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Report to Congressional Requesters:

January 2005:

2010 Census:

Basic Design Has Potential, but Remaining Challenges Need Prompt 
Resolution:

GAO-05-9:

GAO Highlights:

Highlights of GAO-05-9, a report to congressional requesters: 

Why GAO Did This Study:

A rigorous testing and evaluation program is a critical component of 
the census planning process because it helps the U.S. Census Bureau 
(Bureau) assess activities that show promise for a more cost-effective 
head count. The Bureau conducted a field test in 2004, and we were 
asked to (1) assess the soundness of the test design and the extent to 
which the Bureau implemented it consistent with its plans, (2) review 
the quality of the Bureauís information technology (IT) security 
practices, and (3) identify initial lessons learned from conducting the 
test and their implications for future tests and the 2010 Census.

What GAO Found:

The Bureauís design for the 2004 census test addressed important 
components of a sound study, and the Bureau generally implemented the 
test as planned. For example, the Bureau clearly identified its 
research objectives, developed research questions that supported those 
objectives, and developed evaluation plans for each of the testís 11 
research questions. 

The initial results of the test suggest that while certain new 
procedures show promise for improving the cost-effectiveness of the 
census, the Bureau will have to first address a number of problems that 
could jeopardize a successful head count. For example, enumerators had 
little trouble using hand held computers (HHC) to collect household 
data and remove late mail returns. The computers could reduce the 
Bureauís reliance on paper questionnaires and maps and thus save money. 
The test results also suggest that certain refinements the Bureau made 
to its procedures for counting dormitories, nursing homes, and other 
ďgroup quartersĒ could help prevent the miscounting of this population 
group. 

The 2004 Census Test Was Conducted in Rural Georgia and Queens, New 
York: 

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Other aspects of the test did not go as smoothly. For example, security 
practices for the Bureauís IT systems had weaknesses; the HHCs had 
problems transmitting data; questionnaire items designed to improve 
coverage and better capture race/ethnicity confused respondents; 
enumerators sometimes deviated from prescribed enumeration procedures; 
and certain features of the test were not fully operational at the time 
of the test, which hampered the Bureau from fully gauging their 
performance. With few testing opportunities remaining, it will be 
important for (1) the Bureau to find the source of these problems, 
devise cost-effective solutions, and integrate refinements before the 
next field test scheduled for 2006, and (2) Congress to monitor the 
Bureauís progress in resolving these issues. 

What GAO Recommends:

We recommend that the Secretary of Commerce direct the Bureau to 
address the shortcomings revealed during the 2004 test. Specific 
actions include enhancing the Bureauís IT security practices; improving 
the reliability of hand-held computer (HHC) transmissions; developing a 
more strategic approach to training; and ensuring that all systems are 
test ready. The Bureau should also regularly update Congress on its 
progress in addressing these issues and meeting its 2010 goals. The 
Bureau generally agreed with most of our recommendations, but took 
exception to two of them concerning certain census activities and their 
impact on Bureau objectives. However, we believe those recommendations 
still apply.

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-05-9.

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
the link above. For more information, contact Patricia A. Dalton at 
(202) 512-6806 or daltonp@gao.gov.

[End of section]

Contents:

Letter:

Results in Brief:

Background:

Scope and Methodology:

The Census Test Was Generally Sound, but Refinements Could Produce 
Better Cost and Performance Data:

The Bureau Needs to Implement Better IT Security Practices:

Test Reveals Technical, Training, and Other Challenges in Need of 
Prompt Resolution:

Conclusions:

Recommendations for Executive Action:

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation:

Appendix:

Appendix I: Comments from the Department of Commerce:

Table:

Table 1: Design for 2004 Census Test Addressed Important Components of 
a Sound Study:

Figures:

Figure 1: HHC Being Tested for Use in Collecting Data in the Field:

Figure 2: Maps of Test Sites in Georgia and New York:

Figure 3: An Enumerator Using an HHC for Nonresponse Follow-up:

Figure 4: Data Transmission Process for Nonresponse Follow-up:

Figure 5: New Coverage Questions Were Designed to Ensure a Complete 
Count:

Figure 6: Race and Ethnicity Categories on the HHCs Were Formatted 
Differently From the Paper Questionnaires:

Figure 7: Group Homes Could Resemble Conventional Houses:

Letter January 12, 2005:

The Honorable Tom Davis: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Henry A. Waxman: 
Ranking Minority Member: 
Committee on Government Reform: 
House of Representatives:

The Honorable Adam H. Putnam: 
House of Representatives:

The consequences of a poorly planned census are high given the billions 
of dollars spent on the enumeration and the importance of collecting 
quality data. Therefore, a rigorous testing and evaluation program is a 
critical component of the census planning process because it helps the 
U.S. Census Bureau (Bureau) assess activities and related information 
technology (IT) systems that show promise for a more cost-effective 
head count. In preparing for the 2010 Census, the Bureau conducted a 
field test in 2004 and plans additional tests for 2005 and 2006. It is 
important that these early assessments lead to a design that is 
sufficiently mature so that the dress rehearsal for the 2010 Census, 
now planned for 2008, will demonstrate the feasibility of the various 
operations and technologies planned for the decennial under conditions 
that are as close as possible to the actual census.

The Bureau designed the 2004 census test to examine the feasibility of 
using (1) handheld computers (HHC) for field data collection; (2) new 
methods for improving coverage; (3) redesigned race and ethnicity 
(Hispanic origin) questions; and (4) improved methods for defining and 
identifying nursing homes, prisons, college dormitories, and similar 
facilities known collectively as "group quarters." The Bureau 
established these test objectives as part of a broader effort to 
modernize and re-engineer the 2010 Census. Major goals of this 
initiative are to improve the accuracy, reduce the risk, and contain 
the cost of the 2010 Census, estimates of which now exceed $11 billion. 
A rigorous planning and testing program is critical to this effort.

As agreed with your offices, our objectives for this review were to 
assess the soundness of the design of the 2004 census test and the 
extent to which the Bureau implemented the test consistent with its 
plans. We also agreed to review the quality of its IT security 
practices, and identify initial lessons learned from the test and the 
implications they have for the Bureau's future plans.

To address these objectives, we reviewed applicable planning, IT, and 
other documents, and interviewed knowledgeable Bureau officials 
responsible for key operations and computer security. We also made 
several visits to the two test sites--an urban location in the 
northwestern portion of Queens Borough, New York, and a rural location 
in south central Georgia. We conducted our work from November 2003 
through November 2004 in accordance with generally accepted government 
auditing standards.

Results in Brief:

The design of the 2004 census test addressed important components of a 
sound study, and the Bureau generally implemented the test as planned. 
For example, the Bureau clearly identified its test objectives, 
developed research questions that supported those objectives, and 
developed evaluation plans for each of the test's 11 research 
questions.

Still, there are opportunities to improve both the utility of data from 
the current test as well as the design of the next field test in 2006. 
Combined, these improvements could help inform future budget estimates 
and investment and design decisions. For example, the 2004 test could 
benefit by analyzing the impact the HHCs and targeted second mailing--
an operation designed to increase the response rate--had on cost 
savings and productivity. Similarly, the 2006 test could be improved if 
the Bureau developed quantifiable productivity and other performance 
requirements for the HHCs and then used the 2006 test to determine 
whether the devices are capable of meeting those requirements.

The 2004 test was an important milestone in the 2010 Census life cycle 
because it shed light on those operations that show potential for 
improving the cost-effectiveness of the decennial head count, as well 
as problem areas that could jeopardize the success of the census if not 
resolved. For example, the initial test results showed that the HHCs 
were effective for conducting interviews and removing late mail 
returns. Indeed, most enumerators we observed had little trouble using 
the computers for conducting interviews, and they were generally 
pleased with the HHC's overall functionality, durability, and screen 
clarity. Likewise, the HHCs enabled the Bureau to remove over 7,000 
late mail returns from enumerators' workloads at both test sites, which 
could help the Bureau save money by eliminating the need to visit those 
households that already mailed back their census questionnaires. The 
test results also suggest that certain refinements the Bureau made to 
its procedures for counting group quarters--namely integrating its 
housing unit and group quarters address lists--could help prevent the 
miscounting of this population group.

Other aspects of the test did not go as smoothly and point to areas on 
which the Bureau should focus as it looks toward the future. For 
example:

* The Bureau's IT security practices had weaknesses;

* Technical and training difficulties caused HHC transmission problems;

* The HHC's mapping function was slow to load and was thus little used;

* Questionnaire items designed to improve coverage and better determine 
race/ethnicity were awkward for census workers to ask and confusing for 
respondents, which could affect data quality;

* Census workers sometimes deviated from prescribed enumeration 
procedures, which could impair the reliability of the data;

* Enumerators had difficulties finding the physical locations of 
specific group quarters; and:

* Certain features of the test were not fully operational at the time 
of the test, which hampered the Bureau from gauging their true 
performance.

The 2006 field test is the Bureau's last opportunity to assess its 
basic design for the census before conducting a dress rehearsal in 
2008. At that time, the Bureau plans to demonstrate the entire design 
under conditions that mirror the census. Any changes to the design made 
after the dress rehearsal could entail considerable risk as they would 
not be properly tested. Thus, it will be important for the Bureau to 
exhaustively assess the results of the 2004 test, diagnose and remedy 
any shortcomings, and thoroughly road test refinements in 2006.

To facilitate this, we recommend that the Secretary of Commerce direct 
the Bureau to address the technical, methodological, training, and 
procedural shortcomings revealed during the 2004 test. Specific actions 
include enhancing the Bureaus' IT security practices, improving the 
reliability of HHC transmissions, and taking a more strategic approach 
to training enumerators. The Bureau should also regularly update 
Congress on the progress it is making in addressing these and any other 
challenges, as well as the extent to which it is on track for meeting 
the overall goals of the 2010 Census.

The Under Secretary for Economic Affairs forwarded written comments 
from the Bureau on a draft of this report (see app. I). The Bureau 
generally agreed with seven of our nine recommendations--those dealing 
with improving IT security practices, the reliability of the HHCs, 
training, testing, and enumeration procedures--and reported it was 
already taking a number of steps to address our concerns. However, the 
Bureau took exception to our recommendations to (1) analyze the impact 
that HHCs and a targeted second mailing had on cost savings and other 
Bureau objectives, and (2) define specific, measurable performance 
requirements for the HHCs and other census-taking activities. Because 
the HHCs and certain other operations are critical for containing costs 
and achieving other Bureau goals for the 2010 Census, it will be 
essential for the Bureau to gauge their impact and determine whether 
they can meet the Bureau's demanding requirements. As a result, we 
believe these recommendations still apply.

Background:

Congress, GAO, the Department of Commerce Inspector General, and even 
the Bureau itself have all noted that the 2000 Census was marked by 
poor planning, which unnecessarily added to the cost, risk, and 
controversy of the national head count. In January 2003, we named the 
2010 Census a major performance and accountability challenge because of 
our growing concern over the numerous obstacles to a cost-effective 
enumeration as well as its escalating price tag.[Footnote 1] More 
recently, we reported that while the Bureau's preparations for the 2010 
Census appeared to be further along than at a similar point during the 
planning cycle for the 2000 Census, considerable risks and 
uncertainties remained.[Footnote 2] Thus, it is imperative that the 
Bureau adequately test the various components of its design for the 
2010 Census.

A rigorous testing program provides at least four major benefits. 
First, testing allows the Bureau to refine procedures aimed at 
addressing problems encountered in past censuses. During the 2000 
Census, for example, group quarters were sometimes counted more than 
once or counted in the wrong location; the wording of the race and 
ethnicity question confused some respondents, which in some cases 
resulted in lower quality data; and following up with nonrespondents 
proved to be costly and labor-intensive. A second benefit is that sound 
testing can assess the feasibility of new procedures and technologies, 
such as HHCs (see fig. 1), that have never before been used in a 
decennial census.

Figure 1: HHC Being Tested for Use in Collecting Data in the Field:

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Third, a rigorous testing program helps instill a comfort level among 
members of Congress and other stakeholders that the Bureau (1) has 
chosen the optimal design given various trade-offs and constraints and 
(2) has identified and addressed potential risks and will be able to 
successfully execute its plan. Such confidence building, developed 
through regular updates and open lines of communication, is essential 
for continuing congressional support and funding.

And finally, proper testing early in the decade will help the Bureau to 
conduct a dress rehearsal in 2008 that fully assesses all aspects of 
the census design under realistic conditions. Because of various late 
requirement changes, certain procedures that were added after the 1998 
dress rehearsal for the 2000 Census were not properly tested.

Scope and Methodology:

As agreed with your offices, our objectives for this report were to (1) 
assess the soundness of the Bureau's design for the 2004 census test 
and whether the Bureau implemented the test consistent with its plans, 
(2) review the quality of the Bureau's IT security practices, and (3) 
identify initial lessons learned from conducting the test and their 
implications for the 2010 Census.

To assess the soundness of the design we reviewed pertinent documents 
that described the Bureau's test and evaluation plans. We 
systematically rated the Bureau's approach using a checklist of design 
elements that, based on our review of program evaluation literature, 
are relevant to a sound study plan. For example, we reviewed the 
Bureau's approach to determine, among other things, (1) how clearly the 
Bureau presented research objectives, (2) whether research questions 
matched the research objectives, and (3) the appropriateness of the 
data collection strategy for reaching the intended sample population. 
As part of our assessment of the Bureau's test design, we also reviewed 
evaluations of the prior decennial census to determine the degree to 
which the new operations being tested addressed problematic aspects of 
the 2000 Census. However, we did not assess the Bureau's criteria in 
selecting its objectives for the 2004 census test.

To determine if the Bureau implemented the test consistent with its 
plans, we made multiple site visits to local census offices in 
Thomasville, Georgia; and Queens Borough, New York. During these 
visits, we interviewed local census office mangers and staff, observed 
various data collection activities, and attended weeklong enumerator 
training. We observed a total of 20 enumerators as they completed their 
daily nonresponse follow-up assignments--half of these were in southern 
Georgia, in the counties of Thomas, Colquitt, and Tift, and half were 
in Queens (see fig. 2 for maps of the test site areas). The results of 
these observations are not necessarily representative of the larger 
universe of enumerators.

Figure 2: Maps of Test Sites in Georgia and New York:

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

To evaluate the quality of the Bureau's IT security practices, we 
assessed risk management documentation associated with IT systems and 
major applications for the 2004 census test. We based our determination 
on applicable legal requirements, Bureau policy, and leading practices 
described in our executive guide for information security 
management.[Footnote 3] We also interviewed key Bureau officials 
associated with computer security.

To identify lessons learned from the 2004 census test, we met with 
officials from the Bureau's Decennial Management Division regarding 
overall test plans and with officials from its Technologies Management 
Office about using HHCs. Bureau officials and census workers from both 
test locations also provided suggestions on improving census 
operations.

We requested comments on a draft of this report from the Secretary of 
Commerce. On December 20, 2004, the Under Secretary for Economic 
Affairs, Department of Commerce, forwarded written comments from the 
Bureau (see app. I). We address these comments in the "Agency Comments 
and Our Evaluation" section at the end of this report.

The Census Test Was Generally Sound, but Refinements Could Produce 
Better Cost and Performance Data:

The Bureau designed a sound census test and generally implemented it as 
planned. However, in looking ahead, the Bureau's planning and 
investment decisions could benefit from analyzing (1) the degree to 
which HHCs contributed to the Bureau's cost containment goal and (2) 
the results of the targeted second mailing, an operation designed to 
increase participation by sending a follow-up questionnaire to 
nonresponding households. Future tests could also be more informative 
if the Bureau developed quantifiable productivity and other performance 
requirements for the HHCs and then used the 2006 test to determine 
whether the devices are capable of meeting those requirements. 
Collectively, these refinements could provide Bureau officials with 
better information to guide its IT and other design decisions, as well 
as refine future census tests.

The Bureau Developed a Sound Test Design:

The design of the 2004 census test contained many components of a sound 
study (see table 1). For example, the Bureau identified test 
objectives, designed related research questions, and described a data 
collection strategy appropriate for a field test. The Bureau also 
developed evaluation plans for each of the test's 11 research 
questions, and explained how stakeholders were involved with the 
design, as well as how lessons learned from past studies were 
incorporated.

Table 1: Design for 2004 Census Test Addressed Important Components of 
a Sound Study:

Components of a sound study: Clearly stated objectives; 
Planned components of the 2004 census test: 
The objectives for the test concerned the feasibility of using: 
* HHCs for field data collection; 
* new methods for improving coverage; 
* redesigned race and ethnicity questions; 
and; 
* improved methods for defining and identifying group quarters.

Components of a sound study: Research questions linked to objectives 
and rationale for site selection provided; 
Planned components of the 2004 census test:
* Each of the 11 key research questions can be linked to one of the 
four objectives; 
* Two sites--in Queens and south central Georgia--were selected based 
on test requirements.

Components of a sound study: Data collection strategy thoroughly 
documented; 
Planned components of the 2004 census test:
* Census Day was April 1, 2004, for the test; 
* Mode of data collection was the paper version of the short form to be 
mailed back by household; 
* Nonrespondent data were collected during personal interviews using 
HHCs.

Components of a sound study: Input from stakeholders and lessons 
learned considered in developing test objectives; 
Planned components of the 2004 census test: 
* Various research and development planning groups were convened to 
develop 2004 test objectives; 
* The Bureau's Decennial Advisory Board and the National Academy of 
Science were informed of test plans; 
* Lessons learned from the 2000 Census were considered in developing 
2004 test objectives.

Components of a sound study: Design had data analysis plan; 
Planned components of the 2004 census test: 
* Separate evaluations to answer key research questions were developed; 
* Evaluation plans recognized limitations. For example, the 
introduction of a new data collection mode and new questions may make 
comparison to 2000 data difficult. 

Source: GAO analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

[End of table]

Additional Analysis Would Provide Better Data on the Impact of Key Test 
Components:

Although the Bureau plans to evaluate various aspects of the 2004 test, 
it does not currently plan to assess the impact that the HHCs and 
targeted second mailing had on cost savings and productivity. According 
to the Bureau, the census test was focused more on determining the 
feasibility of using the HHCs and less on the devices' ability to save 
money. Likewise, the Bureau said it is not assessing the impact of the 
targeted second mailing because the operation is not one of its four 
test objectives for improving (1) field data collection using the HHC, 
(2) the coverage of undercounted groups, (3) questions about race and 
ethnicity, and (4) methods for defining special places and group 
quarters.

These decisions might be shortsighted, however, in that the Bureau 
included the HHCs and targeted second mailing in the 2010 Census 
design, in part, to reduce staff, improve productivity, and control 
costs. For example, Bureau studies have shown that sending out 
replacement questionnaires could yield a gain in overall response of 7 
to 10 percent from households that do not respond to the initial census 
mailing, and thus generate significant cost savings by eliminating the 
need for census workers to obtain those responses via personal visits. 
Thus, information on the degree to which the HHCs and second mailing 
contribute to these key goals could help inform future budget 
estimates, investment and design decisions, as well as help refine 
future census tests.

Moreover, the feasibility of a targeted second mailing is an open 
question, as the Bureau has never before included this operation as 
part of a decennial census. Although a second mailing was part of the 
original design for the 2000 Census, the Bureau had abandoned it 
because it was found to be logistically unworkable. A Bureau official 
said that the second mailing was included in the 2004 test only to 
facilitate the enumeration process, and it would be better tested in a 
larger scale operation such as the 2008 dress rehearsal. However, we 
believe that it would be more prudent to assess the second mailing 
earlier in the census cycle, such as, during the 2006 test so that its 
basic feasibility could be assessed, any refinements could be evaluated 
in subsequent tests, and the impact on savings could be estimated more 
accurately.

Future Tests Could Be Improved:

While the design of the 2004 test was generally sound, refinements 
could strengthen the next field test in 2006. Opportunities for 
improvement exist in at least two areas: ensuring that (1) the HHCs can 
meet the demanding requirements of field data collection and (2) 
management of the local census offices mirrors an actual enumeration as 
much as possible.

With respect to the HHCs, because they replace the paper version of the 
nonresponse follow-up questionnaire the devices must function 
effectively. Further, this test was the first time the Bureau used the 
HHCs under census-like conditions so their functionality in an 
operational environment was unknown. Bureau officials have acknowledged 
that for the 2004 test they had no predefined indicators of success or 
failure other than if there was a complete breakdown the test would be 
halted. This is a very low standard. Now that the Bureau has 
demonstrated the basic functionality of the computers, it should next 
focus on determining the specific performance requirements for the HHCs 
and assess whether the devices are capable of meeting them. For 
example, the Bureau needs productivity benchmarks for the number of 
interviews per hour and per day that is expected per census worker. 
Durability measures, such as how many devices were repaired or 
replaced, should be considered as well. Assessing whether the HHCs can 
meet the requirements of nonresponse follow-up will help inform future 
design and investment decisions for whether or not to include the 
devices in the 2010 design.

Ensuring that key positions in the local census offices are filled from 
the same labor pool as they would be in an actual decennial census 
could also enhance future census tests. Such was not the case during 
the 2004 test when, according to the Bureau, because of difficulties 
finding qualified applicants, it used an experienced career census 
employee to manage the overall day-to-day operations of the local 
census office at the Queens test site. Another career employee occupied 
the office's regional technician slot, whose responsibilities included 
providing technical and administrative guidance to the local census 
office manager. In the actual census, the Bureau would fill these and 
other positions with temporary employees recruited from local labor 
markets. However, because the Bureau staffed these positions with 
individuals already familiar with census operations and who had ties to 
personnel at the Bureau's headquarters, the Queens test may not have 
been realistic and the test results could be somewhat skewed.

The Bureau Needs to Implement Better IT Security Practices:

The Bureau operated a number of IT systems in order to transmit, 
manage, and process data for the test. The equipment was located at 
various places including the Bureau's headquarters in Suitland, 
Maryland; its National Processing Center in Jeffersonville, Indiana; a 
computer facility in Bowie, Maryland; as well as the New York and 
Georgia test sites.

Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, the Bureau must protect from 
disclosure the data it collects about individuals and establishments. 
Thus, the Bureau's IT network must support both the test's 
telecommunications and data processing requirements, as well as 
safeguard the confidentiality and integrity of respondents' 
information.

The Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA) 
requires each agency to develop, document, and implement an agency-wide 
information security program for the IT systems that supports its 
operations.[Footnote 4] Although the Bureau took a number of steps to 
implement IT security over the systems used for the test, based on 
available information, the Bureau did not meet several of FISMA's key 
requirements. As a result, the Bureau could not ensure that the systems 
supporting the test were properly protected against intrusion or 
unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information. For example:

* IT inventory was not complete. FISMA requires an inventory of major 
information systems and interfaces. The Bureau did not have a complete 
inventory that showed all applications and general support IT systems 
associated with the test. Without such information, the Bureau could 
not ensure that security was effectively implemented for all of its 
systems used in the test, including proper risk assessments, adequate 
security plans, and effectively designed security controls.

* There was not sufficient evidence that the Bureau assessed all of the 
devices used in the test for vulnerabilities, or that it corrected 
previously identified problems. FISMA requires that agencies test and 
evaluate the effectiveness of information security policies, 
procedures, and practices for each system at least annually and that 
agencies have a process for remediating any identified security 
weaknesses. Since the Bureau could not provide us with a complete 
inventory of all network components used in the test, we could not 
determine if the Bureau's tests and evaluations were complete. 
Moreover, there was not always evidence about whether the Bureau had 
corrected past problems or documented reasons for not correcting them. 
As a result, the Bureau did not have adequate assurance that the 
security of systems used in the 2004 census test was adequately tested 
and evaluated or that identified weaknesses were corrected on a timely 
basis.

* Assessments were not consistent. FISMA requires agencies to assess 
the risks that could result from the unauthorized access, use, 
disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction of information or 
information systems. Although the Bureau performed risk assessments for 
some of the IT components used in the 2004 census test, the 
documentation was not consistent. For example, documentation of 
information sensitivity risks (high, medium, and low) for 
confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information were not 
consistent and did not always follow Bureau policy. In addition, 
documents showed different numbers of file servers, firewalls, and even 
different names of devices. Without complete and consistent risk 
assessment documentation, the Bureau had limited assurance that it 
properly understood the security risks associated with the test.

* The Bureau did not always follow its own risk policies. FISMA 
requires the implementation of policies and procedures to prevent and/
or mitigate security risks. Although Bureau policies allowed for the 
waiver of security policies, if appropriate, we noted that such 
policies were not always followed. For example, a waiver for the test 
of certain password policies was not properly documented and other 
system documents were not properly updated to reflect the waiver. As a 
result, the risk assessment for the 2004 census test did not properly 
identify the related risks and did not identify any compensating 
controls to reduce the risk to an acceptable level.

As the Bureau plans future tests and the census itself, it will be 
important for it to strengthen its IT security risk management 
practices, ensuring they fully adhere to FISMA requirements and its own 
IT security policies.

Test Reveals Technical, Training, and Other Challenges in Need of 
Prompt Resolution:

The 2004 test suggests that while certain census initiatives have 
potential, formidable challenges remain. For example, the HHCs show 
promise in that enumerators were successful in using them to collect 
data from nonrespondents and remove late mail returns. Still, they were 
not street ready as they experienced transmission and memory overload 
problems. Likewise, automated maps were difficult to use, certain 
questionnaire items confused respondents, and enumerators did not 
always follow interview protocols. These problems shed light on issues 
in need of the Bureau's attention as it develops solutions and 
incorporates refinements for additional testing in the years ahead.

HHCs Were Effective for Conducting Interviews and Removing Late Mail 
Returns:

The Bureau purchased 1,212 HHCs for the test at a total cost of about 
$1.5 million. The devices were sent directly to the two test sites 
packaged in kits that included a battery, AC adaptor, and modem card 
for transmitting data via the telephone. The HHCs were also equipped 
with a Global Positioning System (GPS), a satellite-based navigational 
system to help enumerators locate street addresses. The Bureau 
anticipates the HHCs will allow it to eliminate the millions of paper 
questionnaires and maps that enumerators need when following up with 
nonrespondents, thereby improving their efficiency and reducing overall 
costs.

Because the Bureau had never used HHCs in the decennial census, an 
important goal of the test was to see whether enumerators could use 
them for interviewing nonrespondents (see fig. 3). Most workers we 
observed had little trouble using the device to complete the 
interviews. In fact, most said they were pleased with the HHC's overall 
functionality, durability, screen clarity, and the ability to toggle 
between the questionnaire and taking GPS coordinates.

Figure 3: An Enumerator Using an HHC for Nonresponse Follow-up:

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Another important function of the HHC was removing late mail returns 
from each enumerator's assignment area(s). Between the Georgia and 
Queens test sites, over 7,000 late mail returns were removed, reducing 
the total nonresponse follow-up workload by nearly 6 percent.

The ability to remove late mail returns from the Bureau's nonresponse 
follow-up workload could help save money in that it could eliminate the 
need for enumerators to make expensive follow-up visits to households 
that return their questionnaires after the mail-back deadline. Had the 
Bureau possessed this capability during the 2000 Census, it could have 
eliminated the need to visit nearly 773,000 late-responding households 
and saved an estimated $22 million (based on our estimate that a 1-
percentage point increase in workload could add at least $34 million in 
direct salary, benefits, and travel costs to the price tag of 
nonresponse follow-up[Footnote 5]). Because of the Bureau's experience 
in 2000, in our 2002 report on best practices for more cost-effective 
nonresponse follow-up, we recommended, and the Bureau agreed, that it 
should develop options that could purge late mail returns from its 
nonresponse follow-up workload.[Footnote 6]

Technical and Training Difficulties Caused HHC Transmission Problems:

Each day, enumerators were to transmit completed nonresponse follow-up 
cases to headquarters and receive assignments, software uploads, or 
both via a telephone modem (see fig. 4 for a flowchart describing the 
file transmission process). However, the majority of workers we 
interviewed had problems doing so, in large part because of technical 
reasons or because the Bureau's training did not adequately prepare 
them for the complexity of the transmission procedure, which was a 
multistep process involving the connection of a battery pack, cables, 
and other components. As reliable transmissions are crucial to the 
success of nonresponse follow-up, it will be important for the Bureau 
to resolve these issues so that the HHCs can be reevaluated in 2006.

Figure 4: Data Transmission Process for Nonresponse Follow-up:

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Difficulties began during training when the first transmission was 
supposed to occur and continued through the remainder of the test. 
During that first transmission, the Bureau needed to upload a number of 
software upgrades along with each census worker's first assignment. 
Many of these transmissions failed because of the volume of data 
involved. Thus, without cases, the trainees could not complete an 
important section of on-the-job training. The Bureau acknowledged that 
these initial problems could have been avoided if the final version of 
software had been installed on the devices prior to their distribution 
at training.

Transmission problems persisted throughout nonresponse follow-up. 
According to the Bureau, during the first 2 weeks of this operation, 
successful data transmission occurred 80 percent of the time once a 
connection was made. However, a number of enumerators never even 
established a connection because of bad phone lines, incorrect 
passwords, and improper setup of their modems. Other transmission 
problems were due to the local telecommunication infrastructure at both 
test sites. For example, in Georgia, older phone lines could not always 
handle transmissions, while in Queens, apartment intercoms that used 
phone lines sometimes interrupted connections.

Further, while the transmission rate ultimately increased to 95 
percent--roughly the maximum allowed by the technology--that level is 
still short of the performance level needed for 2010. During the 2000 
Census, a 95 percent success rate would have resulted in the failure to 
transmit around 30,000 completed questionnaires each day.

During the test, the Bureau also had to contend with census workers who 
were "living off the grid"; that is, they only used cellular phones and 
lacked landlines to transmit and receive data from their homes. While 
individuals could make alternative arrangements, such as using a 
neighbor's telephone, an increasing number of people nationwide in the 
coming years might give up their landline service to rely on cellular 
phones, which could be problematic for the Bureau. Bureau officials 
have noted that all these transmission problems need to be addressed 
before 2010.

HHCs experienced memory overloads if too many assignment areas were 
loaded onto them. An assignment area typically contains 40 housing 
units or cases that are assigned to an enumerator for nonresponse 
follow-up. The design was to have an entire assignment area transmitted 
to the HHC even when as few as one case needed follow-up. However, some 
enumerators' HHCs became overloaded with too much data, as cases had to 
be reassigned due to staff turnover, a larger-than-expected number of 
refusals, and reassignments resulting from language problems. As such, 
when HHCs became overloaded they would crash and enumerators had to 
reconfigure them at the local census office, which made them less 
productive. To the Bureau's credit, during the test, it was able to 
work out a solution to avoid overloads by assigning individual cases 
instead of the entire assignment area to a census worker's HHC.

Another problem that surfaced during the test was that the HHC's 
mapping feature was difficult to use. To contain costs and increase 
efficiency, the Bureau expects to replace paper maps with the 
electronic maps loaded on the HHCs for 2010. However, during the test, 
enumerators reported that they did not always use the mapping function 
because it ran slowly and did not provide sufficient information. 
Instead, they relied on local maps or city directories, and one worker 
explained that she found it easier to use an Internet mapping service 
on her home computer to prepare for her route.

Without the Bureau's maps, enumerators might not properly determine 
whether a housing unit was located in the Bureau's geographic database. 
This verification is important for ensuring that housing units and the 
people who reside in them are in the correct census block, as local and 
state jurisdictions use census population figures for congressional 
redistricting and allocating federal funds.

Enumerators were also unable to use the HHCs' "go back" function to 
edit questionnaires beyond a certain point in the interview. In some 
cases, this led to the collection of incorrect data. For example, we 
observed one worker complete half an interview, and then discover that 
the respondent was providing information on a different residence. 
After the census worker entered the number of residents and their 
names, the "go back" function was no longer available and as a result 
that data could not be deleted or edited. Instead, the worker added 
information in the "notes section" to explain that the interview had 
taken place at the wrong household. However, Bureau officials told us 
that they had not planned to review or evaluate these notes and were 
not aware that such address mix-ups had been documented in the notes 
section.

To the extent address mix-ups and other inconsistencies occur and are 
not considered during data processing, accuracy could be compromised. 
In earlier censuses when the Bureau used paper questionnaires, if 
workers made mistakes, they could simply erase them or record the 
information on new forms. As mistakes are inevitable, it will be 
important for the Bureau to ensure that the HHCs allow enumerators to 
edit information, while still maintaining the integrity of the data.

Bureau Needs to Review Format of Coverage Improvement and Race/
Ethnicity Questions:

We found that questions designed to improve coverage and better 
determine race and ethnicity were awkward for enumerators to ask and 
confusing for respondents to answer. Consequently, enumerators 
sometimes did not read the questions exactly as worded, which could 
adversely affect the reliability of the data collected for these items, 
as well as the Bureau's ability to evaluate the impact of the revised 
questions. Our observations also highlight the importance of ensuring 
that workers are trained to follow interview protocols; this issue will 
be discussed later in this report.

Coverage Improvement:

While the Bureau attempts to count everyone during a census, inevitably 
some people are missed and others are counted more than once. To help 
ensure that the Bureau properly counts people where they live, the 
Bureau revised and assessed its residency rules for the 2004 census 
test. For example, under the residence rules, college students should 
be counted at their campus addresses if they live and stay there most 
of the time. The Bureau also added two new coverage questions aimed at 
identifying household residents who might have been missed or counted 
in error (see fig. 5 for coverage questions).

Figure 5: New Coverage Questions Were Designed to Ensure a Complete 
Count:

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Enumerators were to show respondents flashcards with the residence 
rules to obtain the number of people living or staying in the housing 
unit and to read the two coverage questions. However, during our field 
visits we noted that they did not consistently use the flashcards, 
preferring to summarize them instead. Likewise, enumerators did not 
always ask the new coverage questions as written, sometimes 
abbreviating or skipping them altogether. A frequent comment from the 
workers we spoke with was that the two new coverage questions were 
awkward because the questions seemed redundant. Indeed, one census 
worker said that he asked the overcount and undercount questions more 
times than not, but if people were in a hurry, he did not ask the 
questions. During one of these hurried interviews, we observed that the 
census worker did not ask the questions and simply marked "no" for the 
response.

Race and Ethnicity Questions:

Collecting reliable race and ethnicity data is an extremely difficult 
task. Both characteristics are subjective, which makes accurate 
measurement problematic. In 2003, the Bureau tested seven different 
options for formatting the race and ethnic questions, and selected what 
it thought was the optimal approach to field test in 2004. The Bureau 
planned to examine respondent reaction to the new race and Hispanic 
origin questions by comparing responses collected using the paper 
questionnaire to responses recorded on the HHCs during nonresponse 
follow-up.

One change the Bureau planned to analyze was the removal of the "some 
other race" write-in option from the questionnaire. In 2000, the Bureau 
found that when given this option, respondents would check off "some 
other race," but did not always write in what their race was. Thus, in 
the 2004 test, the Bureau wanted to assess respondents' reaction to the 
removal of the "some other race" write-in option. Specifically, the 
Bureau wanted to see whether respondents would skip the item or select 
from one of the other options given.

However, we found that the Bureau formatted the race question on the 
paper questionnaire differently from the question on the HHC. As shown 
in figure 6, on the paper version, there is not a category for another 
race other than those categories listed, thus forcing respondents to 
select a category or skip the question entirely.

This contrasts with the HHCs where, if respondents do not fit into one 
of the five race categories, the questionnaire format allows them to 
provide an "other" response and enumerators can record their answers. 
In fact, the HHC requires enumerators to record a response to the race 
question and will not allow the interview to continue until a response 
is entered. As a result, the data recorded by the two questionnaire 
formats are not comparable as they could produce different data 
depending on the data collection mode.

Figure 6: Race and Ethnicity Categories on the HHCs Were Formatted 
Differently From the Paper Questionnaires:

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

According to the Bureau, it formatted the paper version of the race 
question differently from the HHC version because it considered the 
"other" response option on the HHC a respondent comment and not a 
write-in response. Nevertheless, if the Bureau's purpose is to measure 
respondent reaction to eliminating the write-in option, it is uncertain 
what conclusions the Bureau will be able to draw given that this 
option, even though in the form of a comment, is still available to the 
respondent during the nonresponse follow-up interview.

As was the case with the coverage measurement question, enumerators at 
both test locations did not always follow proper interview procedures 
because they felt the questions were awkward to ask and confused 
respondents. For example, some workers did not use the flashcards 
designed to guide respondents in selecting categories for their race 
and ethnicity and to ensure data consistency. One census worker said 
that rather than use the flashcards or ask the questions, he might 
"eyeball" the race and ethnicity. Another worker said that most people 
laughed at the Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino origin question and she had 
complaints about the wording of this question. A third census worker 
noted that he was "loose with the questions" because he could pose them 
better. Like lapses to the coverage improvement procedures for the 2004 
census test, deviating from the interview procedures for the new race 
and ethnicity questions may affect the reliability of the data and the 
validity of the Bureau's conclusions concerning respondent reaction to 
these questions.

Since the 2004 census test, the 2005 Consolidated Appropriations 
Act[Footnote 7] required that the Bureau include "some other race" as a 
category when collecting census data on race identification. 
Consequently, the Bureau said it will include this category on all 
future census tests and the 2010 Census itself. Thus, while research 
into eliminating the "some other race" category is now moot, it will 
still be important for the Bureau to have similar formats for the HHCs 
and paper questionnaires so that similar data can be captured across 
modes. Likewise, it will be important for the wording of those 
questions to be clear and for enumerators to follow proper procedures 
during interviews.

New Procedures Should Help Reduce Duplicate Enumerations of Group 
Quarter Residents, but Other Challenges Remain:

As noted previously, under its residence rules, the Bureau enumerates 
people where they live and stay most of the time. To facilitate the 
count, the Bureau divides residential dwellings into two types: housing 
units, such as single-family homes and apartments, and group quarters, 
which include dormitories, prisons, and nursing homes.

The Bureau tested new group quarters procedures in 2004 that were 
designed to address the difficulties the Bureau had in trying to 
identify and count this population group during the 2000 Census. For 
example, communities reported instances where prison inmates were 
counted in the wrong county and residents of college dormitories were 
counted twice.

One refinement the Bureau made was integrating its housing unit and 
group quarter address lists in an effort to avoid counting them once as 
group quarters and again as housing units, a common source of error 
during the 2000 Census. Census workers were then sent out to verify 
whether the dwellings were in fact group quarters and, if so, to 
classify the type of group quarter using a revised "other living 
quarters facility" questionnaire.

A single address list could, in concept, help reduce the duplicate 
counting that previously occurred when the lists were separate. 
Likewise, we observed that census workers had no problems using the 
revised facility questionnaire and accompanying flashcard that allowed 
the respondent to select the appropriate type of living facility. This 
new procedure addresses some of the definitional problems by shifting 
the responsibility for defining the group quarter type from the Bureau 
to the respondent, who is in a better position to know about the 
dwelling.

Another change tested in 2004 was the classification of group homes, 
which in 2000 was a part of the group quarter inventory. Group homes 
are sometimes difficult for census workers to spot because they often 
look the same as conventional housing units (see fig. 7). As a result, 
they were sometimes counted twice during the 2000 Census--once as a 
group quarter, and once as a housing unit. For the 2004 test, the 
Bureau decided to treat group homes as housing units and include them 
in the housing unit list.

Figure 7: Group Homes Could Resemble Conventional Houses:

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Early indications from the Bureau suggest that including group homes as 
housing units, whereby they receive a short-form questionnaire in the 
mail, may not work. According to the Bureau, the format of the short 
form is not well suited to group home residents. For example, the 
questionnaire asks for the "name of one of the people living or staying 
here who owns or rents this place." Since the state or an agency 
typically owns group homes, these instructions do not apply. The Bureau 
stated that it plans to reassess how it will identify and count people 
living in group homes.

We identified other problems with the Bureau's group quarters 
validation operation during the 2004 census test. For example, we were 
told that census workers were provided maps of the areas they were 
assigned but needed maps for adjoining areas so that they could more 
accurately locate the physical location of the group quarters. In 
Georgia, where workers used address data from the 2000 Census, the crew 
leader explained that approximately one-third of all the addresses 
provided were incorrectly spotted on maps and had to be redone. They 
also lacked up-to-date instructions--for example, they did not know 
that they were to correct addresses rather than just delete them if the 
addresses were wrong. Further, census workers said that scenarios in 
the manual and classroom training were based on perfect situations; 
thus, they did not provide adequate training for atypical settings or 
when problems arose.

The Bureau Should Rethink Its Approach to Training Enumerators:

The success of the census is directly linked to the Bureau's ability to 
train enumerators to do their jobs effectively. This is a tremendous 
task given the hundreds of thousands of enumerators the Bureau needs to 
hire and train in just a few weeks. Further, enumerators are temporary 
employees, often with little or no prior census experience, and are 
expected, after just a few days of training, to do their jobs with 
minimal supervision, under sometimes difficult and dangerous 
conditions. Moreover, the individuals who train enumerators--crew 
leaders--are often recent hires themselves, with little, if any, 
experience as instructors. Overall, few, if any, organizations face the 
training challenges that confront the Bureau with each decennial 
population count.

To train the 1,100 enumerators who conducted nonresponse follow-up for 
the 2004 test, the Bureau employed essentially the same approach it has 
used since the 1970 Census: crew leaders read material word-for-word 
from a training manual to a class of 15 to 20 students. The notable 
exception was that in transitioning from a paper questionnaire to the 
HHCs, the Bureau lengthened the training time from 3 days to 5 days. 
However, given the demographic and technological changes that have 
taken place since 1970, the Bureau might want to explore alternatives 
to this rigid approach.

As noted earlier, during nonresponse follow-up, enumerators experienced 
a variety of problems that could be mitigated through improved 
training. The problems included difficulties setting up equipment to 
transmit and download data; failure to read the coverage and race/
ethnicity questions exactly as worded; and not properly using the 
flashcards, which were designed to help respondents answer specific 
questions.

Most of the shortcomings related to training that we observed during 
the test were not new. In fact, the Bureau had identified these and a 
number of other training weaknesses in its evaluation of the 2000 
Census, but it is clear they have not been fully resolved. Thus, as the 
Bureau plans for the 2010 Census, it will be important for it to 
resolve long-standing training problems as well as address new training 
issues, such as how best to teach enumerators to use the HHCs and their 
associated automated processes. Our observations of the test point to 
specific options the Bureau might want to explore. They include (1) 
placing greater emphasis on the importance of following prescribed 
interview procedures and reading questions exactly as worded; (2) 
supplementing verbatim, uniform training with modules geared toward 
addressing the particular enumeration challenges that census workers 
are likely to encounter at specific locales; and (3) training on how to 
deal with atypical situations or respondent reluctance.

To help evaluate its future training needs, the Bureau hired a 
contractor to review the training for the 2004 test and recommend 
actions for improving it. From GAO's work on assessing agencies' 
training and development efforts, we have developed a framework that 
can also help in this regard.[Footnote 8] Though too detailed to 
discuss at length in this report, highlights of the framework, and how 
they could be applied to census training, include:

1. performing proper front-end analysis to help ensure that the 
Bureau's enumerator training is aligned with the skill and competencies 
needed to meet its field data collection requirements and work 
processes and that the Bureau leverages best practices and lessons 
learned from training enumerators and from past experience;

2. identifying specific training initiatives that in conjunction with 
other strategies, improve enumerators' performance and help the Bureau 
meet its goal of collecting high-quality data from nonrespondents;

3. ensuring effective and efficient delivery of training that 
reinforces new and needed competencies, skills, and behaviors without 
being wedded to past, and perhaps outmoded, methods; and:

4. evaluating the training to ensure it is addressing known skill and 
competency weaknesses through such measures as assessing participant 
reactions and changes in enumerators' skill levels and behaviors.

Readiness Will Be Critical for Future Tests:

Several key features of the 2004 test were not test ready; that is, 
they were not fully functional or mature when they were employed at the 
test sites. This is a serious shortcoming because it hampered the 
Bureau from fully evaluating and refining the various census-taking 
procedures that will be used in subsequent tests and the actual census 
in 2010. Further, to the extent these features were integrated with 
other operations, it impeded the Bureau from fully assessing those 
associated activities as well.

Our work, and that of the Department of Commerce Inspector 
General,[Footnote 9] identified the following areas where the Bureau 
needed to be more prepared going into the test:

* The HHCs crashed, in part, because earlier testing did not identify 
software defects that caused the download of more data to the HHCs than 
their memory cards could hold.

* Transmission failures occurred during enumerator training, in part, 
because the HHCs were shipped without the latest version of needed 
software. Although the Bureau ultimately provided the latest software 
after several weeks, the upgraded version was unavailable for training 
field operations supervisors and crew leaders and for the initial 
enumerator training.

* According to the Department of Commerce Inspector General, the Bureau 
finalized the requirements for the new group quarter definitions too 
late for inclusion in group quarters training manuals. Consequently, 
the training lacked certain key instructions, such as how to categorize 
group homes.

The Bureau experienced other glitches during the test that with better 
preliminary testing or on-site dry runs, might have been detected and 
possibly addressed before the test started. These included the slow 
start-up of the HHC's mapping function, and the tendency for apartment 
house intercoms to interrupt transmissions.

An important objective of any type of test is to identify what is 
working and where improvements are needed. Thus, it should not be 
surprising, and, in fact, should be expected and commended, that 
shortcomings were found with some of the various activities and systems 
assessed during the 2004 test. We believe that the deficiency is not 
the existence of problems; rather it is the fact that several 
components were incomplete or still under development going into the 
test, which made it difficult for the Bureau to gauge their full 
potential. The Bureau had a similar experience in the dress rehearsal 
for the 2000 Census, when, because a number of new features were not 
test ready, the Bureau said it could not fully test them with any 
degree of assurance as to how they would affect the head count.

Because of the tight time frames and deadlines of the census, the 
Bureau needs to make the most of its limited testing opportunities. 
Thus, as the Bureau plans for the next field test in 2006 and the 2008 
dress rehearsal, it will be important for the Bureau to ensure the 
various census operations are fully functional at the time of the test 
so they can be properly evaluated.

Conclusions:

The Bureau is well aware that a successful enumeration hinges on early 
research, development, testing, and evaluation of all aspects of the 
census design. This is particularly true for the 2010 Census for which, 
under its current plan, the Bureau will be relying on HHCs and other 
methods and technologies that (1) have never been used in earlier 
censuses and (2) are mission critical. Consequently, the 2004 test was 
an important milestone in the 2010 life cycle because it demonstrated 
the fundamental feasibility of the Bureau's basic design and allows the 
Bureau to advance to the next and more mature phase of planning and 
development.

Nevertheless, while the test revealed no fatal flaws in the Bureau's 
approach, the results highlighted serious technical, training, 
methodological, and procedural difficulties that the Bureau will need 
to resolve. Since one of the purposes of testing is to determine the 
operational feasibility of the census design, it is not surprising that 
problems surfaced. However, looking toward the future, it will be 
critical for the Bureau to diagnose the source of these challenges, 
devise cost-effective solutions, and integrate refinements and fixes in 
time to be assessed during the next field test scheduled for 2006. It 
will also be important for Congress to monitor the Bureau's progress as 
it works to resolve these issues.

Recommendations for Executive Action:

To facilitate effective census planning and development, and to help 
the Bureau achieve its key goals for the census--reduce risks, improve 
accuracy, and contain costs, we recommend that the Secretary of 
Commerce direct the Bureau to take the following eight actions:

* Analyze the impact that HHCs and the targeted second mailing had on 
cost savings and other Bureau objectives.

* Ensure the Bureau's IT security practices are in full compliance with 
applicable requirements, such as the FISMA, as well as its own internal 
policies.

* Enhance the reliability and functionality of HHCs by, among other 
actions, (1) improving the dependability of transmissions, (2) 
exploring the ability to speed up the mapping feature, (3) eliminating 
the causes of crashes, and (4) making it easier for enumerators to edit 
questionnaires.

* Define specific, measurable performance requirements for the HHCs and 
other census-taking activities that address such important measures as 
productivity, cost savings, reliability, durability, and test their 
ability to meet those requirements in 2006.

* Review and test the wording and formatting of the coverage and race/
ethnicity questions to make them less confusing to respondents and thus 
help ensure the collection of better quality data, and ensure they are 
formatted the same way on both the HHC and paper versions of the census 
form.

* Develop a more strategic approach to training by ensuring the 
curriculum and instructional techniques (1) are aligned with the skills 
and competencies needed to meet the Bureau's data collection 
requirements and methodology and (2) address challenges identified in 
the 2004 test and previous censuses.

* Revisit group quarter procedures to ensure they allow the Bureau to 
best locate and count this population group.

* Ensure that all systems and other census-taking functions are as 
mature as possible and test ready prior to their deployment for the 
2006 test, in part by conducting small-scale, interim tests under the 
various conditions and environments the Bureau is likely to encounter 
during the test and actual enumeration.

Further, to ensure the transparency of the census-planning process and 
facilitate Congressional monitoring, we also recommend that the 
Secretary of Commerce direct the Bureau to regularly update Congress on 
the progress it is making in addressing these and any other challenges, 
as well as the extent to which the Bureau is on track for meeting the 
overall goals of the 2010 Census.

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation:

The Under Secretary for Economic Affairs at the Department of Commerce 
forwarded us written comments from the Census Bureau on a draft of this 
report on December 20, 2004, which are reprinted in appendix I. The 
Bureau noted that the 2004 test was its first opportunity to assess a 
number of the new methods and technologies under development for 2010, 
and emphasized the importance of a sustained, multiyear planning, 
testing, and development program to its census modernization effort.

The Bureau generally agreed with seven of our nine recommendations, and 
described the steps it was taking to address our concerns. The Bureau 
also provided additional context and clarifying language and we have 
added this information to the report where appropriate.

Specifically, the Bureau generally agreed with our recommendations 
relating to improving IT security practices, the reliability of the 
HHCs, training, testing, and enumeration procedures--and reported it 
was already taking a number of steps to address our concerns. We 
commend the Bureau for recognizing the risks and challenges that lie 
ahead and taking action to address them. We will continue to monitor 
the Bureau's progress in resolving these issues and update Congress on 
a regular basis.

At the same time, the Bureau took exception to our recommendations to 
(1) analyze the impact that HHCs and targeted second mailings had on 
cost savings and other Bureau objectives, and (2) define specific, 
measurable performance requirements for the HHCs and other census-
taking activities and test their ability to meet those requirements in 
2006. With respect to the first recommendation, the Bureau noted that 
it did not establish cost-savings and other impacts as test objectives, 
in part, because the Bureau believes that the national sample mail test 
that it conducted in 2003 provided a better method for determining the 
boost in response rates that could accrue from a second mailing. The 
Bureau maintains that analyzing the impact of the second mailing would 
provide it with no more information beyond what it has already 
established from the 2003 test and would be of little value.

We believe this recommendation still applies because it will be 
important for the Bureau to assess the impact of the targeted second 
mailing on other Bureau objectives. As we noted in the report, the 
Bureau included the HHCs and targeted second mailing in the 2010 Census 
design, in part, to reduce staff, improve productivity, and control 
costs. Further, as we also note in the report, the feasibility of a 
targeted second mailing is an open question. Thus, information on the 
degree to which the HHCs and second mailing contribute to these key 
goals could help inform future budget estimates, investment and design 
decisions, as well as help refine future census tests. In short, the 
purpose of the analysis we recommend would not be to see whether these 
features of the 2010 Census will produce cost-savings, but the extent 
of those savings and the impact on other Bureau objectives.

With respect to the second recommendation, the Bureau noted that it had 
"baseline assumptions" about productivity, cost-savings, and other 
measures for the 2004 Census test and that a key objective of the test 
was to gather information to help refine these assumptions. According 
to the Bureau, this will also be a key objective of the 2006 Census 
Test, although its performance goal will not be whether it meets 
specific measures. Instead, the Bureau intends to focus on successfully 
collecting information to further refine those assumptions. As a 
result, the Bureau believes the 2006 test will not be a failure if HHC 
productivity is not achieved, but that it will be a failure if 
productivity data are not collected.

The Bureau's position is inconsistent with our recommendation which we 
believe still applies. As noted in the report, we call on the Bureau to 
define measurable performance requirements for the HHCs as well as take 
the next step and assess whether the HHCs can meet those requirements 
as part of the 2006 test. This information is essential because it will 
help the Bureau gauge whether HHCs can meet its field data collection 
needs in 2010. Should the HHCs fail to meet these pre-specified 
performance requirements during the 2006 test, the Bureau would need to 
rethink how it employs these devices in 2010.

As agreed with your offices, unless you release its contents earlier, 
we plan no further distribution of this report until 30 days from its 
date. At that time, we will send copies of this report to the Secretary 
of Commerce and the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau. Copies will be 
made available to others on request. This report will also be available 
at no charge on GAO's home page at [Hyperlink, http://gao.gov]. Please 
contact me at (202) 512-6806 or [Hyperlink, daltonp@gao.gov] or Robert 
Goldenkoff, Assistant Director, at (202) 512-2757 or 
[Hyperlink, goldenkoffr@gao.gov] if you have any questions. Key 
contributors to this report were Tom Beall, David Bobruff, Betty Clark, 
Robert Dacey, Richard Donaldson, Elena Lipson, Ronald La Due Lake, 
Robert Parker, Lisa Pearson, and William Wadsworth.

Signed by:

Patricia A. Dalton: 

Director Strategic Issues:

Appendixes:

Appendix I: Comments from the Department of Commerce:

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE: 
The Under Secretary for Economic Affairs: 
Washington, D.C. 20230:

DEC 20 2004:

Ms. Patricia A. Dalton: 
Director, Strategic Issues: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548:

Dear Ms. Dalton:

The U.S. Department of Commerce appreciates the opportunity to comment 
on the U.S. Government Accountability Office draft report entitled 2010 
Census: Basic Design Has Potential, but Remaining Challenges Need 
Prompt Resolution. The Department's comments on this report are 
enclosed.

The Department of Commerce and the U.S. Census Bureau stand ready to 
update the Congress at any time on these matters.

Sincerely,

Signed by: 

Kathleen B. Cooper:

Enclosure:

Comments from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, 
Regarding the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Draft Report 
Entitled 2010 Census: Basic Design Has Potential, but Remaining 
Challenges Need Prompt Resolution:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on your draft report, 2010 
Census: Basic Design Has Potential, but Remaining Challenges Need 
Prompt Resolution (GAO-05-9), which focuses on our 2004 Census Test. We 
would like the final report to include the following statement about 
the importance and role of the 2004 Census Test in our overall efforts. 
In addition, we have provided comments on each of your nine 
recommendations for executive action.

Importance and Role of the 2004 Census Test:

The 2004 Census Test was the Census Bureau's first opportunity to field 
test a number of the new methods and technologies being developed for 
the 2010 census. In response to the lessons of Census 2000, and in 
striving to better meet this Nation's ever-expanding needs for social, 
demographic, and geographic information, the U.S. Department of 
Commerce and the U.S. Census Bureau have developed a multiyear plan to 
completely modernize and reengineer the 2010 Census of Population and 
Housing. This reengineering effort has four major goals: improve the 
relevance and timeliness of census long-form data; reduce operational 
risk; improve the accuracy of census coverage; and contain costs.

A sustained, multiyear, integrated program for planning, testing, and 
developing such a short-form-only census for 2010 is a key component of 
our reengineering effort. The Census Bureau appreciates the support we 
have received for these efforts from the Administration, the Congress, 
and other key stakeholders.

Specific Comments About the Report's Recommendations for Executive 
Action:

GAO Recommendation 1: Analyze the impact that HHCs and targeted second 
mailing had on cost savings and other Bureau objectives.

Response:

Regarding the impact of the targeted second mailing on cost savings, 
the Census Bureau did not establish this as a test objective for the 
2004 Census Test for a number of reasons. The Census Bureau believes 
that a national sample mail test provides a better vehicle for 
assessing the gain in response rates from a second mailing that we 
could expect to realize during the 2010 census. Thus, as part of the 
2003 National Census Test, we included objectives and conducted 
thorough analyses of the gains in response associated with targeted 
replacement mailings. Those results confirmed earlier findings that, 
nationally, we could expect a 7-to-10 percentage point gain in overall 
response, based on the delivery of a targeted replacement mailing.

Subsequent to the 2003 National Census Test, we have had, and continue 
to have, extensive consultations with the printing industry to identify 
viable technical solutions to our replacement mailing objective for the 
2010 census. The key to our ability to consult directly with industry 
on potential solutions for a successful 2010 replacement mailing 
strategy was an agreement between the Census Bureau and the Government 
Printing Office, which allowed us to conduct such consultations with 
industry without prejudice to future contracting opportunities. These 
discussions with the printing industry have provided us with a 
reasonable degree of assurance that a targeted replacement mailing 
strategy is, indeed, a viable option for the 2010 census. As a result 
of this consultation, we plan to evaluate in the 2005 National Census 
Test, from the standpoint of public reaction as measured by mail 
response, at least two different replacement mailing package designs 
that could be printed and delivered within the very tight time 
constraints that we will face in the 2010 census. Such production 
solutions had not been identified in time to evaluate them in the 2004 
Census Test. Thus, establishing an objective regarding replacement 
mailing for that test would have provided no more intelligence beyond 
what we had already established from the 2003 National Census Test-that 
is, that such strategies increase mail response. Indeed, our 
operational assessment of the 2004 Census Test once again demonstrated 
that the targeted replacement mailing strategy increased mail response 
by about 7 percentage points in the Queens test site. However, since 
the solution implemented in that test (namely, using an in-house 
address imaging solution) is not one that is viable given the large 
volumes and compressed time schedule that we will face during the 2010 
census, devoting resources to a formal evaluation of it now would be of 
little value.

Looking toward the 2005 National Census Test, the 2006 Census Test, and 
the 2008 Dress Rehearsal, we are continuing our research and 
exploration of an array of issues related to a successful 
implementation of a targeted replacement mailing strategy. We will look 
at the timing and process for identifying the replacement universe, 
file exchange and security, data capture, and other such issues that 
need to be addressed within a total systems approach for achieving our 
objectives. We believe that these research efforts, when combined with 
the future testing and demonstration vehicles, will provide us an 
excellent opportunity to realize the substantial cost savings 
associated with a targeted replacement mailing strategy in the 2010 
census.

Another benefit of a successful mailing strategy, combined with the use 
of hand-held computers (HHCs), is the ability to remove late mail 
returns from the nonresponse follow-up work load. During Census 2000, 
we received over 3 million mail returns after we had identified and 
assigned follow-up visits for the nonresponding households. For the 
2010 census, we envision that the use of HHCs will enable us to 
efficiently remove, on a daily basis, a substantial proportion of these 
late mail returns from enumerator assignments. Again, our operational 
assessment of the 2004 Census Test suggests that we removed a 
substantial percent of the late mail returns from the enumerator 
assignments before follow-up visits occurred. Given the potential 
impact that this process has on total follow-up costs, we continue to 
conduct simulations, using actual Census 2000 data, to factor this into 
our cost parameters for the 2010 census.

GAO Recommendation 2: Ensure the Bureau's IT security practices are in 
full compliance with applicable requirements, such as the FISMA, as 
well as its own internal policies.

Response:

The GAO noted the following areas of concern in their Report, and the 
Census Bureau is developing procedures to address these issues in a 
manner consistent with program objectives and overall risk to our 
information and information systems.

IT inventory was not complete: The IT Security Office is working with 
the Computer Services Division and the Telecommunications Office, as 
well as the program areas, to ensure that all IT systems identified in 
the Census Bureau sensitive system inventory have complete and accurate 
inventories. We are accomplishing this by using information collected 
by the Bowie Computer Center (BCC) during weekly IT discovery 
operations. The IT Security Office receives these reports concerning 
its security documentation. IT security and system owners reconcile 
inventories. Discrepancies are investigated with the program areas to 
ensure that the correct information is provided in the documentation. 
System owners are ultimately responsible for maintaining an accurate 
inventory of their systems, and the IT Security Office is working with 
Division Security Officers (DSO) to ensure they are aware of this 
responsibility and are taking appropriate actions.

There was not sufficient evidence that the Bureau assessed all of the 
devices used in the test for vulnerabilities, or that it corrected 
previously identified problems: The lack of evidence that the devices 
were assessed for vulnerabilities was due to high level, rather than 
detailed and accurate, security documentation. Security documentation, 
if completed correctly, will provide the appropriate level of evidence 
that devices were tested for vulnerabilities and what corrective 
actions, if any, were taken to correct or mitigate the resulting risks. 
This was not clearly documented, and the GAO reviewer was unable to 
verify what, if anything, was done in this regard. The IT Security 
Office is working with program areas (through the DSO program and 
meetings with system owners or their representatives) to ensure they 
understand the System Development Life Cycle, including the testing 
requirements and how to document them correctly.

Assessments were not consistent: Since the GAO review was completed, 
the IT Security Office has required that an updated risk assessment for 
each system be prepared and submitted as part of the IT security 
documentation package. The IT Security Office is currently reviewing 
these documents for consistency and compliance with NIST 800-30, "Risk 
Management Guide for Information Technology Systems." In addition, the 
IT Security Office is looking at the assessments to ensure that, where 
appropriate, assessment information from other systems is addressed. 
This was addressed specifically by the GAO review, in that information 
from the IT infrastructure assessments was not communicated to the 
program areas for consideration and inclusion in their risk-management 
documentation.

The Bureau did not always follow its own risk policies: The IT Security 
Office is scheduling formal reviews to ensure that documentation is 
updated in a timely manner when changes are made to a system. This 
would include waiver information.

The IT Security Office has purchased an Enterprise tool to assist in 
the documentation, certification, and accreditation process. The tool, 
"Xacta," when fully implemented, will ensure that all documentation is 
consistent across the Census Bureau and that, where applicable, 
information that pertains to more than one system is made available to 
the other appropriate area for inclusion in its documentation, as well.

Ensure the Bureau's IT security practices are in full compliance with 
applicable requirements, such as the FISMA, as well as its own internal 
policies: The Census Bureau agrees with the draft GAO report that it 
needs to improve the Census Bureau's IT security practices to ensure 
the organization is in full compliance with applicable Federal 
Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and internal policies. The 
Census Bureau has already sought to improve the IT Security posture of 
the Census Bureau for the 2006 Census Test in several tangible ways. 
First, the Technologies Management Office (TMO) hired two IT security 
contractors from the Xacta Corporation to overhaul the organization's 
IT security program. We also are implementing the industry standard 
Xacta IA Manager tool. This software suite enables the organization to 
meet all government standards for IT security requirements, manage the 
organization's risk-assessment approaches in a more thorough fashion, 
and ensure consistency.

The acquisition of the security contracting experts and the use of a 
comprehensive security and risk-assessment tool help us ensure that the 
organization will address the FISMA and the NIST SP 800-30, SP 800-26 
guidelines, and Census Bureau internal IT Security guidelines more 
thoroughly. In addition to the tools and contractors, we are engaging 
in more thorough risk assessments and contingency planning, and are 
evaluating and implementing the findings of the Inspector General and 
GAO reviews conducted on the 2004 Census Test. These reviews have 
helped focus the organization's attention on critical areas of concern.

GAO Recommendation 3: Enhance the reliability and functionality of HHCs 
by, among other actions, (1) improving the dependability of 
transmissions, (2) exploring the ability to speed up the mapping 
feature, (3) eliminating the causes of crashes, and (4) making it 
easier for enumerators to edit questionnaires.

Response:

In general, we agree with the draft GAO recommendations to enhance the 
reliability and functionality of the HHCs. The TMO carefully examined 
the results of the reliability and functionality of HHCs during the 
2004 Test Census. After evaluating the transmission process, we are 
implementing several improvements. The first improvement, which was 
actually implemented late in the 2004 Census Test, was to upgrade the 
version of the Afaria software system. This significantly reduced 
transmission errors later in the 2004 Census Test. We expect that this 
improved performance will continue during the 2006 Census Test, 
although it is uncertain if dial-up technology can exceed a 95 percent 
success rate.

A second improvement was the simplification of the transmission 
process. During the 2004 Census Test, transmissions were part of the 
Assignment Management System (AMS), which required the enumerator to go 
into AMS and then transmit their data. The 2006 Census Test software 
has been arranged in such a way that transmissions are accomplished 
outside of AMS. In addition, more programming was added to decode 
arcane transmission error messages. This enables the enumerators and 
technical support staffs to better understand HHC communication and 
transmission problems, so that remedies can be applied more accurately 
and quickly.

To address speeding up the HHC mapping features, we obtained 
compression software that provides better performance for map displays 
for the 2006 Census Test. In addition, the HHC procured for the 2006 
Census Test has a faster processor than the one used in the 2004 Census 
Test. The Census Bureau also procured a new generation of SD memory 
cards, which we anticipate will improve performance of applications 
between the actual HHC device and the memory storage cards.

To eliminate the causes of crashes, we have taken several approaches. 
First, we upgraded the operating system that was used in the 2004 
Census Test. The previous version of the operating system was less 
robust and had documented system instabilities that have been addressed 
by the newer operating system. Second, we streamlined our in-house 
software design to fix issues found in the 2004 Census Test. We removed 
a third-party product, which allows the developers greater programming 
flexibility and redesigned the database on the HHC to make it more 
efficient. Lastly, we have initiated a comprehensive integration work 
group that consists of all Census Bureau development and deployment 
entities. This work group already has begun to work out processes to 
more effectively share device memory and work out software bugs in a 
collaborative fashion.

The Census Bureau is unclear about the meaning of the GAO's use of the 
terminology "editing questionnaires and how we can make it easier for 
the enumerator." We will address this upon receiving clarification of 
this statement.

Finally, the Census Bureau has sought to improve the testing process by 
ensuring that sufficient time is planned into our schedules for more 
integrated testing (in addition to our standard unit testing and user 
acceptance testing). We have improved our test plans, test cases, and 
test reporting by including new performance metrics. Finally, the TMO 
testing area has added a senior IT specialist to the team, whose sole 
focus is the 2006 Census Test.

GAO Recommendation 4: Define specific, measurable performance 
requirements for the HHCs and other census-taking activities that 
address such important measures as productivity, cost savings, 
reliability, durability, and test their ability to meet those 
requirements in 2006.

Response:

We had baseline assumptions about these measures for the 2004 Census 
Test, and a key objective of the test was to gather information to help 
refine these assumptions for the 2006 Census Test and for 2010. This 
also will be a key objective of the 2006 Census Test, but the 
performance goal will not be whether we meet specific measures based on 
the revised assumptions; rather, we will focus on successfully 
collecting information to further refine those assumptions. For 
example, the 2006 Census Test will not be a failure if we do not 
achieve the assumed productivity rate for HHCs, but it will be a 
failure if we do not capture such HHC productivity data in order to 
refine our assumption for 2010.

GAO Recommendation 5: Review and test the wording and formatting of the 
coverage and race/ethnicity questions to make them less confusing to 
respondents and thus help ensure the collection of better quality data, 
and ensure they are formatted the same way on both the HHC and paper 
versions of the census form.

Response:

The Census Bureau concurs with the spirit, if not the details, of this 
recommendation. Following the 2004 Census Test, we conducted extensive 
cognitive tests of both the coverage probes and residence rules 
presentation, as well as the race and ethnic-origin questions. Further, 
the input to these cognitive tests was refined based on close 
consultation with our advisory committees, the National Academy of 
Sciences, and, in the case of the race and ethnicity questions, by 
consultation with demographic and social science experts.

It is important to underscore that, as mandated by Congress, we intend 
to include a "Some Other Race" (SOR) category in future decennial 
census collection efforts. The SOR response option is the mechanism 
through which we obtain other race information. In addition, we are 
carefully analyzing the results of our cognitive tests to inform 
decisions about other question wording and design alternatives to be 
tested in the 2005 National Census Test, the major testing vehicle for 
deciding on the design, content, and construction of these questions 
for both the 2010 census as well as the American Community Survey.

The Census Bureau disagrees that questions need to be formatted 
identically between different data collection modes. Rather, we 
believe, and survey design experts concur, that the ideal goal is to 
optimize questions for a particular mode to yield similar outcomes 
across modes. What this means in a practical sense is that question 
format and presentation in an electronic mode should not necessarily 
mimic a paper format and presentation. For the 2004 Census Test, one of 
our key objectives was to ascertain public reaction, as well as the 
enumerator/respondent interaction, to removing the SOR response 
category from the census test. Thus, on the mail-out paper 
questionnaire, the race question did not display the SOR category. And, 
it is important to note, that respondents could, and indeed did, write 
in a race response that did not include one of the five displayed race 
categories.

Similarly, in our design of this question for HHC, we were very much 
aware that some respondents would name a race response that would not 
be one of the five categories. To accommodate this, and more 
importantly, to assess public reaction to the lack of a SOR response 
category, we quite deliberately designed a notes space on the HHC so 
that enumerators could record these responses as well as other 
pertinent information about the enumerator/respondent interaction. 
Rather than mimic the paper questionnaire design, we designed the HHC 
in such a way that we could get as much intelligence and information as 
possible about issues that both respondents and enumerators were 
experiencing when faced with the removal of the SOR category. The 2004 
Census Test was not at all about determining if we obtained similar 
race distributions between mail respondents and nonrespondents-we 
already know that these are quite different universes. Rather, it was 
designed to understand issues associated with the removal of the SOR 
response during door-to-door enumeration and to make appropriate design 
decisions based on that intelligence. Now that the Congress has 
mandated the use of the "SOR" category, some of these issues are moot.

GAO Recommendation 6: Develop a more strategic approach to training by 
ensuring the curriculum and instructional techniques (1) are aligned 
with the skills and competencies needed to meet the Bureau's data 
collection requirements and methodology and (2) address challenges 
identified in the 2004 test and previous censuses.

Response:

The Census Bureau is exploring ways to improve our training strategy 
based on the lessons learned from Census 2000 and the 2004 test. 
However, it is important that the solutions fall within our budget 
constraints and allow us to deliver consistent training to hundreds of 
thousands of enumerators across the country. As part of the market 
research phase of the Field Data Collection Automation (FDCA) contract, 
we are exploring ways to simplify the hardware, software, and 
implementation of security, transmission and other requirements that 
would result in minimizing and simplifying the training needs for 
automation/technology issues. We also are exploring ways to incorporate 
technology to assist with training and to identify other ways in which 
industry can assist with training, such as the "train-the-trainer" 
concepts. We will use this information to inform the definition of 
requirements for the FDCA contract.

The Census Bureau recognizes that the training deficiency items listed 
in the report require improvement. As we prepare for the 2006 test, we 
are enhancing the training to reinforce the procedural requirements for 
asking questions exactly as worded and emphasizing the mandatory use of 
flashcards. We also will incorporate additional training to prepare the 
enumerators to handle realistic situations encountered in their work.

GAO Recommendation 7: Revisit group quarter procedures to ensure they 
allow the Bureau to best locate and count this population group.

Response:

The Census Bureau plans to continue to improve procedures and 
operations to locate and count the population in group quarters. 
Building upon the lessons learned in the 2004 Census Test, the Census 
Bureau will: 

(1) Conduct Address Canvassing prior to the Group Quarters Validation 
Operation (GQV) to correctly locate Other Living Quarters and to 
minimize duplication between the housing units and group quarters.

(2) Implement the GQV Operation to determine the classification of the 
Other Living Quarters and, if it is determined to be a Group Quarters, 
classify the type of group quarters.

(2) Refine GQV procedures to clearly instruct listers regarding 
correcting and deleting addresses.

(3) Complete the revisions to the definitions for the types of group 
quarters prior to writing procedures.

4) Classify group homes as group quarters, not housing units.

GAO Recommendation 8: Ensure that all systems and other census-taking 
functions are as mature as possible and test ready prior to their 
deployment for the 2006 test, in part by conducting small-scale, 
interim tests under the various conditions and environments the Bureau 
is likely to encounter during the test and actual enumeration.

Response:

The 2004 Census Test was the Census Bureau's first opportunity to field 
test a number of the new methods and technologies being developed for 
the 2010 census. In response to the lessons of Census 2000, and in 
striving to better meet this Nation's ever-expanding:

needs for social, demographic, and geographic information, the U.S. 
Department of Commerce and the U.S. Census Bureau have developed a 
multiyear effort to completely modernize and reengineer the 2010 Census 
of Population and Housing. This reengineering effort has four major 
goals: improve the relevance and timeliness of census long-form data; 
reduce operational risk; improve the accuracy of census coverage; and 
contain costs.

A sustained, multiyear, integrated program for planning, testing; and 
developing such a short-form-only census for 2010 is a key component of 
our reengineering effort. The Census Bureau appreciates the support we 
have received for these plans from the Administration, the Congress, 
and other key stakeholders.

The data collection effort for 2010 will take advantage of and build on 
the American Community Survey and MAF/TIGER improvements to contain 
costs and improve accuracy, while keeping operational risk to a 
minimum. To make these changes successfully, procedures must be fully 
tested under census-like conditions and refined well in advance of 
Census Day.

GAO Recommendation 9: Further, to ensure the transparency of the 
census-planning process and facilitate Congressional monitoring, we 
also recommend that the Secretary of Commerce direct the Bureau to 
regularly update Congress on the progress it is making in addressing 
these and any other challenges, as well as the extent to which the 
Bureau is on track for meeting the overall goals of the 2010 Census.

Response:

We concur with this recommendation. 

[End of section]

(450322):

FOOTNOTES

[1] GAO, Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of 
Commerce, GAO-03-97 (Washington, D.C.: January 2003).

[2] GAO, 2010 Census: Cost and Design Issues Need to Be Addressed Soon, 
GAO-04-37 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 15, 2004).

[3] GAO, Executive Guide: Information Security Management--Learning 
from Leading Organizations, GAO/AIMD-98-68 (Washington, D.C.: May 
1998).

[4] Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002, Title III, E-
Government Act of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107-347 (Dec. 17, 2002). 

[5] GAO, 2000 Census: Contingency Planning Needed to Address Risks That 
Pose a Threat to a Successful Census, GAO/GGD-00-06 (Washington, D.C.: 
Dec. 14, 1999).

[6] GAO, 2000 Census: Best Practices and Lessons Learned for More Cost-
Effective Nonresponse Follow-up, GAO-02-196 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 11, 
2002).

[7] Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, Pub. L. No. 108-447, Div. B, 
Title II, Dec. 8, 2004.

[8] GAO, Human Capital: A Guide for Assessing Strategic Training and 
Development Efforts in the Federal Government, GAO-04-546G (Washington, 
D.C.: March 2004).

[9] U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Inspector General, Improving 
Our Measure of America: What the 2004 Census Test Can Teach Us in 
Planning for the 2010 Decennial Census, OIG-16949 (Washington, D.C.: 
September 2004).

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