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    Results:

    Subject Term: Laboratories

    16 publications with a total of 40 open recommendations
    Director: Timothy M. Persons
    Phone: (202) 512-6412

    11 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve independence, the Administrator of APHIS should formally document the reporting structure for the APHIS component of the Select Agent Program from the APHIS director of the program to the Administrator of APHIS. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
    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 independence, the CDC director of the Select Agent Program should work with APHIS to establish control activities to help ensure that each component of the program carries out its inspection responsibilities as outlined in the program's memorandum of understanding. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    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 independence, the APHIS director of the Select Agent Program should work with CDC to establish control activities to help ensure that each component of the program carries out its inspection responsibilities as outlined in the program's memorandum of understanding. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
    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 independence, the CDC director of the Select Agent Program should regularly assess the potential risks posed by the program's structure and the effectiveness of its mechanisms to address those risks, such as by commissioning external reviews, and take actions as necessary to ensure that any identified risks are addressed so that impairments to independence do not affect its ability to achieve its objectives. (Recommendation 4)

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    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 independence, the APHIS director of the Select Agent Program should regularly assess the potential risks posed by the program's structure and the effectiveness of its mechanisms to address those risks, such as by commissioning external reviews, and take actions as necessary to ensure any identified risks are addressed so that impairments to independence do not affect its ability to achieve its objectives. (Recommendation 5)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
    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 ability to perform reviews, the CDC director of the Select Agent Program should work with APHIS to develop and implement a plan to identify which laboratory activities carry the highest biological safety and security risks and to respond to those risks by aligning inspections and other oversight efforts to target those activities. (Recommendation 6)

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    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 ability to perform reviews, the APHIS director of the Select Agent Program should work with CDC to develop and implement a plan to identify which laboratory activities carry the highest biological safety and security risks and to respond to those risks by aligning inspections and other oversight efforts to target those activities. (Recommendation 7)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
    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 transparency, the CDC director of the Select Agent Program should work with APHIS to determine what additional information about laboratories' use of select agents, incidents, and violations of the select agent regulations is appropriate for the program to share with registered laboratories. (Recommendation 8)

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    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 transparency, the APHIS director of the Select Agent Program should work with CDC to determine what additional information about laboratories' use of select agents, incidents, and violations of the select agent regulations is appropriate for the program to share with registered laboratories. (Recommendation 9)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
    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 technical expertise and overcome fragmentation, the CDC director of the Select Agent Program should work with APHIS to develop a joint workforce plan that assesses workforce and training needs for the program as a whole. This assessment should be done in conjunction with the development of the strategic plan. (Recommendation 10)

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    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 technical expertise and overcome fragmentation, the APHIS director of the Select Agent Program should work with CDC to develop a joint workforce plan that assesses workforce and training needs for the program as a whole. This assessment should be done in conjunction with the development of the strategic plan. (Recommendation 11)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the transparency of public reporting on CAP goal progress, the Director of OMB should, working with the PIC, report on Performance.gov the actions that CAP goal teams are taking, or plan to take, to develop performance measures and quarterly targets.

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

    Comments: We reviewed selected CAP goals quarterly performance information on the Performance.Gov website as of Q4 of FY 2016, which updates the status of the CAP goals through September 2016. Some of the selected CAP goals have updated and new performance measures, but it was not clear the extent to which CAP goal teams included information on the actions they are taking to develop such measures, consistent with our recommendation. We contacted OMB in June 2017 on the current status of this recommendation. We will provide an update to its status once OMB responds to our request.
    Director: Chris Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance accountability for key risk-management activities and facilitate coordination with federal and industry stakeholders regarding electromagnetic risks, the Secretary of Homeland Security should designate roles and responsibilities within the department for addressing electromagnetic risks and communicate these to federal and industry partners.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a June 2016 update to our proposed recommendation, DHS reported that the Cyber, Infrastructure and Resilience (CIR) Policy Office within the DHS Office of Policy is working with DHS components to identify and articulate the roles of the National Protection and Programs Directorate, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Science and Technology Directorate, and others regarding to address electromagnetic risks. As part of this effort, CIR is to coordinate the development of a joint roles and responsibilities document to be communicated through existing partnership structures with internal and external entities.
    Recommendation: To more fully leverage critical infrastructure expertise and address responsibilities to identify critical electrical infrastructure assets as called for in the National Infrastructure Protection Plan, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Energy direct responsible officials to review FERC's electrical infrastructure analysis and collaborate to determine whether further assessment is needed to adequately identify critical electric infrastructure assets, potentially to include additional elements of criticality that might be considered.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a June 2016 update to our proposed recommendation, DHS reported that the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) will increase collaborative outreach activities with FERC staff that will include a review of identified critical substations developed by FERC. The intended outcome of this review is to inform DHS activities regarding identification and prioritization of critical infrastructure assets for use during steady state and response activities. NPPD is also to inform FERC of its criticality modeling capabilities through the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC) to enhance engagement with FERC's electric power subject matter expertise and inform future capability developments regarding response to and recovery from events such as electromagnetic pulse.
    Recommendation: To more fully leverage critical infrastructure expertise and address responsibilities to identify critical electrical infrastructure assets as called for in the National Infrastructure Protection Plan, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Energy direct responsible officials to review FERC's electrical infrastructure analysis and collaborate to determine whether further assessment is needed to adequately identify critical electric infrastructure assets, potentially to include additional elements of criticality that might be considered.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, DOE provided an update (60-day letter) reiterating their intent to continue with actions identified previously to address the GAO recommendation, namely that the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability was to review the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's electrical infrastructure analysis, and subsequently engage with FERC and DHS to identify if any additional elements of criticality should be considered.
    Recommendation: To enhance federal efforts to assess electromagnetic risks and help determine protection priorities, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for National Protection and Programs Directorate and the Assistant Secretary for the IP to work with other federal and industry partners to collect and analyze key inputs on threat, vulnerability, and consequence related to electromagnetic risks--potentially to include collecting additional information from DOD sources and leveraging existing assessment programs such as the Infrastructure Survey Tool, Regional Resiliency Assessment Program, and DCIP.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a June 2016 update, DHS reported that the department had completed the planned refresh of the Strategic National Risk Assessment, which was intended to incorporate potential impacts to the power system from electromagnetic events. In addition, DHS reported that the Electricity Sub-sector Coordinating Council created an Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) task force, which met in April 2016 and is currently working to develop a joint industry and government approach to address EMP. It was further noted that DHS and DOE initiated a joint study on the effects of EMP on the electric power sector - led by Los Alamos National Laboratory and the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC) - to analyze the hazard environments, impacts, and consequences of EMP and GMD on U.S. electric power infrastructure. In addition, DHS noted their support of a new effort by the Electric Power Research Institute and 39 industry partners to further study EMP vulnerabilities.
    Recommendation: To facilitate federal and industry efforts to coordinate risk-management activities to address an EMP attack, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Energy should direct responsible officials to engage with federal partners and industry stakeholders to identify and implement key EMP research and development priorities, including opportunities for further testing and evaluation of potential EMP protection and mitigation options.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: On March 9, 2016 DOE provided agency comments on GAO-16-243 concurring with the recommendation and identifying related actions. Specifically, DOE reported collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute to develop a joint DOE/Industry EMP Strategy to include key goals and objectives and identification of R&D priorities. The Strategy is expected to be completed by August 31, 2016 to be followed by more detailed action plans. DOE reported that they will collaborate with DHS and DOD in development of the Strategy and action plans. DOE further noted that a report by the Idaho National Laboratory report also identifies potential technology gaps and includes recommendations for further R&D efforts, which will be incorporated when developing the forthcoming action plans.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve NNSA's ability to choose the best alternative that satisfies the mission need for lithium production, the Secretary of Energy should request that NNSA's Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs take steps to ensure that NNSA objectively consider all alternatives, without preference for a particular solution, as it proceeds with the analysis of alternatives process. Such steps could include clarifying the statement of mission need for lithium production so that it is independent of a particular solution.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, NNSA has not finalized its analysis of alternatives. However, documents provided and statements made by agency officials indicate that NNSA plans to construct a Lithium Production Facility. NNSA's preference for constructing a lithium production facility prior to finalizing its analysis of alternatives is not consistent with our recommendation.
    Director: Mak, Marie A
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order for NASA to fully implement the NASA Authorization Act of 2008 and for CASIS to fulfill its responsibility as outlined in the cooperative agreement, the NASA Administrator should direct the Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to fully staff the ISS National Laboratory Advisory Committee.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: NASA does not plan to staff the International Space Station National Laboratory Advisory Committee (INLAC) at this time. Officials stated that they continue to believe that the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) Board of Directors meets the intent of the INLAC charter by providing oversight of CASIS implementation of utilization of the ISS as a national laboratory. NASA remains concerned about staffing another oversight group that may create conflicts with the existing CASIS Board of Directors. NASA is also exploring with CASIS opportunities to open portions of board meetings to the general public and interested parties in order to foster additional transparency and a broad and free exchange of ideas. In response to this recommendation, the Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate indicated that NASA was seeking relief from the statutory requirement to staff the INLAC.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the usefulness of NNSA's future reports to Congress describing the costs and benefits of its competition of M&O contracts under the requirements contained in Section 3121 of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2013, as amended, the NNSA Administrator should take steps to ensure that future reports reflect DOE's information quality guidelines, federal cost accounting standards, and GAO's best practices guidance relevant to the clear and complete presentation of information on each of the required topics. In particular, future reports should clearly and completely describe costs and benefits, including the agency's expectations, as well as the associated analysis, assumptions, information sources, and key limitations and uncertainties about costs and benefits described. The description of uncertainties should include key excluded or unspecified costs and benefits, such as those that are anticipated but not fully known at the time of report writing.

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

    Comments: NNSA recently awarded an M&O contract for Sandia NL. NNSA will have to produce a report on the costs and benefits of its competition, which will need to be delivered in early spring, 2017. Upon delivery to Congress, GAO will be able to assess whether NNSA fulfilled this recommendation.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

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

    Agency: Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer
    Status: Open

    Comments: FLC has provided GAO with information on steps they are taking to address the recommendations in GAO-15-127. A number of these actions should be completed towards the end of 2016 after which we plan to request additional information from FLC.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

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

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: On December 5, 2016, DOE issued revised order 481.1D Strategic Partnership Projects (SPP)[Formerly Known as Work for Others (Non-Department of Energy Funded Work)]. DOE states that this order addresses performance measures and that the corrective action is closed. Although the order directs DOE Field Office Managers to "establish performance measures to assess the effectiveness of the procedures for SPP review, acceptance, authorization and monitoring consistent with NNSA policies and procedures", it does not further identify specific performance measures that address the objectives of the SPP program as indicated in the order.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance DOD's capability and capacity to accomplish the missing persons accounting mission, and to clarify the specific roles and responsibilities of the accounting community members to help minimize unnecessary overlap and disagreement among community members, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force and direct the Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, or the appropriate departmental entity in light of any reorganization, to negotiate a new memorandum of agreement between the Life Sciences Equipment Laboratory and Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC). The memorandum should specify which conflicts' artifacts JPAC should send to the Life Sciences Equipment Laboratory for analysis, the type of artifacts sent, and the priorities according to which the Life Sciences Equipment Laboratory should analyze resolved cases.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Officials from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) stated that the Life Sciences Equipment Laboratory (LSEL) and the former JPAC Central Identification Laboratory (CIL) have both been absorbed into DPAA, so there is no need for a separate memorandum between the two entities. We believe that DPAA should take actions that would meet the intent of our recommendation by delineating the roles and responsibilities within DPAA of the former LSEL and CIL laboratories. As of September 2017, DPAA has taken some actions to clarify which conflicts and types of artifacts the different laboratories are responsible for working on. For example, according to DPAA officials, DPAA has made progress in bringing the former LSEL up to the standard of the other DPAA laboratories by developing an evidence control system and a formal inventory. In addition, the DPAA laboratories have updated their standard operating procedures to specify the format and procedures for writing life science equipment material evidence reports, which should address the concerns identified in our report related to the length and utility of these reports prepared by one of the laboratories. However, a DPAA official stated that DPAA is rethinking how different laboratory functions should be performed and where those capabilities should reside, and that a decision about the future course of action would likely be made in fiscal year 2018. Until the responsibilities of the different DPAA laboratories are clarified with regard to which conflicts and types of artifacts the different laboratories are responsible for working on, the potential for inefficient and ineffective interactions between the different laboratories that we identified in our 2013 report may continue.
    Recommendation: To enhance DOD's capability and capacity to accomplish the missing persons accounting mission, and to more efficiently and effectively develop the capability and capacity to account for missing persons, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Policy), or the appropriate departmental entity in light of any reorganization, to ensure that the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), in coordination with all members of the accounting community, develop personnel files for all unaccounted for persons as required by statute, in order to help avoid potential overlap or unnecessary duplication of effort and to ensure better communication among community members with respect to missing persons cases.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, this recommendation has not been implemented and remains open. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) is taking actions to develop case files for all persons who are unaccounted for. As of May 2017, DPAA officials said that DPAA had completed the case files for all individuals from the Vietnam War; about 80 percent of the files for individuals from the Korean War; and about 60 percent of the files for individuals from World War II. The officials said that DPAA has an ongoing effort to develop a case management system and scanning project that will serve as the basis for the required personnel or case files, but they have faced funding challenges that have hindered their ability to finish this project. They said that if DPAA can get the necessary funding, they will be able to complete development of all of the files in about 2 years. They said that with a lower level of funding, it will take more time than that 2 year estimate, and potentially could cost more money over time. Until personnel files for all unaccounted-for missing persons are developed and made readily accessible, as required by law, the community?s efforts to collaborate on cases will be hindered by a lack of information visibility among community members.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve its ability to oversee M&O contractor costs, including indirect costs, for its laboratories and make more effective use of DOE and contractor resources, the Secretary of Energy should take--or, as appropriate, direct the Administrator of NNSA to incorporate more specific benchmarking requirements into future laboratory contracts--similar to the benchmarking requirements used by DOE to assess and manage pension and post-retirement benefit costs--including which costs should be benchmarked, how frequently benchmarking should occur, and what process should be used to ensure corrective actions are taken, as needed.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, the Director of NNSA Office of Policy issued guidance to NNSA Laboratory Field Office Managers to update contracts to include a new clause requiring laboratory contractors to submit a strategic plan every year in accordance with guidance. Part of the annual plan requires contractors to discuss the costs of doing business and cost-increase factors at the sites, including overhead dollars. The annual strategic plan is due to the NNSA Office of Policy by August 15 each year. This plan is expected to allow NNSA to conduct the benchmarking activities recommended by our report, which can then be considered in current and future laboratory contracts.
    Director: King, Kathleen M
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of the unpublished MUEs and better ensure Medicare program integrity, the CMS Administrator should consider periodically reviewing claims to identify the providers exceeding the unpublished MUE limits and determine whether their billing was proper.

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

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of this report, HHS concurred with this recommendation and indicated that CMS would conduct further analysis to determine the most appropriate way to respond. In July 2015, HHS told us that CMS has established a process to identify providers exceeding the unpublished MUE limits and determine whether their billing was proper. In August 2016, CMS informed us that the agency is developing a process to review provider level data to determine potential improper billing that exceeds unpublished MUE limits. However, as of September 2016, CMS has not yet implemented this process. We requested that CMS provide documentation of the process once it has been implemented. With this documentary support, we hope to close the recommendation.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: (202)512-9338

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve cohesion in the management and operation of EPA's laboratories, the Administrator of EPA should establish a top-level science official with the authority and responsibility to coordinate, oversee, and make management decisions regarding major scientific activities throughout the agency, including the work of all program, regional, and ORD laboratories.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: EPA took some steps toward establishing a top-level science official with responsibilities to coordinate and oversee the laboratories, but the agency did not expand this official's authority to make management decisions regarding scientific activities for the laboratories. In 2012, EPA expanded the responsibilities of the agency's Science Adviser to coordinate, oversee, and make recommendations to EPA's Administrator regarding major scientific activities across the agency, including the work of all regional, program, and Office of Research and Development laboratories. However, as of March 2017, the agency has not granted the Science Adviser the authority to make management decisions. For example, the laboratories do not report directly to the Science Adviser; instead, they continue to operate under the direction of 15 senior officials using 15 different organizational and management structures. In addition, the Science Adviser does not have authority over laboratory budgets, workforce, and infrastructure.
    Director: Mccool, Thomas J
    Phone: (202)512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In developing legislation for a national reporting system for the biological laboratory community, Congress may wish to consider provisions for the agency it designates as responsible for the system to take into account the following in design and implementation: (1) including stakeholders in setting system goals; (2) assessing labs' organizational culture to guide design and implementation decisions; (3) making reporting voluntary, with open-reporting formats that allow workers to report events in their own words and that can be submitted by all workers in a variety of modes (Web or postal), with the option to report to either an internal or external entity; (4) incorporating strong reporter protections, data deidentification measures, and other incentives for reporting; (5) developing feedback mechanisms and an industry-level entity for disseminating safety data and safety recommendations across the lab community; and (6) ensuring ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the safety reporting system and safety culture.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not taken action on this recommendation.
    Director: Aloise, Eugene E
    Phone: (202)512-6870

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen NNSA's oversight practices and current and future facility modernization efforts, and to improve the transparency and usefulness of cost analyses prepared for future NNSA nuclear facilities modernization projects, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Administrator of NNSA to ensure that life cycle cost analyses include a thorough and balanced evaluation of short- and long-term construction and financing alternatives. Such analyses should consider the full useful life of the facility rather than the 20-year requirement for GSA leases or any predetermined length of time that might produce results that favor one option over another.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: NNSA provided evidence that it requires life cycle cost analyses for projects greater than $20 million. However, this is not fully responsive to GAO's recommendation. For example, the recommendation stated that each life cycle cost analysis performed includes short- and long-term construction and financing alternatives and that these analyses should consider the full life of the facility rather than the 20-year requirements for GSA leases or any predetermined length of time. NNSA's actions do not address this aspect of the life cycle cost analysis. Our work found that facility's life cycle cost analysis only covered 20 years and it failed to reflect cost savings over a longer useful life (possibly over 50 years) that could have been realized if the facility were purchased instead of leased. Nothing in the draft Order addresses how the life cycle cost period to be analyzed should be established (e.g., 20 years or 50 plus years). Our review of NNSA's additional responses have not provided sufficient evidence to close the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen NNSA's oversight practices and current and future facility modernization efforts, and because of the importance of mitigating the risks of outsourcing nuclear weapons components and other information that if exported, might allow potential adversaries to develop or advance their nuclear capabilities, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Administrator of NNSA to take immediate action to assess the effectiveness of NNSA's oversight of KCP's current export control and nonproliferation practices and, if appropriate, initiate corrective actions to strengthen that oversight.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: While NNSA/contractor actions are commendable and appear to be beneficial, such as adding performance-based incentives, training 950 employees, and including new contract clauses in its supplier purchase orders, these actions do not fully satisfy the recommendation. GAO's recommendation was specifically directed at the effectiveness of NNSA's oversight of the KCP contractor's export control and nonproliferation practices and to initiate corrective actions to strengthen that NNSA oversight. While the Kansas City Site Office's addition of a performance based incentive seems to be a good improvement, NNSA has not demonstrated its own oversight effectiveness. Our review of NNSA's response provided in March 2014 was not persuasive. In addition, GAO-16-710 found that as of May 2016, the Secretary of Energy had not used the enhanced procurement authority to ensure supply chain integrity, and the Department of Energy (DOE) had not developed processes for using the authority, as it had not fully assessed the circumstances under which the authority might be useful.
    Director: Trimble, David
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the management of the stockpile life extension program, the Administrator of NNSA should direct the Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs to develop a realistic schedule for the W76 warhead and future life extension programs that allows NNSA to (1) address technical challenges while meeting all military requirements and (2) build in time for unexpected technical challenges that may delay the program.

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

    Comments: In past and ongoing work, GAO has identified areas where NNSA's modernization plans may not align with planned funding requests over the Future Years Nuclear Security Plan (FYNSP) and post-FYNSP periods. Based on the FY 2014 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan (SSMP), (GAO-14-45) NNSA plans to work on five LEPs or major alterations through 2038. The FY 2014 SSMP states that the LEP workload represents a resource and production throughput challenge that requires improvements in LEP planning and execution. GAO's analysis indicates there is limited contingency time built into the LEP schedules, all of which are technically ambitious. Any delays in schedules could lead to an increase in program costs or a reduction in the number built for any of the LEPs, both of which have occurred in prior and ongoing LEPs. While NNSA has acknowledged issues and identified some steps to improve the LEP process, this recommendation will remain open and unimplemented until NNSA demonstrates successful LEP and refurbishment execution. We recently reconfirmed this finding in GAO-17-341 where we found the following: In some cases, NNSA's fiscal year 2017 nuclear security budget materials do not align with the agency's modernization plans, both within the 5-year Future-Years Nuclear Security Program (FYNSP)for fiscal years 2017 through 2021 and beyond, raising concerns about the affordability of NNSA's planned portfolio of modernization programs.
    Recommendation: To improve the management of the stockpile life extension program, the Administrator of NNSA should direct the Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs to ensure that the program managers responsible for overseeing the construction of new facilities directly related to future life extension programs coordinate with the program managers of such future programs to avoid the types of delays and problems faced with the construction and operation of the Fogbank manufacturing facility for the W76 program.

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

    Comments: A number of Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plans (SSMP) states that the life extension program (LEP) workload represents a resource and production throughput challenge that requires improvements in LEP planning and execution. The officials elaborated that the main area that will be strained is pit production. The alternate plutonium strategy needs to be resourced fully to support the W78/88-1 LEP. Additionally, the officials said that the UPF transition needs to go as planned or there will be challenges in completing all of the planned LEPs. As such, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To improve the management of the stockpile life extension program, the Administrator of NNSA should direct the Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs to ensure that program managers for the construction of new facilities for future life extensions base their schedule for the construction and start-up of a facility on the life extension program managers' needs identified in their risk mitigation strategies.

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

    Comments: NNSA has generally improved its management of construction projects, to include requirements setting, Analysis of Alternatives, independent cost estimates, etc. However, it is too soon to tell if these positive developments will help-or hinder-LEPs that are underway or are being conducted. Key uranium activities, to include construction and operating funds will not be complete until 2025; key plutonium activities are underway as well, but will not be complete until the late 2020s. As a result, this recommendation will need to remain open.
    Director: Aloise, Eugene E
    Phone: (202)512-6870

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that NNSA functions as a separately organized agency, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator, NNSA, should clearly define NNSA's status as a separately organized agency within the department.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In his 31 USC Section 720 response to our report, the Deputy Secretary of Energy stated that he did not concur with this recommendation. He stated that elements of the Department and the NNSA had executed memoranda of understanding specifying how certain Department-wide functions would be performed while respecting the statutory insulation of NNSA personnel. He also stated that the Department will consider issuing circumstance-specific guidance where required to correct misperceptions about the effect of the NNSA's act limitations. NNSA's relationship with DOE continues to evolve. NNSA asserted its independence aggressively through July 2012 when an important security incident took place at the Y-12 plant. Since that time, NNSA has been less independent.
    Recommendation: To ensure that NNSA functions as a separately organized agency, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator, NNSA, should clearly define NNSA's status as a separately organized agency within the department.

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

    Comments: In his 31 USC Section 720 response to our report, the Deputy Secretary of Energy stated that he did not concur with this recommendation. He stated that elements of the Department and the NNSA had executed memoranda of understanding specifying how certain Department-wide functions would be performed while respecting the statutory insulation of NNSA personnel. He also stated that the Department will consider issuing circumstance-specific guidance where required to correct misperceptions about the effect of the NNSA's act limitations. Since we received the letter, there have been instances where the DOE/NNSA relationship has become less clear.