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    Subject Term: Centralization

    5 publications with a total of 19 open recommendations including 8 priority recommendations
    Director: Brian J. Lepore
    Phone: (202) 512-4523

    4 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To make further progress toward taking full advantage of the opportunity of consolidating training in order to increase jointness following the implementation of the BRAC 2005 recommendations, for the training functions that did not consolidate training beyond colocation, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and the Secretaries of the military departments to provide guidance to the program managers on consolidating training, if DOD decides that taking advantage of an opportunity to increase jointness is still appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD did not concur with our first recommendation, to provide guidance to the program managers of the training functions created under BRAC 2005 on consolidating training. As of October 2017, DOD has not completed any actions to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the ability of the military departments to take advantage of any opportunities provided by recommendations to develop joint training capabilities in a future BRAC round, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness--in consultation with the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment--to develop and provide specific guidance for the military departments to use in implementing recommendations designed to consolidate training to increase jointness.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD did not concur with our second recommendation to develop and provide specific guidance for the military departments to use in implementing recommendations designed to consolidate training to increase jointness in the event of future BRAC rounds. As of October 2017, DOD has not completed any actions to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to estimate savings, if any, from future consolidation of training--including any consolidation resulting from a future BRAC round--the Secretary of Defense should direct the military departments to develop baseline cost data.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD did not concur with the recommendation to develop baseline cost data in the event of any future consolidation of training. As of October 2017, DOD has not completed any actions to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the accounting of any future BRAC rounds, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment to issue guidance clarifying what costs should be included in final BRAC accounting.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with our fourth recommendation, to issue clarifying guidance regarding what costs should be included in final BRAC accounting. As of October 2017, DOD has not completed any actions to implement this recommendation. A DOD official stated that any action will be dependent on a future BRAC round and an oversight process similar to the 2005 BRAC round.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide decision makers with appropriate and more complete information on the continuing implementation, management, and oversight of the DHA, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) to develop a comprehensive requirements assessment process that accounts for needed future skills through the consideration of potential organizational changes and helps ensure appropriate consideration of workforce composition through the determination of the final status of military personnel within the DHA.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of April 2017, DOD has taken some steps to implement this action. According to an April 2017 letter from the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), DOD has established processes and procedures to create an overall personnel management process which are documented in a draft Administrative Instruction estimated to be finalized and published by July 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: To provide decision makers with appropriate and more complete information on the continuing implementation, management, and oversight of the DHA, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) to develop a plan for reassessing and revalidating personnel requirements as the missions and needs of the DHA evolve over time.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of April 2017, DOD has taken some steps to implement this action. According to an April 2017 letter from the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), DOD has established processes and procedures to create an overall personnel management process which are documented in a draft Administrative Instruction estimated to be finalized and published by July 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: To provide decision makers with appropriate and more complete information on the continuing implementation, management, and oversight of the DHA, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) to determine the future of the Public Health and Medical Education and Training shared services by either identifying common functions to consolidate to achieve cost savings or by developing a justification for the transfer of these functions from the military services to the DHA that is not premised on cost savings.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of April 2017, DOD has taken some steps to implement this action. According to an April 2017 letter from the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), DOD has changed the designation of its Public Health function from a shared service to a division. This change recognizes the distinction that we previously highlighted between a shared service, or the consolidation of functions previously performed by the military services, and a transfer of functions from the military services to the DHA. The letter states that DOD is in the process of assessing business case analyses for various efficiency efforts, with one proposal estimated to save $613 million over three years. DOD has not taken similar action with regard to its Medical Education and Training shared service. As we previously reported in our prior update, while DOD cites future cost savings in its modeling and simulation and online learning product lines, we reported in 2014 that these initiatives overlap with the DHA's Contracting and Procurement and Information Technology shared services. For example, while cost savings for Modeling and Simulation are allocated to the Medical Education and Training Directorate, implementation costs are to be incurred by the Contracting and Procurement shared service. This recommendation will remain open until DOD either identifies common functions to consolidate within Medical Education and Training to achieve cost savings or develops a justification for the transfer of these functions from the military services to the DHA that is not premised on cost savings.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    10 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HHS, the Interior, Justice, and Labor, and the Administrators of GSA and NASA should complete action plans for addressing their challenges in reporting cost savings, as discussed in this report.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation. In June 2015, the department reported that it had begun an effort to calculate the tangible cost savings and avoidances derived from closing over 50 data centers as part of its data center consolidation efforts. As of March 2017, the department reported that it had closed a total of 74 data centers and had identified $6.64 million in cost savings and avoidances, which is approximately $2.30 million more than what we reported in September 2014. However, the identified cost savings does not include any savings from fiscal years 2015 or 2016. Accordingly, we conclude the department has not yet completed efforts to address challenges in calculating cost savings and avoidances. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HHS, the Interior, Justice, and Labor, and the Administrators of GSA and NASA should complete action plans for addressing their challenges in reporting cost savings, as discussed in this report.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of the Interior agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation. Specifically, in December 2014, the Interior's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget established a series of steps toward addressing our recommendation. The steps include, for example, consolidating and streamlining data center consolidation reporting processes, developing a template that all department bureaus and offices are required to use, and issuing a directive requiring consistent reporting for all data center cost savings and avoidances. In addition, the department submitted a Data Center Optimization Initiative strategic plan to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in September 2016. In the plan, the department reported closing 53 data centers and achieving $4.4 million in cost savings and avoidances in fiscal year 2016. However, the plan does not indicate how the department will address identified challenges nor does it indicate whether the department has successfully implemented its directive on consistent monitoring of cost savings and avoidances. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HHS, the Interior, Justice, and Labor, and the Administrators of GSA and NASA should complete action plans for addressing their challenges in reporting cost savings, as discussed in this report.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation. In September 2015, the department stated that its Office of the Chief Information Officer was working to develop an enterprise data center inventory as part of the department-wide Data Center Consolidation Initiative Working Group. In September 2016, the department submitted its Data Center Optimization Initiative plan to the Office of Management and Budget. The plan reported that the department had closed 28 non-tiered data centers in fiscal year 2016 and indicated that the department had historical cost savings of $4.85 million to date. However, as of March 2017, the department had not yet reported any resulting cost savings or avoidances in its quarterly report to OMB. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, the Interior, Transportation, the Treasury, and Department of Veterans Affairs; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct responsible officials to report all data center consolidation cost savings and avoidances to OMB in accordance with established guidance.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation. In September 2014, we found that the department reported fiscal year 2012 through 2015 cost savings and avoidances of $244.17 million to GAO, but had only reported $71.20 million to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)--a difference of approximately $172.97 million. Moreover, as of March 2017, the department still had not yet fully reported its savings to OMB, as we recommended. Specifically, the department had reported a total of about $25.07 million in cost savings and avoidances to OMB from fiscal years 2012 to 2016--an amount that is approximately $219.1 million short of the total savings and avoidances that the department had reported to GAO as of September 2014. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, the Interior, Transportation, the Treasury, and Department of Veterans Affairs; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct responsible officials to report all data center consolidation cost savings and avoidances to OMB in accordance with established guidance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD concurred with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our priority recommendation. In March 2016, we determined that the department had identified a total of about $1.07 billion in data center consolidation cost savings from fiscal year 2012 through 2016. However, as of March 2017, the department had not yet fully reported its savings to the Office of Management and Budget, as we recommended. Specifically, as of June 2016, the department reported $859 million in savings to the Office of Management and Budget--an amount $211 million less than the $1.07 billion previously reported to us. However, as of March 2017, the department only reported $331 million to the Office of Management and Budget--a decrease of $528 million and $739 million less than what was previously reported to us. In light of the department's considerable planned savings, and the significant decrease in what is being reported, full and accurate reporting by the department is critical toward ensuring that the Office of Management and Budget and Congress have the ability to oversee DOD's progress against key data center consolidation initiative goals.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, the Interior, Transportation, the Treasury, and Department of Veterans Affairs; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct responsible officials to report all data center consolidation cost savings and avoidances to OMB in accordance with established guidance.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of the Interior agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation. In September 2014, we found that the department had reported fiscal year 2012 to 2015 cost savings and avoidances of $84.42 million to GAO, but had only reported $13.59 million to OMB--a difference of approximately $70.83 million. Moreover, as of February 2017, the department had not yet fully reported its savings to OMB, as we recommended. Specifically, the department had reported a total of about $13.61 million in cost savings and avoidances to OMB from fiscal years 2012 to 2016--an amount that is approximately $70.81 million short of the total savings and avoidances that the department had reported to GAO as of September 2014. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, the Interior, Transportation, the Treasury, and Department of Veterans Affairs; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct responsible officials to report all data center consolidation cost savings and avoidances to OMB in accordance with established guidance.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Transportation agreed with our recommendation, but had not yet taken steps to implement it. In September 2014, we found that the department had reported fiscal year 2012 to 2015 cost savings and avoidances of $140.18 million to GAO, but had only reported $7.36 million to OMB--a difference of approximately $132.82 million. However, in February 2017, the department had still only reported a total of $4.89 million in data center consolidation savings and avoidance to OMB. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, the Interior, Transportation, the Treasury, and Department of Veterans Affairs; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct responsible officials to report all data center consolidation cost savings and avoidances to OMB in accordance with established guidance.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Treasury did not comment on this recommendation and has not comprehensively reported cost savings and avoidances, as we recommended. For example, as of March 2017, Treasury had reported about $1.14 billion in data center consolidation-related cost avoidances in its quarterly report to OMB--an increase of about $734 million compared to a previous report. However, the department has not yet reported to OMB other cost avoidances totaling about $210 million that the department had previously reported to us. We will continue to monitor Treasury's progress against this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, the Interior, Transportation, the Treasury, and Department of Veterans Affairs; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct responsible officials to report all data center consolidation cost savings and avoidances to OMB in accordance with established guidance.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of Personnel Management agreed with our recommendation, but has not yet taken steps to implement it. In September 2014, we found that the agency had reported fiscal year 2012 to 2015 cost savings and avoidances of $3.40 million to GAO, but had not reported any of its savings and avoidances to the Office of Management and Budget as required. As of March 2017, the agency had not yet reported any data center consolidation cost savings and avoidances to the Office of Management and Budget. We will continue to evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) improves governmental efficiency and achieves cost savings, the Director of OMB should direct the Federal chief information officer (CIO) to utilize the existing PortfolioStat review sessions to assist the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Interior, Justice, Labor, the General Services Administration (GSA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in identifying data center consolidation cost savings opportunities.

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

    Comments: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation. Specifically, in June 2015, OMB issued a memorandum that discussed the fiscal year 2015 PortfolioStat requirements, including that agencies should hold PortfolioStat sessions on a quarterly basis (versus annually, as done previously) with OMB, the agency chief information officer, and other attendees. The memorandum also stated that, during these sessions, agencies are expected to discuss a strategy to reduce duplication and waste within the IT portfolio of the agency, identify projected cost savings resulting from such strategy, and identify ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of IT investments, among other things. However, as of March 2017, several agencies were still reporting limited savings from their consolidation efforts. For example, the Department of Transportation reported closing 146 data centers through February 2017, but had reported only $4.9 million in savings. As another example, the Department of Labor reported closing 25 data centers through February 2017, but reported no resulting cost savings. Until OMB assists these agencies with limited or no cost savings reported, they may not be able to identify the full extent of savings from their consolidation efforts. We will continue to evaluate OMB's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: King, Kathleen M
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: In order to promote greater use of effective prepayment edits and better ensure proper payment, and to promote implementation of effective edits based on national policies, the CMS Administrator should develop written procedures to provide guidance to agency staff on all steps in the processes for developing and implementing edits based on national policies, including (1) time frames for taking corrective actions, (2) methods for assessing the effects of corrective actions, and (3) procedures for ensuring consideration of automated edits whenever possible, including for all existing NCDs and other national policies.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. CMS developed written procedures in November 2012 to provide guidance to agency staff on procedures for ensuring consideration of automated edits whenever possible, as GAO recommended in November 2012, but these procedures do not include several key elements of GAO's recommendation. For example, the written procedures do not include time frames for making decisions on whether an edit will be developed for all existing National Coverage Determinations (NCD) and national policies. The written procedures also do not include requirements for methods to assess the effects of corrective actions taken. Implementing a comprehensive written process for developing edits for national policies could help ensure that edits are implemented whenever possible to reduce improper payments. As of September 2017, CMS had not provided us updated documentation that addressed these aspects of our recommendation. Once received, we will review the information and update this recommendation accordingly.
    Director: Pendleton, John H
    Phone: (404) 679-1816

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to identify how many headquarters personnel it has, including military, civilian and contractor personnel, and improve the information Congress and DOD need to ensure that headquarters organizations are appropriately sized and overhead positions are reduced to the extent possible, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of Administration and Management, in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, to revise DOD Instruction 5100.73, Major DOD Headquarters Activities, to (1) include all major DOD headquarters activity organizations, (2) specify how contractors performing major DOD headquarters activity functions will be identified and included in headquarters reporting, (3) clarify how components are to compile the major DOD headquarters activities information needed to respond to the reporting requirements in section 1109 of the fiscal year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, and (4) establish time frames for implementing the actions above to improve tracking and reporting headquarters resources.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation based on their understanding of the instruction. As of July 2017, DOD has not completed actions to address three of the four parts of this recommendation. (1) In August 2015, DOD stated that it has established a comprehensive definition of major DOD headquarters activities and will update the DOD Instruction defining major headquarters. According to DOD officials, this will include efforts to accurately and completely report all major DOD headquarters activity organizations. As of July 2017, DOD had not updated the instruction, DOD Instruction 5100.73.(2) DOD has made some progress toward better accounting for contractors but has not identified an approach to include contractors as part of its major DOD headquarters reporting, as GAO recommended in March 2012. In December 2011, DOD issued guidance on how components should account for contracted services. The guidance requires DOD to account for contracted services by the activity requiring the service rather than by the contracting activity, which would allow DOD to identify contractor full-time equivalents supporting major DOD headquarters activities. To implement its guidance, DOD established a single application, the Enterprise-wide Contractor Manpower Reporting Application (ECMRA), which is intended to facilitate overall management oversight of contracted services reporting and reviews. Officials stated that in October 2012, the Air Force and Navy took steps to establish ECMRA systems, modeled after the Army?s system, to collect data on contracted services by requiring activity, and that in August 2013, the Air Force made its system available for use by other defense agencies and DOD field activities. According to DOD officials, as data on contracted services are collected and reported through ECMRA systems, the department?s ability to report on contracted services by requiring activity should continue to improve. DOD officials further stated that as progress is made toward establishing ECMRA across the department, they plan to consider how to account for contractors performing headquarters functions as part of headquarters reporting. However, as of March 2017, DOD had not resolved issues with implementing ECMRA. For example, DOD had not outlined the relationships between a management support office, military departments, and other stakeholders to facilitate the collection and use of data from DOD?s inventory of contracted services in decision-making processes. In addition, DOD is in the process of defining the roles and responsibilities of the support office that is intended to help manage the inventory of contracted services reporting processes, and the department continues to explore options for an enhanced reporting system that may better meet user needs, in accordance with changes directed in The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. Until the department resolves the issues affecting the implementation of a common data system and identifies an approach to include contractors as part of its major DOD headquarters reporting, the department will not have complete information on headquarters staffing, which will likely hinder its ability to make informed management decisions about its headquarters resources. (3) DOD clarified how it would respond to section 1109 of the fiscal year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act to satisfy this part of the recommendation. (4) DOD has taken some steps to revise DOD Instruction 5100.73 but it does not expect to update the Instruction until this effort is complete. DOD has also not yet established time frames for determining how contractors are to be included in major DOD headquarters activity. As noted above, this instruction has not been updated as of July 2017.