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Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Defense

GAO-19-366SP Published: Mar 28, 2019. Publicly Released: Apr 08, 2019.
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Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help improve the federal government. We alert department heads to the recommendations where they can save the most money, address issues on our High Risk List, or significantly improve government operations.

This report outlines our 91 priority open recommendations for the Department of Defense as of March 2019.

For example, DOD efforts to control acquisition costs and rebuild military forces will be key to accomplishing its missions. We made more than 30 related priority recommendations.

Since our previous letter in April 2018, DOD implemented 17 of our total priority recommendations.


Graphic showing that this report discusses GAO's 2019 priority recommendations for the Department of Defense

Graphic showing that this report discusses GAO's 2019 priority recommendations for the Department of Defense

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What GAO Found

In April 2018, GAO identified 85 priority recommendations for the Department of Defense (DOD). Since then, DOD has implemented 17 of those recommendations, and GAO has closed one as unimplemented because DOD actions made it no longer applicable.

In March 2019, GAO identified 24 additional priority recommendations for DOD, bringing the total number of open priority recommendations to 91. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • Acquisitions and Contract Management 
  • Readiness 
  • Building Capacity to Drive Enterprise-wide Business Reform 
  • Defense Headquarters 
  • Health Care 
  • Cybersecurity 
  • Support Infrastructure 
  • Financial Management 
  • Preventing Sexual Harassment

DOD's continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority recommendations are open GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Field at (202) 512-2775 or

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Acquisition managementAgency missionsContract managementFinancial managementMilitary readinessNational defenseSexual harassment preventionAudit recommendationsMilitary forcesSystems acquisition