Reports & Testimonies

  • GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed.

    GAO’s recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented. You can explore open recommendations by searching or browsing.

    GAO's priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention. We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues. These recommendations are labeled as such. You can find priority recommendations by searching or browsing our open recommendations below, or through our mobile app.

  • Browse Open Recommendations

    Explore priority recommendations by subject terms or browse by federal agency

    Search Open Recommendations

    Search for a specific priority recommendation by word or phrase



  • Governing on the go?

    Our Priorities for Policy Makers app makes it easier for leaders to search our recommendations on the go.

    See the November 10th Press Release


  • Have a Question about a Recommendation?

    • For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation.
    • For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.
  • « Back to Results List Sort by   

    Results:

    Subject Term: "Acquisition programs"

    26 publications with a total of 51 open recommendations including 1 priority recommendation
    Director: Michael J. Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure DOD takes a strategic approach for its prototyping and innovation initiatives and overcomes funding and cultural barriers, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering to develop a high-level DOD-wide strategy, in collaboration with the military services and other appropriate DOD components, to communicate strategic goals and priorities and delineate roles and responsibilities among DOD's prototyping and innovation initiatives.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure DOD takes a strategic approach for its prototyping and innovation initiatives and overcomes funding and cultural barriers, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering to take steps, such as adopting a "strategic buckets" approach, to help ensure adequate investments in innovation that align with DOD-wide strategy.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure DOD takes a strategic approach for its prototyping and innovation initiatives and overcomes funding and cultural barriers, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering to expand the Community of Interest working groups to include budget activity 6.4-funded prototyping and innovation initiatives in their science and technology planning and coordination processes or employ a similar coordination mechanism for budget activity 6.4-funded prototyping and innovation initiatives.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure DOD takes a strategic approach for its prototyping and innovation initiatives and overcomes funding and cultural barriers, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering to review budget activity 6.4 funding requests to help maintain a level of investment for budget activity 6.4-funded prototyping and innovation efforts that is consistent with DOD-wide strategy.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To mitigate the risk of poor acquisition outcomes and strengthen the department's investment decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Undersecretary for Management to update the acquisition policy to require that major acquisition programs' technical requirements are well defined and key technical reviews are conducted prior to approving programs to initiate product development and establishing Acquisition Program Baselines, in accordance with acquisition best practices.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DHS concurred with our recommendation and stated that it planned to initiate a study to assess how to better align its processes for technical reviews and acquisition decisions. Upon completion of the study, DHS plans to update its acquisition policies, as appropriate.
    Recommendation: To mitigate the risk of poor acquisition outcomes and strengthen the department's investment decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Undersecretary for Management to update the acquisition policy to specify that acquisition decision memorandums clearly document the rationale of decisions made by DHS leadership, such as, but not limited to, the reasons for allowing programs to deviate from the requirement to obtain department approval for certain documents at Acquisition Decision Events and the results of considerations or trade-offs.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DHS concurred with our recommendation and stated that it had begun expanding the content included in Acquisition Decision Memorandums (ADM) to include greater detail and that future ADMs would address the status of the acquisition documentation. DHS also said it had updated the guidance for writing ADMs in a handbook for Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management staff, thus making progress toward satisfying the recommendation. However, we did not close the recommendation because the updated guidance was not incorporated into the department's official acquisition policy, which may limit DHS's ability to implement the changes consistently over time. We will continue to review ADMs to assess whether the department's actions address the intent of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To mitigate the risk of poor acquisition outcomes and strengthen the department's investment decisions, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Undersecretary for Management to update the acquisition policy to specify at what point minimum standards for KPPs should be met, and clarify the performance data that should be used to assess whether or not a performance breach has occurred.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DHS concurred with our recommendation and stated that it had updated guidance related to its performance breaches in a handbook for Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management staff, thus moving toward satisfying the intent of this recommendation. Specifically, DHS identified that programs' KPPs should be met and verified no later than initial operational test and evaluation conducted prior to Acquisition Decision Event 3, the point at which DHS leadership approves the program to transition into sustainment. If programs have not met a KPP by this point, they will be required to declare a performance breach and submit a remediation plan documenting the root cause of the breach, along with how and when the breach will be resolved. However, we did not close the recommendation because the department's official acquisition policy has yet to be updated. DHS will fully address this recommendation when it incorporates the changes into its acquisition policy to ensure that the updated guidance on performance breaches is communicated and implemented consistently throughout the department.
    Director: Carol C. Harris
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve the management of DOD's MAIS programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the program manager for Global Combat Support System-Army Increment 1 to establish standard operating procedures for managing risks that include guidance for establishing thresholds and bounds for key risk areas.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help improve the management of DOD's MAIS programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to direct the program manager for Air and Space Operations Center-Weapon System Increment 10.2 to develop an overall risk mitigation plan to guide the implementation of individual risk mitigation and contingency plan activities.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help improve the management of DOD's MAIS programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to direct the program manager for Joint Space Operations Center, Mission System Increment 2 to appoint a chief developmental tester to oversee systems testing and integration activities.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Joseph W. Kirschbaum
    Phone: (202) 512-9971

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance DOD's efforts to better integrate and improve intelligence support to major defense acquisition programs, and to better enable personnel to provide intelligence inputs to their portfolios of acquisition programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct--as appropriate--the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics; the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; and/or the Secretaries of the military departments, in coordination with one another, to establish certifications that include having these personnel complete required training.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD agreed with the recommendation. Once DOD has provided information on actions to address the recommendation we will update the status.
    Recommendation: To enhance DOD's efforts to better integrate and improve intelligence support to major defense acquisition programs, and to facilitate implementation of improved processes and procedures developed by the Acquisition Intelligence Requirements Task Force and by the Air Force for the integration of intelligence into major defense acquisition programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct--as appropriate--the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics; the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; and/or the Secretaries of the military departments, in coordination with one another, to revise relevant guidance and procedures--including DOD Instruction 5000.02 and DOD Directive 5250.01-- require that intelligence mission data at the acquisition program, service, and department levels be prioritized.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD agreed with the recommendation. Once DOD has provided information on actions to address the recommendation we will update the status.
    Recommendation: To enhance DOD's efforts to better integrate and improve intelligence support to major defense acquisition programs, and to better ensure that DOD obtains useful feedback from stakeholders and the intended users of the Validated Online Lifecycle Threat tool, the Secretary of Defense should direct--as appropriate--the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics; the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; and/or the Secretaries of the military departments, in coordination with one another, to instruct the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency to develop a communication plan for the tool that includes plans for communicating with and obtaining feedback from stakeholders and intended users such as acquisition program offices and personnel providing intelligence support to acquisition programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD agreed with the recommendation. Once DOD has provided information on actions to address the recommendation we will update the status.
    Recommendation: To enhance DOD's efforts to better integrate and improve intelligence support to major defense acquisition programs, and to ensure that it fulfills the needs of acquisition programs and the intelligence community and works as intended, the Secretary of Defense should direct--as appropriate--the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics; the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; and/or the Secretaries of the military departments, in coordination with one another, to assess the need for the Acquisition Intelligence Support Assessment tool and, if validated by this assessment, define this tool's requirements for development and identify the entity responsible for providing oversight and funding for its continued development, implementation, and operation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD agreed with the recommendation. Once DOD has provided information on actions to address the recommendation we will update the status.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should, before the downselect decision for the frigates, require the program to submit appropriate milestone documentation as identified by OSD, which could include an Independent Cost Estimate, an Acquisition Program Baseline, and a plan to incorporate the frigate into SAR updates.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation, noting that the Navy views the LCS transition to the frigate as an incremental upgrade as opposed to a new acquisition program. DOD also stated that the Navy would be required to provide key documentation related to the seaframe, including an independent cost estimate and an updated acquisition program baseline. In 2017, the Navy decided to pursue a different frigate acquisition strategy, and according to the program office, the frigate is now considered a new, distinct acquisition program and will have milestone decisions and require the applicable milestone documentation and OSD oversight and reporting as the program moves toward an award decision in fiscal year 2020. The program office also noted that the specific milestone documentation that will be required is currently being assessed and the program plans to have a frigate Selected Acquisition Report. Once more details are finalized for the program, the planned actions would meet the intention of our recommendation. We will keep this recommendation open until the program's approach has been better defined.
    Director: Michael J. Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to ensure that proper statutory and regulatory oversight mechanisms are in place and to increase transparency into a major new investment in the F-35 program, the Secretary of Defense should hold a Milestone B review and manage F-35 Block 4 as a separate and distinct Major Defense Acquisition Program with its own acquisition program baseline and regular cost, schedule, and performance reports to the Congress.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD did not concur with GAO's recommendation and the agency has not taken any action to implement this recommendation. However, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 which mandated that the Secretary of Defense may not award any follow-on modernization development contracts for the F-35 until the Secretary has submitted a report that contains the basic elements of an acquisition program baseline for Block 4 modernization. This report should include elements such as cost estimates, schedule estimates, technical performance parameters and technology readiness levels that are typical of an acquisition program baseline. The Secretary is also required to update this report annually for the congressional defense committees. DOD currently plans to issue the Block 4 modernization report in late calendar year 2017.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance DHS leadership's ongoing efforts to improve the affordability of the department's major acquisition portfolio, and to ensure adequate communication with Congress, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security should ensure that the fiscal year 2017 Future Years Homeland Security Program report, which DHS must submit to Congress at or about the same time as the President's fiscal year 2018 budget request, reflects the results of any tradeoffs stemming from the acquisition affordability reviews recommended above.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred with this recommendation, and stated that the fiscal year 2017 Future Years Homeland Security Program (FYHSP) report would reflect decisions made in response to our second recommendation. DHS expected to release the FYHSP report shortly after the President's fiscal year 2018 budget request in May 2017. However, the transition to a new administration delayed the release of the FYHSP report. Once available, GAO will evaluate the FYHSP report to determine whether DHS has met the intent of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance DHS leadership's ongoing efforts to improve the affordability of the department's major acquisition portfolio, and to help ensure programs secure stable funding that matches resources to requirements, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security should require components to establish formal, repeatable processes for addressing major acquisition affordability issues, similar to the process the Transportation Security Administration has established.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred with this recommendation, and stated that DHS headquarters would ensure all components are updating their cost estimates each year to inform the annual resource allocation process by March 31, 2017. However, DHS did not establish a requirement that components do so through formal, repeatable processes for addressing major acquisition affordability issues, similar to the process the Transportation Security Administration has established. As of August 2017, seven of DHS's components were in the process of establishing formal, repeatable processes for addressing affordability issues, but had not completed these efforts. GAO will continue to review the components' progress to determine whether the components' actions meet the intent of this recommendation.
    Director: Michael J. Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve technology transition planning and outcomes at DARPA, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director, DARPA, to oversee assessments of technology transition strategies for new and existing DARPA programs as part of existing milestone reviews used to assess scientific and technical progress to inform transition planning and program changes, as necessary. Our analysis identified four factors that could underpin these assessments, but the uniqueness of individual DARPA programs suggests that other considerations may also be warranted.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Although DOD partially concurred with this recommendation, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering stated in August 2016 that DOD did not agree with directing the DARPA Director to mandate assessments of technology transition beyond what is currently being conducted throughout the agency. He further stated that the Director of DARPA already participates in technology transition discussions throughout DARPA program's lifecycle to include the initial briefing of a program and milestone reviews. Furthermore, he stated that in 2013, the Director, DARPA directed the Adaptive Execution Office (AEO) to assist DARPA Program Managers with engagement and technology transition strategies for their programs, and AEO tracks and documents the final transition status of DARPA programs. A DARPA representative stated in June 2017 that there has been no change in status and that no additional related actions are planned. We will continue to track any developments that relate to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve technology transition planning and outcomes at DARPA, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director, DARPA, to increase technology transition training requirements and offerings for DARPA program managers, leveraging existing DOD science and technology training curricula, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Although DOD partially concurred with this recommendation, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering stated in August 2016 that DOD disagreed with directing the DARPA Director to increase training requirements. He stated that DOD believes DARPA's current approach of uniquely tailored training focusing on a programs unique transition needs is most appropriate. He further noted that DARPA continues to explore opportunities to draw from existing DOD and other training materials to offer tailored and streamlined training to its program managers that works within the relatively short tenure of a DARPA program manager. A DARPA representative stated in June 2017 that there has been no change in status and that no additional related actions are planned. We will continue to track any developments that relate to this recommendation.
    Director: Johana Ayers
    Phone: (202) 512-5741

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help DOD ensure that it appropriately considers the manufacturing arsenals as a source of manufacture and is strategically positioned to sustain the manufacturing arsenals' critical capabilities, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to issue clear, step-by-step implementing guidance, such as an instruction or guidebook, on the process for conducting make-or-buy analyses in a consistent manner.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation related to issuing implementing guidance on make-or-buy analyses but provided no details on how or when it would issue such guidance. As of September 2016 DOD had not taken any action and this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To help DOD ensure that it appropriately considers the manufacturing arsenals as a source of manufacture and is strategically positioned to sustain the manufacturing arsenals' critical capabilities, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to identify and document fundamental elements--such as steps, interim milestones, time frames, and resources--for implementing the Army's Organic Industrial Base Strategic Plan 2012-2022.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation related to implementing its 2012 strategic plan but provided no details on how or when it would implement the recommendation. As of September 2016 DOD had not taken any action and this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To help DOD ensure that it appropriately considers the manufacturing arsenals as a source of manufacture and is strategically positioned to sustain the manufacturing arsenals' critical capabilities, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Maintenance Policy and Programs--in coordination with the military services, as appropriate, to complete DOD's ongoing effort to establish a process for identifying the manufacturing arsenals' critical capabilities and a method for determining the minimum workload needed to sustain these capabilities.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation related to developing a process to identify the arsenals? critical capabilities and a method to determine the minimum workload needed to sustain those capabilities. DOD stated that its effort to address this recommendation were on going. As of September 2016 DOD had not taken any action and this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To help DOD ensure that it appropriately considers the manufacturing arsenals as a source of manufacture and is strategically positioned to sustain the manufacturing arsenals' critical capabilities, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Maintenance Policy and Programs--in coordination with the military services, as appropriate, to develop and issue guidance, such as a DOD instruction, to implement the process for identifying the manufacturing arsenals' critical capabilities and the method for determining the minimum workload needed to sustain these capabilities.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Although DOD did not specifically comment on our recommendation related to issuing guidance to implement a process for identifying the arsenals critical capabilities and a method for determining the minimum workload needed to sustain these capabilities, it commented that it expects to issue an instruction incorporating such a process by the end of fiscal year 2016. However, as of September 2016 DOD had not taken any action and this recommendation will remain open.
    Director: Michael J. Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that requirements are well defined and well understood before a program is approved to start system development, the Secretary of Defense should direct the military service chiefs and service acquisition executives to work together to assess whether sufficient systems engineering expertise is available during the requirements development process.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has not yet taken action in response to this recommendation. GAO will continue to monitor.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that requirements are well defined and well understood before a program is approved to start system development, the Secretary of Defense should direct the military service chiefs and service acquisition executives to work together to develop a better way to make sure sufficient systems engineering is conducted and opportunities exist to better define requirements and assess resource trade-offs before a program starts.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has not yet taken action in response to this recommendation. GAO will continue to monitor.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: If Congress re-authorizes RIP then, to improve visibility and management of DOD's ability to transition technologies through the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics to establish an overall technology transition goal for RIP.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has not established a technology transition goal for RIP. Although DOD non-concurred with the recommendation, it agreed there is a need to measure annually the transition rate for RIP. In 2016, DOD officials stated they were working on ways to measure and assess technology transitions in the program and, in 2017, DOD did not provide any further update on the status of these efforts, when GAO requested. Until DOD obtains better visibility on RIP technology transition performance, it does not have the data it needs to set an informed technology transition goal.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DHS's management of major acquisition programs, the Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure future baselines for all of TSA's major acquisition programs capture the overall historical record of change.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred with this recommendation, and stated that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will begin to incorporate an addendum to future Acquisition Program Baselines (APB) that will provide a single source to show the changes to cost, schedule, and performance metrics, beginning with the initial program baseline and showing traceability of all interim approved versions to the current APB. DHS estimated it would complete this effort April 30, 2016. As of August 2017, DHS leadership had approved updated versions of the two APBs that were the basis for this recommendation. Both included addendums with metrics from prior APBs, but raised questions about traceability to the current cost, schedule, and performance metrics. GAO will assess the updated APBs as a part of its annual review of select DHS major acquisition programs to determine whether the department has addressed the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To more accurately communicate DHS's funding plans for USCG's major acquisition programs, the Secretary of Homeland Security should ensure the funding plans presented to Congress in fiscal year 2015 are comprehensive and clearly account for all operations and maintenance funding DHS plans to allocate to each of the USCG's major acquisition programs.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred with this recommendation, and stated that the U.S. Coast Guard and the DHS Chief Financial Officer will develop a plan to address this recommendation by September 30, 2015, then work together to fully implement the plan. DHS estimated it would complete this effort March 31, 2016. However, the USCG encountered technical challenges during this process and was unable to implement the plan by that time. The U.S. Coast Guard has revised the estimated completion date, and now anticipates it will be able to address this recommendation in fiscal year 2020.
    Director: Michael J. Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: As DOD plans to significantly increase F-35 procurement funding over the next 5 years, the Secretary of Defense should conduct an affordability analysis of the program's current procurement plan that reflects various assumptions about future technical progress and funding availability.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In October 2016, DOD had undertaken multiple efforts to re-evaluate the F-35 warfighting requirements. The Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a memo in May 2016 to the congressional defense committees that revalidated the program's current procurement profile. However, the memo noted that there were a number of factors that will need to be analyzed to fully re-evaluate the F-35 warfighting requirements including production and sustainment costs, force structure, and DOD's ability to achieve strategic and operational objectives under its current plans. As of May 2017, the Department was in the process of conducting an affordability analysis and preparing a final response. The final response is expected to be completed in the summer of 2017.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to help ensure consistent, effective oversight of DHS's acquisition programs, and to make the CASR more useful, starting with the report reflecting fiscal year 2015 program data, the Secretary of DHS should adjust the CASR to do the following: (1) report an individual rating for each program's cost, schedule, and technical risks; (2) report a best estimate of procurement quantities or indicate why this is not applicable, as appropriate; (3) report all programs' significant changes in acquisition cost, quantity, or schedule from the previous CASR report by determining a means to account for programs that lack acquisition program baselines; (4) report major program events that are included in acquisition program baselines, such as scheduled acquisition decision events; and (5) report the level at which the program's life-cycle cost estimate was approved.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with this recommendation, and took some actions to address it. The Office of Program Accountability and Risk Management (PARM) updated its template for the Comprehensive Acquisition Status Report (CASR) to reflect the following changes: individual ratings for each program's cost, schedule, and technical risks; significant changes in programs' acquisition cost, quantity, or schedule; and major events included in the acquisition program baselines. In addition, PARM intended to revise the reporting information for the level at which a program's life-cycle cost estimate was approved and its estimate of procurement quantities. However, the 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act discontinued the requirement to submit the CASR with future budget requests and DHS did not submit one for 2017. Recently introduced legislation would reestablish the CASR requirement and we will revisit this recommendation pending the outcome of that legislation.
    Director: Mike Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to collect and maintain reliable data on its acquisitions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in consultation with DOD components, to establish guidelines on what constitutes a "current" ACAT II or III program for reporting purposes; the types of programs, if any, that do not require ACAT designations; and whether the rules for identifying current MDAPs would be appropriate for ACAT II and III programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2015, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition requested that DOD components review existing policies and determine whether they needed to be altered or supplemented to facilitate data collection and reporting on ACAT II and III programs. In November 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics stated that, based on the results of these reviews, it does not plans to take any action to implement this recommendation. However, a planned DOD IG review in fiscal year 2018 could lead to further action on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to collect and maintain reliable data on its acquisitions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in consultation with DOD components, to determine what metrics should be used and what data should be collected on ACAT II and III programs to measure cost and schedule performance; and whether the use of DAMIR and the MDAP selected acquisition report format may be appropriate for collecting data on ACAT II and III programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics reviewed information on DOD component efforts to collect data on the cost and schedule performance of ACAT II and III programs and stated that it does not plan to take any action to implement this recommendation. However, a planned DOD IG review in fiscal year 2018 could lead to further action on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to collect and maintain reliable data on its acquisitions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy and the Commander of SOCOM to assess the reliability of data collected on ACAT II and III programs and work with PEOs to develop a strategy to improve procedures for the entry and maintenance of data.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2015, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition requested that DOD components evaluate the data they collect on ACAT II and III programs, report on their assessment of the data's reliability, and provide an update on their plans to improve the availability and quality of the data. In November 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics stated that it does not plan to take any additional action to implement this recommendation. However, a planned DOD IG review in fiscal year 2018 could lead to further action on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to collect and maintain reliable data on its acquisitions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy and the Commander of SOCOM to develop implementation plans to coordinate and execute component initiatives to improve data on ACAT II and III programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DOD partially concurred with this recommendation, but the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics stated that it does not plan to take any additional action to implement this recommendation. However, we are keeping this recommendation open at this time.
    Recommendation: To help ensure compliance with relevant provisions of DOD acquisition policy with the purpose of improving DOD's ability to provide oversight for ACAT II and III programs, including those programs that may become MDAPs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force and Commander of SOCOM to establish a mechanism to ensure compliance with APB requirements in DOD policy.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2015, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition requested that DOD components review their mechanisms for establishing and enforcing the APB requirements for all ACAT II and III programs. In November 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics stated that, based on the results of these reviews, it does not plans to take any action to implement this recommendation. However, we are keeping this recommendation open at this time.
    Recommendation: To help ensure compliance with relevant provisions of DOD acquisition policy with the purpose of improving DOD's ability to provide oversight for ACAT II and III programs, including those programs that may become MDAPs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy to improve component procedures for notifying the Defense Acquisition Executive of programs with a cost estimate within 10 percent of ACAT I cost thresholds.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency partially concurred with this recommendation. The Army and Navy have reiterated existing guidance and the Air Force is evaluating additional actions it might take to improve its notification procedures.
    Director: Sullivan, Michael J
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve DOD's milestone decision process, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics in collaboration with the military service acquisition executives, program executive officers, and program managers to, as a longer-term effort, select several current or new major defense acquisition programs to pilot, on a broader scale, different approaches for streamlining the entire milestone decision process, with the results evaluated and reported for potential wider use. The pilot programs should consider the following: (1) Defining the appropriate information needed to support milestone decisions while still ensuring program accountability and oversight. The information should be based on the business case principles needed for well-informed milestone decisions including well defined requirements, reasonable life-cycle cost estimates, and a knowledge-based acquisition plan. (2) Developing an efficient process for providing this information to the milestone decision authority by (a) minimizing any reviews between the program office and the different functional staff offices within each chain of command level and (b) establishing frequent, regular interaction between the program office and milestone decision makers, in lieu of documentation reviews, to help expedite the process.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of the Secretary of Defense issued a policy directive called Better Buying Power 3.0 in April 2015, which addresses this recommendation to pilot acquisition programs for streamlining. In September 2015, DOD designated one Navy program, the Next Generation Jammer, as a pilot program with streamlined oversight, processes, and documentation. The program manager believes that implementation of this model has allowed for more focus on improving program execution by significantly shortening decision cycle time and appropriately tailoring acquisition requirements. The Air Force and Army have not designated pilot programs at this time.
    Director: Sullivan, Michael J
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide the JROC the opportunity to review all ground radar programs for potential duplication and CAPE with the opportunity to develop broad analysis of alternative guidance, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should direct the Joint Staff to assign all new ground radar capability requirement documents with a Joint Staff designation of "JROC Interest."

    Agency: Department of Defense: Joint Chiefs of Staff
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on this recommendation, DOD partially concurred. However, the agency has not taken any action to implement this recommendation. The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017 included changes to the requirements-setting process that devolve this responsibility to the military services for most programs and could affect the Joint Staff's ability to implement this recommendation. The Joint Staff plans to update its Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System manual--which provides guidance on assigning Joint Staff designators and describes the level of joint oversight for service-generated requirements--to reflect the changes in the act. The updated manual is expected to be finalized by the end of 2017.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that satellites storage is fully considered at the beginning of the acquisition process for all satellite programs and sufficient detailed cost data are maintained, the Secretary of Defense should provide guidance regarding when and how to use storage in the acquisition process, and establish mechanisms so that more detailed data are maintained for use in evaluating the reasonableness of contractors' storage cost proposals and for informing DOD's oversight of satellite acquisitions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its response to the report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and noted that it is important to develop guidance regarding the use of satellite storage in the acquisition process. In addition, DOD agreed that it is important to establish mechanisms such that more detailed data are available to evaluate storage cost proposals and inform the oversight of satellite acquisitions. In October 2015, DOD provided GAO with draft language that it planned to include in the Space Systems chapter of the Defense Acquisition Guidebook (DAG) when the final chapter was to be published. In an August 24, 2016, response to a GAO inquiry regarding the language not appearing in the on-line version of the DAG, the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD/AT&L) explained that the Space Systems chapter of the DAG had been deleted. USD/AT&L stated it was working to incorporate the proposed language in the next revision of the DAG, scheduled to be completed in December 2016. A September 12, 2017, search of DOD's on-line guidance did not locate any guidance related to satellite storage. DOD liaison was contacted, but no information has been provided yet as of September 2017.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that it receives accurate information on the full effect of funding decisions on acquisition programs, Congress should consider amending the law that governs the 5-year Capital Investment Plan to require the Coast Guard to submit cost and schedule information that reflects the impact of the annual President's budget request on each acquisition across the portfolio--in addition to the current practice of reporting the cost and schedule estimates in current program baselines.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Thus far no congressional action has been taken on this Matter. We will continue to follow up with relevant congressional committees.
    Recommendation: To help the Coast Guard improve the long-term outlook of its portfolio, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should develop a 20-year fleet modernization plan that identifies all acquisitions needed to maintain the current level of service and the fiscal resources necessary to build the identified assets. The plan should also consider trade-offs if the fiscal resources needed to execute the plan are not consistent with annual budgets.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard
    Status: Open

    Comments: Based on this recommendation, Congress has requested that the Coast Guard develop a 20-year plan that identifies all acquisitions needed to maintain the Coast Guard's current level of service and the financial commitment necessary to achieve this plan. As a part of a series of testimonies in June and July 2017, we found that Coast Guard officials stated they are developing a 20-year Capital Investment Plan (CIP), but the timeframe for completion is unknown. The Coast Guard does, however, submit a 5-year CIP annually to Congress that projects acquisition funding needs for the upcoming 5 years. GAO found the CIPs do not match budget realities in that tradeoffs are not included. In the 20-year CIP, GAO would expect to see all acquisitions needed to maintain current service levels and the fiscal resources to build the identified assets as well as tradeoffs in light of funding constraints.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better communicate acquisition funding needs to Congress, the Secretary of Homeland Security should enhance the content of future Future Years Homeland Security Program (FYHSP) reports--for fiscal years 2016-20 and beyond--by presenting acquisition programs' annual cost estimates and any anticipated funding gaps.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred with this recommendation, and stated that it provides Congress Comprehensive Acquisition Status Reports (CASR) on a quarterly basis that include cost estimates for all major acquisition programs. However, the CASRs do not disaggregate the cost estimates to identify how much the programs are expected to cost each year, and therefore the proposed approach would not allow Congress to identify funding gaps on an annual basis. In April 2016, DHS presented an alternative approach that would incorporate annual funding gaps into future FYHSP reports. DHS stated it plans to initially include these annual funding gaps in the fiscal years 2018-22 FYHSP report, which was expected to be released shortly after the President's fiscal year 2018 budget request in May 2017. However, the transition to a new administration delayed the release of the FYHSP report. Once available, GAO will evaluate the FYHSP report to determine whether DHS has met the intent of this recommendation.
    Director: Sullivan, Michael J
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the department's implementation of an open systems approach for UAS and other weapon acquisition programs, as well as its visibility of open systems implementation and program office expertise, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to define appropriate metrics to track programs' implementation of an open systems approach.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to an official from DOD's Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) is developing detailed metrics to track the extent to which programs employ a modular open systems architecture (MOSA) against the objectives identified in the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. Once completed, we believe this action will satisfy the intent of our recommendation. Currently, OSD continues to assess whether or not a program under review is implementing MOSA and the effectiveness of that implementation, as part of its acquisition oversight process.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy to require their acquisition programs to include open systems metrics developed by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics in their systems engineering plans, track progress in meeting these metrics, and report their progress to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics at key acquisition milestones.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As directed by the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) is developing metrics and procedures on how programs will report on their implementation of a modular open systems approach to acquisition oversight beginning in October 2017. OSD officials stated that, prior to Milestones A and B, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering is working with the service representatives to ensure the proper wording of the modular open systems certification and to ensure that the programs have a proper understanding of what the certification entails. OSD officials also stated that, during 2017, DOD is determining additional needs and applications for the use of a modular open systems approach.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy to assess their respective service-level and program office capabilities relating to an open systems approach and work with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering to develop short-term and long-term strategies to address any capability gaps identified. Strategies could include the Navy's cross-cutting approach where a team of a few technical experts within the Naval Air Systems Command could be available to work with program offices, as necessary, to help develop open systems plans.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD includes modular open systems architecture (MOSA) expertise as a competency related to design considerations for its current engineering workforce. According to an official from DOD's Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering, DOD will assess the extent to which MOSA expertise exists in the engineering workforce during its next competency and proficiency assessment, which is scheduled to occur sometime in fiscal year 2018. OSD officials noted that, in the near term, DOD is developing guidance and Defense Acquisition University (DAU) courses to increase the expertise and knowledge base of the acquisition workforce. A DAU official noted that DAU's curriculum addresses both open systems approaches and intellectual property, and that its course on open systems approaches is scheduled for a complete revision in fiscal year 2018.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202)512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better facilitate the conduct of satellite control operations and accountability for the estimated millions of dollars in satellite control investments, and to reduce fragmentation, the Secretary of Defense should develop a department-wide long-term plan for modernizing its Air Force Satellite Control Network and any future shared satellite control services and capabilities. This plan should identify methods that can capture or estimate satellite control costs as well as authorities that can be given to the program managers to give them the flexibility needed to ensure ground systems are built to a common network when the business case analysis shows it to be beneficial. This plan should also identify which commercial practices, if any, can improve DOD satellite control operations in the near- and long-term, and as appropriate, develop a plan of action for implementing them.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: On December 26, 2013 the President signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 (H.R. 3304) which, in Section 822, requires the Secretary of Defense to develop a DOD-wide long-term plan for satellite ground control systems, including the Department's Air Force Satellite Control Network, not later than one year after the date of the enactment of the Act. DOD plans to finalize its satellite ground control system plan in late 2017.
    Director: Sullivan, Michael J
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve visibility and management of the department's efforts to transition technologies to support the needs of the warfighter, the Secretary of Defense should require that all technology transition programs track and measure project outcomes, to include not only whether technologies transitioned to an intended user but also the longer-term impact of whether the technologies benefitted acquisition programs or military users in the field.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on GAO's recommendation, DOD indicated it would continue to anecdotally measure the results of technology investments for 3, 5, or even 10 years after investment and highlight the long-term benefits, as needed, to validate the investment levels associated with the research and development programs. However, the department did not plan to formally require its technology transition programs to track and measure project outcomes, noting concern that tracking and measuring outcomes for hundreds of technology projects would be a labor-intensive and very time-consuming process. DOD's own tracking of its response to this recommendation indicates no planned action and considers the recommendation closed. Nevertheless, GAO continues to monitor the department's activities related to technology transition, as several ongoing DOD efforts may eventually sufficiently address the intent of this recommendation. For example, DOD continues to pursue improvement to technology transition as part of its Better Buying Power 3.0 initiative. This includes a best practices handbook that is expected to address ways to increase collaboration between DOD and commercial industry and, among other things, support technology transition. In August 2017, the Defense Laboratory Office within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering confirmed that the handbook, which was stated in summer 2016 to be nearly finalized, stalled out in its completion for an unknown reason and remains on hold. Interest remains in completing it but no definitive plans exist for when that may occur. We will continue to monitor DOD's efforts to track and measure technology transition outcomes, particularly as they relate to completing the handbook, as previous indications were that the handbook could potentially fulfill the intent of our recommendation.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help the Coast Guard create stability in the acquisition process and provide decision makers, including DHS, Office of Management and Budget, and Congress, with current information to make decisions about budgets, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should conduct a comprehensive portfolio review to develop revised baselines that reflect acquisition priorities as well as realistic funding scenarios.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation. Since 2014, we found efforts are underway to address this issue, but, so far, these efforts have not led to the significant trade-off decisions needed to improve the affordability of the Coast Guard's portfolio. The Coast Guard is currently conducting a fleet-wide analysis, including surface, aviation, and information technology, intended to be a fundamental reassessment of the capabilities and mix of assets the Coast Guard needs to fulfill its missions. The Coast Guard is undertaking this effort consistent with direction from Congress based upon this and other GAO recommendations. Specifically, the Coast Guard has completed its new mission needs statement and plans to release a fleet-wide concept of operations by the end of fiscal 2016. Then, it will use a complex model to develop the full fleet mix study. Based on this, the Coast Guard plans to recommend a set of assets that best meets these needs in terms of capability and cost. The Coast Guard plans to complete the full study in time to inform the fiscal year 2019 budget, though specific dates for these events have not been set forth.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help mitigate the risk of poor acquisition outcomes and strengthen the department's investment management activities, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management to, once the department's acquisition programs comply with DHS acquisition policy, prioritize major acquisition programs departmentwide and ensure that the department's acquisition portfolio is consistent with DHS's anticipated resource constraints.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DHS concurred with this recommendation, and stated that its effort to more fully reflect portfolio management practices in its acquisition policy will help DHS prioritize its major acquisition programs departmentwide. DHS also stated that the revised portfolio management approach will help ensure that the department's acquisition portfolio is consistent with anticipated resource constraints. However, it has taken years for some of the department's major acquisition programs to comply with DHS's acquisition policy, which requires getting approval for key acquisition documentation that contains the critical knowledge needed for DHS to make effective portfolio management decisions. In February 2017, we found that DHS had approved the required acquisition documentation for all of its major acquisition programs and planned to continue to ensure that all major acquisition programs have approved documents, such as acquisition program baselines. Now that major acquisition programs are in compliance with DHS's acquisition policy, GAO will evaluate the department's implementation of its revised portfolio management approach to determine whether DHS has met the intent of this recommendation by ensuring that the department's acquisition portfolio is consistent with DHS's anticipated resource constraints.
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve cost estimates and schedules for NextGen and other major air traffic control acquisition programs, the Secretary of Transportation should direct FAA, when appropriate for major acquisition programs based on a program's cost, schedule, complexity, and risk, to conduct independent cost estimates and schedule risk analysis for major acquisition programs.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: On 11/29/17 an FAA acquisitions official told us that he would reach out again to key organizations to attain a current status on actions to address the recommendation. When we confirm the action(s) that FAA has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.