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: Budgeting

    18 publications with a total of 43 open recommendations including 4 priority recommendations
    Director: Asif A. Khan
    Phone: (202) 512-9869

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller should ensure that the Working Group identifies and analyzes the full population of manual unsupported JVs at the transaction level and in Defense Departmental Reporting System-Audited Financial Statements and determines the root causes for these JVs. (Recommendation 1)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller should work with Defense Finance and Accounting Service to enhance the monthly JV metrics report or develop another method to sufficiently monitor the extent to which the Working Group has identified the root causes of unsupported JVs and to determine the extent to which unsupported JVs are being reduced based on the implemented corrective actions. (Recommendation 2)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Joe Kirschbaum
    Phone: (202) 512-9971

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As DOD continues to improve the completeness and transparency of subsequent joint reports' methodologies in order to assist Congress in understanding the basis of the NC3 estimates by documenting the methodological assumptions and limitations affecting the report's estimates for sustaining and modernizing the NC3 system, as we previously recommended, for future joint reports, the DOD CIO should include explanations of how DOD (1) selects program elements for inclusion in its NC3 estimate, (2) determines its weighted analysis ratios, and (3) differentiates its methodology for calculating operation and maintenance estimates from its methodologies for calculating estimates for the other NC3 line items.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Chief Information Officer
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation, stating that it has incorporated it into the fiscal year 2018 joint report. DOD also said that subsequent joint reports will provide updated methodological inputs, assumptions and limitations affecting NC3 estimates. Once DOD releases the fiscal year 2018 joint report, we will determine the extent to which it addresses the recommendation.
    Recommendation: In order to assist Congress in comparing year-to-year cost estimates between joint reports, for future joint reports, the Secretary of the Air Force should provide information about any programmatic changes (i.e., programs being moved from one line item to another) in its estimates and include an explanation of the reasons for those changes and how those changes may affect year-to-year comparisons of the budget estimates.

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

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation, stating that it has been incorporated into the fiscal year 2018 joint report. DOD further stated that subsequent joint reports will continue to provide the recommended information but also will be revised as necessary to ensure a complete and transparent statement on programmatic changes and their possible effect on year-to-year comparisons of budget estimates. Once DOD releases the fiscal year 2018 joint report, we will determine the extent to which it addresses the recommendation.
    Director: Asif A. Khan
    Phone: (202) 512-9869

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) to provide guidance in the DOD Financial Management Regulation on the timing of when DOD managers should use available tools to help ensure that monthly cash balances are within the upper and lower cash requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation and stated that it plans to update the DOD Financial Management Regulation as we recommended to provide additional guidance on the timing of when DOD managers should use available tools to help ensure that monthly cash balances are within the upper and lower cash requirements. DOD also stated that this change will be incorporated for the fiscal year 2019 President's Budget submission and subsequent budgets.
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure accountability for BIE school facility funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs to develop a comprehensive long-term capital asset plan to inform its allocation of school facility funds. Such a plan should include a prioritized list of school repair and maintenance projects with the greatest need for funding.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. Interior stated that Indian Affairs is engaged with the Office of Management and Budget to develop a more robust and prioritized capital asset management plan for school infrastructure needs, which they expect to complete before the end of fiscal year 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure accountability for BIE school facility funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs to provide more details in Indian Affairs' annual congressional budget justifications on specific needs at BIE schools, including information on proposed capital expenditures, and updates on previous school construction projects.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. In May 2017, Interior stated that Indian Affairs is currently engaged in an effort to comprehensively review the budget justification process with the objective of improving the quality, format, and presentation of the President's annual budget submission to Congress and that it will work to provide more detailed information on proposed capital expenditures and updates on previous construction projects. In addition, the agency reported that Indian Affairs will ensure improvements to the budgeting process are made permanent through formal policy and procedure in order to ensure that the needs of BIE schools are accurately and regularly reported in its congressional budget justification.
    Recommendation: To ensure accountability for BIE school facility funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs to develop and implement guidance for its project managers and contracting officers regarding effective use of accountability measures.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. Interior indicated that the Acquisition office and the Division of Facilities Management and Construction are working together to create and implement guidance and were preparing and planning improvements for future construction contracts. In addition, the agency stated that Indian Affairs will develop a financial accountability workgroup with members from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, BIA, BIE, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs to develop guidance and standards to ensure the effective use of accountability measures.
    Recommendation: To ensure accountability for BIE school facility funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs to clarify Indian Affairs' design handbook requirements to explain when and how school designs can deviate from specific requirements--such as heating and cooling systems with complex features--when the life cycle cost analysis demonstrates the requirements are not cost-effective or practical given such factors as the technical capacity of school facility staff.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior disagreed with this recommendation, noting that it had revised its design handbook in 2017 and that the revised handbook includes a process to consider deviations that do not violate requisite codes, standards, or laws. Interior also stated that the handbook is not intended to describe every scenario where a deviation may be requested and that it is more efficient to allow designers, schools and other users to request deviations and exceptions as and when needs arise. However, we believe the revised handbook is still in draft and is being reviewed internally and has neither been finalized nor distributed: an updated design handbook that includes a process for deviations is critical. We agree with the agency that the handbook does not need to describe every scenario where a deviation may be requested. The draft 2017 handbook indicates that when conflicts or questions arise the designer is to formally notify the Interior project manager in writing to request a waiver. However, it does not provide an explanation of the process or how life cycle cost analysis might inform that process. We continue to believe that, in addition to a process, providing guidelines and an explanation about how life-cycle cost analysis should inform such decisions in the handbook before it is finalized would be useful and help to ensure that the choices designers make with regard to design are both cost-effective and practical.
    Recommendation: To ensure accountability for BIE school facility funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs to improve oversight and technical assistance to tribal organizations to enhance tribal capacity to manage major construction projects.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. Interior stated that its Division of Facilities Management and Construction will develop a "high-risk" project tracking and monitoring process. The Division will work with BIA and BIE facilities managers to develop an engagement plan to better inform tribes of the extensive requirements involving the management of capital projects replacing schools or facilities. For tribes that manage projects themselves, Indian Affairs will offer to provide them with technical assistance, particularly during key program phases.
    Recommendation: To ensure accountability for BIE school facility funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs to develop and implement guidance for maintaining complete contract and grant files for all BIE school construction projects.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. Interior stated that Indian Affairs will develop, as part of its Financial Accountability Workgroup, guidance for maintaining all types of construction contract and grant files.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve NRC's ability to strategically manage the size and composition of its workforce and respond to changes in the nuclear industry, the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should set agencywide goals, which could be ranges, for overall workforce size and skills composition that extend beyond the 2-year budget cycle.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In comments on a draft of the report, NRC generally agreed with the recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, NRC stated that it will implement a new activity to project workload over a 5-year time period. The resulting workload projections will be used to identify core staff positions needed to perform the work. NRC expects that this effort will facilitate setting agency goals for FTE and appropriate agency size beyond the current 2 year budget cycle and will support the agency's effort to enhance its human capital practices. We will review NRC's actions, once completed, to determine whether they meet the intent of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve NRC's ability to strategically manage the size and composition of its workforce and respond to changes in the nuclear industry, the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should establish a systematic, comprehensive approach for tracking employee skills information, either through the system developed through the competency modeling pilot program or some other system.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of the report, NRC generally agreed with the recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, NRC stated that it will develop and deploy a standard agencywide system to track core staff positions and their related skills. Skills and competencies for each of the core positions will be identified and catalogued, allowing employees and supervisors to search for specific competencies needed to support work throughout the agency. We will review NRC's actions, once completed, to determine whether they meet the intent of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve NRC's ability to strategically manage the size and composition of its workforce and respond to changes in the nuclear industry, the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should consistently train managers and supervisors in strategic human capital management and assessing employee skillsets.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of the report, NRC generally agreed with the recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, NRC stated that it developed a Supervisor Development Program SharePoint site to centrally house information pertinent to management activities and required training. NRC will provide information on the agency's strategic workforce planning process as it evolves via this site. Additionally, NRC plans to incorporate the strategic workforce planning process and concepts into existing management training that will be delivered in-person and available on-line. We will review NRC's actions, once completed, to determine whether they meet the intent of this recommendation.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Given the importance of providing accurate and clear information to facilitate congressional decision making and inform the public, the Secretary of Commerce should direct NOAA's Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services to require satellite programs to perform regular availability assessments and use these analyses to inform the flyout charts and support its budget requests.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation, but has not yet addressed it. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of providing accurate and clear information to facilitate congressional decision making and inform the public, the Secretary of Commerce should direct NOAA's Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services to establish and implement a consistent approach to depicting satellites that are expected to last beyond their design lives.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation and has taken steps to implement it. The agency updated its flyout chart policy and is in the process of drafting a separate policy to describe how the satellite's extended life is to be predicted and to establish the agency's criteria for publishing the information. This policy is expected to be completed in Fall 2017. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of providing accurate and clear information to facilitate congressional decision making and inform the public, the Secretary of Commerce should direct NOAA's Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services to revise and finalize the draft policy governing how flyout charts are to be updated to address the shortfalls with analysis, accuracy, consistency, and documentation noted in the above recommendations.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation and has taken steps to implement it. NOAA updated its policy governing how the flyout charts are to be updated. In doing so, the agency updated the policy's roles and responsibilities, guidelines, and its methodology for depicting extended life. However, the policy does not clearly define or describe fuel-limited life and its use, or establish standard artifacts for documenting and supporting planned changes to its flyout chart. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of providing accurate and clear information to facilitate congressional decision making and inform the public, the Secretary of Commerce should direct NOAA's Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services to ensure that flyout chart updates are consistent with supporting data from the program and from satellite availability assessments.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation, but has not yet demonstrated the steps it is taking to ensure that flyout chart updates are consistent with supporting data. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Given the importance of providing accurate and clear information to facilitate congressional decision making and inform the public, the Secretary of Commerce should direct NOAA's Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services, for each flyout chart update, to maintain a complete package of documentation on the reasons for any changes and executive approval of the changes.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: NOAA agreed with this recommendation and has taken steps to implement it. Specifically, NOAA provided its March 2017 flyout charts and the associated justification packages. However, NOAA has not established a standard set of artifacts to be included in the justification packages to support changes to its flyout charts. We are working with NOAA to obtain additional justification packages for the next iteration of flyout charts, and will continue to monitor the agency's actions on this recommendation.
    Director: Krause, Heather M
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the contributions of tax expenditures toward the achievement of agency goals are identified and measured, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, should work with agencies to identify which tax expenditures contribute to their agency goals, as appropriate--that is, they should identify which specific tax expenditures contribute to specific strategic objectives and agency priority goals.

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

    Comments: In July 2017, OMB staff said that although they still agreed with our recommendation, it was not an effort they were pursuing due to competing priorities, as well as capacity and resource constraints.
    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: Michael J. Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's use of portfolio management for its weapon system investments and ensure that its investment plans are affordable, strategy-driven, balance near- and long-term needs, and leverage efforts across the military services, as well as to provide a solid foundation for future portfolio management efforts at the enterprise-level, the Secretary of Defense should revise DOD Directive 7045.2 on Capability Portfolio Management in accordance with best practices and promote the development of better tools to enable more integrated portfolio reviews and analyses of weapon system investments. Key elements of this recommendation would include (1) designating the Deputy Secretary of Defense or some appropriate delegate responsibility for implementing the policy and overseeing portfolio management in DOD; (2) requiring annual enterprise-level portfolio reviews that incorporate key portfolio review elements, including information from the requirements, acquisition, and budget processes; (3) directing the Joint Staff, AT&L, and CAPE to collaborate on their data needs and develop a formal implementation plan for meeting those needs either by building on the database the Joint Staff is developing for its analysis or investing in new analytical tools; and (4) incorporating lessons learned from military service portfolio reviews and portfolio management activities, such as using multiple risk and funding scenarios to assess needs and re-evaluate priorities.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Defense partially concurred with this recommendation and has taken steps to implement one part of it. In October 2016, the Joint Staff informed GAO that it was updating two of its databases on military capabilities and capability requirements to provide DOD with better analytical tools to support portfolio management. The Department of Defense has not taken any other actions to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's use of portfolio management for its weapon system investments and ensure that its investment plans are affordable, strategy-driven, balance near- and long-term needs, and leverage efforts across the military services, and to help ensure the military services' portfolio reviews are conducted regularly and effectively integrate information from the requirements, acquisition, and budget communities, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to update or develop policies that require them to conduct annual portfolio reviews that incorporate key portfolio review elements, including information from the requirements, acquisition, and budget processes.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DOD partially concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Director: Johnson Jr, Charles M
    Phone: (202) 512-7331

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the definition of the GSCF program and assist stakeholders in assessing whether GSCF is meeting its goals, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense should provide a range of time to clarify the time frames associated with near- to mid-term GSCF projects.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) partially agreed that the departments should clearly define what time frames constitute "near- to mid-term" for GSCF projects. As of September 2015, DOD has not published a definition for what time frame constitutes "near to mid-term" for GSCF projects.
    Recommendation: To enhance the definition of the GSCF program and assist stakeholders in assessing whether GSCF is meeting its goals, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense should provide a range of time to clarify the time frames associated with near- to mid-term GSCF projects.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State did not agree that the departments should define what time frames constitute "near- to mid-term" for GSCF projects. As of September 2015, State has not published a definition for what time frame constitutes "near to mid-term" for GSCF projects.
    Recommendation: To enhance the definition of the GSCF program and assist stakeholders in assessing whether GSCF is meeting its goals, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense should track GSCF projects against established time frames.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense agreed that the departments should track GSCF projects against established time frames and said in its response that the departments plan to track the projects against the congressional notification timelines and plan to continue holding biweekly calls with project implementers to identify and address implementation considerations. As of September 2015, DOD has not tracked GSCF projects against time frames.
    Recommendation: To enhance the definition of the GSCF program and assist stakeholders in assessing whether GSCF is meeting its goals, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense should track GSCF projects against established time frames.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State agreed that the departments should track GSCF projects against established time frames. As of September 2015, State is not tracking GSCF projects against time frames.
    Director: Timothy J.DiNapoli
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help facilitate the department's stated intent to develop a common data collection system to fully collect statutorily required data, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness should approve a plan of action, with timeframes and milestones, for rolling out and supporting a department-wide data collection system as soon as practicable after December 1, 2014. Should a decision be made to use or develop a system other than the Enterprise-wide Contractor Manpower Reporting Application system currently being fielded, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness should document the rationale for doing so and ensure that the new approach will provide data that satisfies the statutory requirements for the inventory.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department has taken initial steps toward supporting the Enterprise-wide Contractor Manpower Reporting Application (ECMRA) by signing a Memorandum of Agreement that, in part, outlines responsibilities related to hosting, operating, and maintaining the ECMRA system, as well as by hiring key staff. However, it has not fully developed a plan of action, with timeframes and milestones, for supporting the system. We will continue to monitor the Department's progress.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the inventory of contracted services is integrated into key management decisions as statutorily required, the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force should identify an accountable official within their departments with responsibility for leading and coordinating efforts across their manpower, budgeting, and acquisition functional communities and, as appropriate, revise guidance, develop plans and enforcement mechanisms, and establish processes.

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

    Comments: As of March 2016, DOD guidance on the inventory of contracted services requires the designation of an accountable official. As of the summer of 2017, the Department of the Air Force has not yet designated an accountable official.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the inventory of contracted services is integrated into key management decisions as statutorily required, the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force should identify an accountable official within their departments with responsibility for leading and coordinating efforts across their manpower, budgeting, and acquisition functional communities and, as appropriate, revise guidance, develop plans and enforcement mechanisms, and establish processes.

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

    Comments: As of March 2016, DOD guidance on the inventory of contracted services requires the designation of an accountable official. As of the summer of 2017, the Department of the Navy has not yet designated an accountable official.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the inventory of contracted services is integrated into key management decisions as statutorily required, the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force should identify an accountable official within their departments with responsibility for leading and coordinating efforts across their manpower, budgeting, and acquisition functional communities and, as appropriate, revise guidance, develop plans and enforcement mechanisms, and establish processes.

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

    Comments: As of March 2016, DOD guidance on the inventory of contracted services requires the designation of an accountable official. As of the summer of 2017, the Department of the Army has not yet designated an accountable official.
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's process for setting its standard fuel price, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in coordination with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), to document its assumptions, including providing detailed rationale for how it estimates each of these components.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with our recommendation but has not yet completed actions to fully address the recommendation. Consistent with our recommendation, DOD reevaluated its methodology for establishing the fiscal year 2017 standard price and documented parts of the methodology it used. Specifically, DOD detailed the various options it considered, the reasons why it chose the methodology it used, and the calculations it used to arrive at its estimated standard price in an internal Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) memorandum. However, DOD has not documented a process for establishing the standard price in three areas. First, DOD has not documented a formalized process that describes the steps it will take on an annual basis to determine the standard price for future fiscal years. Second, documentation detailing the options DOD considered and the rationale behind the methodology it chose is not available to Congress and its fuel customers. Third, DOD has not document the formal review and approval of the new methodology by senior Comptroller officials. The DOD Comptroller official who is responsible for managing the bulk fuel program stated that the department does not have a similar formal process for determining rates for other commodities and working capital funds. Therefore, the official stated that DOD does not want to make the bulk fuel standard price determination unique and apart from these other commodities. Because of concerns with the quality and transparency of information available to Congressional decision makers and department fuel customers concerning the methodology selected each year and its application to relevant data used in estimating fuel rate prices for the next fiscal year, the Senate Armed Services Committee directed DOD to submit detailed guidance to the congressional defense committees no later than February 1, 2017 that, among other aspects, requires documentation of the rationale for using one methodology over another for estimating the next fiscal year's fuel rate price, to include the limitations and assumptions of underlying data and establishing a timeline for developing annual estimated fuel rate prices for the next fiscal year. Documenting DOD's assumptions would provide greater transparency and clarify for fuel customers and decision makers regarding the process DOD uses to set the standard price.
    Director: John Pendleton
    Phone: (202) 512-3489

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: In order to improve the management of DOD's headquarters-reduction efforts, the Secretary of Defense should reevaluate the decision to focus reductions on management headquarters to ensure the department's efforts ultimately result in meaningful savings.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with our recommendation, stating that this department-wide recommendation would garner greater savings but did not provide plans on how it planned to implement the recommendation. As of March 2017, DOD was more broadly defining management headquarters and applying headquarters reductions to a wider range of organizations, but the department has not fully taken steps to re-evaluate the decision to focus reductions on management headquarters, as GAO recommended in June 2014. In an August 2015 memorandum, the Deputy Secretary of Defense noted that a comprehensive definition of major headquarters activities had been established, and he directed DOD to update the department's guiding instruction on management headquarters and databases in an effort to more broadly account for headquarters resources. The memorandum also directed a 25 percent reduction across all appropriations funding from fiscal years 2017 through 2020 for these headquarters activities in lieu of the 20 percent requirement previously established by the department. As of September 2016, a DOD official stated the department had not completed efforts to rebaseline all of its components according to the comprehensive definition of major headquarters activities, which is needed to determine what elements of the components are considered headquarters so the department can apply relevant reductions to its budget submission. In addition, Section 346 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 requires that the Secretary of Defense implement a plan to ensure the department achieves not less than $10 billion in cost savings from the headquarters, administrative, and support activities of the department by fiscal year 2019. The legislation also directed the Secretary of Defense to modify DOD's headquarters reduction plans to ensure that it achieves savings in total funding for major headquarters activities of not less than 25 percent of the baseline amount in fiscal year 2016 by fiscal year 2020. In a March 2016 letter to the Armed Services Committee, DOD stated that it is focusing on broad efficiency initiatives beyond reductions in management headquarters. While DOD has taken some steps to achieve greater savings by applying additional headquarters reductions to more organizations, an official stated DOD will not document these actions until it submits its budget request for fiscal year 2018 in the spring of 2017. Until DOD documents the reductions based on its broader efficiency initiatives, GAO cannot determine if DOD has fully implemented this action. We will continue to monitor actions DOD takes in response to this recommendation and will provide updated information as appropriate.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the management of DOD's headquarters-reduction efforts, the Secretary of Defense should set a clearly defined and consistently applied starting point as a baseline for the reductions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Defense concurred with our recommendation to set clearly defined and consistently applied starting point as a baseline for the reductions. As of March 2017, DOD had taken some steps to set a clearly defined and consistently applied starting point as a baseline for headquarters reductions, but its efforts are not yet complete. In its response to GAO's recommendation, DOD recommended the use of the Future Years Defense Program data to set the baseline going forward. It stated that it was enhancing the data elements within DOD's Resource Data Warehouse to better identify management headquarters resources to facilitate tracking and reporting across the department. A December 2014 Resource Management Decision directed DOD components to identify and correct inconsistencies in major headquarters activities in authoritative DOD systems, and reflect those changes in the fiscal year 2017 program objective memorandums or submit them into the manpower management system. As of November 2016, a DOD official stated that the department had taken steps to use this definition as a baseline for headquarters reductions. However, according to this official, the department will not identify the baseline until it submits its budget request for fiscal year 2018 in the spring of 2017. Until DOD completes its efforts, savings to management headquarters will likely be difficult to track, and the department may not be assured that the reductions are achieved as intended. We will continue to monitor actions DOD takes in response to this recommendation and will provide updated information as appropriate.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the management of DOD's headquarters-reduction efforts, the Secretary of Defense should track reductions against the baselines in order to provide reliable accounting of savings and reporting to Congress.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense concurred with our recommendation to set clearly defined and consistently applied starting point as a baseline for the reductions. As of March 2017, DOD had taken steps to track its headquarters reductions efforts, but it continues to rely on self-reported baselines to account for headquarters savings and report to Congress. In its response to GAO's June 2014 report, DOD noted that by using the Future Years Defense Program data to set the baseline, it would be able to track and report changes to Congress. DOD further stated that it was enhancing data elements within DOD's Resource Data Warehouse to better identify management headquarters resources across the department. GAO agreed that these enhancements to data elements would increase DOD's capability to track and report management headquarters across the department, and thus, the Future Years Defense Program could be used to set baselines and track future reductions. In a December 2014 Resource Management Decision, DOD components were directed to identify and correct inconsistencies in major headquarters activities in authoritative DOD systems, to include the Future Years Defense Program and related databases, and reflect those changes when programming their fiscal year 2017-2021 resource allocations. In an August 2015 memorandum, the Deputy Secretary of Defense noted that a comprehensive definition of major headquarters activities had been established. As of November 2016, a DOD official stated that the department had taken steps to use this definition as a baseline for headquarters reductions. However, according to this official, the department will not identify the baseline until it submits its budget request for fiscal year 2018 in the spring of 2017. Until DOD completes its efforts, savings to management headquarters will likely be difficult to track, and the department may not be assured that the reductions are achieved as intended. We will continue to monitor actions DOD takes in response to this recommendation and will provide updated information as appropriate.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

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

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, DOE had revised and updated the cost estimate for the first plasma portion of the U.S. ITER Project. Officials reported that, as part of that update, the U.S. ITER Project Office had completed a comprehensive sensitivity analysis and that the Office of Science's Office of Project Assessment had conducted a review of the revised cost estimate. However, DOE had yet to revise and update the cost estimate for the post-first plasma portion of the U.S. ITER Project. DOE officials told us they planned to do so when they set a performance baseline for that portion of the project, which they expected to do once the Secretary of Energy has made a decision on whether the U.S. would continue to participate in ITER. Officials expected that decision to happen at the end of 2017.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to ensure it is fully leveraging investments made in canceled programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics to develop department-wide processes to improve tracking of assets, including technical data and software, and dissemination of information about assets available for reuse after programs are canceled.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, DOD has not provided evidence of any processes that could improve tracking of assets such as technical data and software.
    Director: Fennell, Anne-marie Lasowski
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is awaiting action by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's management and oversight of the WFO program, the Secretary of Energy should require laboratories to establish and follow written procedures for developing WFO project budgets and for charging costs to WFO projects.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOE, the Chief Financial Officer will address this recommendation as part of the revisions to DOE Order 520.1A. As of March 2017, DOE anticipates that the updated order will be completed in the first quarter of fiscal year 2018.
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's management and oversight of the WFO program, the Secretary of Energy should ensure that annual summary reports of WFO activities are prepared so that data on those activities are readily available for those who need this information.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: On December 5, 2016, DOE issued revised order 481.1D, Strategic Partnership Projects (SPP) [Formerly Known as Work for Others (Non-Department of Energy Funded Work)] and has removed the requirement to issue annual summary reports of Work for Others activities. Instead, the revised order states that reports can be prepared on an "as needed" basis.
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's management and oversight of the WFO program, the Secretary of Energy should establish performance measures that incorporate key attributes of successful performance measures and that address the objectives of the WFO program.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: On December 5, 2016, DOE issued revised order 481.1D Strategic Partnership Projects (SPP)[Formerly Known as Work for Others (Non-Department of Energy Funded Work)]. DOE states that this order addresses performance measures and that the corrective action is closed. Although the order directs DOE Field Office Managers to "establish performance measures to assess the effectiveness of the procedures for SPP review, acceptance, authorization and monitoring consistent with NNSA policies and procedures", it does not further identify specific performance measures that address the objectives of the SPP program as indicated in the order.
    Director: Yocom, Carolyn L
    Phone: (202)512-4931

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal funding efficiently and effectively responds to the countercyclical nature of the Medicaid program, Congress may wish to consider enacting an FMAP formula that is targeted for variable state Medicaid needs and provides automatic, timely, and temporary increased FMAP assistance in response to national economic downturns.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: On February 10, 2016, GAO testified on considerations related to the Medicaid funding formula. See Medicaid: Changes to Funding Formula Could Improve Allocation of Funds to States GAO-16-377T January 26, 2016. We also cited this report in our discussion on Medicaid funding during economic downturns in Medicaid: Key Policy and Data Considerations for Designing a Per Capita Cap on Federal Funding(GAO-16-726).