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This e-publication supplements the report, Federal Budget: Agency Obligations by Budget Function and Object Classification in Fiscal 2003 (GAO-04-834) by providing more detailed information at a lower level of analysis. As our report notes, this type of data can be useful for examining and rationalizing overlap or fragmentation in federal functions and activities. However, there are limitations in what conclusions can be drawn from this information. This publication presents fiscal year 2003 data on gross agency obligations. We provide the following information on each of the budget functions shown: (1) a pie chart of obligations by agency; (2) a table of obligations by bureau and subfunction; (3) a pie chart of obligations by object class; and (4) a table of obligations by subfunction and object class. We also provide the following information on each agency: (1) a pie chart of obligations by subfunction; (2) a table of obligations by bureau and subfunction; (3) a pie chart of obligations by object class; and (4) a table of obligations by bureau and object class. As our report, Federal Budget: Agency Obligations by Budget Function and Object Classification in Fiscal 2003 (GAO-04-834) notes, mapping which federal agencies spend funds in which federal mission areas provides a first-level look at potential overlap and fragmentation. Although this type of analysis cannot answer the question of whether there is inappropriate overlap or fragmentation, nor whether the overlap shown is duplicative, it can help in the selection of areas for further investigation. Similarly, knowing how agencies spend funds to implement their programs can provide an indication of the types of mechanism or means federal agencies use to deliver services, which is an important consideration in any restructuring proposal. The report itself also provides additional information on the uses and limitations of function and object class analysis.

Supplemental Material

Background

This e-publication supplements the report, Federal Budget: Agency Obligations by Budget Function and Object Classification in Fiscal 2003 (GAO-04-834) by providing more detailed information at a lower level of analysis. As our report notes, this type of data can be useful for examining and rationalizing overlap or fragmentation in federal functions and activities. However, there are limitations in what conclusions can be drawn from this information, which are discussed in the scope and methodology section below.

This publication presents fiscal year 2003 data on gross agency obligations. We provide the following information on each of the budget functions shown: (1) a pie chart of obligations by agency; (2) a table of obligations by bureau and subfunction; (3) a pie chart of obligations by object class; and (4) a table of obligations by subfunction and object class. We also provide the following information on each agency: (1) a pie chart of obligations by subfunction; (2) a table of obligations by bureau and subfunction; (3) a pie chart of obligations by object class; and (4) a table of obligations by bureau and object class. As our report, Federal Budget: Agency Obligations by Budget Function and Object Classification in Fiscal 2003 (GAO-04-834) notes, mapping which federal agencies spend funds in which federal mission areas provides a first-level look at potential overlap and fragmentation. Although this type of analysis cannot answer the question of whether there is inappropriate overlap or fragmentation, nor whether the overlap shown is duplicative, it can help in the selection of areas for further investigation. Similarly, knowing how agencies spend funds to implement their programs can provide an indication of the types of mechanism or means federal agencies use to deliver services, which is an important consideration in any restructuring proposal. The report itself also provides additional information on the uses and limitations of function and object class analysis.

Scope and Methodology

We compiled current data from automated information collected and maintained by OMB as part of its process to develop the President's fiscal year 2005 budget, including the 2003 actual budget data. All of these data are reported as part of the annual executive budget formulation budget process. Although budget data are not audited, we reviewed the data reliability of the automated information and found it to be sufficiently reliable for reporting purposes. In addition, we relied on GAO�s previously issued work that examined the origins, trends and implications of the budget function and object classification systems. We conducted our review from April 2004 through June 2004 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

The budget function classification system provides a means to capture federal activity and group budgetary resources according to mission area or "national need" rather than by organization. A function may be divided into two or more subfunctions. Although many activities serve more than one purpose, each federal activity is placed in a functional classification that best defines the activity�s most important purpose. This is necessary so that the sum of the functional categories equals the budget totals. While the tables and graphics provide a view of how responsibility for federal mission areas is spread over multiple agencies, this data cannot answer the question of whether there is duplication. Rather, it can provide hints about where further exploration of the issues of fragmentation, overlap and duplication might be warranted.

The budget object classification system arrays financial data in budgetary presentations in a way that emphasizes the goods, services or items purchased and how they are delivered.

See Federal Budget: Agency Obligations by Budget Function and Object Classification in Fiscal 2003 (GAO-04-834) for a more detailed discussion of our scope and methodology, including important considerations to keep in mind in interpreting the data.

 

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