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GAO Issues 10th Annual Report on Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication in the Federal Government

Washington, D.C. (May 19, 2020) –The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) today issued its 10th annual report identifying ways to reduce fragmentation, overlap, and duplication in federal programs and activities. The 2020 report outlines 168 new actions that Congress or executive branch agencies can take to improve efficiency and effectiveness in nearly 40 areas across government.

“I’m extremely proud of GAO’s work over the past decade to alert Congress and agency officials to opportunities to address fragmentation, overlap, or duplication throughout the federal government,” said Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO.  “In a time of growing deficits and debt, it’s vital that government make the best possible use of every taxpayer dollar. Our annual report outlines steps that policymakers can take right now to save billions of dollars and increase revenues for the federal government.”

To date, the congressional watchdog’s efforts have helped to save taxpayers about $429 billion by minimizing costs and increasing revenues. In the nine annual reports issued from 2011 to 2019, GAO presented more than 900 actions in more than 325 areas for consideration by Congress or executive branch agencies. And 79 percent of the actions GAO identified from 2011 to 2019 have been partially or fully addressed.

The status of GAO’s proposed changes can be followed on GAO’s Action Tracker, an online tool that monitors progress by Congress and federal agencies in addressing identified actions. For example:

  • The Navy could save billions of dollars by strengthening its acquisition practices and ensuring that ships can be efficiently sustained.
  • The Internal Revenue Service could save billions of dollars by improving efforts to prevent identity theft refund fraud.
  • Improved coordination and communication between the Department of Health and Human Services' 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.
  • Better coordination between the Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard could reduce fragmentation and communicate lessons learned during disasters about the contracting process.
  • Greater efficiency and effectiveness in the Government National Mortgage Association’s (Ginnie Mae) operations and risk management could reduce costs or enhance federal revenue by tens of millions of dollars annually.
  • By implementing a process to monitor orders and resolve outstanding reimbursements, the U.S. military could recover millions of dollars in overdue repayments for sales made to foreign partners.

Fully implementing actions identified in prior reports could save tens of billions of additional dollars. For example:

  • The Department of Energy could potentially save tens of billions of dollars by adopting alternative approaches to treating some of its low-activity radioactive waste.
  • Medicare could reduce outlays by billions of dollars annually if Congress equalized the rates paid for certain health care services. (Payment rates now 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.
  • The Department of the Interior could increase revenues by more than $1.7 billion over 10 years by better managing oil and gas resources.

The federal government is on an unsustainable long-term fiscal path due to an imbalance between revenues and spending. The federal government has made an unprecedented financial response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, opportunities exist in a number of areas to act as stewards of federal resources—including where federal programs or activities are fragmented, overlapping, or duplicative—or to redirect resources.

For more information, contact Chuck Young, Managing Director of GAO Public Affairs, at or 202-512-4800.




The Government Accountability Office, known as the investigative arm of Congress, is an independent, nonpartisan agency that exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities. GAO also works to improve the performance of the federal government and ensure its accountability to the American people. The agency examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. GAO provides Congress with timely information that is objective, fact-based, nonideological, fair, and balanced. GAO’s commitment to good government is reflected in its core values of accountability, integrity, and reliability.

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