The Results Act:

Observations on VA's August 1997 Draft Strategic Plan

T-HEHS-97-215: Published: Sep 18, 1997. Publicly Released: Sep 18, 1997.

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Stephen P. Backhus
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GAO discussed the draft strategic plan developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), pursuant to the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993.

GAO noted that: (1) VA has made substantial progress in its strategic planning, based in part on consultations with the Congress; (2) however, as with many other agencies, VA's process of developing a plan that meets the requirements of the Results Act is an evolving one that will continue well after the September 30, 1997, deadline for submitting its first strategic plan to the Congress and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); (3) the August 15, 1997, draft that VA submitted to OMB for review is an improvement over the June 1997 version, because it is easier to follow, places more emphasis on results and less on process, and fills in some major gaps in the June 1997 draft; (4) however, the latest draft strategic plan continues to lack some of the key elements expected under the Results Act; and (5) as with the June 1997 draft, the August 15, 1997, draft lacks results-oriented goals for several major VA programs, lacks a program evaluation schedule, and contains inadequately developed discussions of external factors and the need to coordinate with other federal agencies.

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