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Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication: An Evaluation and Management Guide

GAO-15-49SP Published: Apr 14, 2015. Publicly Released: Apr 14, 2015.
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What GAO Found

To supplement its annual reports on fragmentation, overlap, and duplication, GAO has developed a guide for analysts—including federal, state, and local auditors; congressional staff; researchers; and consultants—and policymakers—including congressional decision makers and executive branch leaders. Using this guide, analysts and policymakers can identify and evaluate instances of fragmentation (more than one federal agency involved in the same broad area), overlap (multiple agencies or programs with similar goals, activities, or beneficiaries), and duplication (two or more agencies or programs engaged in the same activities or services to the same beneficiaries) among programs. Analysts and policymakers can also use the guide to identify options to reduce or better manage the negative effects of fragmentation, overlap, and duplication, and evaluate the potential trade-offs and unintended consequences of these options.

This guide is divided into two parts. Part one is for analysts and includes four steps. Each step includes detailed guidance on what information to consider and what steps to take when conducting a fragmentation, overlap, and duplication review. Part two is for policymakers and provides guidance on making decisions about how to reduce or better manage any negative effects of fragmentation, overlap, and duplication.

Steps for Analysts and Policymakers: Evaluating and Managing Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication


Why GAO Did This Study

In February 2010, GAO was statutorily mandated to identify programs, agencies, offices, and initiatives with duplicative goals or activities within departments and across the federal government, and report annually to Congress on the findings and related recommendations for eliminating or reducing any negative effects duplication. To supplement its annual reports and under the authority of the Comptroller General, GAO developed this guide for analysts and policymakers.

For more information, contact Orice Williams Brown at (202) 512-8678 or or A. Nicole Clowers at (202) 512-8678 or

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