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    Subject Term: Monitoring

    129 publications with a total of 382 open recommendations including 46 priority recommendations
    Director: David Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should develop and implement a comprehensive plan to better manage departmental initiatives related to automated vehicles. This plan should include leading principles such as goals, priorities, steps to achieve results, milestones, and performance measures to track progress. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

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

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should publicly report DOD's performance regarding participation and career readiness attainment for all TAP-eligible servicemembers and members of the National Guard and Reserve rather than exclude those for whom data are missing or clarify the extent of missing data. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should monitor and report on the extent to which servicemembers participate in TAP within prescribed timeframes. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should monitor and report on the extent to which servicemembers who elect to receive additional 2-day classes are able to receive the training. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should monitor and report on the extent to which servicemembers attend TAP in a classroom setting unless allowed by regulation to participate online. (Recommendation 4)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should enable unit commanders and their higher-level commanders to access DOD reports on timeliness, 2-day classes, and the use of online TAP--after DOD begins monitoring and reporting this information--to help ensure the specific units they oversee are compliant with all TAP requirements. (Recommendation 5)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should seek ways to minimize the subjectivity involved in making career readiness determinations, particularly where judgments are involved, such as the quality of the individual transition plan and the resume. This could include developing guidance or training that provides quality standards for assessing career readiness materials. (Recommendation 6)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Thomas Melito
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: State's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) should identify and implement a mechanism to conduct in-person monitoring visits in countries where security conditions limit such visits by PRM officials. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: USAID's Office of Food for Peace (FFP) should identify and implement a mechanism to conduct in-person monitoring visits in countries where security conditions limit such visits by FFP officers. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Lori Rectanus
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    8 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve agencies' physical security programs' alignment with the ISC Risk Management Process for Federal Facilities and Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government for information and monitoring, the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection should, with regard to the updated Security Policy and Procedures Handbook, include the ISC's Risk Management Process for Federal Facilities requirement to assess all undesirable events, consider all three factors of risk, and document deviations from the standard.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve agencies' physical security programs' alignment with the ISC Risk Management Process for Federal Facilities and Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government for information and monitoring, the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, with regard to the updated Security Policy and Procedures Handbook, should include data collection and analysis requirements for monitoring the performance of CBP's physical security program.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve agencies' physical security programs' alignment with the ISC Risk Management Process for Federal Facilities and Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government for information and monitoring, the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, should revise the assumptions used in the plan to address the backlog to balance assessments with competing priorities, such as updating the policy manual and reviewing new construction design, to develop a feasible time frame for completing the assessment backlog.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve agencies' physical security programs' alignment with the ISC Risk Management Process for Federal Facilities and Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government for information and monitoring, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to develop a plan that provides sufficient details on the activities needed and time frames within the date when FAA will implement an improved methodology.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve agencies' physical security programs' alignment with the ISC Risk Management Process for Federal Facilities and Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government for information and monitoring, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to update FAA's policy to require the use of a methodology that fully aligns with the ISC's Risk Management Process for Federal Facilities for assessing all undesirable events, considering all three factors of risk, and documenting all deviations from the standard countermeasures.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve agencies' physical security programs' alignment with the ISC Risk Management Process for Federal Facilities and Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government for information and monitoring, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to update FAA's policy to include ongoing monitoring of physical security information.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve agencies' physical security programs' alignment with the ISC Risk Management Process for Federal Facilities and Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government for information and monitoring, the Secretary of Agriculture should include data collection and analysis requirements for monitoring the performance of agencies' physical security programs, in the department's revised physical-security manual.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve agencies' physical security programs' alignment with the ISC Risk Management Process for Federal Facilities and Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government for information and monitoring, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of the Agricultural Research Service and the Chief of the Forest Service to implement and monitor a long-term assessment schedule with key milestones to ensure that higher-level facilities are reassessed at least once every 3 years.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Elizabeth H. Curda
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of CMS should gather information over time on the number of beneficiaries at risk of harm from opioids, including those who receive high opioid morphine equivalent doses regardless of the number of pharmacies or providers, as part of assessing progress over time in reaching the agency's goals related to reducing opioid use. (Recommendation 1)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of CMS should require its contractor, National Benefit Integrity Medicare Drug Integrity Contractor, to identify and conduct analyses on providers who prescribe high amounts of opioids separately from providers who prescribe high amounts of any Schedule II drug. (Recommendation 2)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of CMS should require plan sponsors to report to CMS on investigations and other actions taken related to providers who prescribe high amounts of opioids. (Recommendation 3)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Joseph W. Kirschbaum
    Phone: (202) 512-9971

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: CAPE, in coordination with the military departments and other DOD entities serving as offices of primary responsibility for implementing the recommendations, should develop additional guidance for these offices to identify associated risks and document information about these risks in the centralized tracking tool. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: DOD CIO--in coordination with CAPE, the military departments, Joint Staff, and U.S. Strategic Command--as the draft template and any other additional tools to aid in their approach are finalized, should identify and communicate to NC3 stakeholders performance measures and milestones to assist in tracking the progress of implementation of the recommendations from the 2015 NC3 report and evaluating the outcomes of implementation actions, and risks associated with the implementation of the recommendations from the 2015 NC3 report. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of RHS should develop and implement a plan for ongoing monitoring, including testing and evaluation, of the obligation tool using relevant data. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Rural Housing Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of RHS should develop controls to check the reasonableness of rental assistance agreement amounts calculated by the obligation tool. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Rural Housing Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of RHS should develop controls to ensure that RHS uses the inflation rates from the President's economic assumptions in developing budget estimates. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Rural Housing Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of RHS should provide guidance to Rural Development state offices that specifies that prior to obligating funds, staff are to review information related to a property's mortgage servicing status. (Recommendation 4)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Rural Housing Service
    Status: Open

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

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of school finances and provide better information to schools and the public about its monitoring efforts, the Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid should update the composite score formula to better measure schools' financial conditions and capture financial risks.

    Agency: Department of Education: Office of Federal Student Aid
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of school finances and provide better information to schools and the public about its monitoring efforts, the Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid should improve guidance to schools about how the financial composite score is calculated, for example, by updating current guidance to include explanations about common areas of confusion and misinterpretation for schools.

    Agency: Department of Education: Office of Federal Student Aid
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of school finances and provide better information to schools and the public about its monitoring efforts, the Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid should increase the transparency of public data on schools' financial health by publicly listing the final composite score for each school.

    Agency: Department of Education: Office of Federal Student Aid
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Katherine Iritani
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve CMS's oversight of states' MLTSS programs, the Administrator of CMS should take steps to identify and obtain key information needed to oversee states' efforts to monitor beneficiary access to quality services, including, at a minimum, obtaining information specific to network adequacy, critical incidents, and appeals and grievances.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Debra A. Draper
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the WTC Health Program quality assurance (QA) program addresses required QA elements, including the three elements mandated in the Zadroga Act, the Director of NIOSH should develop and implement procedures for conducting systematic reviews of each clinic's QA plan (recommendation 1).

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the WTC Health Program QA program addresses required QA elements, including the three elements mandated in the Zadroga Act, the Director of NIOSH should develop and disseminate guidance that clearly specifies how the clinics should address mandated elements in their QA plans (recommendation 2).

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the WTC Health Program QA program addresses required QA elements, including the three elements mandated in the Zadroga Act, the Director of NIOSH should develop uniform performance measures that clinics are required to use to consistently evaluate mandated elements through their audits every quarter (recommendation 3).

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Joseph W. Kirschbaum
    Phone: (202) 512-9971

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD implements the tasks and objectives of key cybersecurity guidance to strengthen its cybersecurity posture, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Principal Cyber Advisor to modify the criteria for closing tasks from The DOD Cyber Strategy to reflect whether tasks have been implemented, and to re-evaluate tasks that have been previously determined to be completed to ensure that they meet the modified criteria.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD implements the tasks and objectives of key cybersecurity guidance to strengthen its cybersecurity posture, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Commander of CYBERCOM, in coordination with the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics and DOD Chief Information Officer, to establish a timeframe and monitor implementation of the DOD Cybersecurity Campaign objective to develop cybersecurity readiness assessments to help ensure accountability.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better assess whether RSCs are meeting USRAP objectives, the Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration should develop outcome-based indicators, as required by State policy.

    Agency: Department of State: Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better assess whether RSCs are meeting USRAP objectives, the Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration should monitor RSC performance against such indicators on a regular basis.

    Agency: Department of State: Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that USCIS officers effectively adjudicate applications for refugee status, the Director of USCIS should develop and implement a plan to deploy officers with national security expertise on circuit rides.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that USCIS officers effectively adjudicate applications for refugee status, the Director of USCIS should conduct regular quality assurance assessments of refugee application adjudications across USCIS's Refugee Affairs Division and International Operations Division.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: USCIS provided documentation that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials conducted a quality assurance assessment of refugee adjudications in July 2017 and has plans to conduct an additional quality assurance assessment in January or February 2018. To fully address this recommendation, USCIS should demonstrate a continued commitment to conducting regular quality assurance assessments of refugee application adjudications.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that USRAP applicant fraud prevention and detection controls are adequate and effectively implemented, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State should conduct regular joint assessments of applicant fraud risk across USRAP.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that USRAP applicant fraud prevention and detection controls are adequate and effectively implemented, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State should conduct regular joint assessments of applicant fraud risk across USRAP.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

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

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

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with the recommendation and indicated that the Department plans to address this recommendation by developing resources to guide embassies' efforts to conduct post-crisis lesson learned discussions, including a cable sent to embassies providing a list of questions for consideration. State indicated these steps should be completed by the end of fiscal year 2017. GAO will continue to track State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Malenich, J Lawrence
    Phone: (202) 512-3406

    9 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to develop a mechanism that captures all of the key factors to be considered, such as materiality and risk, when designing the evaluation of internal control over financial reporting and collaborate, as appropriate, with the Inspector General to develop a similar mechanism for use by FHFA-OIG.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. FHFA is in the process of developing a mechanism that captures key factors, including risk and materiality, when designing the evaluation of internal control over financial reporting. This mechanism will be documented for the FY 2017 evaluation of internal control over financial reporting. FHFA and FHFA OIG are collaborating in these efforts.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to coordinate with the Inspector General, as appropriate, when calculating materiality thresholds to reasonably assure that materiality determinations are appropriate for the agency as a whole and rationale is adequately documented.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. During the FY 2017 evaluation of internal control over financial reporting, FHFA will coordinate with the FHFA OIG when calculating materiality thresholds to reasonably assure that materiality determinations are appropriate for the Agency as a whole and the rationale is adequately documented.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to coordinate with the Inspector General, as appropriate, to assess and document the aggregate effect of all deficiencies identified at the agency-wide level during the evaluation of internal control over financial reporting.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. FHFA will coordinate with the FHFA OIG during the FY 2017 evaluation of internal control over financial reporting to assess and document the aggregate effect of all deficiencies identified at the Agency-wide level.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to (1) summarize in sufficient detail by internal control principle those activities from the program offices that have an effect on internal control over financial reporting to reasonably assure the consideration of all internal control components and related principles; (2) collaborate, as appropriate, with the Inspector General to implement corresponding actions at FHFA-OIG; and (3) document how that information is used to conclude on the internal control components and related principles for financial reporting.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. During the FY 2017 evaluation of internal control over financial reporting, FHFA will summarize by internal control principle those activities from the program offices that have an effect on internal control over financial reporting to reasonably assure the consideration of all internal control components and related principles. FHFA will also document how information is used to conclude on the internal control components and related principles for financial reporting activities that are evaluated. FHFA will collaborate with FHFA OIG in these efforts.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to enhance the evaluation of internal control over financial reporting by identifying and testing all key control activities, including those related to the preparation of the financial statements.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. FHFA will enhance the FY 2017 evaluation of internal control over financial reporting by identifying and testing all key control activities, including those related to the preparation of the financial statements.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to (1) thoroughly document FHFA's review of SSAE No. 16 reports issued for the period under evaluation by reasonably assuring that all applicable control objectives and related control activities are clearly identified and described and the evaluation of user entity controls is adequately explained and (2) collaborate, as appropriate, with the Inspector General to implement corresponding actions at FHFA-OIG.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. During the FY 2017 evaluation of internal control over financial reporting, FHFA will thoroughly document FHFA's review of SSAE No. 16 reports issued for the period under evaluation by reasonably assuring that all applicable control objectives and related control activities are clearly identified and described and the evaluation of user entity controls is adequately explained. FHFA will collaborate with the FHFA OIG during these efforts.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to (1) clearly define and document an approach that identifies the information systems that are key to financial reporting, the process areas these information systems support, the key control activities for each information system, and how the key control activities are evaluated and (2) collaborate, as appropriate, with the Inspector General to implement corresponding actions at FHFA-OIG.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. During the FY 2017 evaluation of internal control over financial reporting, FHFA will clearly define and document an approach that identifies the information systems that are key to financial reporting, the process areas these information systems support, the key control activities for each information system, and how the key control activities are evaluated. FHFA will collaborate with the FHFA OIG in these efforts.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to collaborate, as appropriate, with the Inspector General to (1) develop a complete list of the specific provisions of laws and regulations that may have an effect on material amounts and related disclosures in the financial statements that are applicable to FHFA-OIG and (2) prepare documentation that clearly links each applicable provision of law or regulation to the key control activities tested.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. FHFA will collaborate with the FHFA OIG to develop a complete list of the specific provisions of laws and regulations that may have an effect on material amounts and related disclosures in the financial statements that are applicable to the FHFA OIG and prepare documentation that clearly links each applicable provision of law or regulation to the key control activities tested.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct the Chief Financial Officer to design an evaluation process that reasonably assures assignment of independent roles between the implementation and monitoring of control activities that are significant to the evaluation of internal control over financial reporting.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHFA agreed with this recommendation. FHFA is designing an evaluation process that reasonably assures assignment of independent roles between implementation and monitoring of control activities that are significant to the evaluation of internal control over financial reporting. To this end, FHFA has hired an independent contractor to aid in the evaluation process for FY 2017, and has involved staff from FHFA's Office of Quality Assurance in the FY 2017 evaluation process to reasonably assure independent roles between monitoring and implementation going forward.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of CBP to assess and document how the alternative technological solutions being considered will fully meet operational needs related to ultralight aircraft.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and stated that it plans to assess and document requirements related to ultralight aircraft threats and how technological solutions will address these requirements as part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations air domain awareness efforts. DHS plans to complete these efforts by July 2018.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of CBP and the Director of ICE to jointly establish and monitor performance measures and targets related to cross-border tunnels.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation and stated that U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will review available information and develop performance measures and targets as deemed appropriate by February 2018.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commissioner of CBP to establish and monitor performance targets related to ultralight aircraft.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred and stated that within U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations and the U.S. Border Patrol are developing a joint performance measure and targets for interdicting ultralight aircraft. DHS plans to complete these efforts by October 2017.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)-U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tunnel committee to convene and establish standard operating procedures for addressing cross-border tunnels, including procedures for sharing information.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS did not concur with this recommendation. However, CBP and ICE agreed that strengthening operational procedures may be beneficial and stated that they will jointly review procedures and discuss revising and/or consolidating the procedures. We continue to believe that the recommendation is valid and will monitor DHS's efforts to address it.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that efforts to address smuggling through cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational vessels are effective and that managers and stakeholders have the information needed to make decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Commissioner of CBP, and the Director of ICE to establish and monitor Regional Coordinating Mechanisms performance measures and targets related to panga boat and recreational vessel smuggling.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS did not concur with this recommendation. DHS stated that that it believes that by establishing common terminology to address our first recommendation, the RECOMs will have more reliable, usable analyses to inform their maritime interdiction efforts. However, DHS did not believe that performance measures and targets related to smuggling by panga boats would provide the most useful strategic assessment of operations to prevent all illicit trafficking, regardless of area of operations or mode of transportation. DHS also cited the recent creation of the DHS Office of Policy, Strategy, and Plans that is to work with U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and other components and offices to better evaluate the effectiveness of all operations that work to prevent the illegal entry of goods and people into the country, as appropriate. We continue to believe that the recommendation is valid and will monitor DHS's efforts to address it.
    Director: James Cosgrove
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen CMS's oversight of MA contracts, the Administrator of CMS should review data on disenrollment by health status and the reasons beneficiaries disenroll as part of the agency's routine monitoring efforts.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Paula M. Rascona
    Phone: (202) 512-9816

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB and the Secretary of the Treasury should establish mechanisms to assess the results of independent audits and reviews of agencies' compliance with the DATA Act requirements, including those of agency OIGs, to help inform full implementation of the act's requirements across government.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Treasury stated it will establish mechanisms to assess the results of independent audits and reviews of agencies' compliance with the DATA Act requirements, including those of agency OIGs. Treasury also stated these mechanisms will inform Treasury's efforts on whether and how to tailor its future outreach efforts to help agencies meet their DATA Act requirements. We will continue to assess Treasury's efforts to address this recommendation as IGs plan to issue their required reports in November 2017.
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB and the Secretary of the Treasury should establish mechanisms to assess the results of independent audits and reviews of agencies' compliance with the DATA Act requirements, including those of agency OIGs, to help inform full implementation of the act's requirements across government.

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

    Comments: OMB stated that it reviewed available IG readiness review reports in its assessment of agency implementation efforts, and it also relied on other, more up-to-date sources of information from agencies including data obtained from one-on-one meetings and agency self-assessments. We will continue to assess OMB's efforts to address this recommendation as IGs plan to issue their required reports in November 2017.
    Director: Katherine Iritani
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve consistency in CMS oversight of federal spending under section 1115 demonstrations, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should require the Administrator of CMS to develop and document standard operating procedures for monitoring spending under demonstrations that (1) require setting reporting requirements for states that provide CMS the data elements needed for CMS to assess compliance with demonstration spending limits; (2) require consistent enforcement of states' compliance with financial reporting requirements; and (3) require consistent tracking of the amount of unspent funds under demonstration spending limits.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve consistency in CMS oversight of federal spending under section 1115 demonstrations, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should require the Administrator of CMS to issue formal guidance on the revised budget neutrality policy, including information on how the policy will be applied.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Gambler, Rebecca S
    Phone: (202) 512-6912

    9 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should ensure SAVE guidance, including written materials and instructional videos, clearly and accurately reflects user agencies' responsibilities for completing each step of a SAVE check, as outlined in each agency's memorandum of agreement.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should develop and implement a mechanism to oversee agencies' completion of training on additional verification in accordance with SAVE MOA provisions and program policies.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should provide notifications to user agencies when a case is ready for the user agency to review.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should develop and implement a more effective method for ensuring that individuals are aware of how they can access and correct their immigration records, such as by updating and improving the Fact Sheet for Benefit Applicants.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should develop and implement a documented, risk-based approach to monitoring and compliance, including (1) a risk-based approach to selecting behaviors to monitor; (2) standards for what triggers compliance actions for the selected behaviors; and (3) a risk-based process for how USCIS will prioritize and select agencies for compliance actions.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should develop and communicate a process for user agencies to update contact information.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should ensure that user agencies participate in compliance reviews when selected, in accordance with SAVE MOA provisions and USCIS policy.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should identify the root causes of agencies' noncompliance with SAVE MOA provisions and program policies and tailor agency recommendations to those identified causes.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the SAVE program, the director of USCIS should develop and implement a process for ensuring user agencies implement corrective actions such as through a system of escalating compliance assistance actions and follow-up.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Diana Maurer
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure grantees' compliance with the Drug-Free Communities Support Program's statutory requirements and to strengthen monitoring of grantee activities, SAMHSA should develop an action plan with time frames for addressing any deficiencies it finds through its reviews and making systemic changes to mitigate deficiencies on a prospective basis to strengthen the grant monitoring process.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA is currently in the process of implementing routine audits of all its grant files. SAMHSA will also conduct an audit specifically of DFC files to ensure compliance by the end of summer 2017. Additionally, SAMHSA will offer regular training to government project officers (GPO) on grant report requirements and will ensure DFC GPO participation. Finally, SAMHSA is actively implementing the Grants Enterprise Management System to streamline the grants management process and make the process for maintaining grant files automated. By the end of fall 2017, all newly awarded DFC grants will be in this system. By the end of fall 2018, all active DFC grants will utilize this system.
    Recommendation: To better ensure grantees' compliance with the Drug-Free Communities Support Program's statutory requirements and to strengthen monitoring of grantee activities, SAMHSA should develop and implement a method for ensuring that the grantee status reports it provides to ONDCP are complete and accurate.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA will develop a plan to ensure complete and accurate information is provided to ONDCP by the end of summer 2017.
    Director: Shelby S. Oakley
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the awareness of how risk-significant radioactive sources are transported within the United States and to better determine whether Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is meeting its goal of providing reasonable assurance for preventing the theft or diversion of these dangerous materials, the Chairman of NRC should take actions to collect information from licensees on the number of shipments and mode of transport for such sources--for example, by identifying the extent to which an existing NRC database (e.g., the National Source Tracking System) may be used to capture this information.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its 60-day response letter from NRC to GAO, NRC repeated its position on this recommendation as stated in its formal agency response that was included as appendix III in the report. In both cases, NRC states that it disagrees with this recommendation. NRC disagrees that the specific number of shipments by mode of transport is always needed. NRC explained that existing information collection requirements already exist for category 1 quantities and that it had previously determined that collection of shipment information for category 2 quantities was not necessary. NRC also stated that NSTS would not be the appropriate database to capture shipment information; it is not designed to capture real-time information. In addition, NRC does not consider the proposed collection activity to be of sufficient benefit to justify the additional cost of capturing the information. Therefore, NRC does not believe that adopting this recommendation would result in significant improvements to safety. Despite its disagreement with this recommendation, we will continue to monitor whether NRC takes any actions that would result in addressing the concern GAO raised.
    Recommendation: To further enhance the security of radioactive sources during ground transport, the Chairman of NRC, in consultation with the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of Homeland Security, should identify an approach to verify that motor carriers are meeting NRC's Part 37 security requirements applicable to transportation, for example by having DOT inspectors verify compliance with NRC Part 37 security requirements during their on-site investigations.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As noted in the NRC comments on the GAO report, the NRC agrees in general with the second recommendation to explore with Federal partners an approach to verify that motor carriers meet 10 CFR Part 37 transportation security requirements. The NRC commits to exploring how the respective agencies can verify that motor carriers are meeting the NRC's applicable Part 37 transportation security requirements. This recommendation will remain open until NRC presents evidence that it has acted on it.
    Recommendation: To further enhance the security of radioactive sources during ground transport, the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Chairman of NRC and the Secretary of Homeland Security, should consider examining the potential costs and security benefits associated with lowering the Highway Route Controlled Quantity (HRCQ) threshold so that more, or all, category 1 shipments are classified as HRCQ shipments.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its 60-day response letter, NRC stated that it recognizes that HRCQ thresholds fall under the jurisdiction of DOT. The NRC commits to exploring with DOT the potential costs and security benefits associated with lowering the HRCQ threshold so that more if not all , of the shipments of Category 1 quantities of radioactive material may be classified as HRCQ shipments. In its 60-day response letter, DOT concurred with this recommendation and stated that it planned to consult with NRC and the Department of Homeland Security Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, and its internal stakeholders to evaluate potential costs and security benefits of lowering the HRCQ threshold, which they expect to complete by January 15, 2018. This recommendation will remain open until evidence is presented by NRC and DOT that they have examined the costs and benefits of lowering the HRCQ threshold.
    Director: J. Alfredo Gómez
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the quality of EPA's internal records and the information EPA can communicate to internal and external decision makers, the EPA Administrator should direct the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Administration and Resources Management to direct the Director of the Office of Grants and Debarment (OGD) to provide clear guidance to EPA staff to help ensure that staff correctly identify all EPA discretionary grant programs in the agency's internal grants management system.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In written comments on this report, EPA stated that there are opportunities to explore how to better develop guidance for tracking grants and determine how to make more complete information on discretionary grants publicly available. In June 2017, EPA reported that it intends to be involved in efforts in 2017 to improve the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) descriptions, which may include changes to the CFDA template language to improve clarity of discretionary grant designations. EPA stated that also in 2017 the agency will assess whether other actions are necessary to help staff better identify discretionary grant programs in the agency's internal grants management systems, including training and reconciling any inconsistencies in defining discretionary grants.
    Recommendation: To better enable Congress and other decision makers to monitor EPA's management of discretionary grants, the EPA Administrator should direct the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Administration and Resources Management to direct the Director of OGD to determine how to make more complete information on EPA's discretionary grants publicly available, such as by posting timely and complete reports on its website.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2017, EPA reported that in 2017 the agency will begin to examine whether and how it can use its new internal Next Generation Grants System to generate more timely and complete reports related to discretionary grants and make them publicly available. EPA also stated that it plans to explore the ability to use the system to (1) generate more timely and complete information that can be publicly posted on the number of applications received and types of entities submitting applications for open competitive opportunities, and (2) produce an annual report on the amount of funds per discretionary grant program and whether such funds were for new awards or amendments.
    Director: Kathy King
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help ensure that quality care is provided to AI/AN people, as part of the implementation of its quality framework, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Director of IHS to ensure that agency-wide standards for the quality of care provided in its federally operated facilities are developed, that facility performance in meeting these standards is systematically monitored over time, and that enhancements are made to its adverse event reporting system.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: HHS agreed with our recommendation and cited steps it already has underway to improve the quality of care in IHS's federally-operated facilities. HHS described the development of the IHS Quality Framework and Implementation Plan released in November 2016. However, as of June 2017, IHS had not developed agency-wide standards for the quality of care provided in its federally operated facilities.
    Director: Charles Jeszeck
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Comments: IRS reported that it will change during the next scheduled update of the model agreements, the "pre-approved by IRS" statement to clarify that only the first seven articles of Form 5305, Traditional Individual Retirement Trust Account, and Form 5305-A, Traditional Individual Retirement Custodial Account, are approved by IRS. GAO will consider closing this recommendation when the agency has completed this effort.
    Director: Katherine Iritani
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To achieve a better understanding of the effect of certain Personal care services (PCS) services on beneficiaries and a more consistent administration of policies and procedures across PCS programs, the Acting Administrator of CMS should collect and analyze states' required information on the impact of the Participant-Directed Option and Community First Choice programs on the health and welfare of beneficiaries as well as the state quality measures for the Participant-Directed Option and Community First Choice programs.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To achieve a better understanding of the effect of certain PCS services on beneficiaries and a more consistent administration of policies and procedures across PCS programs, the Acting Administrator of CMS should take steps to harmonize requirements, as appropriate, across PCS programs in a way that accounts for common risks faced by beneficiaries and to better ensure that billed services are provided.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Kathleen M. King
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency's enrollment screening process, the Administrator of CMS should establish objectives and performance measures for assessing progress toward achieving its goals.

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

    Comments: As of August 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) considers this recommendation still open. HHS noted that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is planning to implement this recommendation in early 2018. GAO will continue to monitor the agency's progress and will update the status of the recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the management of DOD's credentialing program and better determine whether the program is achieving its desired results, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop and implement program performance measures that include key attributes, such as a baseline and goals, that can be used to assess performance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD did not concur with our recommendation to develop and implement performance measures for its credentialing program. As of August 23, 2017, the department still has yet to develop performance measures for the program.
    Director: Beryl H. Davis
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    9 open recommendations
    including 4 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide agencies access to SSA's more complete set of death data, Congress should consider amending the Social Security Act to explicitly allow SSA to share its full death file with Treasury for use through the DNP working system.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions have been taken we will update. As of August 3, 2017, no updated information has been provided.
    Recommendation: To reasonably assure that additional relevant databases are identified and evaluated for inclusion in the DNP working system, the Director of OMB should develop, document, and communicate a formal process that user agencies can use to identify, suggest, and receive feedback on additional databases to be evaluated for inclusion in the DNP working system.

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

    Comments: We provided a draft of this report to OMB and Treasury and other agencies we reviewed for comment. In its written comments, OMB agreed with this recommendation and cited plans to implement it. As of August 3, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the OMB. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To reasonably assure that the DNP working system is used effectively and consistently, the Director of OMB should develop guidance that clarifies whether the use of DNP's payment integration functionality is required and--if required--the circumstances and process in which agencies may obtain an exemption from this requirement.

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

    Comments: We provided a draft of this report to OMB and Treasury and other agencies we reviewed for comment. In its written comments, OMB agreed with this recommendation and cited plans to implement it. As of August 3, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the OMB. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To reasonably assure that agencies use the DNP working system effectively, the Director of OMB should develop a strategy--and communicate its strategy through guidance--for how agencies should use the DNP working system to complement existing data matching processes and whether and how agencies should consider using the DNP working system to streamline existing data matching. Such guidance may cover how agencies should demonstrate that their data matching processes meet the requirements in the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2012, whether agencies can decide on their own which specific databases to use, and how agencies should use the functionalities available through the DNP working system.

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

    Comments: We provided a draft of this report to OMB and Treasury and other agencies we reviewed for comment. In its written comments, OMB stated that it generally agreed with the concept of developing a strategy for how agencies should use the Do Not Pay (DNP) working system to complement existing data matching processes and would explore the concept further. As of August 3, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the OMB. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To reasonably assure that agencies develop consistent policies and procedures to verify DNP matches, the Director of OMB should provide additional guidance that outlines when and how agencies should verify DNP matches against a secondary source and provide individuals an opportunity to contest before taking adverse actions as a result of DNP matches.

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

    Comments: We provided a draft of this report to OMB and Treasury and other agencies we reviewed for comment. In its written comments, OMB stated that it agreed with the of consistent policies and procedures and will work with agencies so that their policies and procedures for verifying Do Not Pay (DNP) matches are developed consistently. As of August 3, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the OMB. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better monitor agency use of the DNP working system once a strategy has been developed, the Director of OMB should develop and implement monitoring mechanisms--such as goals, benchmarks, and performance measures--to evaluate agency use of the DNP working system.

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

    Comments: We provided a draft of this report to OMB and Treasury and other agencies we reviewed for comment. In its written comments, OMB stated that it agreed with the concept of monitoring mechanisms and will continue to work with agencies to reduce improper payments and encourage agencies to establish goals to improve payment accuracy that will be monitored and evaluated by OMB. As of August 3, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the OMB. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To reasonably assure that agency-reported information on use of the DNP working system is reliable, the Director of OMB should develop a process for comparing agency reporting on the use of the DNP working system to available sources, such as OMB guidance and DNP working system adjudication reports.

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

    Comments: We provided a draft of this report to OMB and Treasury and other agencies we reviewed for comment. In its written comments, OMB stated that it agreed with the concept of ensuring that data are reliable and will consider the feasibility of a process to compare agency submissions to available sources to reasonably assure that agency-reported information on use of the Do Not Pay (DNP) working system is reliable. As of August 3, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the OMB. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To reasonably assure that agency-reported information on use of the DNP working system is complete, the Director of OMB should revise its guidance to clarify whether agencies should report on their uses of all of the functionalities of the DNP working system in their agency financial reports.

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

    Comments: We provided a draft of this report to OMB and Treasury and other agencies we reviewed for comment. In its written comments, OMB stated that it agreed with ensuring the completeness of data and will continue to work with agencies and the Chief Financial Officer community to ensure that agency-reported information on the use of the Do Not Pay (DNP) working system is complete. As of August 3, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the OMB. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury should modify the DNP working system to track adjudication of matches obtained through all functionalities.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a memo dated April 13, 2017, the Department of Treasury (Treasury) stated that it is in the process of evaluating potential solutions to capture information on the impact of Portal functionalities (online single search, continuous monitoring, and batch matching), and has developed a plan with timeframes to assess the technical feasibility as well as user willingness to provide information. However, Treasury stated that it cannot be certain that this evaluation will identify viable solutions, and therefore cannot commit to making any modifications to the working system. Treasury explained, for instance, it may not be possible to design an effective and user-friendly strategy to capture agency decisions to remove an excluded party identified in a continuous monitoring file from a list of approved vendors. Further, Treasury explained that even if it can capture those decisions, it may be even more difficult to assign a dollar value to that decision as there would be no payment pending in this example. Nevertheless, Treasury stated that it is committed to thoroughly evaluating whether a solution is possible, and--if a solution proves feasibly--its goal is to complete a development plan for the implementation of any identified solutions by September 30, 2018.
    Director: Michael J. Courts
    Phone: (202) 512-8980

    5 open recommendations
    including 5 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance State's efforts to manage transportation-related security risks overseas, the Secretary of State should direct the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) to create consolidated guidance for RSOs that specifies required elements to include in post travel notification and transportation security policies. For example, as part of its current effort to develop standard templates for certain security directives, DS could develop templates for transportation security and travel notification policies that specify the elements required in all security directives as recommended by the February 2005 Iraq ARB as well as the standard transportation-related elements that DS requires in such policies.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State concurred with this recommendation and provided an update in April 2017 describing its plans to address the recommendation. However, as of October 2017, State had not completed the described actions. We will continue to monitor State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance State's efforts to manage transportation-related security risks overseas, the Secretary of State should direct DS to clarify whether or not the FAH's armored vehicle policy for overseas posts is that every post must have sufficient armored vehicles, and if DS determines that the policy does not apply to all posts, articulate the conditions under which it does not apply.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State concurred with this recommendation and provided an update in April 2017 describing its plans to address the recommendation. However, as of October 2017, State had not completed the described actions. We will continue to monitor State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance State's efforts to manage transportation-related security risks overseas, the Secretary of State should direct DS to develop monitoring procedures to ensure that all posts comply with the FAH's armored vehicle policy for overseas posts once the policy is clarified.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State concurred with this recommendation and provided an update in April 2017 describing its plans to address the recommendation. However, as of October 2017, State had not completed the described actions. We will continue to monitor State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance State's efforts to manage transportation-related security risks overseas, the Secretary of State should direct DS to clarify existing guidance on refresher training, such as by delineating how often refresher training should be provided at posts facing different types and levels of threats, which personnel should receive refresher training, and how the completion of refresher training should be documented.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State concurred with this recommendation and provided an update in April 2017 describing its plans to address the recommendation. However, as of October 2017, State had not completed the described actions. We will continue to monitor State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance State's efforts to manage transportation-related security risks overseas, the Secretary of State should direct DS to improve guidance for RSOs, in coordination with other relevant State offices and non-State agencies as appropriate, on how to promote timely communication of threat information to post personnel and timely receipt of such information by post personnel.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State concurred with this recommendation and provided an update in April 2017 describing its plans to address the recommendation. However, as of October 2017, State had not completed the described actions. We will continue to monitor State's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure compliance with the United States' nuclear cooperation agreements, the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, as the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, should clarify in guidance the conditions under which facilities may carry negative obligation balances.

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

    Comments: As of March 2017, NNSA has several initiatives underway to implement this recommendation. Later in 2017, we will know what changes NNSA and NRC made.
    Recommendation: To help ensure compliance with the United States' nuclear cooperation agreements, the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, as the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, should clarify in guidance the conditions under which facilities may carry negative obligation balances.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, NNSA has several initiatives underway to implement this recommendation. Later in 2017, we will know what changes NNSA and NRC made.
    Recommendation: To help ensure compliance with the United States' nuclear cooperation agreements, the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, as the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, should develop an early-warning monitoring capability in NMMSS to alert senior DOE officials when the inventory of unobligated LEU is particularly low.

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

    Comments: As of March 2017, NNSA has several initiatives underway to implement this recommendation. Later in 2017, we will know what changes NNSA and NRC made to NMMSS.
    Recommendation: To help ensure compliance with the United States' nuclear cooperation agreements, the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, as the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, should develop an early-warning monitoring capability in NMMSS to alert senior DOE officials when the inventory of unobligated LEU is particularly low.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, NNSA has several initiatives underway to implement this recommendation. Later in 2017, we will know what changes NNSA and NRC made.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help support DOD management of its FECA responsibilities, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the Secretaries of the military departments and other defense agency leaders, to monitor timelines associated with significant FECA claims-management actions in order to identify the extent to which delays or inefficiencies may be occurring and at what points in the process; to identify any known reasons for the delays; and to communicate this information to DOL as appropriate for consideration and action.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: James McTigue
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that Field Collection program case selection processes support IRS's and the Collection program's mission, including applying tax laws with integrity and fairness to all, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop, document, and communicate Field Collection program and case selection objectives, including the role of fairness, in clear and measurable terms sufficient for use in internal control.

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

    Comments: IRS agreed with the recommendation and described actions it will take to address it, to include that the Small Business/Self-Employed Division (SB/SE) will develop fiscal year 2017 program objectives that align with the mission of SB/SE and that the Collection program will develop and document specific Field Collection and case selection activities that will support SB/SE objectives. However, it is not clear how these efforts will be fully responsive our recommendation to establish Field Collection (not division-level) program and case selection objectives sufficient for use in internal control. IRS said it planned to complete actions on this recommendation by July 2017. We will update the status of IRS's implementation of the recommendation after we complete review of any documents IRS provides on actions taken.
    Recommendation: To ensure that Field Collection program case selection processes support IRS's and the Collection program's mission, including applying tax laws with integrity and fairness to all, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop, document, and implement performance measures clearly linked to the Field Collection program and case selection objectives.

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

    Comments: IRS agreed with the recommendation and outlined planned actions to address it. However, since it is not clear that IRS's planned actions to implement our first recommendation will result in Field Collection program and case selection objectives sufficient for internal control purposes, IRS's ability to address the related recommendation to establish performance measures may be limited. IRS said it planned to complete actions on this recommendation by August 2017. We will update the status of IRS's implementation of the recommendation after we complete review of any documents IRS provides on actions taken.
    Recommendation: To ensure that Field Collection program case selection processes support IRS's and the Collection program's mission, including applying tax laws with integrity and fairness to all, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should incorporate program and case selection objectives into existing risk management systems or use other approaches to identify and analyze potential risks to achieving those objectives so that Field Collection can establish risk tolerances and appropriate control procedures to address risks.

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

    Comments: IRS agreed with the recommendation and outlined planned actions to address it. However, since it is not clear that IRS's planned actions to implement our first recommendation will result in Field Collection program and case selection objectives sufficient for internal control purposes, IRS's ability to address the related recommendation to assess program risks may be limited. IRS said it planned to complete actions on this recommendation by July 2017. We will update the status of IRS's implementation of the recommendation after we complete review of any documents IRS provides on actions taken.
    Recommendation: To ensure that Field Collection program case selection processes support IRS's and the Collection program's mission, including applying tax laws with integrity and fairness to all, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop, document, and communicate control procedures guidance for group managers to exercise professional judgment in the Field Collection program case selection process to achieve fairness and other program and collection case selection objectives.

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

    Comments: IRS agreed with the recommendation and described actions it will take to address it, to include review of current procedures and guidance and making changes, if necessary. IRS said it planned to complete actions on this recommendation by July 2017. We will update the status of IRS's implementation of the recommendation after we complete review of any documents IRS provides on actions taken.
    Recommendation: To ensure that Field Collection program case selection processes support IRS's and the Collection program's mission, including applying tax laws with integrity and fairness to all, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop, document, and implement procedures to periodically monitor and assess the design and operational effectiveness of both automated and manual control procedures for collection case selection to assure their continued effectiveness in achieving program objectives.

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

    Comments: IRS agreed with the recommendation and outlined planned actions to address it. However, since it is not clear that IRS's planned actions to implement our first recommendation will result in Field Collection program and case selection objectives sufficient for internal control purposes, IRS's ability to address the related recommendation to monitor control procedures may be limited. IRS said it planned to complete actions on this recommendation by July 2017. We will update the status of implementation of the recommendation after we complete review of documents IRS provides on the actions taken.
    Director: Paula M. Rascona
    Phone: (202) 512-9816

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure effective government-wide implementation and that complete and consistent spending data will be reported as required by the DATA Act, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, should establish or leverage existing processes and controls to determine the complete population of agencies that are required to report spending data under the DATA Act and make the results of those determinations publicly available.

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

    Comments: OMB stated that each agency is responsible for determining whether it is subject to the DATA Act. To help agencies make that determination, OMB published guidance in the form of frequently asked questions and stated that the agencies may consult with OMB for additional counsel. In response to our recommendation, OMB staff told us they have reached out to federal agencies to identify which agencies have determined that they are exempt from reporting under the DATA Act and prepared a list of such agencies. However, OMB has not provided us the list or the procedures for reviewing agency determinations and compiling the results. In addition, OMB has not established procedures for ensuring non-exempt agencies are reporting spending data as required. Finally, OMB has not stated whether it will make the results of the determinations publicly available. Further, additional clarification would improve the usefulness of the frequently asked questions. For example, they state "Any Federal agency submitting data that OMB posts on its SF 133 Report on Budget Execution and Budgetary Resources is required to comply with DATA Act reporting." However, the SF 133 Report for the third quarter of 2016 includes entities such as the Postal Service which are not required by the DATA Act to report financial and payment information. In explaining the frequently asked questions to us, OMB officials clarified that they meant that an entity is required to report if its data appears on the SF 133 and it meets the applicable statutory definition of agency. The frequently asked questions document does not clearly communicate this two-prong approach. Additionally, OMB's verbal clarification when meeting with us does not account for those entities that meet the statutory definition of agency and are required by the DATA Act to report financial and payment information but do not appear on the SF 133. We will continue to assess OMB's efforts to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure effective government-wide implementation and that complete and consistent spending data will be reported as required by the DATA Act, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, should reassess, on a periodic basis, which agencies are required to report spending data under the DATA Act and make appropriate notifications to affected agencies.

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

    Comments: OMB does not have plans to reassess, on a periodic basis, which agencies are required to report spending data under the DATA Act. We continue to believe action on this recommendation is important to effectively implement the DATA Act. We will continue to assess OMB's efforts to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure effective implementation of the DATA Act by the agencies and facilitate the further establishment of overall government-wide governance, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, should request that non-CFO Act agencies required to report federal spending data under the DATA Act submit updated implementation plans, including updated timelines and milestones, cost estimates, and risks, to address new technical requirements.

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

    Comments: On June 15, 2016, OMB directed CFO Act agencies to update key components of their implementation plans by August 12, 2016. The requirement did not extend to non-CFO Act agencies. OMB stated that it is monitoring non-CFO Act agencies by providing feedback to non-CFO Act agencies through workshops instead of requesting updated implementation plan information. According to OMB officials, OMB has not followed-up with non-CFO Act agencies or requested updated implementation plan information because they are working with the CFO Act agencies which comprise approximately 90 percent of federal spending. In addition to these outreach efforts, OMB has worked with Treasury to engage with small and independent agencies through weekly phone calls and other forms of communication. However, the DATA Act applies to most federal agencies, and we believe that it is important to monitor smaller agencies' implementation plans as well as large agencies. We will continue to assess OMB's efforts to address this recommendation.
    Director: Andrew Von Ah
    Phone: (213) 830-1011

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and oversight of DHS programs receiving fees and other collections, and to ensure that component management take the following actions for each fee and other collections program that they administer, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the DHS Chief Financial Officer to use some means, such as the DHS Fee Governance Council, to document the processes and analyses for assessing and, as appropriate, for managing the difference between program costs and collections and document resulting decisions.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS's Fee Governance Council, led by the Deputy CFO plans to draft and publish a revised section of the Financial Management Policy Manual devoted to documenting the processes and analyses for assessing and managing the difference between program costs and collections and document resulting decisions. The Council is currently working to establish interim milestones associated with this objective.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and oversight of DHS programs receiving fees and other collections, and to ensure that component management take the following actions for each fee and other collections program that they administer, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the DHS Chief Financial Officer to use some means, such as the DHS Fee Governance Council, to establish processes for managing unobligated carryover balances, to include targets for minimum and maximum balances for programs that lack such processes and targets.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Fee Governance Council will draft and publish a revised section of the Financial Management Policy Manual devoted to managing unobligated carryover balances. The Council is currently working to develop specific milestones associated with this objective.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and oversight of DHS programs receiving fees and other collections, and to ensure that component management take the following actions for each fee and other collections program that they administer, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the DHS Chief Financial Officer to use some means, such as the DHS Fee Governance Council, to conduct reviews to identify any management and operational deficiencies.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The DHS Fee Governance Council plans to publish a revised section of the Financial Management Policy Manual devoted to how components conduct studies of fee programs to identify any management or operational deficiencies. The Council is currently working to establish specific milestones associated with this objective.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and oversight of DHS programs receiving fees and other collections, and to ensure that component management take the following actions for each fee and other collections program that they administer, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the DHS Chief Financial Officer to use some means, such as the DHS Fee Governance Council, to take action to track and report on management and operational deficiencies--including reasons supporting any decisions to not pursue recommended actions--identified in fee reviews or through other means.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The DHS Fee Governance Council will publish a revised section of the Financial Management Policy Manual devoted to how regular biennial reviews are conducted at DHS and how any findings and recommendations on management and operational deficiencies identified in these fee studies are tracked and reported.
    Director: James R. McTigue, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

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

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

    Comments: In its fiscal year 2017 congressional justification, IRS modified how its budget data were organized, including linking requested increases to future state themes, but did not clarify how current spending by themes relates to appropriation accounts. Information on current spending by theme and account is important to ensure transparency on the current funding levels to assist Congress in making informed budget decisions. IRS did not include data on the future state themes in the fiscal year 2018 congressional justification and, according to IRS officials, it did not report this information in any other budget document. According to IRS officials, it did not report budget data by future state theme because IRS is working to transition the future state themes into the strategic plan. Including data on the appropriation account would provide additional transparency and improve the quality of the information available to Congress for budget deliberations.
    Recommendation: As Treasury works with IRS to improve the quality and accuracy of budget data, the Secretary of the Treasury should ensure sufficient controls are in place to make certain that the information technology investment reports generated from the SharePoint Investment Knowledge Exchange are accurate. This includes, for example, taking steps to reduce the need for manual corrections to the data.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2017, Treasury Department officials took steps to address the need to manually correct budget data for the fiscal year 2017 budget request, but we have not received documentation that they have done so for future budget years. Improved information would help Treasury and IRS better account for information technology resources. We will continue to monitor Treasury's progress.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To more fully understand the food assistance needs that exist for active-duty servicemembers and their families, and to help ensure that DOD effectively targets its support to those in need of assistance, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to revise, as appropriate, any existing data-collection mechanisms, such as periodic surveys, to collect and analyze more complete data on the use of food assistance programs by servicemembers and their families and use the data to determine if any further actions are needed, such as assigning responsibilities at the department-level for monitoring the use of food assistance programs by active-duty servicemembers.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, The Department of Defense (DOD) revised the questions on the September 2016 Status of Force Survey of Active Duty Members to include questions on whether servicemembers and their families had in the past 12 months run out of food, skipped meals, or were unable to eat balanced meals due to a lack of money. The survey also included questions on whether the servicemembers or their families had used food pantries in the past twelve months and asked the servicemembers to identify the factors that had contributed to their food concerns and/or need to use a food pantry. Finally, the survey included questions on the extent servicemember had ever applied for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program), whether they were currently receiving SNAP benefits, their paygrade at the time they first started receiving SNAP benefits, the total number of people in the household when they first started receiving SNAP benefits, and how long they have received SNAP benefits. DOD official stated that the results of the survey were not published until July 31, 2017 so they have not had the opportunity to review the results of the survey to determine what further actions, if any, are needed.
    Recommendation: To more fully understand the food assistance needs that exist for active-duty servicemembers and their families, and to help ensure that DOD effectively targets its support to those in need of assistance, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to coordinate with USDA to leverage its access to data on active-duty servicemembers and their families who use its programs and services and consider outreaching to other organizations that have data on servicemembers' use of food assistance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, DOD has not provided information on steps it has taken to address this recommendation. When more information becomes available, we will update the recommendation?s status accordingly.
    Director: Thomas Melito
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    4 open recommendations
    including 4 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the financial oversight of U.S. programs to provide humanitarian assistance to people inside Syria, the USAID Administrator should update guidance to require non-governmental organizations to conduct risk assessments addressing the risk of fraud.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USAID concurred with our recommendation; however, as of November 2017, it has yet to fully implement this recommendation. In December 2016, the Office of Food for Peace updated its annual program statement to include language requiring organizations to complete an analysis of risks related to fraud, corruption, and mismanagement, with relevant mitigation measures. However, the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) has yet to officially update its guidance, although USAID has previously noted that OFDA will require all organizations seeking funding to address fraud risks and submit a detailed mitigation plan in their proposal package. We will continue to update the status of this recommendation as we receive information.
    Recommendation: To improve the financial oversight of U.S. programs to provide humanitarian assistance to people inside Syria, the USAID Administrator should use risk assessments submitted by implementing partners to inform USAID oversight activities, for example, using information from assessments to ensure that control activities for programs are designed to mitigate identified risks.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USAID concurred with our recommendation, stating that they plan to tailor their oversight activities to mitigate risks identified in the fraud risk mitigation plans that organizations will submit as part of their funding proposal packages in the future. In addition, USAID noted that it planned to hire a compliance officer by October 2016 to manage fraud mitigation and other compliance issues for OFDA and FFP's Syria and Iraq portfolios. However, as of November 2017, USAID has yet to fill this position. We will continue to track the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the financial oversight of U.S. programs to provide humanitarian assistance to people inside Syria, the USAID Administrator should ensure that field monitors in Syria are trained on assessing and identifying potential fraud risks.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USAID concurred with our recommendation, but has yet to implement this recommendation, as of November 2017. USAID has previously stated that it would work to provide the third-party monitoring organization with information specific to the Syria context that identifies methods to detect fraud. USAID also stated that it would work with the third-party monitoring organization to ensure that data collectors are trained on fraud risks and methods for identifying fraud. We will continue to track the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the financial oversight of U.S. programs to provide humanitarian assistance to people inside Syria, the USAID Administrator should instruct the third party monitoring organization monitoring Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance programs in Syria to modify the site visit forms to include specific guidance for documenting incidents of potential fraud.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USAID concurred with this recommendation, stating that it would seek to have site visit forms revised to include indications of fraud, waste, and abuse. However, as of November 2017, USAID has yet to implement the recommendation. We will continue to track the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Dawn B. Simpson
    Phone: (202) 512-3406

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary to develop and implement procedures to determine whether user accounts already exist before establishing or recertifying user accounts in the Governmentwide Treasury Account Symbol Adjusted Trial Balance System or Governmentwide Financial Report System.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of the completion of our fiscal year 2016 consolidated financial statements (CFS) audit, Treasury agreed that this recommendation remained open. Treasury plans to implement processes to validate new users who do not already have an existing account in the Governmentwide Treasury Account Symbol Adjusted Trial Balance System (GTAS) or the Governmentwide Financial Report System (GFRS); and to ensure that users do not have conflicting roles or privileges. We will follow-up on progress made by Treasury as part of our fiscal year 2017 CFS audit, which is ongoing as of March 2017.
    Director: Gretta L. Goodwin
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help the NICS Section achieve its mission to enhance national security and public safety by providing the timely and accurate determination of a person's eligibility to possess firearms, the Director of the FBI should monitor NICS check outcomes for specific categories of prohibited individuals to assess timeliness and provide this information to other DOJ entities for use in establishing priorities and tools to assist states in submitting more complete records for use during NICS checks.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Status: Open

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

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that USPTO's collaborative efforts on classification help examiners find relevant prior art, USPTO should work with the European Patent Office (EPO) to identify a target level of consistency of Cooperative Patent Classification decisions between USPTO and EPO and develop a plan to monitor consistency to achieve the target.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Patent and Trademark Office
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO has begun ongoing meetings with EPO on quality assurance. USPTO aims to agree to a target level, develop and deploy any needed IT, and begin monitoring and implementing corrective actions by first quarter of 2019.
    Recommendation: To ensure that USPTO is able to take full advantage of its investment in new information technology tools and capabilities, USPTO should develop and periodically update a documented strategy to identify key sources of nonpatent literature for individual technology centers and to assess the optimal means of providing access to these sources, such as including them in USPTO's search system.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Patent and Trademark Office
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will begin assessing nonpatent literature usage and develop a strategy for optimizing its usage by November 2017.
    Recommendation: To improve its monitoring of prior art searches and provide USPTO the ability to examine and address trends in prior art search quality at the technology center level, USPTO should develop written guidance on what constitutes a thorough prior art search within each technology field (i.e., mechanical, chemical, electrical), technology center, art area, or art unit, as appropriate, and establish goals and indicators for improving prior art searches.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Patent and Trademark Office
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will establish goals and indicators for prior art searches by December 2017.
    Recommendation: To improve its monitoring of prior art searches and provide USPTO the ability to examine and address trends in prior art search quality at the technology center level, USPTO should ensure that sufficient information is collected in reviews of prior art searches to assess the quality of searches at the technology center level, including how often examiners search for U.S. patents, foreign patents, and nonpatent literature.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Patent and Trademark Office
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will complete an evaluation of the master review form used to collect information on prior art search by April 2017 and will have performed a sufficient number of reviews by September 2017 to assess search quality at the technology center level.
    Recommendation: To improve its monitoring of prior art searches and provide USPTO the ability to examine and address trends in prior art search quality at the technology center level, USPTO should use the audits and supervisory reviews to monitor the thoroughness of examiners' prior art searches and improvements over time.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Patent and Trademark Office
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will develop metrics for prior art search quality and processes to incorporate information learned from these metrics by June 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure that examiners have sufficient time to conduct a thorough prior art search, USPTO should, in conjunction with implementing the recommendation from our patent quality report to analyze the time examiners need to perform a thorough examination, specifically assess the time examiners need to conduct a thorough prior art search for different technologies.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Patent and Trademark Office
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will complete analyses of examiner's required duties and current time expectancies and determine what, if any, additional time should be given by September 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure that examiners have the technical competence needed to complete thorough prior art searches, USPTO should assess whether the technical competencies of examiners in each technology center match those necessary; develop strategies to address any gaps identified, such as a technical training strategy; and establish measures to monitor progress toward closing any gaps.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Patent and Trademark Office
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will develop assessment tools and plans to address any gaps identified, as well as measure progress towards closing any gaps by December 2017.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the monitoring of holding facilities, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct Border Patrol and ICE to develop and implement a process to assess their time in custody data for all individuals in holding facilities, including: (1) identifying and addressing potential data quality issues; and (2) identifying cases where time in custody exceeded guidelines and assessing the factors impacting time in custody.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To strengthen the transparency of the complaints process, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct CBP and ICE to develop and issue guidance on how and which complaint mechanisms should be communicated to individuals in custody at holding facilities.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To facilitate the tracking of holding facility complaints, the Secretary of Homeland Security should include a classification code in all complaint tracking systems related to DHS holding facilities.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide useful information for compliance monitoring, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct CBP and ICE to develop and implement a process for analyzing trends related to holding facility complaints across their respective component.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Susan A. Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen FRA's grants management practices, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FRA Administrator to enhance the process outlined in the Grants Manual to monitor project performance for future grants to include: (1) performance measures directly linked to project goals, and (2) fully incorporating timely and actionable information on grantee performance into FRA's review process to help determine whether current efforts are in line with the overall project goals.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT agreed with this recommendation and stated that FRA will enhance the grants management manual content linking performance measures to project goals, and incorporating timely and actionable information on grant performance into monitoring and oversight activities. DOT stated FRA would complete these actions by June 30, 2017.
    Recommendation: To strengthen FRA's grants management practices, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FRA Administrator to develop and provide written guidance to grantees to include FRA's expectations on the type of information grantees should provide, such as guidance specific to deliverables and milestones for each grant project.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT agreed with this recommendation and stated that FRA will identify gaps in existing guidance and develop and disseminate revised guidance to grantees. DOT stated FRA would complete these actions by December 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: To strengthen FRA's grants management practices, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FRA Administrator to analyze training needs and formalize a training plan for grantees and agency staff, which could include training on grant-specific procedures and policies.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT agreed with this recommendation and FRA developed a revised formal training plan in March 2017. As of May 2017, we are reviewing this plan.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that costs savings estimates are reliable, the Director of the USMS should direct its Prisoner Operations Division to develop reliable methods for estimating cost savings and validating reported savings achieved.

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

    Comments: In May 2016, we reported on United States Marshals Service's (USMS) actions to reduce prisoner-related costs from fiscal years 2010 through 2015. During the course of our review, we found that while USMS implemented actions that it reports have continued to save prisoner-related costs, USMS's methods to determine savings for certain actions were not reliable. For example, USMS identified $375 million in savings from the alternatives to pre-trial detention program for fiscal years 2010 through 2015, but did not verify the data or methodology used to develop the estimate or provide documentation supporting its reported savings for fiscal years 2012 onward. Consequently, we recommended that USMS direct its prisoner operations division to develop reliable methods for estimating cost savings and validating reports savings achieved. USMS concurred with our recommendation. In July 2016, USMS provided more information about how it would address the recommendation by confirming that its future cost savings estimates would be consistent with OMB guidelines for conducting benefit-cost analyses and GAO-identified practices for assessing the reliability of computer-processed data. Aligning USMS estimates with these identified practices would better position the agency to assess the effectiveness of its cost savings efforts. As USMS develops such mechanisms, we will request and consider documentation and other evidence to determine that USMS has implemented this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enable USMS to more consistently identify deficiencies and monitor corrective actions, the Director of the USMS should establish a mechanism to aggregate and analyze the results of annual district self-assessments.

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

    Comments: In May 2016, we reported on United States Marshals Service's (USMS) actions to design systems to help identify cost savings opportunities. During the course of our review, we found that USMS has designed several systems for identifying cost savings, including, for example, developing a strategic plan and guidance for district officials that reinforce policies to provide for the safe, secure, and cost-effective containment of its prisoners. In addition, USMS requires districts to conduct annual self-assessments of their procedures to identify any deficiencies which could lead to cost savings. However, USMS cannot aggregate and analyze the results of the assessments across districts. As a result, we recommended that USMS establish a mechanism to aggregate and analyze the results of annual district self-assessments. USMS concurred with our recommendation. In July 2016, USMS informed us that the agency will develop a method to aggregate and analyze the results of the annual district self-assessments. However, it has not provided information on its plans or timelines to implement the recommendation. As USMS develops such mechanisms, we will consider documentation and other evidence to determine that USMS has implemented this recommendation.
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

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

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

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

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To reduce the number of Medicare appeals and to strengthen oversight of the Medicare FFS appeals process, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct CMS, Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA), or Departmental Appeals Board (DAB) to modify the various Medicare appeals data systems to collect information on the reasons for appeal decisions at Level 3.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to HHS as of August 2016, OMHA and DAB were considering the cost and technical feasibility of collecting this information within their appeals data systems. As of September 2017, HHS officials have not implemented this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To reduce the number of Medicare appeals and to strengthen oversight of the Medicare FFS appeals process, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct CMS, OMHA, or DAB to modify the various Medicare appeals data systems to capture the amount, or an estimate, of Medicare allowed charges at stake in appeals in Medicare Appeals System (MAS) and Medicare Operations Division Automated Case Tracking System (MODACTS).

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to HHS as of August 2016, this information was not captured in any CMS system, including MAS. HHS reported that if MAS is modified to capture the amount of Medicare allowed charges at stake, OMHA will consider modifying its Electronic Case Adjudication and Processing Environment (ECAPE) to include this information as well, and DAB can capture it in a new case management system currently being developed by the agency. As of September 2017, HHS officials have not implemented this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To reduce the number of Medicare appeals and to strengthen oversight of the Medicare FFS appeals process, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct CMS, OMHA, or DAB to modify the various Medicare appeals data systems to collect consistent data across systems, including appeal categories and appeal decisions across MAS and MODACTS.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to HHS as of August 2016, HHS reported taking several initial steps to standardize data across Medicare appeals systems. Specifically, HHS stated that, in November 2016, CMS will modify MAS to standardize appeal categories between Levels 1 through 3 and that OMHA will incorporate the standardized MAS appeal categories for Levels 1 and 2 into ECAPE in its next release. DAB will also work to incorporate these standardized categories into its new appeals data system. In addition, HHS reported that CMS is working to modify MAS to collect additional information related to appeal decisions. As of September 2017, HHS officials have not implemented this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: Williamson, Randall B
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

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

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, the VHA reported that it plans to have an Academic Affiliate Contracting Forum on August 15-16, 2017 in Nashville, TN or Dallas, TX for VHA staff responsible for health care contracts and University affiliates. The purpose of the Forum is to strengthen and advance the collaborative partnership for providing service to Veterans; share perspectives; and enhance awareness about processes, procedures and tools that will help make contracting processes faster and easier for all parties.
    Director: Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-7331

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To strengthen compliance with the Leahy laws and implementation of State's human rights vetting process and to help ensure that U.S. funded assistance is not provided to Egyptian security forces that have committed gross violations of human rights, as State works to implement a revised version of the International Vetting and Security Tracking system (INVEST) system that is expected to help facilitate equipment vetting, the Secretary of State should develop time frames for establishing corresponding policies and procedures to implement a vetting process to help enable the U.S. government to provide a more reasonable level of assurance that equipment is not transferred to foreign security forces, including those in Egypt, when there is credible information that a unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State agreed with this recommendation. State acknowledged challenges identifying recipients of equipment across the range of assistance activities, but noted that it would continue to update its systems and procedures to facilitate human rights vetting for recipients of equipment. In April 2017, State reported that it had provided finalized guidance on vetting Egyptian recipients of Foreign Military Financing-funded equipment to Embassy Cairo. These procedures have been incorporated into a revised version of Embassy Cairo's guide for conducting human rights vetting. According to State, Embassy Cairo has implemented these procedures. Also, as of June 2017, State has added new features to INVEST to help facilitate vetting of equipment recipients. However, State has not yet provided information on its plans for adopting the procedures used in Egypt more broadly in other countries that also receive equipment through the Foreign Military Financing account or through other U.S. assistance programs. In addition, State has not established requirements for posts to use the new equipment vetting features in INVEST. We will continue to monitor agency efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Director: Seto Bagdoyan
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of SBA should direct the Associate Administrator of Business Development to document its planned method for tracking revenue generated under subsidiaries' primary and secondary lines of business, with milestones and timelines for when and how the method will be implemented.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO is reviewing documentation that SBA provided regarding actions that it has taken to address this recommendation and is currently determining whether these actions fully address the recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of SBA should direct the Associate Administrator of Business Development to provide the appropriate level of access to and sharing of relevant subsidiary data across district offices, including primary and secondary North American Industry Classification System codes and revenue data, once SBA develops a database with the capabilities of collecting and tracking this revenue data as we recommended in 2012.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO is reviewing documentation that SBA provided regarding actions that it has taken to address this recommendation and is currently determining whether these actions fully address the recommendation.
    Director: Marcia Crosse
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    28 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Agriculture should revise existing department policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories to contain specific requirements for reporting laboratory incidents to senior department officials, including the types of incidents that should be reported, to whom, and when, or direct the Administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service to develop agency policies that contain these requirements.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016 USDA reported that its science and safety councils chartered a joint biorisk management policy committee to oversee the revisions of existing policies to include department-wide incident reporting requirements and time frames. USDA also reported that FSIS will collaborate with the department to ensure that FSIS policies comply with USDA reporting requirements. USDA did not provide an anticipated completion date for revising departmental polices.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Agriculture should review and update outdated department policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and direct the Administrators of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Agricultural Research Service to update their policies and, in the case of APHIS, establish a regular review schedule.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, USDA reported that the science and safety councils' joint biorisk management policy committee will review and update the existing outdated USDA policies. In addition, USDA reported that APHIS will review agency policies for biological laboratories every 3-5 years or sooner, if necessary, and that this schedule will be reflected in USDA policy. USDA did not provide an anticipated completion date for reviewing and updating departmental polices. USDA reported that ARS has finalized its policies for its institutional biological safety committee in April 2016. Once all USDA and component agency policies have been updated and review schedules established, we will close this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Agriculture should routinely analyze results of the department's laboratory inspections and incident reports to identify potential trends that may highlight recurring laboratory safety or security issues and share lessons learned with laboratory personnel.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, USDA reported that the joint biorisk management policy committee will oversee efforts to collect and analyze laboratory inspection and incident reports and share these reports and critical analyses with USDA senior leadership. USDA did not provide an anticipated start date for analyzing reports and sharing analyses with senior departmental officials. USDA stated that the joint biorisk committee also serves as an information-sharing platform across USDA agencies and, as such, is positioned to share lessons learned from analyses of inspection and incident reports with laboratory personnel as necessary. USDA also provided additional information on APHIS, ARS, and FSIS planned or ongoing inspection and incident report analyses.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Agriculture should require routine reporting of the results of department, agency, and select agent laboratory inspections to senior department officials.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, USDA reported that the joint biorisk management policy committee will oversee efforts to revise existing departmental regulations to include requirements for routine reporting of inspection results to senior USDA officials. USDA did not provide an anticipated completion date for revising existing departmental regulations. USDA also provided additional information on APHIS, ARS, and FSIS planned or ongoing reporting of inspection results or revisions of agency policies to require such reporting.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Agriculture should require routine reporting of incidents at agency laboratories to senior department officials.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, USDA reported that the joint biorisk management policy committee will oversee efforts to revise existing departmental regulations to include requirements for routine reporting of laboratory incidents to senior USDA officials. USDA did not provide an anticipated completion date for revising existing departmental regulations. USDA also provided additional information on APHIS, ARS, and FSIS planned or ongoing incident reporting or revisions of agency policies to require such reporting.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Defense should revise existing department policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories to contain specific requirements for inventory control for all of DOD's high-containment laboratories, not just for its select agent-registered laboratories, or direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy to revise their existing, respective policies to contain these requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, DOD noted that its comments on the final report--in which it agreed with all of our findings and recommendations for the department--had not changed. However, DOD did not provide us with an update on its status in implementing these recommendations.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force and Army to review and update their respective outdated policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, DOD noted that its comments on the final report--in which it agreed with all of our findings and recommendations for the department--had not changed. However, DOD did not provide us with an update on its status in implementing these recommendations.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Defense should routinely analyze agencies' inspection results and incident reports to identify potential trends that may highlight recurring laboratory safety or security issues and share lessons learned with laboratory personnel, or direct the Secretaries of the Army and Navy to do so.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, DOD noted that its comments on the final report--in which it agreed with all of our findings and recommendations for the department--had not changed. However, DOD did not provide us with an update on its status in implementing these recommendations.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Defense should require routine reporting of the results of Air Force, Army, and Navy inspections of non-select agent registered laboratories to senior department officials.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, DOD noted that its comments on the final report--in which it agreed with all of our findings and recommendations for the department--had not changed. However, DOD did not provide us with an update on its status in implementing these recommendations.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Defense should require routine reporting of laboratory incidents at Air Force, Army, and Navy non-select agent registered laboratories to senior department officials.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, DOD noted that its comments on the final report--in which it agreed with all of our findings and recommendations for the department--had not changed. However, DOD did not provide us with an update on its status in implementing these recommendations.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army and Navy to require reporting of agency and select agent laboratory inspection results to senior agency officials.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, DOD noted that its comments on the final report--in which it agreed with all of our findings and recommendations for the department--had not changed. However, DOD did not provide us with an update on its status in implementing these recommendations.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Defense should develop time frames for the 19 specific recommendations from the July 2015 review, or direct the Secretary of the Army to do so.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, DOD noted that its comments on the final report--in which it agreed with all of our findings and recommendations for the department--had not changed. However, DOD did not provide us with an update on its status in implementing these recommendations.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Energy should revise existing department policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories to contain specific requirements for inspections, or direct the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Director of the Office of Science to develop agency policies that contain this requirement.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, DOE reported that it is revising department policy for its select agent and toxin work to highlight oversight of facilities working with these agents and toxins. DOE will solicit input from NNSA, the Office of Science, and its biosurety executive team to determine if specific inspection requirements should be included in the select agent, or other department or agency policies. DOE provided us with information as to other department policies and regulations that allow for inspections. DOE plans to complete its efforts by the end of July 2017. We maintain that DOE should make laboratory inspection requirements explicit and that these requirements apply to all high-containment laboratories, not just those registered with the select agent program.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Energy should review and update its outdated policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, DOE reported that it is updating its outdated select agent policy and plans to complete this update by the end of July 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should revise existing EPA policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories to contain specific requirements for inventory control, or direct the Director of the Office of Pesticide Programs to incorporate this requirement into its policy.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: EPA agreed with this recommendation in its February 2016 comments on the draft report, but maintains that agency, or senior-level policies, exist that include this requirement. EPA officials cited a Microbiology Laboratory Branch standard operating procedure (SOP) as containing inventory control requirements for the agency's one high-containment laboratory. However, in July 2016, EPA officials told us that it disagreed with our assessment that the SOP, as a laboratory-level document, was insufficient to meet our expectations for senior-level policies. In November 2016, EPA officials reiterated its position stating that the SOP had been approved by senior agency management and, as the requirements in it are universally applied by all laboratory staff, appropriately represents an agency-level policy. EPA further noted that the Office of Pesticide Policy, in which the Microbiology Laboratory Branch is located, is a sub-office within EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), an Assistant Administrator-level office. We continue to believe that senior-level policies--in this case, either those policies issued at the EPA level or at the OCSPP/OPP level--that include all of the policy elements we analyzed reflect critical management commitment to and support for a culture of laboratory safety throughout the organization, regardless of the number of agency laboratories.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Administrator of EPA should review and update EPA's outdated policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and establish a regular schedule for reviewing and updating EPA and Office of Pesticide Programs policies.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, EPA reported that the policies and procedures for both the facility that houses its microbiology laboratory and the laboratory itself are reviewed and updated on a bi-yearly or yearly basis consistent with the EPA schedules for biosafety and laboratory plans set in policy. However, EPA did not provide us with the policy that sets the EPA schedules. In addition, our analysis focused on policy documents issued by EPA or its senior-level offices, such as EPA's Safety, Health, and Environmental Management Program manual, dated November 2012. When we analyzed that policy for the report, we were unable to determine whether it was up-to-date because it did not include a review and update schedule or a specific recertification date. As of November, 2016, EPA maintains that this recommendation has been completed, because the office revised the standard operating procedure that provides guidance for establishing the receipt, expiration dates, and disposal of biological inventory used in the laboratory. As of April 2017, we have reached out to EPA for documentation of the actions the agency stated it has taken. Until received, we continue to believe that EPA action on this recommendation is still needed, such as by providing an updated EPA-level safety manual that includes a schedule for reviewing and updating, or providing EPA's schedule set in policy, so long as it also applies to agency- or senior office-level policies.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Administrator of EPA should require routine reporting of the results of department, agency, and select agent laboratory inspections to senior department officials.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: EPA agreed with this recommendation in its February 2016 comments on the draft report. ?In July 2016, EPA reported that its high-containment laboratory will notify senior officials within 3 weeks of any laboratory inspection findings. ?This is a positive step. We are waiting for EPA to provide us with supporting documentation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should develop department policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories that contain specific requirements for reporting laboratory incidents to senior department officials, including the types of incidents that should be reported, to whom, and when, or direct the Director of CDC and the Commissioner of FDA to incorporate these requirements into their respective policies.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, HHS reported that both CDC and FDA were working to incorporate incident reporting requirements and time frames into formal agency policies and practices but did not provide an anticipated completion date. In summer 2017, CDC and FDA reported that they were continuing to incorporate incident reporting, which includes all laboratory incidents, accidents, injuries, infections, and near-misses, into formal agency policies. CDC did not provide an anticipated completion date. FDA anticipated completing the policy revisions/updates by summer 2018.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should develop department policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories that contain specific requirements for training and inspections for all high-containment component agency laboratories and not just for their select-agent-registered laboratories; or direct the Director of CDC to provide these requirements in agency policies.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, HHS reported that CDC plans to revise its policies to include training and inspection requirements for inspections for all high-containment laboratories but did not provide an anticipated completion date. In June 2017, HHS reported that CDC was in the process of revising its formal policies to ensure they included requirements for training and inspections for all of the agency's high-containment laboratories but did not provide an anticipated completion date.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should require routine reporting of the results of agency and select agent laboratory inspections to senior department officials.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, HHS reported that CDC was working with FDA and NIH to establish a process for notifying HHS leadership of inspection results through the department's Biosafety and Biosecurity Coordinating Council. HHS did not provide us with an anticipated time frame for implementing this notification practice or when the agencies plan to begin notifying HHS of inspection results.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Director of NIH and the Commissioner of FDA to require routine reporting of the results of agency laboratory inspections--and in the case of FDA, require routine reporting of select agent inspection results--to senior agency officials.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, HHS reported that FDA is working to establish a process for notifying senior agency officials of inspection results, and in August 2017, FDA reported that it was in the process of updating its policies to reflect such a notification process. FDA anticipated that the updated policies and processes would be in place by summer 2018. In August 2016, HHS reported that NIH's ongoing practice is to report the results of external inspections to senior agency officials and, in May 2016, developed a standard operating procedure that outlines this reporting process. In March 2017, NIH officials provided assurance that its Division of Occupational Safety and Health provides NIH's intramural governing body with information about NIH's safety performance at least annually; officials further assured that this information includes the overall results of annual inspections (or audits, as NIH calls them) of all NIH laboratories and discussion of the top 10 most report safety infractions for the year. GAO considers NIH to have implemented the recommended action. GAO will close the overall recommendation once FDA has taken equivalent, appropriate action.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should require routine reporting of incidents at CDC, FDA, and NIH laboratories to senior department officials.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, HHS reported that its Biosafety and Biosecurity Council is working to establish incident reporting requirements for CDC, FDA, and NIH but did not provide an anticipated completion date. HHS noted that NIH formally adopted a standard operating procedure that lays out the agency's requirements for reporting incidents to senior officials.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of the Interior should develop department policies, or direct the Directors of Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey to develop agency policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories that contain specific requirements for reporting laboratory incidents to senior department officials--including the types of incidents that should be reported, to whom, and when--and specific requirements for roles and responsibilities, training, inventory control, and inspections.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, DOI reported that the Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey will develop agency-level policies that contain the key elements GAO identified. DOI did not provide us with a time frame for these activities.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of the Interior should routinely analyze the results of the agency's laboratory inspections and incident reports to identify potential trends that may highlight recurring laboratory safety or security issues and share lessons learned with laboratory personnel, or direct the Directors of Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey to do so.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, DOI reported that its Biosafety Working Group, composed of officials across the department, including Fish and Wildlife Service and U. S. Geological Survey, is developing an automated process for analyzing results of laboratory inspections and incident reports to identify safety and security trends. The working group is also developing a process to share information gleaned from these analyses, including lessons learned, with laboratory personnel in a timely manner. DOI did not provide us with a time frame for these activities.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of the Interior should require routine reporting of the results of agency and select agent inspections to senior department officials.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, DOI reported that in according with the reporting requirements it plans to incorporate into agency-level policies in response to our first recommendation, Fish and Wildlife Service and U. S. Geological survey will be required to submit routine or periodic reports of the results of agency and select agent inspections to the department's designated agency safety and health official.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey to require routine reporting of the results of agency and select agent laboratory inspections to senior agency officials.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, DOI reported that the U. S. Geological Survey will modify and expand its existing policies to require reporting of agency and select agent inspection results to senior USGS officials.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should develop department policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories that contain specific requirements for reporting laboratory incidents to senior department officials--including the types of incidents that should be reported, to whom, and when--and requirements for inventory control for all of its high-containment laboratories, including its select agent-registered clinical laboratory, or direct the Under Secretary of Health to incorporate these requirements into its policies.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, VA reported that while it has policies for reporting laboratory incidents at the local level (VA medical center or laboratory level), VA plans to develop a national level policy for reporting laboratory incidents to senior department officials, including the types of incidents to report, to whom, and when. VA will convene a task force for the purposes of developing such a policy and anticipates that the task force will finalize its policy by March 2018. In June 2017, VA reported that the task force concluded that VA's existing emergency management plan contained all of the necessary requirements for laboratory incident reporting. However, VA has not provided GAO with the emergency management plan. VA further noted that a intradepartmental memorandum was sufficient for making employees aware of such policy requirements in the emergency plan and that such a memorandum was drafted and was being processed for dissemination throughout VA, with an anticipated completion date of August 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal departments and agencies have comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms in place for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories and are fully addressing weaknesses identified after laboratory safety lapses, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary of Health to review and update outdated agency policies for managing hazardous biological agents in high-containment laboratories.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA updated and finalized its outdated policy for its clinical laboratories in February 2016. In July 2016, VA reported that it has begun updating its policies for its research laboratories and anticipated finalizing them in 6 months. In June 2017, VA reported that its policies for its research laboratories remain under review and revision, with an anticipated completion date of December 2017.
    Director: Andrew Sherrill
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

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

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor agreed with our recommendation pertaining to documenting searches of the Site Exposure Matrix during claims processing. Labor stated that it has implemented the recommendation by updating relevant guidance in the Federal EEOICPA Procedure Manual. We will update the status of this recommendation pending verification that the Procedure Manual was revised to require claims examiners to document that, before denying a claim they checked the Site Exposure Matrix to ensure pertinent information had not changed since the examiner's prior check.
    Director: Kay E. Brown
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services should direct the Office of Refugee Resettlement to develop a process to update its bed capacity framework on an annual basis to include the most recent data related to numbers of unaccompanied children who may be referred to its care and adjust its planning scenarios that guide its bed capacity as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) developed a bed capacity framework for fiscal year 2016, and produced a FY 2017 bed capacity framework in June 2017. The frameworks include a discussion of the indicators, referrals and triggers ACF uses to monitor bed capacity, as well as the agency's framework for ensuring that it has sufficient capacity to meet its need for shelter beds and services.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services should direct the Office of Refugee Resettlement to review its monitoring program to ensure that onsite visits are conducted in a timely manner, case files are systematically reviewed as part of or separate from onsite visits, and that grantees properly document the services they provide to children.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS agreed with our recommendation. According to HHS, in the beginning of FY 2016, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) conducted a review of its monitoring procedures to develop uniform protocols for all ORR monitoring activities. In addition, ORR reported that it completed its scheduled monitoring visits for FY 2016. HHS reported that for FY 2017 and FY 2018 the UAC Program Monitoring Team will biannually monitor all of its ORR UAC care providers.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services should direct the Office of Refugee Resettlement to develop a process to ensure all information collected through its existing post-release efforts are reliable and systematically collected so that they can be compiled in summary form and provide useful information to other entities internally and externally.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) created a new section in its unaccompanied children's policy guide that, among other things, includes case reporting, records management, retention, and information sharing requirements for post-release service providers. However, as of August 2017, case management functionality has not been built into ORR's UAC Portal, a web-based database that contains, among other things, intake, placement, and sponsor information, as well as individual service plans for the children. Also, the post-release service program does not yet have OMB-approved forms that ORR can require grantees use for reporting purposes. Nevertheless, ORR has collected and released data on Safety and Well-Being (SWB) follow-up calls that were made to children and their sponsors. In addition, ORR has developed a plan for collecting and analyzing National Call Center data.
    Director: Jessica Farb
    Phone: (202) 512-6991

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance U.S. agencies' performance monitoring of counter-firearms trafficking activities, the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should establish and document performance targets for the bureau's key counter-firearms trafficking activities in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
    Status: Open

    Comments: ATF concurred with this recommendation and stated that it plans to implement it. According to ATF officials, ATF has engaged in an overview of performance measures in Mexico and, when applicable, in Guatemala and Belize, and planned to implement a more structured annual system of performance targeting and evaluation for operations in these jurisdictions in fiscal year 2017. As of October 2017, we are continuing to follow up with ATF on its efforts to implement the new performance evaluation system.
    Recommendation: To enhance U.S. agencies' performance monitoring of counter-firearms trafficking activities, the Secretary of State should work with other U.S. agencies and implementers to help ensure that quarterly progress reports identify key challenges and plans to address them.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State concurred with this recommendation and stated that it planned to work with other agencies to implement it. State officials noted that the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Bureau's quarterly reporting template for interagency partners currently contains a segment entitled "Problems or Challenges and Corrective Action Plan/Risk Identification Mitigation" in which the interagency partner is expected to detail any problems or challenges in implementing any of the program components and activities. State officials stated they will continue to remind interagency partners of this requirement and assist with correct completion of the reporting templates.
    Director: Jennifer Grover
    Phone: (202) 512-7141

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Attorney General should direct ODAG to document a plan specifying DOJ's process for monitoring the effects of marijuana legalization under state law, in accordance with DOJ's 2013 marijuana enforcement policy guidance, to include the identification of the various data ODAG will use and their potential limitations for monitoring the effects of state marijuana legalization, and how ODAG will use the information sources in its monitoring efforts to help inform decisions on whether state systems are effectively protecting federal marijuana enforcement priorities.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Justice (DOJ) concurred with the recommendation and reported plans to implement it. In October 2016, officials reported that several DOJ components have met and taken steps to compile sources of relevant data, and that the Attorney General's Advisory Committee Marijuana Working Group continues to conduct regular discussions about marijuana. In November 2017, officials reported that the marijuana subcommittee of the Attorney General's Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety is reviewing DOJ's marijuana policy, which includes a review of relevant data sources, as well as outreach to relevant stakeholders, including state and local officials. DOJ officials reported that they will provide additional details about the departments monitoring plan once its review of marijuana policy is complete.
    Recommendation: The Attorney General should direct ODAG to use existing mechanisms to share DOJ's monitoring plan with appropriate officials from DOJ components responsible for providing information DOJ reports using regarding the effects of state legalization to ODAG, obtain feedback, and incorporate the feedback into its plan.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOJ concurred with the recommendation and reported plans to implement it. In October 2016, officials reported that several DOJ components have met and taken steps to compile sources of relevant data, and that the Attorney General's Advisory Committee Marijuana Working Group continues to conduct regular discussions about marijuana. In November 2017, officials reported that the marijuana subcommittee of the Attorney General's Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety is reviewing DOJ's marijuana policy, which includes a review of relevant data sources, as well as outreach to relevant stakeholders, including state and local officials. DOJ officials reported that they will provide additional details about the department's monitoring plan once its review of marijuana policy is complete.
    Director: Marcia Crosse
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the data on tracked safety issues and postmarket studies that are needed for required reporting and for systematic oversight of postmarket drug safety, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Commissioner of FDA to develop comprehensive plans, with goals and time frames, to help ensure that identified problems with the completeness, timeliness, and accuracy of information in its database on tracked safety issues and postmarket studies are corrected.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: FDA has started taking steps to help ensure that identified problems with its data on tracked safety issues and postmarket studies are corrected. For example, FDA plans to conduct an assessment of tracked safety data by 2022 and is developing a quality measurement plan that will include periodic audits of postmarket study data. However, as of August 2017, FDA has not provided specifics regarding what types of actions it will take once these assessments and audits are completed, including goals and time frames for when these actions will be completed. GAO is keeping this recommendation open until FDA provides information on how it will address issues identified in its assessments and audits and the time frames for doing so.
    Recommendation: To improve the data on tracked safety issues and postmarket studies that are needed for required reporting and for systematic oversight of postmarket drug safety, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Commissioner of FDA to work with stakeholders within FDA to identify additional improvements that could be made to FDA's current database or future information technology investments to capture information in a form that can be easily and systematically used by staff for oversight purposes.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: FDA has identified actions that could potentially improve FDA's process for overseeing tracked safety issues, but as of August 2017, FDA has not indicated that stakeholder input has been solicited specifically regarding improvements to FDA's IT systems that would facilitate systematic oversight of these issues. FDA may address this as part of a planned assessment of its data system that is not scheduled to be completed until FY 2022. For postmarket studies, FDA has indicated that it intends to formally assess the IT needs of users once it has transferred postmarket data to its new informatics platform, which will not occur until 2018 at the earliest. GAO is keeping this recommendation open until FDA has worked with stakeholders to identify improvements to FDA's IT systems to capture information in a form that can be used by staff for oversight purposes.
    Director: Kimberly M. Gianopoulos
    Phone: (202) 512-8612

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further improve OPIC's monitoring processes, the President and CEO of OPIC should assess the current monitoring processes to ensure that the risk associated with the use of client-reported data and limited site visits for monitoring is acceptable for meeting OPIC's program goals.

    Agency: Overseas Private Investment Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In written comments on the draft report, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) concurred with the recommendation. In February 2017, OPIC executed two contracts with an external group to assist it in assessing the Office of Information Policy's current monitoring processes to ensure that the risks associated with the use of client-reported data and limited site visits for monitoring are acceptable and meet OPIC's program goals. The work is currently underway.
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To strengthen management of the Direct Loan Program and ensure good customer service for borrowers, the Secretary of Education should direct the Office of Federal Student Aid's Chief Operating Officer to review its methods of providing instructions and guidance to servicers, identifying areas to improve clarity and sufficiency, and ensure consistent delivery of instructions and guidance to ensure program integrity and improve service to borrowers. For example, the Department could consider implementing a detailed, common servicing manual for the Direct Loan program.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Education agreed with this recommendation and has reviewed its guidance to servicers, as of October 2016. It has issued clarifications to servicers in several areas. In addition, the Department had been in the process of an acquisition for a new loan servicing solution but, as of September 2017, is reassessing its acquisition strategy. While the plan for the revised acquisition is not finalized, FSA expects its approach to significantly streamline the process of communicating instructions and guidance to servicers, as well as improve the overall experience for students and borrowers. Upon resolution of its acquisition strategy, Education needs to demonstrate that its final contract for a new loan servicing solution is structured to provide clear and consistent instructions and guidance to servicers to ensure program integrity and improve service to borrowers.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To aid ARNG officials in conducting their oversight of the states and territories, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to establish a permanent program for monitoring state-level recruiting activities either by extending the Recruiting Standards Branch or establishing some other similar program.

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

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the report follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To aid ARNG officials in understanding the effectiveness of efforts to meet force requirements, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to take steps to help ensure that the ARNG collects consistent, complete, and valid data on the specific reasons why soldiers do not complete initial military training and when these soldiers separate from the ARNG during the training process. Such steps could include modifying the Standard Installation/Division Personnel System (SIDPERS) to capture this information or if unable to modify SIDPERS, taking actions to ensure that information collected in the Vulcan Recruit Sustainment Program database is valid.

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

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To aid ARNG officials in understanding the effectiveness of efforts to meet force requirements, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to regularly track whether ARNG soldiers who join in a given fiscal year complete their initial term of service.

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

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To aid ARNG officials in understanding the effectiveness of efforts to meet force requirements, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to periodically estimate, such as on an annual basis or other time period as appropriate, the total cost of recruiting and initial training for a soldier who joins the ARNG.

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

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To help ARNG officials in using financial incentives to fill critical positions as required by Army and National Guard regulation, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to provide recruiters with training to better enable the use of available financial incentives.

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

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To help determine whether ARNG officials are effectively using financial incentives, the Secretary of the Army should , in conjunction with the Director, ARNG, exercise their oversight responsibilities by evaluating and documenting the effectiveness of ARNG's incentives program in meeting its goals. The evaluation should also determine whether incentives are being effectively awarded in military occupational specialties that have been under or over authorized levels, and whether changes are needed to effectively use existing incentives.

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

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: Given that the reporting of information related to the amounts of incentives obligated has been a requirement but not carried out in recent years, the Office of the Secretary of Defense should, in order to ensure continued reporting in the future, enforce its requirement for the National Guard and Reserve Component to submit information on the amounts of incentives obligated and incorporate the required information in the recruiting resources reports.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Actions ongoing.
    Director: Debra A. Draper
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To be able to identify and address problems that may occur and thus help ensure a smooth transition, the Secretary of Defense should require the Defense Health Agency ensure that planning documents for the expansion include specific requirements to continuously monitor affected beneficiaries, including whether (1) covered medications are available and filled in a timely and accurate manner through mail order and across MTF pharmacies; and (2) beneficiaries are satisfied with the transition to mail order and MTF pharmacies.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, DOD has not provided information that it plans to separately track through mail order and military treatment facilities the availability, timeliness, and accuracy of prescriptions filled by beneficiaries affected by the expansion of the TRICARE pharmacy pilot. Similarly, DOD has not provided information that it plans to separately track through mail order and military treatment facilities the satisfaction of beneficiaries affected by the expansion of the TRICARE pharmacy pilot.
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should develop a risk-based, cost-effective strategy to verify that states are implementing a process for assessing whether any teacher preparation programs are low-performing.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education reported adding additional questions about states' processes for identifying low-performing and at-risk programs to its annual state data collection form. The Department reported that this revised data collection form was submitted to OMB in April 2016 and was still undergoing OMB review as of September 2017. In the meantime, Education reported that it is conducting a temporary risk-based monitoring approach to determine how states report information on low-performing teacher preparation programs. GAO will monitor Education's efforts to finalize and implement these initiatives.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should study the usefulness of Title II data elements for policymakers and practitioners, and, if warranted, develop a proposal for Congress to eliminate or revise any statutorily-required elements that are not providing meaningful information.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education reported that its regulations published in October 2016 included new Title II data elements related to program quality. However, this action is distinct from our recommendation to assess whether existing fields required by law should be eliminated or revised. During our review, Education officials noted that such data elements could only be eliminated or revised through legislation, rather than regulation. Therefore, we continue to believe that it would be valuable for Education to review the existing data elements required by law and submit a proposal to Congress to eliminate or revise any of these fields, if warranted.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should develop and implement mechanisms to systematically share information about teacher preparation program quality with relevant Department of Education program offices and states (including state Independent Standards Boards).

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education reported that, subject to available staff resources, the agency would be designing an internal work group to increase information-sharing about teacher preparation program quality within and outside the Department. As of August 2017, ED reported that actions on this recommendation were pending. GAO will monitor Education's continued steps to design and implement this working group.
    Director: Joseph W. Kirschbaum
    Phone: (202) 512-9971

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To ensure that the SLS cost and schedule estimates better conform with best practices and are useful to support management decisions, the NASA Administrator should direct SLS officials to update the SLS cost and schedule estimates, at least annually, to reflect actual costs and schedule and record any reasons for variances before preparing their budget requests for the ensuing fiscal year. To the extent practicable, these updates should also incorporate additional best practices including thoroughly documenting how data were adjusted for use in the update and cross-checking results to ensure they are credible.

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

    Comments: NASA agreed with this recommendation and reported taking steps to address it through its annual assessment of the SLS's current cost and schedule estimates against its Agency Baseline Commitment. The agency provided the results of this assessment but did not address the deficiencies we identified in NASA's original estimate, including thoroughly documenting how data were adjusted for the update and cross-checking the results to ensure credibility. In order to close this recommendation, NASA's estimate of its current costs would ideally include documentation of how data were adjusted for use in the updated estimate as well as an explanation of any estimating methodology crosschecks. At a minimum, the estimate documentation should include an explanation of variances between the original estimate and the current estimate.
    Recommendation: To provide more comprehensive information on program performance, the NASA administrator should direct the SLS program to expedite implementation of the program-level EVM system.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The SLS program concurred with our recommendation and has taken steps to implement a program-level earned value management (EVM) system. In May 2016, NASA and Boeing finalized its contract with Boeing for the SLS core stage, the largest development effort in the program. According to NASA officials, the SLS program began receiving contractor earned value management data derived from the new core stage performance measurement baseline in fall 2016. At that time the program implemented a program-level EVM system tracking both in-house and contractor effort.
    Recommendation: To ensure that decisionmakers are able to track progress toward the agency's committed launch readiness date, the NASA administrator should direct the SLS program to include as part of the program's quarterly reports to NASA headquarters a reporting mechanism that tracks and reports program progress relative to the agency's external committed cost and schedule baselines.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The SLS program concurred with our recommendation. According to NASA officials, the program has taken steps to track and report progress relative to the agency's external committed cost and schedule baselines within the program's quarterly reports to NASA headquarters. The program, however, has not yet provided documentation of these actions to GAO.
    Director: Mctigue Jr, James R
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

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

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

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

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

    Comments: In 2016, the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Unit (TE/GE) reviewed its internal processes and procedures and met with the Wage and investment (W&I) Files Unit to discuss procedures for requesting closed case files, according to Exempt Organizations Examinations (EOE) officials. TE/GE developed a desk guide for the Exempt Organizations Case Selection and Delivery Unit to document the procedures for requesting, tracking and monitoring closed case file requests. In addition, TE/GE provided recommendations to the W&I Files unit on modifications to the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) that would facilitate coordination; as of June 2017, W&I has not implemented these recommendations. The EOE unit will also continue to expand electronic case management efficiencies.
    Director: Johana Ayers
    Phone: (202) 512-5741

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service (DCPAS) and DOD components are determining LQA eligibility consistently with DOD's LQA Instruction, the DSSR, and OPM compensation claim decisions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to require the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy or DCPAS, as delegated, to monitor reviews of LQA eligibility determinations conducted by DOD components.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: On February 11, 2016, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy issued a memorandum to conduct a review of overseas allowances and differentials (including Living Quarters Allowance (LQA)) paid to civilian employees. This memorandum orders DOD components to review 5 percent of their employees who received LQA during the calendar year 2015. These reports are to identify the employees locations, the annual amount of each allowance each employee receives, the laws and regulations authorizing the allowance, and confirmation that supporting documents used to determine employee eligibility for the allowance were reviewed and found acceptable. The February 2016 memorandum states that these reviews should be completed within 90 days of its issuance. However, the memorandum does not require the monitoring of these reviews by the Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service. In the absence of such a requirement, Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service officials told us in May 2016 that they had started receiving the results of these reviews and would assess them as soon as possible for any inconsistencies. These officials have not yet provided any documents demonstrating their monitoring of these reviews.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the ability of the federal veterinarian workforce to carry out its activities, and to prepare for an emergency involving a large-scale animal disease outbreak, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to assess the veterinarian workforce needs under possible scenarios for an emergency response to a large-scale animal disease outbreak. Building on the Talent Management Advisory Council's (TMAC) efforts to determine the veterinarian workforce needed to respond to an animal disease outbreak, the assessment should include the number and types of veterinarians needed, the sources required to have a sufficient workforce to respond, and the training needed to carry out their roles.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USDA provided information in April 2017 on steps taken to partially address this recommendation. According to USDA, the agency uses its experiences with real-world animal disease outbreaks, such as recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza, to assess its veterinarian workforce needs. To fully implement this recommendation, APHIS needs to develop an estimate of the number of veterinarians necessary to respond to large-scale animal disease outbreaks, such as a nationwide foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in livestock.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

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

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of October 2016, officials reported that OPM has partnered with the CHCO Council to implement a government-wide set of metrics for use as part of a government-wide benchmarking effort. However, it has no plans to coordinate the data collection efforts of agencies' HRstat reviews with the collection efforts of OPM's and agencies' working groups to identify and address skills gaps. OPM stated that coordinating the data collection was not possible because agencies' HRstat reviews have different goals and collect different types of data than the working groups. We maintain that action on our recommendation is important because it is likely that the core metrics collected under HRstat could help inform the efforts of the working groups and thus reduce duplicative efforts. Moreover, the use of a core set of metrics from agencies' HRstat reviews could aid in monitoring actual progress in closing skills gaps government-wide.
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    12 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to establish a mechanism to ensure that all contractor staff complete annual security awareness training as required by federal law and FAA policy.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation. However, as of July 2017, FAA has provided partial documentation, but has not yet provided GAO with sufficient evidence to validate FAA's actions to establish a mechanism to ensure that all contractor staff complete annual security awareness training as required by federal law and FAA policy. Subsequent to FAA providing additional evidence, we plan to validate FAA's actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to establish a mechanism to ensure that all staff with significant security responsibilities receive appropriate role-based training.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation. As of July 2017, FAA has provided partial documentation, but has not yet provided GAO sufficient evidence necessary to validate FAA's actions to establish a mechanism to ensure that all staff with significant security responsibilities receive appropriate role-based training. Subsequent to FAA providing additional evidence, we plan to validate FAA's actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to establish a mechanism to ensure that personnel with incident response roles and responsibilities take appropriate training, and that training records are retained.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation. As of July 2017, FAA has provided partial documentation, but has not yet provided GAO sufficient evidence necessary to validate FAA's actions to establish a mechanism to ensure that personnel with incident response roles and responsibilities take appropriate training, and that training records are retained. Subsequent to FAA providing additional evidence, we plan to validate FAA's actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to take steps to ensure that testing of security controls is comprehensive enough to determine whether security controls are in place and operating effectively, by, for example, examining artifacts such as audit reports, change tickets, and approval documents.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation. As of July 2017, FAA has updated its NAS testing policy and has provided evidence indicating that it has made progress toward ensuring that testing of security controls is comprehensive enough to determine whether security controls are in place and operating effectively. Subsequent to FAA providing additional evidence showing that its corrective actions have been fully implemented, we plan to validate FAA's actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to take steps to ensure that identified corrective actions for security weaknesses are implemented within prescribed timeframes.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation. As of July 2017, FAA has updated its NAS Remediation Management Plan to include new risk management processes for identified security weaknesses. However, it has not yet provided GAO sufficient evidence necessary to show that the agency has taken steps to ensure that identified corrective actions for security weaknesses are implemented within prescribed timeframes. Subsequent to FAA providing additional evidence, we plan to validate FAA's actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to provide NAS Cyber Operations (NCO) with full network packet capture capability for analyzing network traffic and detecting anomalies at major network interface points at FAA operational facilities.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation and stated that it planned to implement it by May 2018. As of July 2017, FAA has not provided GAO with documentation of the agency's actions to provide NCO with full network packet capture capability for analyzing network traffic and detecting anomalies at major network interface points at FAA operational facilities. Subsequent to FAA informing us that it has implemented the recommendation, we plan to validate its actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to integrate network traffic flow data into NCO's ad-hoc query systems.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation and stated that it planned to implement it by May 2018. As of July 2017, FAA has not provided GAO with documentation of the agency's actions to integrate network traffic flow data into NCO's ad-hoc query systems. Subsequent to FAA informing us that it has implemented the recommendation, we plan to validate its actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to provide NCO with access to network sensors on key network gateways for reviewing intrusion detection, network traffic, and network session data.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation and stated that it planned to implement it by December 2018. As of July 2017, FAA had developed a coordinated procedure with the FTI Security Operations Center to provide packet capture information from network sensors based on identified incidents. However, it has not provided GAO with sufficient documentation to demonstrate that the procedure has been implemented. Subsequent to FAA providing additional evidence, we plan to validate its actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to ensure that NAS incident response capabilities are adequately tested, and that test results are sufficiently documented.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation. As of July 2017, FAA provided evidence that it has taken steps to ensure that NAS incident response capabilities are adequately tested, and that test results are sufficiently documented. However, it has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has fully implemented its corrective actions. Subsequent to FAA providing sufficient evidence, we plan to validate its actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to ensure that contingency plans for NAS systems are sufficiently documented, and that tests of contingency plans address key elements of the contingency plans, including notification procedures, recovering the system on an alternate platform, and system performance on alternate equipment.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation and stated that it plans to implement the recommendation by September 2017. As of July 2017, FAA has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has taken sufficient action to ensure that contingency plans for NAS systems are sufficiently documented and that tests of the plans address key plan elements. Subsequent to FAA providing additional evidence, we plan to validate its actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to provide NCO with security event log data for all Internet Protocol (IP)-connected NAS systems.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation and stated that it planned to implement it by December 2018. As of August 2017, FAA has provided GAO with its planned actions to provide NCO with security event log data for all IP-connected NAS systems, which indicate that the agency still plans to complete its actions by December 2018. We plan to validate these actions subsequent to FAA informing us that it has completed them.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to finalize the incident response policy for the Air Traffic Organization and ensure that NAS system-level incident response policies specify incident reporting timeframes and the need for all incidents to be reported in accordance with FAA guidance.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation. As of July 2017, FAA has finalized the incident response policy for the Air Traffic Organization and updated one system-level incident response policy to specify incident reporting timeframes and the need for all incidents to be reported. However, it has not yet provided sufficient evidence showing that all system-level incident response policies specify reporting timeframes and the need for all incidents to be reported. Subsequent to FAA providing evidence that it has updated the remaining system-level incident response policies, we plan to validate FAA's actions.
    Director: Charles Jeszeck
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal regulators have better information about lump sum windows and to better ensure that participants have ready access to key information they need to make a decision when presented with a lump sum offer, the Department of Labor should require plan sponsors to notify DOL at the time they implement a lump sum window offer, including the number and category of participants being extended the offer (e.g., separated vested; retiree) as well as examples of the materials provided to them.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor (DOL) agreed that this type of information may be helpful in determining the extent to which lump sum window offers are made, as well as the types of disclosures the participants receive. However, DOL reported that it has not identified authority under ERISA for it to impose such a requirement on plan sponsors either before or shortly after the plan offers the lump sum window. The agency states that ERISA expressly provides specific reporting and disclosure requirements. These include various filings, such as annual financial reports, reports upon plan termination, and reports upon making certain transfers of pension plan assets to health benefit accounts. The agency believes ERISA does not require plans to notify them regarding the benefit distribution options they offer or changes in those options, and does not read the broad rulemaking authority in ERISA in Section 505 (general regulations) and Section 110 (pension reporting and disclosure) as authorizing EBSA to establish the notice filing requirement GAO recommended. The agency also commented that ERISA expressly requires that most pension plans file a Form 5500 annual report with the statute specifying the required contents of this annual report in some detail and requiring ?such other financial and actuarial information as the Secretary may find necessary or appropriate.? Although the agency noted it could, by regulation, require reporting on lump sum window offers on the Form 5500, there would be a substantial time lag because ERISA by statute establishes the reporting cycle for the Form 5500 -- the report is not due until 210 days (7 months) after the plan year closes (e.g., for calendar year plans, July 31st of the following year). The agency recognizes that this might not be responsive to the recommendation, which appears to envision a notification system that is relatively contemporaneous with the lump sum window being offered to participants and beneficiaries.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal regulators have better information about lump sum windows and to better ensure that participants have ready access to key information they need to make a decision when presented with a lump sum offer, the Department of Labor should coordinate with the Internal Revenue Service and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to clarify the guidance regarding the information sponsors should provide to participants when extending lump sum window offers and place the guidance on the agency's website. Guidance should include clear and understandable presentations of information, such as the relative value of the lump sum, the role and level of protections provided by PBGC, and the positive and negative ramifications of accepting the lump sum. Such guidance could also include promising practices for information materials from plan sponsors which are particularly effective in facilitating informed participant decision-making.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor agreed with this recommendation, noting it is important to coordinate with the Treasury Department/IRS and PBGC to clarify the guidance regarding the information sponsors and other plan fiduciaries should provide to participants and beneficiaries when extending lump sum window offers. In 2016, the agency noted that the manner of publishing that guidance would be part of that coordination process. They may consider some formal public request for input (such as publishing a Request for Information in the Federal Register) and focus group or other field testing work. In addition, the agency noted that the 2015 ERISA Advisory Council announced that one of its projects this year concerns how to give participants effective notices and disclosures concerning lump sum window offers, including possible development of model participant notices. The 2015 Council developed recommendations and model notices on lump sum window offers in "pension risk transfer transactions," and suggested that DOL make the Model Notices available on its web site to plan sponsors and participant advocates and that plan sponsors use the Model Notices when engaging in risk transfer transactions. Similar to other model communications developed by the 2015 Council, the agency believes the model notice could be further enhanced if subjected to broader public input from, for example, plan sponsors, participant advocates, communications experts, and academics. Subject to the limits on its authority in this area and resource constraints. They are considering efforts to obtain public input on the Council's recommendations and model notice. They also intend to contact the Treasury Department/IRS and PBGC to discuss the Council's recommendations.
    Recommendation: To provide participants with useful information and to provide for lump sums that are based on up-to-date assumptions, Treasury should review its regulations governing the information contained in relative value statements to ensure these statements provide a meaningful comparison of all benefit options, especially in instances where the loss of certain additional plan benefits may not be disclosed.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: Treasury generally agreed with this recommendation but did not provide specific comments on plans to address it.
    Recommendation: To provide participants with useful information and to provide for lump sums that are based on up-to-date assumptions, Treasury should review the applicability and appropriateness of allowing sponsors to select a "lookback" interest rate for use in calculating lump sums associated with a lump sum window that can serve to advantage the interests of the sponsor.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: Treasury generally agreed with this recommendation but did not provide specific comments on plans to address it.
    Recommendation: To provide participants with useful information and to provide for lump sums that are based on up-to-date assumptions, Treasury should establish a process and a timeline for periodically updating the mortality tables used to determine minimum required lump sums-- including a means for monitoring when experts' views may indicate that mortality tables may have become outdated, and for taking expedited action if warranted.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: Treasury generally agreed with this recommendation but did not provide specific comments on plans to address it.
    Director: Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D.
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: If, in the next authorization for FAA, Congress chooses to mandate that FAA take actions to streamline and reform the agency, Congress may wish to consider requiring FAA to (1) track measures of and (2) report to Congress on the actual results of such efforts.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA's authorization expired at the end of Fiscal Year 2015. As of May 2017, Congress has passed several FAA authorization extensions that did not include any actions related to this matter. We will continue to monitor legislation, and when we determine what steps the Congress has taken regarding this matter, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better enable FAA to track, aggregate, and report on the results of its streamlining and reform initiatives, the Secretary of Transportation should direct FAA to develop a mechanism to capture the results of its efficiency initiatives in its planned database for process improvements. Measures of results might include, for example, cost savings, timeliness, or customer service metrics, which may be common to several types of process improvement efforts and therefore facilitate aggregation across improvements.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, FAA expanded its existing data repository to include results of the efficiency initiatives, but no realized results or benefits have yet been entered into the data repository. GAO will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Kay E. Brown
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that WIC participants are aware of the prohibition against selling WIC formula, and to assist states' efforts to prevent and address online formula sales, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of FNS to require state agencies to articulate their procedures for identifying attempted sales of WIC food benefits in their WIC state plans and analyze the information to ascertain the national extent of state efforts.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: USDA agreed with this recommendation and reported that in April 2015 the agency revised the guidance for WIC state plans to include policies on informing participants that the sale of WIC benefits is a program violation. As part of that document, state agencies were required to report/articulate their policies and procedures for identifying and monitoring online sales of WIC benefits. In October 2015, USDA contracted a study to determine 1) the national extent of WIC state agency policies and procedures intended to prevent, monitor, and take administrative action related to online sales of WIC infant formula; and 2) effective preventative, monitoring, and investigative approaches to address the online sale of WIC infant formula. USDA reported that a narrative state plan report, based on the contractor's review of 2016 and 2017 state plans, is expected to be completed by the end of FY 2017. GAO will close this recommendation once USDA has issued its report.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that WIC participants are aware of the prohibition against selling WIC formula, and to assist states' efforts to prevent and address online formula sales, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of FNS to collect information to help assess the national extent of attempted online sales of WIC formula benefits and determine cost-effective techniques states can use to monitor online classified advertisements.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: USDA agreed with this recommendation and reported that it would explore options for using available resources to assess the extent of online sales of WIC formula and to identify and share best practices, cost-effective techniques, or new approaches with state agencies to use in monitoring online advertisements. In October 2015, USDA contracted a case study analysis of two state agencies in order to provide examples of prevention, monitoring, investigation, and sanctioning practices related to the online sale of WIC infant formula. As part of this study, the contractor sought to identify cost-effective techniques State agencies can use to monitor sales of WIC infant formula. USDA reported that the Case Study Analysis Report is expected to be completed by the end of FY 2017, and after it is completed, USDA will work to disseminate the study results to state agencies. GAO supports these efforts and will close this recommendation when the study is completed, providing the study identifies cost-effective techniques states can use to monitor online sales of infant formula.
    Director: Daniel Bertoni
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As part of initiatives currently under way to improve agency information on claims with appointed representatives and detect potential fraud associated with representatives, the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should consider actions to provide more timely access to data on representatives and enhance mechanisms for identifying and monitoring trends and patterns related to representation, particularly trends that may present risks to program integrity. Specifically, SSA could (1) Identify additional data elements, or amendments to current data collection efforts, to improve information on all appointed representatives, including those under contract with states and other third parties; (2) Implement necessary policy changes to ensure these data are collected. This could include enhancing technical systems needed to finalize SSA's 2008 proposed rules that would recognize organizations as representatives; and (3) Establish mechanisms for routine data extracts and reports on claims with representatives.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, SSA reported that it is approaching the conclusion of the first phase of a new initiative, called Registration, Appointment and Services for Representatives (RASR). This initiative aims to register all appointed representatives and improve relevant business processes and data collection. SSA reported that it had to postpone the first release of RASR, originally targeted for December 2016, due to some systems issues. SSA stated that it has not yet set a new target date for the first release. SSA stated that this new application will enhance data collection and management of representatives' information and that it will help make strides toward better oversight and improved data analysis and reporting. We will consider closing this recommendation when these efforts are completed.
    Recommendation: To address risks associated with potential overpayments to representatives and protect claimant benefits, the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take steps to enhance coordination with states, counties, and other third parties with the goal of improving oversight and preventing and identifying potential overpayments. This coordination could be conducted in a cost-effective manner, such as issuing guidance to states and other third parties on vulnerabilities for overpayment; sharing best practices on how to prevent overpayments; or considering the costs and benefits, including any privacy and security concerns, of providing third parties controlled access to portions of the eFolder to facilitate the detection of potential overpayments.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, SSA stated that it added a section to a new form--Form SSA-1698, Fee Agreement for Representation before the Social Security Administration--that claimants and representatives can use to enter into fee agreements. According to SSA, this form requires the disclosure of fees that the representative will receive from a third party and the amount of those fees. SSA expects this form to be in use upon OMB approval. Similar language already exists in another form--Form SSA-1560-U4, Petition to Obtain Approval of a Fee for Representing a Claimant before the Social Security Administration--that claimants and representatives can use for fee petitions. SSA stated that these forms are (and will be) included in the folder of evidence that adjudicators may review before determining whether and how much to authorize in fees. According to SSA, disclosure and approval of any third party fees, with potential adjustment of the fee, by both the claimant and SSA should help prevent excessive fees. While the proposed change to the form may help improve transparency of fee arrangements, the potential for a representative to receive a payment from SSA and also receive a payment from a state or other third party still exists. Unless SSA and the state or other third party share information on their payments or have policies and procedures in place to prevent such cases, representatives could still receive both SSA and state payments that total more than the SSA-authorized fee. In order to address this vulnerability, we continue to believe that SSA should enhance coordination or issue guidance to states and other third parties about this vulnerability, which could include SSA sharing best practices for preventing these types of overpayments. For example, one state requires contracted organizations to submit copies of their signed form 1696 (Appointment of Representative) so the state could verify the representative checked the appropriate box for payment.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOE's long-term plans for storing waste in the existing SSTs and DSTs at Hanford consider the condition of the tanks and the WTP construction delay, the Secretary of Energy should assess the extent to which the factors that may have led to corrosion in AY-102 are present in any of the other 27 DSTs.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of Nov. 23, 2016, DOE is still working to empty the waste from the leaking tank as required by a 2014 settlement agreement with the State of Washington (scheduled to be complete in March 2017). Once the tank is emptied, DOE plans to assess the cause of the leak and begin to address the recommendation. When we confirm what actions DOE has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOE's long-term plans for storing waste in the existing SSTs and DSTs at Hanford consider the condition of the tanks and the WTP construction delay, the Secretary of Energy should update the schedule for retrieving waste from the tanks, taking into consideration (1) the impact of the delays in the WTP, (2) the risks associated with continuing to store waste in aging tanks, and (3) an analysis of available DST space.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of Nov. 23, 2016, DOE plans to update its Hanford Site System Plan by October 2017. According to DOE, this update will address the recommendation. When we confirm what actions DOE has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOE's long-term plans for storing waste in the existing SSTs and DSTs at Hanford consider the condition of the tanks and the WTP construction delay, the Secretary of Energy should assess the alternatives for creating new RCRA-compliant tank space for the waste from the SSTs, including building new DSTs.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 6, 2016, DOE officials indicated that DOE intends to assess the feasibility of new DST construction as part of its update to the Hanford Site System Plan (to be released October 2017). According to DOE, several contingency actions will be included in the scenarios that will be analyzed including new DST construction. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Lawrance L. Evans, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Comments: FSOC has created a document to centrally track key dates in each evaluation and has said that it will record and monitor the information as new companies are evaluated. However, FSOC has not yet recorded these dates in the document that it has created for this purpose.
    Director: Thomas Melito
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure agencies can more fully implement their monitoring policy and guidance related to recruitment of foreign workers, the Secretaries of Defense and State and the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development should each develop, as part of their agency policy and guidance, a more precise definition of recruitment fees, including permissible components and amounts.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of the report, the Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with this recommendation and indicated that it would define recruitment fees as part of the next review of DOD policy on combating trafficking in persons. In January 2015, DOD and other agencies issued a final rule in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) that prohibits charging employees any recruitment fees; however, this rule did not provide a precise definition of such fees. In May 2016, DOD and others proposed a new FAR rule defining "recruitment fees." The public comment period for this proposed rule ended in July 2016, and, as of August 2017, the proposed rule was in process. In addition, DOD has updated its policy and guidance on combating trafficking in persons, most recently in June 2015. GAO is monitoring these efforts and will provide an update once the proposed FAR rule is finalized.
    Recommendation: To help ensure agencies can more fully implement their monitoring policy and guidance related to recruitment of foreign workers, the Secretaries of Defense and State and the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development should each develop, as part of their agency policy and guidance, a more precise definition of recruitment fees, including permissible components and amounts.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on a draft of this report, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) noted that a proposed amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) on combating Trafficking in Persons (TIP) contained language that would prohibit charging contractor employees any recruitment fees. In January 2015, the final FAR rule was issued, prohibiting employers from charging employees any recruitment fees on government contracts; however, this rule did not provide a precise definition of such fees. In May 2016, a new FAR rule defining "recruitment fees," which would apply to USAID, among others, was proposed. The public comment period for this proposed rule ended in July 2016, and, as of August 2017, the proposed rule in process, GAO is monitoring the status of these actions and will provide an update on USAID's activities to define components of recruitment fees once the proposed FAR rule is finalized.
    Recommendation: To help improve agencies' abilities to detect potential TIP abuses and implement the U.S. government's zero tolerance policy, the Secretaries of Defense and State and the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development should each take actions to better ensure that contracting officials specifically include TIP in monitoring plans and processes, especially in areas where the risk of trafficking is high. Such actions could include developing a process for auditing efforts to combat TIP or ensuring that officials responsible for contract monitoring are aware of all relevant acquisition policy and guidance on combating TIP.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In comments on a draft of the report, the Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with this recommendation and indicated that it would update the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) accordingly once the final Federal Acquisition Regulation on Ending Trafficking in Persons had been published. In January 2015, DOD updated the DFARS to include a sample checklist for auditing compliance with Combating Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) policy. This checklist reiterates the U.S. government's zero tolerance policy regarding trafficking in persons and includes, among other items, questions regarding contractors' treatment of employee passports and other identification documents. In addition, in September 2017, DOD reported that it had developed and mandated acquisition training for DOD military and civilian contracting employees. U.S. Central Command has also created a CTIP Program Manager position in Afghanistan, which ensures that CTIP training is provided to contracting officials in that country. GAO is monitoring these efforts and will provide an update on DOD's progress as more information becomes available.
    Director: Kimberly Gianopoulos
    Phone: (202) 512-8612

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

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

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

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

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

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

    Comments: In a correspondence dated January 12, 2015, USTR concurred with GAO's recommendation that USTR should ensure that the Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreement Programs, which USTR provides each year to Congress, includes results of USTR's and DOL's efforts to proactively monitor partner countries' compliance with FTA labor provisions. USTR stated that its annual report already provides country-specific information on labor issues and that USTR regularly engages with Congress to provide detailed information on labor issues via meetings and phone conferences. Nonetheless, USTR recognizes that meaningful engagement with Congress is an indispensable part of monitoring and enforcing FTA labor provisions. To implement GAO's recommendation, USTR agreed to continue to identify more effective ways of communicating with Congress, including USTR's committees of jurisdiction, with respect to the Administration's FTA monitoring and enforcement efforts. Furthermore, USTR stated that it will solicit congressional advice and input to inform its efforts. As of May 2017, this recommendation remains open pending further action by USTR.
    Director: Kimberly Gianopoulos
    Phone: (202) 512-8612

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance its ability to monitor partner compliance with FTA environmental commitments and provide timely and useful information to help target assistance where it is most needed, USTR should establish time frames and develop performance indicators to assess the extent to which Peru's actions are meeting the commitments of the U.S.-Peru bilateral action plan to address specific challenges in Peru's forestry sector.

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

    Comments: GAO met with USTR staff in November 2017 to discuss actions USTR has taken with its partners and members of the Interagency Committee on Trade in Timber Products from Peru to oversee the implementation of commitments in the bilateral forestry action plan with Peru. USTR staff provided us with additional documentation about actions aligned with the objectives of the bilateral plan, and indicators they have developed for monitoring Peru's activities in regards to the action plan, among other items. We are analyzing these documents and will continue to periodically review USTR's implementation of its instrument to monitor actions taken in response to the bilateral action plan.
    Recommendation: To enhance its ability to monitor partner compliance with FTA environmental commitments and provide timely and useful information to help target assistance where it is most needed, USTR should work with its interagency monitoring subcommittee to establish time frames and performance indicators to implement its plan for enhanced monitoring of implementation of FTA environmental commitments across all FTA partner countries.

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

    Comments: In November 2017, GAO met with USTR staff to discuss its efforts for ensuring that U.S. trading partners implement and comply with their international trade obligations under the environment chapters of our free trade agreements. According to USTR staff, they continue to work with the interagency monitoring committee to systematically monitor environmental issues with its free trade partners and have used more systematic methods to monitor issues that have been identified with certain partners as a result. GAO is analyzing the supporting documentation provided and will continue to evaluate USTR's progress in executing its procedures, which includes applying benchmarks and indicators where appropriate, in its updated monitoring.
    Director: Debra A. Draper
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure adequate and qualified nurse staffing at VAMCs, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Interim Under Secretary for Health to enhance VHA's internal controls by completing evaluations of Phase I and Phase II and make any necessary changes to policies and procedures before national implementation of Phase II in all VAMCs.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA agreed with this recommendation and, according to an update received April 2017, VA is taking actions towards addressing this recommendation and expects to complete those actions Fall 2017. When additional information is received GAO will update the recommendation as appropriate.
    Director: William Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the WOSB program, and to help ensure the effective oversight of third-party certifiers, the Administrator of SBA should establish and implement comprehensive procedures to monitor and assess performance of certifiers in accord with the requirements of the third-party certifier agreement and program regulations.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, SBA has taken some actions. For example, SBA created a standard operating procedure stating that third-party certifiers are subject to a compliance review by SBA at any time, and SBA has completed a review of the four authorized third-party certifiers. We continue to monitor SBA actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the WOSB program, and to provide reasonable assurance that only eligible businesses obtain WOSB set-aside contracts, the Administrator of SBA should enhance examination of businesses that register to participate in the WOSB program, including actions such as: (1) promptly completing the development of procedures to conduct annual eligibility examinations and implementing such procedures; (2) analyzing examination results and individual businesses found to be ineligible to better understand the cause of the high rate of ineligibility in annual reviews, and determine what actions are needed to address the causes; and (3) implementing ongoing reviews of a sample of all businesses that have represented their eligibility to participate in the program.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, SBA has created a standard operating procedure that includes some procedures for annual eligibility examinations. We continue to monitor SBA actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    9 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better inform users of the annual monitoring report about the frequency and scope of pesticide tolerance violations, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of FDA to disclose in the agency's annual pesticide monitoring program report which pesticides with EPA-established tolerances the agency did not test for in its pesticide monitoring program and the potential effect of not testing for those pesticides.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In February 2015, FDA posted a report summarizing the results of its Fiscal Year 2012 Pesticide Monitoring Program. The report identified which pesticides the agency tested for in FY 2012. However, the report did not identify which pesticides with EPA-established tolerances were not tested for, nor did it discuss the potential effect of not testing for those pesticides. As of December 2016, FDA had not provided an updated status for this recommendation. It plans to provide a status update in early calendar year 2017.
    Recommendation: To gather and report reliable, nationally representative data on pesticide residue violations, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of FDA to design and implement a statistically valid sampling methodology that would enable the agency, within existing resources, to gather nationally representative pesticide residue incidence and level data for both domestically produced and imported foods, or justify statistically the use of a nonprobability method that can measure the estimation error. In designing either approach, FDA should consider the extent to which the benefits exceed the costs.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In February 2015, FDA issued a report summarizing the results of its pesticide monitoring program for Fiscal Year 2012. This report followed by about 4 months the issuance of our report, GAO-15-38, in October 2014. The FDA report stated that the sampling methodology used in FY 2012 was not statistically based. However, in light of our recommendation that FDA design and implement a statistically valid sampling methodology, the agency could have used its February 2015 report to announce its plan to develop such a methodology for use in the future, but it did not do so. As of December 2016, FDA had not provided an updated status for this recommendation. It plans to provide a status update in early calendar year 2017.
    Recommendation: To gather and report reliable, nationally representative data on pesticide residue violations, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of FDA to report the nationally representative incidence and level data in its annual pesticide monitoring reports, including disclosing the limits of its chosen sampling methodology.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, FDA had not provided an updated status for this recommendation. It plans to provide a status update in early calendar year 2017.
    Recommendation: To evaluate and refine its targeted pesticide compliance and enforcement monitoring program, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of FDA to use the incidence and level data to assess the effectiveness of FDA's targeted pesticide compliance and enforcement monitoring program, including its use of the Predictive Risk-based Evaluation for Dynamic Import Compliance Targeting targeting tool for imported foods, by comparing the rate of violations detected through the program to the overall rate of pesticide residue violations within the domestic and imported food supplies.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, FDA had not provided an updated status for this recommendation. It plans to provide a status update in early calendar year 2017.
    Recommendation: To evaluate and refine its targeted pesticide compliance and enforcement monitoring program, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of FDA to identify any types of domestic and imported foods that are at high risk for pesticide residue tolerance violations to improve the ability of its targeted pesticide compliance and enforcement monitoring program to consistently identify food likely to have violations.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, FDA had not provided an updated status for this recommendation. It plans to provide a status update in early calendar year 2017.
    Recommendation: To better inform the public about the frequency and scope of pesticide tolerance violations, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the FSIS Administrator to disclose in the agency's annual pesticide monitoring program report which pesticides with EPA-established tolerances the agency did not test for in its National Residue Program and the potential effect of not testing for those pesticides.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2015, FSIS issued its Fiscal Year 2015 Residue Sampling Plan for the National Residue Program for Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products. The sampling plan contained information on the pesticides that FSIS would include in its residue testing program. However, the sampling plan did not identify pesticides with EPA-established tolerances that FSIS did not plan to include in its testing program. In December 2015, FSIS issued its Fiscal Year 2014 Residue Sample Results for its national residue program. The agency's report on its results did not identify pesticides with EPA-established tolerances that were not included in its testing program, nor did it report on the potential effect of not testing for those pesticides. In June 2016, FSIS issued its sampling plan for Fiscal Year 2016. The sampling plan contained information on the pesticides that FSIS would include in its residue testing program. However, the sampling plan did not identify pesticides with EPA-established tolerances that FSIS did not plan to include in its testing program. The FSIS sampling results for Fiscal Year 2015 were not available as of December 2016.
    Recommendation: To better meet federal standards and best practices for statistical surveys, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the AMS Administrator to provide better documentation of the survey methods used in its Pesticide Data Program in the program's annual reports by providing more complete information on the sampling methodology the agency uses, such as how it identifies and selects states, food distribution centers, and commodities for pesticide residue testing, and include measures of sampling error for reported estimates.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Agricultural Marketing Service published its 2015 Pesticide Data Program annual report in November 2016. As with earlier reports, this report does not provide sufficient documentation of the survey methods used in the program. In particular, the report does not provide complete information on the sampling methodology the agency used, such as how it identified and selected states, food distribution centers, and commodities for pesticide residue testing. Further, it does not include measures of sampling error for reported estimates.
    Recommendation: To better meet federal standards and best practices for statistical surveys, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the AMS Administrator to provide better documentation of the survey methods used in its Pesticide Data Program in the program's annual reports by reporting on the extent to which its survey covers commodities in the U.S. food supply and any limitations associated with its survey methodology.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Agricultural Marketing Service published its 2015 Pesticide Data Program annual report in November 2016. This report has a new section titled Sampling Limitations. In that section, the agency acknowledges that the total number of distribution centers and terminal markets within the participating states is difficult to establish because existing sites may go out of business or merge and new sites may open during the course of the year. Despite this limitation, the agency concludes that the sites selected in the program are representative of all sites in these states. However, the agency has not provided sufficient documentation in the report to support the claim that its data are representative of conditions across the country for commodities in the U.S. food supply.
    Recommendation: To better meet federal standards and best practices for statistical surveys, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the AMS Administrator to provide better documentation of the survey methods used in its Pesticide Data Program in the program's annual reports by describing methods users should employ to analyze the data, including obtaining margins of error for making generalizeable estimates of pesticide residues in commodities.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Agricultural Marketing Service published its 2015 Pesticide Data Program annual report in November 2016. This report does not describe methods users should employ to analyze the data, including obtaining margins of error for making generalizeable estimates of pesticide residues in commodities.
    Director: J. Alfredo Gómez
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that FSIS efforts protect human health by reducing Salmonella and Campylobacter contamination in FSIS-regulated poultry products, in future revisions of the compliance guidelines on controlling Salmonella and Campylobacter, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of FSIS to ensure the inclusion of information on the effectiveness of each recommended farm practice to reduce these pathogens in live poultry.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In December 2015, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service released the draft revised compliance guideline to assist poultry establishments in controlling Salmonella and Campylobacter in raw poultry. The draft guideline included information on the effectiveness of each recommended farm practice to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in live poultry. FSIS announced the availability of and requested comment on the revised compliance guideline in a December 2015 Federal Register Notice. FSIS officials told us that they anticipate finalizing the draft guideline in fiscal year 2017 and the guideline states that while the document is draft, establishments are encouraged to incorporate information in the guideline in their decision-making process. As of April 2017, FSIS had not finalized the guideline.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of OFPP should take appropriate steps to amend the FAR to include the following requirement: at the time of the contract award, contracting officers shall conduct and document an assessment of the 8(a) firm's ability to comply with the subcontracting limitations.

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

    Comments: OFPP concurred with our recommendation. We asked for updates on actions taken however as of September 2017 no updates were provided. GAO will continue to monitor OFPP's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of OFPP should take appropriate steps to amend the FAR to include the following requirement: contracting officers shall include monitoring and oversight provisions in all 8(a) contracts to ensure that the contractors comply with the subcontracting limitations.

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

    Comments: OFPP concurred with our recommendation. We asked for updates on actions taken however as of September 2017 no updates were provided. GAO will continue to monitor OFPP's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of OFPP should take appropriate steps to amend the FAR to include the following requirement: prime 8(a) contractors shall periodically report to the contracting officer on the percentage of subcontracted work being performed.

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

    Comments: OFPP concurred with our recommendation. We asked for updates on actions taken however as of September 2017 no updates were provided. GAO will continue to monitor OFPP's actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: Kay E. Brown
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of FNS to establish additional guidance to help states analyze SNAP transaction data to better identify SNAP recipient households receiving replacement cards that are potentially engaging in trafficking, and assess whether the use of replacement card benefit periods may better focus this analysis on high-risk households potentially engaged in trafficking.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: FNS officials reported that, in September 2013, they awarded a contract to provide expert business consultation and technical assistance in the area of recipient fraud prevention and detection to 7 states. The purpose of the contract was to improve how effectively recipients suspected of trafficking SNAP benefits were identified and investigated, including the use of predictive analytics involving transaction and replacement card data to uncover potential recipient trafficking. As of August 2017, FNS officials reported that they have completed studies in 10 states, helping the states build predictive analytics models that incorporate use of replacement card data to better identify SNAP recipient trafficking. FNS officials report that the models have demonstrated a significant improvement in state effectiveness. FNS officials also report that, in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016, the agency conducted a training program for state technical staff to teach them how to build predictive models that incorporate the use of replacement card data. In addition, FNS officials report that the agency is currently developing a SNAP Fraud Framework to provide guidance to states on improving fraud prevention and detection, including the use of excessive card replacements and other data sources, as potential indicators of fraud. FNS tentatively anticipates releasing the framework by the end of calendar year 2017. GAO will monitor these efforts and await information, including related technical assistance materials and documentation, on how these activities are used to guide states' efforts to use transaction and replacement card data to better focus on high-risk households for potential investigation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of FNS to reassess the effectiveness of the current guidance and tools recommended to states for monitoring e-commerce and social media websites, and use this information to enhance the effectiveness of the current guidance and tools.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: FNS officials reported that, in 2016, the agency conducted additional analysis to evaluate states' current use of social media in their detection of SNAP trafficking and develop a proof of concept for the use of market-leading tools to assist states in more efficient monitoring. Based on the information gained through this analysis, FNS officials reported in August 2017 that a draft of the social media guidance is currently in FNS clearance and is expected to be released by the end of the calendar year. GAO will await the issuance of this guidance.
    Director: Steve Lord
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve the quality of the data collected on specific land-use agreements (i.e., sharing, outleases, licenses, and permits), enhance the monitoring of its revenue process and monitoring of agreements, and improve the accountability of the VA in this area, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should develop mechanisms to monitor the billing and collection of revenues for land-use agreements to help ensure that transactions are promptly and accurately recorded at the three medical centers.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: Veterans Affairs-Veterans Health Administration officials are currently updating their policies on Sharing Use of Space. Veterans Affairs-Veterans Health Administration Office of Enterprise Management will provide support to the agency's office of Finance, as needed, on the process for recognition of revenue, billing, collections, and for financial reporting to ensure completeness of financial data for land use agreements. Agency officials began working on the Capital Asset Inventory validation report. Upon completion, the report will be provided to agency field staff for action on updating the database.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To reduce the cost of the crop insurance program and achieve budgetary savings for deficit reduction or other purposes, Congress should consider reducing the level of federal premium subsidies for revenue crop insurance policies. In doing so, Congress should consider whether to make the full amount of this reduction in an initial year, or to phase in the full amount of this reduction over several years. In addition, Congress should consider directing the Secretary of Agriculture to monitor and report on the impact, if any, of the reduction on farmer participation in the crop insurance program.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, Congress has not taken action to implement this matter.
    Director: Zina Merritt
    Phone: (202) 512-5257

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure DLA is improving its collaborative forecasting effort, in accordance with DOD guidance that emphasizes monitoring the efficient use of resources and leading practices for results-oriented management, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director, DLA, in collaboration with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, to develop and implement the necessary corrective actions to improve the results of collaborative forecasting across DOD.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2016, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is in the process of developing an additional metric that will measure whether collaborative forecasting on a customer-by-customer basis is beneficial (i.e., the collaborative forecast added-value versus using a statistical forecast). DLA plans to work on the implementation of the metric for the remainder of 2016 and early 2017 with full implementation planned for July 2017. DLA, in collaboration with its customers (e.g., the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force) have taken steps, such as developing more extensive metrics and improving the collaboration process, to enhance its collaborative forecasting programs, as we reported in GAO-16-450. We will continue to monitor DLA's progress in implementing the new metric as well as its efforts to monitor collaborative forecasting outcomes with the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the OECA GLP inspection process, the EPA Administrator should assess the authority and need for a fee-based inspection system, and if such a system is warranted, establish a user fee system, seeking additional legislative authority, if necessary, to make the laboratory inspection program self-sustaining.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, EPA officials told GAO that OECA was working with OPP and its Office of General Counsel to figure out the best mechanism for potentially accomplishing this. As of July 2017, EPA had not provided any additional information on the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Stephen M. Lord
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist states that rely on or are planning to contract with an MCO to administer Medicaid prescription benefits, and to help provide effective oversight of psychotropic medications prescribed to children in foster care, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should issue guidance to state Medicaid, child-welfare, and mental-health officials regarding prescription-drug monitoring and oversight for children in foster care receiving psychotropic medications through MCOs.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a July 2016 written response, Health and Human Services (HHS) stated that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), issued an informational bulletin in August 2012 and in July 2013, that addressed this recommendation. However, in the report, we acknowledged that CMS issued this bulletin along with other guidance. Further, as we stated in our report, the HHS guidance did not address third-party MCOs administering medications. We continue to believe that additional HHS guidance that helps states implement oversight strategies within the context of a managed-care environment is needed to help ensure appropriate monitoring of psychotropic medications prescribed to children in foster care.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist the Corps in preparing sound and credible cost estimates for soliciting bids for hopper dredge work by industry, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Corps of Engineers to develop a written plan for conducting a study to obtain and periodically update data on hopper dredging costs for its cost estimates, including reliable data on industry hopper dredge equipment and labor rates.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, Corps officials reported that they met with private industry officials in August 2016 to obtain updated information on the private dredge fleet, including information on private vessel upgrades. This information could help inform their cost estimates, according to the officials. The Corps has not developed a written plan for conducting a study to obtain and periodically update data on hopper dredging costs for Corps cost estimates and in October 2015 indicated that it was difficult to obtain industry-wide cost data for hopper dredges. Specifically, the Corps said that hopper dredges are unique vessels manufactured to individual company specifications, with unique components and operating costs. The Corps stated it intended to work with the dredging industry to obtain the latest hopper dredge cost information available and would update its cost and pricing data for preparing cost estimates based on that information.
    Director: Wilshusen, Gregory C
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To effectively implement key components of the IRS information security program, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should update access request policies and procedures to ensure that they contain sufficiently detailed information of access requests and access assignments to facilitate effective review and verification of appropriate access privileges.

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

    Comments: At the beginning of GAO's audit of IRS' FY 2017 financial statements, IRS indicated that it had not yet implemented this recommendation. When IRS indicates that it has implemented this recommendation, we will review its actions.
    Director: Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-7331

    4 open recommendations
    including 4 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen State's ability to ensure that U.S. civilian personnel are in compliance with the FACT training requirement, the Secretary of State should identify a mechanism to readily determine the universe of assigned U.S. civilian personnel under chief-of-mission authority who are required to complete FACT training.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State concurred with this recommendation, but has not yet identified a mechanism to readily determine the universe of assigned U.S. civilian personnel under chief-of-mission authority who are required to complete FACT training. As of March 2017, GAO continues to monitor State's efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen State's ability to ensure that U.S. civilian personnel are in compliance with the FACT training requirement, the Secretary of State should take steps to ensure that management personnel responsible for assigning personnel to designated high-threat countries consistently verify that all assigned U.S. civilian personnel under chief-of-mission authority who are required to complete FACT training have completed it before arrival in the designated high-threat countries.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State agreed with the recommendation, and on July 7, 2014--subsequent to our report issuance and addressing this finding--State issued a memo to all agencies that states that it is the responsibility of each agency to ensure its employees are in compliance with FACT training requirements prior to travel to the relevant posts. The memo also requires employees to provide a FACT completion certificate to posts upon request. In October 2016, State officials reported that State had rolled out a ClassNet SharePoint site, and that they expected that the site would include Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs posts by January 1, 2017. The SharePoint site allows designated users in Washington, D.C. and at posts to access the Foreign Service Institute's training records database. As of March 2017, GAO continues to monitor State's efforts to fully address the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen State's ability to ensure that U.S. civilian personnel are in compliance with the FACT training requirement, the Secretary of State should take steps to ensure that management personnel responsible for granting country clearance consistently verify that all short-term TDY U.S. civilian personnel under chief-of-mission authority who are required to complete FACT training have completed it before arrival in the designated high-threat countries.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In response to GAO's recommendation, as of March 2017, State had taken several steps to ensure that the electronic Country Clearance (eCC) is easier for personnel to use, but these steps do not ensure that the personnel responsible for verifying FACT training before deployment are doing so. For instance, State updated the current eCC to require personnel traveling to High Threat, High Risk Posts to certify FACT training, with radio buttons for the following: (1) whether the stay is greater than 45 days; (2) whether the traveler has spent more than 45 total days at a High Threat, High Risk Post within the last 365-days; and (3) whether the traveler has completed FACT. If the eCC user responds that the traveler has not taken FACT, he or she must provide a justification. In addition, the eCC system requires personnel traveling to High Threat, High Risk Posts to certify whether they have completed FACT and to provide the completion date. When the eCC user enters this information, he or she is prompted with a box that instructs him or her to "provide documentation of FACT Training (e.g. Certificate) upon arrival at Post" and to click OK to continue. Since May 2016, the agency had been developing a new eCC application that will include automated checks of training records. Agency officials expect to produce this new application in the summer of 2017. GAO continues to monitor State's efforts to fully address the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen State's ability to ensure that U.S. civilian personnel are in compliance with the FACT training requirement, the Secretary of State should monitor or evaluate overall levels of compliance with the FACT training requirement among U.S. civilian personnel under chief-of-mission authority who are subject to the requirement.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of May 2015, State officials said that they are developing a plan to utilize various electronic systems to monitor overall levels of compliance for assigned and short-term TDY personnel. The plan is being developed iteratively and is subject to change based on findings and lessons learned from each stage as well as constraints based on cyber security compliance. As of March 2017, State did not report further progress on this recommendation.
    Director: Thomas Melito
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen USAID's ability to help ensure that its food aid prepositioning program meets the goal of reducing delivery time frames in a cost-effective manner, the USAID Administrator should systematically collect, and ensure the reliability and validity of, data on delivery time frames for all emergency food aid shipments, including prepositioned food aid shipments.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USAID concurred with this recommendation and noted that Food for Peace (FFP) was reviewing what actions are needed to ensure that reliable data on delivery time frames for all emergency aid is collected from cooperating sponsors. In 2015, USAID officials noted that they were exploring options for developing a prepositioning tracking system, but were still in the early stages. In 2017, USAID provided us with a statement of work to develop a prepositioning tracking system. As of November 2017, the new system has yet to be operational.
    Recommendation: To strengthen USAID's ability to help ensure that its food aid prepositioning program meets the goal of reducing delivery time frames in a cost-effective manner, the USAID Administrator should systematically monitor and assess data on delivery time frames for prepositioned food aid shipments.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USAID concurred with this recommendation and noted that it awarded a contract for an independent evaluation of the timeliness of prepositioning activities, which, along with the GAO report, will inform the ongoing revision to FFP's strategy for the prepositioning program. In 2017, USAID provided us with a statement of work to develop a prepositioning tracking system to monitor and assess data on delivery time frames for prepositioned food aid shipments. As of November 2017, the new system has yet to be operational.
    Recommendation: To strengthen USAID's ability to help ensure that its food aid prepositioning program meets the goal of reducing delivery time frames in a cost-effective manner, the USAID Administrator should systematically monitor and assess costs associated with commodity procurement, shipping, and storage for prepositioned food aid shipments.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USAID concurred with this recommendation and noted that it awarded a contract for an independent evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of prepositioning activities, which, along with the GAO report, will inform the ongoing revision to FFP's strategy for the prepositioning program. In 2017, USAID provided us with a statement of work to develop a prepositioning tracking system to monitor and assess costs associated with prepositioned food aid shipments. As of November 2017, the new system has yet to be operational.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure DSOs' and students' compliance with OPT requirements, and strengthen efforts to identify and assess potential risks in OPT, the Director of ICE should direct SEVP to develop and distribute guidance to DSOs on how to determine whether a job is related to a student's area of study and require DSOs to provide information in SEVIS to show that they took steps, based on this guidance, to help ensure that the student's work is related to the area of study.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2015, SEVP has made progress in developing employment guidance to support DSOs in determining whether a job is related to a student's area of study and requiring DSOs to provide such information in SEVIS. SEVP stated that it has drafted such guidance and it is being reviewed by SEVP subject matter experts. In addition, SEVP stated that it is developing information requirements for DSOs to attest that they adhered to the new employment guidance document in SEVIS, which requires system enhancements. In May 2016, the new STEM OPT regulation went into effect and, among other things, SEVP officials stated that it requires much greater detail on the scope of the employment and how it is related to the earned degree. As of October 2016, SEVP expects that non-STEM guidance on field of study would be finalized by the second quarter of fiscal year 2017. In May 2017, SEVP officials stated they had been revising the guidance and that it was undergoing final revisions, as planned. However, according to SEVP officials, due to the Executive Order on regulatory reform, ICE guidance updates were placed on hold with no clear date as to when SEVP would be able to publish the guidance. To fully address this recommendation, ICE should develop and distribute non-STEM-related guidance on determining whether a job is related to a student's area of study and require DSOs to provide relevant information in SEVIS.
    Director: Brown, Kay E
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

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

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2016, the Department of Education reported that on November 16, 2015, the Office of Safe and Healthy Students within the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education convened a meeting with federal partners to explore ways in which the agencies can better support states and to devise dissemination strategies for sharing information and providing technical assistance in the most cost- effective ways to state and local educational agencies and child welfare agencies, and ensure that resources are accessible to the various stakeholders. It noted several next steps including creating and implementing a Federal dissemination plan for the new adult sexual misconduct guidance, repository of federal resources, and for information on all state-level mandates and policies addressing adult sexual misconduct in schools. GAO will consider this recommendation closed when the department provides timelines for the completion of these activities and documentation of their completion. The agency did not provide an update on the agency's progress in FY17.
    Recommendation: In order to help inform federal, state, and local initiatives to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse by school personnel, the Secretary of Education should lead an effort, in collaboration with the Secretary of HHS and the Attorney General, to leverage resources, expertise, and capacities across the departments to identify mechanisms to better track and analyze the prevalence of child sexual abuse by school personnel through existing federal data collection systems, such as the School Survey on Crime and Safety, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, and the National Crime Victimization Survey.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education reported that experts within the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) consulted with research partners in the Department of Justice and academic research experts to determine if an effective item or item set about this important issue could be derived. After review of extant sources and consultation with item development experts, a clear question that would result in meaningful information from school administrator respondents could not be developed. They also noted that they understand there is continuing interest on this issue and will continue studying item possibilities for the next School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS) provided the collection is funded. As of May 2016, NCES does not have funds to field SSOCS after 2016, but there is a request in the 2016 budget to support a 2018 collection. GAO will consider this recommendation closed when the department has taken the above mentioned action to continue studying item possibilities for the next SSOCS if the collection is funded. The agency did not provide an update on the agency's progress in FY17.
    Director: Shear, William B
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies are tracking the effect of strategic sourcing on small businesses, OMB's Administrator for Federal Procurement Policys should monitor agencies' compliance with the requirement to maintain baseline data and performance measures on small business participation in strategic sourcing initiatives.

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

    Comments: OMB officials have stated that they are in the process of addressing this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: Consistent with OMB guidance and to track the effect of strategic sourcing on small businesses, the Secretaries of DOD, DHS, HUD, and the Interior, and the Administrator of NASA should collect baseline data and establish performance measures on the inclusion of small businesses in strategic sourcing initiatives.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD officials have stated that they are in the process of addressing this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: Consistent with OMB guidance and to track the effect of strategic sourcing on small businesses, the Secretaries of DOD, DHS, HUD, and the Interior, and the Administrator of NASA should collect baseline data and establish performance measures on the inclusion of small businesses in strategic sourcing initiatives.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior officials have stated that they are in the process of addressing this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: Consistent with OMB guidance and to track the effect of strategic sourcing on small businesses, the Secretaries of DOD, DHS, HUD, and the Interior, and the Administrator of NASA should collect baseline data and establish performance measures on the inclusion of small businesses in strategic sourcing initiatives.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: NASA officials provided an update in March 2017. They stated that they consider the inclusion of small businesses and small disadvantaged businesses throughout the strategic sourcing process and that they track performance on their small business goals at the agency and buying office level. However, they stated they had no plans to track baseline data and performance measures on small business inclusion for individual strategic sourcing efforts or strategic sourcing efforts grouped by categories because they did not see the benefit of doing so. As we stated in our report, OMB memorandums require baseline data and a measure of the change in small business spending for each individual initiative. Therefore, we continue to believe this recommendation has merit and should be fully implemented.
    Director: Dicken, John E
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of HHS should direct the Administrator of CMS to monitor the relationship between PPACA-based FULs and the NADACs on an ongoing basis to help determine whether PPACA-based FULs effectively control federal Medicaid expenditures without reducing beneficiary access to drugs subject to FULs over time.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As part of the final rule implementing the PPACA-based FUL formula, CMS monitors the relationship between the FUL and the NADAC for individual drugs on an ongoing basis and ensures that the FUL does not fall below the NADAC. CMS, however, does not monitor the relationship between the FUL and NADAC in aggregate. This monitoring would provide CMS information on the extent to which the FUL effectively controls federal Medicaid expenditures, particularly in cases where there may be potential for over-reimbursement. CMS officials expect that, by mid-2017, many states will determine reimbursement using an average acquisition cost based on the NADAC. As a result, any potential variation between the FUL and NADAC would be reduced according to CMS officials. We plan to obtain state plan amendments from CMS to confirm whether states are reimbursing at an average acquisition cost or using some other methodology to control Medicaid expenditures.
    Director: Khan, Asif A
    Phone: (202) 512-9869

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense, in his capacity as the Chief Management Officer and in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), to design and implement department-level policies and detailed procedures for FIAR Plan risk management that incorporate the five guiding principles for effective risk management. The following are examples of key features of each of the guiding principles that DOD should, at a minimum, address in its policies and procedures. (1) Identify risks. Generate a comprehensive and continuously updated list of risks that includes the root cause of each risk, audit area(s) each risk will affect, and the potential consequences if a risk is not effectively mitigated. (2) Analyze risks. Consult with key stakeholders, including program managers; use analytical techniques, such as risk categorization, risk urgency assessment, or sensitivity analysis; and determine the impact of the identified risks on individual DOD components' abilities to achieve audit readiness. (3) Plan for risk mitigation. Assign responsibility or ownership of the risk mitigation actions, define roles and responsibilities in executing mitigation plans, establish deadlines or milestones for individual mitigation actions, and estimate resource needs. (4) Implement risk mitigation plan. Document the implementation of mitigation actions, develop appropriate metrics that allow for tracking of progress, and validate reported metrics. (5) Monitor risks. Track identified risks and assess the effectiveness of implemented mitigation actions on a continuous basis, including identifying and planning for new risks.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with our recommendation. While DOD did concur with our assessment that they did not have a risk management policy and procedures related to implementing the FIAR guidance. They did not concur with our assessment of the overall environment of DOD's risk management of the FIAR initiative. DOD has taken steps to address our recommendation including implementing an NFR tracker and standard operating procedures designed to track DOD component material weaknesses. DOD has also documented a critical path and milestones in Appendix F of their FIAR Guidance; military component tasks and milestones in appendix G of the FIAR Guidance; and audit readiness deal breakers, now referred to as critical capabilities. However, while these are positive actions, they do not address our recommendation for DOD to implement risk management policies and procedures for FIAR implementation. Further, DOD has not provided GAO with evidence of planned actions it summarized in its agency comments. Specifically, DOD has not provided documentation related to (1) improving risk management documentation, (2) reinstating the DOD probability and impact matrix, and (3) re-evaluation of metrics to monitor progress and risk of audit readiness. Lastly, DOD's tracking of military component material weaknesses does not identify risks to audit readiness, or the agencies capabilities to manage risks to audit readiness. According to the May 2017 FIAR Status Update for the HASC Panel Recommendations, DOD has reinforced the importance of internal controls over areas of significant risk by updating the FIAR Guidance with a new chapter dedicated to internal controls. DOD has also changed how they respond to recommendation follow-up by way of the Washington Headquarters Service (WHS). We are currently waiting for a POC to be assigned. We will continue to evaluate the status of actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense, in his capacity as the Chief Management Officer and in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), to consider and incorporate, as appropriate, the Navy's and DLA's risk management practices in department-level policies and procedures.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has changed how they respond to recommendation follow-up by way of the Washington Headquarters Service (WHS). We are currently waiting for a POC to be assigned. We will continue to evaluate the status of actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: Cosgrove, James C
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase beneficiaries' awareness of providers' financial interest in a particular treatment, Congress should consider directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to require providers who self-refer IMRT services to disclose to their patients that they have a financial interest in the service.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2013, to increase beneficiaries' awareness of providers' financial interest in a particular treatment, we suggested that Congress should consider directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to require providers who self-refer IMRT services to disclose to their patients that they have a financial interest in the service. As of June 2017, Congress has not implemented this suggestion.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of CMS should insert a self-referral flag on its Medicare Part B claims form, require providers to indicate whether the IMRT service for which a provider bills Medicare is self-referred, and monitor the effects that self-referral has on costs and beneficiary treatment selection.

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

    Comments: In August 2013, we recommended that the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) insert a self-referral flag on its Medicare Part B claims form, require providers to indicate whether the intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) service for which a provider bills Medicare is self-referred, and monitor the effects that self-referral has on costs and beneficiary treatment selection. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) did not concur with this recommendation, noting that CMS does not believe that this recommendation will address overutilization that occurs as a result of self-referral, would be complex to administer, and may have unintended consequences. We continue to believe that such a flag on Part B claims would likely be the easiest and most cost-effective way for CMS to identify self-referred IMRT services and monitor the effects of self-referral. As of June 2017, CMS has not provided any additional information about actions it has taken to address this recommendation.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202)512-4859

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve NASA management and oversight of its spaceflight projects, and to improve the reliability of project EVM data, the NASA Administrator should direct the appropriate offices to modify the NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) 7120.5 to require projects to implement a formal surveillance program that: (1) Ensures anomalies in contractor-delivered and in-house monthly earned value management reports are identified and explained, and report periodically to the center and mission directorate's leadership on relevant trends in the number of unexplained anomalies. (2) Ensures consistent use of work breakdown structures (WBS) for both the EVM report and the schedule. (3) Ensures that lower level EVM data reconcile to project level EVM data using the same WBS structure. (4) Improves underlying schedules so that they are properly sequenced using predecessor and successor dependencies and are free of constraints to the extent practicable so that the EVM baseline is reliable.

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

    Comments: NASA partially agreed with this recommendation. NASA has implemented several initiatives related to EVM training tools and support material to enhance EVM implementation, but has not modified the NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) 7120.5 to require projects to implement a formal surveillance program. In May 2017, officials reiterated NASA's position that they do not plan to implement a formal surveillance plan due to resource constraints. We continue to believe that implementing this recommendation for projects to implement a formal surveillance program would be beneficial and prevent anomalies in EVM data from occurring. Without implementing proper surveillance, projects may be utilizing unreliable EVM data in its analyses to inform its cost and schedule decision making.
    Director: Herr, Phillip R
    Phone: (202)512-8509

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that USPS's efforts to expand access through retail alternatives support its strategic goals to improve its service and financial performance, the Postmaster General should develop and implement a plan with a timeline to guide efforts to modernize USPS's retail network that addresses both traditional post offices and retail alternatives. This plan should also include: (1) criteria for ensuring the retail network continues to provide adequate access for customers as it is restructured; (2) procedures for obtaining reliable retail revenue and cost data to measure progress and inform future decision making; and (3) a method to assess whether USPS's communications strategy is effectively reaching customers, particularly those customers in areas where post offices may close.

    Agency: United States Postal Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: USPS has undertaken actions to ensure customers have adequate access to postal services, including providing more ways to access postal services in high-revenue markets and expanding the Village Post Office program in rural areas. With regard to USPS's communications strategy, USPS discussed the public notice requirements that are part of the post office discontinuance policy and the role of the Corporate Communications Office in communicating about postal services provided through retail partners. USPS also discussed the process that occurs during discontinuance proceedings to ensure sufficient service is maintained. However, USPS has not provided information to GAO on how USPS intends to obtain reliable revenue and cost data and how it ensures retail service is sufficient to meet customer demand. GAO discussed the need for additional documentation of these matters. Implementation date is to be determined.
    Recommendation: To help ensure contract postal units and Approved Shippers provide postal products and services in accordance with USPS policies, while making efficient use of its constrained resources, the Postmaster General should establish procedures to focus monitoring of retail partners on those determined to be at a greater risk of not complying with its requirements and procedures.

    Agency: United States Postal Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: During a discussion with USPS in January 2017, USPS described a proposed risk-based approach to monitoring CPUs which, if implemented, would meet the intent of the recommendation. GAO is awaiting documentation of this approach.
    Director: Caldwell, Stephen L
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen the Coast Guard's efforts to ensure the security of OCS facilities and deepwater ports, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should make improvements to the Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) database or MISLE guidance to better ensure that all OCS facilities, both fixed and floating, are accurately and consistently identified and that the results of security inspections are consistently recorded to allow for better data analyses and management of the security inspections process.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2015, the Coast Guard updated its Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) Facilities User Guide to reflect an added feature to MISLE that allows users to identify if a vessel or facility is an OCS facility regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA), 33 CFR 106. To ensure that this added feature is used in a consistent manner to accurately classify facilities that are regulated under 33 CFR 106, the Coast Guard is in the process of updating Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 05-03, which provides implementation guidance for MTSA regulations with respect to OCS facilities. As of October 2017, the Coast Guard liaison informed us that the Coast Guard expects to issue the updated circular and complete related activities by the end of 2017. Additionally, in September 2016, the Coast Guard issued an updated MISLE Facility and Platform Inspection Guide that indicates how security inspections can be recorded separately from other types of inspections. These actions should help ensure that the results of security inspections are consistently recorded to allow for better data analyses and allow the Coast Guard to be in a better position to oversee the security inspection process across OCS facilities.
    Director: King, Kathleen M
    Phone: (202)512-5154

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To develop more accurate data for estimating the funds needed for the CHS program and improving IHS oversight, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Director of IHS to develop a written policy documenting how IHS evaluates need for the CHS program and disseminate it to area offices and CHS programs to ensure they understand how unfunded services data are used to estimate overall program needs.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, IHS reported in October 2015 that it was completing a comprehensive update of a policy chapter related to the Contract Health Services (CHS) Program (also called the Purchased/Referred Care Program). The agency indicated that this revised chapter would incorporate a written policy on how IHS evaluates need for the CHS program. It indicated that the chapter update had been under revision since December 20, 2012, with final approval anticipated in 2015. In July 2017, IHS indicated that the policy was still under development and would be issued to all IHS sites by September 30, 2017.
    Recommendation: To develop more accurate data for estimating the funds needed for the CHS program and improving IHS oversight, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Director of IHS to provide written guidance to CHS programs on a process to use when funds are depleted and there is a continued need for services, and monitor to ensure that appropriate actions are taken.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, IHS reported in October 2015 that it developed and distributed Fund Management Standardization guidance to Area Offices to monitor compliance by federal Contract Health Services (CHS) program (also called the Purchased/Referred Care program) Service Units. Also, IHS issued standardized spending plan procedures to all Area Offices and Federally-operated programs. Also, it indicated that spending plan guidance would be included in an update of a policy chapter related to the CHS program. The agency indicated that this chapter had been under revision since December 20, 2012, with final approval anticipated in 2015. In July 2017, IHS indicated that the policy was still under development and would be issued to all IHS sites by September 30, 2017.
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Commission should instruct the Director of Finance at Commission headquarters to monitor monthly cash reconciliations for all Fund Balance with Treasury accounts Commissionwide to ensure their completeness and accuracy.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: During fiscal year 2012, the Commission contracted with the Interior Business Center (IBC) to perform its monthly cash reconciliations with Treasury. During our testing, we found that IBC effectively reconciled cash on hand to Treasury records. However, we found that ABMC did not effectively monitor IBC's reconciliations. Specifically, ABMC did not document its review of the FMS-224 and Fund Balance with Treasury reconciliations performed by IBC. To fully address this recommendation, ABMC needs to document its review of the IBC prepared reconciliations to ensure they are accurate and complete. During fiscal year 2017, the Commission informed us that they plan to develop and implement corrective actions to address our recommendation. Therefore, we will follow up on this open recommendation at a later date.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Commission should instruct the Director of Human Resources and Administration at Commission headquarters to maintain a consolidated Active Contracts List, or require the Paris Overseas Office to maintain a separate list, with information on each contract including the name of the contact person; the status of work completed; whether retainage amounts had been paid; and whether any amounts were pending due to disagreements on work performed.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: During our fiscal year 2012 audit, although the Commission provided GAO with active contract lists, we determined that these lists were not consolidated nor were they adequately maintained by the director of Engineering. We also continued to find instances where the Commission did not properly close contracts and deobligate funds. In addition, the Commission could not identify any specific actions taken to address this recommendation. During our fiscal year 2017 follow-up, the Commission informed us that they plan to implement an automated procurement system that will meet the intent of our recommendation. Therefore, we will follow up on this open recommendation at a later date.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Commission should instruct the Director of Human Resources and Administration at Commission headquarters to ensure that the Active Contracts List is reconciled to contracts on the undelivered orders report produced by the Commission's accounting system.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: During our fiscal year 2012 audit, we found that the Headquarters active contracts list had not been reconciled to the undelivered orders account. In addition, we concluded that these lists were not adequately maintained. We also continued to find instances where the Commission did not properly close contracts and deobligate funds. In addition, the Commission could not identify any specific actions taken to address this recommendation. During our fiscal year 2017 follow-up, the Commission informed us that they plan to develop and implement procurement-related standard operating procedures to address our recommendation. Therefore, we will follow-up on this recommendation at a later date.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Commission should instruct the Director of Finance at Commission headquarters to follow existing budgetary procedures to ensure that contracts are officially agreed to and executed as of or before the date of obligation.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: During our fiscal year 2011 audit of the American Battle Monuments Commission's financial statements, the Commission informed us that this recommendation was implemented with FMS and that ABMC now follows commitment accounting which prevents contracts from being signed before funds are reserved. During our 2012 testing we continued to monitor and we found no related issues. However, the Commission was unable to provide documentation or support for the corrective action instituted with FMS. During our fiscal year 2017 follow-up, the Commission informed us that they plan to implement an automated procurement system that will meet the intent of our recommendation. Therefore, we will follow up on this open recommendation at a later date.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Commission should instruct the Director of Human Resources at the Commission's Paris Overseas Office to follow existing policy to prepare, approve, and file current forms to support pay changes in foreign employee's official personnel file.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: During our fiscal year 2012 audit, we tested a sample of payroll transactions and found that not all personnel files contained accurate forms to support current payroll information. In one sample, the ABM-87 was not approved by a Director or designee. In another sample, the salary for the grade and step did not match that of the employee's local compensation plan. In a third sample, the employee's salary was not updated for a General Schedule step increase until almost a year later. During our fiscal year 2017 follow-up, the Commission informed us that they plan to implement an automated HR system that will meet the intent of our recommendation. Therefore, we will follow up on this open recommendation at a later date
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Commission should instruct the Director of Human Resources at the Commission's Paris Overseas Office to establish a consistent policy for Paris and Rome offices to support changes in employee's official personnel files by using an SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, for all employees.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: During fiscal year 2012, we determined that the Commission's policy is to use two forms for payroll actions. The headquarters office processes SF-50s for General Schedule (GS) employees and the Paris office uses SF-50s for GS employees and ABM-87s for foreign employees. We did not find any exception with this policy as the SF-50 is a required form for processing payroll actions for GS employees and the ABM 87 is a standard form for processing payroll actions for foreign employees. However, this policy is not documented. To clarify the intent of this recommendation, which is for the Commission to be consistent in processing payroll actions, we issued a subsequent recommendation that calls for the Commission to direct appropriate officials to establish written policies and procedures outlining the key tasks, roles, and responsibilities of both the Human Resources Directorate and the Finance Directorate, including a formal mechanism for communicating all decisions and actions related to processing payroll for foreign employees. This would include the processing of payroll actions. During our fiscal year 2017 follow-up, the Commission informed us that training was provided to employees in the proper production of personnel documentation, however, no policy was provided. Therefore, we will follow up on this open recommendation at a later date.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Commission should instruct the Finance Directorate's Finance Officer at the Commission's Paris Overseas Office to modify existing accounting procedures to instruct Finance Directorate personnel to enter the date on the invoice into the accounting system.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: During our audit of the American Battle Monuments Commission's (the Commission) fiscal year 2010 financial statements, we found that Commission controls were not always effective in ensuring that the receipt and acceptance of goods and services were properly authorized and that invoice dates were accounted for in a consistent manner. The Commission informed us that all Finance personnel were instructed to enter both the invoice receipt date and the invoice date when processing invoices for payment. However, during our fiscal year 2012 audit, we found that the date on the invoice was not consistently entered into the accounting system. For example, we found inconsistencies with the invoice receipt date being entered into the accounting system as either the date the goods were received, the date the invoice was received, or the date the invoice was being entered into the financial system. In addition, we could not verify whether current accounting procedures included this requirement. During our fiscal year 2017 follow-up, the Commission informed us that the invoice date entered in Oracle is taken directly from the invoice approval stamp, however, the Commission was not able to provide a policy, procedures, or statement of work supporting the actions taken. We contacted the agency to ask for further information but no response was received within the established deadline for us to conduct our follow up. Therefore, we will follow up on this recommendation at a later date.
    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: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202)512-9521

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Comments: IRS's efforts to address this recommendation are ongoing. IRS stated that during fiscal year 2017, it would update campus post orders to help ensure timely reporting, monitoring and repair of exterior lighting outages. In addition, AWSS engaged in discussions with personnel from FPS and GSA to coordinate responsibilities and suggested changes for post orders when security services are contracted by those entities. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Director: Williamson, Randall B
    Phone: (206)287-4860

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help identify risks and address vulnerabilities in physical security precautions at VA medical facilities, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to require relevant medical center stakeholders to coordinate and consult on (1) plans for new and renovated units, and (2) any changes to physical security features, such as closed-circuit television cameras.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

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

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to high-quality dialysis care, the Administrator of CMS should assess the extent to which the bundled payment for dialysis care will be sufficient to cover an efficient dialysis organization's costs to provide such care when the bundled payment expands to cover oral-only ESRD drugs. The Administrator should conduct this assessment before implementing this expanded bundled payment.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: In order to ensure effective monitoring of treatment of mineral and bone disorder, the Administrator of CMS should continue collecting data for quality measures related to this condition from sources such as the Elab Project until CROWNWeb is fully implemented and concerns about its data reliability have been adequately addressed.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Pickup, Sharon L
    Phone: (202)512-9619

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To establish ongoing accountability and better leverage the unique positions of the CMO and DCMO to provide the leadership necessary to follow up the Secretary's recent efficiency initiative for the long term, the Secretary of Defense should assign specific roles and responsibilities to the CMO and DCMO for integrating the Secretary's efficiency initiative with ongoing reform efforts, overseeing its implementation, and otherwise institutionalizing the effort for the long term.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation, but did not specify the action it planned to take to implement the recommendation. Based on a review of all the memos related to the efficiencies and recent discussions with the Deputy Chief Management Officer and Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) offices, there is currently no guidance that formally assigns the DCMO and Comptroller responsibility for tracking and overseeing the implementation of the efficiency initiatives. However, during a March 2011 testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Comptroller stated that the Deputy Chief Management Officer (DCMO) and the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) were assigned the task of monitoring the implementation of the efficiency initiative and report successes and problems to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, DOD's Chief Management Officer (CMO). Given the responsibilities, under statute and department guidance, related to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of business operations, the DCMO,in conjunction with the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), is positioned to monitor, integrate, and otherwise institutionalize the Secretary of Defense's ongoing efficiency initiative. The recommendation remains unimplemented in the absence of formal guidance that institutionalizes the responsibilities of the CMO and DCMO. As of early September 2015, DOD has not yet issued formal guidance that assigns the CMO and DCMO these specific roles and responsibilities.
    Recommendation: To enhance DOD's ability to set strategic direction for its business transformation efforts, and better align and institutionalize its efforts to develop and implement plans and measure progress against established goals, the Secretary of Defense should direct the CMO to issue guidance to establish a strategic planning process with mechanisms---such as procedures and milestones---for routinely updating the SMP and military department business transformation plans. In particular, this guidance should include elements such as how DOD and the military departments---including the CMO, DCMO, and military department CMOs---will reach consensus on business priorities, coordinate review and approval of updates to plans, synchronize the development of plans with the budget process, and monitor the implementation of reform initiatives, and report progress, on a periodic basis, towards achieving established goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation. As of July 2013, DOD has not issued guidance to establish a strategic planning process with mechanisms, such as procedures and milestones, for routinely updating the Strategic Management Plan and the business transformation plans of the military departments. As of early September 2015, DOD has not yet issued guidance to establish a strategic planning process to update related business transformation plans.
    Director: Sherrill, Andrew
    Phone: (202)512-7252

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

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2016, USCIS officials reported that, according to their current timeframes, the business rules associated with the nonimmigrant visa petition process (including Form I-129) in the USCIS Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) were slated to be developed in late 2017, with implementation projected for the beginning of 2018. They stated that during the requirements-gathering phase, the Service Center Operations officials and the Office of Transformation Program officials planned to discuss potential options for improving the tracking of the number of approved H-1B applications and the number of issued visas under the cap, including assessing the feasibility of linking DHS and State Department data. GAO will follow-up with USCIS on the status of this recommendation when business rules for the nonimmigrant line of the ELIS are developed and released.
    Director: Caldwell, Stephen L
    Phone: (202) 512-9610

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To facilitate better agency understanding of the potential need and feasibility of expanding electronic verification of seafarers, to improve data collection and sharing, and to comply with the Inflation Adjustment Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard and Commissioner of CBP to jointly establish an interagency process for sharing and reconciling records of absconder and deserter incidents occurring at U.S. seaports.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred and stated that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Coast Guard would begin to assess the appropriate offices within each component involved in the review and to establish a working group to evaluate the current reporting process within each component, and between CBP and Coast Guard. Further, DHS noted that it was working to co-locate the Coast Guard's ICC Coastwatch and CBP's National Targeting Center-Passenger and that this would help to eliminate many of the absconder-and deserter- reporting inconsistencies GAO identified between Coast Guard and CBP. In January 2013, CBP and Coast Guard officials reported that they had studied the CBP and Coast Guard data and found that multiple factors had likely contributed to the data variances, including differences in definitions for absconders/deserters among CBP and Coast Guard field units, and the method in which field units had recorded and reported absconder and deserter incidents. Officials reported that the two agencies were planning to develop an interagency memorandum of agreement (MOA) with field guidance for reporting absconder and deserter incidents. Officials reported that they expected to finalize and implement the MOA and field guidance by November 30, 2013. In July 2014, CBP described a new process in place for interagency data reconciliation, reporting that this action was taken in lieu of previously discussed plans to develop an interagency MOU. In December 2015, CBP reported that it expected to complete the effort by March 2016. In March 2016, CBP report that it expected to complete the effort by September 2016. CBP officials reported that the Coast Guard and CBP determined that the absconder data variances were caused by the agencies using different reporting criteria. Officials reported that the two agencies were preparing a memo and guidance to issue to field units by August 31, 2016. Officials reported that the recommendation would be fully implemented by September 30, 2016. In September 2016, CBP reported that it expected to implement the effort by December 31, 2016. In December 2016, CBP reported that the agency had drafted a memo to coincide with new Coast Guard procedure for conducting asymmetric migration vetting and deconfliction. CBP was also working to require all ports of entry to report all maritime asymmetric migration events directly to Coastwatch or a Targeting Framework event. However, on October 18, 2016, the DHS Deputy Secretary issued Department Policy Regarding Investigative Data and Event Deconfliction Policy Directive 045-04 that sets forth DHS policy for investigative data and event deconfliction and the use of related deconfliction systems in the course of certain law enforcement activity. As a result of the newly published Directive, DHS requires that CBP develop and implement related policy, by January 17, 2017. The policy directive requires DHS components to develop a policy applicable to components having equities in Investigative Data and Event Deconfliction. The policy will focus on more effective coordination of investigative activity to ensure officer safety by identifying links between ongoing criminal investigations. The Policy also requires that CBP components, at a minimum, conduct deconfliction thru the Deconfliction and Information Coordination Endeavor, Regional Information Sharing Systems Officer Safety Event Deconfliction System, Secure Automated Fast Event Tracking Network or Case Explorer systems. CBP and Coast Guard are now looking at a directive which makes it a port responsibility to deconflict case related information. The timeline for drafting and finalizing that directive is January 2017. Because of this change in direction, CBP and Coast Guard are requesting an extension to March 31, 2017 to finalize and disseminate the new policy.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-2757

    7 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to use evaluation results, response rate, and other data to develop a predictive model that would inform decisions on how much and how best to allocate paid media funds for 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: During 2013, the Bureau reported on the agency's assessments of the 2010 communications campaign. The Bureau concluded that extra investment of advertising in certain markets increased awareness of the Census. During 2015, the Bureau conducted research and testing on activities to support planning for the 2020 communications campaign. The Bureau based its testing, in part, on evaluation results of paid media activities the 2010 integrated communications program. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the contractor will develop a paid media plan based on tests of advertising with target audiences and complete analysis of media buys. The contractor will develop an ad tracking system to help inform decisions on allocating paid media funds for 2020. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. Bureau officials have indicated action on this recommendation is due by December 31, 2017, and as of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau progress in developing its approach for the 2020 Integrated Communications Program.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to develop mechanisms to increase coordination and communication between the partnership and local census office staff. Possible actions include offering more opportunities for joint training, establishing protocols for coordination, and more effectively leveraging the partnership contact database to better align partnership outreach activities with local needs.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2011, the Bureau reported on the agency's assessment of the partnership program. According to the Bureau, the Regional Partnership is developing a strategy for the 2020 Census Partnership and Outreach Program. In September 2014, the Bureau's Path to the 2020 Census, identified the Partnership Program as one of the best methods for communicating the importance of response and states its intent to map out details about the Partnership Program in early 2016. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the Contractor will collaborate with program areas, the Field Division, and regional offices to implement the partnership program. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. As of July 2017, Bureau officials are gathering artifacts that they believe may demonstrate progress with this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to improve the user-friendliness of the partnership database to help ensure more timely updates of contact information and enhance its use as a management tool.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2012, the Bureau issued an assessment of the partnership program that highlighted user problems with the partnership database. One of the report's recommendations was to ensure ease of data entry for users of the Integrated Partner Contact Database (IPCD). In 2014, the Bureau reported the agency is continuing to modifications to the Integrated Partner Contact Database (IPCD) system and discussing options for improving the efficiency and usability of the IPCD. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the Contractor will work closely with the regional offices to implement the partnership program. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. Bureau officials have indicated that action on this recommendation is due by September 30, 2017. As of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau progress in improving the efficiency and usability of its partnership database.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure that promotional materials, including in-language materials for the partnership program, are available when partnership staff are first hired.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2011, the Bureau issued an assessment of the partnership program. One of the report's recommendations was to provide promotional materials that fit partner needs. During April 2014, Bureau reported its staff in the field and communications directorates have plans to review assessments, lessons learned reports and debriefings with key staff, stakeholders, and partners to inform an effective strategy for the development, production, and delivery of promotional materials, including non-English language materials, for the 2020 Census. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the Contractor will produce materials such as promotional items for partners to use in promoting awareness of the census. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. As of July 2017, Bureau officials are attempting to identify and provide evidence that they met their April 1, 2017 deadline of implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve some of the Bureau's key efforts to enumerate HTC populations, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to assess visitation, response rate, and other applicable data on Be Counted/QAC locations and use that information to revise site selection guidance for 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: During May 2012 the Bureau reported on its assessment of the Be Counted/ Questionnaire Assistance Center program. The assessment included information on the number of individuals counted and number of location established but did not identify response rates for hard-to enumerate groups. In April 2013, the Bureau reported on its assessment of coverage measurement issues related to hard-to-enumerate populations. In its 2020 Census Operational Plan, issued in October 2015, the Bureau provided a high level overview of reengineered field operations plans and has not provided details on making decisions on special enumeration efforts such as Be Counted. As of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau's plans for special enumeration activities that target hard to enumerate groups, and Bureau officials are gathering artifacts to support implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve some of the Bureau's key efforts to enumerate HTC populations, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the factors that led to the staffing issues observed during SBE and take corrective actions to ensure more efficient SBE staffing levels in 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2012, the Bureau issued its assessment of the Service Based Enumeration Program. The assessment reported on the number of individuals counted and the complexities of this special enumeration activity. The assessment did not address the Bureau's approach to staffing this special enumeration activity. In its 2020 Census Operational Plan, issued in October 2015, the Bureau provided a high level overview of reengineered field operations plans and has not provided details on making decisions on special enumeration efforts. As of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau's plans for special enumeration activities that target hard to enumerate groups, and Bureau officials are gathering artifacts to support implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve some of the Bureau's key efforts to enumerate HTC populations, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to evaluate the extent to which each special enumeration activity improved the count of traditionally hard-to-enumerate groups and use the results to help inform decision making on spending for these programs in 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In 2012, the Bureau reported on assessments of many 2010 special enumeration activities such as the Service-Based Enumeration and the Be Counted/Questionnaire Assistance Center Programs. These assessments revealed the number of persons counted and spending for the special enumeration activities. Separately, the Bureau issued results of the 2010 Census Coverage Measurement Program that described the level of coverage of various hard-to-enumerate populations generally without attributing coverage to specific enumeration activities. In 2015, the Bureau issued its 2020 Census Operational Plan outlining design changes for enumeration activities. According to the Bureau, the changes are designed to optimize self-response and use administrative records and third party data to reduce field work. However, the Bureau had not provided details of its plans for various special enumeration activities. In April 2017 Bureau officials provided us with evaluation results of its 2010 communication efforts and other documents related to ongoing efforts to reduce errors in the census. As of mid-July 2017, Bureau officials reported they were working to provide other artifacts they believe may demonstrate that recommendation has been addressed.
    Director: St James, Lorelei
    Phone: (214)777-5719

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the management and oversight of the Low-Income Program, the Chairman of the FCC should conduct a robust risk assessment of the Low-Income Program.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Goldstein, Mark L
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve internal controls over the E-rate program, the Federal Communications Commission should, based on the findings of the risk assessment, conduct a thorough examination of the overall design of E-rate's internal control structure to ensure that the procedures and administrative resources related to internal controls are aligned to provide reasonable assurance that program risks are appropriately targeted and addressed.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2014, FCC approved USAC's hiring of a contractor to conduct a risk assessment of the E-rate program. FCC plans to implement this recommendation after the risk assessment is completed and the results of the risk assessment can be used to inform the examination of the internal control structure.
    Recommendation: To improve internal controls over the E-rate program, the Federal Communications Commission should implement a systematic approach to assess internal controls that appropriately considers the results of beneficiary audits and that is supported by a documented and approved set of policies and procedures.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2014, FCC approved the hiring of a contractor to conduct a risk assessment of the E-rate program. In July 2014, an FCC official said that the agency planning to take action on this recommendation before the risk assessment is completed.
    Recommendation: To improve internal controls over the E-rate program, the Federal Communications Commission should develop policies and procedures to periodically monitor the internal control structure of the E-rate program, including evaluating the costs and benefits of internal controls, to provide continued reasonable assurance that program risks are targeted and addressed.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2014, FCC approved the hiring of a contractor to conduct a risk assessment of the E-rate program. In July 2014, an FCC official said that the agency planning to take action on this recommendation before the risk assessment is completed.
    Director: Mccool, Thomas J
    Phone: (202)512-8678

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

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not taken action on this recommendation.
    Director: Khan, Asif A
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the military department Chief Management Officers, in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, as appropriate, after defining the cost accounting requirements, to utilize the requirements as input to the ERPs to help ensure that the ERPs will provide the capability to identify and aggregate cost information for the department's assets in accordance with DOD's defined requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD's military departments are in the process of implementing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERPs). At least one of these ERPs does not currently include cost accumulation and reporting for military equipment assets. DOD's FIAR plan efforts, which, according to officials, include systems enhancements are still on-going to address this recommendation. The status of this recommendation is open.
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202)512-9377

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of Personnel and Administration at Commission headquarters should follow established policies and procedures in taking action to conduct a review of contracts and purchase orders outstanding for completeness, accuracy, and proper dates.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission: Human Resources and Administration Director
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, the Commission stated that it completed such a review in fiscal year 2009 and made corrections as to how the Commission issues contracts and purchase orders. In addition, the Commission hired a consultant, a retired Federal Government Contracting Officer, to assist with contracting activities and to help draft and implement the Commission's policies and procedures. During our fiscal year 2010 audit, we found errors in relation to the Commission's contracts and found that Headquarter's Active Contracts List for contracts over $100,000 was not up to date. We found 3 out of 20 expenditures we tested that were obligated before there was a signed contract. During our fiscal year 2011 audit, we found that the Headquarter's Active Contracts List for contracts over $100,000 was not being kept up to date and reconciled to the undelivered orders account. During our fiscal year 2012 audit, we found there were no policies and procedures for processing engineering contracts. We were informed by the Commission that they were in the process of documenting policies and procedures for the entire contracting process. We also found there were no documented policies and procedures for reviewing year end open obligations and accounts payable to verify the accuracy and validity of year end balances. Additionally, there was no documented review of accounts payable or open obligations performed at year-end for all the open contracts. As a result, we found errors in year-end aged vendor liability reports and open purchase orders that no longer represented valid obligations and should have been deobligated. During our fiscal year 2017 follow-up, the Commission informed us that they plan to establish procurement-related policies and procedures to address our recommendation. We will follow up on this open recommendation at a later date.
    Recommendation: The Director of Personnel and Administration at Commission headquarters should follow established policies and procedures in taking action to coordinate procurement activity with finance personnel to ensure accurate and compliant obligation of funding of procurements, including proper application of multiyear contract terms.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission: Human Resources and Administration Director
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, the Commission stated that acquisition personnel would ensure coordination with finance personnel to be certain that accurate and compliant obligation of funding of procurements, including proper application of multi-year contract terms. During our fiscal year 2010 and 2011 audits, we found errors in relation to the Commission's contracts and determined improvements were still needed in the oversight of contracts. During our fiscal year 2012 audit, we found there were no policies and procedures for processing engineering contracts. We were informed by the Commission that they were in the process of documenting policies and procedures for the entire contracting process. We also found there were no documented policies and procedures for reviewing year end open obligations and accounts payable to verify the accuracy and validity of year end balances. Additionally, there was no documented review of accounts payable or open obligations performed at year-end for all the open contracts. As a result, we found errors in year-end aged vendor liability reports and open purchase orders that no longer represented valid obligations and should have been deobligated. During our fiscal year 2017 follow-up, the Commission informed us that they plan to establish procurement-related policies and procedures to address our recommendation. We will follow up on this open recommendation at a later date.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202)512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better determine the effects of nonresponse bias on the Status of Forces survey results, the Secretary of Defense should direct Director of DMDC to develop and implement guidance both for conducting nonresponse analysis and for using the results of nonresponse analysis to inform DMDC's statistical weighting techniques, as part of the collection and analysis of the Status of Forces survey results.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2012, DMDC indicated that, although it continues to agree with the recommendation that DOD develop and implement guidance both for conducting nonresponse analysis and for using the results of nonresponse analysis to inform DMDC's statistical weighting techniques, funding is not currently available to carry out the full intent of the recommendation. Therefore, DMDC stated that it can only comply with the spirit of the recommendation at this time. Further, DMDC is looking for further direction from GAO with regard to this recommendation.
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202)512-9521

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to, once IRS identifies the control weaknesses that result in inaccuracies or errors that affect the financial reporting of unpaid tax assessments, implement control procedures to routinely prevent, or to detect and correct, such errors.

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

    Comments: IRS created a long-term corrective action plan that contains specific actions to improve control procedures to prevent or detect errors. While IRS completed some actions during fiscal year 2016, it has not completed most of the actions in the plan or documented milestones or target completion dates for these remaining actions. In addition, during fiscal year 2016, GAO and IRS continued to identify misclassified unpaid assessments that resulted from inaccuracies or errors in taxpayer accounts. Thus, IRS's actions to date have not been effective at fully addressing the issues that continue to cause a lack of transaction traceability and material inaccuracies produced by the subsidiary ledger. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Director: Khan, Asif A
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in coordination with the military service secretaries (as appropriate), to revise the Army procedures to include specific steps required to retain documentation of the activities performed and related results.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the draft report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and cited actions in process to revise its Financial Management Regulation (FMR). In 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) (OUSD(C)) stated that the Components provided comments and edits to the draft Chapter 23. The comments were more detailed than projected and require extensive research to verify. However, it is not clear whether this action will provide sufficient Army-specific procedural requirements. As of August 2017, we have not been able to obtain supporting documentation to assess whether the recommendation was implemented.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in coordination with the military service secretaries (as appropriate), to revise the Marine Corps and Air Force procedures to include specific steps required to validate data in the OCO report including reconciliations and retain documentation of the activities performed and related results.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the draft report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and cited actions in process to revise its Financial Management Regulation (FMR). In 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) (OUSD(C)) stated that the Components provided comments and edits to the draft Chapter 23. The comments were more detailed than projected and require extensive research to verify. However, it is not clear whether this action will provide sufficient Marine Corps and Air Force-specific procedural requirements. As of August 2017, we have not been able to obtain supporting documentation to assess whether the recommendation was implemented.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in coordination with the military service secretaries (as appropriate), to establish Navy procedures to include specific steps required to validate data in the OCO report including variance analysis and reconciliations, and retain documentation of the activities performed and related results.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the draft report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and cited actions in process to revise its Financial Management Regulation (FMR). In 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) (OUSD(C)) stated that the Components provided comments and edits to the draft Chapter 23. The comments were more detailed than projected and require extensive research to verify. However, it is not clear whether this action will provide sufficient Navy-specific procedural requirements. As of August 2017, we have not been able to obtain supporting documentation to assess whether the recommendation was implemented.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in coordination with the military service secretaries (as appropriate), to revise DOD requirements in FMR 7000.14-R, Volume 12, Chapter 23, Contingency Operations, to provide clear, detailed guidance on (1) conducting reconciliations and other validations and (2) documenting military service-level reviews and DOD Comptroller-level reviews.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the draft report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and cited actions in process to revise its Financial Management Regulation (FMR). In 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) (OUSD(C)) stated that the Components provided comments and edits to the draft Chapter 23. The comments were more detailed than projected and require extensive research to verify. As of August 2017, we have not been able to obtain supporting documentation to assess whether the recommendation was implemented.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-2757

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide more meaningful access to LEP populations, the Administrator of SBA should finalize and issue its LEP plan and recipient guidance.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: Executive Order 13166 requires federal agencies to examine how to improve access for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) to programs, services, and activities conducted by both federal agencies as well as state, local, and regional entities that receive federal financial assistance (a group referred to in the Executive Order as "recipients"). While the Executive Order does not prescribe specific approaches for improving access for LEP persons, it does require federal agencies to develop guidelines (referred to as "recipient guidance") that clarify the obligations of state, local, and regional entities. Agencies are also required to prepare LEP plans outlining the steps the agency will take to ensure that eligible LEP persons can access their programs and activities. In our April 2010 report on language access issues, we determined that the Small Business Administration (SBA) had not issued its recipient guidance or LEP plan. SBA officials attributed the delay to several factors, including staff turnover in key positions responsible for developing and approving their LEP Plan and recipient guidance as well as a major transformation effort involving SBA's business operations, goals, and staffing arrangements. As a result, our report recommended that the SBA Administrator finalize and issue SBA's LEP Plan and recipient guidance. As of February 2017, SBA's audit liaison reported that SBA's LEP Plan and recipient guidance are being revised based on comments from a review by the Department of Justice.
    Director: Cosgrove, James C
    Phone: (202)512-7029

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that changes in Medicare payment methods for dialysis care do not adversely affect beneficiaries, the Administrator of CMS should monitor the access to and quality of dialysis care for groups of beneficiaries, particularly those with above average costs of dialysis care, under the new bundled payment system. Such monitoring should begin as soon as possible once the new bundled payment system is implemented and be used to inform potential refinements to the payment system.

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

    Comments: In March 2010, we recommended that the Administrator of CMS monitor the access to and quality of dialysis care for groups of beneficiaries, particularly those with above average costs, under the new bundled payment system to help ensure that changes in the Medicare payment methods for dialysis care do not adversely affect. We further specified that such monitoring begin as soon as possible once the new bundled payment system is implemented. CMS implemented the expanded bundled payment system for dialysis care in January 2011. As of August 2011, CMS is collecting data on dialysis care utilization that could be used to examine access to and quality of dialysis care by groups of beneficiaries. Although CMS anticipates using these data to identify potential problems in dialysis care, the agency has not begun using these data to examine access to and quality of care by groups of beneficiaries, nor has finalized plans to do so.
    Director: Shames, Lisa R
    Phone: (202) 512-2649

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure FDA's oversight of the safety of GRAS substances, the Commissioner of FDA should develop a strategy to minimize the potential for conflicts of interest in companies' GRAS determinations, including taking steps such as issuing guidance for companies on conflict of interest and requiring information in GRAS notices regarding expert panelists' independence.

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

    Comments: In September 2014, FDA indicated that guidance on potential conflicts of interest for experts participating on GRAS panels is a priority for the agency. In its Final Rule on Substances Generally Recognized as Safe (81 FR 54959), issued Aug. 17, 2016, FDA stated that it had decided to issue guidance regarding conflicts of interest and that it would announce the availability of a draft guidance document through a notice in the Federal Register. As of December 2016, FDA had not yet issued this draft guidance.
    Recommendation: To better ensure FDA's oversight of the safety of GRAS substances, the Commissioner of FDA should develop a strategy to monitor the appropriateness of companies' GRAS determinations through random audits or some other means, including issuing guidance on how to document GRAS determinations.

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

    Comments: On Aug. 17, 2016, FDA published a final rule on Substances Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) (81 FR 54959). This final rule includes a section titled "Guidance on Documenting Conclusions of GRAS Status," which states that FDA is "issuing a guidance" for companies on how to document their GRAS determinations. It is not clear from the rule the time frame for issuing this guidance, whether it will be issued in draft first for comment, and whether it will part of the guidance on conflicts of interest that FDA also plans to issue at a later date, as noted elsewhere in the rule. As of December 2016, FDA had not issued this guidance.
    Director: White, James R
    Phone: (202)512-9039

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Should the program be extended beyond 2009, to ensure that the maximum amount of capital ends up in low-income community businesses, Congress may wish to consider offering grants to CDEs that would provide the funds to low-income community businesses. If it does so, Congress may wish to require Treasury to gather appropriate data to assess whether and to what extent the grant program increases the amount of federal subsidy provided to low-income community businesses compared to the NMTC; whether the grant program otherwise affects the success of efforts to assist low-income communities; and how costs for administering the program incurred by the CDFI Fund, CDEs, and investors would change. One option may be for Congress to set aside a portion of funds to be used as grants and a portion to be used as tax credit allocation authority under the current structure of the program in a future allocation round to facilitate comparison of the two program structures.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 extended the NMTC through 2019 (Public Law 114-113). However, the act did not modify the program to include grants in lieu of credits, as GAO suggested in January 2010. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the cost of this extension to be approximately $2.6 billion. As of June 2017, Congress has not taken additional action that would address this matter for consideration.
    Director: Stephenson, John B
    Phone: (202)512-6225

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Because EPA alone cannot address the complexities of the nation's challenges in addressing environmental health risks for children, Congress may wish to consider re-establishing a government-wide task force on children's environmental health risks, similar to the one previously established by Executive Order 13045 and co-chaired by the Administrator of EPA and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Congress may wish to consider charging it with identifying the principal environmental health threats to children and developing national strategies for addressing them. Congress may also wish to consider establishing in law the Executive Order's requirement for periodic reports about federal research findings and research needs regarding children's environmental health.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, we have not identified actions by the Congress to establish in law requirements such as those in EO 13025.
    Director: White, James R
    Phone: (202)512-5594

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress may wish to consider providing IRS with math error authority (MEA) to use prior years' tax return information to automatically verify taxpayers' compliance with the limit on the number of years the Hope credit can be claimed.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 3, 2017, Congress has not provided IRS with math error authority (MEA) to use prior years' tax return information to automatically verify taxpayers' compliance with the limit on the number of years the Hope Scholarship Credit, now known as the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) can be claimed. The AOTC can be claimed by taxpayers for qualified tuition and related expenses for 4 years of postsecondary education. Under the Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act of 2015, IRS was granted MEA to disallow a claim for the AOTC if the taxpayer is not permitted to claim the credit due to prior fraudulent or reckless claims, or if the taxpayer omitted information relating to prior improper claims of the credit. IRS does not have authority to automatically deny an AOTC even if the taxpayer claims the credit for more than the 4 allowable years. GAO has in the past provided technical assistance to the House Solutions Caucus in drafting legislative language for a bill on extending MEA to use prior years' returns for verifying compliance with limits on the credit. In addition, the Administration has for many years included a revenue proposal in Treasury's Green Book to provide IRS with "correctable error authority" where the (1) information provided by the taxpayer does not match the information contained in government databases, (2) taxpayer has exceeded the lifetime limit for claiming the credit or deduction, or (3) taxpayer failed to include proper documentation with his or her return. If this revenue proposal was enacted, IRS would have the authority to deny claims for the AOTC if the taxpayer has already received the credit for 4 years.
    Director: Williamson, Randall B
    Phone: (206)287-4860

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help DOD obtain reasonable assurance that all active and Reserve component servicemembers to whom the PDHRA requirement applies are provided the opportunity to have their health concerns identified, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and the military services should take steps to ensure that PDHRA questionnaires are included in DOD's central repository for each of these servicemembers.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments to this report, the Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with this recommendation. On October 2009, DOD's Force Health Protection and Response Office sent a memo to each of the military service Surgeons General emphasizing the need for the post-deployment health reassessment (PDHRA) to be offered to all service members who are eligible to complete the assessment. In 2010, DOD's noted that the services would work with the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center (AFHSC) repository to ensure PDHRAs are submitted correctly, without transmission errors. DOD's 2011 case records showed that the Air Force and Army had developed data verification processes to ensure that AFHSC received PDHRAs. Further, the Defense Medical Data Center (DMDC) had planed to create a file consisting of the date of deployment for deployed personnel, and that the file would be available to the services in order to match DMDC with data from each of the service-specific systems, in accordance to requirements. In September 2011, although DMDC and the services had agreed to match rosters of deployed service members, there were still inconsistencies in deployment dates. In March 2012, DOD was still verifying data inconsistencies which, until resolved, leads to inaccurate reporting based on errors in the deployment dates.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-2757

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the Bureau's use of its master schedule to manage the 2020 decennial census, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to include estimates of the resources, such as labor, materials, and overhead costs, in the 2020 integrated schedule for each activity as the schedule is built, and prepare to carry out other steps as necessary to conduct systematic schedule risk analyses on the 2020 schedule.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. The Bureau continues to refine its 2020 Census master schedule, which it recently announced it completed in July 2016. Bureau officials have periodically described their intent to link resources to activities within their schedules, but as of July 2016 had confirmed that it had not yet done so. The Bureau has provided us with copies of its schedule, but not yet satisfactory evidence of having completed such an analysis. We are beginning an audit of the Bureau's scheduling practices this summer and will review actions the Bureau may have taken to address this recommendation. As of July 2017, we have received initial documents as we begin this review.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202)512-3604

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 which repealed the National Security Personnel System required that DOD (1) take all actions necessary for the orderly termination of NSPS and (2) transition of all employees and positions from NSPS to legacy personnel systems or, if applicable, to the personnel systems that would have applied if NSPS had never been established. The law also mandated that the transition be completed by no later than January 1, 2012 and required DOD to establish a new performance management system, among other things. At the time of last update in June 2013, DOD had completed its efforts to research and design a new performance management system, in coordination with the unions. More recently, on July 24, 2014, the department released its 3rd update to Congress on the design and implemenation of its new personnel management system. DOD is required to report every 6 months on its progress. In its most recent report, DOD discusses its intent to implement a new multi-level rating system, but does not provide specific details about any steps taken that would allow us to close the recommendation nor has it taken actions to implement a system at this time. According to the DOD official overseeing this effort, DOD has made progress and the next update scheduled to be issued in Decembr 2014 will have significant more detail about the efforts taken.
    Director: White, James R
    Phone: (202)512-9110

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to better assess whether changes are needed in the way IRS administers activities not engaged in for profit provisions, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should take steps to estimate the extent of activities not engaged in for profit noncompliance from its ongoing research programs.

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

    Comments: IRS is researching sole proprietor noncompliance, as GAO recommended in September 2009. It is focusing on those who improperly claim business losses (i.e., not profits). IRS's Office of Research, Analysis and Statistics is using the reporting compliance study of Form 1040 filers to gather the data on such noncompliant business losses. This research covered sampled tax returns filed for tax years 2009, 2010, and 2011 and used audits of the sampled tax returns that are filed for each tax year. In November 2016, IRS research officials provided the initial rough estimates of the percentage of disallowed losses and associated dollar amounts for all 3 tax years but as of March 2017, they had not yet indicated how these estimates helped IRS to understand the nature of the tax noncompliance. The officials cautioned that their ability to develop the estimates depends on the number of observations that can be applied from each tax year. This research, when completed, could help IRS to identify noncompliant sole proprietor issues and take action to reduce losses.
    Director: Gambler, Rebecca S
    Phone: (202)512-8816

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and accountability of checkpoint performance results to the Congress and the public, the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection should establish internal controls for management oversight of the accuracy, consistency, and completeness of checkpoint performance data.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: In our review of Border Patrol traffic checkpoints, we found inconsistencies in the way field agents collected and entered performance data into the checkpoint information system. As a result, data reported in the system were unreliable. We recommended that Border Patrol establish internal controls to ensure the accuracy, consistency, and completeness of checkpoint performance data. In October 2009, the Border Patrol reported internal control solutions were underway, which would primarily involve upgrading its existing checkpoint data systems and creating a checkpoint data oversight protocol. Also in October 2009, Border Patrol issued a memorandum specifying which data fields agents should use to indicate that an enforcement activity occurred at a checkpoint (or on a circumvention route, for apprehensions), and in January 2010 Border Patrol issued an additional memorandum on checkpoint data integrity that further specified definitions for "at the checkpoint" and "circumvention." In June 2013, Border Patrol reported that it was developing a redesigned checkpoint information system that should address the data errors and issues identified by our report. The agency also noted that it was exploring ways to implement a data oversight procedure and training on the importance of accurate data collection. In October 2014, the Border Patrol reported that the recommendation was being addressed in various phases, with a new expected completion date of March 2015. In June 2015, Border Patrol revised the expected completion date to September 2015. In September 2016, Border Patrol officials stated that the agency had not yet updated its checkpoint data system or created a data oversight protocol. In October 2017, DHS stated that it expects to issue an updated checkpoint policy, including updates on data entry guidance and oversight to address data integrity, by February 28, 2018. Without established internal controls, the integrity of Border Patrol's performance and accountability system with regard to checkpoint operations remains uncertain.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and accountability of checkpoint performance results to the Congress and the public, the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection should implement the quality of life measures that have already been identified by the Border Patrol to evaluate the impact that checkpoints have on local communities. Implementing these measures would include identifying appropriate data sources available at the local, state, or federal level, and developing guidance for how data should be collected and used in support of these measures.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: In our review of Border Patrol traffic checkpoints, we found that the Border Patrol had identified some measures to evaluate the impact that checkpoints have on local communities in terms of quality of life, but Border Patrol had not implemented the measures. As a result, the Border Patrol lacked information on how checkpoint operations could affect nearby communities. In October 2009, the Border Patrol reported that it was reevaluating its checkpoint performance measures, including quality of life measures. In December 2012, the DHS Center of Excellence completed a study for CBP on checkpoints. This study made several recommendations to Border Patrol on evaluating the impact of checkpoints on local communities using quantitative measures and with maintaining regular contact with the public to elicit opinions on experiences with the checkpoint, both positive and negative. At the time, the Border Patrol noted it intended to develop quantitative measures on community impact, such as on public safety and quality of life, using information collected in the new checkpoint information system it was planning. Border Patrol also noted that it was considering the budgetary feasibility of (1) conducting a survey of checkpoint travelers to gather detailed information about the community and impact metrics that are of highest importance to the public and (2) implementing an expedited lane for regular and pre-approved travelers. In July 2014, the Border Patrol revised the expected completion date for this recommendation to March 2015, noting that it planned to request ideas from the field commanders on what the agency could measure that would accurately depict the impact of checkpoints on the community. In June 2015, Border Patrol revised the expected completion date to September 2015. In September 2016, officials from Border Patrol's Checkpoint Program Management Office said quality of life measures had not been implemented and they were not aware of any plans to develop and implement such measures. In October 2017, DHS stated that it expects to establish performance measures related to community impacts by February 28, 2018. Measuring performance, such as quality of life measures related to checkpoints, would give Border Patrol critical information on which to base decisions for improving checkpoint operations.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and accountability of checkpoint performance results to the Congress and the public, the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection should use the information generated from the quality of life measures in conjunction with other relevant factors to inform resource allocations and address identified impacts.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: In our review of Border Patrol traffic checkpoints, we found that while the Border Patrol's national strategy cites the importance of assessing the community impact of Border Patrol operations, the implementation of such measures was lacking in terms of checkpoint operations. We recommended that Border Patrol implement such measures in areas of community concern to provide greater attention and priority in Border Patrol operational and staffing decisions to address any existing issues. In October 2009, the Border Patrol reported that once it had completed an upgrade of its existing checkpoint data systems and had reevaluated its checkpoint performance measures, the agency would begin using information garnered by these performance measures to inform future resource allocation decisions. This was originally expected to be completed by September 30, 2010, but due to budgetary and other issues, the checkpoint system upgrades were not yet completed as of June 2013. Border Patrol reported to us in June 2013 that the redesigned and upgraded checkpoint information system was expected to be implemented in September 2014. In July 2014, however, Border Patrol revised its expected completion date to March 2016. In June 2015, Border Patrol reported that it was on target to meet this March 2016 completion date. However, in September 2016, officials from Border Patrol's Checkpoint Program Management Office stated that they were not aware of any planned or completed actions to address this recommendation. In October 2017, DHS stated that it expects to establish performance measures related to community impacts by February 28, 2018, and that these measures will be used to inform resource allocation decisions. Measuring performance, such as quality of life measures related to checkpoints, would give Border Patrol critical information on which to base decisions for improving checkpoint operations.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the checkpoint design process results in checkpoints that are sized and resourced to meet operational and community needs, the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection should, in connection with planning for new or upgraded checkpoints, conduct a workforce planning needs assessment for checkpoint staffing allocations to determine the resources needed to address anticipated levels of illegal activity around the checkpoint.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: In our review of Border Patrol traffic checkpoints, we found that Border Patrol's checkpoint strategy to push illegal aliens and smugglers to areas around checkpoints-which could include nearby communities-underscores the need for the Border Patrol to ensure that it deploys sufficient resources and staff to these areas. We recommended that Border Patrol conduct a needs assessment when planning for a new or upgraded checkpoint in order to better ensure that officials consider the potential impact of the checkpoint on the community and plan for a sufficient number of agents and resources. In October 2009, Border Patrol reported that the agency was evaluating its checkpoint policy regarding the establishment of a new checkpoint or the upgrade of an old checkpoint, and checkpoint policy changes would be finalized by September 30, 2010. Border Patrol also reported that checkpoint system upgrades that capture data on checkpoint performance would help management determine future resource needs at checkpoints. In June 2013, Border Patrol reported that due to budget and other issues, the checkpoint system upgrade had not been completed, and the rewritten checkpoint data protocol had not been approved. In June 2013, Border Patrol reported that as part of the checkpoint study conducted by the DHS Centers of Excellence, the Centers created checkpoint simulation tools that would help inform resource allocations when determining the number of inspection lanes on current or new checkpoints. The Border Patrol agreed with the utility of such a model, but noted that the Border Patrol would need to purchase modeling software--a cost-prohibitive measure in the current budget environment. In the interim, Border Patrol is developing a formal workforce staffing model to identify staffing strategies for all Border Patrol duties. Border Patrol expected to implement this model for checkpoint staffing assignments in fiscal year 2014. However, in July 2014, Border Patrol reported that the Border Patrol Personnel Requirements Determination project was still being developed and would not be complete until 2015. That process will inform staffing at checkpoints. As a result, Border Patrol revised its expected implementation date to September 2015. In June 2015, Border Patrol reported that it was on target to implement this recommendation by September 2015. However, according to the Border Patrol official overseeing the project, subsequent changes in leadership and factors unrelated to checkpoints have affected the overall time frames for the Personnel Requirements Determination project. In September 2016, Border Patrol officials reported that the agency's Personnel Requirements Determination process would not provide information on staffing needs until fiscal year 2017 or 2018, and also noted that this effort is not specifically examining staffing needs at checkpoints. In October 2017, DHS stated that it expects to use information from the Personnel Requirements Determination process to determine staffing requirements and address our recommendation by September 30, 2019. Conducting a needs assessment when planning for a new or upgraded checkpoint could help better ensure that officials consider the potential impact of the checkpoint on the community and plan for a sufficient number of agents and resources.
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202)512-9521

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to establish procedures requiring that each physical security analyst conduct a periodic documented review of the Emergency Signal History Report and emergency contact list for its respective location to ensure that (1) appropriate corrective actions have been planned for all incidents reported by the central monitoring station and (2) the emergency contact list for each location is current and includes only appropriate contacts.

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

    Comments: IRS's efforts to address this recommendation are ongoing. In August 2016, IRS updated the IRM to require that (1) corrective actions are planned for all incidents reported by the central monitoring station and (2) the emergency contact list for each location is current and includes only appropriate contacts. IRS stated that in fiscal year 2017 it will update procedures and provide training to employees to help ensure that the updates to the guidance are communicated to affected employees. We will continue to evaluate IRS's corrective actions during our fiscal year 2017 audit.