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    Results:

    Subject Term: Reorganization

    6 publications with a total of 15 open recommendations including 3 priority recommendations
    Director: Chris Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: If DHS's proposed CBRNE program consolidation is approved by Congress, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Policy to use, where appropriate, the key mergers and organizational transformation practices identified in our previous work to help ensure that a CBRNE consolidated office benefits from lessons learned from other organizational transformations.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We found that key mergers and organizational transformation practices identified in previous GAO work could benefit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) if Congress approves the proposed CBRNE consolidation. As a result, we recommended that should Congress approve DHS's CBRNE consolidation plan, the department use key mergers and organizational transformation practices identified in previous GAO work. In November 2016, DHS stated that while Congress had yet to authorize DHS's CBRNE reorganization proposal, DHS remained committed to evaluating GAO's identified practices when developing an implementation plan. We will update the status of this recommendation as additional information is made available.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that planned improvements to Amtrak's routes are implemented and their outcomes can be evaluated, the President of Amtrak should prioritize the adoption of Amtrak's strategic management system in all of Amtrak's remaining lines of business and functional departments.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, Amtrak officials indicated that Amtrak was rolling-out its strategic management system in several departments and plans were in place to extend the roll out over time. According to Amtrak officials, senior management meets monthly to discuss progress being made in the company's various strategic initiatives, however the officials noted that full implementation of the strategic management system would take time, and did not provide an estimated completion date. We will continue to monitor Amtrak's progress in adopting the strategic management system across its various business lines and functional departments.
    Recommendation: To ensure that planned improvements to Amtrak's routes are implemented and their outcomes can be evaluated, the President of Amtrak should externally report how Amtrak's initiatives meet the goals established under the Amtrak's strategic management system.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, Amtrak officials confirmed that Amtrak disagrees with this recommendation and has not taken action to implement it. Officials reported that much of Amtrak's business takes place in an environment that is increasingly competitive and prefers to keep its deliberation on these initiatives confidential. As we reported in January 2016, while we agree that there is value to keeping business proprietary information and deliberations confidential, Amtrak should be able to externally report progress without disclosing confidential deliberations or information to show how its initiatives are meeting the goals established under its strategic management system. Without this reporting, it is difficult for the company to demonstrate to Congress and other stakeholders how Amtrak is improving its financial and operating performance, and whether it is making the most efficient use of federal funds. Thus, we continue to believe that our recommendation is valid and that Amtrak should fully implement it. We will continue to monitor any steps taken by Amtrak to report outcomes of initiatives taken under Amtrak's strategic management system.
    Recommendation: To improve the consistency and completeness of Amtrak's financial reporting and to provide Congress with accurate information to make funding decisions, the President of Amtrak should make the format of its monthly performance reports and its 5-year financial plan consistent to show all of Amtrak's revenues and expenses by major function for each line of business.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, Amtrak officials confirmed that Amtrak disagrees with this recommendation and has not taken action to implement it. According to Amtrak, the 5-year financial plan and monthly performance reports serve different purposes and their utility would be lost if it attempted to "standardize" them. As we reported in January 2016, we continue to believe that it is important to improve the consistency and completeness of Amtrak's financial reporting and to provide Congress with accurate information to use in making funding decisions. The intent of our recommendation is that Amtrak provide a mechanism to show how its financial results in its monthly performance reports are comparable to the financial targets by line of business that are in its 5-year financial plan. Because Amtrak has not taken action to implement this recommendation, the inconsistency between the two reports makes it difficult to compare Amtrak's past results with its future forecasts. As a result, Congress and the states lack a clear view into the financial performance of the company that they help fund. Thus, we continue to believe that our recommendation is valid and that Amtrak should fully implement it. We will continue to monitor steps taken by Amtrak to improve the consistency and completeness of Amtrak's financial reporting.
    Recommendation: To improve the consistency and completeness of Amtrak's financial reporting and to provide Congress with accurate information to make funding decisions, the President of Amtrak should ensure that Amtrak's depreciation expenses are appropriately allocated to its lines of business once the underlying capital asset data are determined reliable.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, Amtrak officials confirmed that Amtrak disagrees with this recommendation and has not taken action to implement it. According to Amtrak, reporting of depreciation costs is of limited use for management accounting for several reasons, including that many of Amtrak's key assets, such as bridges and tunnels on the Northeast Corridor are fully depreciated, and that Amtrak's financial system includes a synthetic capital charge, which serves as a proxy for depreciation and is currently allocated across routes. As we reported in January 2016, we agree that given the long-lived nature of Amtrak's capital assets, depreciation calculated for financial reporting purposes may not provide an appropriate measure of the economic costs of using the related assets. While Amtrak may be capturing depreciation or economic costs through its synthetic capital charge (which serves as a proxy for depreciation and which Amtrak does not publicly report), as we also mention in this report, Amtrak may be misstating its line-of-business financial results by not allocating depreciation costs to its lines of business. There are a number of methods or models used to calculate depreciation or economic costs. However, regardless of the method used, it is important that the data used to calculate depreciation or the economic costs of using long-lived assets--historical cost, useful life, residual value--are complete, accurate, and timely. Thus, we continue to believe that our recommendation is valid and that Amtrak should fully implement it. We will continue to monitor steps taken by Amtrak to improve the consistency and completeness of Amtrak's financial reporting.
    Recommendation: To help Congress in assessing Amtrak's need for federal assistance for state-supported routes and to help Amtrak to develop strategies to reduce the costs of its services, the President of Amtrak should delineate the specific costs and activities for state-supported routes that are covered by the federal government and communicate this information to Congress, such as in Amtrak's annual budget request.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, Amtrak provided GAO with financial reports that Amtrak had submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration that provide details of the revenues, costs, state payments, and operating losses for each of the state-supported routes for fiscal year 2016. Although these reports include some information on the costs of state-supported routes that are covered by the federal government, Amtrak has not provided this specific information to Congress to help with assessing Amtrak's need for federal assistance for these routes, as GAO recommended. Amtrak officials told us that the company plans to report to Congress information on the expected revenues and costs for state-supported routes in the Five Year Business Line Plans required by the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act. According to Amtrak officials, they plan to submit the Five Year Business Line Plans to Congress on June 2, 2017. GAO will review those plans when published and continue to monitor Amtrak's efforts to delineate and report to Congress the specific costs and activities for state-supported routes that are covered by the federal government.
    Recommendation: In addition, to better inform congressional decision making regarding the funding of Northeast Corridor infrastructure improvements, the Northeast Corridor Commission should work with its members to establish criteria for its members to use in selecting and prioritizing capital projects to be included in future editions of its 5-year capital plan.

    Agency: Northeast Corridor Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, the Northeast Corridor (NEC) Commission published the Northeast Corridor Capital Investment Plan, Fiscal Years 2018-2022 which documents planned capital investments to the NEC over the five year period. The plan identifies criteria for Commission members (Amtrak, states, and commuter railroads that operate on the NEC) to use in selecting and prioritizing certain projects that could be advanced over the coming five years. However, the plan does not establish such criteria for all investments in the plan. Specifically, the plan establishes criteria for selecting "unfunded projects"--including major bridge and tunnel projects and basic infrastructure improvements--that could be advanced if additional funding became available. These criteria are (1) shared use by commuter and intercity rail; (2) age and condition, with priority for replacing the oldest assets beyond their useful lives; (3) critical need for continued operation of existing service; and (4) project readiness to begin construction in the next five years. However, these criteria do not cover "funded projects," or those for which a funding source has been identified, including projects funded by Amtrak and the commuter railroads through their required contributions to the NEC Commission's Baseline Capital Charge program. According to the NEC Commission officials, the Commission members have yet to establish specific criteria for funded projects due to challenges in working with Amtrak's legacy capital planning process. Amtrak has traditionally allocated funding amounts to the various segments of the NEC where the company plans to make improvements, but its planning process does not identify the specific assets to be repaired in the coming year, or the criteria for selecting these assets. NEC Commission members said they would continue to work with Amtrak to develop clear criteria for selecting and prioritizing funded projects for inclusion in future editions of the NEC's 5-year capital improvement plan. We will continue to monitor progress made by the Commission and Amtrak in this area.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that any future NNSA effort--through the OTH initiative or another process--to assess proliferation threats and the implications for DNN produces high-quality information, the NNSA Administrator should implement established methods, including literature reviews, structured interviews, and peer reviews.

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

    Comments: NNSA is in the process of revising its threat assessment process. We are currently evaluating NNSA's actions.
    Director: Zina D. Merritt
    Phone: (202) 512-5257

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help DOD increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its management of its business operations, and to enhance DOD's ability to achieve its business transformation efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Secretary of Defense, in his capacity as the CMO, to ensure that the DCMO document business transformation priorities and communicate these priorities to officials responsible for DOD's business functions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has developed an updated draft of its Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2015-2018. Once this draft is signed and issued, we believe it will communicate the department's priorities for its business operations. DOD DCMO officials estimate that the plan will be signed and issued in October 2016.
    Recommendation: To help DOD increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its management of its business operations, and to enhance DOD's ability to achieve its business transformation efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Secretary of Defense, in his capacity as the CMO, to ensure that the DCMO oversee the development of a corrective action plan, in coordination with officials responsible for DOD business functions, that outlines the root causes for business transformation weaknesses and the solutions needed to address those weaknesses.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has developed an appendix in an updated draft of its Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2015-2018 that is titled "Performance Action Plan," but we not yet reviewed this appendix, so cannot assess whether this would meet the intent of our recommendation that they develop a corrective action plan. DOD DCMO officials estimate that the plan, which includes this appendix, will be signed and issued in October 2016.
    Recommendation: To help DOD increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its management of its business operations, and to enhance DOD's ability to monitor the progress of its business transformation efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the DCMO to, in coordination with officials responsible for DOD's business functions, develop performance measures that reflect key attributes of successful performance measures, such as clarity, comprehensiveness, and linkage.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has developed an updated draft of its Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2015-2018 that contains a set of performance measures that are more clear and comprehensive than the measures contained in previous strategic plans. This plan also demonstrates how the performances measures to link to strategic goals and objectives. DOD DCMO officials estimate that the plan will be signed and issued in October 2016.
    Director: Rusco, Franklin W
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve Interior's oversight of offshore oil and gas activities in the Gulf of Mexico, the Secretary of the Interior should continue to evaluate ePlans and develop edit checks to improve the accuracy and completeness of operators' exploration and development plan submissions.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In February 2016, officials stated that BOEM had made progress in evaluating ePlans, including developing specifications to include edits checks to improve the accuracy and completeness of plan submissions. Officials stated that it in working with a contractor, BOEM had (1)identified ePlans requirements, (2) developed the performance measure baseline, (3) obtained approval from Interior's Office of the Chief Information Officer to design and develop ePlans, (4) signed the ePlans Charted, (5) awarded the ePlans development contract, and (6) initiated the first module addressing exploration plans. The current development schedule estimates the development of ePlans to last through June 2018.
    Recommendation: To improve Interior's oversight of offshore oil and gas activities in the Gulf of Mexico, the Secretary of the Interior should enhance Interior's capacity for identifying and evaluating offshore oil and gas drilling operations according to risk, thereby allowing it to adjust and evaluate its oversight accordingly by (1) identifying and systematically collecting and maintaining reliable data on risk factors associated with drilling operations, (2) providing operators with clear definitions for significant events in the weekly well activity reports and developing a way to characterize and record these events systematically and reliably, and (3) using the risk factors and significant events data to develop a risk-based approach with clear criteria to prospectively evaluate and categorize drilling operations according to risk and retrospectively to evaluate the performance of oversight and risk mitigation activities in avoiding significant events.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Interior has taken steps to identify and evaluate drilling risks, and its work is ongoing. For example, to identify and systematically collect and maintain reliable data on risk factors associated with drilling, BSEE has implemented a voluntary near-miss reporting program developed in collaboration with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The data collected from this program should support the identification of drilling risk factors and will inform development of recommendations and guidance. Regarding data collected through the weekly well activity reports, BSEE is implementing a real time monitoring requirement through the recently promulgated Well Control Rule. According to BSEE officials, BSEE is now able to access all high risk operators' onshore facilities, which should allow them access to more comprehensive event data. This real time monitoring should also allow BSEE inspectors and engineers the capability to witness events at these facilities. Finally, BSEE has limited efforts underway to develop a risk based approach for the prospective evaluation and categorization of drilling operations by risk. A first step has been to work with a National Laboratory to develop a risk based model for production operations, with the idea that this could lead to a model for drilling operations. Additionally, the recently promulgated Well Control Rule established a baseline requirement for operators to minimize risk as low as reasonably practicable. As of October 2016, many of the efforts are only recently underway. As such, it is too soon to assess the extent to which these efforts will be successful. Until such policies are fully implemented and shown to be effective, Interior may not be able to adjust and evaluate its oversight-including inspections-in a cost-effective manner.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the Bureau's process of organizational transformation, long-term planning, and strategic workforce planning for the 2020 Census, and thus better position the Bureau to carry out a cost-effective decennial census, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs who oversees the Economics and Statistics Administration, as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to, in order to ensure prioritization and timely completion of all necessary research and testing efforts, as well as timely transition to later 2020 Census phases, develop and implement a long-term planning schedule that includes key milestones and deadlines, including (1) deadlines for decisions that directly affect activity in later 2020 Census phases; (2) a schedule for creating, revising, or updating governance, program management, and system engineering and architecture plans to be used in later 2020 Census phases beyond research and testing; and (3) expected times of delivery for Bureau-wide enterprise tools, processes, and standards that 2020 Census planning would be expected to use.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. Bureau officials released an operational plan in November 2015, including a high-level timeline for much of the remaining activity, but final schedules of delivery for Bureau-wide enterprise tools, processes, and standards are being revised and are not yet complete. In June 2016, officials announced that the Bureau would finalize its updated schedule in July 2016. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to finalize program management and other governance documents applicable to the current and later phases of the decennial lifecycle, as well as finalizing schedules for delivery of Bureau-wide enterprise tools, processes, and standards. As of July 2017, Bureau officials reported they were working to provide artifacts they believe may address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the Bureau's process of organizational transformation, long-term planning, and strategic workforce planning for the 2020 Census, and thus better position the Bureau to carry out a cost-effective decennial census, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs who oversees the Economics and Statistics Administration, as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to, in order to improve the Bureau's process for following up on Bureau and oversight agencies' recommendations to improve the 2020 Census, (1) assess the status of recommendation follow-up at regular intervals, such as every 12 months; and (2) periodically report on the status of recommendation follow-up--such as on the Bureau's intranet or Internet pages.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. The Bureau assigns outstanding recommendations from GAO and others within the Bureau's knowledge management database to various leads, such as specific 2020 Census research and testing project teams. The Bureau regularly collates status updates on our open recommendations as well as the Office of Inspector General for reporting to department officials. The Bureau has begun quarterly meetings with us to discuss open GAO recommendations. When the status of its own internal recommendations -- such as from evaluations of its earlier tests -- is more visible inside and outside the Bureau, the Bureau's knowledge management will be better positioned to help the Bureau achieve goals of a cost-effective census. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to implement mechanisms to capture lessons learned from its ongoing research and testing experience for recommendations in its database, and periodically report on the status of all open recommendations. As of July 2017, the Bureau is actively collecting artifacts, but has not yet provided evidence of either regular or open reporting on the status of other recommendations, such as from its own prior evaluations, ongoing tests, or the National Academy of Sciences.