U.S. Department of Agriculture:

Status of USDA's Reorganization

RCED-98-109R: Published: Mar 19, 1998. Publicly Released: Apr 20, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided a summary of a briefing to the House Budget Committee on the status of the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) reorganization.

GAO noted that: (1) USDA has made progress in consolidating offices, reducing staffing, and streamlining some operations; (2) in this regard, USDA estimates that it has saved about $3 billion since 1993 as a result of staff and administrative reductions; (3) however, a number of issues requiring additional attention remain; (4) for example, as GAO reported in June 1997, USDA has made only limited progress in reducing staffing levels for common support functions performed by its agencies, and little progress has been made in streamlining administrative functions at the state level; (5) similarly, the extent to which USDA's reorganization has improved its efficiency or effectiveness is uncertain because the Department has not measured efficiencies resulting from its actions; and (6) two other issues that require attention are: (a) the potential for USDA to use new strategic plans to identify and reduce areas of duplicate responsibility, either within USDA or in relationship to other departments of government; and (b) the Department's success in implementing its integrated service center modernization effort to provide complete data sharing among USDA's field-based agencies.

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