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    Topic: "Budget and Spending"

    41 publications with a total of 90 open recommendations including 19 priority recommendations
    Director: Joe Kirschbaum
    Phone: (202) 512-9971

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As DOD continues to improve the completeness and transparency of subsequent joint reports' methodologies in order to assist Congress in understanding the basis of the NC3 estimates by documenting the methodological assumptions and limitations affecting the report's estimates for sustaining and modernizing the NC3 system, as we previously recommended, for future joint reports, the DOD CIO should include explanations of how DOD (1) selects program elements for inclusion in its NC3 estimate, (2) determines its weighted analysis ratios, and (3) differentiates its methodology for calculating operation and maintenance estimates from its methodologies for calculating estimates for the other NC3 line items.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Chief Information Officer
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation, stating that it has incorporated it into the fiscal year 2018 joint report. DOD also said that subsequent joint reports will provide updated methodological inputs, assumptions and limitations affecting NC3 estimates. Once DOD releases the fiscal year 2018 joint report, we will determine the extent to which it addresses the recommendation.
    Recommendation: In order to assist Congress in comparing year-to-year cost estimates between joint reports, for future joint reports, the Secretary of the Air Force should provide information about any programmatic changes (i.e., programs being moved from one line item to another) in its estimates and include an explanation of the reasons for those changes and how those changes may affect year-to-year comparisons of the budget estimates.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation, stating that it has been incorporated into the fiscal year 2018 joint report. DOD further stated that subsequent joint reports will continue to provide the recommended information but also will be revised as necessary to ensure a complete and transparent statement on programmatic changes and their possible effect on year-to-year comparisons of budget estimates. Once DOD releases the fiscal year 2018 joint report, we will determine the extent to which it addresses the recommendation.
    Director: Michael Clements
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To promote transparency and accountability of federal spending, the Commissioner of the Fiscal Service should make basic information about Fiscal Service's use of financial agents publicly available in a central location, including compensation paid to each financial agent under its financial agency agreement and a description of the services provided.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Bureau of the Fiscal Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: John Pendleton
    Phone: (404) 679-1816

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide additional information for congressional decision makers regarding DOD's budget, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in consultation with the OMB, to reevaluate and revise the criteria for determining what can be included in DOD's OCO budget requests to reflect current OCO-related activities and relevant budget policy directing in which budget requests OCO funds may be included.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have not taken action on our recommendation. In DOD's response to a draft of our report, DOD concurred with our first recommendation and stated it planned to propose updated criteria to OMB to reflect current and evolving threats and reflect any changes in overseas contingency operations policy under the new Administration. As of June 2017, neither OMB nor DOD has publically released updated criteria, and DOD has not made any updates to Volume 12, Chapter 23 of its Financial Management Regulation that governs contingency operations to reflect the criteria. According to an official at DOD, at this time, there are no updates to the criteria for determining what can be included in DOD's overseas contingency operations budget request nor are there efforts underway between DOD and OMB to update the criteria. In addition, DOD's fiscal year 2018 budget request continued to include activities that our report identified as not being specifically addressed in the OMB criteria, including operations in Syria, the European Reassurance Initiative, and security cooperation funds (formerly the known as the Counterterrorism Partnership Fund).
    Recommendation: To assist decision makers in formulating DOD's future budgets, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) to develop a complete and reliable estimate of DOD's enduring OCO costs and to report these costs in concert with the department's future budget requests, and to use the estimate as a foundation for any future efforts to transition enduring costs to DOD's base budget.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The department has not, as yet, responded to our recommendation, and DOD's fiscal year 2018 budget request, issued in May 2017, did not include an estimate of its enduring overseas contingency operations costs as we had recommended. In its response to our draft report, DOD partially concurred with our recommendation and commented that developing reliable estimates is an important first step in any future effort to transition these costs to the base budget. However, DOD stated that until there is relief from the budgetary caps established by the Budget Control Act of 2011, DOD would need overseas contingency operations funds to finance counterterrorism operations, such as Operation Freedom's Sentinel and Operation Inherent Resolve. DOD also offered no plans to take action to address this recommendation in its response to our draft report.
    Director: Allison B. Bawden
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve transparency in the grant merit-review process, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior should direct the Fish and Wildlife Service to issue written guidance to require all competitive grant programs to clarify in the public notice of funding opportunity all review criteria, including cost sharing factors as relevant, and their related scores to be used to make final award decisions.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, Interior had updated its notice of funding opportunity template for competitive grant programs to clarify that the review process must ensure that applications are scored and selected based on announced criteria. In addition, competitive grant programs must establish a written merit review plan that details the merit review factors and sub-factors and the rating system and evaluation standards which explain the scoring basis. Furthermore, the Fish and Wildlife Service is developing new guidance to ensure discretionary grant programs include all required elements to be completed in December of 2017.
    Recommendation: To reduce the risk of duplicative and overlapping funding at the grant award level, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior should direct the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service to issue written guidance that ensures their grant management staff review grant applications for potential duplication and overlap before awarding their competitive grants and cooperative agreements.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Fish and Wildlife Service issued guidance to ensure grant applications are reviewed for potential overlap and duplication, as GAO recommended in January 2017, but as of August 2017 the National Park Service had yet to issue such guidance. In August 2017, the Department of Interior (Interior) provided documentation showing that the Fish and Wildlife Service now requires discretionary grant applicants to provide a statement that addresses whether there is any overlap or duplication of proposed projects or activities to be funded by the grant. Fish and Wildlife also updated its guidance to grant awarding offices instructing them to perform a potential overlap and duplication review of all selected applicants prior to award. Interior said the National Park Service had yet to issue guidance on duplication and overlap review, but it would provide the guidance to GAO when it is finalized and implemented. Completing these improvements will help the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service reduce the risk of unnecessary or inadvertent overlap or duplication in grant funding.
    Recommendation: To reduce the risk of duplicative and overlapping funding at the grant award level, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Food and Nutrition Service to issue written guidance that ensures its grant management staff review grant applications for potential duplication and overlap before awarding competitive grants and cooperative agreements.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, the Department of Agriculture (Agriculture) said the Food and Nutrition Service was developing written guidance that will ensure its grants management staff identify grant programs for potential duplication and overlap with other federal agencies before awarding competitive grants and cooperative agreements, as GAO recommended in January 2017. Agriculture officials said the guidance would be based on input from grants management staff, relevant Food and Nutrition program officials, and reviews of similar guidance already in place at other Agriculture sub-agencies. The Food and Nutrition Service plans to issue this guidance by the end of federal fiscal year 2017 for use beginning in fiscal year 2018. Issuing and implementing this guidance will reduce the risk of unnecessary or inadvertent overlap or duplication in grant funding.
    Director: Heather Krause
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that FLETC builds and maintains capacity to achieve its mission with existing levels of resources over the longer-term, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Director of FLETC to complete a revised strategic plan that encompasses the agency's long-term goals and objectives to address emerging challenges.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    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 that FLETC builds and maintains capacity to achieve its mission with existing levels of resources over the longer-term, as part of its strategic planning process, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Director of FLETC to finalize the plan, including the steps and time frames, needed to further implement its Online Campus initiative.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    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 that ETA continues to have the capacity to achieve its mission and manage changes in demand for services resulting from changes in the broader economy, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Administrator of ETA to systematically gather and evaluate information on the challenges that states faced administering the unemployment insurance program during the recession that began in 2007--such as rapidly ramping up staffing at the start of the recession and ramping down as the economy recovered--and identify and build upon any lessons learned from this experience that could be broadly shared to help the program respond to any changes in workload during a future economic downturn.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Susan Irving
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the reserve target SEC set for PCAOB safeguards against realistic risks and probable contingencies, including potential unforeseen funding delays, the SEC Chair, in exercising the commission's authority to oversee PCAOB, should analyze--and document the analysis of--program needs and probable contingencies, in consultation with PCAOB as appropriate.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reported in January 2017 that it will coordinate further with Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) staff as the PCAOB analyzes, with review by the SEC, their program costs and risks to ensure that the operating reserve reflects current needs and probable contingencies and that the analysis is documented.
    Director: Andrew Von Ah
    Phone: (213) 830-1011

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that Congress will have more complete information on DOD's full funding needs for its O&M base budget and to conduct oversight of DOD's use of OCO funds to support base programs and activities, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller to revise its guidance on preparing budget justification materials and execution reports for Congress to require the addition of O&M obligations used for base programs and activities at the level of information presented for each account.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD continues to non-concur with our recommendation; however, we continue to believe that the recommendation is valid and will follow up annually on the status of the recommendation.
    Director: Paula M. Rascona
    Phone: (202) 512-9816

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure effective government-wide implementation and that complete and consistent spending data will be reported as required by the DATA Act, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, should establish or leverage existing processes and controls to determine the complete population of agencies that are required to report spending data under the DATA Act and make the results of those determinations publicly available.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: OMB stated that each agency is responsible for determining whether it is subject to the DATA Act. To help agencies make that determination, OMB published guidance in the form of frequently asked questions and stated that the agencies may consult with OMB for additional counsel. In response to our recommendation, OMB staff told us they have reached out to federal agencies to identify which agencies have determined that they are exempt from reporting under the DATA Act and prepared a list of such agencies. However, OMB has not provided us the list or the procedures for reviewing agency determinations and compiling the results. In addition, OMB has not established procedures for ensuring non-exempt agencies are reporting spending data as required. Finally, OMB has not stated whether it will make the results of the determinations publicly available. Further, additional clarification would improve the usefulness of the frequently asked questions. For example, they state "Any Federal agency submitting data that OMB posts on its SF 133 Report on Budget Execution and Budgetary Resources is required to comply with DATA Act reporting." However, the SF 133 Report for the third quarter of 2016 includes entities such as the Postal Service which are not required by the DATA Act to report financial and payment information. In explaining the frequently asked questions to us, OMB officials clarified that they meant that an entity is required to report if its data appears on the SF 133 and it meets the applicable statutory definition of agency. The frequently asked questions document does not clearly communicate this two-prong approach. Additionally, OMB's verbal clarification when meeting with us does not account for those entities that meet the statutory definition of agency and are required by the DATA Act to report financial and payment information but do not appear on the SF 133. We will continue to assess OMB's efforts to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure effective government-wide implementation and that complete and consistent spending data will be reported as required by the DATA Act, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, should reassess, on a periodic basis, which agencies are required to report spending data under the DATA Act and make appropriate notifications to affected agencies.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: OMB does not have plans to reassess, on a periodic basis, which agencies are required to report spending data under the DATA Act. We continue to believe action on this recommendation is important to effectively implement the DATA Act. We will continue to assess OMB's efforts to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure effective implementation of the DATA Act by the agencies and facilitate the further establishment of overall government-wide governance, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, should request that non-CFO Act agencies required to report federal spending data under the DATA Act submit updated implementation plans, including updated timelines and milestones, cost estimates, and risks, to address new technical requirements.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: On June 15, 2016, OMB directed CFO Act agencies to update key components of their implementation plans by August 12, 2016. The requirement did not extend to non-CFO Act agencies. OMB stated that it is monitoring non-CFO Act agencies by providing feedback to non-CFO Act agencies through workshops instead of requesting updated implementation plan information. According to OMB officials, OMB has not followed-up with non-CFO Act agencies or requested updated implementation plan information because they are working with the CFO Act agencies which comprise approximately 90 percent of federal spending. In addition to these outreach efforts, OMB has worked with Treasury to engage with small and independent agencies through weekly phone calls and other forms of communication. However, the DATA Act applies to most federal agencies, and we believe that it is important to monitor smaller agencies' implementation plans as well as large agencies. We will continue to assess OMB's efforts to address this recommendation.
    Director: Andrew Von Ah
    Phone: (213) 830-1011

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and oversight of DHS programs receiving fees and other collections, and to ensure that component management take the following actions for each fee and other collections program that they administer, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the DHS Chief Financial Officer to use some means, such as the DHS Fee Governance Council, to document the processes and analyses for assessing and, as appropriate, for managing the difference between program costs and collections and document resulting decisions.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS's Fee Governance Council, led by the Deputy CFO plans to draft and publish a revised section of the Financial Management Policy Manual devoted to documenting the processes and analyses for assessing and managing the difference between program costs and collections and document resulting decisions. The Council is currently working to establish interim milestones associated with this objective.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and oversight of DHS programs receiving fees and other collections, and to ensure that component management take the following actions for each fee and other collections program that they administer, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the DHS Chief Financial Officer to use some means, such as the DHS Fee Governance Council, to establish processes for managing unobligated carryover balances, to include targets for minimum and maximum balances for programs that lack such processes and targets.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Fee Governance Council will draft and publish a revised section of the Financial Management Policy Manual devoted to managing unobligated carryover balances. The Council is currently working to develop specific milestones associated with this objective.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and oversight of DHS programs receiving fees and other collections, and to ensure that component management take the following actions for each fee and other collections program that they administer, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the DHS Chief Financial Officer to use some means, such as the DHS Fee Governance Council, to conduct reviews to identify any management and operational deficiencies.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The DHS Fee Governance Council plans to publish a revised section of the Financial Management Policy Manual devoted to how components conduct studies of fee programs to identify any management or operational deficiencies. The Council is currently working to establish specific milestones associated with this objective.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective management and oversight of DHS programs receiving fees and other collections, and to ensure that component management take the following actions for each fee and other collections program that they administer, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the DHS Chief Financial Officer to use some means, such as the DHS Fee Governance Council, to take action to track and report on management and operational deficiencies--including reasons supporting any decisions to not pursue recommended actions--identified in fee reviews or through other means.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The DHS Fee Governance Council will publish a revised section of the Financial Management Policy Manual devoted to how regular biennial reviews are conducted at DHS and how any findings and recommendations on management and operational deficiencies identified in these fee studies are tracked and reported.
    Director: James R. McTigue, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the budget process and to improve transparency, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, to the extent feasible, should ensure that the CJ includes data by appropriation account on the amount of funding requested to maintain current services for each future state theme.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its fiscal year 2017 congressional justification, IRS modified how its budget data were organized, including linking requested increases to future state themes, but did not clarify how current spending by themes relates to appropriation accounts. Information on current spending by theme and account is important to ensure transparency on the current funding levels to assist Congress in making informed budget decisions. IRS did not include data on the future state themes in the fiscal year 2018 congressional justification and, according to IRS officials, it did not report this information in any other budget document. According to IRS officials, it did not report budget data by future state theme because IRS is working to transition the future state themes into the strategic plan. Including data on the appropriation account would provide additional transparency and improve the quality of the information available to Congress for budget deliberations.
    Recommendation: As Treasury works with IRS to improve the quality and accuracy of budget data, the Secretary of the Treasury should ensure sufficient controls are in place to make certain that the information technology investment reports generated from the SharePoint Investment Knowledge Exchange are accurate. This includes, for example, taking steps to reduce the need for manual corrections to the data.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2017, Treasury Department officials took steps to address the need to manually correct budget data for the fiscal year 2017 budget request, but we have not received documentation that they have done so for future budget years. Improved information would help Treasury and IRS better account for information technology resources. We will continue to monitor Treasury's progress.
    Director: Dawn B. Simpson
    Phone: (202) 512-3406

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary to develop and implement procedures to determine whether user accounts already exist before establishing or recertifying user accounts in the Governmentwide Treasury Account Symbol Adjusted Trial Balance System or Governmentwide Financial Report System.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of the completion of our fiscal year 2016 consolidated financial statements (CFS) audit, Treasury agreed that this recommendation remained open. Treasury plans to implement processes to validate new users who do not already have an existing account in the Governmentwide Treasury Account Symbol Adjusted Trial Balance System (GTAS) or the Governmentwide Financial Report System (GFRS); and to ensure that users do not have conflicting roles or privileges. We will follow-up on progress made by Treasury as part of our fiscal year 2017 CFS audit, which is ongoing as of March 2017.
    Director: Krause, Heather M
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the contributions of tax expenditures toward the achievement of agency goals are identified and measured, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, should work with agencies to identify which tax expenditures contribute to their agency goals, as appropriate--that is, they should identify which specific tax expenditures contribute to specific strategic objectives and agency priority goals.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In July 2017, OMB staff said that although they still agreed with our recommendation, it was not an effort they were pursuing due to competing priorities, as well as capacity and resource constraints.
    Director: Asif A. Khan
    Phone: (202) 512-9869

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve budgeting and management of carryover, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Army Materiel Command to incorporate in its regulation provisions for a repair process that includes upfront communication and coordination among AMC and non-AMC stakeholders that will result in the development of a well-defined scope of work and parts needed by the Industrial Operations activities to perform the repair work that will help reduce carryover.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD stated that the Army will enforce policy and business rules that require Organic Industrial Base facilities to communicate with their customers early to verify the scope of work and ensure that the Army has the required capability, capacity, equipment, and parts needed to meet delivery schedules and avoid excessive carryover. DOD also stated that it will update its policy and publish its draft regulation during fiscal year 2017.
    Director: Michelle Sager
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase the transparency to Congress about the total amount of funds agencies have available in a given year, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should identify and publicly report the total amount of actual budget authority government-wide that is temporarily sequestered and "pops up," or becomes available again to agencies for obligation in the subsequent fiscal year.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: In February 2017, OMB staff told us they will consider additional options for reporting a government-wide total amount of actual budget authority that is temporarily sequestered during preparation of the full 2018 President's Budget.
    Recommendation: To promote further transparency in measuring the federal government's progress against deficit reduction targets required under current law, the Director of the Office of Management of Budget should identify and publicly report the total amount of actual reductions in budget authority government-wide each year as a result of sequestration or the reduction of discretionary spending limits under BBEDCA.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: In February 2017, OMB staff maintained their position of disagreement with this recommendation as summarized in our April 2016 report.
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that risks associated with ALIS are addressed expediently and holistically, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer to improve the reliability of its cost estimates, conduct uncertainty and sensitivity analyses consistent with cost-estimating best practices identified in GAO's Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD officials, the F-35 Program regularly performs sensitivity analysis in its cost estimates. The F-35 Cost Team runs drills throughout the year on varying ground rules and assumptions for all elements of the sustainment Annual Cost Estimate (ACE), including ALIS cost elements. These drills are used to assess cost impacts of various proposed requirements changes from the F-35 Program Office and the Services. The cost models capture the sensitivity of those technical baseline changes and the F-35 Program Office and Services use those results to inform the final technical baseline definition that becomes the basis of the annual estimate update. Although these measures are regularly performed, they do not constitute a direct uncertainty or sensitivity analysis on ALIS itself. For that reason, as of September 2017, this recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To ensure that risks associated with ALIS are addressed expediently and holistically, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer to improve the reliability of its cost estimates, ensure that future estimates of ALIS costs use historical data as available and reflect significant program changes consistent with cost-estimating best practices identified in GAO's Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD officials, as part of the cost estimating processes in the F-35 Program Office, the sustainment Annual Cost Estimate does incorporate the latest available historical cost data and reflects the latest approved technical baseline. For example, the latest hardware procurement costs from the most recent annual contracts for the F-35 were incorporated into the 2016 Annual Cost Estimate update as were the manpower assembly installation costs based on final delivered item prices. Although these are positive measures for the program and the cost estimate, the program has not incorporated a range of potential future costs that may better reflect actual ALIS costs. Until this step is taken, the recommendation will remain open.
    Director: Mihm, J Christopher
    Phone: (202) 512-3236

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies report consistent and comparable data on federal spending, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, should provide agencies with additional guidance to address potential clarity, consistency, or quality issues with the definitions for specific data elements including Award Description and Primary Place of Performance and that they clearly document and communicate these actions to agencies providing this data as well as to end-users.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In May 2016, OMB issued guidance for DATA Act Implementation entitled, Implementing Data-Centric Approach for Reporting Federal Spending Information (Management Procedures Memorandum No. 2016-03). This memorandum provided guidance on new federal prime award reporting requirements, agency assurances, and authoritative sources for reporting. In August 2016, OMB released additional draft guidance describing how agencies should report financial information involving intragovernmental transfers and personally identifiable information, as well as how agency Senior Accountable Officials should provide quality assurances for submitted data. Despite these positive steps, we continue to have concerns about the need for additional guidance to facilitate agency implementation of certain data definitions (such as "primary place of performance" and "award description") in order to produce consistent and comparable information, and whether the guidance provides sufficient detail in areas such as the process for providing assurance on data submissions.
    Director: Seto Bagdoyan
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help preserve a proven resource supporting the oversight community's analytic capabilities, Congress may wish to consider directing CIGIE to develop a legislative proposal to reconstitute the essential capabilities of the ROC to help ensure federal spending accountability. The proposal should identify a range of options at varying scales for the cost of analytic tools, personnel, and necessary funding, as well as any additional authority CIGIE may need to ensure such enduring, robust analytical and investigative capability for the oversight community.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we determine what steps Congress has taken, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Irving, Susan J
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To avoid serious disruptions to the Treasury market and to help inform the fiscal policy debate in a timely way, Congress should consider alternative approaches that better link decisions about the debt limit with decisions about spending and revenue at the time those decisions are made such as those described in this report.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 temporarily suspended the debt limit until March 15, 2017. This allowed the Treasury to continue to borrow to meet the funding needs of the federal government but did not explicitly link decisions about the debt limit to legislation that is expected to increase borrowing needs or debate over specific tax or spending proposal and their effect on debt. We will continue to monitor legislation enacting future debt limit increases to see if it addresses our matter for congressional consideration. As of August 2017 no relevant legislation has been enacted.
    Recommendation: However, if Congress chooses to continue to temporarily suspend the debt limit, it should consider providing Treasury with more flexibility in the level of Treasury's operating cash so that it is based not on the level that it was just prior to a suspension period, but on the federal government's immediate borrowing needs. This would minimize some of the disruptions to Treasury's normal cash management and debt issuance.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 temporarily suspended the debt limit until March 15, 2017, but did not provide Treasury with more flexibility in the level of Treasury's operating cash at the end of the suspension period. As result, absent future action, Treasury is expected to reduced its cash balance to approximately the level it was at on the date the suspension was enacted as it has following previous debt limit suspensions, regardless of cyclical or other cash management needs. We will continue to monitor legislation enacting future debt limit increases to see if it addresses our matter for congressional consideration. As of August 2017, no relevant legislation has been enacted.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Management and Budget should direct, as appropriate, federal agencies involved with the White House Working Group on Detroit, to collect good practices and lessons learned from their efforts to assist Detroit during its fiscal crisis and share them with other federal agencies and local governments. Toward this end, OMB may want to consider making use of existing knowledge and capacity associated with the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative and its National Resource Network.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on a draft of GAO's March 2015 report, OMB neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. In April 2017, OMB staff stated that they believed steps had been taken to preserve some of the lessons coming out of the administration's efforts to assist the City of Detroit during its fiscal crisis. However, they were unable to provide specifics. GAO has requested additional information and supporting documentation regarding this effort.
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    6 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help DOD develop an affordable sustainment strategy for the F-35, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics to direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer to establish affordability constraints linked to, and informed by, military service budgets that will help guide sustainment decisions, prioritize requirements, and identify additional areas for savings by March 2015, at which point the Future Support Construct decision will be approved.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation and stated in April 2017 that the F-35 Program Executive Officer and the F-35 enterprise have expanded their collaborative effort to reduce F-35 operating and support (O&S) costs to ensure that they deliver affordable readiness for the F-35 fleet. In an effort to reduce overall O&S costs, the department has undertaken several initiatives. For example, according to DOD, as of January 2017, a program office "cost war room" initiative had reduced the 2012 F-35 annual cost estimate by $60.7 billion. Additionally, according to DOD, a Reliability and Maintainability Improvement Program has resulted in a $1.7 billion O&S cost avoidance through the program's life cycle. Other efforts are also under way that aim to help reduce O&S costs by better informing sustainment decision-making. While the department is taking steps to try to reduce overall O&S costs, the program has yet to develop affordability constraints linked to the military services' budgets. Without affordability constraints that are linked to military service budgets, it remains unclear the extent to which the military services can afford to operate and sustain the F-35 throughout its life cycle as currently planned.
    Recommendation: To help DOD address key risks to F-35 affordability and operational readiness, and to improve the reliability of its O&S cost estimates for the life cycle of the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer, to enable DOD to better identify, address, and mitigate performance issues with the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) that could have an effect on affordability, as well as readiness, to establish a performance-measurement process for ALIS that includes, but is not limited to, performance metrics and targets that (1) are based on intended behavior of the system in actual operations and (2) tie system performance to user requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD officials, the ALIS Integrated Product Team (IPT) is continuing to work with the Joint Program Office's Performance Based Logistics (PBL) team to further develop and refine appropriate metrics for inclusion into future sustainment contracts. Although DOD has made progress in developing performance metrics for ALIS, as of September 2017, DOD has yet to develop metrics that are based on intended behavior of the system and tie system performance to user requirements. Until this progression is made, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To help DOD address key risks to F-35 affordability and operational readiness, and to improve the reliability of its O&S cost estimates for the life cycle of the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer, to develop a high level of confidence that the aircraft will achieve its R+M goals, to develop a software reliability and maintainability (R+M) assessment process, with metrics, by which the program can monitor and determine the effect that software issues may have on overall F-35 R+M issues.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has an R&M assessment process in place, but as of September 2017, had not developed a process that would focus directly on software reliability and maintainability. Until DOD develops a process more focused on software and its effects on overall R&M issues, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To help DOD address key risks to F-35 affordability and operational readiness, and to improve the reliability of its O&S cost estimates for the life cycle of the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer, to promote competition, address affordability, and inform its overarching sustainment strategy, to develop a long-term Intellectual Property (IP) Strategy to include, but not be limited to, the identification of (1) current levels of technical data rights ownership by the federal government and (2) all critical technical data needs and their associated costs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has still not developed an overall strategy that would identify data rights ownership, needs, and costs. As of September 2017, the program had taken some steps to develop an Intellectual Property Strategy, but has not identified all critical needs and their associated costs. Program office officials said that they are currently working with the prime contractor to develop a list of technical data requirements. Until this strategy is developed, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To help DOD address key risks to F-35 affordability and operational readiness, and to improve the reliability of its O&S cost estimates for the life cycle of the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer, to understand the potential range of costs associated with the JPO F-35 O&S cost estimate, to conduct uncertainty analyses on future JPO estimates.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, DOD had not applied risk/uncertainty analyses to its cost estimates. Until it does so, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of the CAPE F-35 O&S cost estimate, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of CAPE, for future F-35 O&S cost estimates, to conduct uncertainty analyses to understand the potential range of costs associated with its estimates to reflect the most likely costs associated with the program.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD officials, the Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) has not updated its F-35 estimate subsequent to the release of GAO-14-778. Pending a major program change, CAPE will update the F-35 O&S estimate for the full-rate production decision point in the second quarter of fiscal year 2019. Until CAPE updates its F-35 estimate, we will not be able to determine if they will perform any uncertainty analyses on its cost estimate; therefore, this recommendation will remain open as of September 1, 2017.
    Director: Carol R. Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    3 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the completeness and accuracy of data submissions to the USASpending.gov website, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in collaboration with Treasury's Fiscal Service, should clarify guidance on (1) agency responsibilities for reporting awards funded by non-annual appropriations; (2) the applicability of USASpending.gov reporting requirements to non-classified awards associated with intelligence operations; (3) the requirement that award titles describe the award's purpose (consistent with our prior recommendation); and (4) agency maintenance of authoritative records adequate to verify the accuracy of required data reported for use by USASpending.gov.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of July 2017, OMB and Treasury were working to implement the DATA Act, which includes several provisions that may address these recommendations once fully implemented. 1) OMB staff said they continue to deliberate on agency responsibilities for reporting awards funded by non-annual appropriations. 2) OMB staff provided a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) addressing the applicability of USASpending.gov reporting requirements for recipient information related to classified or sensitive information. GAO reviewed the FAQ and determined that additional guidance is still needed to ensure complete reporting of unclassified awards as required by FFATA. 3) OMB staff have agreed that it will be important to clarify guidance on how agencies can report on award titles that appropriately describes the awards' purposes and noted that they are working on providing additional guidance to agencies as part of their larger DATA Act implementation efforts. 4) OMB released policy guidance in May 2016 (MPM 2016-03) that identifies the authoritative sources for reporting procurement and award data. However, GAO's review of this policy guidance determined that it does not address the underlying source that can be used to verify the accuracy of non-financial procurement data or any source for data on assistance awards.
    Recommendation: To improve the completeness and accuracy of data submissions to the USASpending.gov website, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in collaboration with Treasury's Fiscal Service, should develop and implement a government-wide oversight process to regularly assess the consistency of information reported by federal agencies to the website other than the award amount.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As part of their DATA Act implementation efforts, OMB issued policy guidance in May 2016 (MPM 2016-03) that identifies authoritative systems to validate agency spending information. The guidance also directs agency DATA Act Senior Accountable Officials (SAOs) to provide a quarterly assurance regarding the data reported to USASpending.gov and specifies that this assurance should leverage data quality and management controls established in statute, regulation, and Federal-wide policy and be aligned with the internal control and risk management strategies in Circular A-123, and provides information on how agency DATA Act SAOs are to provide assurances over the spending data reported to USASpending.gov. In addition, Treasury's broker is to provide an additional set of validation rules to further ensure the proper formatting of data submitted to USAspending.gov. OMB staff noted that OMB and Treasury had prioritized the linking of financial data to award data as a means of addressing the issue of unreported awards we previously identified. We agree that linking financial and award data can help agencies identify gaps in reporting. However, as of July 2017, OMB did not identify any new or revised processes aimed at addressing the accuracy concerns we addressed other than citing agencies' responsibility to certify the accuracy of their data.
    Recommendation: To improve the completeness of foreign recipient data on the USASpending.gov website, the Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation should direct responsible officials within the Corporation's Department of Administration and Finance to report spending information on all assistance award programs to USASpending.gov for prior and future fiscal years in accordance with statutory requirements and OMB guidance.

    Agency: Millennium Challenge Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Millennium Challenge Corporation has begun reporting awards made in fiscal year 2015. As of July 2017, it has not yet reported awards for previous fiscal years, as we had recommended. We will continue to follow up.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD is better informed in its decision-making processes, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to utilize comprehensive and up-to-date furlough cost-savings information as it becomes available in the event that DOD decides to implement another administrative furlough in the future.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: We received the 60 day letter from DOD, it noted that the Department's position has not changed. In its written comments on the draft report, DOD partially concurred with the recommendation to utilize comprehensive and up-to-date furlough cost-savings information as it becomes available in the event that DOD decides to implement another administrative furlough in the future.
    Director: Susan J. Irving
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help minimize Treasury borrowing costs over time by better understanding and managing the risks posed by Treasury floating rate notes and by enhancing demand for Treasury securities, the Secretary of the Treasury should track and report an additional measure of the length of the portfolio that captures the interest rate reset frequency of securities in the portfolio.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: Treasury agreed with our recommendation but has not yet introduced this additional metric. As of August 2017, the metric had not been introduced.
    Recommendation: To help minimize Treasury borrowing costs over time by better understanding and managing the risks posed by Treasury floating rate notes and by enhancing demand for Treasury securities, the Secretary of the Treasury should examine opportunities for additional new security types, such as FRNs with maturities other than 2 years or ultra-long bonds.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: Treasury agreed with our recommendation but has not yet taken steps to consider additional securities. We will continue to monitor information released from TBAC conferences and in follow up conversations with Treasury.
    Recommendation: To help minimize Treasury borrowing costs over time by better understanding and managing the risks posed by Treasury floating rate notes and by enhancing demand for Treasury securities, the Secretary of the Treasury should analyze the price effects of the mismatch between the term of the index rate and the reset period.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: Treasury agreed with our recommendation took introductory steps in 2014 to analyze the price effects of the mismatch by meeting with us to discuss our modeling approach. The results of their analysis was not conclusive and no action was taken at the time. We are seeking documentation of any further action that would allow us to close this recommendation as implemented.
    Director: John Pendleton
    Phone: (202) 512-3489

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve subsequent joint reports to Congress on plans for sustaining and modernizing U.S nuclear weapons capabilities and to improve the transparency of the joint report's methodologies, thereby assisting Congress in understanding the basis for DOD's NC3 estimates in subsequent joint reports, the Secretary of Defense should direct the DOD Chief Information Officer to document in the report the methodological assumptions and limitations affecting the report's estimates for sustaining and modernizing the NC3 system.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on our 2014 report, DOD stated that it concurred with our recommendation, and that it would include all key assumptions and potential limitations utilized in the nuclear command, control, and communications estimates in future joint reports. DOD included more information on the methodologies the Air Force, Navy, and DOD CIO used to develop their 5- and 10-year budget estimates for sustaining and modernizing nuclear delivery systems and nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3) systems in the fiscal year 2016 joint report. However, DOD's methodology for the NC3 estimates was not fully transparent, because it did not document some of the assumptions and potential limitations of the methodology in the report. DOD CIO has continued to use the same methodology for preparing its NC3 estimates each year, but did not document any limitations of that methodology and the potential effect on the estimates. In the joint reports for fiscal years 2016 and 2017, DOD included some methodological information for its NC3 estimates but still did not identify or explain the assumptions or limitations of its methodology. We continue to believe the usefulness and transparency of the joint report could be further improved if DOD implemented this recommendation to document the methodological assumptions and limitations affecting the NC3 estimate.
    Director: John Pendleton
    Phone: (202) 512-3489

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation to develop guidance on transitioning enduring activities that have been funded with overseas contingency operations appropriations to DOD's base budget, including a time frame for this transition.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) partially concurred with our recommendation. In fiscal year 2016, the President's budget acknowledged that it was time to reconsider the appropriate financing mechanism for costs of overseas operations that are enduring and that beyond 2016 some costs would endure. It included a commitment for the Administration to propose a plan to transition all enduring costs currently funded in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget to the base budget with the transition beginning in 2017 and ending by 2020. However, the budget also noted this transition will not be possible if the sequester level discretionary spending caps remain in place. According to DOD officials, the plan envisioned by the Administration was not submitted since the fiscal year 2017 budget was developed consistent with the Bipartisan Budget Act, which increased the amount of enduring costs funded in the OCO budget. Furthermore, DOD officials stated that the current discretionary spending caps limit their ability to transition enduring costs currently funded in the OCO budget to the base budget.
    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: Asif A. Khan
    Phone: (202) 512-9869

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the Army's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund SBR FIP for budget execution and facilitate remaining efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller should identify activity attributable to assessable units associated with service provider systems and business processes having a significant impact on the Army's SBR.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Management and Comptroller
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Army concurred with this recommendation. In March 2015, Army officials indicated that the Army leveraged object class codes in its enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to stratify business processes that have a significant impact on the Schedule of Budgetary Activity for fiscal year 2015 activity. The Army provided documentation supporting this effort; however, this documentation did not identify all activity attributable to assessable units associated with service provider systems and business processes having a significant impact on the Army's Statement of Budgetary Resources. In August 2016, we requested additional information from the Army. In November 2016, an Army representative indicated that the estimated timing for completing efforts to address this recommendation was the second quarter of 2017. We requested updates on the status of efforts to address this recommendation and as of August 2017, we have not received such an update.
    Recommendation: To improve the Army's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund SBR FIP for budget execution and facilitate remaining efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller should coordinate efforts with service providers to obtain and document within memorandum of understanding memorandums of understanding a shared understanding of roles and responsibilities for processing Army data.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Management and Comptroller
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Army concurred with this recommendation. The Army established a Mission Work Agreement (MWA) with Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), its most significant service provider, and documented concept of operations (CONOPS) regarding various business processes, such as civilian pay and Fund Balance with Treasury. However, the MWA and CONOPS did not include sufficient detail required to adequately understand roles and responsibilities for processing and reporting the Army's financial data. In January 2016, the Army indicated that it was developing a corrective action plan to formalize policies, procedures, and processes to assess third party providers that host or manage the Army's financial systems and data and will use this assessment to clarify its understanding of shared roles and responsibilities for processing Army data. According to the Army, this effort is expected to be completed the first quarter of fiscal year 2017. In August 2017 we requested an update on the status of efforts to address this recommendation from the Army point of contact.
    Recommendation: To improve the Army's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund SBR FIP for budget execution and facilitate remaining efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller should completely and accurately document the linkage of financial reporting objectives to control activities.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Management and Comptroller
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Army concurred with this recommendation. In June 2015, Army officials indicated that the Army's four financial reporting objectives (FROs) have not yet been linked to control activities. Army officials stated that the Army is continuing to analyze collection, disbursement, and Fund Balance with Treasury processes and anticipates linking these FROs to control activities based on these efforts. We requested updates on the status of efforts to address this recommendation and as of August 2017, we have not received such an update.
    Recommendation: To improve the Army's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund SBR FIP for budget execution and facilitate remaining efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller should document criteria and processes for identifying key information technology systems that have a significant impact on the Army's SBR audit readiness.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Management and Comptroller
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Army concurred with this recommendation. In March 2015, Army officials indicated that the Army was in the process of identifying IT systems with a significant impact on the Army's Statement of Budgetary Resources (SBR) audit readiness. Furthermore, Army officials stated that for the fiscal year 2015 Schedule of Budgetary Activity Audit, the independent public accountant was conducting walkthroughs and assessing information technology systems for significant impact on Army's SBR audit readiness. In August 2016, we requested an update on the status of efforts to address this recommendation. In November 2016, an Army representative indicated that efforts were completed and a list of the criteria and processes would be provided to us. Subsequently, we requested a status update and as of August 2017, we have not received such an update.
    Recommendation: To improve the Army's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund SBR FIP for budget execution and facilitate remaining efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller should obtain and assess the results of service provider SSAE No. 16 examinations upon completion to determine the adequacy of internal controls and document complete end-to-end business processes.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Management and Comptroller
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Army concurred with this recommendation. As of January 2016, Army officials indicated that the Army continued to assess SSAE 16 reports including complimentary controls and incorporating end-to-end business processes as applicable. According to the Army, the estimated completion date for these efforts was the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016, which in November 2016, was revised to the second quarter of fiscal year 2017. We requested updates on the status of efforts to address this recommendation and as of August 2017, we have not received such an update.
    Recommendation: To improve the Army's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund SBR FIP for budget execution and facilitate remaining efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller should correct significant deficiencies or material weaknesses identified before asserting audit readiness and engaging an IPA to validate the assertion.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Management and Comptroller
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Army concurred with this recommendation. In March 2015, Army officials indicated that the Army was still working to resolve identified significant deficiencies and material weaknesses. In January 2016, Army officials indicated that the Army was assessing findings from an Independent Public Accountant in connection with its audit of Army's fiscal year 2015 Schedule of Budgetary Activity to identify deficiencies identified during previous audit readiness efforts. Repeat findings were incorporated into corrective action plans (CAP). According to the Army's January 8, 2016 CAP status report, estimated completion dates for addressing most of the findings identified were not yet determined. Since August 2016, we have requested updates on the status of efforts to address this recommendation and as of August 2017, we have not received such an update.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    4 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To create a more effective human capital system that is more responsive to managing priorities and future workforce needs, the Director of OPM, in conjunction with the CHCO Council, should strengthen OPM's coordination and leadership of government-wide human capital issues to ensure government-wide initiatives are coordinated, decision makers have all relevant information, and there is greater continuity in the human capital community for key reforms. Such actions could include: (1) developing a government-wide human capital strategic plan that, among other things, would establish strategic priorities, time frames, responsibilities, and metrics to better align the efforts of members of the federal human capital community with government-wide human capital goals and issues; and (2) coordinating communication on government-wide human capital issues with other members of the human capital community so that there is greater consistency, transparency, and completeness in exchanging and using information by stakeholders and decision makers.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In April 2017, OPM issued a final regulation requiring OPM and agencies take significant steps in identifying, prioritizing, and coordinating efforts to address critical human capital issues. The regulation will require OPM to complete the Federal Workforce Priorities Report (FWPR). According to OPM, the FWSPR will serve as tool for all stakeholders and agencies to: (1) be informed about current and emerging workforce challenges, (2) develop strategies to address the impending risks, and (3) monitor progress. The FWSPR will also serve as a tool for the Administration to develop their Human Capital President's Management Agenda, as well as Cross Agency Priority Goals. the regulation also requires agencies to develop a Human Capital Operating Plan, which will reflect the priorities identified in the FWSPR. We believe this final regulation represents an important step forward in addressing the current fragmentation of the federal human capital community and will continue to monitor its status.
    Recommendation: To create a more effective human capital system that is more responsive to managing priorities and future workforce needs, the Director of OPM, in conjunction with the CHCO Council, should explore the feasibility of expanded use of enterprise solutions to more efficiently and effectively address shared or government-wide human capital challenges. Such actions could include: (1) seeking cost savings and improved functionality through coordinated government-wide Human Resources Information Technology planning and acquisition, (2) seeking agency input to ensure OPM's workforce planning tools provide effective guidance for agencies, and (3) sharing workforce planning lessons learned and successful models across the government.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In April 2017, OPM officials said it had developed some enterprise solutions to address shared or government-wide human capital challenges. For example, OPM officials said it created a multi-factor model workforce planning tool to assess the risk of agency-specific mission critical occupations. Officials said this tool is the foundation for any good workforce planning process to better understand which MCOs require the greatest attention. Officials said the model was drafted from input from an intra-agency workgroup, was beta tested with a workforce planning workgroup consisting of the majority of CFO Act agencies and finally approved by the full Chief Human capital Officer's Council. This tool was then used by agencies to identify their agency-specific high risk MCOs. OPM officials said they plan to use this model to develop other tools. We believe this tool represents an important step forward in identifying enterprise tools and will continue to monitor OPM's continued efforts.
    Recommendation: To create a more effective human capital system that is more responsive to managing priorities and future workforce needs, the Director of OPM, in conjunction with the CHCO Council, should review the extent to which new capabilities are needed to promote agile talent management. Such actions could include developing or sharing: (1) tools, resources, and methods to help identify skills gaps and surpluses that can inform agency recruitment, retention, and training needs; and (2) mechanisms for increasing staff mobility within an agency and government-wide to assist agencies in aligning their workforces with evolving needs.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2016, OPM has been exploring the use of agile talent management approaches. OPM established the pilot project, Gov Connect, that tests how employees can move within and across agencies to work on self-initiated and/or manager-initiated projects. Currently, OPM is working to design Phase II of the effort, which is to develop a model for the government wide implementation of the initiative. Over 10 agencies were involved with Phase I for the single agency pilot process and more contact OPM each day as they learn about Gov Connect. OPM briefed the CHCOC and the President's Management Council (PMC) two years ago about the initiative and since then, Gov Connect has become a part of the President's Management Agenda (PMA). To further the familiarity of Gov Connect, OPM established a Starter Kit, which was designed to communicate a suggested approach for how to implement one or several of the Gov Connect models within a respective agency. The Starter Kit is a reflection of agency lessons learned through their experience with Phase I, and OPM continues to refresh the content as additional information is learned. With regards to skill identification, OPM has begun working to address this through the work with the government wide skills gap initiative. A key aspect of the initiative includes the identification of a root cause. Through this process, it is expected that needed skills will become evident. Subsequently, strategies will be established to address the root cause. In addition, OPM is revising its data collection process. OPM, because of statute and regulation, has the ability to require a set of workforce metrics, such as agency projections. We are currently exploring how to establish the capability to capture information regarding the current workforce. Work will continue through FY 17 until a solution has been identified. In June 2015, OPM reported that its Center for Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) is developing tools to better visualize results of the CHCO manager satisfaction survey and the CHCO applicant satisfaction survey for distribution to agencies. OPM is also developing a model to assist agencies in selecting mission critical occupations for government-wide skills gap closure based on multiple factors, including separation rates, retention percentages, and applicant to job ratios. SWP is currently co-leading the GovConnect initiative, which explores models for workforce agility that include micro-detailing, cloud-based skill deployment across organizational components, and employee-initiated innovation initiatives. OPM is collaborating with the Chief Learning Officers Council to develop standards for agency use of data to prioritize investment in workforce development. Through these standards, agencies will apply data including skills gap analysis (e.g., retirement projections, competency gaps, etc.) to prioritize needs. We will continue to monitor OPM's efforts.
    Recommendation: To create a more effective human capital system that is more responsive to managing priorities and future workforce needs, the Director of OPM, in conjunction with the CHCO Council, should ensure agencies are getting the guidance and tools that they need by evaluating the communication strategy for and effectiveness of relevant tools, guidance, or leading practices created by OPM or the agencies to address crosscutting human capital management challenges.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2016, OPM reported that its office of Employee Services is developing for deployment a comprehensive Strategic Human Capital Management (SHCM) needs survey that will be distributed to the CHCO Council. The survey is designed to directly solicit information about relevant tools, guidance and resources from agency human capital professionals that they feel will benefit their SHCM processes. This annual survey and the information OPM gathers from the survey results will assist OPM with developing/providing suggested tools through the HCF. We will continue to monitor OPM's efforts.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to ensure it is fully leveraging investments made in canceled programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics to develop department-wide processes to improve tracking of assets, including technical data and software, and dissemination of information about assets available for reuse after programs are canceled.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, DOD has not provided evidence of any processes that could improve tracking of assets such as technical data and software.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    5 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the acquisition management of the Plan and the reliability of its cost estimates and schedules, assess the effectiveness of deployed technologies, and better inform CBP's deployment decisions, when updating the schedules for the IFT, Remote Video Surveillance System (RVSS), and Mobile Surveillance Capability programs, the Commissioner of CBP should ensure that scheduling best practices, as outlined in our schedule assessment guide, are applied to the three programs' schedules.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2014, CBP concurred with our recommendation and in response, stated it planned to ensure that scheduling best practices are applied as far as practical when updating the three program schedules. In May 2016 CBP provided us with complete schedules for the IFT and RVSS programs. In December 2016, we provided CBP our assessment of the updated schedules for the IFT and RVSS programs. In January 2017 CBP provided us with a complete schedule for the MSC program and in March 2017, we provided CBP with our assessment of the MSC schedule. In April 2017, CBP provided additional clarifying information in regards to the MSC schedule. As of May 2017, based on our assessment of the updated schedules for the IFT, RVSS, and MSC programs, CBP has made improvements in the quality of the schedules since our last report, but the program schedules have not met all characteristics of a reliable schedule.
    Recommendation: To improve the acquisition management of the Plan and the reliability of its cost estimates and schedules, assess the effectiveness of deployed technologies, and better inform CBP's deployment decisions, the Commissioner of CBP should develop and maintain an Integrated Master Schedule for the Plan that is consistent with scheduling best practices.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2014, CBP did not concur with this recommendation and maintained that an integrated master schedule for the Plan in one file undermines the DHS-approved implementation strategy for the individual programs making up the Plan, and that the implementation of this recommendation would essentially create a large, aggregated program, and effectively create an aggregated "system of systems". DHS further stated that a key element of the Plan has been the disaggregation of technology procurements. As of December 2016, CBP continues to non-concur with this recommendation and plans no further action. However, as we noted in the report, collectively these programs are intended to provide CBP with a combination of surveillance capabilities to be used along the Arizona border with Mexico. Moreover, while the programs themselves may be independent of one another, the Plan's resources are being shared among the programs. As such, we continue to believe that developing an integrated master schedule for the Plan is needed. Developing and maintaining an integrated master schedule for the Plan could allow CBP insight into current or programmed allocation of resources for all programs as opposed to attempting to resolve any resource constraints for each program individually.
    Recommendation: To improve the acquisition management of the Plan and the reliability of its cost estimates and schedules, assess the effectiveness of deployed technologies, and better inform CBP's deployment decisions, when updating Life-cycle Cost Estimates for the IFT and RVSS programs, the Commissioner of CBP should verify the Life-cycle Cost Estimates with independent cost estimates and reconcile any differences.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2014, DHS concurred with this recommendation. In May 2016 CBP provided us with updated life-cycle cost estimates for two of its highest-cost programs under the Plan--the Integrated Fixed Tower (IFT) and the Remote Video Surveillance (RVSS). Further, CBP officials stated that in fiscal year 2016, DHS's Cost Analysis Division started piloting DHS's independent cost estimate capability on the RVSS program. According to CBP officials, the pilot is an opportunity to assist DHS in developing its independent cost estimate capability and that CBP selected the RVSS program for the pilot because the program is at a point in its planning and execution process where it can benefit most from having an independent cost estimate performed as these technologies are being deployed along the southwest border, beyond Arizona. In August 2016, CBP officials provided an update stating that details for an estimated independent cost estimate schedule and analysis plan for the RVSS program had not yet been finalized. As of November 2016, CBP officials stated that the results of the independent cost estimate for the RVSS program are expected to be completed by January 31, 2017. Further, CBP officials have not detailed similar plans for the IFT. We continue to believe that independently verifying the life-cycle cost estimates for the IFT and RVSS programs and reconciling any differences, consistent with best practices, could help CBP better ensure the reliability of the estimates.
    Recommendation: To improve the acquisition management of the Plan and the reliability of its cost estimates and schedules, assess the effectiveness of deployed technologies, and better inform CBP's deployment decisions, the Commissioner of CBP should revise the IFT Test and Evaluation Master Plan to more fully test the IFT program, before beginning full production, in the various environmental conditions in which IFTs will be used to determine operational effectiveness and suitability, in accordance with DHS acquisition guidance.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2014, DHS did not concur with this recommendation and stated that the Test and Evaluation Master Plan includes tailored testing and user assessments that will provide much, if not all, of the insight contemplated by the intent of the recommendation. According to CBP officials, acceptance testing was performed on the system in July 2015 and a limited user testing for the IFT system was conducted during October and November 2015. In May 2016, CBP reported that it had conditionally accepted seven out of 53 IFT systems in one area of responsibility. CBP also reported that it is working to deploy and test the remaining IFT unit systems to other areas of responsibility. In November 2016, CBP stated that they continue to non-concur with this recommendation and planned no further action. However, as we reported in March 2014, we continue to believe that revising the Test and Evaluation Master Plan to include more robust testing to determine operational effectiveness and suitability could better position CBP to (1) evaluate IFT capabilities before moving forward to full production for the system, (2) provide CBP with information on the extent to which the towers satisfy Border Patrol's user requirements, and (3) reduce potential program risks. Without conducting operational testing in accordance with DHS guidance, the IFT program may be at increased risk of not meeting Border Patrol operational needs.
    Recommendation: To improve the acquisition management of the Plan and the reliability of its cost estimates and schedules, assess the effectiveness of deployed technologies, and better inform CBP's deployment decisions, once data on asset assists are required to be recorded and tracked, the Commissioner of CBP should analyze available data on apprehensions and seizures and technological assists, in combination with other relevant performance metrics or indicators, as appropriate, to determine the contribution of surveillance technologies to CBP's border security efforts.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In February 2015, Border Patrol officials provided documentation stating that the agency has yet to analyze data on asset assists, in combination with other relevant performance metrics and indicators to determine the contributions of surveillance technologies to its mission. However, the Border Patrol plans to address this recommendation using the Capability Gap Analysis Process (CGAP) developed by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab specifically for the Border Patrol. According to Border Patrol officials, the CGAP will enable the agency to examine the effects of technology and other Border Patrol assets such as agents, infrastructure, in the context of everyday border patrol operations. The data generated by the CGAP along with e3 apprehension and seizure data will better inform the nature of the contributions and impacts of surveillance technology on enforcement efforts. Border Patrol officials explained that capturing data on asset assists within the in e3 Processing database was the first step to determine the contribution of technology to detect, identify, and classify activity along the border. Further, the Border Patrol identified individual types of technology such as Integrated Fixed Towers, Mobile Video Surveillance System, Underground Sensors, etc. and grouped them into classes such as Fixed, Mobile and Relocatable to better distinguish the contribution of each class of technology. As the Border Patrol gains a better understanding through analysis, the agency plans to continue to refine the measures and the collection of the metrics. In November 2014, the Border Patrol proposed a timeline highlighting the agency's future efforts to capture and document the contributions of the different classes of technology to the Border Patrol's mission. In our March 2016 update on the progress made by agencies to address our findings on duplication and cost savings across the federal government, we reported that CBP had modified its time frame for developing baselines for each performance measure and that additional time would be needed to implement and apply key attributes for metrics. In March 2016, according to CBP officials, the actual completion was being adjusted pending test and evaluation results for recently deployed technologies on the southwest border. In addition, Border Patrol officials told us that they planned to have various qualitative and quantitative performance measures of technology completed by the end of fiscal year 2016. These measures would help profile different levels of situational awareness in different areas of the border. In September 2016, Border Patrol provided a case study that assessed CGAP data with technology assist data and other measures to determine contributions of surveillance technologies to its mission. While this is a start to developing performance measures, the case study is limited to one location along the border and the analysis limited to select technologies. As of April 2017, CBP had not conducted assessments of the deployments to determine the contribution of surveillance technologies to the border security mission. Until CBP completes its efforts to fully develop and apply key attributes for performance metrics for all technologies to be deployed under the Plan, it will not be well positioned to fully assess its progress in implementing and determining the Plan and determine when mission benefits have been fully realized.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To identify lessons learned from and provide assurance of preventing recurrence of cost increases for the MOX facility and WSB, and to develop reliable cost estimates for the Plutonium Disposition program, the Secretary of Energy should direct the DOE and NNSA Offices of Acquisition and Project Management and the NNSA office responsible for managing the Plutonium Disposition program, as appropriate, to revise and update the program's life-cycle cost estimate following the 12 key steps described in the GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide for developing high-quality cost estimates, such as conducting an independent cost estimate to provide an objective and unbiased assessment of whether the estimate can be achieved.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE is currently evaluating dilute and dispose as a potential alternative approach to the MOX approach. As a result, DOE does not plan to update the Plutonium Disposition Program life-cycle estimate until a decision is made on which approach to pursue. We will continue to monitor this situation and update the status of this recommendation once DOE has made a decision on the approach taken by this program.
    Recommendation: To identify lessons learned from and provide assurance of preventing recurrence of cost increases for the MOX facility and WSB, and to develop reliable cost estimates for the Plutonium Disposition program, the Secretary of Energy should direct the DOE and NNSA Offices of Acquisition and Project Management and the NNSA office responsible for managing the Plutonium Disposition program, as appropriate, to ensure that the MOX contractor revises its proposal for increasing the cost of the MOX facility to meet all best practices for a high-quality, reliable cost estimate--for example, by cross-checking major cost elements to determine whether alternative estimating methods produce similar results.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE is currently evaluating dilute and dispose as a potential alternative approach to the MOX approach. As a result, DOE does not plan to update the proposal for increasing the cost of the MOX facility until a decision is made on which approach to pursue. We will continue to monitor this situation and update the status of this recommendation once DOE has made a decision on the approach taken by this program.
    Recommendation: To ensure that future DOE projects benefit from lessons learned that reflect the underlying causes of cost increases or schedule delays experienced by other projects, and that Congress and DOE have life-cycle cost estimates for DOE programs that include individual construction projects, the Secretary of Energy should revise DOE's project management order or otherwise implement a departmentwide requirement by requiring life-cycle cost estimates covering the full cost of programs that include both construction projects and other efforts and activities not related to construction.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE revised its project management order in May 2016 but did not make any changes in regards to this recommendation. We will continue to monitor DOE activities, if any, related to this recommendation.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's management and oversight of the WFO program, the Secretary of Energy should require laboratories to establish and follow written procedures for developing WFO project budgets and for charging costs to WFO projects.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOE, the Chief Financial Officer will address this recommendation as part of the revisions to DOE Order 520.1A. As of March 2017, DOE anticipates that the updated order will be completed in the first quarter of fiscal year 2018.
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's management and oversight of the WFO program, the Secretary of Energy should ensure that annual summary reports of WFO activities are prepared so that data on those activities are readily available for those who need this information.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: On December 5, 2016, DOE issued revised order 481.1D, Strategic Partnership Projects (SPP) [Formerly Known as Work for Others (Non-Department of Energy Funded Work)] and has removed the requirement to issue annual summary reports of Work for Others activities. Instead, the revised order states that reports can be prepared on an "as needed" basis.
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's management and oversight of the WFO program, the Secretary of Energy should establish performance measures that incorporate key attributes of successful performance measures and that address the objectives of the WFO program.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: On December 5, 2016, DOE issued revised order 481.1D Strategic Partnership Projects (SPP)[Formerly Known as Work for Others (Non-Department of Energy Funded Work)]. DOE states that this order addresses performance measures and that the corrective action is closed. Although the order directs DOE Field Office Managers to "establish performance measures to assess the effectiveness of the procedures for SPP review, acceptance, authorization and monitoring consistent with NNSA policies and procedures", it does not further identify specific performance measures that address the objectives of the SPP program as indicated in the order.
    Director: Scire, Mathew J
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen FHA accountability for complying with the Fund's statutory capital requirement, Congress should consider requiring that FHA submit a capital restoration plan and regular updates on plan implementation whenever the capital ratio falls below 2 percent as calculated in the annual actuarial review of the Fund, or the Fund's financial condition does not meet other congressionally-defined requirements.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not yet acted on this matter for consideration.
    Recommendation: To provide additional perspective on the Fund's financial status, FHA should disclose estimates of the individual cash flows associated with the liability for loan guarantees (premiums, claims, and recoveries), including their value for each year of the 30-year estimation period.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development: Federal Housing Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, HUD has not yet acted on this recommendation.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure Ford-class carrier acquisitions are supported by sound requirements and a comprehensive testing strategy, and to promote the introduction of reliable, warfighting capable ships into the fleet, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to take the following action prior to accepting delivery of Gerald R. Ford CVN 78. The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to conduct a cost-benefit analysis on (1) currently required capabilities, including increased sortie generation rates and reduced manning and (2) the time and money needed to field systems to provide these capabilities, in light of known and projected reliability shortfalls for critical systems. This analysis should be informed by demonstrated system performance from land-based testing, including updated reliability growth projections, and should identify trade space among competing cost, schedule, and performance parameters. The analysis should also consider whether the Navy should seek requirements relief from the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, to the extent necessary, to maximize its return on investment to the warfighter. The Navy should report the results of this analysis to Congress within 30 days of CVN 78 commissioning.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: We recommended that DOD conduct a cost-benefit analysis on currently required capabilities, and report the results to Congress within 30 days of CVN 78 commissioning. DOD agreed with our recommendation for a cost-benefit analysis, but disagreed with the timing of it, stating that it plans to measure CVN 78 capabilities through completion of operational testing after ship delivery. Since the release of our report, the Navy completed cost-benefit analyses to determine the acquisition strategy for CVN 79, making two major changes to the ship (replacing the Dual Band Radar (DBR) with a different radar solution and introducing a phased construction and delivery approach.) While these are major program changes, the department did not evaluate the fundamental reason for conducting a cost-benefit analysis, namely that known and projected reliability shortfalls make it unlikely that the program will achieve its sortie generation requirements. In December 2016, an Independent Review Team commissioned by the Under Secretary of Defense, Acquisition, Technology and Logistics completed a comprehensive assessment of the CVN 78's systems, but did not recommend any capability trade-offs or requirements relief.
    Recommendation: To ensure Ford-class carrier acquisitions are supported by sound requirements and a comprehensive testing strategy, and to promote the introduction of reliable, warfighting capable ships into the fleet, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to take the following action prior to accepting delivery of CVN 78. The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to adjust the planned post-delivery test schedule to ensure that system integration testing is completed prior to entering initial operational test and evaluation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Until the Navy updates the test plan in February 2018, we will not know if it will fully address our recommendation. However, recent test schedules suggest an overlap remains between integration testing and the start of initial operational test and evaluation.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve departmentwide strategic sourcing efforts at DOD, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics to issue direction that (1) sets goals for spending managed through strategic sourcing vehicles, (2) establishes procedures for the identification and tracking of departmentwide and component strategic sourcing efforts through the PASS office, (3) implements the PASS office strategic sourcing guidance, (4) links strategic sourcing to its Better Buying Power memorandum, and (5) establishes metrics, such as utilization rates, to track progress toward these goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation. To fully implement this recommendation, DOD should improve department-wide strategic sourcing efforts to achieve significant cost savings. DOD has been working with the Office of Management and Budget's Category Management Leadership Council to determine appropriate strategic sourcing goals, but specific goals and corresponding metrics have not yet been established.
    Recommendation: To improve departmentwide strategic sourcing efforts at DOD, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics to identify and evaluate the best way to strategically source DOD's highest spending categories of products and services (e.g., governmentwide vehicles, interagency collaboration, departmentwide vehicles).

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation. To fully implement this recommendation, DOD should improve department-wide strategic sourcing efforts to achieve significant cost savings. DOD has been working with the Office of Management and Budget's Category Management Leadership Council to determine appropriate strategic sourcing goals, but specific goals and corresponding metrics have not yet been established.
    Director: Aloise, Eugene E
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance NNSA's ability to better ensure the validity of its budget submissions, and to decide on resource trade-offs, the Secretary of Energy should direct the DOE Office of Budget to formally evaluate DOE Order 130.1 and revise as necessary, and communicate any revisions to the NNSA Administrator so that the agency will have updated provisions for assessing the quality of its budget estimates.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOE's audit tracking system report, for the period ending 1/28/16, DOE Office of Budget was evaluating and revising DOE Order 130.1 as necessary to include PPBE. The report states that the Office of Budget will communicate revisions to NNSA as appropriate with an estimated completion date of 9/30/16. According to a previous tracking system report, Order 130.1 was updated and placed in the management review process some time between 6/30/13 and 9/30/13. According to DOE, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer implemented a new funding execution system on October 1, 2016. The development and implementation of the new system has delayed revision of DOE Order 130.1. The new system will impact the budget practices, planning, policies and processes content that will be outlined in the revised DOE 130.1. As of June 5, 2017, DOE anticipates issuance of a fully approved DOE Order 130.1 by August 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: To enhance NNSA's ability to better ensure the validity of its budget submissions, and to decide on resource trade-offs, the Secretary of Energy, once this process is developed, should direct the Administrator of NNSA to incorporate a formal mechanism to evaluate the status of recommendations made during previous budget validation reviews so that NNSA can measure M&O contractors' and programs' progress in responding to deficiencies with their budget estimates.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, NNSA indicated that it intends to consolidate all PPBE business operating procedures into a single document, which has not been issued. NNSA has not determined whether a separate budget validation process, as outlined in a January 2017 policy letter, will be required and intends to conduct an effectiveness review of the existing process in approximately one year (August 2018). As a result, this recommendation remains open.
    Director: Mctigue Jr, James R
    Phone: (202) 512-7968

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To continue to improve information on program cost and results that could aid in resource decision making, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop a quantitative measure of scope, at a minimum for its major IT investments, to have complete information on the performance of these investments.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 2017, IRS had taken actions to develop a quantitative measure of scope for its major information technology (IT) investments, as GAO recommended in June 2012. Specifically, starting in December 2015, IRS included planned "scope elements" for the Return Review Program investment and identified the elements it had delivered to date in its quarterly report on IT to Congress. IRS further enhanced this report in December 2016, by including the percentage of planned scope delivered for selected investments. IRS actions represent positive steps and GAO will continue to work with the agency to determine the reliability of the reported performance information and monitor efforts to expand the use of a quantitative measure of scope. These efforts will assist with providing IRS and other decision makers complete information on the performance of major IT investments.
    Director: Irving, Susan J
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Treasury should build the capacity for a buyback program that could be used to respond to potential changes in market conditions during times of deficit. Such a program should allow for broader direct participation beyond the primary dealers. In conducting any buyback operations Treasury should (1) clearly articulate the purpose of the buyback program, (2) conduct the buyback reverse auctions on a regular and predictable schedule consistent with the purpose of the buyback program, and (3) target a few securities in narrow maturity bands at each reverse auction.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2014, Treasury conducted a small-scale buyback operation to test the information technology infrastructure to ensure that its buyback functionality remains operational. In the reverse auction operation, Treasury bought back $22 million of a note maturing on 2/29/2016. In November 2014, Treasury announced that the operation was successful. Treasury conducted small-value buyback operations in April 2015, April 2016, November 2016, and April 2017 to ensure operational readiness of its buyback infrastructure. In announcing the buyback operations, Treasury noted that they should not be viewed by market participants as a precursor or signal of any pending policy changes regarding Treasury's use of buybacks. In June 2016, Treasury officials told us that eligibility to participate in buyback operations is limited to primary dealers because of constraints of the current trading systems. They also said that Treasury is continuing to examine the costs and benefits of buybacks as a debt management tool. As of August 2017 we asked Treasury officials for an update on the implementation status of this recommendation and are awaiting their response.
    Director: Gambler, Rebecca S
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase the likelihood of successful implementation of the Arizona Border Surveillance Technology Plan and maximize the effectiveness of technology already deployed, the Commissioner of CBP should take the following step in planning the agency's new technology approach: determine the mission benefits to be derived from implementation of the plan and develop and apply key attributes for metrics to assess program implementation.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: As GAO recommended in November 2011, CBP has identified mission benefits to be derived from implementing the Arizona Border Surveillance Technology Plan (Plan). In April 2013, CBP issued its Multi-Year Investment and Management Plan for Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure, and Technology for Fiscal Years 2014 through 2017, which identifies mission benefits to be achieved by all surveillance technologies (e.g., cameras or sensors) to be deployed under the Plan. According to CBP, the majority of these technologies will provide the mission benefits of improved situational awareness and agent safety. Furthermore, according to CBP's Multi-Year Investment and Management Plan for Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure, and Technology for Fiscal Years 2014 - 2017, the technologies deployed or planned for deployment as part of the Plan are intended to help enhance the ability of Border Patrol agents to detect, identify, deter, and respond to threats along the border. CBP's identification of mission benefits will help position CBP to assess its progress in implementing the Plan and the effectiveness of the Plan's technologies in achieving their intended goals. CBP has made some progress in identifying key attributes for metrics to assess implementation of the Arizona Border Surveillance Technology Plan (Plan), as GAO recommended in November 2011, but it has not yet fully identified and applied attributes for metrics for all technologies under the Plan. Since August 2010, CBP has operated multiple technology systems under the Secure Border Initiative Network (SBInet), which preceded the Plan and is a combination of surveillance technologies aimed at creating a "virtual fence" along the southwest border. Specifically, CBP has operated two surveillance systems under SBInet's initial deployment in high-priority regions of the Arizona border. In October 2012, CBP officials stated that these operations identified examples of key attributes for metrics that can be useful in assessing the implementation for technologies. For example, according to CBP, to help measure whether illegal activity has decreased, examples of key attributes include decreases in arrests, complaints by citizens and ranchers, and destruction of public and private lands and property. In November 2014, CBP identified a set of potential key attributes for performance metrics for all technologies to be deployed under the Plan. While CBP has yet to apply these measures, it established a timeline for developing performance measures for each technology. CBP initially expected baselines for each performance measure to be developed by the end of fiscal year 2015. However, in October 2015, CBP officials stated that CBP had modified its time frame for developing baselines and that additional time would be needed to implement and apply key attributes for metrics. In March 2016, CBP officials stated that CBP had planned to use the baseline data to establish a tool by the end of fiscal year 2016. In addition, CBP officials stated these performance measures would profile levels of situational awareness in various areas of the border. In September 2016, CBP provided GAO a case study that assessed technology assist data along with other measures such as field-based assessments of capability gaps, to determine the contributions of surveillance technologies to its mission. While this is a start to developing and applying performance metrics, the case study was limited to one border location and the analysis was limited to select technologies. Until CBP completes its efforts to fully develop and apply key attributes for performance metrics for all technologies to be deployed under the Plan, it will likely not be able to fully assess its progress in implementing the Plan and determine when mission benefits have been fully realized.
    Recommendation: To increase the reliability of CBP's Cost Estimate for the Arizona Border Surveillance Technology Plan, the Commissioner of CBP should update its cost estimate for the Plan using best practices, so that the estimate is comprehensive, accurate, well-documented, and credible. Specifically, the CBP's Office of Technology Innovation and Acquisition (OTIA) program office should (1) fully document data used in the cost model; (2) conduct a sensitivity analysis and risk and uncertainty analysis to determine a level of confidence in the estimate so that contingency funding can be established relative to quantified risk; and (3) independently verify the new life-cycle cost estimate with an independent cost estimate and reconcile any differences.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: As GAO recommended in 2011, CBP provided cost estimates for the IFT and RVSS programs, the two highest cost programs in the Arizona Border Surveillance Technology Plan (Plan), in February and March 2012, respectively, and updated the cost estimate for the Plan in June 2013. However, these estimates do not fully meet cost-estimating best practices. In November 2011, GAO reported that the Plan's original cost estimate met some, but not all, cost-estimating best practices. Specifically, CBP had not conducted a sensitivity analysis and a risk and uncertainty analysis to determine a level of confidence in the original estimate, nor did CBP compare the original cost estimate with an independent estimate. For the cost estimate that CBP provided for the IFT in February 2012 and RVSS in March 2012, CBP partially documented the data used in the cost model for the IFT's LCCE (but needs to provide additional data and document management approval) and fully documented the cost model for the RVSS' LCCE. Developing a well-documented cost estimate is a best practice. CBP also conducted a sensitivity analysis and risk and uncertainty analysis to determine the level of confidence in both LCCEs so that contingency funding could be established relative to quantified risk. In addition, CBP's June 2013, CBP revised the cost estimate for the Plan does not fully address our concerns. For example, the IFT and RVSS compose over 90 percent of the Plan's cost in the June 2013 cost estimate; however, CBP has not independently verified its cost estimates for these two programs with independent cost estimates and reconciled any differences. Such action would help CBP better ensure the reliability of each system's cost estimate. Furthermore, the remainder of the June 2013 cost estimate is not fully documented for the Plan's other five programs, consistent with best practices. For example, the estimates for the other five programs are not fully documented because they are provided as summary program costs without detailed descriptions, such as including back-up documentation for labor hours. In November 2015, CBP had yet to update its LCCEs for two of its highest cost programs under the plan. In May 2016, CBP officials stated that the DHS's Cost Analysis Division had started piloting DHS's Independent Cost Estimate capability on the RVSS program in fiscal year 2016. According to CBP officials, this pilot test within CBP is an opportunity to assist DHS in developing its Independent Cost Estimate capability and that CBP selected the RVSS program for the pilot because the RVSS program is at a point in its planning and execution process where it can benefit most from having an independent cost estimate performed as these technologies are being deployed along the southwest border, beyond Arizona. As of October 2016, CBP officials stated that the RVSS schedule and analysis, as well as the results of the independent program cost estimate pilot is expected to be completed at the end of fiscal year 2017. CBP officials stated that they will provide information on the final reconciliation of the independent cost estimate and the RVSS program cost estimate once the pilot has been completed. Further, CBP officials have yet to detail similar plans for the IFT program. As updated life-cycle cost estimates have yet to be completed and independent cost estimates have not been conducted, GAO cannot determine the extent to which the agency is following best practices when updating the life-cycle cost estimates. Moreover, to fully address our recommendation, a LCCE for the Plan that fully addresses best practices is needed to ensure that the estimate is comprehensive, accurate, well-documented, and credible to help the agency and Congress fully understand the impacts of integrating the Plan's various programs.
    Director: Khan, Asif A
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in coordination with the military service secretaries (as appropriate), to revise the Army procedures to include specific steps required to retain documentation of the activities performed and related results.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the draft report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and cited actions in process to revise its Financial Management Regulation (FMR). In 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) (OUSD(C)) stated that the Components provided comments and edits to the draft Chapter 23. The comments were more detailed than projected and require extensive research to verify. However, it is not clear whether this action will provide sufficient Army-specific procedural requirements. As of August 2017, we have not been able to obtain supporting documentation to assess whether the recommendation was implemented.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in coordination with the military service secretaries (as appropriate), to revise the Marine Corps and Air Force procedures to include specific steps required to validate data in the OCO report including reconciliations and retain documentation of the activities performed and related results.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the draft report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and cited actions in process to revise its Financial Management Regulation (FMR). In 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) (OUSD(C)) stated that the Components provided comments and edits to the draft Chapter 23. The comments were more detailed than projected and require extensive research to verify. However, it is not clear whether this action will provide sufficient Marine Corps and Air Force-specific procedural requirements. As of August 2017, we have not been able to obtain supporting documentation to assess whether the recommendation was implemented.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in coordination with the military service secretaries (as appropriate), to establish Navy procedures to include specific steps required to validate data in the OCO report including variance analysis and reconciliations, and retain documentation of the activities performed and related results.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the draft report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and cited actions in process to revise its Financial Management Regulation (FMR). In 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) (OUSD(C)) stated that the Components provided comments and edits to the draft Chapter 23. The comments were more detailed than projected and require extensive research to verify. However, it is not clear whether this action will provide sufficient Navy-specific procedural requirements. As of August 2017, we have not been able to obtain supporting documentation to assess whether the recommendation was implemented.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in coordination with the military service secretaries (as appropriate), to revise DOD requirements in FMR 7000.14-R, Volume 12, Chapter 23, Contingency Operations, to provide clear, detailed guidance on (1) conducting reconciliations and other validations and (2) documenting military service-level reviews and DOD Comptroller-level reviews.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the draft report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and cited actions in process to revise its Financial Management Regulation (FMR). In 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) (OUSD(C)) stated that the Components provided comments and edits to the draft Chapter 23. The comments were more detailed than projected and require extensive research to verify. As of August 2017, we have not been able to obtain supporting documentation to assess whether the recommendation was implemented.
    Director: White, James R
    Phone: (202) 512-9039

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As Congress considers whether tax-exempt governmental bonds should be used for professional sports stadiums that are generally privately used, it may also wish to consider whether other facilities, including hotels and golf courses, that are privately used should continue to be financed with tax-exempt governmental bonds.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: No legislative action enacted as of March 2017. A bill was introduced in Congress in February 2017 (H.R. 811) which, if enacted, would, in general, not allow tax-exempt government bonds to be used to finance professional sports stadiums. Reconsidering the tax-exempt status of certain bonds could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in additional federal revenue.