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Saving Dollar Bills: Reducing Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication in Federal Programs

Posted on April 26, 2018

We released our latest report today on fragmentation, overlap, and duplication in the federal government. Since 2011, we’ve been reporting on ways the government can be more efficient and save taxpayers’ money by looking for programs that

  • work on the same activities or provide the same services (duplication)
  • have similar goals or provide similar services (overlap)
  • work on different parts of the same goal or are broken out across different parts of the same agency (fragmentation)

By addressing actions we’ve proposed to fix such programs, the federal government has saved over $175 billion!

And each year we find more ways to save. In our 8th annual report, we’ve added 68 new actions that Congress or federal agencies could take to improve federal programs.

For instance:

  • The Department of Defense could save $527 million over 5 years by better managing its U.S. distribution centers for troop support goods.
  • The Department of Energy could save tens of billions of dollars by adopting alternative approaches to treating a portion of its low-activity radioactive waste at its Hanford Site.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs could save tens of millions of dollars by better adhering to supply chain management practices when acquiring medical and surgical supplies.
  • The Coast Guard could save millions of dollars by closing unnecessarily duplicative search and rescue boat stations.
  • Federal agencies could better coordinate the oversight of fragmented federal funding for physician residency training.

Listen to Jessica Lucas-Judy, a director in our Strategic Issues team, talk about 2018’s updates.

2018 Duplication and Cost Savings Report

We also keep tabs on whether federal agencies have implemented our previous suggestions—and there’s still a lot left to do.

For example:

  • Congress could prevent people from collecting both full Disability Insurance and Unemployment Insurance benefits for the same time period, which could save up to $2.5 billion over 10 years.
  • Congress could ensure that tobacco products that are cigarette substitutes, such as pipe tobacco, are not taxed at lower rates than traditional cigarettes, which would increase federal revenue by billions of dollars.

Want to find out more? Download our Action Tracker and sort by agency or area to explore the hundreds of other areas we’ve already identified to see for yourself.

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