Water Resources:

The Corps of Engineers' Revised Review Process for Proposed Civil Works Projects

RCED-90-188: Published: Sep 13, 1990. Publicly Released: Sep 13, 1990.

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GAO reported on: (1) changes to the Army Corps of Engineers' review process for feasibility studies used to recommend congressional authorization for constructing proposed civil works water resource projects; and (2) the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) role in the review process.

GAO found that: (1) due to the short period of time since implementation of the new process, no projects had completed the process by the time GAO completed fieldwork, rendering it too early to judge the process' effectiveness; (2) newly implemented issue resolution conferences helped familiarize headquarters-level review elements with projects and provided for early identification and resolution of various issues; (3) detailed concurrent review at the headquarters level raised technical and policy concerns and resolved them before reviewers made final decisions on projects; (4) the first proposed project did not meet the new time goals for each step or the final 30-day goal for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works to review the feasibility report and submit it to Congress following OMB review; (5) the new process should shorten review time within the Corps and help the proposed project move more rapidly; and (6) during a 3-year period, OMB accomplished its reviews of such projects within 30 days in only 4 of 25 analyzed cases.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Secretary of the Army and OMB have not agreed upon a time frame for OMB review of projects, although they have taken actions cited in part I to expedite the process, which they believe is responsive to the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army, through the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, should work with the Director, OMB, to establish a realistic time frame goal for the expedited review of feasibility reports on proposed water resource development projects to be transmitted to Congress for construction authorization.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army


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