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    Results:

    Subject Term: Employees

    64 publications with a total of 208 open recommendations including 28 priority recommendations
    Director: Diana Maurer
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of the USMS should develop specific documented guidance--both for the current and new processes--to enhance raters' ability to consistently interpret and apply experience-based benchmarks for GS-14 and GS-15 positions and competency-based benchmarks for GS-13 positions when evaluating candidate qualifications. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Justice: United States Marshals Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the USMS should develop and implement a mechanism to provide specific feedback to employees on the results of the promotion process, including their readiness for promotion. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Justice: United States Marshals Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the USMS should develop and implement an agency-wide action plan to more fully understand and address areas where employees express negative perceptions of the merit promotion process. Consistent with Office of Personnel Management guidance in this area, the plan should specify (1) time frames for accomplishing the actions, (2) who will be responsible for implementing the actions, (3) who will be affected by the actions, (4) the resources required, and (5) a plan to communicate these actions to managers and employees. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of Justice: United States Marshals Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Nancy Kingsbury
    Phone: (202) 512-2700

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that federal agencies obtain the evidence needed to address the most important questions to improve program implementation and performance, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should direct each of the 24 Chief Financial Officer Act agencies to prepare an annual agency-wide evaluation plan that describes the (1) key questions for each significant evaluation study that the agency plans to begin in the next fiscal year, and (2) congressional committees; federal, state and local program partners; researchers; and other stakeholders that were consulted in preparing their plan. (Recommendation 1)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of NSF should require staff to follow written internal guidance for (1) using tools and templates NSF has developed for the process for setting indirect cost rates and (2) updating the agency's database to reflect the status of awardees for which NSF has cognizance and of indirect cost rate proposals. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: National Science Foundation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of NSF should add details to NSF's internal guidance for setting indirect cost rates specifying (1) the criteria to be used by the supervisor for assessing the level of risk and steps for mitigating the risks at each level and (2) the steps for supervisory review of the process for setting indirect cost rates and documentation of the results of the review. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: National Science Foundation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of NSF should add procedures to NSF's internal guidance for (1) implementing the applicable new provisions of the Uniform Guidance, including updating links to Office of Management and Budget guidance, and (2) monitoring the indirect cost rates that the Department of Interior sets on NSF's behalf. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: National Science Foundation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Courts, Michael J
    Phone: (202) 512-8980

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Allowances (ALS) should clearly document how the conditions at relevant posts meet the criteria for Director Points to ensure that hardship pay rates for overseas posts are consistently determined across posts and tenures of ALS Directors. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Undersecretary of Management should assess the cost-effectiveness of State's policies and procedures for stopping and starting hardship pay for employees who temporarily leave their assigned overseas posts. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Department's Comptroller should analyze available diplomatic cable data from overseas posts to identify posts at risk of improper payments for hardship pay, identify any improper payments, and take steps to recover and prevent them. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Yvonne D. Jones
    Phone: (202) 512-2717

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Associate Director of Merit System Accountability and Compliance should ensure that OPM's finalized records schedule on retaining conversion case files specifically lists all documentation that must be saved in its case files. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Associate Director of Merit System Accountability and Compliance should establish a policy requiring that its staff verify they have reviewed all documentation required by OPM checklists before recommending approval or denial of a conversion request. OPM may incorporate such a verification requirement as part of checklists completed by its staff when reviewing conversion requests. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

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

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure accurate reporting of personal services contracts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force and the Army take steps to ensure the accurate recording of personal services contracts in the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure accurate reporting of personal services contracts, the Administrator, United States Agency for International Development should implement periodic reviews of selected personal services contracts to ensure the effectiveness of steps taken to assist contracting officers to cite the correct statutory authority for personal services contracts.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Barbara Bovbjerg
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency to develop a long-term facility plan that explicitly links to SSA's strategic goals for service delivery, and includes a strategy for consolidating or downsizing field offices in light of increasing use of and geographic variation in remote service delivery.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint, such as co-locating field and hearing offices and reducing warehouse space. SSA will also work within the existing Memorandum of Understanding to conduct a proof of concept on space sharing by employees who telework.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency to reassess and, if needed, revise its field office space standards to ensure they provide sufficient flexibility to accommodate both unexpected growth in the demand for services and new service delivery technologies.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency to ensure the Real Estate and Lease Tracking application has the capacity to accurately track the composition of SSA's office inventory over time.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency to develop a cost-effective approach to identifying the most common issues with online benefit claims that require staff follow-up with applicants, and use this information to inform improvements to the online claims process.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency for its alternative customer services approaches, including desktop icons and video services in third-party sites, to develop performance goals and collect performance data related to these goals.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint, such as expanding video hearing capacity.
    Director: Chris Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve employee misconduct policies and procedures, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to document policies and procedures to address potential Surge Capacity Force misconduct.

    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: In order to improve employee misconduct policies and procedures, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to document Reservist disciplinary options and appeals policies and procedures that are currently in practice at the agency.

    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: In order to improve employee misconduct policies and procedures, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to communicate the range of penalties for specific misconduct offenses to all employees and supervisors.

    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: In order to better identify and address trends in employee misconduct, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to improve the quality and usefulness of the misconduct data it collects by implementing quality control measures, such as adding additional drop-down fields with standardized entries, adding unique case identifier fields, developing documented guidance for data entry, or considering the adoption of database software.

    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: In order to better identify and address trends in employee misconduct, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to, once the quality of the data is improved, conduct routine reporting on employee misconduct trends.

    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: In order to ensure that all allegations of employee misconduct referred by DHS OIG are reviewed and addressed, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to develop reconciliation procedures to consistently track referred cases.

    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.
    Director: Michael J. Courts
    Phone: (202) 512-8980

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address gaps in State's crisis and evacuation preparedness, that the Secretary of State should take additional steps to ensure that overseas posts complete annual updates of their EAPs within required time frames, such as identifying posts that are late in completing their annual updates and continuing to follow up with those posts until they complete their annual EAP updates.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with the recommendation and indicated that the Department plans to address this recommendation by generating outreach e-mails to mission staff and expanding the audience for monthly overdue list for those posts overdue in certifying their Emergency Action Plans. GAO will continue to track State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To address gaps in State's crisis and evacuation preparedness, that the Secretary of State should establish a monitoring and tracking process to ensure that DS fully reviews and documents the review of key sections of EAPs submitted to it during the annual EAP review cycle.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with the recommendation and indicated that the Department plans to address this recommendation by adding a feature to their Post Emergency Guidance and Authorizing System due for release in 2018. This feature would consolidate their Emergency Action Plan (EAP) review and publication history for individual EAP sections into a single report for review and tracking. GAO will continue to track State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To address gaps in State's crisis and evacuation preparedness, that the Secretary of State should take steps to make the EAP more readily usable during emergency situations. For example, State could develop a more streamlined version of the EAP--consisting of key sections, checklists, and contact lists--that could be used by overseas post staff, in addition to the full EAP. In addition, for its new system planned for later this year, State could consider including requirements for streamlined EAPs.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with the recommendation and indicated that the Department plans to address this recommendation by incorporating a streamlined Emergency Action Plan format into their Post Emergency Guidance and Authorizing System due for release in 2018. GAO will continue to track State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To address gaps in State's crisis and evacuation preparedness, that the Secretary of State should take steps to ensure that overseas posts complete and report completion of required drills within mandated time frames.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with the recommendation and indicated that the Department plans to address this recommendation by incorporating the drill reporting requirement into their Post Emergency Guidance and Authorizing System due for release in 2018. GAO will continue to track State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To address gaps in State's crisis and evacuation preparedness, that the Secretary of State should take steps to ensure that overseas posts complete required lessons learned reports following authorized or ordered departures and submit the reports to State headquarters for analysis.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with the recommendation and indicated that the Department plans to address this recommendation by developing resources to guide embassies' efforts to conduct post-crisis lesson learned discussions, including a cable sent to embassies providing a list of questions for consideration. State indicated these steps should be completed by the end of fiscal year 2017. GAO will continue to track State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance information available to operational unit managers, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the director of NOAA's WFMO to ensure that complete information on hiring requests is routinely communicated to NWS managers throughout the three phases of the hiring process, such as by supporting the development of improved tracking and reporting capabilities in the planned new Commerce-wide data system.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency agreed with our recommendation. We will provide updates when the agency takes action.
    Recommendation: To help ensure NWS's hiring actions are achieving expected results, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the NOAA Assistant Administrator for Weather Services to evaluate the extent to which NWS's actions are reducing the hiring backlog and achieving the goal of sustaining a highly skilled workforce; for example, NWS could evaluate these actions as part of the development of its strategic human capital plan.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency agreed with our recommendation. We will provide updates when the agency takes action.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

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

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of the report, NRC generally agreed with the recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, NRC stated that it developed a Supervisor Development Program SharePoint site to centrally house information pertinent to management activities and required training. NRC will provide information on the agency's strategic workforce planning process as it evolves via this site. Additionally, NRC plans to incorporate the strategic workforce planning process and concepts into existing management training that will be delivered in-person and available on-line. We will review NRC's actions, once completed, to determine whether they meet the intent of this recommendation.
    Director: Jessica Lucas-Judy
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that IRS leverages lessons learned from the NRP examinations and effectively completes operational employment tax examinations, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop and document plans to analyze the results in 2017 of the NRP employment tax study to identify the major issues of noncompliance.

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

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, IRS said in July 2017 that it will develop and document plans to comprehensively analyze the National Research Program study results and identify major issues of noncompliance. IRS also said it will complete data perfection activities and deliver the updated data to its data warehouse system. IRS plans to complete these tasks by January 2018.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that IRS leverages lessons learned from the NRP examinations and effectively completes operational employment tax examinations, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop and document plans for addressing the noncompliance identified in IRS's analysis of the NRP employment tax results.

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

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, IRS said in July 2017 that it plans to research how the National Research Program (NRP) study results can be used to enhance workload selection programs and will develop and initiate an action plans based on studying the NRP results. IRS plans to complete this work by January 2019.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that IRS leverages lessons learned from the NRP examinations and effectively completes operational employment tax examinations, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop and document plans for assessing the results of the NRP employment tax study to estimate the current state of the employment tax gap.

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

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, in July 2017 IRS said it will update its tax gap estimates, which will include updating the employment tax gap estimates. IRS plans to complete this effort by January 2020.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that IRS leverages lessons learned from the NRP examinations and effectively completes operational employment tax examinations, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should determine whether and when to provide the Information Return Analysis System upfront for Small Business/Self-Employed division operational examinations based on criteria such as whether it would help identify more noncompliance, reduce taxpayer burden, and improve audit efficiency by reducing overall IRS costs (examiner versus campus costs).

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

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, in July 2017 IRS said it will gather additional data and insights on the opportunities and challenges of incorporating Information Return Analysis System (IRAS) data into the classification process. IRS plans to complete these tasks by October 2018.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that IRS leverages lessons learned from the NRP examinations and effectively completes operational employment tax examinations, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should regularly remind employment tax examiners how they can access and request the CP2100 and cash transaction data for operational employment tax examinations.

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

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, in July 2017 IRS said it will provide reminders to examiners regarding the cash transaction data and the CP2100, hold training sessions, and include information on both tools on its internal website for examiners. IRS planned to complete these tasks by October 2018.
    Director: Cindy Brown Barnes
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve VA's ability to accurately track employees' use of official time, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration to increase efforts to ensure timekeepers at all facilities receive training and consistent guidance on recording official time in VATAS.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA stated that the Office of Labor Management Relations (LMR) has revised its policy to include specific directions to human resource offices to begin recording official time in the VA Time and Attendance System (VATAS) once VATAS has been implemented at their respective facilities. We will considering closing this recommendation when the agency provides documentation that this has been done.
    Recommendation: To improve VA's ability to accurately track employees' use of official time, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration to standardize the methods used by facilities for determining the amount of official time used prior to the agency-wide implementation of VATAS by encouraging facilities to rely on time and attendance records when calculating the amount of official time used at the facility level.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA stated that the Office of Human Resources and Administration plans to develop a memo directing facilities to rely on time and attendance records when calculating the amount of official time used at the facility level. We will consider closing this recommendation when the agency has provided documentation that they have completed this effort.
    Recommendation: To improve VA's ability to accurately track employees' use of official time, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration to, in preparation for the full implementation of VATAS, take steps to transition from using the LMR system to VATAS to collect and compile information on the amount of official time used agency-wide.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA stated that the Office of Labor Management Relations (LMR) will transition from using the LMR Official Time Tracking System to collect and compile data on official time and will coordinate with the Financial Services Center to use VATAS to create a report on the agency-wide use of official time. We will consider closing this recommendation when the agency has completed this effort.
    Director: J. Alfredo Gómez
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help the agency make strategic decisions about how to prioritize and efficiently use available personnel, the Administrator, recognizing the agency's limited resources, should direct the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Administration and Resources Management to develop a documented process that can be consistently applied by regional and national program offices to collect and analyze data on project officer FTEs.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to EPA's December 2016 letter with comments on the draft report, EPA agrees with this recommendation and will initiate implementation in FY 2017 by developing and issuing a survey tool to collect relevant information on project officer FTE and workload. According to the letter, EPA will evaluate the survey results in FY 2018 and establish a formal process to influence out-year budget cycles, beginning with the FY 2020 budget.
    Recommendation: To help the agency make strategic decisions about how to prioritize and efficiently use available personnel, the Administrator, recognizing the agency's limited resources, should direct the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Administration and Resources Management to develop a documented process that can be consistently applied by regional and national program offices to collect and analyze data on grants management workloads.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to EPA's December 2016 letter with comments on the draft report, EPA agrees with this recommendation and will initiate implementation in FY 2017 by developing and issuing a survey tool to collect relevant information on project officer FTE and workload. According to the letter, EPA will evaluate the survey results in FY 2018 and establish a formal process to influence out-year budget cycles, beginning with the FY 2020 budget.
    Recommendation: To help the agency make strategic decisions about how to prioritize and efficiently use available personnel, the Administrator, recognizing the agency's limited resources, should direct the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Administration and Resources Management to develop a documented process that can be consistently applied by regional and national program offices to use project officer FTE and workload data to inform FTE allocations.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to EPA's December 2016 letter with comments on the draft report, EPA agrees with this recommendation and will initiate implementation in FY 2017 by developing and issuing a survey tool to collect relevant information on project officer FTE and workload. According to the letter, EPA will evaluate the survey results in FY 2018 and establish a formal process to influence out-year budget cycles, beginning with the FY 2020 budget.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that EPA has people with the right skills to meet the goals of its 2016-2020 Grants Management Plan, the Administrator should direct the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Administration and Resources Management and regional and national program offices, as appropriate, to review project officer critical skills and competencies and determine training needs to address any gaps.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to EPA's December 2016 letter with comments on the draft report, EPA agrees with this recommendation and will initiate implementation in FY 2017 by developing and issuing a project officer survey tool. According to the letter, based on the survey results, EPA will begin making enhancements to its project officer training program in FY 2018, and continue those efforts in subsequent fiscal years consistent with goal 3 of the agency's 2016-2020 Grants Management Plan.
    Recommendation: To enhance EPA's ability to identify performance shortfalls and appropriate corrective actions, the Administrator should direct the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Administration and Resources Management to develop performance measures to track the effectiveness of the recruitment and retention efforts for grant specialists and collect performance data for these measures.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to EPA's December 2016 letter with comments on the draft report, EPA agrees with this recommendation. According to the letter, in FY 2017, EPA's Office of Grants and Debarment (OGD), with support from the agency's human resources data system, will formalize its process for collecting information on grants specialist recruitment and retention. In FY 2018, EPA will issue performance measures related to grants specialist recruitment and retention.
    Director: Elizabeth H. Curda
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that HHS agencies and offices fully understand the requirements and processes for the temporary reassignment authority, their responsibilities under the authority, and that ASPR is adequately and comprehensively assessing the effect of the authority on public health emergency response and medical surge, the Secretary of HHS should direct ASPR to conduct outreach to HHS agencies and offices that administer programs eligible for the reassignment authority to inform them of their responsibilities and ASPR's expected time frames for reviewing and approving states' and tribes' requests for personnel reassignments, and inform them of their responsibilities and ASPR's expectations for reviewing states' and tribes' after-action reports.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    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 HHS agencies and offices fully understand the requirements and processes for the temporary reassignment authority, their responsibilities under the authority, and that ASPR is adequately and comprehensively assessing the effect of the authority on public health emergency response and medical surge, the Secretary of HHS should direct ASPR to develop a plan to evaluate states' and tribes' after-action reports to assess the impact of the reassignment authority on states' public health emergency response and medical surge and to provide technical assistance as necessary.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Michael E. Clements
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, the Chair should enhance or expand the responsibilities and authority of the COO or other official or office so they can help ensure that improvements to communication and collaboration across SEC are made. For instance, if the duties of the COO were expanded, the COO could establish liaisons in each mission-critical office and division for SEC employees to contact or develop procedures to help facilitate communication and collaboration among the mission-critical office and divisions.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    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 SEC address identified personnel management challenges, the Chair should develop and implement training for hiring specialists that is informed by a skills gap analysis.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    12 open recommendations
    including 5 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the capacity of HR functions at VA medical centers, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should instruct the Under Secretary for Health to assign the following responsibility to the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Workforce Service: develop a comprehensive competency assessment tool for HR staff that evaluates knowledge of all three personnel systems, (Title 5, Title 38 and Title 38-Hybrid).

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: We will provide updated information once we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the capacity of HR functions at VA medical centers, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should instruct the Under Secretary for Health to assign the following responsibility to the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Workforce Service: ensure that all VHA HR staff complete the competency assessment tool and use this data to identify and address competency gaps within HR offices.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the capacity of HR functions at VA medical centers, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should instruct the Under Secretary for Health to assign the following responsibility to the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Workforce Service: evaluate the extent to which training strategies are effective for improving the skills and competencies of HR staff.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: We will provide updated information once we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the capacity of HR functions at VA medical centers, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should instruct the Under Secretary for Health to establish clear lines of authority that provide the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Workforce Service the ability to oversee and hold medical center HR offices accountable for implementing initiatives to improve HR processes within HR offices as well as monitoring and reporting on the results of these initiatives.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: VA agreed with our recommendation and stated that it plans to address this recommendation through an organizational realignment. As a first step, in March 2017, the Acting Under Secretary for Health issued a memo to VHA Deputy Under Secretaries, Network Directors, and Medical Center Directors stating that these officials are accountable for ensuring efficient and effective human capital service delivery. To fully implement the recommendation to hold medical center HR offices accountable, VA needs to establish procedures for monitoring and reporting on the results of its HR improvement initiatives.
    Recommendation: To improve the capacity of HR functions at VA medical centers, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should instruct the Under Secretary for Health to establish clear lines of authority that provide the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Workforce Service the ability to oversee and hold medical center HR offices accountable for requiring all HR staff to complete the competency assessment tool within HR offices.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: VA agreed with our recommendation and stated that it was taking steps to address it. As a first step, in March 2017, the Acting Under Secretary for Health issued a memo stating that the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Workforce Services (ADUSHWFS) is authorized to establish HR competencies for VHA HR staff, and also require VHA HR staff to complete HR competency assessments and training. Further, the memo requires the ADUSHWFS to report quarterly to the DUSHOM on the status of HR competency assessments and training completion. In late April 2017, VA officials stated that they are establishing processes to collect and monitor data on completion rates for the HR staff competency assessment tool. To fully implement the recommendation, VA should implement these processes and provide quarterly data on competency tool completion rates to the DUSHOM.
    Recommendation: To ensure VA medical centers make needed improvements to HR functions, such as those identified by VA's Office of Oversight and Effectiveness and VHA's Consult, Assist, Review, Develop, and Sustain (CARDS) reviews, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should provide the Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration (HR&A) and the Under Secretary for Health with the oversight responsibility of effectively monitoring the status of corrective actions at medical center HR offices and ensuring that corrective actions are implemented.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: We will provide updated information once we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that positions across all VHA medical facilities are placed in the appropriate class and grade, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Assistant Secretary for HR&A and the Under Secretary for Health to clarify their lines of authority and processes for overseeing and holding Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISNs) and VHA medical facilities accountable for the consistent application of federal classification policies.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: We will provide updated information once we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To accelerate efforts to develop a modern, credible, and effective performance management system the Assistant Secretary for HR&A should, with input from VHA stakeholders, ensure that meaningful distinctions are being made in employee performance ratings by (1) developing and implementing a standardized, comprehensive performance management training program for supervisors of Title 5, Title 38, and Title 38-Hybrid employees based on leading practices and ensuring procedures are in place to support effective performance conversations between supervisors and employees; (2) reviewing and revising Title 5 and Title 38 performance management policies consistent with leading practices (e.g., require definition of all performance levels); and (3) developing and implementing a process to standardize performance plan elements, standards, and metrics for common positions across VHA that are covered under VA's Title 5 performance management system.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs: Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: VA partially agreed with our recommendation and described the preliminary steps it is planning to take to identify and implement a modern, credible, and effective performance management system. In late April 2017, VA officials stated that they are in the early stages of identifying a way forward for a revised performance management system, and are considering different options. To implement our recommendation, VA must ensure that meaningful distinctions are being made in employee performance ratings. This includes reviewing and revising Title 5 and Title 38 performance management policies consistent with leading practices (e.g., requiring definition of all performance levels), and developing and implementing a process to standardize performance plan elements, standards, and metrics for all common Title 5 positions across VHA. We recognize that identifying and implementing a new performance management system will require significant effort on VA's part, and will continue to monitor its actions and progress in this area.
    Recommendation: To accelerate efforts to develop a modern, credible, and effective performance management system, the Assistant Secretary for HR&A should, with input from VHA stakeholders, ensure that ratings-based performance awards are administered in a manner that is consistent with leading practices and promotes improved employee performance.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs: Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: VA partially agreed with our recommendation and stated that it will explore how to create effective incentive and reward systems. VA also noted that due to constrained funding for such systems, it will pursue ways to maximize effective use of both monetary and non-monetary awards to promote employee performance. In late April 2017, VA officials stated that they are in the early stages of identifying a way forward for a revised performance management system (including ratings-based awards), and are considering different options. To implement our recommendation, VA must ensure that its award programs are administered in a valid, reliable, and transparent manner. We recognize that identifying and implementing a new performance management system will require significant effort on VA?s part, and will continue to monitor its actions and progress in this area.
    Recommendation: To accelerate efforts to develop a modern, credible, and effective performance management system, the Assistant Secretary for HR&A should, with input from VHA stakeholders, develop a plan for how and when it intends to implement a modern information technology (IT) system to support employee performance management processes.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs: Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: VA partially agreed with this recommendation and stated that it continues to pilot its performance appraisal IT system -- known as the ePerformance system -- but that broad implementation of new technology for performance management will require adequate IT funding. In late April 2017, VA officials stated that they are exploring other potential IT systems to support the performance management process. To implement our recommendation, VA must develop a plan for how and when it intends to implement a modern performance management IT system.
    Recommendation: To better monitor and improve employee engagement, the Under Secretary for Health should establish clear and effective lines of authority and accountability for developing, implementing, and monitoring strategies for improving employee engagement across VHA, such as by establishing an employee engagement office at the VHA headquarters level with appropriate oversight of VISNs and medical center initiatives.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs: Office of the Under Secretary for Health
    Status: Open

    Comments: We will provide updated information once we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better monitor and improve employee engagement, the Under Secretary for Health should ensure that VHA and VISN entities jointly develop (1) a system to facilitate sharing of employee engagement leading practices/lessons learned; and (2) a strategy to help address barriers to improving engagement, particularly for those medical centers with the lowest engagement scores.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs: Office of the Under Secretary for Health
    Status: Open

    Comments: We will provide updated information once we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Director: Charles Jeszeck
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Comments: IRS reported that it will change during the next scheduled update of the model agreements, the "pre-approved by IRS" statement to clarify that only the first seven articles of Form 5305, Traditional Individual Retirement Trust Account, and Form 5305-A, Traditional Individual Retirement Custodial Account, are approved by IRS. GAO will consider closing this recommendation when the agency has completed this effort.
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    22 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist CISOs in carrying out their responsibilities, the Director of OMB should issue guidance for agencies' implementation of the FISMA 2014 requirements to ensure that (1) senior agency officials carry out information security responsibilities and (2) agency personnel are held accountable for complying with the agency-wide information security program. This guidance should clarify the role of the agency CISO with respect to these requirements, as well as implementing the other elements of an agency-wide information security program, taking into account the challenges identified in this report.

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

    Comments: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) partially concurred with this recommendation, but does not intend to directly issue guidance as recommended. Instead, we are reviewing the relevant OMB memoranda that officials believe address the intent of the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the CISO is defined in department policy in accordance with the FISMA 2014, the Secretary of Commerce should define the CISO's role in department policy for ensuring that plans and procedures are in place to ensure recovery and continued operations of the department's information systems in the event of a disruption.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce concurred with the recommendation, stating that the department's policy documents are expected to be updated by the end of the 4th Quarter in 2017. However, the Department has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the senior information security officer (SISO) is defined in department policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Secretary of Defense should define the SISO's role in department policy for ensuring that information security policies and procedures are developed and maintained.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) did not concur with our recommendation, nor has it provided evidence that it has implemented the recommendations.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the SISO is defined in department policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Secretary of Defense should define the SISO's role in department policy for ensuring that the department has procedures for incident detection, response, and reporting.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) partially concurred with our recommendation, but has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the SISO is defined in department policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Secretary of Defense should define the SISO's role in department policy for oversight of security for information systems that are operated by contractors on the department's behalf.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) partially concurred with our recommendation, but has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the CISO is defined in department policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Secretary of Energy should define the CISO's role in department policy for ensuring that subordinate security plans are documented for the department's information systems.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Energy concurred with the recommendation, and estimates completion by March 1, 2018. The Department decided in April 2017 to make significant updates to its Cyber Security Program, and estimates it will take up to nine months to gain departmental concurrence, complete revisions, and close this recommendation. However, the Department has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the CISO is defined in department policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Secretary of Energy should define the CISO's role in department policy for ensuring that all users receive information security awareness training.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Energy concurred with the recommendation, and estimates completion by March 1, 2018. The Department decided in April 2017 to make significant updates to its Cyber Security Program, and estimates it will take up to nine months to gain departmental concurrence, complete revisions, and close this recommendation. However, the Department has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the CISO is defined in department policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Secretary of Energy should define the CISO's role in department policy for ensuring that the department has a process for planning implementing, evaluating, and documenting remedial actions.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Energy concurred with the recommendation, and estimates completion by March 1, 2018. The Department decided in April 2017 to make significant updates to its Cyber Security Program, and estimates it will take up to nine months to gain departmental concurrence, complete revisions, and close this recommendation. However, the Department has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the CISO is defined in department policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Secretary of Energy should define the CISO's role in department policy for ensuring that plans and procedures are in place to ensure recovery and continued operations of the department's information systems in the event of a disruption.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Energy concurred with the recommendation, and estimates completion by March 1, 2018. The Department decided in April 2017 to make significant updates to its Cyber Security Program, and estimates it will take up to nine months to gain departmental concurrence, complete revisions, and close this recommendation. However, the Department has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the CISO is defined in department policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Secretary of Energy should define the CISO's role in department policy for oversight of security for information systems that are operated by contractors on the department's behalf.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Energy concurred with the recommendation, and estimates completion by March 1, 2018. The Department decided in April 2017 to make significant updates to its Cyber Security Program, and estimates it will take up to nine months to gain departmental concurrence, complete revisions, and close this recommendation. However, the Department has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the CISO is defined in department policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Secretary of Energy should define the CISO's role in department policy in the periodic authorization of the department's information systems.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Energy concurred with the recommendation, and estimates completion by March 1, 2018. The Department decided in April 2017 to make significant updates to its Cyber Security Program, and estimates it will take up to nine months to gain Departmental concurrence, complete revisions, and close this recommendation. However, the Department has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the CISO is defined in department policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should define the CISO's role in department policy for ensuring that plans and procedures are in place to ensure recovery and continued operations of the department's information systems in the event of a disruption.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services concurs with our recommendation but has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the CISO is defined in department policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Attorney General should define the CISO's role in department policy for ensuring that information security policies and procedures are developed and maintained.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Justice concurs with our recommendation but has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the CISO is defined in department policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Attorney General should define the CISO's role in department policy for ensuring that plans and procedures are in place to ensure recovery and continued operations of the department's information systems in the event of a disruption.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Justice concurs with our recommendation but has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the CISO is defined in department policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Secretary of State should define the CISO's role in department policy for ensuring that the department has procedures for incident detection, response, and reporting.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State (State) concurred with this recommendation. We are currently reviewing the evidence provided by State to determine whether the role of the CISO has been defined in its policy to for ensuring that State has procedures for incident detection, response, and reporting.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the CISO is defined in department policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Secretary of Transportation should define the CISO's role in department policy for ensuring that subordinate security plans are documented for the department's information systems.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Transportation concurred with the recommendation and is currently updating its Cybersecurity Policy. The Department plans to be complete by June 29, 2018. However, the department has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the CISO is defined in department policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Secretary of Transportation should define the CISO's role in department policy for ensuring that security controls are tested periodically.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Transportation concurred with the recommendation and is currently updating its Cybersecurity Policy. The Department plans to be complete by June 29, 2018. However, the department has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the senior agency information security officer (SAISO) is defined in agency policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Administrator of the Environment Protection Agency should define the SAISO's role in agency policy for ensuring that subordinate security plans are documented for the department's information systems.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concurred with our recommendation. We are currently reviewing the evidence provided by EPA to determine whether the role of the SAISO has been defined in its policy to for ensuring that subordinate security plans are documented for the agency's information systems.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the SAISO is defined in agency policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Administrator of the Environment Protection Agency should define the SAISO's role in agency policy for ensuring that plans and procedures are in place to ensure recovery and continued operations of the department's information systems in the event of a disruption.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concurred with our recommendation. We are currently reviewing the evidence provided by EPA to determine whether the role of the SAISO has been defined in its policy to ensure recovery and continued operations of the agency's information systems in the event of a disruption.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the SAISO is defined in agency policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Administrator of the Environment Protection Agency should define the SAISO's role in agency policy in the periodic authorization of the department's information systems.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concurred with our recommendation. We are currently reviewing the evidence provided by EPA to determine whether the role of the SAISO has been defined in agency policy for the periodic authorization of the department's information systems.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the SAISO is defined in agency policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should define the SAISO's role in agency policy for oversight of security for information systems that are operated by contractors on the agency's behalf.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) concurred with our recommendation. We are currently reviewing the evidence provided by NASA to determine whether the role of the SAISO has been defined in agency policy for oversight of security for information systems that are operated by contractors on NASA's behalf.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the role of the CISO is defined in agency policy in accordance with FISMA 2014, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should define the CISO's role in agency policy for ensuring that personnel with significant security responsibilities receive appropriate training.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Small Business administration (SBA) concurs with our recommendation but has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To help strengthen the government's ability to compete in the labor market for top talent, and to improve the federal hiring process, for hiring authorities for which OPM oversees, the Director of OPM, in conjunction with the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) Council, should conduct a study or assessment of specific hiring authorities and/or processes to gain insight into why these agencies relied on the authorities, the relationship between the agencies' choices and the agency mission and broader public policy goals, consistent with merit systems principles, and determine whether modernization is necessary. For agency-specific hiring authorities and/or processes, OPM should collaborate with the CHCO Council to obtain similar insights agencies may have regarding their authorities and/or processes and to determine whether there are lessons learned which may be relevant to government-wide modernization efforts.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of August 2017, OPM has undertaken or completed some reviews of agency use of hiring authorities. In August 2016, OPM published the findings of a recent study on the use and effectiveness of the Pathways Programs' hiring authorities. In October 2016, OPM issued a report on hiring authorities used by the National Park Service to help meet its seasonal workforce needs. In August 2017, OPM said it had started a study of agencies' use of excepted service hiring authorities and it plans to issue a report in fiscal year 2018. We will continue to monitor OPM's efforts to assess the use and effectiveness of hiring authorities and any determination of the need for modernization.
    Recommendation: To help strengthen the government's ability to compete in the labor market for top talent, and to improve the federal hiring process, the Director of OPM, in conjunction with the CHCO Council, should use this information to determine whether opportunities exist to refine, consolidate, eliminate, or expand agency-specific authorities to other agencies and implement changes where OPM is authorized, including seeking presidential authorization (as necessary) in order to do so. In cases where legislation would be necessary to implement changes, OPM should work with the CHCO Council to develop legislative proposals.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of August 2017, OPM said it plans to explore opportunities for improving the hiring system by analyzing and reviewing existing hiring authorities with an eye towards modernization. For example, OPM said it plans to use information from its current study of excepted service hiring authorities to consider changes or refinements to these authorities once that study has been completed in fiscal year 2018. OPM also said its future plans to improve the hiring system will be informed by its current strategic planning efforts.
    Director: Yvonne D. Jones
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help agencies determine the value of their telework programs, the Director of OPM, working with the Chief Human Capital Officers Council, should provide clarifying guidance on options for developing supporting data for benefits and costs associated with agency telework programs. For example, the guidance could identify potential data sources, such as the data generated in response to requirements under the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Reduce the Footprint Memorandum 2015-01 and Executive Order 13693.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: OPM concurred with the recommendation and its work-life policy office will work with the Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCO) Council to further agency efforts to determine the value of their telework programs. OPM stated that they will develop clarifying guidance for agencies with CHCO input and host a CHCO Academy session focused on evaluating the costs and benefits of telework programs. This guidance will review basic principles of cost-benefit analysis, highlight common costs and benefits, and identify potential data sources in areas such as real estate costs, energy use, commuting costs, and employee productivity.
    Director: Daniel Garcia-Diaz
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to ensure sustained leadership commitment to and accountability for CFPB's efforts to promote a diverse, inclusive, and fair workplace, in coordination with representatives of CFPB's employee union, the Director should develop tools to collect more comprehensive employee feedback on the grievance complaint processes to understand and remedy factors that may reduce employee confidence in these processes.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, CFPB had reached agreement with its employee union on a process to collect more comprehensive employee feedback on its grievance complaint processes, but CFPB had not yet implemented this new process. This new process will include a short survey that will be provided to employees who participate in the grievance process. A CFPB official said that CFPB will begin using this survey to collect feedback once it has determined the best point in the grievance process to distribute it.
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    17 open recommendations
    including 7 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should update security assessment plans for selected systems to ensure they include the test procedures to be performed.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: NASA concurred with our recommendation. The agency has implemented a system to support updates of security assessment plans that include the test procedures to be performed. Subsequent to NASA informing us that security assessment plans for selected systems include these test procedures, we plan to verify the agency's actions.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should re-evaluate security control assessments for selected systems to ensure that they comprehensively test technical controls.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: NASA concurred with our recommendation, and will re-evaluate the selected systems' security control assessments to ensure that technical controls will be comprehensively tested. NASA officials said that they expect to complete this action by January 15, 2018. Subsequent to NASA informing us that it has implemented the recommendation, we plan to verify the agency's actions.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should update remedial action plans for selected systems, to include responsible organization, estimated funding, source of funding, and updated milestones and completion dates.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: NASA concurred with our recommendation. The agency has implemented a system that generates plans of actions and milestones (POA&Ms), but has not yet provided sufficient examples of remedial action plans for the selected systems. Subsequent to NASA informing us that it has updated POA&Ms for the selected systems to include responsible organization, estimated funding, source of funding, and updated milestones and completion dates, we plan to verify these actions.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should update the continuous monitoring strategy to include metrics, ongoing status monitoring of metrics, and reporting of security status.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: NASA concurred with our recommendation. The agency has issued an updated continuous monitoring strategy, but this strategy does not clearly identify specific metrics to be used. Subsequent to NASA informing us that the strategy includes metrics, ongoing status monitoring of metrics, and reporting of security status, we plan to verify these actions.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should re-evaluate security control assessments to ensure that they comprehensively test technical controls.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: NRC concurred with our recommendation. NRC supplied documents regarding its cybersecurity assessment process, but has not yet provided evidence of re-evaluating assessments to ensure that technical controls were comprehensively tested.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should update remedial action plans for selected systems, to include responsible organization, estimated funding, funding source, and scheduled completion dates.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: NRC concurred with our recommendation. The agency provided evidence that it is including the responsible organization and scheduled completion dates in its plans of action and milestones (POA&Ms). While the estimated funding and source of funding do not appear in the POA&Ms, the agency has indicated that this data is available elsewhere. We are following up with NRC to verify this information.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should update the standard that addresses continuous monitoring to include metrics and ongoing status monitoring.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: NRC concurred with our recommendation. The agency expects to publish a revised computer security standard in 2018.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management should update security plans for selected systems to ensure that all controls specific to high-impact systems are addressed, including a rationale if the control is not implemented, and where other plans are cross-referenced, ensure that the other system's plan appropriately addresses the control.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: OPM concurred with our recommendation. The agency intends to migrate security plans to an automated system in order to improve management of security controls.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management should provide and track specialized training for all individuals, including contractors, who have significant security responsibilities.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: OPM partially concurred with our recommendation. OPM is in the process of reviewing its procedures for identifying employees and contractors who directly access its information systems and reviewing the training requirements for those individuals, as well as specialized training requirements, and how compliance is tracked.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management should re-evaluate security control assessments to ensure that they comprehensively test technical controls.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: OPM did not concur with our recommendation. OPM is developing additional standards for evaluating technical-controls testing and will incorporate these standards into its oversight of security assessments, once the standards are complete.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management should update remedial action plans for selected systems, to include source of funding and updated completion dates.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: OPM concurred with our recommendation. OPM is in the process of migrating POA&Ms to a new automated system that will allow the source of funding to be included in plans of action and milestones.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans should update security plans for selected systems to ensure that all controls specific to high-impact systems are addressed, including a rationale if the control is not implemented.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA concurred with our recommendation. VA stated that all high-impact security controls have been addressed, and the agency expects to include all controls in one plan. Subsequent to the agency informing us that it has implemented the recommendation, we plan to verify its actions.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans should provide and track specialized training for all individuals who have significant security responsibilities.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA concurred with our recommendation. VA provided limited evidence that it is tracking specialized training for staff who have significant security responsibilities. GAO plans to request further documentation and verify the completeness of VA's actions.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans should conduct security control assessments for the two selected systems and ensure the procedures comprehensively test technical controls.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA concurred with our recommendation. VA has assessed technical controls, but has not yet provided evidence of re-evaluating assessments to ensure that technical controls were comprehensively tested.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans should update remedial action plans for selected systems, to include estimated funding and funding source.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA concurred with our recommendation. VA provided limited evidence that it is including more information in its remedial action plans for selected systems, but did not demonstrate that it is including estimated funding and funding sources in these plans.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans should develop a continuous monitoring strategy that addresses organization-defined metrics, frequency of monitoring metrics, ongoing status monitoring of metrics, and reporting of security status.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA concurred with our recommendation. VA is developing a new framework to address the people, processes, technology, and performance monitoring mechanisms identified in the Information Security Continuous Monitoring (ISCM) Maturity Model. This framework and supporting program plan are linked to the Department of Homeland Security Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) phase 1 deployment that is ongoing and anticipated to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2017. VA's ISCM program plan and framework have been delayed to accommodate these changes.
    Recommendation: To improve security over federal systems, including those considered to be high impact, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should issue plan and practices specified in the Cybersecurity Strategy and Implementation Plan.

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

    Comments: OMB concurred with our recommendation. On December 9, 2016, OMB issued memorandum M-17-09, Management of Federal High Value Assets, which lists some existing policies and guidance and other actions that agencies need to take to protect IT assets. In addition OMB provided limited access to a document describing best practices for federal security operation centers. GAO is requesting further access to this document on best practices in order to determine whether OMB has adequately addressed the recommendation.
    Director: Randall B. Williamson
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help provide reasonable assurance that VHA achieves its long-term goal of modernizing its claims processing system, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to ensure that the agency develops a sound written plan that includes the following elements: (1) a detailed schedule for when VHA intends to complete development and implementation of each major aspect of its new claims processing system; (2) the estimated costs for implementing each major aspect of the system; and (3) the performance goals, measures, and interim milestones that VHA will use to evaluate progress, hold staff accountable for achieving desired results, and report to stakeholders the agency's progress in modernizing its claims processing system.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of June 2017, VHA's Office of Community Care is in the process of consolidating VA's community care programs, and as part of this process it plans to transition to a third party administrator for the purposes of claims processing. While an active procurement is underway, VHA still needs to develop a written plan to fully implement this recommendation. VHA's written plan must include details about the schedule, cost estimates, performance goals, and interim milestones associated with transitioning to a third party administrator for the purposes of processing claims for VA community care.
    Director: Williamson, Randall B
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To develop and maintain medical sharing expertise within the network contracting offices, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to create a plan for increasing the retention of contracting officers that work in medical sharing teams.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, VHA reported that it is working on creating a plan for increasing the retention of contracting officers that work in medical sharing teams. The Medical Sharing Office (MSO) has taken several steps including conducting research on possible ways to minimize or eliminate steps within its existing plan and expanding the number of topical training provided virtually network contracting offices to develop competency in VHA Health Care 1102 staff. In addition, VHA reported they are developing a training schedule to ensure newly deployed interns have received the training and resource to successfully conduct health care contracts if they are assigned to health care resources team and continuing to collaborate with the field to ensure awareness of MSO support and assistance.
    Recommendation: To ensure VHA effectively communicates with its affiliates regarding SSACs, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to reach out to all of its affiliates, identify any concerns, and determine the most effective method of communicating with affiliates regarding SSAC development.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, the VHA reported that it plans to have an Academic Affiliate Contracting Forum on August 15-16, 2017 in Nashville, TN or Dallas, TX for VHA staff responsible for health care contracts and University affiliates. The purpose of the Forum is to strengthen and advance the collaborative partnership for providing service to Veterans; share perspectives; and enhance awareness about processes, procedures and tools that will help make contracting processes faster and easier for all parties.
    Director: Andrew Sherrill
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help determine whether current efforts are effective or if additional action may be needed, such as development of a workplace violence prevention standard for health care employers, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health to develop and implement cost-effective ways to assess the results of the agency's efforts to address workplace violence.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: According to OSHA officials, the agency has a study underway that will review OSHA's workplace violence enforcement cases in health care to better understand the obstacles OSHA compliance officers encountered during these investigations and identify factors which led to citations. OSHA expects the final report to be completed in 2017, which will help its compliance officers develop citations in workplace violence cases. In addition, in December 2016, OSHA published a Request for Information on Preventing Workplace Violence in Healthcare and Social Assistance (RFI), which will help the agency identify workplace violence prevention requirements that could be effective and economical if a regulation were to be developed. The comment period closed in April 2017. In June 2017, the agency reported that it is reviewing the information received through the RFI. As of August 2017, the Prevention of Workplace Violence in Health Care and Social Assistance rulemaking status is classified as a long term regulatory action. To fully implement this recommendation, DOL should complete its ongoing study to better understand the obstacles OSHA compliance officers encountered during these investigations and identify factors that led to citations; and analyze the input received from the RFI to determine whether regulatory action is needed.
    Director: Andrew Sherrill
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance consistency with DOL policy and procedures in adjudicating EEOICPA Part E claims, the Secretary of Labor should strengthen internal controls by requiring district offices to take steps to ensure that all claimant correspondence for Recommended and Final Decisions receives supervisory review.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor agreed with our recommendation that a second level review will provide a higher degree of internal quality control. However, upon evaluating our recommendation, Labor determined that given its current staffing levels it would not be possible to conduct a supervisory review of all Recommended and Final Decisions without having an adverse impact on the issuance of timely decisions for claimants. Instead, Labor is implementing a process to review a sample of decision letters - initially 10 percent - and make procedural adjustments based on the results of those reviews. We will revisit the status of this recommendation pending the results of Labor's supervisory reviews of selected decision letters.
    Recommendation: To enhance consistency with DOL policy and procedures in adjudicating EEOICPA Part E claims, the Secretary of Labor should strengthen internal controls by requiring district offices to document that the SEM was checked for updates just prior to issuing a Recommended Decision to deny a claim in cases in which the date of the last SEM update has not changed since the claims examiner's prior check.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor agreed with our recommendation pertaining to documenting searches of the Site Exposure Matrix during claims processing. Labor stated that it has implemented the recommendation by updating relevant guidance in the Federal EEOICPA Procedure Manual. We will update the status of this recommendation pending verification that the Procedure Manual was revised to require claims examiners to document that, before denying a claim they checked the Site Exposure Matrix to ensure pertinent information had not changed since the examiner's prior check.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Congress has the necessary information to provide effective oversight over DOD's workforces, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, in collaboration with the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, to address ongoing requirements in section 955 and include this information in status reports that accompany the President's budget request for fiscal years 2017 and 2018. The information to be included in future status reports includes (1) a comprehensive description of a plan to achieve savings for the civilian workforce and contractor workforce for fiscal year 2012 through fiscal year 2017; (2) a description demonstrating that the plan is consistent with policies and procedures implementing workforce-management laws and steps the department is taking to ensure that no unjustified transfers between workforces take place as part of the implementing plan; (3) status reports to be included in the President's budget request for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 describing the implementation of the plan in the prior year; (4) the cost of covered civilian personnel and military basic pay for fiscal years 2012 through 2017, and an assessment of these costs in regard to their compliance with the statutory requirements set forth in section 955; and (5) an explanation for any shortfall in its reductions for the civilian and contractor workforces, and a description of actions DOD is taking to achieve the required savings.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: In DOD's most recent status report issued in February 2016, DOD did not fully address our recommendations.
    Director: James R. McTigue, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve taxpayer service amid declining budgets and increased responsibilities, Congress should consider requiring the Secretary of the Treasury to develop a comprehensive customer service strategy in consultation with the Commissioner of Internal Revenue that (1) determines appropriate telephone and correspondence levels of service, based on service provided by the best in business and customer expectations; and (2) thoroughly assesses which services IRS can shift to self-service options.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, no legislative action had been taken.
    Recommendation: To improve performance management of taxpayer services, the Secretary of the Treasury should update the Department's performance plan to include overage rates for handling taxpayer correspondence as a part of Treasury's performance goals.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, Treasury officials told us that they plan to include correspondence data as part of Treasury's fiscal year 2018 annual performance plan and fiscal year 2016 annual performance report. They expect it to be available online before Summer 2017.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist DOD in determining whether CIPP is meeting its intended purpose of enhancing retention and providing greater flexibility in the career path of servicemembers, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the service secretaries, to develop and implement a plan to evaluate the pilot that includes key features such as well-defined, clear, and measurable objectives and standards for determining pilot-program performance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with our recommendation, and recognized the importance of developing well defined measures to evaluate the effectiveness and utility of the career intermission pilot program (CIPP). In November 2015, DOD acknowledged receipt of our final report and noted that its position on the report has not changed since providing official written comments. In May 2017, we issued GAO-17-623R, which provided an update to the CIPP participant data in our initial report, and noted that DOD had not established performance measures in response to our recommendation. As of September 2017, DOD had still not developed these measures, noting the program was still in a pilot stage, and the final consolidated report due to Congress in June 2023 will include narratives from the service secretaries discussing the effectiveness and value of the program.
    Director: David Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of the General Services Administration should develop a legislative proposal to enhance accountability for government-wide implementation of the Act. GSA should consider including the following in its proposal: (1) establishing authorities for a single agency to monitor and enforce implementation of the Act; (2) establishing agency responsibilities for reporting progress on implementation of the Act; (3) establishing agency responsibilities for assessing employee skill levels related to the Act and identifying training that allows employees to develop and retain skills required by the Act; and (4) establishing an interagency group to further government-wide collaboration on implementation of the Act.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, GSA agreed to work with other agencies to evaluate whether additional legislative changes would improve the speed and efficiency of implementation. In October 2017, GSA informed us they intend to submit a legislative proposal to Congress as part of the FY 2019 budget process. We will continue to monitor GSA actions.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve coordination and communication between FEMA OCPO and region mission support officials region mission support officials, the FEMA Administrator should establish a plan to ensure that the agreement is reviewed on an annual basis as intended.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on this report, DHS concurred with this recommendation. According to FEMA officials, the Office of Procurement Operations has since formed a team that will address this recommendation. We will provide updated information as it becomes available.
    Recommendation: To improve coordination and communication between FEMA Office of the Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO) and region mission support officials region mission support officials, the FEMA Administrator should direct OCPO and the regional administrators to revisit the 2011 service level agreement to: add details about the extent of operational control headquarters and regional supervisors should exercise to minimize potential competing interests experienced by regional contracting officers; further detail headquarters and regional supervisors' roles and responsibilities for managing regional contracting officers to improve coordination and communication; and ensure that the agreement reflects any new requirements, including recent changes in training that may require travel funds.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on this report, DHS concurred with this recommendation. According to FEMA officials, the Office of Procurement Operations has since formed a team that will address this recommendation. We will provide updated information as it becomes available.
    Recommendation: To address PKEMRA, the Secretary of Homeland Security should take action to address the requirements of Section 692 to implement subcontractor limitations or request that Congress amend the law to delete Section 692.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2016, DHS took steps to ask Congress to repeal PKEMRA Section 692, which prohibits the use of subcontracts for more than 65 percent of the cost of cost-reimbursement type contracts that exceed the simplified acquisition threshold. DHS submitted a legislative change proposal to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), who approves such proposals before they are submitted to Congress. OMB approved the proposed change for PKEMRA Section 692 in April 2016. We will provide additional updates as information becomes available.
    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: Charles Jeszeck
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To encourage plan sponsors to continue efforts to improve plan participation and overall retirement savings through the use of Qualified Default Investment Alternatives, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration to assess the challenges that plan sponsors and stakeholders reported, including the extent to which these challenges can be addressed, and implement corrective actions through clarifying guidance or regulations, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2015, DOL noted that the agency would assess the challenges that plan sponsors and stakeholders had reported to GAO, decide in FY 2016 whether a broader public comment process (such as a Request for Information) or a research project would aid that assessment, and determine whether other actions, such as issuing clarifying guidance or regulations, would be beneficial to its stakeholders. In July 2016, DOL confirmed that the agency continues to plan to take the above action. In July 207, DOL responded that it had not added a public comment process to EBSA's 2017 regulatory agenda, and had no specific timeline for any next action.
    Director: Joseph W. Kirschbaum
    Phone: (202) 512-9971

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist U.S. installations in protecting against insider threats, the Secretary of Defense should direct the military services to share information about actions U.S. installations have taken to address insider threats by consistently using existing mechanisms--such as working groups, lessons-learned information systems, and antiterrorism web portals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To assist DOD leadership in their oversight and decision-making process, the Secretary of Defense should direct the DOD leaders on the Mission Assurance Coordination Boards and the military services to take steps to improve the consistency of reporting and monitoring of the implementation of recommendations from the independent review of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting. Such steps could include DOD and the military services developing criteria for consistent reporting on the progress of recommendations and the military services providing periodic reports to the Mission Assurance Coordination Boards on the status of Fort Hood recommendations at the service level and installation level.

    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: Mctigue Jr, James R
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure the EO unit's adherence to the TE/GE division's mission of "applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all" in selecting exempt organizations to review or examine, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct EO to develop, document, and implement additional monitoring procedures in order to ensure case selection controls, including ensuring that procedures for obtaining required signatures and documenting explanations for selection decisions, are being followed.

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

    Comments: The Internal Revenue Service's Exempt Organizations (EO) unit issued a memo, in October 2015, to Area Managers requiring that they complete monthly sample reviews of closed and dismissed cases to ensure that proper managerial approvals are documented. EO also issued a memo, in April 2016, to examination staff and managers, emphasizing the importance of documenting justifications for examination dismissals. Additionally, operational reviews are conducted to ensure that the monitoring samples are being reviewed. In January 2017, EO's Exempt Organization Classification Area (EOCA) resumed quality reviews, which includes a review of documentation and EOCA database entries. As of May 2017, monitoring has not increased for EO referrals.
    Recommendation: In addition, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should determine what additional controls may be needed to ensure that all closed examination files are tracked and maintained accurately.

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

    Comments: In 2016, the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Unit (TE/GE) reviewed its internal processes and procedures and met with the Wage and investment (W&I) Files Unit to discuss procedures for requesting closed case files, according to Exempt Organizations Examinations (EOE) officials. TE/GE developed a desk guide for the Exempt Organizations Case Selection and Delivery Unit to document the procedures for requesting, tracking and monitoring closed case file requests. In addition, TE/GE provided recommendations to the W&I Files unit on modifications to the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) that would facilitate coordination; as of June 2017, W&I has not implemented these recommendations. The EOE unit will also continue to expand electronic case management efficiencies.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist the interagency working group, known as the Federal Agency Skills Team (FAST), to better identify government-wide skills gaps having programmatic impacts and measure its progress towards closing them, the Director of OPM--in conjunction with the CHCO Council--should strengthen its approach and methodology by (1) assisting FAST in developing goals for closing skills gaps with targets that are both clear and measurable; (2) working with FAST to design outcome-oriented performance metrics that align with overall targets for closing skills gaps and link to the activities for addressing kills gaps; (3) incorporating greater input from subject matter experts, as planned; and (4) ensuring FAST consistently follows key practices for project planning.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of October 2016, OPM has sought to strengthen the methodology for closing skills gaps by offering skills gap closure training to 1) agency officials with respect to agency-specific skills gaps, and 2) interagency working groups with respect to government-wide skills gaps. Held during the spring of 2016, this OPM-led training sought to provide agency officials with methodologies for identifying the root causes for skills gaps, as well as provide assistance in developing action plans for implementing and monitoring their strategies to address these skills gaps. OPM officials stated that these interagency teams will report on a quarterly basis to the OPM Director on their progress to implement these strategies, beginning in January 2017. OPM, in conjunction with OMB, agencies, and the CHCO Council, needs to ensure that this infrastructure is implemented as developed.
    Recommendation: To ensure that OPM builds the predictive capacity to identify emerging skills gaps across the government--including the ability to collect and use reliable information on the competencies of the federal workforce for government-wide workforce analysis--the Director of OPM should (1) establish a schedule specifying when OPM will modify its Enterprise Human Resources Integration database to capture staffing data that it currently collects from agencies through its annual workforce data reporting process; and (2) work with agency CHCOs to bolster the ability of agencies to assess workforce competencies by sharing competency surveys, lessons learned, and other tools and resources.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of October 2016, officials reported that OPM has partnered with the Chief Learning Officers Council to leverage resources to develop a framework to support agencies efforts to develop competency assessments. Additionally, OPM reported that it has created an internal working group to determine whether its Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI) personnel database can support having a predictive capacity for identifying emerging skills gaps across the government, including the ability to collect and use information on the competencies of the federal workforce. OPM needs to work with agencies to improve competency assessment across the government and to pursue modifying EHRI to support the collection of staffing and competency data.
    Recommendation: To help agencies and OPM better monitor progress toward closing skills gaps within agencies and government-wide, the Director of OPM should (1) work with the CHCO Council to develop a core set of metrics that all agencies should use as part of their HRstat data-driven reviews; and (2) coordinate with FAST personnel and explore the feasibility of collecting information needed by FAST as part of agencies' HRstat reviews.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of October 2016, officials reported that OPM has partnered with the CHCO Council to implement a government-wide set of metrics for use as part of a government-wide benchmarking effort. However, it has no plans to coordinate the data collection efforts of agencies' HRstat reviews with the collection efforts of OPM's and agencies' working groups to identify and address skills gaps. OPM stated that coordinating the data collection was not possible because agencies' HRstat reviews have different goals and collect different types of data than the working groups. We maintain that action on our recommendation is important because it is likely that the core metrics collected under HRstat could help inform the efforts of the working groups and thus reduce duplicative efforts. Moreover, the use of a core set of metrics from agencies' HRstat reviews could aid in monitoring actual progress in closing skills gaps government-wide.
    Director: Andrew Sherrill
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Depending on the outcome of the litigation, the Secretary of Labor should take steps to ensure the agency will be positioned to conduct a meaningful retrospective review consistent with the Executive Order at an appropriate time. These steps should be taken in consultation with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and could include, for example, identifying metrics that could be used to evaluate the rule, and implementing a plan to gather and analyze the necessary data.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) agreed with this recommendation and reported that it is working to develop data collection plans and explore a potential evaluation that is focused on the Home Care Rule. As part of this effort, WHD noted that it will continue to work with HHS and other federal partners. In FY16, WHD reported that such an evaluation of how stakeholders and affected industries have responded to the rule would be beneficial. However, litigation has delayed implementation and enforcement of the rule significantly, and WHD believes an evaluation at this stage would be premature and would be unlikely to fully and accurately capture stakeholders' responses to the rule and the resulting impacts. Delaying the evaluation would allow WHD to monitor the results of its own investigations and the effects of ongoing compliance assistance, both of which would be extremely difficult to measure at this early stage. WHD will continue to monitor early implementation to determine the appropriate start for any evaluation.
    Director: Charlie Jeszeck
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    5 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To better protect the retirement savings of individuals who change jobs, while retaining policies that provide 401(k) plans relief from maintaining small, inactive accounts, Congress should consider amending current law to permit the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of the Treasury to identify and designate alternative default destinations for forced transfers greater than $1,000, should they deem them more advantageous for participants.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: There has been no congressional action as of 2017.
    Recommendation: To better protect the retirement savings of individuals who change jobs, while retaining policies that provide 401(k) plans relief from maintaining small, inactive accounts, Congress should consider amending current law to repeal the provision that allows plans to disregard amounts attributable to rollovers when determining if a participant's plan balance is small enough to forcibly transfer it.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: There has been no congressional action as of 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure that individuals have access to consolidated online information about their multiple 401(k) plan accounts, the Secretary of Labor should convene a taskforce to consider establishing a national pension registry. The taskforce could include industry professionals, plan sponsor representatives, consumer representatives, and relevant federal government stakeholders, such as representatives from Social Security Administration, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and Internal Revenue Service, who could identify areas to be addressed through the regulatory process, as well as those that may require legislative action.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In April 2017, The Department of Labor (DOL) reported that it has not allocated any resources to this recommendation and, as previously stated, that it continues to believe that the Department should not undertake to convene a taskforce at this time, in light of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's (PBGC) initiative, the Department's limited authority, and resource constraints. In October 2016, DOL stated that it does not have regulatory authority to establish a pension registry and could not provide sufficient funding to operate a registry. GAO's recommendation is to convene a taskforce to look at what would be needed to create such a registry. Indeed, DOL's stated constraints are exactly the constructive input that would need to be first addressed by such a taskforce for a registry to be created. The agency further noted that the PBGC is in the process of looking at expanding its own registry of accounts left in closed defined benefit plans to include accounts in 401(k) plans. However, PBGC is only looking at expanding its program, as instructed by the Pension Protection Act, to include accounts left in terminated 401(k) plans. However, in June 2016, Congress proposed that a new national, online, lost and found for Americans' retirement accounts be created, in cooperation with the Commissioner of Social Security and the Secretary of the Treasury, using data that employers are already required to report. Until Congress' proposal becomes law, we continue to recommend that DOL facilitate a taskforce to discuss legal and other logistical questions that would need to be worked out to create a pension registry.
    Recommendation: To ensure that 401(k) plan participants have timely and adequate information to keep track of all their workplace retirement accounts, the Social Security Administration's Acting Commissioner should make information on potential vested plan benefits more accessible to individuals before retirement. For example, the agency could consolidate information on potential vested benefits, currently sent in the Potential Private Retirement Benefit Information notice, with the information provided in the Social Security earnings and benefits statement.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA disagreed with this recommendation, but did seek legal guidance to determine if it is permissible to include a general statement encouraging potential beneficiaries to pursue any external pension benefits in its benefit Statement. SSA's Office of the General Counsel determined that it would be permissible as long as it includes information required by law and the information is accurate. However, SSA continues to believe that adding such information would place SSA in a position to respond to issues or questions about ERISA and private pension plans, which SSA considers to be outside its mission and about which the agency has no firsthand legal or operational knowledge. Also, SSA believes that the current benefit Statement adequately covers the fact that people need other savings, pensions, and investments. Also, SSA sends notices to people who it believes quality for other pensions. In FY17, SSA reported no change in status to this recommendation. We continue to agree with SSA's view about providing information or advice about private pension plans generally. However, SSA's Notice of Potential Private Retirement Benefit Information already directs recipients to contact DOL with any questions, and we would expect that any changes made to make information on potential vested plan benefits more accessible to individuals before retirement - such as including the information in Social Security earnings and benefit statements - would continue to direct recipients to contact DOL with questions about ERISA policy. Furthermore, we continue to believe that individuals should receive information on any potential vested plan benefits prior to retirement.
    Recommendation: To prevent forced-transfer IRA balances from decreasing due to the low returns of the investment options currently permitted under the Department of Labor's safe harbor regulation, the Secretary of Labor should expand the investment alternatives available. For example, the forced-transfer IRA safe harbor regulations could be revised to include investment options currently under the qualified default investment alternatives regulation applicable to automatic enrollment, and permit forced-transfer IRA providers to change the investments for IRAs already established.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOL declines to adopt this recommendation. DOL noted if GAO?s comments are interpreted to mean that the recommended safe harbor revisions would free plan fiduciaries from an obligation to make a prudent selection among such a broader range of investment alternatives, then it raises significant policy issues regarding the administration of ERISA?s fiduciary duty provisions. DOL also noted that if, on the other hand, GAO's recommendation would have the safe harbor require the responsible plan fiduciary be responsible for prudently deciding whether to use a higher risk investment alternative, employers and other plan sponsors may oppose such a change. Our recommendation does not comment on or suggest changes to the obligations of plan fiduciaries as part of a change to the safe harbor. Further, GAO has made prior recommendations that DOL clarify the definition of fiduciary for purposes of investment, including a requirement that plan service providers, when assisting participants with distribution options, disclose any financial interests they may have in the outcome of those decisions in a clear, consistent, and prominent manner; the conditions under which they are subject to any regulatory standards (such as ERISA fiduciary standards, SEC standards, or others); and what those standards mean for the participant. Our recommendation is to "expand the investment options available" and we have noted that qualified default investment alternatives could be one option. Previously, DOL has stated that the limited investments under the safe harbor are appropriate because Congress' intent for the safe harbor was to preserve principal transferred out of plans. DOL noted that given the small balances and the inability of absent participants to monitor investments, the current conservative investment options are a more appropriate way to preserve principal. However, the current forced-transfer IRA investment options like money market funds can protect principal from investment risk, but not from the risk that fees (no matter how reasonable) and inflation can result in decreased account balances due to returns on these small balance accounts not keeping pace with fees. The reality has been that many forced-transfer IRAs have experienced very large and even complete declines in principal. Our recommendation did not aim to eliminate any investment alternatives covered by the safe harbor, rather it aims to expand the alternatives available so that plans and providers that want to operate under the safe harbor have the opportunity to choose the most suitable investment. We continue to encourage DOL to expand the safe harbor to include investment alternatives more likely to preserve principal and even increase it over time.
    Director: Lawrance L. Evans, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve FSOC's control activities and help ensure that it better manages its determination process and achieves intended results, the Secretary of the Treasury, in his capacity as the Chairperson of FSOC and in consultation with FSOC members, should systematically record the staff contributing to determination evaluations, and monitor such information to help assess the progress and efficiency of determination evaluations..

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council
    Status: Open

    Comments: FSOC has created a document to track agencies participating in evaluations and has said that it will record and monitor information as new companies are evaluated. Although FSOC has created a template to record agency participation, FSOC still needs to collect and monitor such information including information on the agency staff participating in determination evaluations.
    Recommendation: To enhance disclosure and strengthen transparency, the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with FSOC members, for future determinations, to the maximum extent possible, should include additional details in its public basis documentation about why FSOC determined that the company met one or both of the statutory determination standards. Specifically, in addition to identifying that the size, significance, or other attributes of the company's characteristics could pose a threat to U.S. financial stability, FSOC should explain--without revealing sensitive information--how it concluded that the characteristics were sufficiently large or significant enough, or had other attributes, to meet one or both of the statutory determination standards.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council
    Status: Open

    Comments: FSOC stated that it intends to include more detail in its public basis document while meeting its legal obligations to protect confidential information. In February 2015, FSOC issued supplemental procedures for nonbank financial company designations that stated its commitment to continuing to set forth sufficient information in its public bases to provide the public with an understanding of the Council's analysis while protecting sensitive, confidential information submitted by the company to the Council. FSOC's public basis document for its most recent designation, issued on December 18, 2014, included additional information compared to prior basis documents. However, the recent basis document did not fully explain how FSOC concluded that the company's characteristics were sufficiently large or significant enough, or had other attributes, to meet a determination standard.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that FSOC is comprehensively identifying and considering companies, the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with FSOC members, should establish procedures to evaluate companies in Stage 2 and Stage 3 under both statutory determination standards when an evaluation in either stage concludes that a company does not meet one of the standards, or document--on a company-specific or more general basis--why the second determination standard is not relevant for determination evaluations.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council
    Status: Open

    Comments: FSOC conducted a review of its nonbank designation procedures, including consideration of this recommendation, which resulted in issuance of supplemental procedures in February 2015. FSOC stated that it has not adopted formal changes to implement this recommendation but noted that the Council will continue to work to identify and evaluate potential changes to its practices and procedures and will revisit this recommendation in mid-2016.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that FSOC is comprehensively identifying and considering companies, the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with FSOC members, should develop a process to collect information necessary for Stage 1 analysis, as appropriate, from certain nonbank financial companies for which public or regulatory information is otherwise unavailable. For example, FSOC could have companies for which such information is unavailable and that meet certain characteristics (such as quantitative thresholds similar to those used in Stage 1) report necessary information to the Office of Financial Research.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council
    Status: Open

    Comments: FSOC staff are currently reviewing potential ways to supplement the existing public and regulatory information available to identify companies for evaluation in Stage 1. FSOC stated that it will revisit this recommendation in mid-2016.
    Recommendation: To improve FSOC's control activities and help ensure that it better manages its determination process and achieves intended results, the Secretary of the Treasury, in his capacity as the Chairperson of FSOC and in consultation with FSOC members, should systematically record the dates of key process steps.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council
    Status: Open

    Comments: FSOC has created a document to centrally track key dates in each evaluation and has said that it will record and monitor the information as new companies are evaluated. However, FSOC has not yet recorded these dates in the document that it has created for this purpose.
    Director: Daniel Bertoni
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the ability of the agency to detect and prevent potential physician-assisted fraud, and to address potential disincentives for staff to detect and prevent physician-assisted fraud, SSA should review the standards used to assess DDS performance; and develop and distribute promising practices to incentivize staff to better balance the goal of processing claims promptly with the equally important goal of identifying and reporting evidence of potential fraud.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA partially agreed with this recommendation, citing that their employees take their stewardship responsibilities seriously and that field office and disability determination services (DDS) employees are the agency's first and best line of defense against fraud. In 2016, the agency reported that it was working with experts in its OIG and Office of Anti-Fraud Programs to develop and disseminate promising practices on identifying and reporting fraud. We will close this recommendation once SSA takes steps to review its standards for assessing DDS performance and disseminates the best practices it is developing.
    Recommendation: To improve the ability of the agency to detect and prevent potential physician-assisted fraud, and to address the potential risks associated with medical evidence submitted by sanctioned physicians, SSA should evaluate the threat posed by this information and, if warranted, consider changes to its policies and procedures.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of 2016, SSA reported that it was pursuing several options to address the potential risks of medical evidence submitted by sanctioned physicians. This included determining how it could use licensure information from the List of Excluded Individuals and Entities. SSA stated that it believes the best opportunity to further evaluate the possible review of the license statuses of medical evidence providers is in conjunction with the implementation of the National Vendor File, part of the national Disability Case Processing System, which is under development. In addition, SSA reported it had drafted two Social Security Rulings to define fraud and to provide processes for disregarding evidence and making redeterminations in disability claims when there is reason to believe that fraudulent evidence was provided. We will close this recommendation once SSA articulates a strategy for using license status information in the vendor file and it finalizes its rulings.
    Recommendation: To improve the ability of the agency to detect and prevent potential physician-assisted fraud, and to help ensure new initiatives that use analytics to identify potential fraud schemes are successful, SSA should develop an implementation plan that identifies both short- and long-term actions, including: (1) timeframes for implementation; (2) resources and staffing needs; (3) data requirements, e.g., the collection of unique medical provider information; (4) how technology improvement will be integrated into existing technology improvements such as the Disability Case Processing System and National Vendor File; and (5) how different initiatives will interact and support each other.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Since fiscal year 2015, SSA has taken several steps that will help the agency to combat fraud, waste, and abuse. SSA established the Office of Anti-Fraud Programs to provide centralized oversight and accountability for the agency's initiatives, which, in consultation with the Office of the Inspector General and other SSA components, will lead the development of SSA's anti-fraud initiatives and activities. This includes efforts to mitigate fraud through data analytics that utilize SSA's existing data systems. SSA developed a strategic plan for fiscal years 2016-2018 to guide its anti-fraud efforts that includes the use of data analytics. However, this plan does not specifically address actions to combat potential physician-assisted fraud. As of April 2017, SSA stated that it continued to develop a fraud management strategy that is consistent with the leading practices identified in GAO's report. Once the strategy is complete, SSA plans to conduct a fraud risk assessment on its major lines of business, beginning with the disability program in fiscal year 2017. We will continue to monitor SSA's progress to identify and prevent fraud schemes that include physicians.
    Director: Kimberly Gianopoulos
    Phone: (202) 512-8612

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the capacity of the U.S. government to monitor and enforce FTA partners' compliance with mutually agreed FTA labor provisions, USTR and DOL, in cooperation with State, should establish a coordinated strategic approach to monitoring and enforcing FTA labor provisions, to ensure that they systematically assess the consistency of priority FTA partner countries' laws, regulations, and practices with trade agreement labor provisions and address any identified concerns.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOL concurred with GAO recommendation and stated that it regularly coordinates monitoring and enforcement activities related to assessing and ensuring the consistency of FTA partner countries' labor laws, regulations, and practices with FTA labor provisions with USTR and State. In March 2017, the Monitoring and Enforcement of Trade Agreements Division (META) in DOLs Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) finalized Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for monitoring FTA labor provisions and engaging with partner country governments and stakeholders. These SOPs involve a renewed emphasis on monitoring trips to FTA partner countries to meet with government officials and in-country stakeholders to gather information on potential FTA violations and make key contacts with stakeholders to encourage direct communication going forward. The SOPs also include provisions regarding coordination with USTR and State in the monitoring and enforcement of FTA labor provisions. As of May 2017, this recommendation remains open pending further action by DOL and USTR.
    Recommendation: To improve the capacity of the U.S. government to monitor and enforce FTA partners' compliance with mutually agreed FTA labor provisions, USTR and DOL, in cooperation with State, should establish a coordinated strategic approach to monitoring and enforcing FTA labor provisions, to ensure that they systematically assess the consistency of priority FTA partner countries' laws, regulations, and practices with trade agreement labor provisions and address any identified concerns.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a correspondence dated January 12, 2015, USTR concurred with GAO's recommendation that USTR and DOL, in cooperation with State, establish a coordinated strategic approach to monitoring and enforcing FTA labor provisions, to ensure that they systematically assess the consistency of priority FTA partner countries' laws, regulations, and practices with trade agreement labor provisions and address any identified concerns. USTR stated that it is constantly exploring strategies to monitor and analyze information on labor issue more effectively and take action to implement those strategies. To implement GAO's recommendation, USTR is increasing the level and frequency of interagency monitoring through the Trade Policy Staff Committee, Subcommittee on Labor Monitor and Enforcement. Additionally, with DOL, USTR is exploring ways to improve engagement with U.S. Embassies in trade partner countries to monitor labor conditions. For example, DOL is funding the placement of labor officers in certain priority U.S. Embassies to collect and assess facts and to support the implementation of USTR and DOL's efforts. To date, according to USTR, DOL has placed labor officers in Colombia, Honduras, and Bangladesh. As of May 2017, this recommendation remains open pending further action by USTR and DOL.
    Recommendation: To improve the capacity of the U.S. government to monitor and enforce FTA partners' compliance with mutually agreed FTA labor provisions, USTR should ensure that the Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreement Programs, which USTR provides each year to Congress, includes results of USTR's and DOL's efforts to proactively monitor partner countries' compliance with FTA labor provisions.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a correspondence dated January 12, 2015, USTR concurred with GAO's recommendation that USTR should ensure that the Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreement Programs, which USTR provides each year to Congress, includes results of USTR's and DOL's efforts to proactively monitor partner countries' compliance with FTA labor provisions. USTR stated that its annual report already provides country-specific information on labor issues and that USTR regularly engages with Congress to provide detailed information on labor issues via meetings and phone conferences. Nonetheless, USTR recognizes that meaningful engagement with Congress is an indispensable part of monitoring and enforcing FTA labor provisions. To implement GAO's recommendation, USTR agreed to continue to identify more effective ways of communicating with Congress, including USTR's committees of jurisdiction, with respect to the Administration's FTA monitoring and enforcement efforts. Furthermore, USTR stated that it will solicit congressional advice and input to inform its efforts. As of May 2017, this recommendation remains open pending further action by USTR.
    Director: Charles Jeszeck
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    6 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To better protect plan sponsors and participants who use managed account services, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) to review provider practices related to additional managed account services offered to participants in or near retirement, with the aim of determining whether conflicts of interest exist and, if it determines it is necessary, taking the appropriate action to remedy the issue.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2014, DOL agreed to include these practices in its current review of investment advice conflicts of interest, noting that such conflicts continue to be a concern. In April 2015, a proposed regulation was published in the Federal Register on the definition of a "fiduciary" of an employee benefit plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) as a result of giving investment advice to a plan or its participants or beneficiaries. The proposal would widen the array of advice relationships under which someone would be considered a fiduciary under ERISA more broadly than existing regulations. This would increase consumer protection for plan sponsors, fiduciaries, participants, beneficiaries and IRA owners. An initial comment period closed on July 21, 2015. DOL held a public hearing on August 10-13, 2015, and reopened the comment period until September 24. GAO will monitor the progress of this proposed rule.
    Recommendation: To better protect plan sponsors and participants who use managed account services, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for the EBSA to consider the fiduciary status of managed account providers when they offer services on an opt-in basis and, if necessary, make regulatory changes or provide guidance to address any issues.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOL concurred with this recommendation and agreed to review existing guidance and consider whether additional guidance is needed in light of the various business models we described. As of May 2017, DOL is continuing these efforts. To implement this recommendation, DOL should complete its efforts to consider managed account service provider practices and fiduciary roles and take any necessary action to address potential issues to ensure that sponsors and participants receive unconflicted managed account services from qualified managers.
    Recommendation: To help sponsors who offer managed account services or who are considering doing so better protect their 401(k) plan participants, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for EBSA to require plan sponsors to request from record keepers more than one managed account provider option, and notify the Department of Labor if record keepers fail to do so.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL agreed to consider this recommendation in connection with its current regulatory project on standards for brokerage windows in participant-directed individual account plans. The project has been moved to the long-term action category of DOL's regulatory agenda. DOL will also consider the extent of its legal authority to effectively require that plans have more than one managed account service provider or to require that record keepers offer more than one managed account provider as part of their service agreements. GAO believes requiring plan sponsors to ask for more than one choice of a provider -- which is slightly different than how DOL has characterized it--may be an effective method of broadening plan sponsors' choices of managed account providers. However, GAO also agrees that DOL should examine the scope of its existing authority in considering how it might implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help sponsors and participants more effectively assess the performance of managed accounts, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for EBSA to amend participant disclosure regulations to require that sponsors furnish standardized performance and benchmarking information to participants. To accomplish this, EBSA could promulgate regulations that would require sponsors who offer managed account services to provide their participants with standardized performance and benchmarking information on managed accounts. For example, sponsors could periodically furnish each managed account participant with the aggregate performance of participants' managed account portfolios and returns for broad-based securities market indexes and applicable customized benchmarks, based on those benchmarks provided for the plan's designated investment alternatives.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL agreed to consider this recommendation in connection with (1) its regulatory project on standards for brokerage windows in participant directed individual account plans and (2) open proposed rulemaking project involving the qualified default investment alternative and participant-level fee disclosure regulations. These projects have been moved to the long-term action category of DOL's regulatory agenda.
    Recommendation: To help sponsors and participants more effectively assess the performance of managed accounts, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for EBSA to amend service provider disclosure regulations to require that providers furnish standardized performance and benchmarking information to sponsors. To accomplish this, EBSA could promulgate regulations that would require service providers to disclose to sponsors standardized performance and benchmarking information on managed accounts. For example, providers could, prior to selection and periodically thereafter, as applicable, furnish sponsors with aggregated returns for generalized conservative, moderate, and aggressive portfolios, actual managed account portfolio returns for each of the sponsor's participants, and returns for broad-based securities market indexes and applicable customized benchmarks, based on those benchmarks provided for the plan's designated investment alternatives.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL agreed to consider this recommendation in connection with (1) its regulatory project on standards for brokerage windows in participant directed individual account plans and (2) open proposed rulemaking project involving the qualified default investment alternative and participant-level fee disclosure regulations. These projects have been moved to the long-term action category of DOL's regulatory agenda.
    Recommendation: To help sponsors who offer managed account services or who are considering doing so better protect their 401(k) plan participants, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for EBSA to provide guidance to plan sponsors for selecting and overseeing managed account providers that addresses: (1) the importance of considering multiple providers when choosing a managed account provider, (2) factors to consider when offering managed accounts as a Qualified Default Investment Alternative or on an opt-in basis, and (3) approaches for evaluating the services of managed account providers.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL agreed to consider this recommendation in connection with its current regulatory project on standards for brokerage windows in participant-directed individual account plans. DOL intends for this project to address whether potential regulatory or other guidance for such arrangements may be appropriate. The project has been moved to the long-term action category of DOL's regulatory agenda.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To ensure that the security of radiological sources at industrial facilities is reasonably assured, the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should conduct an assessment of the T&R process--by which licensees approve employees for unescorted access--to determine if it provides reasonable assurance against insider threats, including (1) determining why criminal history information concerning convictions for terroristic threats was not provided to a licensee during the T&R process to establish if this represents an isolated case or a systemic weakness in the T&R process; and (2) revising, to the extent permitted by law, the T&R process to provide specific guidance to licensees on how to review a employee's background. NRC should also consider whether certain criminal convictions or other indicators should disqualify an employee from T&R or trigger a greater role for NRC.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: On December 14, 2016, the NRC provided Congress with a report detailing its review of the effectiveness of the requirements in 10 CFR Part 37 to determine whether any additional security measures, guidance updates, rulemaking changes, or licensee outreach efforts are appropriate. The completion of the 10 CFR Part 37 program review included insights into the effectiveness of the T&R process. Specifically, the review generated recommendations for enhancements in the area of T&R, including, among other things, increased controls for protection of information related to individuals having access to Category 1 and 2 quantities of radioactive materials; improved guidance related to information individuals must disclose when applying for unescorted access; development of sample forms or templates for use in T&R evaluations; and improved coordination efforts with the FBI to share potential terrorist threat information involving individuals seeking approval for new or continued unescorted access to Category 1 and 2 quantities of radioactive materials. However, certain aspects of the NRC staff's assessment of the T&R process remain ongoing. Specifically, on November 25, 2016, the staff closed Temporary Instruction (TI) 2800/042, "Evaluation of Trustworthiness and Reliability Determinations," and is using the information gained from the TI to consider additional enhancements to the T&R process. As part of this continuing effort, the NRC will evaluate the potential use of disqualifying criteria in making T&R determinations and the incorporation of additional insider mitigation program features, such as requiring the self-reporting of legal actions, into the T&R process to which the individual has been subject. The NRC expects this evaluation to be completed in December 2017.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to update crew ratios for RPA units to help ensure that the Air Force establishes a more-accurate understanding of the required number of RPA pilots needed in its units.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2015, Air Force officials stated that, in February 2015, the Air Force completed the first phase of a three-phase personnel requirements study designed to update the UAS unit crew ratio, which is a measure the Air Force uses to determine the personnel needs for Air Force aviation units. The Air Force expects to report results of this study by spring 2016, but Air Force officials stated that the preliminary results of the study indicate that the Air Force may be able to update UAS unit crew ratios and increase the required number of pilots in UAS units. Air Force officials stated that Air Force leadership is reviewing the results of the first phase of the study, but that they expect the Air Force to update the UAS unit crew ratio by summer 2015.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to establish a minimum crew ratio in Air Force policy below which RPA units cannot operate without running unacceptable levels of risk to accomplishing the mission and ensuring safety.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2014, the Air Force reported that the three-phase personnel requirements study would also address our recommendation to establish a minimum crew ratio for UAS units. The Air Force discusses the components of a minimum crew ratio in the Air Combat Command's (ACC) Steady State Concept of Operations, which the Air Force published prior to our 2014 review. However, this minimum crew ratio is not in Air Force policy and Air Force officials stated that the Air Force is not enforcing this minimum crew ratio due to shortages of Air Force UAS pilots. In a December 2014 memo to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the ACC?s commanding general also made this point when he stated that Air Force units are staffed below the minimum crew ratio. As of May 2015, the Air Force had not established a minimum crew ratio in Air Force policy since our review.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to develop a recruiting and retention strategy that is a tailored to the specific needs and challenges of RPA pilots to help ensure that the Air Force can meet and retain required staffing levels to meet its mission.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Previously, Air Force cadets who were preparing to join the Air Force and applying for undergraduate flying training volunteered for any of the four careers, including the manned-aircraft pilot career, the UAS pilot career, or two other aviation-related careers. According to Air Force officials, nearly all of the cadets applied for the manned-aircraft pilot career and few applied for any of the other careers. In fiscal year 2014, the Air Force began requiring these cadets to volunteer to serve in any of the four careers. This new process allows the Air Force to assign these cadets to any of the four careers based on a number of factors including the cadet?s performance and Air Force needs. An Air Force headquarters official confirmed that in fiscal year 2014, the Air Force met 123 of their 129 UAS pilot accessions goal, or the Air Force?s goal for the number of cadets who graduate from Air Force officer schools and agree to serve as UAS pilots. Regarding retention of UAS pilots, in January 2015, the Air Force increased the Assignment Incentive Pay for UAS pilots who are reaching the end of their 6 year service commitment to $1500/month. An Air Force official stated that this increase currently applies to 4 pilots. However, the Air Force does not have a recruiting and retention strategy that is tailored to UAS pilots. Air Force senior leadership and headquarters officials stated that the Air Force is in the process of developing other strategies to recruit and retain UAS pilots.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to evaluate the viability of using alternative personnel populations including enlisted or civilian personnel as RPA pilots to identify whether such populations could help the Air Force meet and sustain required RPA pilot staffing levels.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2014, we reported that Headquarters Air Force officials stated that they have, at times, considered the use of enlisted or civilian personnel but have not initiated formal efforts to evaluate whether using such populations would negatively affect the ability of the Air Force to carry out its missions. Air Force officials stated that in fall 2014, the Air Force Chief of Staff requested that headquarters staff evaluate the potential of using enlisted personnel as UAS pilots. As of March 2015, Air Force officials were not able to provide any details about the assessment they were conducting but confirmed plans to report to the Air Force Chief of Staff by spring 2015.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to incorporate feedback from RPA pilots by using existing mechanisms or by collecting direct feedback from RPA pilots.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to a DODIG request for information about this recommendation, the Air Force reported that it uses standardized feedback mechanisms across all units through the Air Force Unit Climate Assessment and other similar surveys. It also reported that "consideration should be given to assess whether this is appropriate to collect feedback from RPA pilots and at the appropriate levels desired and, if so, the Air Force will analyze and incorporate feedback from a validated survey and feedback process." However, as of July 2015, the Air Force has not incorporated feedback from RPA pilots by using existing mechanisms or by collecting direct feedback from RPA pilots.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to analyze the effects of being deployed-on-station to determine whether there are resulting negative effects on the quality of life of RPA pilots and take responsive actions as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to a DODIG request for information about this recommendation, the Air Force reported that it has ample data showing the effects of RPA pilots being deployed-on-station over the last nine years. It went on to report that it had identified the stressors related to being deployed-on-stations and that these stressors likely could be addressed with personnel solutions to increase the number of personnel in RPA units. DODIG considers this recommendation to be closed. However, as of July 2015, the Air Force has not fully analyzed whether being deployed-on-station has negative effects on quality of life that are not attributable to the stressors that are related to low unit-staffing levels that we discussed above such as rotating shifts and long assignments.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to include the career field effect of being an RPA pilot into the Air Force Personnel Center's (AFPC) analysis to determine whether and how being an RPA pilot is related to promotions and determine whether the factors AFPC identified in its analysis of Line of the Air Force officers are also related to RPA pilot promotions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to a DODIG request for information about this recommendation, the Air Force reported that it continued to track and analyze the promotion rates of RPA pilots and that the RPA career field is a subsection of the Line of the Air Force. The Air Force stated that, therefore, factors related to promotions identified in analysis is of the Line of the Air Force are directly related to RPA pilot promotions. Unfortunately, as of July 2015, AFPC has not included the career field effect of being an RPA pilot into its analysis of the factors that are related to promotions to determine whether and how being an RPA pilot is related to promotions. In addition, the Air Force may not take further action because DODIG closed this recommendation according to a DODIG recommendation follow up report dated July 2015.
    Director: Brown, Kay E
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to help inform federal, state, and local initiatives to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse by school personnel, the Secretary of Education should lead an effort, in collaboration with the Secretary of HHS and the Attorney General, to leverage resources, expertise, and capacities across the departments to determine the most cost-effective way to disseminate federal information so that relevant state and local educational agencies, child welfare agencies, and criminal justice entities are aware of and have access to it.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2016, the Department of Education reported that on November 16, 2015, the Office of Safe and Healthy Students within the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education convened a meeting with federal partners to explore ways in which the agencies can better support states and to devise dissemination strategies for sharing information and providing technical assistance in the most cost- effective ways to state and local educational agencies and child welfare agencies, and ensure that resources are accessible to the various stakeholders. It noted several next steps including creating and implementing a Federal dissemination plan for the new adult sexual misconduct guidance, repository of federal resources, and for information on all state-level mandates and policies addressing adult sexual misconduct in schools. GAO will consider this recommendation closed when the department provides timelines for the completion of these activities and documentation of their completion.
    Recommendation: In order to help inform federal, state, and local initiatives to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse by school personnel, the Secretary of Education should lead an effort, in collaboration with the Secretary of HHS and the Attorney General, to leverage resources, expertise, and capacities across the departments to identify mechanisms to better track and analyze the prevalence of child sexual abuse by school personnel through existing federal data collection systems, such as the School Survey on Crime and Safety, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, and the National Crime Victimization Survey.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education reported that experts within the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) consulted with research partners in the Department of Justice and academic research experts to determine if an effective item or item set about this important issue could be derived. After review of extant sources and consultation with item development experts, a clear question that would result in meaningful information from school administrator respondents could not be developed. They also noted that they understand there is continuing interest on this issue and will continue studying item possibilities for the next School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS) provided the collection is funded. As of May 2016, NCES does not have funds to field SSOCS after 2016, but there is a request in the 2016 budget to support a 2018 collection. GAO will consider this recommendation closed when the department has taken the above mentioned action to continue studying item possibilities for the next SSOCS if the collection is funded.
    Director: Jeszeck, Charles A
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As DOL and Treasury continue their efforts to determine the actions needed to enhance the retirement security of 401(k) plan participants, DOL and Treasury should consider the approaches taken by other countries to formalize access to multiple spend-down options for U.S. plan participants that address varying retirement risks and needs. To the extent possible, lessons from other countries should be used to help DOL and Treasury ensure plan sponsors have information about their flexibilities and the ability to facilitate access to a mix of appropriate options for 401(k) plan participants.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: Treasury did not provide comments on this recommendation and has not provided any updates.
    Recommendation: As DOL considers changes to participant benefit statements and other disclosures, the Secretary of DOL should consider strategies other countries have employed to help participants make sound decisions, such as providing timely information at or before retirement about available spend-down options and projections of future retirement income.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL agreed that participants should have timely information at or before retirement about available spend-down options and projections of future retirement income. DOL had previously published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking soliciting public input on ways to show an projections of lifetime income in retirement plan benefit statements. DOL also consulted with the ERISA Advisory Council on ways it could assist DOL in this area. The Council developed and submitted to DOL tips, principals, and samples for plan sponsors to consider when communicating with participants. However, DOL has not taken additional steps in this area and continues to cite its other regulatory and guidance priorities as taking precedence.
    Recommendation: As DOL continues to review regulatory barriers to lifetime income options for 401(k) plan participants it should consider other countries' approaches to plans offering annuities, such as their reliance on existing solvency requirements and insurance industry standards to provide assurances rather than place responsibility on plan sponsors to make an assessment of an annuity provider's financial stability. As DOL considers the approaches of other countries and continues to work with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which facilitates interactions between insurance companies and state insurance regulators, DOL may wish to consult with the Federal Insurance Office, which coordinates federal efforts on prudential aspects of international insurance matters.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL worked with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in 2013 and 2014 to consider possible options for easing plan sponsor concerns about the requirement to assess the financial solvency of annuity providers. DOL reported they will continue to work with NAIC, as well as the National Organization of Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Associations and Treasury's Federal Insurance Office as they consider potential regulatory approaches in this area. DOL also worked with the Federal Insurance Office in developing guidance on the selection and monitoring of annuity providers under the current annuity selection safe harbor regulation. However, DOL has not taken further actions and continues to cite its other regulatory and guidance priorities as taking precedence. We commend DOL's efforts on a more workable safe harbor, but continue to encourage DOL to review alternative approaches taken by other countries, such as their reliance on existing solvency requirements and insurance standards, which can ease the burden on plan sponsors.
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202) 512-9377

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Commission should direct the appropriate officials to establish and implement written policies and procedures requiring timely and continuous supervisory review of all financial transactions.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In the Commission's fiscal year 2016 Independent Auditor's Report, the auditor reported that the Commission resolved the material weakness related to not effectively reviewing financial transactions to ensure that they were accurate, valid, complete, and recorded in the appropriate accounting period. We contacted the agency to ask for further information on the policy and process for supervisory review of financial transactions, but no response was received within the established deadline for us to conduct our follow up. Therefore, because we were not able to verify that related policies and procedures were established and implemented, we will follow up on this open recommendation at a later date.
    Recommendation: To improve its monitoring of internal control, the Commission should direct the appropriate officials to establish and implement written policies and procedures for planning and conducting the Commission's annual assessment of internal control over financial reporting as required by OMB A-123. The policies and procedures should include; (1) documenting an understanding of its internal control environment, which entails such elements as the tone at the top, ethical standards, and personnel management, which can have a significant effect on how the organization functions and the integrity of its financial accounting and reporting; (2) documenting its assessment of the risk of material misstatement to its financial statements; (3) establishing and documenting its internal control objectives and related internal control activities in place to meet those objectives; (4) documenting the tests to be performed and the results of each test, clearly identifying exceptions and resulting deficiencies; and (5) establishing a corrective action plan for all identified deficiencies that specifies how and when each deficiency will be corrected, and assigning responsibility for its effective and timely resolution.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In the Commission's fiscal year 2016 Independent Auditor's Report, the auditor continued to report that the Commission did not have an adequate process for monitoring the design and operating effectiveness of its internal control to identify, evaluate, and correct internal control deficiencies. For example, the Commission did not document its OMB A-123 approach for assessing its internal control, or provide sufficient, appropriate evidence to support its conclusions on the effectiveness of its internal control activities. The Commission responded that it will continue to implement an enterprise-wide system of controls and monitor and report on those controls in compliance with FMFIA. During fiscal year 2017, the Commission informed us that they issued a related policy, however, their independent auditor continues to identify this area as a material weakness. Therefore, we will follow up on this open recommendation at a later date.
    Recommendation: To improve its monitoring of internal control, the Commission should direct the appropriate officials to establish and implement written policies and procedures for monitoring the activities of the external service organizations that perform significant aspects of the Commission's financial transaction processing and reporting, including implementing relevant complementary user entity controls identified by the service auditors.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In the Commission's fiscal year 2015 Independent Auditor's Report, the auditor continued to report that the Commission did not adequately document and monitor the effectiveness of internal controls at the service organizations that performed significant aspects of its financial transaction processing and reporting, including processing its federal employee payroll transactions, reconciling its fund balance with Treasury, and preparing its annual financial statements. Specifically, ABMC did not evaluate the service organizations' service auditor reports that contained information on the service organizations' controls and the effectiveness of those controls, and did not consider the impact of the findings and conclusions contained in the service auditor reports on the effectiveness of its internal control. Further, ABMC did not design and implement appropriate complementary user entity controls that were identified by the service auditors. The Commission stated that it will continue to implement an enterprise-wide system of controls and monitor and report on those controls in compliance with FMFIA during fiscal year 2017. Therefore, we will follow up on this open recommendation at a later date.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202)512-3604

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide decision makers with more-complete information on the planned implementation, management, and oversight of DOD's newly created DHA, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) to develop and present to Congress a comprehensive timeline that includes interim milestones for all reform goals that could be used to show implementation progress.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2015, DOD has not submitted a comprehensive timeline that includes interim milestones for all reform goals. Further, as we reported in September 2015, DOD's plan for assessing the personnel requirements of the DHA lacks a detailed timeline with milestones and interim steps. Until DOD develops a comprehensive timeline for its reform, this recommendation should remain open. June 2017 Update: The DHA strategic plan/CONOPS showing a comprehensive timeline for all of its reform goals has yet to be released.
    Recommendation: To provide decision makers with more-complete information on the planned implementation, management, and oversight of DOD's newly created DHA, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) to monitor implementation costs to assess whether the shared-services projects are on track to achieve projected net cost savings or if corrective actions are needed.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As we reported in September 2015, DOD has taken some action on this recommendation for 8 of its 10 shared services. The DHA's internal leadership briefings now identify the major types of implementation costs where relevant, or otherwise address their potential impact. For example, information technology costs are identified as one primary type of costs for the Health Information Technology and Medial Logistics shared services, while contract costs are identified for the Budget and Resource Management, Medical Logistics, and Health Information Technology shared services. By identifying the major types of implementation costs, decision makers are better able to gauge the sensitivity of areas of uncertainty as they make decisions concerning future investments in shared services. MAY 2016 UPDATE: DHA reported and we verified financial savings of $722 million for FY14 and FY15 due to shared services implementation. June 2017 Update: DHA reported and we verified financial savings of $686.6 million for FY 16 due to shared services implementation.
    Director: Bagdoyan, Seto J
    Phone: (202) 512-4749

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve SSA's ability to detect and prevent potential DI cash benefit overpayments due to work activity during the 5-month waiting period, the Commissioner of Social Security should assess the costs and feasibility of establishing a mechanism to detect potentially disqualifying earnings during all months of the waiting period, including those months of earnings that the agency's enforcement operation does not currently detect and implement this mechanism, to the extent that an analysis determines it is cost-effective and feasible.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: While the Social Security Administration (SSA) initially concurred with our August 2013 recommendation, as of February 2017, SSA has not assessed costs and feasibility of establishing a mechanism to detect potentially disqualifying earnings during all months of the waiting period. Instead, SSA concluded that conducting a study at this time would yield unreliable information because the agency's ability to obtain and track earnings from alternative sources is changing due to several requirements of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2016, which SSA believes will likely affect GAO's concerns. GAO continues to believe that undertaking an analysis to assess costs and feasibility could provide SSA with more comprehensive information with which to decide on potential revisions to its enforcement operation. We will continue to monitor SSA's efforts in this area.
    Director: Gambler, Rebecca S
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the usefulness of southwest border crossing wait time data for informing public and management decisions, the Commissioner of CBP should identify and carry out steps that can be taken to help CBP port officials overcome challenges to consistent implementation of existing wait time estimation methodologies. Steps for ensuring consistent implementation of these methodologies could include, for example, implementing the fiscal year 2008 Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative report recommendations to use closed-circuit television cameras to measure wait time in real time and provide a standardized measurement and validation tool.

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

    Comments: As of May 2017, CBP officials report that in order to avoid further investment in a manual wait time methodology, the agency plans to focus resources on developing an enterprise-wide solution for automating the measurement of border delays. CBP estimates that this recommendation will be completed in October 2017.
    Recommendation: To improve the usefulness of southwest border crossing wait time data for informing public and management decisions, the Commissioner of CBP should, in consultation with Federal Highway Administration and state DOTs, assess the feasibility of replacing current methods of manually calculating wait times with automated methods, which could include assessing all of the associated costs and benefits, options for how the agency will use and publicly report the results of automated data collection, the potential trade-offs associated with moving to this new system, and other factors such as those influencing the possible expansion of existing automation efforts to the 34 other locations that currently report wait times but have no automation projects under way.

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

    Comments: As of May 2017, CBP's Office of Field Operations (OFO) reports working to identify a feasible and cost effective wait time solution to measure commercial vehicle delays along the southern border. Specifically, CBP officials report that they have been partnering with the Federal Highway Administration and the Texas A&M's Transportation Institute on the deployment of an automated radio-frequency identification measurement solution to measure commercial delays at eight crossings. To verify the accuracy of the automated wait time data, CBP officials report that in June 2016 they conducted a ground-truth analysis with mixed results. CBP officials report DHS Science and Technology directorate delivered their final report in February 2017 and by the end of September 2017, pending review and acceptance of the report's findings, CBP will coordinate efforts to develop the required communication protocols and data schematics for near real-time commercial vehicle wait time updates to the CBP Border Wait Time website and Border Wait Time app. CBP estimates that this recommendation will be completed in October 2017.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that CBP's Office of Field Operations' (OFO) staffing processes are transparent and to help ensure CBP can demonstrate that these resource decisions have effectively addressed CBP's mission needs, the Commissioner of CBP should document the methodology and process OFO uses to allocate staff to land ports of entry on the southwest border, including the rationales and factors considered in making these decisions.

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

    Comments: As of May 2017, CBP's Office of Field Operations (OFO) reports that they have adopted a workload staffing model to identify CBP staffing requirements at land ports of entry. CBP officials report that the workload staffing model provides senior leadership with a decision-support tool to identify the number of required resources for each location and accounts for distinct operating environments, unique variables, and major functions and activities. CBP officials report that they use the workload staffing model results in its budget requests and when allocating staff to the ports of entry. However, CBP has not provided GAO with documentation showing how staff are allocated among land ports of entry including how workload staffing model results are used in this process. CBP officials report that in May 2017 OFO began working with contracted experts to synthesize the quantitative and qualitative data available and develop a comprehensive CBP position allocation methodology. CBP estimates that this recommendation will be completed in March 2018.
    Director: Dinapoli, Timothy J
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better position DOD to determine whether its actions have improved service acquisition, the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in consultation with the military departments' senior services managers, should identify baseline data on the status of service acquisition, in part, by using budget and spending data and leveraging its ongoing efforts to gauge the effects of its actions to improve service acquisition.

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

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation and is in the process of developing baseline data on the current status of its service acquisitions. In July 2014, DOD issued its annual Performance of the Defense Acquisition report. For the first time, this report included information on its contracted services, such obligations for each service portfolio group, competition rates, and small business participation information. DOD expects to develop service acquisition related goals and metrics in 2017 from which it can develop additional baseline data.
    Recommendation: To better position DOD to determine whether its actions have improved service acquisition, the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in consultation with the military departments' senior services managers, should develop specific goals associated with their actions to improve service acquisition.

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

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation and is in the process of developing service acquisition goals and metrics as well as an action plan for improving service acquisition. As of February 2017, DOD began a review of internal guidance that will include an analysis of the roles, responsibilities, authorities, goals, metrics, and structure associated with managing service acquisitions.
    Recommendation: To better position DOD to determine whether its actions have improved service acquisition, the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in consultation with the military departments' senior services managers, should establish metrics to assess progress in meeting these goals.

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

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation and is in the process of developing service acquisition goals and metrics as well as an action plan for improving service acquisition. As of February 2017, DOD began a review of internal guidance that will include an analysis of the roles, responsibilities, authorities, goals, metrics, and structure associated with managing service acquisitions.
    Director: Williamson, Randall B
    Phone: (206)287-4860

    3 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that servicemembers have equitable access to the military services' wounded warrior programs, including the RCP, and to establish central accountability for these programs, the Secretary of Defense should establish or designate an office to centrally oversee and monitor the activities of the military services' wounded warrior programs to include the following: (1) Develop consistent eligibility criteria to ensure that similarly situated recovering servicemembers from different military services have uniform access to these programs; (2) Direct the military services' wounded warrior programs to fully comply with the policies governing care coordination and case management programs and any future changes to these policies; (3) Develop a common mechanism to systematically monitor the performance of the wounded warrior programs--to include the establishment of common terms and definitions--and report this information on a biannual basis to the Armed Services Committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD did not concur with our part (1) of our recommendation to develop consistent eligibility criteria, explaining that the three military department secretaries should have the ability to control entrance criteria into their wounded warrior programs and that varying eligibility criteria have not resulted in noticeable differences in access to these programs by recovering servicemembers or their families. In attachments to a memo dated April 8, 2014, DOD provided an update on progress made to implement parts (2) and (3) of the DOD-specific recommendation made in GAO-13-5. Regarding part (2), DOD reported that budget constraints had delayed its plan to conduct oversight visits to 63 service sites over a 12-month period to ensure that military wounded warrior programs were operating in compliance with DOD Recovery Coordinator Program policy. DOD stated that the Warrior Care Policy office, in coordination with the military service branches, had intended to begin these oversight visits and interviews in September 2013; that as of March 2014, five sites had been reviewed; and that results of the compliance visits would be available upon completion. Regarding part (3) of the recommendation, DOD's memo stated that DOD and VA continue work on developing policies on clinical and non-clinical care coordination. It also noted that interagency metrics for monitoring complex care coordination performance were under development by the DOD/VA Interagency Care Coordination Committee. Further, DOD stated that because the Joint Executive Council publishes an annual report, that reporting the progress in developing common terms and definitions used by wounded warrior programs to congressional committees would be of limited value. As of October 2016, when we determine what additional steps the agency has taken to implement this recommendation, we will update this information.
    Recommendation: To ensure that persistent challenges with care coordination, disability evaluation, and the electronic sharing of health records are fully resolved, the Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs should ensure that these issues receive sustained leadership attention and collaboration at the highest levels with a singular focus on what is best for the individual servicemember or veteran to ensure continuity of care and a seamless transition from DOD to VA. This should include holding the Joint Executive Council accountable for (1) ensuring that key issues affecting recovering servicemembers and veterans get sufficient consideration, including recommendations made by the Warrior Care and Coordination Task Force and the Recovering Warrior Task Force; (2) developing mechanisms for making joint policy decisions; (3) involving the appropriate decision-makers for timely implementation of policy; and; (4) establishing mechanisms to systematically oversee joint initiatives and ensure that outcomes and goals are identified and achieved.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of October 2016, under the joint DOD/VA Interagency Care Coordination Committee, the departments have made progress to improve nonclinical care coordination procedures, primarily through the development of two initiatives?the Lead Coordinator initiative (in which a single care coordinator serves as the primary point of contact for a recovering servicemember) and through the use of a single, interagency care plan (ICP) for each recovering servicemember. As of March 2016, the departments were continuing the national rollout of the Lead Coordinator initiative and had trained nearly 3,700 DOD and VA personnel on the new process. In addition, DOD and VA continued the development of the ICP initiative, which will depend upon their ability to electronically exchange the information needed to implement servicemembers' care plans. In December 2015, DOD awarded a contract to support the ICP and to create electronic interoperability with VA. The departments anticipate testing their ability to exchange information digitally in June 2016 and achieving full operational capability by September 2016. We will continue to monitor progress to implement the joint Lead Coordinator and the ICP care coordination initiatives.
    Recommendation: To ensure that persistent challenges with care coordination, disability evaluation, and the electronic sharing of health records are fully resolved, the Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs should ensure that these issues receive sustained leadership attention and collaboration at the highest levels with a singular focus on what is best for the individual servicemember or veteran to ensure continuity of care and a seamless transition from DOD to VA. This should include holding the Joint Executive Council accountable for (1) ensuring that key issues affecting recovering servicemembers and veterans get sufficient consideration, including recommendations made by the Warrior Care and Coordination Task Force and the Recovering Warrior Task Force; (2) developing mechanisms for making joint policy decisions; (3) involving the appropriate decision-makers for timely implementation of policy; and; (4) establishing mechanisms to systematically oversee joint initiatives and ensure that outcomes and goals are identified and achieved.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2016, under the joint DOD/VA Interagency Care Coordination Committee, the departments have made progress to improve nonclinical care coordination procedures, primarily through the development of two initiatives?the Lead Coordinator initiative (in which a single care coordinator serves as the primary point of contact for a recovering servicemember) and through the use of a single, interagency care plan (ICP) for each recovering servicemember. As of March 2016, the departments were continuing the national rollout of the Lead Coordinator initiative and had trained nearly 3,700 DOD and VA personnel on the new process. In addition, DOD and VA continued the development of the ICP initiative, which will depend upon their ability to electronically exchange the information needed to implement servicemembers' care plans. In December 2015, DOD awarded a contract to support the ICP and to create electronic interoperability with VA. The departments anticipate testing their ability to exchange information digitally in June 2016 and achieving full operational capability by September 2016. We will continue to monitor progress to implement the joint Lead Coordinator and the ICP care coordination initiatives.
    Director: Draper, Debra A
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To facilitate the departments' current collaboration efforts, VA and DOD should systematically identify areas where department-level actions could help address significant barriers that hinder collaboration. Specifically, the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Defense should expedite and communicate a plan with time frames for when iEHR solutions will be made available to joint ventures and other collaboration sites.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information
    Recommendation: To facilitate the departments' current collaboration efforts, VA and DOD should systematically identify areas where department-level actions could help address significant barriers that hinder collaboration. Specifically, the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Defense should expedite and communicate a plan with time frames for when iEHR solutions will be made available to joint ventures and other collaboration sites.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information
    Recommendation: To facilitate the departments' current collaboration efforts, VA and DOD should systematically identify areas where department-level actions could help address significant barriers that hinder collaboration. Specifically, the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Defense should take steps to resolve problems with collaboration sites' incompatible business and administrative processes, including reimbursement for services, collection of workload information, dual credentialing, and computer security training.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information
    Recommendation: To facilitate the departments' current collaboration efforts, VA and DOD should systematically identify areas where department-level actions could help address significant barriers that hinder collaboration. Specifically, the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Defense should take steps to resolve problems with collaboration sites' incompatible business and administrative processes, including reimbursement for services, collection of workload information, dual credentialing, and computer security training.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information
    Recommendation: To facilitate the departments' current collaboration efforts, VA and DOD should systematically identify areas where department-level actions could help address significant barriers that hinder collaboration. Specifically, the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Defense should clarify, as part of the newly initiated joint efforts to address base access, departmental guidance regarding collaboration to include a discussion of base access issues that local officials should consider when discussing and planning collaboration efforts; this could include a discussion of successful approaches that current collaboration sites have adopted to facilitate base access for veterans and their escorts.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information
    Recommendation: To facilitate the departments' current collaboration efforts, VA and DOD should systematically identify areas where department-level actions could help address significant barriers that hinder collaboration. Specifically, the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Defense should clarify, as part of the newly initiated joint efforts to address base access, departmental guidance regarding collaboration to include a discussion of base access issues that local officials should consider when discussing and planning collaboration efforts; this could include a discussion of successful approaches that current collaboration sites have adopted to facilitate base access for veterans and their escorts.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Congress has the necessary information to provide effective oversight over DOD's civilian workforce, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to conduct competency gap analyses for DOD's mission-critical occupations and report the results. When managers cannot conduct such analyses, DOD should report a timeline in the strategic workforce plan for providing these assessments.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2014, officials with the Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service responsible for developing DOD's strategic workforce plans stated that results from the Defense Competency Assessment Tool, which the department began using in 2014 and provides for competency gap assessment of the department's mission-critical occupations and other major civilian occupations, would be reported in the department's next strategic workforce plan to be published in 2015. Update (9/9/2016): Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service officials indicated that this recommendation will be addressed when an updated strategic plan is issued in late calendar year 2016.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the data presented in DOD's strategic workforce plans are current and timely, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to establish and adhere to timelines that will ensure issuance of future strategic workforce plans in accordance with statutory timeframes.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2014, officials with the Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service responsible for developing DOD's strategic workforce plans stated that the current planning cycle for the department's strategic workforce plans are in line with statutory timeframes. As such, DOD's next strategic workforce plan is expected to be issued in accordance with those timeframes. Update (9/9/2016): Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service officials indicated that this recommendation will be addressed when an updated strategic plan is issued in late calendar year 2016.
    Recommendation: To enhance the information that DOD provides Congress in its strategic workforce plan, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to provide guidance for developing future strategic workforce plans that clearly directs the functional communities to collect information that identifies not only the number or percentage of personnel in its military, civilian, and contractor workforces but also the capabilities of the appropriate mix of those three workforces.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2014, officials with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness), Total Force Requirements and Sourcing Policies office, stated that DOD continues to develop its Enterprise-wide Contractor Manpower Reporting Application, which will allow the department to collect and report on the number and capabilities of contractors in its workforce. According to the officials, the application will not be ready for implementation until 2015. Officials with the Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service responsible for developing DOD's strategic workforce plans stated that once the ability to collect and report on the number of contractors exists, DOD will be able to assess and report on the appropriate mix of military, civilian, and contractor workforces and that information will be included in DOD's mandated strategic workforce plans. Update (9/9/2016): Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service officials indicated that this recommendation will be addressed when an updated strategic plan is issued in late calendar year 2016.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202)512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Congress has the necessary information to provide effective oversight over all of DOD's civilian senior leader workforces, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence to conduct assessments of the skills, competencies, and gaps within all five career civilian senior leader workforces and report them in DOD's future strategic workforce plans.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2014, officials with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence) Human Capital Management Office stated that development of criteria for assessing the skills, competencies, and gaps of the department's Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service and Defense Intelligence Senior Level workforces had been completed. According to the officials, the criteria will be included in the department's senior leader management policies and fully implemented once the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) completes development, revision, and publication of other DOD related civilian senior leader management policies that the revised Defense Intelligence civilian senior leader policy references. Update 9/2016: Officials from the Strategic Human Capital Planning Division indicated that a future strategic plan will address GAO's recommendation. Officials indicated that the plan is expected to be released in Fall 2016.
    Director: Wilshusen, Gregory C
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve individual agency cybersecurity workforce planning efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the department's Chief Information Officer, in consultation with its Chief Human Capital Officer, to develop and implement a departmentwide cybersecurity workforce plan or ensure that departmental components are conducting appropriate workforce planning activities.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce concurred with the recommendation. In fiscal year 2016, we verified that Commerce, in response to our recommendation, expected to develop a cybersecurity workforce plan by the second quarter of fiscal year 2017. This plan would address department-level skills. In addition, each component of Commerce would develop a subordinate workforce action plan to address component-level skills, as well as competency and certification gaps. As of August 2017, Commerce has not confirmed that it has developed a department-level workforce plan or that its components have developed workforce plans.
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202)512-9521

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Based on a review of all existing contracts under $100,000 without an appointed COTR that should require contract employees to obtain favorable background investigation results, the Commissioner of the IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to amend those contracts to require that favorable background investigations be obtained for all relevant contract employees before routine, unescorted, unsupervised physical access to taxpayer information is granted.

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

    Comments: According to IRS, it has completed its contract review and made appropriate modifications as of July 2016. However, the modifications to the contracts were not made available for our review during the fiscal year 2016 audit. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of the IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to establish a policy requiring collaborative oversight between IRS's key offices in determining whether potential service contracts involve routine, unescorted, unsupervised physical access to taxpayer information, thus requiring background investigations, regardless of contract award amount. This policy should include a process for the requiring business unit to communicate to the Office of Procurement and the Human Capital Office the services to be provided under the contract and any potential exposure of taxpayer information to contract employees providing the services, and for all three units to (1) evaluate the risk of exposure of taxpayer information prior to finalizing and awarding the contract and (2) ensure that the final contract requires favorable background investigations as applicable, commensurate with the assessed risk.

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

    Comments: IRS's efforts to address this recommendation are ongoing. IRS stated that during fiscal year 2017, several internal organizations will partner to identify the remaining actions needed to address this recommendation. According to IRS, these actions include developing policies and procedures to reasonably assure that (1) oversight between IRS's key offices is conducted to determine whether potential service awards IRS enters into involve routine, unescorted, unsupervised physical access to taxpayer information by contractors, thus requiring background investigations, and (2) the resulting processes make clear who is responsible for completing the various steps, as well as who must maintain documentation of the approved access determination prior to the contractor being allowed to provide the services. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of the IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to revise the post orders for the service center campuses (SCC) and lockbox bank security guards to include specific procedures for timely reporting exterior lighting outages to SCC or lockbox bank facilities management. These procedures should specify (1) whom to contact to report lighting outages and (2) how to document and track lighting outages until resolved.

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

    Comments: IRS's efforts to address this recommendation are ongoing. IRS stated that during fiscal year 2017, it would update campus post orders to help ensure timely reporting, monitoring and repair of exterior lighting outages. In addition, AWSS engaged in discussions with personnel from FPS and GSA to coordinate responsibilities and suggested changes for post orders when security services are contracted by those entities. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202)512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To promote an efficient use of resources and to better plan for the design of a new performance management system, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy to, in conjunction with the DOD Comptroller, help ensure that information identifying and supporting the costs of the NSPS termination and new performance management system is documented, reliable, traceable to a source document, and readily available for examination.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2015, there has been no evidence that the department has taken action to address this recommendation.
    Director: Sherrill, Andrew
    Phone: (202)512-7252

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the number of new H-1B workers who are subject to the cap--both entering the United States and changing to H-1B status within the United States--does not exceed the cap each year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services should take steps to improve its tracking of the number of approved H-1B applications and the number of issued visas under the cap by fully leveraging the transformation effort currently under way, which involves the adoption of an electronic petition processing system that will be linked to the Department of State's tracking system. Such steps should ensure that linkages to the Department of State's tracking system will provide Homeland Security with timely access to data on visa issuances, and that mechanisms for tracking petitions and visas against the cap are incorporated into U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' business rules to be developed for the new electronic petition system.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2016, USCIS officials reported that, according to their current timeframes, the business rules associated with the nonimmigrant visa petition process (including Form I-129) in the USCIS Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) were slated to be developed in late 2017, with implementation projected for the beginning of 2018. They stated that during the requirements-gathering phase, the Service Center Operations officials and the Office of Transformation Program officials planned to discuss potential options for improving the tracking of the number of approved H-1B applications and the number of issued visas under the cap, including assessing the feasibility of linking DHS and State Department data. GAO will follow-up with USCIS on the status of this recommendation when business rules for the nonimmigrant line of the ELIS are developed and released.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202)512-3604

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help implement a fair, effective, and credible performance management system for its civilian employees--whether NSPS or another--the Secretary of Defense should review and evaluate the effectiveness of the department's training.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 which repealed the National Security Personnel System required that DOD (1) take all actions necessary for the orderly termination of NSPS and (2) transition of all employees and positions from NSPS to legacy personnel systems or, if applicable, to the personnel systems that would have applied if NSPS had never been established. The law also mandated that the transition be completed by no later than January 1, 2012 and required DOD to establish a new performance management system, among other things. At the time of last update in June 2013, DOD had completed its efforts to research and design a new performance management system, in coordination with the unions. More recently, on July 24, 2014, the department released its 3rd update to Congress on the design and implemenation of its new personnel management system. DOD is required to report every 6 months on its progress. In its most recent report, DOD discusses its intent to implement a new multi-level rating system, but does not provide specific details about any steps taken that would allow us to close the recommendation nor has it taken actions to implement a system at this time. According to the DOD official overseeing this effort, DOD has made progress and the next update scheduled to be issued in Decembr 2014 will have significant more detail about the efforts taken.
    Recommendation: To help implement a fair, effective, and credible performance management system for its civilian employees--whether NSPS or another--the Secretary of Defense should ensure that guidance is in place for conducting a postdecisional analysis that specifies what process the components should follow to investigate and eliminate potential barriers to fair and equitable ratings.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 which repealed the National Security Personnel System required that DOD (1) take all actions necessary for the orderly termination of NSPS and (2) transition of all employees and positions from NSPS to legacy personnel systems or, if applicable, to the personnel systems that would have applied if NSPS had never been established. The law also mandated that the transition be completed by no later than January 1, 2012 and required DOD to establish a new performance management system, among other things. At the time of last update in June 2013, DOD had completed its efforts to research and design a new performance management system, in coordination with the unions. More recently, on July 24, 2014, the department released its 3rd update to Congress on the design and implemenation of its new personnel management system. DOD is required to report every 6 months on its progress. In its most recent report, DOD discusses its intent to implement a new multi-level rating system, but does not provide specific details about any steps taken that would allow us to close the recommendation nor has it taken actions to implement a system at this time. According to the DOD official overseeing this effort, DOD has made progress and the next update scheduled to be issued in Decembr 2014 will have significant more detail about the efforts taken.
    Recommendation: To help implement a fair, effective, and credible performance management system for its civilian employees--whether NSPS or another--the Secretary of Defense should include, as part of the department's monitoring of the implementation of its system, efforts to monitor and evaluate how the safeguards specifically are implemented by lower-level organizations across the department.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 which repealed the National Security Personnel System required that DOD (1) take all actions necessary for the orderly termination of NSPS and (2) transition of all employees and positions from NSPS to legacy personnel systems or, if applicable, to the personnel systems that would have applied if NSPS had never been established. The law also mandated that the transition be completed by no later than January 1, 2012 and required DOD to establish a new performance management system, among other things. At the time of last update in June 2013, DOD had completed its efforts to research and design a new performance management system, in coordination with the unions. More recently, on July 24, 2014, the department released its 3rd update to Congress on the design and implemenation of its new personnel management system. DOD is required to report every 6 months on its progress. In its most recent report, DOD discusses its intent to implement a new multi-level rating system, but does not provide specific details about any steps taken that would allow us to close the recommendation nor has it taken actions to implement a system at this time. According to the DOD official overseeing this effort, DOD has made progress and the next update scheduled to be issued in Decembr 2014 will have significant more detail about the efforts taken.
    Director: Jones, Yvonne D
    Phone: (202) 512-9095

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: If pilot projects are approved by EEOC, the Acting Chairman of EEOC should direct pilot project officials to develop for each pilot project an evaluation plan that includes key features to improve the likelihood that pilot project evaluations will yield sound results, such as (1) well-defined, clear, and measurable objectives; measures that are directly linked to the program objectives; criteria for determining pilot program performance; (2) a way to isolate the effects of the pilot programs; (3) a data analysis plan for the evaluation design; and (4) a detailed plan to ensure that data collection, entry, and storage are reliable and error free.

    Agency: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to EEOC officials, the agency is in the process of proposing changes in regulations that would allow use of the pilot programs. The EEOC must then send the guidance to OMB for its approval. Depending on what happens during that process, the guidance could be returned to EEOC for additional consideration. However, once approved, the EEOC can then implement the pilot programs and address our recommendations. These recommendations were to include an evaluation plan in the programs. As part of the evaluation plan, we also recommended that the EEOC adopt an appropriate methodology that could assess the success of the programs. Therefore, we are keeping the recommendation open. 12/2011: In providing comments on this report, EEOC concurred with this recommendation. While the agency has not implemented the recommendation, it is proposing changes to the Federal sector regulatory process that would allow the use of pilot projects subject to Commission approval. EEOC has sent a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to 170 agencies to solicit their comments on pilot programs to test alternative approaches to administering the EEOC complaint process. EEOC has received and is reviewing comments from the 33 agencies which submitted comments on the proposed draft. According to an EEOC official, EEOC currently is analyzing the comments on the NPRM and drafting the Final Rule. Once approved by EEOC, we will request and review EEOC's plans to evaluation the pilot projects. 5/28/13: According to EEOC, pilot projects in the Federal sector were included in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that would modify EEOC regulations governing the Federal Sector process. That regulation is currently under consideration by the Commission. At the time of our contact, EEOC did not have a timeframe for a decision. Further, after EEOC's decision, it would then go to OMB for review and approval before the final rule is published. We recently contacted the EEOC and have a meeting scheduled for 12/17/16 to discuss the status of the pilot program and the recommendations.
    Recommendation: If pilot projects are approved by EEOC, the Acting Chairman of EEOC should direct commission staff to review and approve pilot projects' evaluation plans to increase the likelihood that evaluations will yield methodologically sound results, thereby supporting effective program and policy decisions.

    Agency: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to EEOC officials, the agency is in the process of proposing changes in regulations that would allow use of the pilot programs. The EEOC must then send the guidance to OMB for its approval. Depending on what happens during that process, the guidance could be returned to EEOC for additional consideration. However, once approved, the EEOC can then implement the pilot programs and address our recommendations. These recommendations were to include an evaluation plan into the programs. As part of the evaluation plan, we also recommended that the EEOC adopt an appropriate methodology that could assess the success of the programs. Therefore, we are keeping the recommendation open. 12/2011: In providing comments on this report, EEOC concurred with this recommendation. While the agency has not implemented the recommendation, it is proposing changes to the Federal sector regulatory process that would allow the use of pilot projects subject to Commission approval. EEOC has sent a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to 170 agencies to their solicit comments on pilot programs to test alternative approaches to administering the EEOC complaint process. EEOC has received and is reviewing comments from the 33 agencies who submitted comments on the proposed draft. According to an EEOC official, EEOC currently is analyzing the comments on the NPRM and drafting the Final Rule. Once approved by EEOC, we will request and review information on EEOC's efforts to review and approve evaluation plans for the pilot projects. 12/23/2011: According to EEOC, pilot projects in the Federal sector were included in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that would modify EEOC regulations governing the Federal Sector process. That regulation is currently under consideration by the Commission. At the time of our contact, EEOC did not have a timeframe for a decision. Further, after EEOC's decision, it would then go to OMB for review and approval before the final rule is published. We recently contacted the EEOC and have a meeting scheduled for 12/17/16 to discuss the status of the pilot program and the recommendations.
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address other issues that may exist in IRS's master files that affect penalty calculations, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct appropriate IRS officials to, in instances where programs are not functioning in accordance with the intent of the IRM, take appropriate action to correct the programs so that they function in accordance with the IRM.

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

    Comments: According to IRS, it had substantially completed its corrective actions to address 19 penalty programming issues it had identified from its internal assessment of penalty computation programs. However, as of September 30, 2016, IRS had not provided us with supporting documentation to validate that it completed the corrective actions. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 financial statement audit.
    Director: Siggerud, Katherine A
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Taking action to address the challenges FMCSA faces to ensure that its drug testing program detects drivers who are using illegal drugs, and to keep drivers who have tested positive off the road until they have completed the return-to-duty process, provides an opportunity to improve safety on the roads. In order to assist the Department of Transportation (DOT) and FMCSA in addressing these challenges, and thereby improving road safety, Congress may wish to consider adopting legislation to ban subversion products.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: On February 4, 2009, Representative Engel introduced the Drug Testing Integrity Act of 2009 in the House of Representatives. The Act would ban products designed to defraud drug tests. On February 15, 2011 Representative Engel re-introduced the bill, which was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and then to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. Representative Engel re-introduced the bill in the 113th Congress in May of 2013. However, the bill has not been reintroduced since.