Skip to main content

Priority Open Recommendations: Department of State

GAO-22-105800 Published: May 11, 2022. Publicly Released: May 18, 2022.
Jump To:

Fast Facts

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

This report outlines our 13 priority open recommendations for the State Department as of May 2022. For example, in September 2021, we recommended that State develop a plan to reduce its estimated $3 billion deferred maintenance backlog for overseas buildings and other real property.

Since our previous letter in May 2021, State implemented 4 of our priority recommendations.

Browse by agency.

2022 Priority Recs for State graphic

Skip to Highlights


What GAO Found

In May 2021, GAO identified 11 priority recommendations for the Department of State. Since then, State has implemented 4 of those recommendations by, among other things, taking actions to help ensure U.S.-funded equipment is not provided to security forces that have committed gross violations of human rights and to improve the quality of U.S. foreign assistance data on

In May 2022, GAO identified 6 additional priority recommendations for State, bringing the total number to 13. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • strengthening emergency preparedness;
  • enhancing training efforts;
  • improving data quality;
  • improving overseas property maintenance and construction;
  • improving cybersecurity; and
  • complying with congressional reporting requirements.

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

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the 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 Thomas Melito at (202) 512-4128 or

Full Report

GAO Contacts

Office of Public Affairs


ConstructionCybersecurityData qualityDiplomacyEmergency preparednessForeign marketsProperty managementReporting requirementsHigh-risk issuesReal property