Revitalizing USDA:

A Challenge for the 21st Century

T-RCED-93-62: Published: Jul 21, 1993. Publicly Released: Jul 21, 1993.

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GAO discussed the structure and effectiveness of the Department of Agriculture (USDA), focusing on: (1) the problems in the USDA organizational structure and management systems; (2) efforts to streamline USDA; and (3) issues in revitalizing USDA. GAO noted that: (1) USDA has not kept pace with changes in its operating environment and missions; (2) USDA can not effectively address rural development and biotechnology issues due to its inappropriate organizational structure and inadequate management systems; (3) USDA does not have a departmentwide system to share information, particularly among its field agencies; (4) congressional and administration efforts to streamline USDA have focused on reforming its field offices, but this restructuring is superficial and does not address fundamental problems; (5) USDA and the Office of Management and Budget have initiated studies on consolidating headquarters and field offices and improving USDA computer systems; (6) Congress and USDA need to reassess the mission of USDA and restructure it for the future; and (7) Congress and the administration need to address a consensus on the USDA mission, basic management information needs, strategic information plans, and the USDA span of control.

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