The Results Act:

Observations on the Office of Management and Budget's July 1997 Draft Strategic Plan

AIMD/GGD-97-169R: Published: Aug 21, 1997. Publicly Released: Aug 27, 1997.

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Paul L. Posner
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the draft strategic plan submitted by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), as required by the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993.

GAO noted that: (1) OMB's strategic plan provides a beginning framework to articulate how OMB proposes to meet the wide range of presidential, congressional, and federal agency expectations for its leadership on federal budget and management issues; (2) the plan includes four of the elements required by the Results Act--a mission statement, long-term goals and objectives, strategies to achieve the goals and objectives, and key external factors--but these elements could be enhanced to better reflect the purposes of the Results Act and to permit an assessment of OMB's contribution to the many objectives the agency serves; (3) for instance, while defining specific results for OMB's role as presidential advisor is challenging, a more explicit definition of expected results and accomplishments for many of OMB's objectives could better highlight its priorities and goals, particularly for governmentwide management responsibilities; (4) similarly, the draft plan could be strengthened by more explicitly describing how goals are to be achieved, in many cases drawing on strategies OMB has articulated in other documents; (5) achieving many of the objectives in the draft plan will require attention to several critical crosscutting and organizational issues; (6) strategies for addressing governmentwide management issues, such as computer security, agencies' Year 2000 programs to change computer systems to accommodate dates beyond 1999, and reorientation of the regulatory process toward achievement of results, are not fully discussed in the draft plan; (7) addressing crosscutting goals depends heavily on collaboration between affected federal agencies, and the draft plan could more explicitly define OMB's strategies for promoting such interagency coordination; (8) the draft plan also does not discuss how OMB will use evaluations to develop and assess progress toward its own goals or how it will use and encourage agencies' program evaluations to help make more informed budget and management choices; (9) moreover, the draft plan does not describe how OMB will ensure that it has the organizational capacity to provide the multidisciplinary leadership needed to address critical budget and managerial issues; and (10) it is important that OMB continue its ongoing efforts to refine its draft strategic plan to provide a road map for achieving its own objectives and a model for other agencies to follow as they develop their own strategic plans.

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