The mission of the Office of Science & Technology (OST), within the Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice (NIJ), is to improve the safety and effectiveness of technology used by federal, state, and local law enforcement and other public safety agencies. Through NIJ, OST funds programs in forensic sciences, crime prevention, and standards and testing. To support these programs, Congress increased funding for OST from $13.2 million in 1995 to $204.2 million in 2003 (in constant 2002 dollars). GAO reviewed (1) the growth in OST's budgetary resources and the changes in OST's program responsibilities, (2) the types of products OST delivers and the methods used for delivering them; and (3) how well OST's efforts to measure the success of its programs in achieving intended results meet applicable requirements.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Justice||1. To help ensure that OST does all that is possible to measure its progress in achieving goals through outcome-oriented measures, the Attorney General should instruct the Director of NIJ to reassess the measures OST uses to evaluate its progress toward achieving its goals and to better focus on outcome measures to assess results where possible. In those cases where measuring outcome is, after careful consideration, deemed infeasible, appropriate intermediate measures that will help to discern program effectiveness should be developed.|