including 3 priority recommendations
    Director: Jennifer Grover
    Phone: (202) 512-7141

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Commandant of the Coast Guard should establish and follow a sound air station optimization process similar to its process for analyzing boat stations to allow it to comprehensively analyze its need for air stations and air facilities and determine what changes may be needed. (Recommendation 1)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Commandant of the Coast Guard should establish a plan with target dates and milestones for closing boat stations that it has determined, through its 9-step process and subsequent analysis, provide overlapping search and rescue coverage and are unnecessarily duplicative. (Recommendation 2)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Commandant of the Coast Guard should take action to close the stations identified according to its plan and target dates. (Recommendation 3)

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

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

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness, in collaboration with the Director, Defense Logistics Agency; the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force; the Commandant of the Marine Corps; the Commander of the United States Transportation Command; and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to use the key attributes of successful performance measures--including clarity, measurable target, objectivity, reliability, baseline and trend data, and linkage--in refining the performance measures in subsequent updates to the Strategy to improve DOD's efforts to monitor asset visibility initiatives.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD, in its comments on the draft report, partially concurred. DOD stated that it recognizes the need for performance measures to ensure the success of an asset visibility improvement effort but noted that the level of complexity and granularity of the metrics we suggest may not be suitable for all initiatives. DOD also stated that the purpose of the Strategy is to create a framework whereby the components can work collaboratively to coordinate and integrate department-wide efforts to improve asset visibility, not to provide complete direction on how to define, implement, and oversee these initiatives. Additionally, DOD stated that the next edition of the Strategy will encourage the adoption of our six key attributes for asset visibility initiatives to the extent appropriate, but will not mandate their use. As discussed in our report, use of the key attributes in measuring the performance of asset visibility initiatives would help DOD to better assess department-wide progress against the goals in its Strategy and clarify what additional steps need to be taken to enable decision makers to exercise effective oversight. Encouraging adoption of the key attributes, as DOD plans to do, is a positive step, but we continue to believe that DOD needs to use these key attributes to refine its performance measures to monitor the initiatives in the future.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness, in collaboration with the Director, Defense Logistics Agency; the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force; the Commandant of the Marine Corps; the Commander of the United States Transportation Command; and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to incorporate into after-action reports information relating to performance measures for the asset visibility initiatives when evaluating and closing these initiatives to ensure that implemented initiatives will achieve the goals and objectives in the Strategies.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD, in its comments on the draft report, partially concurred. DOD stated that it is important to capture and review performance data prior to a component closing an asset visibility initiative, but that the Strategy after-action report is not intended to be used to evaluate the success of an asset visibility initiative or to determine if an initiative has met its intended objectives. According to DOD, documentation and information to support the evaluation of initiatives is defined by and executed in accordance with component-level policy and procedures. DOD agreed to update its Strategy to clarify the purpose and use of the after-action reports and to ensure that the Strategy specifies roles and responsibilities for evaluating and closing initiatives. DOD?s response, however, did not state whether and how these updates to the Strategy would result in more consistent incorporation of information relating to performance measures when closing initiatives in the future. As we noted previously in this report, according to the 2015 Strategy, the after-action report for closed initiatives should include information on the objectives met, problems or gaps resolved, and measures of success obtained. We believe our recommendation is consistent with this guidance. Without incorporating this information, DOD does not have assurance that closed initiatives have been fully assessed and have resulted in achieving the goals and objectives of the Strategies. Therefore, we continue to believe that full implementation of our recommendation is needed.
    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: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the elements of the agency's process for making asset maintenance decisions are achieving desired outcomes, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Park Service to evaluate the Capital Investment Strategy and its results to determine if it is achieving its intended outcomes or if changes need to be made.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its March 22, 2017 update, the Department of the Interior stated that they concur with this recommendation and will assign responsibility for developing and implementing corrective actions to the new Director of NPS upon his or her confirmation.
    Director: Charles Jeszeck
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist IRA owners in addressing challenges associated with investing their retirement savings in unconventional assets, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should provide guidance to IRA owners on the potential for IRA transactions involving certain unconventional assets to generate unrelated business taxable income subject to taxation in the current tax year and subsequent years. For example, IRS could consider adding an explicit caution in Publication 590 Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) and include a link in Publication 590 to Publication 598 Tax on Unrelated Business Income of Exempt Organizations to provide examples demonstrating how certain unconventional assets in IRAs can generate unrelated business income tax for account owners.

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

    Comments: IRS stated that it would add during the calendar year 2017 scheduled update, language to Publication 590-A, Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRA), cautioning IRA owners about the possibility of unrelated business taxable income if the IRA owner engages in certain transactions or purchases certain assets. GAO will consider closing this recommendation when the agency has completed this effort.
    Recommendation: To assist IRA owners in addressing challenges associated with investing their retirement savings in unconventional assets, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should provide guidance to IRA owners and custodians on how to determine and document fair market value (FMV) for certain categories of hard-to-value unconventional assets. For example, IRS could consider updating Form 5498 instructions to custodians on how to document FMV for hard-to-value assets (e.g., last-known FMV based on independent appraisal, acquisition price) and provide guidance directed at account owners that provides examples of how to ascertain FMV for different types of unconventional assets.

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

    Comments: IRS agreed that guidance should be provided to IRA owners and custodians and stated that the guidance could be provided as part of an item currently on the 2016-2017 Priority Guidance Plan. IRS will recommend to Treasury that the regulation project address this issue. We will consider closing this recommendation when the agency provides documentation that this effort has been completed.
    Recommendation: To assist IRA owners in addressing challenges associated with investing their retirement savings in unconventional assets, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should clarify the content of the model custodial agreement to distinguish what has been reviewed and approved by IRS and what has not. For example, IRS could consider: (1) restricting custodians from stating that the form has been "preapproved by the IRS" on the form; (2) adding language to specify which articles have been preapproved by the IRS and which have not; and (3) limiting custodians from adding provisions to the model form other than those preapproved by the IRS.

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

    Comments: IRS reported that it will change during the next scheduled update of the model agreements, the "pre-approved by IRS" statement to clarify that only the first seven articles of Form 5305, Traditional Individual Retirement Trust Account, and Form 5305-A, Traditional Individual Retirement Custodial Account, are approved by IRS. GAO will consider closing this recommendation when the agency has completed this effort.
    Director: Brian J. Lepore
    Phone: (202) 512-4523

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the Office of the Secretary of Defense's (OSD) oversight of the services' progress in implementing the standardized process for assessing facility conditions and recording facility condition ratings based on that process, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment should revise its guidance to clarify how--either in DOD's Real Property Assets Database or by some other mechanism--the services are to indicate when a facility condition rating recorded in DOD's Real Property Assets Database is based on the standardized process.

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

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with our recommendation that the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment revise its guidance to clarify how--either in DOD's Real Property Assets Database or by some other mechanism--the services are to indicate when a facility condition rating recorded in DOD's Real Property Assets Database is based on the standardized process. As of October 2016, DOD has not completed any actions to implement this recommendation.
    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: J. Alfredo Gómez
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: As EPA and USDA continue to consider ways to track and promote water utilities' implementation of asset management, the Administrator of EPA should direct the Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water and Office of Wastewater Management to continue to include questions on water utilities' use of asset management in the clean water needs assessment and consider including questions about water utilities' use of asset management in future drinking water infrastructure needs assessment surveys.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 2017, EPA has convened a workgroup of 40 people representing states, technical advisers, EPA, and USDA. It will develop new asset management outreach tools directed towards local decision makers. The group will meet quarterly and plans to issue tools and resources by fall 2017.
    Recommendation: As EPA and USDA continue to consider ways to track and promote water utilities' implementation of asset management, the Administrator of EPA, and the Secretary of USDA, through the Rural Development Agency, should consider compiling into one document the existing cases and examples of the benefits and costs of asset management and widely share this information with water utilities.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, EPA has convened a workgroup of 40 people representing states, technical advisers, EPA, and USDA. It will develop new asset management outreach tools directed towards local decision makers. The group will meet quarterly and plans to issue tools and resources by fall 2017.
    Recommendation: As EPA and USDA continue to consider ways to track and promote water utilities' implementation of asset management, the Administrator of EPA, and the Secretary of USDA, through the Rural Development Agency, should consider compiling into one document the existing cases and examples of the benefits and costs of asset management and widely share this information with water utilities.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, EPA had convened a workgroup of 40 people representing states, technical advisers, EPA, and USDA. It will develop new asset management outreach tools directed towards local decision makers. The group will meet quarterly and plans to issue a best practices document by April 2017 and a webinar by May 2017.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address different interpretations of cutter boat requirements, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should direct the NSC program office to clarify the NSC's key performance parameters for the cutter boat operations (specifically the launch and recovery of cutter boats).

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

    Comments: The Coast Guard is in the process of updating the operator's handbook for the Long Range Interceptor II cutter boat to clarify that it is capable of operating through sea state 5, which will meet the National Security Cutter's key performance parameter related to cutter boat operations. According to Coast Guard officials, the updated operator's handbook should be signed and approved between August and November 2017.
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202) 512-9377

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to develop and implement agency-wide procedures to routinely monitor the accuracy of penalties recorded in taxpayer accounts to timely detect and correct errors.

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

    Comments: During fiscal year 2015, IRS conducted a trial quality review to evaluate the accuracy of penalty assessments recorded in a sample of taxpayer accounts and took action to address the errors it identified. Based on its trial review, IRS developed procedures for performing this type of review in June 2016 and informed us that it would formalize procedures in the IRM to include routine monitoring and testing of the accuracy of penalty assessments in taxpayer accounts. However, as of September 30, 2016, IRS had not implemented these procedures or documented them in the IRM. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to determine the reason(s) why taxpayer assistance centers (TAC) managers and personnel did not consistently comply with existing Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) requirements that TAC managers and personnel (1) perform and document reviews of the Follow-Up Review Log by the last day of the following month, (2) maintain control copies of transmittal forms, and (3) ship taxpayer receipts and information via traceable overnight mail and, based on this determination, establish a process to better enforce compliance with these requirements.

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

    Comments: IRS's efforts to address this recommendation are ongoing. IRS stated that it has performed a study of the causes of noncompliance with the IRM requirements and will complete all related corrective actions by May 2017. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of IRS should update the IRM to require managers to reconcile transmittal forms with the Follow-Up Review Log to reasonably assure that personnel are properly entering transmittal forms into the log and are appropriately documenting follow-up on unacknowledged transmittals of taxpayer receipts and information.

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

    Comments: While IRS updated the IRM in April 2016 to require TAC managers to (1) perform a semiannual reconciliation of document transmittal forms to the associated Follow-Up Review Log to monitor employee compliance with IRM requirements and (2) document this reconciliation on Form 14698, Field Assistance Taxpayer Assistance Centers Remittance and Non-Remittance Log Reconciliation, our fiscal year 2016 audit testing identified instances where the use of the form was not fully implemented at the TACs we visited. Further, we continued to identify instances where TAC employees did not always (1) track document transmittals on the Follow-up Review Log and (2) follow up on late acknowledgments timely. In one instance, we found that TAC personnel did not document on the log the actions that were taken for a package that was lost; however, the manager had completed a review of the Follow-up Review Log. We will continue to evaluate the results of IRS's corrective actions during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to establish a process to ensure that the requirement for unauthorized access awareness training is explicitly communicated to non-IRS contractors who have unescorted access to IRS facilities.

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

    Comments: IRS's efforts to address this recommendation are ongoing. IRS stated that by July 2017, it will partner with FPS and GSA to establish a process to help ensure that all contractors who require unescorted access are first approved for interim or final staff-like access and complete mandatory information protection and security awareness training within 10 business days of approved staff-like access. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to establish procedures to monitor whether non-IRS contractors with unescorted physical access to IRS facilities are receiving unauthorized access awareness training.

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

    Comments: IRS's efforts to address this recommendation are ongoing. IRS stated that by July 2017, it will send out a communication to its FMSS field offices that will include SOPs for monitoring training and acquiring unauthorized access awareness training documentation for each non-IRS contract employee. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to determine why staff did not consistently comply with IRS's existing requirements for the final candling of receipts at service center campuses and lockbox banks, including logging remittances found during final candling on the final candling log at the time of discovery, safeguarding the remittances at the time of discovery, transferring the remittances to the deposit unit promptly, and passing one envelope at a time over the light source, and based on this determination, establish a process to better enforce compliance with these requirements.

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

    Comments: IRS's efforts to address this recommendation are ongoing. IRS stated that by July 2017, it will identify and analyze the risks associated with candling at the SCCs and lockbox banks, along with any mitigating factors, to determine if further actions are warranted. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

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

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In May 2016, DOE updated its project management order (Order 413.3B) to require that AOAs for capital asset acquisition projects be consistent with published GAO best practices. DOE also planned to issue an AOA guide that will be critical to ensuring implementation of the new AOA requirement by providing DOE procedures for conducting reliable AOAs. According to a DOE official, development of the guide was on hold indefinitely along with all other actions to publish new, or update existing departmental directives in response to the two Presidential Executive Orders issued in January and February 2017 that directed federal agencies to, among other things, reduce and reform agency regulations. In the interim, DOE issued an AOA handbook in April 2017 but will not have fully addressed the recommendation until it completes the guide.
    Director: James R. McTigue, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To promote retirement savings without creating permanent tax-favored accounts for a small segment of the population, Congress should consider revisiting the use of IRAs to accumulate large balances and consider ways to improve the equity of the existing tax expenditure on IRAs. Options could include limits on (1) the types of assets permitted in IRAs, (2) the minimum valuation for an asset purchased by an IRA, or (3) the amount of assets that can be accumulated in IRAs and employersponsored plans that get preferential tax treatment.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its October 2014 report, GAO found that individuals with limited, occupationally related opportunities could engage in sophisticated investment strategies and accumulate considerable tax-preferred wealth in IRAs and subsequently suggested to Congress legislative options. As of March 2017, legislation had not been introduced on any aspect of this suggestion, although the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on IRA policy in September 2014 for which GAO provided a statement for the record.
    Recommendation: To improve IRS's ability to detect and pursue noncompliance associated with undervalued assets sheltered in IRAs and prohibited transactions, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should conduct research using the new Form 5498 data to identify IRAs holding nonpublic asset types, such as profits interests in private equity firms and hedge funds, and use that information for an IRSwide strategy to target enforcement efforts.

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

    Comments: As of March 2017, IRS had taken some action to develop a research plan using the new information on types of nonpublic IRA assets reported on Form 5498. Previously, IRS searched terms in Form 5498 filings to identify IRAs holding assets with the greatest risk of noncompliance. In January 2016, IRS started a research project to examine a sample of tax returns based on certain nonpublic IRA asset types. IRS plans to use the research results due in June 2018 to develop an IRS-wide strategy to target enforcement efforts to those IRAs where the beneficiary of the IRA has caused his or her IRA to engage in a prohibited transaction. Once IRS completes electronically compiling the new Form 5498 information for tax year 2016 that is filed in 2017, IRS researchers plan to use the asset type data to streamline the process of identifying those IRAs. As of March 2017, IRS examination officials did not have a date on when the new IRA asset type data will be available for further analysis.
    Recommendation: To improve IRS's ability to detect and pursue noncompliance associated with undervalued assets sheltered in IRAs and prohibited transactions, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should work in consultation with the Department of the Treasury on a legislative proposal to expand the statute of limitations on IRA noncompliance to help IRS pursue valuation-related misreporting and prohibited transactions that may have originated outside the current statute's 3-year window.

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

    Comments: IRS agreed with GAO's October 2014 recommendation on IRAs with large balances and said it had discussed the recommendation with Treasury's Office of Tax Policy and Benefits Tax Counsel. Consequently, IRS said Treasury is aware of IRS's willingness to support legislative efforts in this area. However, Treasury and IRS have not drafted a legislative proposal as of March 2017.
    Recommendation: To help taxpayers better understand compliance risks associated with certain IRA choices and improve compliance, the Commissioner of Revenue should, building on research data on IRAs holding nonpublic assets, identify options to provide outreach targeting taxpayers with nonpublic IRA assets and their custodians, such as reminder notices that engaging in prohibited transactions can result in loss of the IRA's tax-favored status.

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

    Comments: IRS has taken some action to provide general outreach but has not yet compiled data to target outreach to taxpayers with nonmarketable IRA assets at greater risk of noncompliance, as GAO recommended in October 2014. In June 2016, IRS published information on IRS.gov outlining the new information to be reported for nonmarketable IRA assets and included a general caution that IRAs with nonmarketable investments or assets under direct taxpayer control may be subject to a heightened risk of committing prohibited transactions. This caution, similar to those that IRS added to its publications about IRA contributions and distributions, is a step toward helping taxpayers better understand which investments pose greater risks. IRS said results from an ongoing compliance research project may help in targeting outreach to taxpayers holding certain IRA assets at greater risk of noncompliance. IRS said it could refine its outreach to those taxpayers with nonpublic IRA assets using the new asset type data once compiled electronically. As of March 2017, IRS was compiling the IRA assets data for tax year 2016 that is filed in 2017, but IRS had not provided a date on when the new IRA asset type data will be available for further analysis.
    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: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    5 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOE's cooperative agreement and internal documentation supporting its June 2012 acceptance of depleted uranium tails are accurate and transparent, the Secretary of Energy should continue to review the accuracy of its documentation associated with this transaction and seek an independent review of this documentation by a third party, such as the DOE Inspector General.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE disagreed with our recommendation, and as of March 2017, has not taken steps to implement it. GAO staff will follow-up on this recommendation in fiscal year 2017.
    Recommendation: If DOE continues to transfer, sell, or barter depleted uranium tails pursuant to its general authority under the Atomic Energy Act, notwithstanding that the USEC Privatization Act likely prohibits such actions, to ensure that DOE is receiving the required compensation under the Atomic Energy Act and DOE policy, the Secretary of Energy should develop guidance for setting an appropriate method for determining the value of depleted uranium tails when transferring them as an asset and apply the method consistently and transparently, prior to conducting such transfers, sales, or barters.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOE disagreed with our recommendation and, as of March 2017, has not taken steps to implement it. DOE has maintained that the department is not required to establish guidance or a pricing policy for depleted uranium and that doing so would hinder DOE's ability to maximize the value received by the government in a given transaction. We continue to believe that having guidance that provides a consistent and transparent method of determining the value of tails in the context of a transaction is necessary to help DOE ensure that it is receiving reasonable compensation in return for its tails, especially given the potential for future tails transactions
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOE mitigates risks associated with achieving the expected benefits of future uranium transactions that may rely on third-party contracts, the Secretary of Energy should take steps to mitigate the risks for each uranium transaction, in accordance with federal internal control standards.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE disagreed with our recommendation, and as of March 2017, has not taken steps to implement it. GAO staff will follow-up on this recommendation in fiscal year 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the quality, credibility, and transparency of any future uranium market impact studies, the Secretary of Energy should (1) conduct a rigorous and documented internal assessment consistent with contract provisions and the Department of Energy's Information Quality Guidelines of the quality of such studies and/or have an independent third party conduct a peer review; and (2) to the extent that market impact studies are made publicly available, require that studies include information on the methods, data sources, and assumptions used in such a way that allows others to understand, interpret, and evaluate the studies consistent with DOE's Information Quality Guidelines.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE disagreed with our recommendation, and as of March 2017, has not taken steps to implement it. GAO staff will follow-up on this recommendation in fiscal year 2017.
    Recommendation: To further ensure that DOE's future uranium transfers do not have an adverse material impact on the domestic uranium market, the Secretary of Energy should seek and consider industry input both on the amount of DOE sales or transfers of uranium the market can absorb annually and on whether there is a need to reinstitute a guideline that limits annual uranium sales or transfers.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE disagreed with our recommendation, and as of March 2017, has not taken steps to implement it. GAO staff will follow-up on this recommendation in fiscal year 2017.
    Director: St James, Lorelei
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: A key matter for Congress to consider is whether or not to move forward with a USPS health plan that would result in an increase in retirees' use of Medicare. If Congress decides to approve this proposal, then Congress should also weigh the impact on other issues, including safeguards for all USPS health plan fund assets by placing appropriate constraints on their asset allocations, such as limiting investments to Treasury securities and inflation-indexed Treasury securities or, if Congress chooses to permit investments in non-Treasury securities, constraints on the discount rate for prefunding purposes so as not to anticipate returns on risk-bearing assets in excess of those on Treasury securities before such returns have actually been achieved.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, Congress had not enacted legislation that would create a U.S. Postal Service health plan that would result in an increase in retirees' use of Medicare. Therefore, Congress had not fully addressed the impact of safeguards for all USPS health plan fund assets by placing appropriate constraints on their asset allocations. In September 2015, S.2051: Improving Postal Operations, Service, and Transparency Act of 2015 was introduced to the to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The bill requires all Medicare-eligible postal annuitants and employees enrolled in a U.S. Postal Service health plan to also enroll in Medicare, including parts A, B and D. This bill, however, has not yet been approved by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
    Recommendation: A key matter for Congress to consider is whether or not to move forward with a USPS health plan that would result in an increase in retirees' use of Medicare. If Congress decides to approve this proposal, then Congress should also weigh the impact on other issues, including standards for the disposition of any surplus health plan assets that reduce the risk of a new unfunded liability emerging in the future, standards such as amortizing any surplus to mirror the amortization of any unfunded liability, or using any surplus to offset normal cost payments.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, Congress had not enacted legislation that would create a U.S. Postal Service health plan that would result in an increase in retirees' use of Medicare. Consequently, Congress has not fully addressed the issue of standards for the disposition of any surplus health plan assets that reduce the risk of a new unfunded liability emerging in the future, such as amortizing any surplus to mirror the amortization of any unfunded liability, or using any surplus to offset normal cost payments.
    Recommendation: A key matter for Congress to consider is whether or not to move forward with a USPS health plan that would result in an increase in retirees' use of Medicare. If Congress decides to approve this proposal, then Congress should also weigh the impact on other issues, including designation or creation of an independent entity responsible for the selection of actuarial assumptions used to annually determine the funded status of USPS's health plan for purposes of determining prefunding payments.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, Congress had not enacted legislation that would create a U.S. Postal Service health plan that would result in an increase in retirees' use of Medicare. Consequently, Congress has not fully addressed the designation or creation of an independent entity responsible for the selection of actuarial assumptions used to annually determine the funded status of USPS's health plan for purposes of determining prefunding payments.
    Recommendation: A key matter for Congress to consider is whether or not to move forward with a USPS health plan that would result in an increase in retirees' use of Medicare. If Congress decides to approve this proposal, then Congress should also weigh the impact on other issues, including protections for postal employees and retirees that are comparable to those under FEHBP, including a formula for USPS retirees' contribution to the costs of their health coverage.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, Congress had not enacted legislation that would create a U.S. Postal Service health plan that would result in an increase in retirees' use of Medicare. Consequently, Congress has not fully addressed the issue of protections for postal employees and retirees that are comparable to those under FEHBP, including a formula for USPS retirees' contribution to the costs of their health coverage.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen its baselines, facilitate external and independent reviews of those baselines, ensure effective oversight of the BMDS, and further improve transparency and accountability of its efforts, and to improve clarity, consistency, and completeness of the baselines reported to Congress, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that MDA, for resource baselines, obtain independent cost estimates for each baseline.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on our report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken all actions necessary to implement it. Although the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has received independent cost estimates from its internal independent cost group for some programs and components that support the baselines provided in MDA's Ballistic Missile Defense System Accountability Report (BAR), MDA officials told us they have not yet completed independent estimates for all the BAR baselines. In addition, the independent estimates will not have full lifecycle costs which will hamper their effectiveness. We will continue to monitor MDA's progress over the course of our next annual review.
    Recommendation: To strengthen its baselines, facilitate external and independent reviews of those baselines, ensure effective oversight of the BMDS, and further improve transparency and accountability of its efforts, and to improve clarity, consistency, and completeness of the baselines reported to Congress, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that MDA, for schedule baselines, in meeting new statutory requirements to report variances between reported acquisition baselines, also report variances between the test plan as presented in the previous acquisition baseline and the test plan as executed that explain the reason for any changes.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Defense concurred with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to report the test variances, by laying out the dates of the proposed changes. However, the variances do not include all changes to test objectives, detail when tests are deleted, nor when the altered objectives will be satisfied. MDA has initiated an effort with DOT&E and the OTA to track the movement of test objectives, however these changes are not reported and are only used internally. In addition, MDA utilizes a "mid-year" test change memorandum. The change explains the difference from the prior master test plan, but is not reported. Thus, changes that are included in the mid-year memorandum can not be tracked if one only receives the annual test plan. We will continue to monitor MDA's progress in fiscal year 2017 and determine whether MDA lays out the changes in its upcoming integrated master test plan.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202) 512-7773

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

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

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken actions necessary to implement it. Since this report, DHS and the Coast Guard have each completed studies examining the mix of assets that composed the Deepwater Program. To date, the Coast Guard has not yet provided the Congress with a comprehensive review that clarifies the program's cost, schedule, quantities, and mix of assets or takes into account the Coast Guard's needs and available resources and makes recommendations about what trade-offs may be necessary. In 2015, we found that the Coast Guard is currently conducting a fleet-wide analysis, including surface, aviation, and information technology, intended to be a fundamental reassessment of the capabilities and mix of assets the Coast Guard needs to fulfill its missions. The Coast Guard is undertaking this effort consistent with direction from Congress. Specifically, the Coast Guard plans first to rewrite its mission needs statement and concept of operations by 2016. Then, it will use a complex model to develop the full fleet mix study. Based on this, the Coast Guard plans to recommend a set of assets that best meets these needs in terms of capability and cost. The Coast Guard plans to complete the full study in time to inform the fiscal year 2019 budget, though specific dates for these events have not been set forth. As of July 2016, the Coast Guard informed GAO that the modeling is complete and the CONOPS report is being developed with a target date of September 30 for completion.
    Director: Khan, Asif A
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the military department Chief Management Officers, in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, as appropriate, after defining the cost accounting requirements, to utilize the requirements as input to the ERPs to help ensure that the ERPs will provide the capability to identify and aggregate cost information for the department's assets in accordance with DOD's defined requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD's military departments are in the process of implementing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERPs). At least one of these ERPs does not currently include cost accumulation and reporting for military equipment assets. DOD's FIAR plan efforts, which, according to officials, include systems enhancements are still on-going to address this recommendation. The status of this recommendation is open.