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    Subject Term: Budgets

    44 publications with a total of 147 open recommendations including 14 priority recommendations
    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

    8 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Internal Review Directorate under the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller, to develop written policies and procedures for all financial management-related audit findings and recommendations under its purview that include the following: (1) how the status of the recommendations will be tracked; (2) the process and criteria to be followed for prioritizing the findings and recommendations; (3) the process for developing CAPs to remediate the findings and recommendations, including the detailed CAP elements recommended by the Implementation Guide for OMB Circular A-123; and (4) the process for monitoring the status and progress of the CAPs, including the documentation to be maintained for monitoring CAP status and any actions to be taken if a lack of progress is found.

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

    Comments: The Army concurred with this recommendation. The Army stated that the Internal Review Directorate has completed updating its written standard operating procedures to include monitoring financial management-related external audit findings and recommendations. The Army stated that this new guidance includes an explanation of how recommendations will be tracked; how findings and recommendations will be prioritized; how status and progress of corrective action plans (CAPs) will be developed; and how the status and progress of CAPs will be monitored.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Accountability and Audit Readiness Directorate under the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller, to enhance the directorate's policies and procedures for (1) tracking and prioritizing all financial management-related audit findings and recommendations under its purview and (2) developing and monitoring CAPs for all such recommendations so that they include sufficient details, such as the criteria used to prioritize the CAPs, the recommended CAP elements, and the process for monitoring and documenting the progress and status of CAPs.

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

    Comments: The Army concurred with this recommendation. The Army stated that the Accountability and Audit Readiness Directorate has completed actions to enhance its current standard operating procedures to include (1) updating its corrective action plan (CAP) database and reporting tool, (2) documenting its reporting procedures, and (3) updating its CAP template to include additional elements recommended by the Implementation Guide for OMB Circular A-123. In addition, the Army stated that its policies and procedures include steps to incorporate external financial management-related audit findings assigned to the Accountability and Audit Readiness Directorate by the Internal Review Directorate and that the existing process the Army uses to prioritize findings and the related CAPs and to monitor the progress and status of CAPs has been documented.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should, when finalizing the Navy's policies and procedures for identifying and tracking its CAPs to remediate financial management-related audit findings and recommendations, enhance this guidance so it includes detailed steps and specific procedures for confirming and validating the completeness and accuracy of the status of these audit findings and recommendations.

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

    Comments: The Navy concurred with this recommendation. The Navy stated that it is (1) recording new findings and recommendations on a weekly basis in its deficiency database, (2) reviewing historical audits to ensure that previous findings and recommendations are recorded, and (3) collaborating with audit agencies to establish a process to reconcile the status of recommendations to ensure that its deficiency database accurately reports open and closed recommendations. The Navy also stated that these processes would be documented and implemented by January 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should design and document a comprehensive process to ensure that the complete universe of all financial management-related findings and recommendations from all audit sources is identified and tracked.

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

    Comments: The Air Force concurred with this recommendation. The Air Force stated that it will revise its existing process for identifying and tracking all financial management-related findings and recommendations from all audit sources. The Air Force stated that the process will include the procedures for summarizing the status of findings on a bi-monthly basis and providing a summary for the FIAR Governance Board meetings. The Air Force stated that it plans to implement this recommendation by January 31, 2018.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should update the Air Force's written policies and procedures for prioritizing financial management-related audit findings and recommendations from all audit sources and for developing and monitoring CAPs so that they include sufficient details. These procedures should include the following details: (1) The process to be followed for prioritizing the financial management-related findings and recommendations from audit sources. (2) The guidance for developing CAPs for all financial management-related audit findings and recommendations from all audit sources to include complete details, including the elements recommended by the Implementation Guide for OMB Circular A-123. (3) The process for monitoring the status of the CAPs for all financial management-related audit findings and recommendations from all audit sources, including the documentation to support any corrective actions taken, as recommended by the Implementation Guide for OMB Circular A-123.

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

    Comments: The Air Force concurred with this recommendation. The Air Force stated that it will revise its existing written policies and procedures for tracking and monitoring all financial management-related audit findings and recommendations. Specifically, the Air Force stated the these revised policies and procedures will (1) articulate prioritizing findings and recommendations; (2) provide guidance for developing detailed and actionable corrective action plans (CAPs), which address the condition and root cause of the findings and include elements recommended by OMB Circular A-123; and (3) provide clear guidance for monitoring the status and progress towards implementing and closing the CAPs. The Air Force plans to implement this recommendation by January 31, 2019.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD management's process for monitoring the military services' audit remediation efforts and to provide timely and useful information to stakeholders as needed, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Air Force to prepare and submit to the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), on at least a bimonthly basis for availability at the FIAR Governance Board meetings, a summary of key information included in the CAPs that at a minimum contains the data elements recommended by the Implementation Guide for OMB Circular A-123 for each CAP related to critical capabilities for achieving audit readiness.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. DOD stated that it solicits input on a bi-monthly basis, on critical capability corrective action plans (CAPs) at a summary level. This information is provided routinely at regularly scheduled FIAR Governance Board meetings. DOD also stated that an updated notice of finding and recommendation (NFR) form template is being developed and will be provided to the military services to use for reporting this information so that it will include the recommended standard data elements outlined in OMB Circular A-123 to provide greater transparency into the nature of remediation plans. DOD also stated that FIAR Guidance will be updated to explicitly state that military services should include the OMB recommended standard data elements in CAPs.
    Recommendation: To reasonably assure that DOD management and external stakeholders have a comprehensive picture of the status of corrective actions needed for audit readiness throughout the department, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) to prepare a consolidated CAP management summary on a bimonthly basis that includes the data elements referred to above on the status of all CAPs related to critical capabilities for the military services and for the service providers and other defense organizations.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation. According to DOD, the military services already provide summary-level updates on their critical capability corrective action plans (CAPs) at FIAR Governance Board meetings. It also stated that the template that is used to present CAPs to the FIAR Governance Board meetings at the summary level has been updated to align CAPs to critical capabilities. DOD still needs to address how all of the data elements from the Implementation Guide for OMB Circular A-123 will be summarized or otherwise reported for all CAPs pertaining to critical capabilities across the Department. In addition, DOD stated that because the DOD Comptroller takes responsibility for maintaining, monitoring, and reporting on the status of CAPs for the service providers and other defense organizations and of DOD-wide issues, the Comptroller will also summarize this information. However, DOD has not clarified what information from the military services will be summarized.
    Recommendation: To facilitate the development of a consolidated CAP management summary and the ability to efficiently respond to stakeholder requests, the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) should develop and implement a centralized monitoring and reporting process that at a minimum (1) captures department-wide information on the military services' and other defense organizations' CAPs related to critical capabilities, including the standard data elements recommended in the Implementation Guide for OMB Circular A-123, and (2) maintains up-to-date information on the status of these CAPs.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation. DOD stated that as outlined in the military services' responses to our recommendations directed to them, the Army, Navy, and Air Force have agreed to take the responsibility for developing, maintaining, and monitoring all CAPs at the level recommended by the Implementation Guide for OMB Circular A-123. Further, DOD stated that based on the Comptroller actively participating in monthly meetings with military services to gain an understanding of their CAPs and the information reported in bi-monthly FIAR Governance Board meetings, this provides the Department the ability to efficiently respond to stakeholder requests related to critical capabilities CAPs. However, DOD did not describe a centralized reporting process to ensure consistent standard data elements are provided in CAPs and that the information on the status of the CAPs is up to date.
    Director: John Pendleton
    Phone: (404) 679-1816

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide additional information for congressional decision makers regarding DOD's budget, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in consultation with the OMB, to reevaluate and revise the criteria for determining what can be included in DOD's OCO budget requests to reflect current OCO-related activities and relevant budget policy directing in which budget requests OCO funds may be included.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have not taken action on our recommendation. In DOD's response to a draft of our report, DOD concurred with our first recommendation and stated it planned to propose updated criteria to OMB to reflect current and evolving threats and reflect any changes in overseas contingency operations policy under the new Administration. As of June 2017, neither OMB nor DOD has publically released updated criteria, and DOD has not made any updates to Volume 12, Chapter 23 of its Financial Management Regulation that governs contingency operations to reflect the criteria. According to an official at DOD, at this time, there are no updates to the criteria for determining what can be included in DOD's overseas contingency operations budget request nor are there efforts underway between DOD and OMB to update the criteria. In addition, DOD's fiscal year 2018 budget request continued to include activities that our report identified as not being specifically addressed in the OMB criteria, including operations in Syria, the European Reassurance Initiative, and security cooperation funds (formerly the known as the Counterterrorism Partnership Fund).
    Recommendation: To assist decision makers in formulating DOD's future budgets, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) to develop a complete and reliable estimate of DOD's enduring OCO costs and to report these costs in concert with the department's future budget requests, and to use the estimate as a foundation for any future efforts to transition enduring costs to DOD's base budget.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The department has not, as yet, responded to our recommendation, and DOD's fiscal year 2018 budget request, issued in May 2017, did not include an estimate of its enduring overseas contingency operations costs as we had recommended. In its response to our draft report, DOD partially concurred with our recommendation and commented that developing reliable estimates is an important first step in any future effort to transition these costs to the base budget. However, DOD stated that until there is relief from the budgetary caps established by the Budget Control Act of 2011, DOD would need overseas contingency operations funds to finance counterterrorism operations, such as Operation Freedom's Sentinel and Operation Inherent Resolve. DOD also offered no plans to take action to address this recommendation in its response to our draft report.
    Director: Heather Krause
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that FLETC builds and maintains capacity to achieve its mission with existing levels of resources over the longer-term, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Director of FLETC to complete a revised strategic plan that encompasses the agency's long-term goals and objectives to address emerging challenges.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that FLETC builds and maintains capacity to achieve its mission with existing levels of resources over the longer-term, as part of its strategic planning process, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Director of FLETC to finalize the plan, including the steps and time frames, needed to further implement its Online Campus initiative.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that ETA continues to have the capacity to achieve its mission and manage changes in demand for services resulting from changes in the broader economy, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Administrator of ETA to systematically gather and evaluate information on the challenges that states faced administering the unemployment insurance program during the recession that began in 2007--such as rapidly ramping up staffing at the start of the recession and ramping down as the economy recovered--and identify and build upon any lessons learned from this experience that could be broadly shared to help the program respond to any changes in workload during a future economic downturn.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    6 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should assess and improve, as necessary, the quality of data and methods used to forecast borrower incomes, and revise the forecasting method to account for inflation in estimates.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Education agreed to assess and improve its borrower income forecasts. The agency reported that it is working with Treasury and other federal partners to obtain the best income data while ensuring that taxpayer privacy is protected to the full extent of the law. Education noted it will establish a timeframe for improvements to the IDR model that allows for adequate and thorough analysis and quality control. It will also consider including an adjustment for inflation in our income estimates and will document the results of our analysis for the next version of the IDR model. The agency wants to guarantee that an inflation adjustment is appropriate for this subpopulation of IDR borrowers, therefore they will conduct further analysis to ensure that any inflation adjustment is appropriately incorporated into the model. The agency anticipates completing these efforts by September 29, 2017. When these efforts are complete, GAO will await documentation that Education has assessed and improved the quality of data quality and methods it uses to forecast borrower incomes, and that it has revised its forecasting methods to account for inflation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should obtain data needed to assess the impact of income recertification lapses on borrower payment amounts, and adjust estimated borrower repayment patterns as necessary.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Education agreed to attempt to obtain data to assess the impact of income recertification lapses on borrower payment amounts. The agency reported that it started to collect more detailed information on borrowers who fail to recertify their income. It will analyze these data to see if they can be used to adjust borrower repayment patterns in the model. The agency will also consider whether to include behavioral effects to account for targeted borrower outreach to recertify their income. GAO will monitor the progress of these efforts. Education expects to complete these efforts by September 29, 2017. At that time, GAO will await documentation that Education has obtained the necessary data to assess the impact of recertification lapses on borrower repayment patterns and adjusted estimated borrower repayments in its model, as necessary.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should complete efforts to incorporate repayment plan switching into the agency's redesigned student loan model, and conduct testing to help ensure that the model produces estimates that reasonably reflect trends in Income-Driven Repayment plan participation.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education agreed to incorporate repayment plan switching into its redesigned student loan model, and reiterated that efforts to incorporate this capability had begun despite challenges inherent in predicting borrower behavior. GAO will monitor the progress of these efforts.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should, as a part of the agency's ongoing student loan model redesign efforts, add the capability to produce separate cost estimates for each Income-Driven Repayment plan and more accurately reflect likely repayment patterns for each type of loan eligible for these plans.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education asserted that as they redesign its current cost estimation model, it will consider adding the capability to produce separate cost estimates for each IDR plan and allow for separate, more accurate estimates by loan type.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should more thoroughly test the agency's approach to estimating Income-Driven Repayment plan costs, including by conducting more comprehensive sensitivity analysis on key assumptions and adjusting those assumptions (such as the agency's Public Service Loan Forgiveness participation assumption) to ensure reasonableness.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education agreed to test its approach to estimating IDR plan costs more thoroughly, including through more comprehensive sensitivity analysis. The agency included in its FY16 Annual Financial Report, sensitivity analyses for Public Service Loan Forgiveness participation and borrower incomes. In the future, the agency will consider conducting additional sensitivity to analyses as well as other kind of analysis to ensure reasonableness. GAO will consider closing this recommendation when the agency has completed these efforts.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should publish more detailed Income Driven Repayment plan cost information-- beyond what is regularly provided through the President's budget--including items such as total estimated costs, sensitivity analysis results, key limitations, and expected forgiveness amounts.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education agreed to publish more detailed IDR plan cost information and stated that it plans to present sensitivity analysis results and key limitations in upcoming financial reports. GAO will consider closing this requirement when the agency has completed this effort.
    Director: Brian J. Lepore
    Phone: (202) 512-4523

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As DOD assesses potential cost savings under the Defense Resale Business Optimization Board or through other cost savings initiatives identified, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Defense Commissary Agency, the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, the Chief Executive Officer of the Navy Exchange Service Command, and the Marine Corps Exchange to provide information to Congress that includes data, assumptions, and methodology supporting DOD's conclusion for not achieving budget neutrality.

    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: As DOD assesses potential cost savings under the Defense Resale Business Optimization Board or through other cost savings initiatives identified, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Defense Commissary Agency, the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, the Chief Executive Officer of the Navy Exchange Service Command, and the Marine Corps Exchange to develop a plan with assumptions, a methodology, cost estimates, and specific time frames for achieving alternative reductions to appropriations, to support DOD's efforts to ensure that DOD's cost savings target is feasible and accurate.

    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: As DOD conducts pilot programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Defense Commissary Agency, the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, the Chief Executive Officer of the Navy Exchange Service Command, and the Marine Corps Exchange to identify specific metrics to determine whether DOD has fulfilled the mandated requirement to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction, the provision of high-quality products, and the sustainment of patron savings.

    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: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve the accuracy of the information included in the operation and maintenance (O&M) budget justification material submitted to Congress and provide complete information to review the military services' fuel consumption spending requests, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in consultation with the military services and DLA, to develop an approach to reconcile data on fuel consumption reported by the military services and fuel sales to the military services reported by DLA and take any appropriate corrective actions to improve the accuracy of actual fuel consumption spending data.

    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: In order to improve the accuracy of the information included in the O&M budget justification material submitted to Congress and provide complete information to review the military services' fuel consumption spending requests, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in consultation with the military services and DLA, to report complete fuel consumption information to Congress, to include actual and estimated fuel volume and actual O&M base obligations for fuel consumption spending separate from O&M Overseas Contingency Operations obligations. This information could be provided as part of DOD's annual O&M budget justification materials, or through other reporting mechanisms.

    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: Andrew Von Ah
    Phone: (213) 830-1011

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that Congress will have more complete information on DOD's full funding needs for its O&M base budget and to conduct oversight of DOD's use of OCO funds to support base programs and activities, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller to revise its guidance on preparing budget justification materials and execution reports for Congress to require the addition of O&M obligations used for base programs and activities at the level of information presented for each account.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD continues to non-concur with our recommendation; however, we continue to believe that the recommendation is valid and will follow up annually on the status of the recommendation.
    Director: James R. McTigue, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the budget process and to improve transparency, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, to the extent feasible, should ensure that the CJ includes data by appropriation account on the amount of funding requested to maintain current services for each future state theme.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: As Treasury works with IRS to improve the quality and accuracy of budget data, the Secretary of the Treasury should ensure sufficient controls are in place to make certain that the information technology investment reports generated from the SharePoint Investment Knowledge Exchange are accurate. This includes, for example, taking steps to reduce the need for manual corrections to the data.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    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: Andrew Von Ah
    Phone: (213) 830-1011

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure the quality of the risk assessments used to inform its future QHSR processes, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Assistant Secretary for Policy to ensure future QHSR risk assessment methodologies reflect key elements of successful risk assessment methodologies, such as being: (1) Documented, which includes documenting how risk information was integrated to arrive at the assessment results, (2) Reproducible, which includes producing comparable, repeatable results, and (3) Defensible, which includes communicating any implications of uncertainty to users of the risk results.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2016, the Office of Policy's Office of Strategy, Plans, Analysis and Risks completed initial meetings in April 2016 with government and non-government subject matter experts to refine risk analyses for the upcoming 2018 QHSR. Representatives from the department's component and headquarters staff are to take part in the Department's Risk Modeling and Analysis Steering Committee by reviewing, documenting and approving proposed new methodologies planned to help identify and prioritize threats and hazards. This effort is intended to lead to a documented, reproducible, and defensible assessment, according to the DHS officials. This recommendation will remain open until we verify that the risk analysis contains these elements.
    Recommendation: To enable the use of risk information in supporting resource allocation decisions, guiding investments, and highlighting the measures that offer the greatest return on investment, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Assistant Secretary for Policy to refine its risk assessment methodology so that in future QHSRs it can compare and prioritize homeland security risks and risk mitigation strategies.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2016, the Office of Policy's Office of Strategy, Plans, Analysis, and Risk, with support from the RAND Corporation, has proposed a methodology to assess threats, hazards, and vulnerabilities impacting U.S. homeland security. In addition, the department's Risk Modeling and Analysis Executive Steering Committee is to review and approve the proposed methodology. The methodology is intended to enable the Department of Homeland Security to compare and prioritize homeland security risks and risk mitigation strategies, according to DHS officials. The recommendation will remain open until we verify that the methodology allows such comparisons.
    Recommendation: To ensure proper management of the QHSR stakeholder consultation process, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Assistant Secretary for Policy to identify and implement stakeholder meeting processes to ensure that communication is interactive when project planning for the next QHSR.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2016, the Office of Policy's Office of Strategy, Plans, Analysis, and Risk finalized a draft stakeholder outreach plan to include use of the Office of Management and Budget's Max electronic collaboration website to engage with federal, state, and local stakeholders. The OMB-MAX website is available to government and non-government offices and allows the posting of documents, articles, and links, as well as facilitating collaborative editing of documents and participant interaction threads, according to DHS officials. In addition, the Office of Policy's Office of Strategy, Plans, Analysis, and Risk is exploring the use of different tools to facilitate more interactive stakeholder engagement. For example, DHS's Office of Partnerships and Engagement is to facilitate additional engagement with external subject matter experts, arrange interagency coordination, and organize review and approval with parties of the homeland security enterprise in order to coordinate and approve the development of the 2018 QHSR. This recommendation will remain open until we verify that interactive communication approaches are implemented.
    Recommendation: To ensure proper management of the internal QHSR stakeholder consultation process, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Assistant Secretary for Policy to clarify component detailee roles and responsibilities when project planning for the next QHSR.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2016, the Office of Policy's Office of Strategy, Plans, Analysis, and Risk (SPAR) drafted a memorandum for the Deputy Secretary to solicit Component subject matter experts. The memorandum specifies component detailee roles and responsibilities, to include serving in an advisory, consultation, and coordination role, according to DHS officials. SPAR is to lead an integrated group of analysts and strategic planners that are to be supported and augmented by the subject matter experts. The experts and detailees are to serve as members of study teams analyzing key threats, trends, and strategy and policy alternatives associated with issues and challenges relating to DHS's mission and objectives. A second memorandum requesting additional detailee support is to be issued in November 2016, prior to the formal review phase of the new QHSR which is to begin in January 2017. This recommendation will remain open until we verify that clarified detailee roles and responsibilities are finalized and implemented.
    Director: Steve D. Morris
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen USDA's ability to better manage and monitor the progress of the Blueprint, including efforts to streamline and improve administrative services, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Assistant Secretary for Administration to develop a complete list identifying all of the Blueprint efforts under way and document key information needed to monitor their progress, such as status of implementation, time frames for completion, and related performance measures.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen USDA's ability to better manage and monitor the progress of the Blueprint, including efforts to streamline and improve administrative services, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Assistant Secretary for Administration to reexamine the adequacy of the staff and budget resources committed to the day-to-day management of the Blueprint, and further leverage existing departmental resources as needed.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve USDA's efforts to identify and track the benefits of the Blueprint, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Assistant Secretary for Administration to document the methodologies used to calculate any savings claimed for the Blueprint effort to ensure any such estimate is based on quality information.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve USDA's efforts to identify and track the benefits of the Blueprint, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief Financial Officer to develop a cost-effective method, using existing data systems, to collect and track USDA's spending on administrative services to identify baseline spending and target areas for future cost savings.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve USDA's efforts to identify and track the benefits of the Blueprint, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Assistant Secretary for Administration to systematically identify and track nonfinancial benefits from USDA's Blueprint efforts to better gauge the Blueprint's progress and more fully report its results.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance USDA's efforts to share lessons learned from the Blueprint, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Assistant Secretary for Administration to maintain and promote existing web-based collaboration tools, including keeping information in these tools current, for agencies and staff offices to report their experiences and lessons learned from their Blueprint efforts to help strengthen internal information sharing and inform future efforts.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Director: J. Alfredo Gómez
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help federal, state, local, and private sector decision makers access and use the best available climate information, the Executive Office of the President should designate a federal entity to develop and periodically update a set of authoritative climate change observations and projections for use in federal decision making, which state, local, and private sector decision makers could also access to obtain the best available climate information.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of 6/7/17, the Executive Office of the President has yet to take action in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help federal, state, local, and private sector decision makers access and use the best available climate information, the Executive Office of the President should designate a federal entity to create a national climate information system with defined roles for federal agencies and nonfederal entities with existing statutory authority.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of 6/7/17, the Executive Office of the President has yet to take action in response to this recommendation.
    Director: Michael Courts
    Phone: (202) 512-8980

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further improve State's processing of nonimmigrant visas, the Secretary of State should evaluate the relative impact of efforts undertaken to reduce nonimmigrant visa interview wait times to help managers make informed future resource decisions.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to State officials, State's Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) is committed to putting procedures in place that will provide all of the necessary management information to assess the relative impact of process improvement efforts. State officials said that CA has expanded collection of detailed nonimmigrant visa productivity data from posts that account for nearly 65 percent of the worldwide NIV workload. That data will provide a basis for future analysis of the impact of process or program changes on adjudicator productivity. State, however, has not completed an evaluation of the relative impact of their efforts.
    Recommendation: To further improve State's processing of nonimmigrant visas, the Secretary of State should document a plan for obtaining end user (i.e., consular officers) input to help improve end user satisfaction and prioritize enhancements to information technology systems.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State informed GAO that it has taken some steps to gather additional end-user input, such as centrally tracking and then prioritizing input and expanding the use of Agile development methodology that will permit more frequent updates of software that end users desire. State, however, has not provided evidence of a documented plan for obtaining end user input to help improve end user satisfaction and prioritize enhancements to information technology systems.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve transparency in future NNSA budget materials so that they are more useful for congressional decision makers, the Administrator of NNSA should, in instances where NNSA's internal cost estimates for a life extension program suggest that additional funding may be needed beyond what is included in the 5-year budget estimates to align with the program's plan, identify the amount of the shortfall in its budget materials and, what, if any, effect the shortfall may have on the program's cost and schedule or the risk of achieving program objectives.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the report, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) agreed with this recommendation and outlined planned actions to incorporate the recommendation into the agency's fiscal year 2017 budget materials. However, the level of additional transparency for life extension programs in NNSA's fiscal year 2017 budget materials appears mixed. GAO will conduct additional follow-up with NNSA in 2017 following release of the fiscal year 2018 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan to clarify and assess prospects for further transparency with respect to funding shortfalls for life extension programs.
    Recommendation: To improve transparency in future NNSA budget materials so that they are more useful for congressional decision makers, the Administrator of NNSA should, in instances where budget estimates do not achieve DOE benchmarks for maintenance and recapitalization investment over the 5-year budget estimates, identify in the budget materials the amount of the shortfall and the effects, if any, on the deferred maintenance backlog.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the report, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) agreed with this recommendation and outlined planned actions to incorporate the recommendation into the agency's fiscal year 2017 budget materials. However, the fiscal year 2017 NNSA budget materials do not support the benchmarked levels of funding needed to address maintenance and recapitalization, and there was no apparent discussion of the shortfall and likely effects on the deferred maintenance backlog in those materials. GAO will follow up on this recommendation in 2017 and 2018 to assess adequacy of funding in NNSA's fiscal year 2018 and 2019 budget materials and any applicable explanations of shortfalls.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    15 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help agencies more consistently perform their oversight responsibilities and oversee contractors' measurement and verification activities, the Secretary of Energy should direct FEMP to monitor agencies' oversight of ESPC projects that agencies have awarded using the DOE contract vehicle, including whether agencies witnessed the contractors' measurement and verification activities and reviewed and certified acceptance of the measurement and verification report.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, we were working with DOE officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on the effects of changing circumstances on the performance of their ESPC portfolios, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should establish a process to systematically evaluate their ESPC projects--including baseline assumptions about facilities' energy use, utility prices, and interest rates--to determine how their ESPC portfolios are performing and the extent to which they are achieving expected savings. Agencies could consider conducting such evaluations either after a certain number of years, or in response to events, such as changes in utility prices or market interest rates, or appropriations becoming available that could be used for modifications or terminations.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, DOD partially concurred with this recommendation. As of December 2016, we were working with DOD officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on the effects of changing circumstances on the performance of their ESPC portfolios, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should establish a process to systematically evaluate their ESPC projects--including baseline assumptions about facilities' energy use, utility prices, and interest rates--to determine how their ESPC portfolios are performing and the extent to which they are achieving expected savings. Agencies could consider conducting such evaluations either after a certain number of years, or in response to events, such as changes in utility prices or market interest rates, or appropriations becoming available that could be used for modifications or terminations.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, we were working with DOE officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on the effects of changing circumstances on the performance of their ESPC portfolios, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should establish a process to systematically evaluate their ESPC projects--including baseline assumptions about facilities' energy use, utility prices, and interest rates--to determine how their ESPC portfolios are performing and the extent to which they are achieving expected savings. Agencies could consider conducting such evaluations either after a certain number of years, or in response to events, such as changes in utility prices or market interest rates, or appropriations becoming available that could be used for modifications or terminations.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, the Department of Justice agreed with the recommendation. As of December 2016, we were working with Department of Justice officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on the effects of changing circumstances on the performance of their ESPC portfolios, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should establish a process to systematically evaluate their ESPC projects--including baseline assumptions about facilities' energy use, utility prices, and interest rates--to determine how their ESPC portfolios are performing and the extent to which they are achieving expected savings. Agencies could consider conducting such evaluations either after a certain number of years, or in response to events, such as changes in utility prices or market interest rates, or appropriations becoming available that could be used for modifications or terminations.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, the Department of Veterans Affairs agreed with the recommendation. As of December 2016, we were working with Department of Veterans Affairs officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on the effects of changing circumstances on the performance of their ESPC portfolios, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should establish a process to systematically evaluate their ESPC projects--including baseline assumptions about facilities' energy use, utility prices, and interest rates--to determine how their ESPC portfolios are performing and the extent to which they are achieving expected savings. Agencies could consider conducting such evaluations either after a certain number of years, or in response to events, such as changes in utility prices or market interest rates, or appropriations becoming available that could be used for modifications or terminations.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, GSA agreed with the recommendation. As of December 2016, we were working with GSA officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help agencies decide whether to use ESPCs to consolidate federal data centers, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should document, for the purposes of scoring ESPCs, (1) what qualifies as energy-related savings and (2) the allowable proportion of energy and energy-related cost savings.

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

    Comments: OMB did not comment on its plans to implement this recommendation in its review of a draft of the report and, as of December 2016, had not provided us with requested information on its actions to implement this recommendation. We will continue to follow-up on the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help agencies more consistently perform their oversight responsibilities and oversee contractors' measurement and verification activities, the Secretary of Energy should direct DOE's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) to evaluate existing training and determine whether additional training is needed on observing contractors' measurement and verification activities and reviewing and certifying measurement and verification reports.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, we were working with DOE officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on ESPC performance to oversee whether future and current contracts are achieving their expected savings, the Secretaries of Defense and Energy should specify in the scheduled revisions to their ESPC contract vehicles or in guidance to agencies that measurement and verification reports for future projects are to include estimates of cost and energy savings that were not achieved because of agency actions. Additionally, the Department of Energy (DOE) may wish to consider periodically analyzing data on other factors that may affect savings, such as utility prices, to provide information on how savings achieved by ESPCs awarded through its contract vehicle have been affected by changing utility prices since its prior study in 2007.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, DOD concurred with this recommendation. As of December 2016, we were working with DOD officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on ESPC performance to oversee whether future and current contracts are achieving their expected savings, the Secretaries of Defense and Energy should specify in the scheduled revisions to their ESPC contract vehicles or in guidance to agencies that measurement and verification reports for future projects are to include estimates of cost and energy savings that were not achieved because of agency actions. Additionally, the Department of Energy (DOE) may wish to consider periodically analyzing data on other factors that may affect savings, such as utility prices, to provide information on how savings achieved by ESPCs awarded through its contract vehicle have been affected by changing utility prices since its prior study in 2007.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, we were working with DOE officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on ESPC performance to oversee whether future and current contracts are achieving their expected savings, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work with contractors to determine the best way to obtain estimates of cost and energy savings that are not achieved because of agency actions in order to include these estimates in future measurement and verification reports for existing contracts, in accordance with DOE guidance, and where economically feasible.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, DOD concurred with this recommendation. As of December 2016, we were working with DOD officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on ESPC performance to oversee whether future and current contracts are achieving their expected savings, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work with contractors to determine the best way to obtain estimates of cost and energy savings that are not achieved because of agency actions in order to include these estimates in future measurement and verification reports for existing contracts, in accordance with DOE guidance, and where economically feasible.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, we were working with DOE officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on ESPC performance to oversee whether future and current contracts are achieving their expected savings, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work with contractors to determine the best way to obtain estimates of cost and energy savings that are not achieved because of agency actions in order to include these estimates in future measurement and verification reports for existing contracts, in accordance with DOE guidance, and where economically feasible.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, the Department of Justice agreed with the recommendation. As of December 2016, we were working with Department of Justice officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on ESPC performance to oversee whether future and current contracts are achieving their expected savings, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work with contractors to determine the best way to obtain estimates of cost and energy savings that are not achieved because of agency actions in order to include these estimates in future measurement and verification reports for existing contracts, in accordance with DOE guidance, and where economically feasible.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, the Department of Veterans Affairs did not agree with the recommendation, but suggested changes, which we incorporated. As of December 2016, we were working with Department of Veterans Affairs officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies have sufficient information on ESPC performance to oversee whether future and current contracts are achieving their expected savings, the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrator of the General Services Administration should work with contractors to determine the best way to obtain estimates of cost and energy savings that are not achieved because of agency actions in order to include these estimates in future measurement and verification reports for existing contracts, in accordance with DOE guidance, and where economically feasible.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of this report, GSA agreed with the recommendation. As of December 2016, we were working with GSA officials to confirm the status of their actions to implement the recommendation.
    Director: Beryl H. Davis
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide increased performance audit coverage of Commerce's bureaus and offices, the Commerce IG should augment the OIG's risk-based audit planning process to consider (1) a rotation of performance audit coverage among the smaller bureaus and offices to help ensure that the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of their programs are periodically reviewed and (2) all applicable high-risk areas identified by GAO.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Office of the Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has taken actions to augment its annual risk assessment to consider (I) a rotation of performance audit coverage among the smaller bureaus and offices and (2) all applicable high-risk areas identified by GAO. For example, OIG's fiscal year (FY) 2016 audit plan included performance audits of Bureau of Industry and Security, Economic Development Administration, and Economic Development Administration, which are three of Commerce's smaller bureaus. It also included a performance audit of federal real property, a high-risk area identified by GAO. Further, OIG indicated completion of its FY 2017 risk assessment in June, and will be completing its FY 2017 audit plan in September - which will include performance audits of several of the Commerce's smaller bureaus, as well as consider the following high-risk areas identified by GAO in its 2015 report that could be applicable to Commerce. We believe OIG met the intent of GAO recommendation with regards to augmenting its annual risk assessment to consider (1) a rotation of performance audit coverage among the smaller bureaus and offices and (2) all applicable high-risk areas identified by GAO. We base our conclusion given that OIG has either conducted or scheduled to conduct performance audits to cover smaller bureaus and high-risk areas identified by GAO, which we verified on the OIG's website. However, we believe the intent of GAO's recommendation is for these audits to be performed in subsequent years going forward and not just in FY 2017. OIG was not able to provide us support to show it has formal procedures or policies in place to ensure these performance audits will be performed in future years on a rotational and periodic basis. As a result, we don't believe DOC OIG has fully met the intent of the recommendation. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that written hotline policies and procedures are consistently followed and complaints are handled effectively, the Commerce IG should enhance the existing internal control activities for the OIG's hotline operations through monitoring, including self-assessment evaluations conducted by the hotline unit of itself, periodic reviews of control design, and direct testing of internal controls.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Office of the Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce's Office of Inspector General (OIG) stated that it conducted a self-assessment of its hotline operations in fiscal year 2016, updated its complaint management policy, and is securing independent quality control reviews. We have reviewed OIG quality assessment memorandum dated 11/3/15 and verified it shows that OIG performed a self-assessment of its hotline operations, which included (1) evaluating proper handling of complaints; (2) assignment of disposition codes; and (3) time frames for processing complaints. In addition, we have reviewed OIG's updated complaint management policy and verified it contains detailed policies and procedures over its hotline operations. Therefore, we believe OIG met the intent of the recommendation with regards to conducting a self-assessment evaluation. However, we did not see where OIG met the intent of GAO recommendation with regards to having in place control activities for conducting periodic reviews of control design and direct testing of internal controls. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: Andrew Sherrill
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To promote effective operation of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Congress may wish to consider amending the commission's authorizing statute to clearly specify the roles and responsibilities of the commission chairperson, commissioners, and staff director, such as who has the authority to develop and implement commission operating policies and procedures, to manage commission staff, and to represent commission decisions and views, including those views expressed on commission letterhead.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: A Senate Committee on Appropriations report released on June 16, 2015, which accompanied a bill that provided for the Commission's FY 2016 appropriations, included a provision that directed the Commission to address one of the issues highlighted in our recommendation. Specifically, the report calls for the Commission to limit the use of letterhead to items that reflect the views of the entire Commission.
    Recommendation: To more fully inform congressional consideration of the commission's fiscal year 2016 budget submission, the commission should develop and submit to the appropriate congressional committees a comprehensive workforce plan that assesses skills needed and the appropriate distribution of commission staff to fulfill the agency's mission and statutory responsibilities. This plan should incorporate relevant information from the report that Congress recently directed the commission to provide.

    Agency: Commission on Civil Rights
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Commission on Civil Rights stated that the Commissioners will work closely with the incoming Staff Director, once the President makes an appointment, to develop a comprehensive workforce plan. The agency stressed the importance of involving the new Staff Director in this process. We recognize the importance of involving the Staff Director - the agency's chief administrative official - in an analysis of the Commission's workforce and look forward to the results of this analysis.
    Recommendation: To enhance the commission's consideration of State Advisory Committee work in planning its National Office projects, the commission should increase the visibility of SAC work at commission meetings. For example, the commission could invite SACs to present the results of their work during monthly commission business meetings.

    Agency: Commission on Civil Rights
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Commission on Civil Rights highlighted several initiatives that it plans to consider, pending resource availability, to better highlight and consider the work of its state advisory committees (SAC). First, the agency stated that it would like to re-introduce an annual conference where SAC chairs from around the country can meet and share information. Second, the agency stated that it is looking to leverage technology, such as video conferencing and live streaming, to allow the general public and stakeholders to view SAC meetings. Lastly, the agency stated that the Commission's Chair is planning to develop a list-serve for SAC chairs, send out monthly updates to SACs, and institute quarterly conference calls between the Chair, Vice Chair, and SAC Chairs. We are encouraged by the Commission's efforts to explore ways to better engage with SACs and look forward to the implementation of these planned actions.
    Director: John Pendleton
    Phone: (202) 512-3489

    4 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To ensure that headquarters organizations are properly sized to meet their assigned missions and use the most cost-effective mix of personnel, and to better position DOD to identify opportunities for more efficient use of resources, the Secretary of Defense should conduct a systematic determination of personnel requirements for OSD, the Joint Staff, and the military services' secretariats and staff, which should include analysis of mission, functions, and tasks, and the minimum personnel needed to accomplish those missions, functions, and tasks.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with our recommendation, but has not taken executive action. DOD is considering developing a manpower requirements validation process, but, as of March 2017, it had not conducted a systematic determination of workforce requirements. DOD partially concurred with GAO's January 2015 recommendation to conduct a systematic determination of workforce requirements, and in comments to the report, DOD noted that it would continue to use the processes and prioritization that are part of the Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution process, and would also investigate other methods for aligning personnel to missions and priorities. However, DOD did not specify whether any of these actions would include a workforce analysis. In a December 2014 Resource Management Decision, the Deputy Chief Management Officer was directed to develop and implement a manpower requirements validation process for the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Defense Agencies and Field Activities for military and civilian manpower, but this effort has not yet been completed. DOD indicated that it was taking action in response to GAO?s recommendation, but, as of March 2017, it had not provided documentation enabling GAO to determine what actions have been taken and the extent to which the recommendation has been implemented. Without a systematic determination of personnel requirements, DOD headquarters organizations may not be well positioned to identify opportunities for efficiencies and reduce the potential for headquarters-related growth. We will continue to monitor actions DOD takes in response to this recommendation and will provide updated information as appropriate.
    Recommendation: To ensure that headquarters organizations are properly sized to meet their assigned missions and use the most cost-effective mix of personnel, and to better position DOD to identify opportunities for more efficient use of resources, the Secretary of Defense should submit these personnel requirements, including information on the number of personnel within OSD and the military services' secretariats and staffs that count against the statutory limits, along with any applicable adjustments to the statutory limits, in the next Defense Manpower Requirements Report to Congress or through separate correspondence, along with any recommendations needed to modify the existing statutory limits.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with our recommendation and stated that it has ongoing efforts to refine and improve its reporting capabilities associated with these requirements, noting that the department has to update DOD Instruction 5100.73, Major DOD Headquarters Activities before it can determine personnel requirements that count against the statutory limits. DOD also did not indicate in its letter whether the department would submit personnel requirements that count against the statutory limits in the Defense Manpower Requirements Report, as we recommend, once the Instruction is finalized. DOD noted in the spring of 2016 that it has ongoing efforts to refine and improve its reporting capabilities associated with personnel requirements. Additionally, DOD plans to begin an update to DOD Instruction 5100.73, Major DOD Headquarters Activities, in summer 2016. While DOD indicated that it was taking action in response to our recommendation, it has not provided documentation enabling us to determine what actions have been taken and the extent to which our recommendation has been implemented. We will continue to monitor actions DOD takes in response to this recommendation and will provide updated information as appropriate.
    Recommendation: To ensure that headquarters organizations are properly sized to meet their assigned missions and use the most cost-effective mix of personnel, and to better position DOD to identify opportunities for more efficient use of resources, the Secretary of Defense should establish and implement procedures to conduct periodic reassessments of personnel requirements within OSD and the military services' secretariats and staffs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with our recommendation, but has not taken executive action. While DOD stated that it supports the intent of GAO's 2015 recommendation to conduct periodic reassessments of workforce requirements, as of March 2017, DOD had not taken any steps to address the recommendation despite a congressional requirement to do so. DOD partially concurred with GAO's January 2015 recommendation, but in comments to GAO's report, DOD noted that such periodic reassessments require additional resources and personnel, which would increase the number of personnel performing major DOD headquarters activities. DOD stated that it intended to examine the establishment of requirements determination processes across the department, to include the contractor workforce, but that such an examination would require a phased approach across a longer time frame. Based in part on GAO's work on management headquarters, including its January 2015 report, Congress directed DOD to develop a plan for implementing a periodic review and analysis of DOD's personnel requirements for management headquarters, including the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the military service secretariats and staff, among others, in section 905 of the Carl Levin and Howard P.Buck McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015. The review is to include a description of current headquarters size, structure, and critical capabilities; an assessment of current systems to track how headquarters personnel are managed; and a proposed time line and resources required to implement a permanent periodic reassessment. However, as of November 2016, a DOD official stated DOD's plan to address the section 905 requirement had not been finalized, and DOD provided no estimated completion date for addressing this requirement. As of March 2017, DOD has not provided documentation of progress on this recommendation to GAO. Without periodic reassessments, it will likely be difficult for headquarters organizations to be well positioned to effectively identify opportunities for efficiencies and limit personnel growth. We will continue to monitor actions DOD takes in response to this recommendation and will provide updated information as appropriate.
    Recommendation: Congress should consider using the results of DOD's review of headquarters personnel requirements to reexamine the statutory limits. Such an examination could consider whether supporting organizations that perform headquarters functions should be included in statutory limits and whether the statutes on personnel limitations within the military services' secretariats and staffs should be amended to include a prohibition on reassigning headquarters-related functions elsewhere.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on our report DOD noted that the department has to update DOD Instruction 5100.73, Major DOD Headquarters Activities before it can determine personnel requirements that count against the statutory limits. Until DOD completes its update of the Instruction and provides Congress with information on the number personnel that count against the statutory limits, it will be difficult for Congress to take action. We will continue to monitor actions taken in response to this matter and will provide updated information as appropriate. As of May 2016, the Senate Armed Services Committee markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 includes a provision that would allow the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the military departments to increase their number of military and civilian personnel by 15 percent in times of national emergency.
    Director: James R.McTigue, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress should consider expanding the mandate for 501(c)(3) organizations to electronically file their tax returns to cover a greater share of filed returns.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: The threshold over which Treasury/IRS can require electronic reporting is still 250 returns. As of February 18, 2016, there is no proposed legislation in the current Congress which would amend this threshold.
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of charitable organizations, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct EO to develop quantitative, results-oriented compliance goals and additional performance measures and indicators that can be used to assess impact of exams and other enforcement activities on compliance.

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

    Comments: IRS reported it has taken a series of actions to implement this recommendation. First, in FY 2016, IRS implemented a new data-driven case selection model to identify the most non-compliant returns based upon what is reported. Starting in FY 2017, IRS plans to measure the effectiveness of these new data-analytic models and use that performance information as the basis for ongoing discussions with EO Examinations managers on which queries are yielding results and which need to be modified or deleted from the work plan. IRS also developed a weighted disposal code measure, which is intended to help examiners prioritize case selection according to criteria that give more weight to more consequential outcomes. For example, a data mining query generating a lot of revocations would take priority over a query that may only generate written advisories. IRS incorporated the new measure into its current and future work plan monitoring and projections. IRS also began discussions with TE/GE Research and SOI to figure out how to define compliance for the EO population, establish a compliance baseline, and how to develop methods to measure the impact of enforcement actions on voluntary compliance levels in the EO population. Once all these actions are fully implemented, IRS will be in a better position to use this information to develop quantitative, results-oriented compliance goals and additional performance measures and indicators that can be used to assess impact of exams and other enforcement activities on compliance.
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of charitable organizations, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should continue to work with Treasury officials to do the following: review the flexibility afforded under the Pension Protection Act of 2006 consistent with statutory protections of taxpayer data, clarify what flexibility state regulators have in how they protect and use federal tax data, make modifications to guidance, policies, or regulations as warranted, and clearly communicate this information with state charity regulators.

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

    Comments: In 2016, IRS reported taking three actions to implement this recommendation. First, IRS coordinated a training session for State Charity Regulators on safeguards. The training included a review of the Safeguards Security Report (SSR) and covered several topics including current period safeguard activities, changes to safeguarding procedures, and disposal of information. According to IRS, there were 53 participants representing 45 different states. IRS also revised the 6104 (c)Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) inserting a new paragraph that instructs state charity regulators to contact the Tax Exempt/Government Entities (TEGE) Liaison if there are questions about whether an administrative or judicial proceeding has been initiated. This puts in place a mechanism to provide assurance to the regulator if they have concerns. Third, TEGE officials met with the Department of the Treasury and Office of Chief Counsel to discuss the Priority Guidance Plan for 2015-2016. According to IRS, this meeting included a discussion about flexibility afforded under the PPA and how state regulators can protect and use federal tax data consistent with statutory protections of taxpayer data. More recently, IRS informed us that they made additional changes to the MOU to address concerns raised by state charity officials about re-disclosures. IRS also reported on information-sharing efforts to publicize these changes among state charity regulators including a presentation at the annual National Association of State Charity Officials conference and a virtual presentation that reached over 100 participants representing 33 states. IRS informed state charity regulators that the MOU had been revised to address their concerns about re-disclosures in proceedings had been addressed in the MOU. The TEGE Liaison made a presentation at the Annual NASCO Conference in Washington DC on October 6, 2015 and included this information in the presentation.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To more effectively fulfill its expanded role in providing a clearinghouse of information on available federal technology transfer opportunities, the Chair of FLC, in coordination with the other members of the Executive Board, should work collaboratively with agency and lab members to take steps to better communicate with potential customers during the design and implementation of FLC's clearinghouse initiatives, including conducting customer needs assessments, conducting customer testing of current and future web-based initiatives, and collecting customer feedback on all FLC initiatives to make the initiatives more useful.

    Agency: Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer
    Status: Open

    Comments: FLC has provided GAO with information on steps they are taking to address the recommendations in GAO-15-127. A number of these actions should be completed towards the end of 2016 after which we plan to request additional information from FLC.
    Recommendation: To more effectively fulfill its expanded role in providing a clearinghouse of information on available federal technology transfer opportunities, the Chair of FLC, in coordination with the other members of the Executive Board, once feedback is collected from potential customers, should work collaboratively with agency and lab members to use this feedback to improve FLC's initiatives to make them more useful to potential customers, including asking FLC members for additional or different information, as appropriate.

    Agency: Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer
    Status: Open

    Comments: FLC has provided GAO with information on steps they are taking to address the recommendations in GAO-15-127. A number of these actions should be completed towards the end of 2016 after which we plan to request additional information from FLC.
    Recommendation: To more effectively fulfill its expanded role in providing a clearinghouse of information on available federal technology transfer opportunities, the Chair of FLC, in coordination with the other members of the Executive Board, should work collaboratively with agency and lab members to develop performance goals and measures for FLC's clearinghouse initiatives and use the results to evaluate progress toward meeting FLC's goals on outreach and networking.

    Agency: Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer
    Status: Open

    Comments: FLC has provided GAO with information on steps they are taking to address the recommendations in GAO-15-127. A number of these actions should be completed towards the end of 2016 after which we plan to request additional information from FLC.
    Recommendation: To more effectively fulfill its expanded role in providing a clearinghouse of information on available federal technology transfer opportunities, the Chair of FLC, in coordination with the other members of the Executive Board, should report on FLC's progress in these efforts in its annual report to the President and Congress.

    Agency: Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer
    Status: Open

    Comments: FLC has provided GAO with information on steps they are taking to address the recommendations in GAO-15-127. A number of these actions should be completed towards the end of 2016 after which we plan to request additional information from FLC.
    Director: David Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    8 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to ensure that all IT investments are assessed for suitability for migration to a cloud computing service.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are in the process of reviewing agency documentation and waiting for additional supporting documentation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to ensure that all IT investments are assessed for suitability for migration to a cloud computing service.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: We contacted the agency and are awaiting its response on the status of efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to ensure that all IT investments are assessed for suitability for migration to a cloud computing service.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State established a requirement for completing a cloud computing service alternatives analysis for all new projects, and that existing IT projects be evaluated for the viability to migrate to a cloud computing environment. Further, the department established key factors for consideration when selecting applications for migration to a cloud environment. However, State has not yet evaluated a majority of its IT investments for cloud alternatives. The department said it plans to complete evaluations for some of these investments by the end of FY2017, but has not yet established plans to evaluate over a third of its investments.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to ensure that all IT investments are assessed for suitability for migration to a cloud computing service.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are waiting for a response from SBA on the status of efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to establish evaluation dates for those investments identified in this report that have not been assessed for migration to the cloud.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are in the process of waiting for additional department documentation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to establish evaluation dates for those investments identified in this report that have not been assessed for migration to the cloud.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are waiting for a response from the department on the status of efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to establish evaluation dates for those investments identified in this report that have not been assessed for migration to the cloud.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State established a requirement for completing a cloud computing service alternatives analysis for all new projects, and that existing IT projects be evaluated for viability to migrate to a cloud computing environment. Further, the department established key factors for consideration when selecting applications for migration to a cloud environment. However, the department has not yet established evaluation dates for the vast majority of the investments that have not been assessed for migration to the cloud. Specifically, the department plans to complete evaluations for some of these investments by the end of fiscal year 2017, but does not plan to do so for most of them.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of cloud computing services, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and the Treasury; and the Administrators of the General Services Administration and Small Business Administration should direct their respective Chief Information Officers to establish evaluation dates for those investments identified in this report that have not been assessed for migration to the cloud.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are waiting for a response from the department on the status of efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Director: John H. Pendleton
    Phone: (202) 512-3489

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist DOD in conducting any future comprehensive assessments of roles and missions that reflect appropriate statutory requirements, the Secretary of Defense should develop a comprehensive process that includes (1) a planned approach, including the principles or assumptions used to inform the assessment, that addresses all statutory requirements; (2) the involvement of key DOD stakeholders, such as the armed services, Joint Staff, and other officials within the department; (3) an opportunity to identify and involve appropriate external stakeholders, to provide input to inform the assessment; and (4) time frames with milestones for conducting the assessment and for reporting on its results.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) has not subsequently conducted a comprehensive assessment of roles and missions. However, a DOD official responsible for force development stated that, in response to our report, DOD has taken specific steps to improve the force planning guidance it uses to inform its annual Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution process, including in ways that reflect evolving roles and missions of the military services. As of August 2016, DOD has still not conducted a subsequent comprehensive assessment of roles and missions; however according to a DOD official, through the normal Fiscal Year 2017 Program Review and development of internal force planning guidance in advance of the budget cycle, a range of discussions touching on roles and missions have occurred.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD is better informed in its decision-making processes, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to utilize comprehensive and up-to-date furlough cost-savings information as it becomes available in the event that DOD decides to implement another administrative furlough in the future.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: We received the 60 day letter from DOD, it noted that the Department's position has not changed. In its written comments on the draft report, DOD partially concurred with the recommendation to utilize comprehensive and up-to-date furlough cost-savings information as it becomes available in the event that DOD decides to implement another administrative furlough in the future.
    Director: James R. McTigue, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: As a result of turnover in IRS's Senior Executive Team and in order to enhance budget planning and improve decision making and accountability, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop a long-term strategy to address operations amidst an uncertain budget environment. As part of the strategy, IRS should take steps to improve its efficiency, including (1) reexamining programs, related processes, and organizational structures to determine whether they are effectively and efficiently achieving the IRS mission, and (2) streamlining or consolidating management or operational processes and functions to make them more cost-effective.

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

    Comments: IRS agreed with our recommendation and is taking steps to implement it. For example, IRS has adopted a new, more strategic approach to identify and select budget program priorities. In its fiscal year 2017 budget justification, IRS introduced six themes of its Future State Initiative for tax administration, which in part aims to deliver service improvements across different taxpayer interactions such as individual account assistance, refunds, identity theft, and billings and payments. The budget also linked requested spending increases to the themes laid out in the initiative. The themes were derived from a subset of its 19 objectives identified in the IRS 2014-2017 Strategic Plan. In addition to the future state themes and strategic objectives, IRS has identified enterprise goals to guide the IRS toward the future state. As of December 2016, IRS has yet to set targets for meeting the goals but plans to have targets in place by June 2017. We acknowledge the steps IRS has taken and will continue to monitor its progress as the process is further developed.
    Recommendation: Because ROI provides insights on the productivity of a program and is one important factor in making resource allocation decisions, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should calculate actual ROI for implemented initiatives, compare the actual ROI to projected ROI, and provide the comparison to budget decision makers for initiatives where IRS allocated resources.

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

    Comments: No executive action taken. While IRS agreed that having actual ROI data for implemented initiatives would be useful, it did not believe it was feasible to produce such estimates, as GAO recommended in June 2014. GAO maintains that IRS should be able to provide some information on past initiatives, such as whether funds requested were used in the manner originally proposed. As of December 2016, IRS officials reported there is no timeline for full implementation. In March 2017, IRS officials confirmed that they do not isolate the revenue attributable to a specific initiative, but pointed to other efforts to help manage IRS's budget, including establishing the Office of Planning, Programming and Audit Coordination and the Planning Community of Practice, which are intended to improve investment planning processes. While these efforts are intended to help IRS act more strategically, comparing projected ROI to actual ROI can help hold managers and IRS accountable for the funding received.
    Recommendation: Because ROI provides insights on the productivity of a program and is one important factor in making resource allocation decisions, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should use actual ROI calculations as part of resource allocation decisions.

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

    Comments: No executive action taken as of March 2017. IRS's Research, Analysis, and Statistics Division has begun to estimate marginal direct revenues and marginal costs attributable to specific compliance projects. The estimates are necessary inputs to establish a measure of ROI, which in turn can guide resource allocation decisions. IRS plans to use these estimates to inform future examination plans, but considerable work remains in this long-term effort. In October 2016, IRS officials reported there is no timeline for full implementation, but that the work is on-going. In June 2016, IRS officials confirmed that projected revenue will be considered in investment decision making as part of fiscal year 2018 enterprise planning guidance, but did not report any progress in using actual ROI data. Until such action is taken, IRS may not be allocating its resources in the most effective way, thus potentially forgoing additional revenues.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve compliance with the Small Business Act and enhance SBA's ability to provide oversight of the programs, the SBA Administrator should revise the language in the SBIR and STTR policy directives to accurately summarize the statutory provisions that describe the program spending requirements.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2016, SBA proposed an update to its SBIR and STTR policy directive to state that each participating agency must spend (obligate) the required amounts on the programs, which is consistent with the statutory provisions for program spending requirements. However, according to SBA officials, in January 2017, the policy directive was withdrawn from the Office of Management and Budget and is under further internal consideration in light of a recent executive order. As of April 2017, SBA has not established a time frame for publication of the final policy directive.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of reported cost and schedule variance information for major investments, the Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to report cumulative investment and investment segment cost and schedule information in the quarterly reports to Congress, consistent with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requirements for measuring progress towards meeting goals.

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

    Comments: In its fiscal year 2016 second quarter report to Congress, IRS included cumulative cost and schedule information for one of the five investments highlighted in the report. IRS stated that it was awaiting findings of our report issued in June 2016 to determine the future direction of the quarterly reporting to Congress. We will continue to monitor IRS's quarterly reporting to Congress to determine the extent to which this recommendation has been addressed.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of reported cost and schedule variance information for major investments, the Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to ensure that projected cost and schedule variances for in-process activities are updated monthly, for the six investments for which we reviewed monthly updates, consistent with OMB and Treasury reporting requirements, by ensuring investment staff have a consistent understanding of the information to be included in monthly reports.

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

    Comments: To address this recommendation, IRS provided training in October 2014, which focused on, among other things, the monthly update of investment performance information. As of July 2016, we are reviewing cost and schedule reporting for the six selected investments to determine the extent to which the training provided has improved the timeliness of cost and schedule performance reporting.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of reported cost and schedule variance information for major investments, until a quantitative measure of scope is developed, the Commissioner of IRS should direct the Chief Technology Officer to qualitatively report on how delivered scope compares to what was planned in its quarterly reports to Congress, for the seven investments for which we reviewed scope reporting.

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

    Comments: In its fiscal year 2016 second quarter report to Congress, IRS proposed a quantitative measure of scope solution for one investment; specifically, it listed specific scope elements for the Return Review Program investment and identified the elements it had implemented to date. In addition, in our June 2016, report summarizing our review of IRS's major IT investments, we noted that IRS had developed a quantitative measure of scope for two investments, although we noted that the measure could be improved by accounting for the work performed by IRS staff in accordance with best practices (see GAO-16-545). The measure used in the quarterly report to Congress and the one we noted during our recent review are positive steps. We will continue to monitor IRS's actions to address our recommendation.
    Director: Wilshusen, Gregory C
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    17 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To make government-wide computer matching program planning efforts more consistent, the Director of OMB should revise guidance on computer matching to clarify whether front-end verification queries are covered by the Computer Matching Act.

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

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate the agency's actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To make government-wide computer matching program planning efforts more consistent, the Director of OMB should direct agencies to address all key elements when preparing cost-benefit analyses.

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

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To make government-wide computer matching program planning efforts more consistent, the Director of OMB should ensure that agencies receive assistance in implementing computer matching programs as envisioned by the act.

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

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Agriculture should develop and implement policies and procedures for cost-benefit analyses related to computer matching agreements to include key elements such as personnel and computer costs, as well as avoidance of future improper payments and recovery of improper payments and debts.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Agriculture should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Agriculture should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on the agency's computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Education should develop and implement policies and procedures for cost-benefit analyses related to computer matching agreements to include key elements such as personnel and computer costs, as well as avoidance of future improper payments and recovery of improper payments and debts.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received sufficient information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate the agency's actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on agency computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information needed to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Homeland Security should develop and implement policies and procedures for cost-benefit analyses related to computer matching agreements to include key elements such as personnel and computer costs, as well as avoidance of future improper payments and recovery of improper payments and debts.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on agency computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Labor should develop and implement policies and procedures for cost-benefit analyses related to computer matching agreements to include key elements such as personnel and computer costs, as well as avoidance of future improper payments and recovery of improper payments and debts.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Labor should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Labor should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on agency computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should ensure the DIB reviews cost-benefit analyses to make certain cost savings information for the computer matching program is included before approving CMAs.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate the agency's actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Recommendation: To improve the implementation of the act, the Administrator of Social Security should ensure the DIB performs annual reviews and submits annual reports on agency computer matching activities, as required by the act.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: We have not yet received information to validate agency actions on this recommendation. Subsequent to the agency stating that is has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.
    Director: Gootnick, David B
    Phone: (202) 512-3149

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve the ability of the U.S. agencies participating in the Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO) and Joint Economic Management and Financial Accountability Committee (JEMFAC) to conduct required oversight of compact funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of Insular Affairs, as Chairman of JEMCO, to coordinate with other JEMCO-member U.S. agencies to have JEMCO take all necessary steps, or, as the administrator of compact grants, to directly take all necessary steps, to ensure that the FSM (1) completes satisfactory plans to address annual decrements in compact funds, (2) produces reliable indicator data used to track progress in education and health, and (3) addresses all single audit findings in a timely manner.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: JEMCO accepted decrement plans from the FSM which addressed one element of the recommendation. However, as of June 16th, 2017 the other parts of the recommendation have not been addressed.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the ability of the U.S. agencies participating in the JEMCO and JEMFAC committees to conduct required oversight of compact funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of Insular Affairs, as Chairman of the JEMFAC, to coordinate with other JEMFAC-member U.S. agencies to have JEMFAC take all necessary steps, or, as the administrator of compact grants, to directly take all necessary steps, to ensure that the RMI (1) completes satisfactory plans to address annual decrements in compact funds, (2) produces reliable indicator data used to track progress in education and health, and (3) addresses all single audit findings in a timely manner.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: JEMFAC accepted decrement plans from the RMI, which addressed one element of the recommendation. However, as of June 16th, 2017 the other parts of the recommendation have not been addressed.
    Director: Engel, Gary T
    Phone: (202)512-8815

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of the information presented in the CFS budget statements, the Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, working in coordination with the Controller of OMB's Office of Federal Financial Management, to establish and implement effective procedures for reporting amounts in the CFS budget statements that are fully consistent with the underlying information in significant federal entities' audited financial statements and other financial data.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of the completion of our fiscal year 2016 consolidated financial statements (CFS) audit, Treasury and OMB agreed that this recommendation remained open. Treasury partnered with the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) to develop a Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Standards exposure draft that identifies items needed to reconcile net cost to outlays at the entity level, with a focus on demonstrating consistency with significant entities' audited financial statements. We will follow-up on progress made by Treasury and OMB as part of our fiscal year 2017 CFS audit, which is ongoing as of March 2017.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of the information presented in the CFS budget statements, the Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, working in coordination with the Controller of OMB's Office of Federal Financial Management, to establish and implement effective procedures for identifying and reporting all items needed to prepare the CFS budget statements.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of the completion of our fiscal year 2016 consolidated financial statements (CFS) audit, Treasury and OMB agreed that this recommendation remained open. Treasury has improved its process for preparing the budget statements over the past three years and is continuing to do so. For example, Treasury has developed a reconciliation process to ensure that all cash related amounts reconcile on a monthly basis. We will follow-up on progress made by Treasury and OMB as part of our fiscal year 2017 CFS audit, which is ongoing as of March 2017.
    Director: Powner, David A
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should designate a senior agency official who has departmentwide responsibility, accountability, and authority for geospatial information issues. The Secretary of Transportation direct the designated senior official for geospatial information to prepare, maintain, publish, and implement a strategy for advancing geographic information and related geospatial data activities appropriate to its mission.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, a Transportation official told GAO that the department had completed a draft of the geospatial strategic plan that month. According to a Transportation official, as of March 1, 2017, the draft was under review. On September 8, 2017, a Transportation official stated that the department plans to issue the plan by November 1, 2017.
    Recommendation: To improve OMB oversight of geospatial information and assets, and minimize duplication of federal geospatial investments, the Director of OMB should develop a mechanism, or modify existing mechanisms, to identify and report annually on all geospatial related investments, including dollars invested and the nature of the investment.

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

    Comments: OMB has made progress in developing a way to identify and report annually on all geospatial-related investments, but has not completed its efforts. In March 2014, the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) issued its National Geospatial Data Asset (NGDA) Management Plan. The plan was developed in conjunction with OMB officials. One of the objectives of the plan is to develop and apply a standard definition of a geospatial investment in order to facilitate reporting on budgeted geospatial data investments, due to the fact that different definitions are being used by OMB, the FGDC community, and individual agencies. There are two supporting actions for this objective. The first action was completed with the finalization and issuance of the FGDC's Geospatial Investment Definitions for Tracking and Reporting Geospatial Investment Costs document in April 2016. The document contains a set of geospatial definitions with specific examples for each. The second action is for the geospatial community to apply the definitions in submissions to OMB during the annual federal government budget planning and reporting process. According to FGDC officials, they expect this to be challenging for a number of reasons, including the need for agencies to determine how they can align their investment tracking systems to accommodate the new definitions and the extent to which agencies will be able to use a common reporting capability. As a result, a two-pronged approach is being used. First, FGDC developed a reporting method using the theme implementation plans to support federal geospatial data investment tracking. For example, in February 2017, an official provided an implementation plan from January 2017 which included an estimate of the amount of time federal employees spent on NGDA work, and reported this as a percentage of full-time equivalents. Second, OMB worked with FGDC to revise geospatial investment reporting guidance found in OMB Circular No. A-11. Starting with fiscal year 2018 allocations (Circular No. A-11 revised July 2016), agencies are required to report on annual aggregated geospatial data investments of $100,000 or greater using the Marketplace feature of the Geospatial Platform. According to an agency official, this approach leverages existing, federal government-wide reporting methods already in place and minimizes the potential for agencies to implement separate, potentially duplicative reporting mechanisms that are not integrated with existing OMB reporting procedures. According to OMB officials as of September 7, 2017, OMB anticipates that since fiscal year 2018 will be the first year of implementation, some agencies may have challenges identifying and reporting their data. As a result, OMB states that the content and completeness of the reported information will need to be evaluated prior to determining its fitness and application for overseeing geospatial investments.
    Director: Powner, David A
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    5 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To ensure that major steady state IT investments are being adequately analyzed, the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and the Treasury should direct appropriate officials to develop an OA policy, annually perform OAs on all investments, and ensure the assessments include all key factors.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has stated it is developing OA policy, but has yet to provide a timeframe for when it will be completed. In addition, we are waiting for fiscal year 2016 OAs.
    Recommendation: To ensure that major steady state IT investments are being adequately analyzed, the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and the Treasury should direct appropriate officials to develop an OA policy, annually perform OAs on all investments, and ensure the assessments include all key factors.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Treasury has developed an OA policy and is currently performing OAs on investments. However, we are waiting for fiscal year 2016 investment OAs to determine if all key factors are being met.
    Recommendation: To ensure that major steady state IT investments are being adequately analyzed, the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and the Treasury should direct appropriate officials to develop an OA policy, annually perform OAs on all investments, and ensure the assessments include all key factors.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are waiting for VA to provide its finalized OA policy and for fiscal year 2016 OAs.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services should direct their Chief Information Officers to ensure OAs are performed annually on all major steady state investments and the assessments include all key factors.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security has updated their OA policy and is currently performing OAs on investments. We received fiscal year 2016 OAs for CBP but are waiting for the rest of the departments OAs for FY2016.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services should direct their Chief Information Officers to ensure OAs are performed annually on all major steady state investments and the assessments include all key factors.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are waiting for HHS's fiscal year 2016 OAs.
    Director: Shear, William B
    Phone: (202)512-4325

    8 open recommendations
    including 4 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should consistently collect information that would enable them to track the specific type of assistance programs provide and the entrepreneurs they serve and use this information to help administer their programs.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, USDA noted that its Rural Business-Cooperative Service had implemented procedures to improve data collected on program performance, including procedures to validate data entered into its Guarantee Loan System. In addition, USDA participates in an OMB-led interagency working group convened to share best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance analysis. In March 2017, OMB noted that SBA and Commerce?s Office of Performance and Risk Management plan to co-publish a report outlining several best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance. It will be important for USDA to follow through on the initiatives described above.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should consistently collect information that would enable them to track the specific type of assistance programs provide and the entrepreneurs they serve and use this information to help administer their programs.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2017, Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) noted that it announced additional reporting requirements for grantees as part of its Fiscal Year 2017 Economic Development Assistance Programs federal funding opportunity that are intended to improve program evaluation. EDA added that it plans to work with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to finalize the new survey forms needed to implement the new requirements with a goal of piloting them in fiscal year 2017. In addition, Commerce participates in an OMB-led interagency working group convened to share best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance analysis. In March 2017, OMB noted that SBA and Commerce's Office of Performance and Risk Management plan to co-publish a report outlining several best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance. It will be important for Commerce to follow through on the initiatives described above.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should consistently collect information that would enable them to track the specific type of assistance programs provide and the entrepreneurs they serve and use this information to help administer their programs.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In February 2017, HUD noted that the department had completed its effort to clean up its Community Development Block Grant data and is working to resolve issues with grantees for which costs have been disallowed. HUD expects to resolve these issues by December 2017.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should consistently collect information that would enable them to track the specific type of assistance programs provide and the entrepreneurs they serve and use this information to help administer their programs.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2017, SBA noted that it continues to evaluate its entrepreneurial development programs through third-party evaluations and limited data collected from their resource partners and will use this information to guide program development. In addition, SBA participates in an OMB-led interagency working group convened to share best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance analysis. In March 2017, OMB noted that SBA and Commerce's Office of Performance and Risk Management plan to co-publish a report outlining several best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance. It will be important for SBA to follow through on the initiatives described above and collect information for the additional six programs identified in our report as lacking information.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should conduct more program evaluations to better understand why programs have not met performance goals and their overall effectiveness.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, USDA noted that its Rural Business-Cooperative Service had implemented procedures to improve data collected on program performance, including procedures to validate data entered into its Guarantee Loan System. In addition, USDA participates in an OMB-led interagency working group convened to share best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance analysis. In March 2017, OMB noted that SBA and Commerce's Office of Performance and Risk Management plan to co-publish a report outlining several best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance. It will be important for USDA to follow through on the initiatives described above that are intended to improve the evaluation of programs that provide assistance to entrepreneurs.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should conduct more program evaluations to better understand why programs have not met performance goals and their overall effectiveness.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2017, Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) noted that it announced additional reporting requirements for grantees as part of its Fiscal Year 2017 Economic Development Assistance Programs federal funding opportunity that are intended to improve program evaluation. EDA added that it plans to work with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to finalize the new survey forms needed to implement the new requirements with a goal of piloting them in fiscal year 2017. In addition, Commerce participates in an OMB-led interagency working group convened to share best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance analysis. In March 2017, OMB noted that SBA and Commerce's Office of Performance and Risk Management plan to co-publish a report outlining several best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance. It will be important for Commerce to follow through on the initiatives described above and conduct evaluations of the three economic development programs that have not yet been assessed.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should conduct more program evaluations to better understand why programs have not met performance goals and their overall effectiveness.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In February 2017, HUD noted that the department had completed its effort to clean up its Community Development Block Grant data and is working to resolve issues with grantees for which costs have been disallowed. HUD expects to resolve these issues by December 2017.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should conduct more program evaluations to better understand why programs have not met performance goals and their overall effectiveness.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2017, SBA noted that it had taken a number of steps to build its program evaluation function, including (1) hiring its first lead program evaluator in August 2016 to manage new and coordinate ongoing agency program evaluations, (2) drafting a program evaluation framework that will support the agency's efforts to conduct, monitor, and implement findings from evaluations, and (3) creating a performance and evaluation community of practice that meets on a monthly basis to discuss program evaluation principles and address questions for the framework (e.g., data sharing, definitions, learning agendas). SBA expects to start new program evaluations in 2017. In addition, SBA participates in an OMB-led interagency working group convened to share best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance analysis. In March 2017, OMB noted that SBA and Commerce's Office of Performance and Risk Management plan to co-publish a report outlining several best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance. It will be important for SBA to follow through on the initiatives described above that are intended to improve the evaluation of programs that provide assistance to entrepreneurs.
    Director: Aloise, Eugene E
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance NNSA's ability to better ensure the validity of its budget submissions, and to decide on resource trade-offs, the Secretary of Energy should direct the DOE Office of Budget to formally evaluate DOE Order 130.1 and revise as necessary, and communicate any revisions to the NNSA Administrator so that the agency will have updated provisions for assessing the quality of its budget estimates.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOE's audit tracking system report, for the period ending 1/28/16, DOE Office of Budget was evaluating and revising DOE Order 130.1 as necessary to include PPBE. The report states that the Office of Budget will communicate revisions to NNSA as appropriate with an estimated completion date of 9/30/16. According to a previous tracking system report, Order 130.1 was updated and placed in the management review process some time between 6/30/13 and 9/30/13. According to DOE, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer implemented a new funding execution system on October 1, 2016. The development and implementation of the new system has delayed revision of DOE Order 130.1. The new system will impact the budget practices, planning, policies and processes content that will be outlined in the revised DOE 130.1. As of June 5, 2017, DOE anticipates issuance of a fully approved DOE Order 130.1 by August 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: To enhance NNSA's ability to better ensure the validity of its budget submissions, and to decide on resource trade-offs, the Secretary of Energy, once this process is developed, should direct the Administrator of NNSA to incorporate a formal mechanism to evaluate the status of recommendations made during previous budget validation reviews so that NNSA can measure M&O contractors' and programs' progress in responding to deficiencies with their budget estimates.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, NNSA indicated that it intends to consolidate all PPBE business operating procedures into a single document, which has not been issued. NNSA has not determined whether a separate budget validation process, as outlined in a January 2017 policy letter, will be required and intends to conduct an effectiveness review of the existing process in approximately one year (August 2018). As a result, this recommendation remains open.
    Director: Mctigue Jr, James R
    Phone: (202) 512-7968

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To continue to improve information on program cost and results that could aid in resource decision making, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop a quantitative measure of scope, at a minimum for its major IT investments, to have complete information on the performance of these investments.

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

    Comments: As of March 2017, IRS had taken actions to develop a quantitative measure of scope for its major information technology (IT) investments, as GAO recommended in June 2012. Specifically, starting in December 2015, IRS included planned "scope elements" for the Return Review Program investment and identified the elements it had delivered to date in its quarterly report on IT to Congress. IRS further enhanced this report in December 2016, by including the percentage of planned scope delivered for selected investments. IRS actions represent positive steps and GAO will continue to work with the agency to determine the reliability of the reported performance information and monitor efforts to expand the use of a quantitative measure of scope. These efforts will assist with providing IRS and other decision makers complete information on the performance of major IT investments.
    Director: Cackley, Alicia P
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Interagency Council and the Office of Management and Budget; in conjunction with the Secretaries of HHS, HUD, Labor, and VA should consider examining inefficiencies that may result from overlap and fragmentation in their programs for persons experiencing homelessness. As a starting point, the agencies could use the program information from this report to further analyze the degree and effects of overlap and fragmentation. The results of this assessment could be used to take actions to reduce any identified inefficiencies and therefore better leverage their resources. Actions may include streamlining services offered within specific programs or by agencies, identifying programs that could benefit from further research or evaluations, or consolidating programs or services to reduce administrative costs.

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

    Comments: We have contacted OMB three times recently regarding this recommendation, most recently on August 24, 2017. We have yet to receive a response.
    Director: Scire, Mathew J
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help reduce voucher program costs or better ensure the efficient use of voucher program funds, the HUD Secretary should provide information to Congress on housing agencies' estimated amount of excess subsidy reserves. In taking these steps, the Secretary should determine a level of subsidy reserves housing agencies should retain on an ongoing basis to effectively manage their voucher programs.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to HUD officials, the Department quarterly reports to Congress and the Inspector General (1) total housing agency reserves and (2) 8.5 percent of total housing agency reserves, the amount the Department has determined that housing agencies collectively should maintain on an ongoing basis to manage the voucher program (all other reserves are generally considered "excess"). HUD has also taken steps to determine an appropriate level of subsidy reserves that individual housing agencies should retain on an ongoing basis to effectively manage their voucher programs. Specifically, HUD has proposed that small housing agencies (fewer than 50 vouchers) should maintain 12 percent of their monthly renewal budget authority in reserves; medium housing agencies (50-249 vouchers) should maintain 6 percent of monthly renewal budget authority; and large housing agencies (250 or more vouchers) should maintain 4 percent of monthly renewal budget authority. In setting these reserve levels, HUD considered several factors including program size and budget and voucher utilization rates, among other things. This recommendation will remain open until HUD implements these proposed changes. As of September 2017, HUD officials said that the administration was determining whether or not to move forward with this proposal.
    Recommendation: To help reduce voucher program costs or better ensure the efficient use of voucher program funds, the HUD Secretary should provide information to Congress on its criteria for how it will redistribute excess reserves among housing agencies so that they can serve more households. In taking these steps, the Secretary should determine a level of subsidy reserves housing agencies should retain on an ongoing basis to effectively manage their voucher programs.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to HUD officials, the Department quarterly reports to Congress and the Inspector General (1) total housing agency reserves and (2) 8.5 percent of total housing agency reserves, the amount the Department has determined that housing agencies collectively should maintain on an ongoing basis to manage the voucher program (all other reserves are generally considered "excess"). HUD has also taken steps to determine an appropriate level of subsidy reserves that individual housing agencies should retain on an ongoing basis to effectively manage their voucher programs. Specifically, HUD has proposed that small housing agencies (fewer than 50 vouchers) should maintain 12 percent of their monthly renewal budget authority in reserves; medium housing agencies (50-249 vouchers) should maintain 6 percent of monthly renewal budget authority; and large housing agencies (250 or more vouchers) should maintain 4 percent of monthly renewal budget authority. In setting these reserve levels, HUD considered several factors including program size and budget and voucher utilization rates, among other things. This recommendation will remain open until HUD implements these proposed changes. As of September 2017, HUD officials said that the administration was determining whether or not to move forward with this proposal.
    Director: Melvin, Valerie C
    Phone: (202) 512-6304

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure the success of FDA's modernization efforts, the Commissioner of FDA should direct the CIO to, in completing the assessment of Mission Accomplishments and Regulatory Compliance Services (MARCS), develop an integrated master schedule (IMS) that (1) identifies which legacy systems will be replaced and when; (2) identifies all current and future tasks to be performed by contractors and FDA; and (3) defines and incorporates information reflecting resources and critical dependencies.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Food and Drug Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on our report, the Department of Health and Human Services neither agreed nor disagreed with our recommendations. However, in response to this recommendation, FDA officials developed an integrated master schedule (IMS) for the Mission Accomplishment and Regulatory Compliance System, along with corresponding sub-project schedules. The officials also provided explanations of their approach for updating the schedules and estimating resources that are reflected in the schedules, and evidence that the agency is updating the schedule regularly. However, the IMS did not identify all legacy systems to be replaced, did not trace all tasks and contractor subproject schedules, and did not include information reflecting the use of government resources. In 2016, we requested that FDA provide an update on their efforts to address these limitations. As of September 2017, the agency restructured MARCS into two projects and notified us that it was working to establish an IMS for each. FDA officials expect to complete the schedules by the end of calendar year 2017. Until FDA takes steps to address the noted deficiencies, it will lack key information needed for determining what work remains and for identifying and addressing potential problems, thus increasing risks to the success of the agency's modernization efforts. We will continue to work with the Department to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the success of FDA's modernization efforts, the Commissioner of FDA should direct the CIO to monitor progress of MARCS against the integrated master schedule IMS.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Food and Drug Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the report, the Department of Health and Human Services neither agreed nor disagreed with our recommendations. However, in response to this recommendation, FDA officials provided a baseline schedule, integrated master schedule (IMS), and sub-project schedules intended to be used to monitor progress of the agency's efforts to implement changes to the Mission Accomplishment and Regulatory Compliance System (MARCS). Nonetheless, while the IMS is updated regularly, it contains data anomalies, and FDA has not documented reasons for changes to the schedule. Consequently, the schedule does not include complete and reliable information needed for monitoring progress of the system investment. As of September 2017, the agency restructured MARCS into two projects and notified us that it was working to establish an IMS for each. FDA officials expect to complete the schedules by the end of calendar year 2017, and to use the schedules to continually monitor the status of the projects. Until FDA takes steps to address deficiencies noted in the IMS for MARCS, it will continue to lack key data needed to monitor progress of the implementation of the system, and increase the risks of this key component of the agency's modernization efforts. We will continue to work with the Department to address this recommendation.
    Director: Irving, Susan J
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Treasury should build the capacity for a buyback program that could be used to respond to potential changes in market conditions during times of deficit. Such a program should allow for broader direct participation beyond the primary dealers. In conducting any buyback operations Treasury should (1) clearly articulate the purpose of the buyback program, (2) conduct the buyback reverse auctions on a regular and predictable schedule consistent with the purpose of the buyback program, and (3) target a few securities in narrow maturity bands at each reverse auction.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2014, Treasury conducted a small-scale buyback operation to test the information technology infrastructure to ensure that its buyback functionality remains operational. In the reverse auction operation, Treasury bought back $22 million of a note maturing on 2/29/2016. In November 2014, Treasury announced that the operation was successful. Treasury conducted small-value buyback operations in April 2015, April 2016, November 2016, and April 2017 to ensure operational readiness of its buyback infrastructure. In announcing the buyback operations, Treasury noted that they should not be viewed by market participants as a precursor or signal of any pending policy changes regarding Treasury's use of buybacks. In June 2016, Treasury officials told us that eligibility to participate in buyback operations is limited to primary dealers because of constraints of the current trading systems. They also said that Treasury is continuing to examine the costs and benefits of buybacks as a debt management tool. As of August 2017 we asked Treasury officials for an update on the implementation status of this recommendation and are awaiting their response.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the Bureau's ability to control costs for the 2020 decennial and balance cost and quality, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary of the Economics and Statistics Administration, as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, to finalize how the Bureau will apply cost as an evaluation criterion for choosing among design alternatives for 2020 and ensure that all criteria are transparent, well documented, and consistently applied before alternatives are eliminated.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: Commerce neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. According to the Census Bureau, each research and testing (R&T) project team was to develop a study plan outlining the goal of the project, the expected outcome, and the methodology to be used to arrive at data to inform trade off analysis and decision-making. To help ensure efficient use of resources for 2020 R&T projects, and that the conclusions reached by the projects were sound and provide decision makers with reliable findings, the Bureau planned to establish internal Scientific and Methodological Review Panels. These panels were to evaluate research designs, provide critical feedback and guidance to the research teams and assess the validity of any findings, conclusions and recommendations. In October 2015 the Bureau released an operational plan that described at a high level how cost was a consideration, but it did not lay out the criteria to be used. As of July 2017, we are following up with Census officials to obtain evidence that cost is being used as an evaluation criterion when choosing among design alternatives.
    Recommendation: GAO previously recommended that the Secretary of Commerce direct the Bureau to establish guidance, policies, and procedures for cost estimation that would meet best practice criteria. To help ensure that the Bureau produces a reliable and high-quality cost estimate for the 2020 Census, the Bureau should finalize guidance, policies, and procedures for cost estimation in accordance with best practices prior to developing the Bureau's initial 2020 life cycle cost estimate.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Bureau of the Census
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. In October 2015, the Bureau announced an estimate of its 2020 Census life-cycle cost. In our June 30, 2016 report (GAO-16-628), we assessed the Bureau's guidance, policies, and procedures underlying that estimate. We found that the Bureau's cost estimate partially met the characteristics of two best practices (comprehensive and accurate) described in the GAO Cost Guide and minimally met the other two (well-documented and credible). In addition, best practices state that a risk and uncertainty analysis should be performed to determine the level of risk associated with the cost estimate. The Bureau carried out such an analysis only for a portion of estimated costs for fiscal years 2018 to 2020, covering $4.6 billion. This amounts to about 37 percent of the $12.5 billion total estimated life-cycle cost, and less than one-half of the total estimated cost of the Bureau to comply with best practices for cost estimation. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to implement specific controls over its cost estimation process for the 2020 Census, such as guidance that documents who is responsible for what and when, and what information flows where and when. As of July 2017, Bureau officials are currently gathering artifacts to support implementation of this recommendation.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: (202)512-4431

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further the goals of public understanding of what Recovery Act funds are being spent on and what results are expected, the Director, Office of Management and Budget, should work with executive departments and agencies to determine (1) whether supplemental guidance is needed to meet, in a reasonable and cost-effective way, the intent of the Recovery Act for reporting on projects and activities and (2) whether that supplemental guidance or other agency-proposed technical assistance dealing with narrative descriptions of awards provides for transparent descriptions of funded activities.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions OMB has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To further the goals of public understanding of what Recovery Act funds are being spent on and what results are expected, the Director, Office of Management and Budget, should periodically (1) review, in partnership with executive departments and agencies, the descriptions of awards--in particular, the narrative fields--submitted by recipients to determine whether the information provides a basic understanding of the uses of the funds and the expected outcomes, and, if not, determine what actions to take, including encouraging agencies to develop or improve program-specific guidance and (2) work with the Recovery Board on the board's assessments of departments' and agencies' data quality reviews to ensure the adequacy of these reviews and further reinforce actions to meet transparency goals.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions OMB has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Cosgrove, James C
    Phone: (202)512-7029

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that savings are realized from the implementation of an MPPR or other policies that reflect efficiencies occurring when services are furnished together, Congress may wish to consider exempting these savings from budget neutrality.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, we are awaiting an update from HHS on the status of this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: Williams, Mccoy
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Senior Civilian Official for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy should develop a review process so that data call information on sponsor owned material is correctly reported.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management): Senior Civilian Official
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to Navy officials, sponsor owned material is a subset of Operating Materials and Supplies (OM&S) contained within the OM&S--Remainder (OM&S-R) category. The Navy's Office of Financial Operations (FMO) is providing direction to the various Navy budget submitting offices (BSOs) to guide the development of a complete, accurate, and validated population of the OM&S-R balances reported in the Navy's financial statements--to include sponsor owned material. Specifically, FMO is working with the BSOs to develop a review process in which the BSOs will reconcile their Accountable Property System of Record asset listings to the Navy's financial statements on a quarterly basis. FMO has performed a reconciliation for the third and fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016, and is currently performing a reconciliation for the first quarter of fiscal year 2017. However, FMO has yet to achieve a 100 percent accurate reconciliation. According to Navy FMO officials, the projected implementation date for this review process is expected to be after September 30, 2017. We will continue to follow-up on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Senior Civilian Official for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy should revise the Navy's policies for compiling its financial statements so that they are in accordance with federal accounting standards and the DOD Financial Management Regulation. Specifically: (1) ammunition items needing repair and those categorized as excess, obsolete, and unserviceable should be revalued appropriately to comply with SFFAS No. 3 and the DOD Financial Management Regulation; and (2) shipboard inventories aboard smaller combatant ships should be reported as operating materials and supplies in accordance with federal accounting standards.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management): Senior Civilian Official
    Status: Open

    Comments: Regarding the first part of this recommendation, Navy's procedures for financially reporting ammunition items deemed excess, obsolete, or unserviceable and ammunition items needing repair are not in compliance with federal accounting standards. The Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Standard Number 3 (SFFAS 3) states that excess, obsolete, and unserviceable operating material and supplies shall be valued at their net realizable value. The standard further states that repair costs for inventory held for repair must be accounted for and adjusted accordingly based on the method of accounting used. Specifically, for ammunition items needing repair, entities should revalue, or reduce, such items by the estimated repair costs for financial statement reporting purposes. However, the Navy is currently devaluing its excess, obsolete, and unserviceable ammunition to zero and reporting it as such on the financial statements. Further, although the Navy has identified an annual maintenance cost for ammunition items needing repair, the Navy currently does not devalue its ordnance, or ammunition, amounts by the estimated repair costs. The Navy contends that these are routine maintenance events and will elect to expense the ordnance maintenance cost as it is incurred in opposition to SFFAS 3. Regarding the second part of this recommendation, SFFAS 3 states that Operating Materials and Supplies (OM&S) should be accounted for using the consumption method; in that materials are to be reported as an asset until they are issued to an end user for consumption in normal operations, at which point they would be expensed. Navy acknowledges, in its fiscal year 2016 financial statements, that due to current system limitations, the consumption method of accounting for all of the Navy's OM&S is not feasible, although long-term efforts are underway to transition to the consumption method for the recognition OM&S expenses to address this previously identified material weakness. Until these efforts are completed, the Navy has granted the Fleet Forces Command and Pacific Fleet a waiver to account for OM&S utilizing the purchase method of accounting. Under the purchase method, the OM&S supplies are expensed upon purchase for the smaller combatant command ships, as opposed to federal accounting standards requiring them to be recognized as an asset on the balance sheet and then expensed when consumed in the normal course of operations. We will continue to follow-up on this recommendation and the related issues in future Navy Operating Material and Supplies audit work.