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    Subject Term: Legislation

    33 publications with a total of 92 open recommendations including 3 priority recommendations
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should submit or reference agencies' report modification proposals in the President's annual budget as required by GPRAMA.

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

    Comments: In August 2017, the Office of Management and Budget stated it would include a list of report modification proposals in the President's fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget as required by GPRAMA. We will close this recommendation when the FY 2019 President's budget is released.
    Director: David B. Gootnick
    Phone: (202) 512-3149

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that USAID reimburses funds in accordance with section 9002 of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2015, the Administrator of USAID should reverse reimbursements that were not made to the same appropriation account as the account from which USAID obligated the funds.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: USAID concurred with the recommendation. In written comments on a draft of this report, USAID noted that it is examining whether sufficient appropriate resources exist to support all of the obligations against the accounts that were improperly reimbursed. As of September 2017, USAID is in the process of reversing the improper reimbursements. We will continue to monitor USAID's efforts to implement our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that USAID reimburses funds in accordance with section 9002 of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2015, the Administrator of USAID should reverse reimbursements for which there is no documentary evidence that the obligation was incurred to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Ebola outbreak.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: USAID concurred with the recommendation. In written comments on a draft of this report, USAID stated that it would reverse reimbursements for which the documentation was lacking that the obligation was incurred to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Ebola outbreak. As of September 2017, USAID is in the process of reversing the reimbursements. We will continue to monitor USAID's efforts to implement our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that USAID reimburses funds in accordance with section 9002 of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2015, the Administrator of USAID should determine whether reversing any of these reimbursements results in the obligation of funds in excess of appropriations in violation of the Antideficiency Act and, if so, report any violations in accordance with law.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: USAID concurred with the recommendation. In written comments on a draft of this report, USAID noted that USAID's Office of the Chief Financial Officer has been notified of a potential funds control violation and that USAID's ongoing review will determine whether an Antideficiency Act violation occurred. USAID further noted that, in the event it finds an Antideficiency Act violation, the agency would notify the violation in accordance with the law. In September 2017, USAID told GAO that it is finalizing the determination regarding the potential Antideficiency Act violation. We will continue to monitor USAID's efforts to implement our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that USAID complies with reimbursement provisions that may arise in future appropriations laws, the Administrator of USAID should develop written policies and procedures for the agency's reimbursement process.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: USAID concurred with the recommendation. In written comments on a draft of this report, USAID noted that the agency will develop written policies and procedures that adequately address reimbursement provisions of applicable appropriations laws. In September 2017, USAID told GAO that it is in the process of finalizing the written policies and procedures for the agency's reimbursement process. We will continue to monitor USAID's efforts to implement our recommendation.
    Director: Krause, Heather M
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

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

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

    Comments: In July 2017, OMB staff said that although they still agreed with our recommendation, it was not an effort they were pursuing due to competing priorities, as well as capacity and resource constraints.
    Director: Michelle Sager
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase the transparency to Congress about the total amount of funds agencies have available in a given year, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should identify and publicly report the total amount of actual budget authority government-wide that is temporarily sequestered and "pops up," or becomes available again to agencies for obligation in the subsequent fiscal year.

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

    Comments: In February 2017, OMB staff told us they will consider additional options for reporting a government-wide total amount of actual budget authority that is temporarily sequestered during preparation of the full 2018 President's Budget.
    Recommendation: To promote further transparency in measuring the federal government's progress against deficit reduction targets required under current law, the Director of the Office of Management of Budget should identify and publicly report the total amount of actual reductions in budget authority government-wide each year as a result of sequestration or the reduction of discretionary spending limits under BBEDCA.

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

    Comments: In February 2017, OMB staff maintained their position of disagreement with this recommendation as summarized in our April 2016 report.
    Director: David Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    26 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To better ensure that federal data center consolidation and optimization efforts improve governmental efficiency and achieve cost savings, the Secretaries of the Departments of the Interior, State, Transportation, and the Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Small Business Administration; the Directors of the National Science Foundation and Office of Personnel Management; and the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should take action to address challenges in establishing, and to complete, planned data center cost savings and avoidance targets for fiscal years 2016 through 2018.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Transportation (Transportation) agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In April 2016, the department stated in correspondence to GAO that it's Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) was actively engaging with the department's Operating Administrations and was reconciling its original cost savings and avoidance targets to develop and update a yearly calculation as part of Transportation's multi-year strategy to consolidate and optimize its data centers. The department added that periodic updates would be provided to OCIO leadership and the CIO Council, with reconciled cost savings and avoidance targets for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 expected to be updated by September 30, 2016. However, as of July 2017, Transportation has not updated its Data Center Optimization Strategic Plan to include planned cost savings and avoidances targets for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation and update accordingly.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that federal data center consolidation and optimization efforts improve governmental efficiency and achieve cost savings, the Secretaries of the Departments of the Interior, State, Transportation, and the Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Small Business Administration; the Directors of the National Science Foundation and Office of Personnel Management; and the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should take action to address challenges in establishing, and to complete, planned data center cost savings and avoidance targets for fiscal years 2016 through 2018.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In June 2016, the department stated in correspondence to GAO that it was in the process of reviewing pending guidance on the Office of Management and Budget's Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI). The department further stated that once the DCOI guidance was issued, the department would update its targets and finalize a plan to more adequately address cost savings and avoidance targets for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. However, as of July 2017, the department has not updated its Data Center Optimization Strategic Plan to include planned cost savings and avoidances targets for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that federal data center consolidation and optimization efforts improve governmental efficiency and achieve cost savings, the Secretaries of the Departments of the Interior, State, Transportation, and the Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Small Business Administration; the Directors of the National Science Foundation and Office of Personnel Management; and the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should take action to address challenges in establishing, and to complete, planned data center cost savings and avoidance targets for fiscal years 2016 through 2018.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In May 2016, EPA stated in correspondence to GAO that it planned to establish a single data center within each of several specific geographical areas. For each data center selected for retention, the agency stated that it planned to make upgrades to address any potential capacity or performance issues, but noted that the specific plans for each data center slated for consolidation were under development. EPA stated that the resulting total cost savings were under assessment and had not yet been determined. However, as of July 2017, EPA has not updated its Data Center Optimization Strategic plan to include planned cost and savings and avoidances targets for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that federal data center consolidation and optimization efforts improve governmental efficiency and achieve cost savings, the Secretaries of the Departments of the Interior, State, Transportation, and the Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Small Business Administration; the Directors of the National Science Foundation and Office of Personnel Management; and the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should take action to address challenges in establishing, and to complete, planned data center cost savings and avoidance targets for fiscal years 2016 through 2018.

    Agency: National Science Foundation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The National Science Foundation has not yet taken steps to implement our recommendation. As of July 2017, National Science Foundation has not updated its Data Center Optimization Strategic plan to included planned cost and savings and avoidances targets for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that federal data center consolidation and optimization efforts improve governmental efficiency and achieve cost savings, the Secretaries of the Departments of the Interior, State, Transportation, and the Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Small Business Administration; the Directors of the National Science Foundation and Office of Personnel Management; and the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should take action to address challenges in establishing, and to complete, planned data center cost savings and avoidance targets for fiscal years 2016 through 2018.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Small Business Administration agreed with our recommendation, but has not yet taken steps to implement it. As of July 2017, the Small Business Administration has not updated its Data Center Optimization Strategic plan to included planned cost and savings and avoidances targets for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In April 2016, the department stated in correspondence to GAO that its Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) developed a scorecard to track progress for each of the data center optimization areas. According the department's scorecard, the department reported meeting 3 of 10 optimization targets, but did not meet the remaining 7 targets. DHS's OCIO noted that they would update this scorecard quarterly in alignment with Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative data collection. DHS's OCIO expected to complete implementation of this recommendation by November 30, 2016. However, as of July 2017, DHS reports on the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) IT Dashboard that it does not yet meet any of the five data center optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against (related to server utilization and monitoring, energy metering, server virtualization, data center facility space, and power usage efficiency). We will continue to monitor and evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture generally agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. Specifically, as of July 2017, the department reports on the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) IT Dashboard that it meets one (server virtualization) of the five data center optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against. However, the department also reports that it does not yet meet the remaining four targets (server utilization and monitoring, energy metering, data center facility space, and power usage efficiency). We will continue to monitor and evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In May 2016, the department stated in correspondence to GAO that it will work with its bureaus to develop and publish an annual strategic plan. The strategic plan will, among other things, describe a list of specific planned actions to improve data center optimization progress. For example, the department stated that, to increase facility utilization, the Bureau of Economic Analysis is co-locating computing resources within the Census Bureau's Bowie Computer Center. Further, Census planned to market the Bowie Computer Center as an opportunity for government-wide co-location. In addition, the department stated that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is building greater network capacity to National Weather Service forecast offices and will aim to reduce the number of local systems at forecast offices that are currently considered data centers (122 in total). However, as of July 2017, the Department of Commerce reports on the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) IT Dashboard that it does not yet meet any of the five data center optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In June 2016, the department stated in correspondence to GAO that it is considering several actions to improve optimization progress in the areas that we reported as not meeting the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) established targets. For example, DOD stated that it is moving toward on-premises and off-premises commercial cloud hosting services to enable migration of workloads to more efficient environments intended to improve the virtualization and density metrics. Further, the department stated that its Chief Information Officer is working directly with the services to reconcile the instances of multiple Installation Processing Nodes on individual bases, posts, camps, and stations. DOD also stated that all of these actions will enable the closure of additional data centers, increase efficiencies in all categories, and drive greater savings. However, as of July 2017, the Department of Defense reports on the OMB IT Dashboard that it does not yet meet any of the five data center optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Energy (Energy) agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In May 2016, Energy stated in correspondence to GAO that it had established an enterprise-wide Data Center Working Group that is chartered to identify best practices in data center metering, optimization, consolidation and cloud migration (and to support these practices throughout the department). According to Energy, this working group is intended to serve as a focus group for communicating information related to the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), departmental strategy and implementation, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requirements for data centers, as well as to provide summary data center performance status to all members. However, as of July 2017, Energy reports on OMB's IT Dashboard that it does not yet met any of the five data center optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agreed with our recommendation, and has taken steps to implement it. In May 2016, the department stated in correspondence to GAO that its ability to attain the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) established target value for the three remaining optimization metrics would require the department to further consolidate data center resources and migrate from contractor-owned and operated data centers to multi-tenant, shared data centers. The department further stated that this effort would be accomplished under the HUD Enterprise and Architecture Transition initiative that was restructuring infrastructure services and was targeting data center migrations to be completed by July 2017. The department also stated that it expected to be able to provide fiscal year 2017 optimization metrics data that met or exceeded OMB's target values by February 2018. However, as of July 2017, the department states that, due to data center migration dependencies on two smaller infrastructure transition projects, the data center migration project schedule is delayed until the first quarter of fiscal year 2018. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In May 2016, the department stated in correspondence to GAO that it would work to improve the data center optimization metrics that did not meet the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) established targets. The department further stated that it expected to have a more detailed approach available through a Data Center Strategy, which was expected before the end of fiscal year 2016 . However, as of July 2017, the department reports on OMB's IT Dashboard that it meets only one (power usage efficiency) of the five data center optimization metric targets OMB currently requires agencies to report against. The department further reports that it does not meet the remaining four targets (related to server utilization and monitoring, energy metering, server virtualization, and data center facility space). We will continue to monitor and evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Social Security Administration agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In April 2016, the agency stated in correspondence to GAO that it was in the process of transitioning to a new data center. While undergoing this transition, the agency stated that it was working to optimize its new data center and will have the capability to report on the Office of Management and Budget's optimization targets once the transition is complete. The agency expected to complete these steps by September 2016. As of July 2017, SSA reports on the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) IT Dashboard that it meets three (energy metering, data center facility space and power usage efficiency) of the five data center optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against. However, SSA reports that it does not meet the remaining two targets (related to server utilization and monitoring, and server virtualization). We will continue to monitor and evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of the Interior (Interior) agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In April 2016, the department stated in correspondence to GAO that its Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) was developing data center optimization metrics to measure bureau and office progress in meeting optimization targets. The department added that these metrics would become part of the 2016 OCIO Organizational Assessment, a scorecard used to measure bureau and office progress against predefined targets. However, as of July 2017, Interior reports on the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) IT Dashboard that it does not yet meet any of the five data center optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against (related to server utilization and monitoring, energy metering, server virtualization, data center facility space, and power usage efficiency). We will continue to monitor and evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Justice (Justice) agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In May 2016, Justice stated in correspondence to GAO that it was developing plans to migrate the remaining non-core data centers to the department's three Core Enterprise Facilities (CEFs) and/or commercial cloud services by the end of fiscal year 2019. The department added that, as these migrations occur, its data center footprint and facility utilization should continue to improve and the percentage of servers and operating systems residing in the CEFs should significantly exceed federal data center consolidation targets. Justice also stated that it engaged with external representatives to perform an energy efficiency assessment at its core enterprise facility in Virginia, which resulted in significant improvements at the data center and improved the overall power usage efficiency across the department's core data centers. However, as of July 2017, Justice reported on the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) IT Dashboard that it does not meet any of the five data optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against (related to server utilization and monitoring, energy metering, server virtualization, data center facility space, and power usage efficiency). We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Transportation (Transportation) agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In April 2016, Transportation stated in correspondence to GAO that it centralized its data center consolidation efforts in fiscal year 2015 and, in early fiscal year 2016, completed reconciliation of its actual and planned data centers closures, as well as related performance data. The department also stated that it planned to continue towards measuring and making improvements to meet the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) data center optimization performance metric targets. Transportation noted that periodic updates provided to its Office of the Chief Information Officer leadership and the Chief Information Officer Council would identify challenges in meeting the Office of Management and Budget's optimization metric targets. However, as of July 2017, Transportation reports on OMB's IT Dashboard that it does not meet any of the five data optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against (related to server utilization and monitoring, energy metering, server virtualization, data center facility space, power usage efficiency). We will continue to monitor and evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor (Labor) agreed with this recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In April 2016, the department stated in correspondence to GAO that it had closed 23 percent of its data centers and, by the end of 2019, the department plans to close 61 percent of its data centers. Further, Labor stated that it has made significant progress in the development of a fully virtualized common operating environment. According to the department, these efforts are designed to improve optimization metrics performance. However, as of July 2017, the department reports on the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) IT Dashboard that it does not yet met any of the five data center optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against (related to server utilization and monitoring, energy metering, server virtualization, data center facility space, and power usage efficiency). We will continue to monitor and evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) generally agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. However, as of July 2017, Treasury reports on the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB's) IT Dashboard that it does not met any of the five data optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against (related to server utilization and monitoring, energy metering, server virtualization, data center facility space, and power usage efficiency). We will continue to monitor and evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In May 2016, the department stated in correspondence to GAO that it had not yet taken action to improve optimization progress in the areas that we reported as having weaknesses. Specifically, the department stated that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was in the process of changing the fiscal year 2016 through 2018 closure targets and data center optimization metrics under the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, which it planned to complete by the end of July 2016. Upon receipt of the targets, VA stated that it needed to assess the impact on strategies already under way, which it planned to complete by mid-fiscal year 2017. As of July 2017, the department reports on OMB's IT Dashboard that it meets only one (power usage efficiency) of the five data center optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against. In addition, the department reports that it does not meet the remaining four targets (related to server utilization and monitoring, energy metering, server virtualization, and data center facility space). We will continue to monitor and evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In June 2016, the department stated in correspondence to GAO that it planned to follow the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) guidance on optimizing data centers and would take action to improve the defined areas that Data Center Optimization Initiative identifies. Specifically, as of July 2017, the department reports on OMB's IT Dashboard that it meets only one (power usage efficiency) of the five data center optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against. However, the department reported that it does not meet the remaining four targets (related to server utilization and monitoring, energy metering, server virtualization, and data center facility space). We will continue to monitor and evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Environmental Protection Agency agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In May 2016, the agency stated in correspondence to GAO that it had directed data center stakeholders to place an emphasis on virtualizing physical servers and moving server-based applications to the cloud or a core data center. The agency added that the estimated increase for each optimization metric would be determined after data consolidation plans were finalized. As of July 2017, EPA reports on the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) IT Dashboard that it meets three (energy metering, server virtualization, and power usage efficiency) of the five data center optimization metric targets OMB currently requires agencies to report against. However, EPA reports that it does not yet met the remaining two targets (related to server utilization and monitoring, and data center facility space). We will continue to monitor and evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The General Services Administration (GSA) agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In May 2016, the agency stated in correspondence to GAO that it had developed an action plan to improve optimization progress. For example, GSA's action plan stated that the agency planned to create a new inventory of their data centers in order to establish a baseline to help in planning for data center closures, as well as collecting more accurate data for cost saving calculations. The agency also planned to create a new and better cost saving model and noted that it planned to refresh the cost model semi-annually. Finally, GSA intended to improve the required metrics set forth by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) by eliminating physical machines and increasing virtualization whenever possible. As of July 2017, GSA reports on OMB's IT Dashboard that it meets one (server utilization and monitoring) of the five data center optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against. However, GSA reports that it does not meet the remaining four targets (related to energy metering, server virtualization, data center facility space, and power usage efficiency). We will continue to monitor and evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In May 2016, NASA stated in correspondence to GAO that it planned to develop improvement strategies for each deficient metric and hold meetings with all of the data center owners to explain the improvement strategies and further educate the data center owners on how to create efficiencies. NASA added that the anticipated completion for this is July 2017. However, as of July 2017, NASA reports on the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) IT Dashboard that it does not meet any of the five data optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against (related to server utilization and monitoring, energy metering, server virtualization, data center facility space, and power usage efficiency). We will continue to monitor and evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In May 2016, NRC stated in correspondence to GAO that it was pursuing development of a hybrid data center that will allow many data center functions to be performed in the cloud, allowing for more optimization, including the ability to better meet optimization targets (including those related to both cost savings and optimization) established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) through the Data Center Optimization Initiative. As of July 2017, NRC reports on OMB's IT Dashboard that it meets one (server virtualization) of the five data center optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against. However, the agency reports that it does not meet the remaining four targets (related to server utilization and monitoring, energy metering, server virtualization, data center facility space, and power usage efficiency). We will continue to monitor and evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In May 2016, OPM stated in correspondence to GAO that it was committed to meeting the targets associated with the agency's data center optimization efforts. The agency added that challenges would be addressed as plans evolved to meet current targets and within current funding. As of July 2017, OPM reports on the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) IT Dashboard that it meets only one (server virtualization) of the five data center optimization metric targets that OMB currently requires agencies to report against. However, the agency reports that it does not meet the remaining four targets (related to server utilization and monitoring, energy metering, server virtualization, data center facility space, and power usage efficiency). We will continue to monitor and evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation and update accordingly.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General of the United States; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take action to improve progress in the data center optimization areas that we reported as not meeting OMB's established targets, including addressing any identified challenges.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) agreed with our recommendation, and has taken initial steps to implement it. In May 2016, USAID stated in correspondence to GAO that it was planning to take action to improve progress in the remaining two areas that we reported as not meeting the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) optimization targets, including addressing any identifying challenges. The agency noted that its target completion date for implementing our recommendation was February 2017. However, as of July 2017, USAID reports on OMB's IT Dashboard that it does not yet meet the server utilization and monitoring metric target, which is the only metric applicable to USAID. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve its management of recreation fees, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Park Service to revise its guidance on recreation fees so that the agency periodically reviews its entrance fees to determine whether the fees are reasonable.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its initial response to our published report, the Park Service stated that it plans to revise Reference Manual 22A: Recreation Fee Collection (RM22A). This revision will include a requirement to reevaluate the entrance fee pricing structure every 3 years. The Park Service last reviewed and updated the fee schedule in August 2014. As of November 2016, the Park Service told GAO that it was planning to review its fee schedule on a 3-year cycle, so the next review will be in 2017. The agency also reported that it was on track to update its guidance to reflect this new schedule, but has not yet completed this effort. We will continue to monitor agency progress in implementing this recommendation.
    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: Asif A. Khan
    Phone: (202) 512-9869

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help meet its financial management improvement and audit readiness goals, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) to reconsider the status of the three panel recommendations that DOD classified as met that we determined were partially met and take the necessary actions to reasonably assure that these recommendations have been met.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In September 2015, we reported that DOD had completed action on 6 of the Committee Panel's 29 recommendations. However, we disagreed with DOD's reported status of met for 3 other recommendations related to (1) attestations on audit readiness to be included in each of the Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness (FIAR) Plan Status Reports; (2) inclusion of FIAR-related goals in Senior Executive Service performance plans, and rewarding and evaluating performances over time based on those goals; and (3) the review of audit readiness assertions by component senior executive committees. In response to our recommendation, in its November 2015 FIAR Plan Status Report, DOD revised the implementation status for these three recommendations from met to partially met and gave further consideration to actions needed to reasonably assure whether the recommendations had been met. In its May 2016 FIAR Plan Status Report DOD stated that it had completed corrective action on one of these three Committee Panel recommendations and reported actions on the other two recommendations as partially met. As of May 2017, DOD reported that its actions for all three Congressional Panel recommendations met those recommendations. However, DOD had not yet identified a method to reward executives based on evaluated performance on FIAR-related goals. In addition, DOD needs to continue to state in each FIAR Plan Status Report whether DOD is on track to be audit ready as of September 30, 2017. Therefore, as of August 30, 2017, this recommendation was still open.
    Director: Thomas Melito
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: While recognizing that cargo preference serves policy goals established by Congress with respect to the U.S. merchant marine, including maintenance of a fleet capable of serving as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency, Congress should consider clarifying cargo preference legislation regarding the definition of "geographic area" to ensure that agencies can fully utilize the flexibility Congress granted to them when it lowered the CPFA requirement.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: We did not receive comments on the Matter for Congressional Consideration. As of March 2017, no legislation had been introduced to clarify the definition of 'geographic area' with regard to cargo preference laws.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of MARAD to study the potential availability of all qualified mariners needed to meet a full and prolonged activation of the reserve sealift fleet. In the study, MARAD should identify potential solutions to address the mariner shortfall if one is still identified.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its written comments, DOT concurred with our recommendation to study the potential availability of all qualified mariners needed to meet a full and prolonged activation of the reserve sealift fleet. DOT stated that MARAD has been reviewing the adequacy of existing plans to recruit mariner volunteers to crew the full reserve fleet. Furthermore, DOT noted that 13,000 mariners are required to crew all the vessels in the fleet for sustained operations. On June 15, 2016, GAO contacted MARAD officials to clarify the current status of the National Maritime Strategy, which DOT officials had stated would contain the results of their review. The officials said that the Strategy is still in the interagency process for approval and is not likely to be published until the end of 2016. DOT told GAO in December 2016 that it had conducted an exercise in September 2016 to test mariner availability for an initial activation of the full fleet. However, this exercise did not fully address GAO's recommendation, as it did not test for a full and prolonged activation of the fleet. Furthermore, DOT officials told GAO in April 2017 that the National Maritime Strategy has not been released and is awaiting review from the current Administration.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: If Congress wishes to evaluate the effectiveness of the ITC and the PTC as incentives for the development of renewable utility-scale electricity generation projects as it considers proposals to extend the ITC or reauthorize the PTC, it should consider directing the Commissioner of Internal Revenue to provide Congress with project-level data currently collected from taxpayers who claim the ITC in lieu of the PTC--such as the number of projects for which they are claiming the credit, the technology of the projects taking the credit, and the total generating capacity added--and make such data available for analysis. Additionally, take steps to collect and report the same data from all taxpayers claiming the ITC.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not taken action on this matter.
    Recommendation: If Congress wishes to evaluate the effectiveness of the ITC and the PTC as incentives for the development of renewable utility-scale electricity generation projects as it considers proposals to extend the ITC or reauthorize the PTC, it should consider directing the Commissioner of Internal Revenue to take steps to collect project-level data from taxpayers claiming the PTC--such as the number of projects for which they are claiming the credit, the technology of the projects taking the credit, and the total generating capacity--and make these data available for analysis.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not taken action on this matter.
    Director: Kay Brown
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the consistency of assistance provided to tribes, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should take steps to provide consistent title IV-E guidance to tribes across its regional offices.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2015, HHS hired a tribal coordinator who will work in the Office of the Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau. The tribal coordinator's primary functions will include facilitating communication across the regions and with tribes to share experiences and information, so as to ensure greater consistency and clarity. While this hire represents an initial step towards improving communication with tribal title IV-E agencies, more time is needed for the tribal coordinator to implement policies and procedures that will ensure consistent title IV-E guidance to tribes across HHS regional offices. In May 2017, the agency reported that tribal coordinator position was ultimately elevated to the Office of the ACYF Commissioner and became the Commissioner's representative to the Tribes. We await documentation on any guidance provided to the regional offices that would help with consistency.
    Recommendation: To improve the timeliness of assistance provided to tribes, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should establish procedures to ensure reviews of draft title IV-E plans are conducted by regional office staff in a timely manner.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, HHS stated that it does not anticipate taking action in response to this recommendation because of its existing protocols for communicating with and responding to tribal title IV-E grantees. We maintain that establishing procedures, including but not limited to timeframes for responses, would help ensure that tribes receive timely feedback from regional offices regarding their draft title IV-E plans.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The legislated cost cap for Ford-class aircraft carrier construction provides a limit on procurement funds. However, the legislation also provides for adjustments to the cost cap. To understand the true cost of each Ford-class ship, Congress should consider revising the cost cap legislation to ensure that all work included in the initial ship cost estimate that is deferred to post-delivery and outfitting account is counted against the cost cap. If warranted, the Navy would be required to seek statutory authority to increase the cap.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: This recommendation remains open to allow Congress time to consider legislation amending the cost cap for the Ford class of aircraft carriers. The current version of the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2810) does not amend the current cost cap legislation.
    Director: Zina Merritt
    Phone: (202) 512-5257

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD's future submissions of the Biennial Core Report will be more accurate and complete, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness to assess the review processes and implement needed improvements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 10, 2015, the Assistant Secretary of Defense Logistics and Materiel Readiness stated that the process for developing and issuing DOD's Biennial Core Report has been reviewed and two corrective actions have been identified. First, a tasking memorandum for the military service to submit their input for the DOD Core Capability Report will be issued in October instead of December. This tasking will also require each submitting military service to include a certification by a General/Flag Officer or Senior Executive Service member that their military service's data is complete and accurate. Second, the extra time will allow Office of Secretary of Defense staff to conduct a more thorough review of the military service's submitted data to verify completeness and accuracy. These actions will not be complete until April 2016 which is when DOD will submit its next Core Capability Report. As of July 2016, DOD made the two corrective actions above. However, the 2016 DOD Biennial Core Report still contained data errors and inaccurate information, therefore these process improvements did not make the report more complete and accurate.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Corps meets the statutory requirements related to deauthorization of projects, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish and implement a written policy to ensure all authorized projects are entered into the agency's database and tracked.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Corps has developed a database on authorized construction projects and has used it for deauthorization activities, but the database is not yet on an Automated Information System platform due to contract capacity constraints for the software developers. Once data are included on an Automated Information System platform, guidance will be issued on data entry and updating of the data.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Corps meets the statutory requirements related to deauthorization of projects, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine what projects are eligible for deauthorization, transmit the list to Congress, and publish projects that are deauthorized in the Federal Register once the new database includes all authorized projects.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is reviewing actions by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Corps meets the statutory requirements related to deauthorization of projects, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish and implement written policies and procedures documenting the project deauthorization process, from initial compilation of a list of eligible projects to submitting the list to Congress and publishing the projects that are deauthorized in the Federal Register.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is reviewing actions by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Corps meets the statutory requirements related to deauthorization of projects, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish and implement a policy for record-keeping to ensure that documents related to deauthorization are maintained as federal records.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is reviewing actions by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Corps meets the statutory requirements related to deauthorization of incomplete water resources studies, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish a mechanism for tracking all authorized studies and establish and implement a written policy to ensure all authorized studies are tracked.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, a task order has been awarded for a contractor to prepare a comprehensive inventory of studies authorized by statute. Once the comprehensive inventory of studies is complete, the Corps will move the inventory to an automated information system platform and issue guidance on data entry and updating the data.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Corps meets the statutory requirements related to deauthorization of incomplete water resources studies, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish and implement policies and procedures documenting the deauthorization process for studies, from initial compilation of a list of eligible studies to submitting the list to Congress.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, a task order has been awarded for a contractor to prepare a comprehensive inventory of studies authorized by statute. Once the comprehensive inventory of studies is complete, the Corps will develop policies and procedures for the study deauthorization process.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Corps meets the statutory requirements related to deauthorization of incomplete water resources studies, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine what studies are eligible for deauthorization and transmit the list to Congress.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, a task order has been awarded for a contractor to prepare a comprehensive inventory of studies authorized by statute. Once the comprehensive inventory of studies is complete, the Corps will develop policies and procedures for the study deauthorization process and those policies and procedures will be used to carry out the process of deauthorizing studies.
    Director: James R. McTigue, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: If Congress agrees that significant paid preparer errors exist, it should consider legislation granting IRS the authority to regulate paid tax preparers.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2017, several bills were introduced in Congress that would authorize the Department of Treasury to regulate paid tax return preparers. As of September 2017, no action has been taken on any of the bills. GAO testified on October 1, 2015 on improper payments and the tax gap before Senate Finance and on December 10, 2015 on GAO recommendations before the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, US Senate. Both hearings increased attention to GAO's matter to Congress that tax preparers be regulated. Paid preparer regulation may increase the accuracy of tax returns and potentially reduce the tax gap.
    Director: William Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase consistency and reduce time and predevelopment cost for NAHASDA grant recipients, an interagency effort similar to that of the federal infrastructure task force but specific to tribal housing should be initiated with participants from the Indian Health Service, HUD, Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop and implement a coordinated environmental review process for all agencies overseeing tribal housing development. In addition, the agencies should determine if it would be appropriate to designate a lead agency in this effort.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To increase consistency and reduce time and predevelopment cost for NAHASDA grant recipients, an interagency effort similar to that of the federal infrastructure task force but specific to tribal housing should be initiated with participants from the Indian Health Service, HUD, Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop and implement a coordinated environmental review process for all agencies overseeing tribal housing development. In addition, the agencies should determine if it would be appropriate to designate a lead agency in this effort.

    Agency: Indian Health Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To increase consistency and reduce time and predevelopment cost for NAHASDA grant recipients, an interagency effort similar to that of the federal infrastructure task force but specific to tribal housing should be initiated with participants from the Indian Health Service, HUD, Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop and implement a coordinated environmental review process for all agencies overseeing tribal housing development. In addition, the agencies should determine if it would be appropriate to designate a lead agency in this effort.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To increase consistency and reduce time and predevelopment cost for NAHASDA grant recipients, an interagency effort similar to that of the federal infrastructure task force but specific to tribal housing should be initiated with participants from the Indian Health Service, HUD, Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop and implement a coordinated environmental review process for all agencies overseeing tribal housing development. In addition, the agencies should determine if it would be appropriate to designate a lead agency in this effort.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken, we will update the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Chris P. Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal agencies fully reimburse DOD for special air missions when required to do so, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer to revise guidance and require that DOD organizations develop and implement a process that identifies and tracks each special air mission, such as tracking by mission number or another unique identifier, from billing through reimbursement for all applicable costs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2014, DOD does not have any information on actions taken on this recommendation. As of July 2015, the Department plans to address this recommendation during the next policy rewrite cycle. In the short term, the Special Air Missions office in coordination with OSD Executive Secretary has stressed with external agencies requesting reimbursable travel include the mission number as well as a line of accounting on their travel request memorandum. The Financial Management office at Joint Base Andrews as well as DFAS have also revamped their procedures and are tracking each reimbursable mission by a unique five digit mission number. According to a senior officer at the Special Air Missions Office, they continue to process the monthly bills in the same manner as before the audit and provide the 89th Airlift Wing/Financial Management with a monthly accounting by mission number for the various missions flown. The mission number along with the cost of the reimbursable travel is provided by CVAM to the Financial Management office at Joint Base Andrews. According to an officer in the 89th Airlift Wing Comptroller at Joint Base Andrews, they are still waiting for a policy re-write from DoD for special air missions. In the meantime, they track each mission by mission number from billing through the reimbursement process, and process the bills for reimbursement on a monthly basis after receiving the consolidated list from CVAM. There have been a couple of glitches with a few users that did not send funding before traveling and the comptroller is working to resolve that issue.
    Director: Bertoni, Daniel
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to enhance the accuracy of and ensure appropriate agency access to SSA's death data, and to clarify how SSA applies the eligibility requirements of the Social Security Act and enhance agencies' awareness of how to obtain access, the Social Security Administration's Acting Commissioner should direct the Deputy Commissioner of Operations to develop and publicize guidance it will use to determine whether agencies are eligible to receive SSA's full death file.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Social Security Administration (SSA) disagreed with this recommendation, stating that each request to obtain the full death file is unique, and that officials must review them on a case-by-case basis to ensure compliance with various legal requirements. It also expressed concern that developing this guidance as we recommended would require agency expenditures unrelated to its mission in an already fiscally constrained environment. SSA noted that any federal agency that would like to explore accessing the full death master file (which includes state death records) should submit a request to SSA. SSA will review the file and, if satisfactory, enter into an Information Exchange Agreement covering terms, conditions and reimbursement for the exchange. As of April 2017, SSA reports that it is continuing its efforts and there is no change in status. GAO appreciates that agencies may base their request for the full death file on different intended uses, and supports SSA's efforts to ensure compliance with all applicable legal requirements. However, developing such guidance could help to ensure consistency in SSA's future decision making by the new Office of Data Exchange, and enhance agencies' ability to obtain the data in a timely and efficient manner.
    Recommendation: In order to enhance the accuracy of and ensure appropriate agency access to SSA's death data, and to increase transparency among recipient agencies, the Social Security Administration's Acting Commissioner should direct the Deputy Commissioner of Operations to share a more detailed explanation of how it determines reimbursement amounts for providing agencies with death information.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Social Security Administration (SSA) reported that it has implemented improvements in its estimating procedures for future reimbursable agreements to ensure consistent estimates for all customers. It reviews all reimbursable requests on a case-by-case basis to determine full costs (including direct and indirect expenses) to provide goods, resources, or services. However, the agency stated that it is not a typical government business practice to share these detailed costs for reimbursable agreements. As of April 2017, SSA reports that it is continuing its efforts and there is no change in status. We are encouraged that SSA has made efforts to standardize the estimates it shares with its federal partners. While we recognize that there may be limitations on the type of cost details SSA can provide to recipient agencies, we continue to believe that more transparency in conveying the factors that lead to the estimated and final reimbursement amounts recipient agencies are charged could help them make more informed decisions.
    Director: Crosse, Marcia G
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to reduce the administrative costs associated with a fragmented MAI grant structure that diminishes the effective use of HHS's limited HIV/AIDS funding, and to enhance services to minority populations, HHS should consolidate disparate MAI funding streams into core HIV/AIDS funding during its budget request and allocation process.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS stated that it does not support the consolidation of Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI)funds into core funding. As of September, 2016, we are still awaiting an update from HHS on the status of any efforts to implement this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: In order to reduce the administrative costs associated with a fragmented MAI grant structure that diminishes the effective use of HHS's limited HIV/AIDS funding, and to enhance services to minority populations, HHS should seek legislation to amend the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act of 1990 or other provisions of law, as necessary, to achieve a consolidated approach.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS stated that it does not support the consolidation of Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) funds into core funding. As of September, 2016, we are still awaiting an update from HHS on the status of any efforts to implement this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: Jeszeck, Charles A
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase the accuracy of "potential private pension benefit information" notices that SSA sends to Social Security claimants, Congress should consider legislation shifting responsibility and necessary resources to Labor for (a) electronically collecting form 8955-SSA information on participants' deferred vested benefits, (b) maintaining an accurate federal database of those benefits, and (c) periodically sending SSA accurate information about such benefits for recent Social Security claimants identified by SSA, so that SSA may provide notices to retirees.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, no congressional action has been taken in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ease the burden on plan sponsors, enhance compliance, and help ensure that disclosures to participants are written in a manner that can be understood by the average participant, Labor, IRS, and PBGC should work together to create and regularly update a comprehensive online tool for plan sponsors to search for the reports and disclosures they are required to provide based on plan type, design, and circumstances.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2013, Labor officials said that they would consult with their colleagues at the Treasury Department/IRS and PBGC regarding creation of one unified online tool for plan adminstrators to search for the reports and disclosures they are required to submit based on a plan's type, design, and circumstances. However, in FY 2014, officials indicated that, although they will continue to consult with their other agency colleagues regarding creation of such a tool, they now tentativley disagree with the recommendation and believe that such a tool could be confusing, especially for small employers. In 2015, Labor raised concerns about this recommendation, continuing to question whether a unified tri-agency online tool would be valuable for sponsors of large pension plans and may be confusing to some plan sponsors, especially small employers. They further noted that they do not believe it would be appropriate for EBSA to adjust its regulatory or guidance priorities at this time or reallocate resources currently dedicated to other priority projects in order to further explore any possible merit of such an online tool. GAO continues to believe just the opposite, that a well-designed comprehensive online tool could be very helpful, especially for small employers. In FY 17, Labor reiterated its opinions from previous years.
    Recommendation: To ease the burden on plan sponsors, enhance compliance, and help ensure that disclosures to participants are written in a manner that can be understood by the average participant, Labor, IRS, and PBGC should work together to create and regularly update a comprehensive online tool for plan sponsors to search for the reports and disclosures they are required to provide based on plan type, design, and circumstances.

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

    Comments: IRS officials initially noted that they are continuing their efforts to ensure that plan sponsors have access to comprehensive and up-to-date online resources. They said they had met with Labor and PBGC officials to discuss the value and feasibility of developing and maintaining a comprehensive online tool. However, with decreased resources, they believe it is unlikely for the agency to create and regularly update such a tool. However, they would continue to confer with Labor and PBGC colleagues to determine if it is possible to cross-reference existing agency resources online. As of September 2017, IRS has not provided an update on its efforts. GAO continues to believe that such a tool would be beneficial to plan sponsors of all sizes.
    Recommendation: To ease the burden on plan sponsors, enhance compliance, and help ensure that disclosures to participants are written in a manner that can be understood by the average participant, Labor, IRS, and PBGC should work together to define criteria for complying with the readability provisions in ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), and apply the criteria to agency-generated model notices as well as those developed by plan sponsors. As part of these criteria, consider requiring clear, simple, brief highlights at the beginning of disclosures, reflecting federal plain language guidelines.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: Labor officials stated that, while sensitive to plan sponsor concerns regarding liabilities that may result from ambiguities that arise when complex information is summarized using plain English criteria, they will, nevertheless, explore the application of readability standards in this context. Officials indicated they may decide it would be helpful to engage a contractor and undertake a survey or other data collection in order to evaluate this recommendation, but do not have resources budgeted in FY 2014 for such an exercise. In the meantime, they plan to continue to use modern communication techniques (such as focus group testing) to improve the effectiveness of their model notices and other standardized disclosures. In 2015, Labor reported that they need to explore the application of readability standards in light of concerns about liabilities that may result from ambiguities when complex information is summarized or presented using "plain English" criteria. Contracting for data collection would help them make an informed evaluation of this recommendation but they do not have the budgeted resources and believe it would not be appropriate to adjust priorities or reallocate resources. They will use techniques such as focus group testing to improve the effectiveness model notices and other standardized disclosures. GAO continues to believe it is important to implement a requirement to have clear, simple, brief highlights. In FY 17, Labor noted that the agency had not yet made a decision regarding future rulemaking and had suggested that the ERISA advisory counsel look at the effectiveness of disclosures.
    Recommendation: To ease the burden on plan sponsors, enhance compliance, and help ensure that disclosures to participants are written in a manner that can be understood by the average participant, Labor, IRS, and PBGC should work together to define criteria for complying with the readability provisions in ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), and apply the criteria to agency-generated model notices as well as those developed by plan sponsors. As part of these criteria, consider requiring clear, simple, brief highlights at the beginning of disclosures, reflecting federal plain language guidelines.

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

    Comments: IRS officials said that they are committed to using the Federal Plain Language Guidelines as a resource in preparing model disclosures and that they will consider including brief highlights at the beginning of model disclosures. They said that it is unclear that imposing defined readability criteria on employer and plan communications is in the best interests of plan participants, administrators, sponsors, and the retirement system as a whole. However, they do see merit in directing employers and plan sponsors to the Guidelines as a resource for developing readable notices and disclosures, and are considering how best to communicate that resource to stakeholders. As of September 2017, IRS has not provided an update on these efforts.
    Recommendation: To better ensure plan participants have access to information about their rights and benefits, as currently in force under their plans, Labor should direct plan sponsors to post to any intranet website maintained by the employer, as soon as determined feasible by Labor, a copy of the most current summary plan description (SPD) and any summary of material modifications issued subsequent to that SPD.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: Labor officials said that they generally support implementing such a requirement, subject to a legal determination of their authority absent legislation to issue such a directive. However, rather than addressing the recommendation as a stand-alone item, they believe it would be better to consider the benefits of such an intranet posting requirement in connection with efforts to expand or modify disclosure standards in response to their 2011 Request for Information (RFI) regarding electronic disclosure. Moreover, officials noted that, during FY 2014, Labor was focusing its regulatory resources on other higher priority projects and did not have a specific timeline for any next action on e-disclosure issues. In their 2015 response, Labor reiterated their agreement from agency comments. Based on comments from their RFI, they understand that many plan sponsors, especially those that have intranet websites, already post plan-related information for employees and that input from consumer advocates that have expressed concern about replacing employees? paper disclosure rights under ERISA with internet access. Labor has not added an e-disclosure project to its regulatory agenda but is still focusing its regulatory resources on other higher priority projects. GAO continues to believe that this is an important pursuit. In FY 17, Labor stated that they do not have any specific timeline for actions on e-disclosures.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that OSD, the military services, and congressional decision makers have a comprehensive understanding of whether ROTC programs are achieving desired results in a cost-effective and efficient manner, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military services, to establish a systematic process to routinely evaluate ROTC program performance that includes establishing performance measures that are clearly defined and include cost components.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that OSD, the military services, and congressional decision makers have a comprehensive understanding of whether ROTC programs are achieving desired results in a cost-effective and efficient manner, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military services, to establish a systematic process to routinely evaluate ROTC program performance that includes requiring routine evaluations of ROTC programs that measure progress against the strategic goals and objectives of ROTC programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that OSD, the military services, and congressional decision makers have a comprehensive understanding of whether ROTC programs are achieving desired results in a cost-effective and efficient manner, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military services, to establish a systematic process to routinely evaluate ROTC program performance that includes using the performance information resulting from ROTC program evaluations to assess and document the need for the existing number of units,

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. The Services have reviewed and adjusted their current procedures and metrics to better measure and evaluate their ROTC programs prior to the projected DoDI publication date. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Recommendation: To help improve the oversight and accountability of the military services' ROTC programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to reexamine and clarify DOD Instruction 1215.08 to clearly delineate roles and responsibilities for oversight of ROTC programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Recommendation: To help improve the oversight and accountability of the military services' ROTC programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to coordinate with the military services to ensure that service ROTC guidance aligns with the updated DOD instruction.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. The Services have reviewed and adjusted their current procedures and metrics to better measure and evaluate their ROTC programs prior to the projected DoDI publication date. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Recommendation: To help improve the oversight and accountability of the military services' ROTC programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop and implement, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military services, a strategy to periodically communicate with Congress and other key stakeholders on ROTC program performance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Director: Cackley, Alicia P
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress should consider strengthening the current consumer privacy framework to reflect the effects of changes in technology and the marketplace--particularly in relation to consumer data used for marketing purposes--while also ensuring that any limitations on data collection and sharing do not unduly inhibit the economic and other benefits to industry and consumers that data sharing can accord. Among the issues that should be considered are: (1) the adequacy of consumers' ability to access, correct, and control their personal information in circumstances beyond those currently accorded under FCRA; (2) whether there should be additional controls on the types of personal or sensitive information that may or may not be collected and shared; (3) changes needed, if any, in the permitted sources and methods for data collection; and (4) privacy controls related to new technologies, such as web tracking and mobile devices.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, Congress has not taken action on this matter.
    Director: Wise, David J
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance transparency and allow for more informed decision making related to the appropriate role of leasing in GSA's real property portfolio, the Administrator of GSA should include in the lease prospectus a description of the length of time that an agency estimates it will need the space, an historical account of how long the agency has been in the particular building it is occupying at the time of the prospectus, and any major investments the agency will have to make to the leased space to meet its mission. For those spaces for which the agency has a long-term projected need, also include an appropriate form of cost-to-lease versus cost-to-own analysis.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, GSA had not incorporated the recommended information into its fiscal year 2016 lease prospectuses and did not plan to do so in future prospectuses. GSA officials stated that GSA may not know how long an agency will need the space or the amount of investment that will be needed, so this information would be difficult to incorporate. However, in its 2013 review, GAO found that 9 of the 12 case study leases included space for long-term or mission critical space needs for tenant agencies. Some of the tenant agencies in these leases had been housed in multiple successive leases far longer than the statutory term limit of 20 years for a single GSA lease-situations that would lend themselves to analyzing the extent to which it would be more cost-effective for the government to own rather than lease. Moreover, GSA and the agency are likely to have general information on the complexity and likely investment needed to meet an agency's mission-related needs in leased space that could be included in the prospectus. Including the recommended information would increase transparency and facilitate more informed decision making by Congress.
    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: Merritt, Zina Dache
    Phone: (202) 512-5257

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that Congress has visibility over the status of DOD's core depot-level maintenance and repair capability, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Maintenance, Policy, and Programs) to include in the Biennial Core Report to Congress detailed explanations for why services do not have the workload to meet core maintenance requirements for each shortfall identified in the report.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2016, recent GAO work on this issue shows that DOD has not fully implemented this recommendation. In DOD's 2016 Biennial Core Report, DOD did not provide detailed explanations for all of the services shortfalls identified in its report. We are waiting until DOD's 2018 Biennial Core Report to further update the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Iritani, Katherine M
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve transparency of and accountability for Medicaid non-DSH supplemental payments, Congress should consider requiring the Administrator of CMS to (1) improve state reporting of non-DSH supplemental payments, including requiring annual reporting of payments made to individual facilities and other information that the agency determines is necessary to oversee non-DSH supplemental payments; (2) clarify permissible methods for calculating non-DSH supplemental payments; and (3) require states to submit an annual independent certified audit verifying state compliance with permissible methods for calculating non-DSH supplemental payments.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, no legislation had been enacted although at least one bill had been introduced in the Congress that would implement this Matter. If enacted, H.R. 541 would, among other things, require annual reporting of non-DSH supplemental payments made to individual institutional providers; information on type of ownership of providers that received the supplemental payments; and other information the agency determines is necessary to oversee non-DSH supplemental payments. However, CMS has taken some actions administratively to understand how to improve its oversight, which are underway. CMS had planned to publish a proposed rule for public comment in fall 2016 that could improve the oversight of supplemental payments made to individual providers. As of August 2017, the agency stated that it is gathering information from data submitted by states to better inform individual provider level payment criteria and establish policies and procedures to evaluate whether payments at the provider level are economic and efficient. They expect to complete this process by March 2018. CMS has also awarded a contract to review Medicaid supplemental payment information submitted by states that may, according to CMS officials, provide information to identify areas for future supplemental payment oversight, including issuing additional guidance on non-DSH supplemental payment submissions and developing standardized formatting. CMS reported that in 2016 it received approval from the Office of Management and Budget to issue standardized templates for all states to use when submitting the annual non-DSH supplemental payments for agency review, but did not specify when standard templates would be used. CMS also reported that the agency was developing a tool to assist in reviewing amendments to state plans and analyzing non-DSH supplemental payments. GAO plans to continue to monitor congressional action, as well as CMS's guidance on supplemental payments to individual providers and actions resulting from the contracted review to determine the extent to which improve state reporting of non-DSH supplemental payments, clarify permissible methods for calculating non-DSH supplemental payments, and require audits to verify that states use permissible methods to calculate non-DSH supplemental payments.
    Director: Jeszeck, Charles A
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance understanding and better inform debate on the possible effects of moving to a more risk-based premium structure, during consideration of various redesign options and after a redesign may be authorized, the Director of PBGC should continue to develop PBGC's hypothetical model, analyzing various premium redesign options and their impacts on sponsors, and report the results to Congress. As part of these analyses, PBGC should evaluate the potential effects on sponsors of incorporating additional risk factors, such as company financial health and plan investment mix, and include an assessment to identify any potentially disproportional hardships on smaller companies that may result from the redistribution of higher rates to riskier sponsors.

    Agency: Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: PBGC agreed with this recommendation. The agency is committed to continued development of the databases, models, and analyses of various premium redesign options and their impacts on sponsors, and to report the results of these analyses to Congress. In April 2014, PBGC noted that its efforts are still in process. As of August 2015, PBGC had provided no additional updates on actions taken on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help strengthen the PBGC insurance program, Congress should authorize redesign of PBGC's premium structure to more fully reflect the risk posed by plans and sponsors to the agency, such as by providing for the incorporation of additional risk factors.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2012 and December 2013, Congress passed premium increases (P.L. No. 112-141 and P.L. 113-67, respectively) to better reflect the risk posed to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation by certain defined benefit pension plans and plan sponsors. Nevertheless, As of September 2015, Congress had yet to authorize a redesign of PBGC's premium structure.
    Recommendation: In addition, to improve PBGC's ability to collect key information that may be necessary to help the agency estimate its risk exposure to future claims and strengthen implementation of any changes to the premium structure, Congress should provide PBGC with access to additional information needed to assess risk and assist in setting premiums, such as by expanding the criteria requiring plan sponsors to report under section 4010 of ERISA.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2015, Congress has taken no action related to this matter.
    Recommendation: Moreover, to better understand the mechanics of how best to incorporate additional risk factors, improve transparency, and help inform the evaluation of the various redesign options, Congress should establish an independent premiums advisory committee reflecting a range of perspectives--including, for example, representatives from federal agencies, sponsors, actuaries, private insurers, and labor groups--to assist with such activities as developing the mechanics for incorporating additional risk factors and implementing new rates, as well as delineating a variety of alternative methods to address PBGC's deficit.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2015, Congress has taken no action related to this matter.
    Director: Caldwell, Stephen L
    Phone: (202)512-9610

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure consistent implementation of and accountability for DHS's resilience policy, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Assistant Secretary for Policy to develop an implementation strategy for this new policy that identifies the following characteristics and others that may be deemed appropriate: (1) steps needed to achieve results, by developing priorities, milestones, and performance measures; (2) responsible entities, their roles compared with those of others, and mechanisms needed for successful coordination; and (3) sources and types of resources and investments associated with the strategy, and where those resources and investments should be targeted.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In the 60-day letter provided in January 2013, DHS indicated that the Resilience Integration Team (RIT) was developing a draft implementation plan to be circulated among relevant stakeholders for review. On 10/30/13, we notified DHS that we would like to see a copy of the resilience policy implementation plan (if developed), or any other related documentation if the plan is still in development. We were informed later that day that a draft plan had been developed, and DHS needed to confirm its status. In May of 2015, we were told again that a draft plan had been developed but never finalized. As of August 2015, DHS's Policy Office is looking into the status of plan development. We await their response. DHS response still pending as of 10/4/16.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD and Congress have visibility over the necessity of the Selective Service System to meeting DOD's needs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to establish a process of periodically reevaluating DOD's requirements for the Selective Service System in light of changing threats, operating environments, and strategic guidance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Section 551 of the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act established the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service to conduct a review of the military selective service process and consider methods to increase participation in military, national, and public service in order to address national security and other public service needs of the Nation. Section 552 of the Act contained a mandate requiring DOD to submit to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives and to the Commission a report on the current and future need for a centralized registration system under the Military Selective Service Act. This report was submitted by DOD on July 19, 2017. The Commission is required to, not later than 30 months after the Commission establishment date, transmit to the President and Congress a report containing the findings and conclusions of the Commission. The Commission will terminate not later than 36 months after the Commission establishment date. As such, we are leaving this recommendation open until the Commission completes its work and we see if DOD plans to move forward with establishing a process to periodically reevaluate DOD's requirements for the Selective Service System.
    Director: Martin, Belva M
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help inform DOD's use of long-term maintenance contracts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in coordination with cognizant offices within each of the military departments, to collect and analyze information on the use of long-term maintenance contracts by major weapon system programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DOD concurred with this recommendation and has since taken actions which may support the collection and analysis of long-term maintenance contracts. In January 2017, DOD's Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) issued a memorandum stating its intent to update existing policies and systems to prescribe policies and procedures for the conduct of cost estimation and cost analysis for acquisition programs. Among the initiatives discussed in the memorandum is an updated approach to collect sustainment data through Contractor Cost Data Reporting (CCDR) in order to provide better information to support competing sustainment alternatives and approaches. According to officials from the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Materiel Readiness (MR), this step will expand the data collected from contractors on maintenance contracts and will include reporting on the use of award terms and other incentives for their maintenance contracts in the CCDR system. Data item descriptions for these reports have been developed by the department but have not yet been implemented to support maintenance contract data collection. This guidance is expected to approved by the end of 2017.
    Director: King, Kathleen M
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of the MSP program and process for NGHPs, and to improve the agency's communication regarding the MSP process for situations involving NGHPs, the Acting Administrator of CMS should develop guidance regarding liability and no-fault set-aside arrangements.

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

    Comments: As of September 2017, CMS reported that it was still in the process of implementing this recommendation about developing guidance regarding liability and no-fault set-aside arrangements. CMS reported that in February 2017, the agency issued instructions to its contractors confirming that CMS' shared systems will offer functionality to annotate liability insurance and no-fault insurance Medicare set-aside arrangements and that this functionality will be available no later than October 2017. However, CMS officials told us that they were still in the process of developing sub-regulatory guidance about liability and no-fault set-aside arrangements that could be used by other stakeholders, such as insurers and attorneys, and that they were unsure when this guidance would be finalized and distributed to those stakeholders
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to coordinate with the services on conducting research, as appropriate, to determine optimal bonus amounts.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a July 2012 report, the USD (P&R) stated that it continues to believe that a study to determine optimal bonus amounts would be beneficial. As of September 2015, DOD is working with the RAND Corporation to develop a model to analyze the impact of adjusting bonuses and special pays for certain personnel communities. According to officials at USD (P&R) the goal of this effort is to provide the services with a tool that can be used to set bonuses and special pays more efficiently. The officials added that models have been developed for officers in the aviation community, and are currently being developed for officers in the healthcare and special operations communities.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, as the consolidation of the special and incentive pay programs is completed over the next 7 years and the instructions directing the services on how to administer the new programs are revised, to monitor the implementation of this consolidation to determine whether it is in fact resulting in greater flexibility and more precise targeting of resources and what impact the consolidation is having on DOD's budget.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a July 2012 report, the USD (P&R) states that it continues to consolidate special and incentive pay authorities. However, because this consolidation is not yet complete, it has not yet determined whether this consolidation has resulted in greater flexibility, as GAO recommended. In June 2013, OSD reported that OSD was about halfway through with its effort to consolidate special pay authorities, and in September 2015 USD (P&R) officials stated that this effort is continuing. The officials added that, while the Department is tracking the impact of the consolidation on the cost of special and incentive pays, it had not assessed whether the consolidation had resulted in greater flexibility.
    Director: White, James R
    Phone: (202) 512-9039

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As Congress considers whether tax-exempt governmental bonds should be used for professional sports stadiums that are generally privately used, it may also wish to consider whether other facilities, including hotels and golf courses, that are privately used should continue to be financed with tax-exempt governmental bonds.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: No legislative action enacted as of March 2017. A bill was introduced in Congress in February 2017 (H.R. 811) which, if enacted, would, in general, not allow tax-exempt government bonds to be used to finance professional sports stadiums. Reconsidering the tax-exempt status of certain bonds could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in additional federal revenue.