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Strategic Planning & Performance

We produce a strategic plan, a performance plan, and an annual performance and accountability report with information comparable to that reported by executive-branch agencies. View all of our prior year reports, and read more about current reports below.

GAO’s Strategic Plan, 2022-2027

Every 4 years, GAO publishes a strategic plan for serving the Congress that considers the full scope of operations of the federal government, as well as emerging and future trends that may affect the government and society as a whole. This plan, presented in the three documents outlined below, describes our goals and strategies to guide our efforts as we help lawmakers oversee federal operations and address some of the most important national issues facing government and society as a whole.

We invite you to explore the three components of GAO’s 2022-2027 strategic plan:

  1. Our Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives form the foundation of the plan and outline our long-term strategies to accomplish our goals.
  2. Our plan’s Key Efforts detail the agency’s near-term priorities to provide Congress with timely and fact-based analysis of the most important issues facing the nation. Over time, we may update these key efforts, as appropriate, to reflect shifts in congressional priorities and our expected areas of work.
  3. Trends Affecting Government and Society outline a dozen key trends, domestic and international, that will have significant effects in the next 5 to 15 years. These trends include science and technology in an innovation economy, global supply chains, racial and ethnic disparities, and global and domestic security threats in an increasingly digital world. We consulted with experts, including those in our Center for Strategic Foresight, to identify and research these trends.

Performance Plan

GAO's annual performance plan covers activities for each of our strategic goals and is included with our budget submission each year.

In the spirit of the Government Performance and Results Act, our annual performance plan informs the Congress and the American people about what we expect to accomplish on their behalf in the coming fiscal year. It sets forth our plan to make progress toward achieving our strategic goals for serving the Congress and the American people. This framework not only shows the relationship between our strategic goals and strategic objectives, but also show major themes that could potentially affect our work.

Performance and Accountability Report

GAO's Performance and Accountability Report describes the agency's performance measures, results, and accountability processes for the fiscal year. Our 2023 work yielded about $70.4 billion in financial benefits for the federal government — a return of approximately $84 for every dollar invested. GAO’s average return on investment for the past 6 years is $133 to $1. In assessing our performance, we compare actual results against the targets and goals that were set in our annual performance plan and performance budget to help carry out our strategic plan.

View 2023 Report

Table: Agency-wide Summary of Annual Measures and Targets

Performance measure2018
not met
Financial benefits (dollars in billions)$75.10$214.7a$77.60$66.20$55.60$50.00$70.40Met$50
Other benefits1,2941,4181,3321,2391,2621,2001,222Met1,200
Past recommendations implemented         
 77%77%77%76%77%80%75%Not met80%
New products with recommendations64%64%64%58%64%60%63%Met60%
Testimonies98975967729057Not met90
New hire rate85%89%76%80%76%80%81%Met80%
Retention rate         
With retirements94%94%95%96%93%92%95%Met92%
Without retirements97%96%97%98%97%96%96%Met96%
Staff developmentN/AbN/Ab81%82%82%80%79%Not met80%
Staff utilizationN/AbN/Ab85%85%84%80%86%Met80%
Experience with supervisorsN/AbN/Ab90%91%90%82%90%Met82%
Organizational climateN/AbN/Ab86%87%86%80%86%Met80%
Internal operations         
Help get job doneN/AcN/AcN/AcN/Ac78%c80%ddN/Ad
Quality of work lifeN/AcN/AcN/AcN/Ac81%c80%ddN/Ad
IT toolsN/AcN/AcN/AcN/Ac61%c80%ddN/Ad

Note: Information explaining all of the measures included in this table appears in the Appendix II.

a The $214.7 billion in financial benefits we achieved in FY 2019 was due primarily to one large financial benefit of $136.1 billion for contributing to reductions in DOD’s procurement costs for weapon systems acquisitions.

b In 2020, we revised our Employee Feedback Survey (now Employee Experience Survey (EES)), based on agency-wide feedback. These revisions included the portions used to assess Staff Development, Staff Utilization, Effective Leadership by Supervisors (now Experience with Supervisors), and Organizational Climate. The nature and extent of these revisions required establishing a new trend baseline for these four People Measures.

c In 2022, we administered a new survey instrument to better gauge the quality of our internal customer services; the new survey instrument established a new trend baseline for these measures.

Beginning in FY 2023, we administered our annual customer survey at the end of the calendar year and reported the results in the next fiscal-year PAR. We plan to continue this practice moving forward.

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Performance and Accountability Reports

Peer Reviews

Independent organizations perform a peer review of GAO’s system of quality control for work done under generally accepted government auditing standards to determine whether it is suitably designed and operating effectively. For the most recent review, the international peer review team provided the highest possible rating to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on its quality assurance program.

The peer review includes an assessment of GAO’s quality assurance policies, interviews with our management and staff, a compliance assessment of a sample of performance and financial audits, and in-depth analyses of three performance audit engagements.