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Our plan to save the government tens of billions of dollars through reducing fragmentation, overlap and duplication.

Posted on May 19, 2020

The federal government has made an unprecedented financial response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. At the same time, opportunities exist for achieving tens of billions of dollars in financial savings and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of a wide range of federal programs in other areas.

Today we released our 10th annual report on opportunities to reduce spending and address fragmentation, overlap, and duplication within the federal government. Over the past decade, our annual reports have helped the federal government improve operations and save about $429 billion. Today’s WatchBlog explores.

How reducing fragmentation, overlap, and duplication saves taxpayer money

Since 2011, we’ve been reporting on ways the government can be more efficient and save taxpayers’ money by looking for agencies and programs that:

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

Our new report includes 168 new actions that Congress or agency leaders can take to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government in 29 new areas and in 10 existing areas.

For example:

  • Improved coordination and communication between the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and its emergency support agencies—including the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs—could help address fragmentation and ensure the effective provision of public health and medical services during a public health emergency.
  • The U.S. Navy could save billions of dollars by improving its acquisition practices and ensuring that ships can be efficiently sustained.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard could address fragmentation and better communicate lessons learned in contracting following a disaster.
  • The Internal Revenue Service could save billions of dollars by improving its efforts to prevent identity theft refund fraud.
  • The Government National Mortgage Association’s (Ginnie Mae) operations and risk management could be more efficient and effective, reducing costs or enhancing federal revenue by tens of millions of dollars annually.
  • By implementing a process to monitor orders and resolve outstanding reimbursements, the Department of Defense could recover millions of dollars in overdue repayments for sales made to foreign partners.

Fully addressing new actions and those that remain open from our prior reports could lead to tens of billions of dollars in additional financial benefits. Want to find out more? Check out our Action Tracker to explore the hundreds of other actions we’ve identified.

Find out more about our new report by tuning into our podcast with Director Jessica Lucas-Judy.

2020 Duplication and Cost Savings Report

Some examples of previously identified actions that could save billions

  • The Department of Energy may be able to reduce certain risks by adopting alternative approaches to treat some of its low-activity radioactive waste, potentially saving tens of billions of dollars.
  • Medicare could save billions of dollars annually if Congress equalized the rates Medicare pays for certain health care services (payment rates currently vary by location).
  • Unless the Department of Energy can demonstrate demand for new Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loans and viable applications, Congress may wish to consider rescinding all or part of the remaining credit subsidy appropriations—potentially saving more than $4 billion.
  • If the Department of the Interior improved management of federal oil and gas resources, $1.7 billion could be saved over 10 years.

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