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Government Efficiency and Effectiveness: Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication and Achieve Billions of Dollars in Financial Benefits

GAO-24-107554 Published: May 15, 2024. Publicly Released: May 15, 2024.
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Fast Facts

Each year, GAO reports on federal programs with fragmented, overlapping, or duplicative goals or actions, and we have suggested hundreds of ways to address those problems, reduce costs, or boost revenue.

This testimony discusses our 14th annual report, in which we identified 112 new matters for congressional consideration and recommendations to agencies to help address these findings.

Congressional and agency action in these areas has yielded about $667 billion in cost savings and revenue increases. Addressing remaining matters and recommendations could save tens of billions more dollars and improve government services.

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What GAO Found

GAO's 2024 annual report identifies 112 new matters for congressional consideration and recommendations to federal agencies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government. For example:

  • The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency should ensure its working capital fund cash balance is within its operating range, potentially saving its federal customers hundreds of millions of dollars through reduced prices.
  • Congress and the Internal Revenue Service should take action to improve sole proprietor tax compliance, which could increase revenue by hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
  • Agencies could save one hundred million dollars or more by using predictive models to make investment decisions on deferred maintenance and repair for federal buildings and structures.
  • Congress could close regulatory gaps and seven federal financial regulators should improve coordination to better manage fragmented efforts to identify and mitigate risks posed by blockchain applications in finance.
  • The Office of Science and Technology Policy should facilitate the sharing of information about identifying foreign ownership of research entities to better manage fragmentation of federal efforts to help safeguard federally funded research from foreign threats.

Since 2011, Congress and federal agencies have addressed many of the 2,018 matters and recommendations that GAO identified to reduce costs, increase revenues, and improve agencies' operating effectiveness, although work remains to fully address them. These efforts have resulted in about $667.5 billion in financial benefits, an increase of $71.3 billion from GAO's June 2023 report.

To achieve these benefits, as of March 2024, Congress and agencies had fully addressed 1,341 (about 66 percent) of the 2,018 matters and recommendations and partially addressed 139 (about 7 percent). Additionally, legislation was introduced in the 117th or 118th Congress to address 31 (about 41 percent) of the 76 open matters for congressional consideration. However, further steps are needed to fully address the 549 matters and recommendations GAO identified in its 2011 to 2024 annual reports that remain open.

GAO estimates that by fully addressing these, tens of billions of additional dollars and improved government services could be achieved. For example, Congress should consider directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to equalize payment rates between settings for evaluation and management office visits and other services that the Secretary deems appropriate, which could save $141 billion over 10 years.

Why GAO Did This Study

GAO annually reports on federal programs, agencies, offices, and initiatives—either within departments or government-wide—that have duplicative goals or activities. As part of this work, GAO also identifies additional opportunities for greater efficiency and effectiveness that could result in cost savings or enhanced revenue collection.

The May 2024 report, GAO-24-106915, discusses new opportunities to achieve billions of dollars in financial savings and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a wide range of federal programs. It also evaluates the status of previous matters for congressional consideration and recommendations to federal agencies related to the duplication and cost savings body of work.

In addition, the May report provides examples of open matters and recommendations where further implementation steps could yield significant financial and other benefits.

This statement discusses

  • new topic areas identified in GAO's 2024 annual report;
  • the benefits Congress and executive branch agencies have achieved in addressing many of the matters and recommendations GAO has identified since 2011; and
  • examples of open matters and recommendations that could yield significant financial and other benefits.

For more information, contact Jessica Lucas-Judy at (202) 512-6806 or or Michelle Sager at (202) 512-6806 or

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