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Highlights

The Department of Defense (DOD) is simultaneously conducting costly military operations and transforming its forces and business practices while it is also competing for resources in an increasingly constrained fiscal environment. As a result, GAO has advocated that DOD adopt a comprehensive threat or risk management approach as a framework for decision making. In its 2001 strategic plan, the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), DOD stated its intent to establish an approach--the risk management framework--to balance priorities against risk over time and monitor results against its strategic goals. GAO was asked to (1) assess the extent to which DOD has implemented the framework, including using it to make investment decisions, and (2) identify the most significant challenges DOD faces in implementing the framework, or a similar approach.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense 1. To address the challenges associated with implementing the risk management framework, or a similar risk-based management approach, the Secretary of Defense should develop or refine department-level performance measures so that they clearly demonstrate performance results and cascade those measures down throughout the department.
Closed - Not Implemented
In its 2001 Quadrennial Defense review, the Department of Defense (DOD) stated its intent to establish an approach--the risk management framework--to balance priorities against risk over time and monitor results against its strategic goals. In November 2005, GAO reported that DOD had taken some positive steps to implement this approach but that additional actions were needed before DOD could show real progress in using a risk based and results oriented approach to strategically allocate resources across the spectrum of its investment priorities. We recommended that DoD develop or refine performance measures, assign leadership with clear accountability, develop implementation goals and timelines, and integrate the risk management framework with other decision support processes and related reform initiatives to improve investment decisionmaking and manage performance results. During its 2006 Quadrennial Review and in subsequent management reviews, DOD decided to subsume the risk management framework into other initiatives to improve budgeting and performance management, which are in various stages of development and do not directly resemble the risk management framework. Therefore, we are closing our 2005 report recommendations.
Department of Defense 2. To address the challenges associated with implementing the risk management framework, or a similar risk-based management approach, the Secretary of Defense should assign clear leadership with accountability and authority to implement and sustain the risk management framework.
Closed - Not Implemented
In its 2001 Quadrennial Defense review, the Department of Defense (DOD) stated its intent to establish an approach--the risk management framework--to balance priorities against risk over time and monitor results against its strategic goals. In November 2005, GAO reported that DOD had taken some positive steps to implement this approach but that additional actions were needed before DOD could show real progress in using a risk based and results oriented approach to strategically allocate resources across the spectrum of its investment priorities. We recommended that DoD develop or refine performance measures, assign leadership with clear accountability, develop implementation goals and timelines, and integrate the risk management framework with other decision support processes and related reform initiatives to improve investment decisionmaking and manage performance results. During its 2006 Quadrennial Review and in subsequent management reviews, DOD decided to subsume the risk management framework into other initiatives to improve budgeting and performance management, which are in various stages of development and do not directly resemble the risk management framework. Therefore, we are closing our 2005 report recommendations.
Department of Defense 3. To address the challenges associated with implementing the risk management framework, or a similar risk-based management approach, the Secretary of Defense should develop implementation goals and timelines.
Closed - Not Implemented
In its 2001 Quadrennial Defense review, the Department of Defense (DOD) stated its intent to establish an approach--the risk management framework--to balance priorities against risk over time and monitor results against its strategic goals. In November 2005, GAO reported that DOD had taken some positive steps to implement this approach but that additional actions were needed before DOD could show real progress in using a risk based and results oriented approach to strategically allocate resources across the spectrum of its investment priorities. We recommended that DoD develop or refine performance measures, assign leadership with clear accountability, develop implementation goals and timelines, and integrate the risk management framework with other decision support processes and related reform initiatives to improve investment decisionmaking and manage performance results. During its 2006 Quadrennial Review and in subsequent management reviews, DOD decided to subsume the risk management framework into other initiatives to improve budgeting and performance management, which are in various stages of development and do not directly resemble the risk management framework. Therefore, we are closing our 2005 report recommendations.
Department of Defense 4. To address the challenges associated with implementing the risk management framework, or a similar risk-based management approach, the Secretary of Defense should demonstrate the integration of the risk management framework with DOD's decision support processes and related reform initiatives to improve investment decision making and manage performance results.
Closed - Not Implemented
In its 2001 Quadrennial Defense review, the Department of Defense (DOD) stated its intent to establish an approach--the risk management framework--to balance priorities against risk over time and monitor results against its strategic goals. In November 2005, GAO reported that DOD had taken some positive steps to implement this approach but that additional actions were needed before DOD could show real progress in using a risk based and results oriented approach to strategically allocate resources across the spectrum of its investment priorities. We recommended that DoD develop or refine performance measures, assign leadership with clear accountability, develop implementation goals and timelines, and integrate the risk management framework with other decision support processes and related reform initiatives to improve investment decisionmaking and manage performance results. During its 2006 Quadrennial Review and in subsequent management reviews, DOD decided to subsume the risk management framework into other initiatives to improve budgeting and performance management, which are in various stages of development and do not directly resemble the risk management framework. Therefore, we are closing our 2005 report recommendations.

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