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    Subject Term: "Forensic audits"

    73 publications with a total of 222 open recommendations including 23 priority recommendations
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    22 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, the Interior, State, and Veterans Affairs; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct their CIOs to factor active risks into their IT Dashboard CIO ratings.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions have been taken, we will update the recommendation status.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, the Interior, State, and Veterans Affairs; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct their CIOs to factor active risks into their IT Dashboard CIO ratings.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department agreed with the recommendation, but has not provided an update on its actions to address it. When we confirm what actions have been taken, we will update.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, the Interior, State, and Veterans Affairs; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct their CIOs to factor active risks into their IT Dashboard CIO ratings.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department agreed with the recommendation and, in a written response, stated that the Office of the CIO will update the CIO's OMB IT Dashboard Standard Operating Procedure to include the evaluation and assessment of active risks. This effort is to be completed by the end of December 2016. We will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, the Interior, State, and Veterans Affairs; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct their CIOs to factor active risks into their IT Dashboard CIO ratings.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department agreed with the recommendation and, in a written response, stated that it updated its CIO evaluation methodology to measure active risks in areas such as budget variance, performance, policy and governance compliance, risk management, and contract risk. When we confirm what actions have been taken, we will update.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, the Interior, State, and Veterans Affairs; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct their CIOs to factor active risks into their IT Dashboard CIO ratings.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department agreed with this recommendation and, in a written response, stated that it plans to address this recommendation with the following actions: (1) developing a method to review and assign ratings for active risks that will be incorporated into CIO ratings and (2) integrating the risk rating methodology into a new process for all major investments' CIO ratings. We will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, the Interior, State, and Veterans Affairs; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct their CIOs to factor active risks into their IT Dashboard CIO ratings.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department agreed with the recommendation and, in a written response, stated that it is amending its current monthly review process to ensure that risks are factored into its IT Dashboard CIO ratings. VA expects to complete this effort during the first quarter of 2017. We will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, the Interior, State, and Veterans Affairs; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct their CIOs to factor active risks into their IT Dashboard CIO ratings.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department agreed with the recommendation, but has not provided an update on its actions to address the recommendation. When we confirm what actions have been taken, we will update.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, the Interior, State, and Veterans Affairs; and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should direct their CIOs to factor active risks into their IT Dashboard CIO ratings.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions have been taken, we will update the recommendation status.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Defense, Education, and Homeland Security; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct their CIOs to update their CIO ratings at least as frequently as required in OMB's guidance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) disagreed with this recommendation. In its written response, the Department noted that its semi-annual reporting is consistent with FITARA requirements and is documented in its OMB-approved FITARA Implementation Plan. After the publication of our report in June 2016, OMB issued its "Fiscal Year 2018 IT Budget-Capital Planning Guidance." This guidance removes the mandatory reporting frequency, but states that OMB expects that the CIOs would evaluate and rate their investments at specific times, including when the investment business cases are submitted to OMB in the agency budget request and when the business cases are prepared for the President's Budget release. In light of this new guidance, we analyzed the Department's update frequency for its 34 major investments (as listed on the IT Dashboard in June 2017). From June 2016 through May 2017, we found that 26 of the investments' ratings were updated once: in May 2017. The other 8 investments were not updated during this timeframe. Prior to this, the last DOD rating updates were made in March 2016, over a year beforehand. This analysis shows that DOD is not adhering to either its own semi-annual reporting requirements or to OMB's expectations. As such, we are not closing the recommendation at this time. We will continue to monitor the IT Dashboard for changes to DOD's update frequency. We maintain that frequent rating updates help ensure that the information on the Dashboard is timely and accurately reflects recent changes. Without such updates, the CIO ratings on the IT Dashboard may not reflect the current level of investment risk.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, Transportation, the Treasury, Veterans Affairs; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct their CIOs to ensure that their CIO ratings reflect the level of risk facing an investment relative to that investment's ability to accomplish its goals.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department agreed with the recommendation and, in a written response, stated that the Office of the CIO Enterprise Business Management Office is updating its program assessment guideline. The updated guideline will include risk-based scores as the basis for its investment ratings. The Department expects to release this new guideline by the end of December 2016. We will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, Transportation, the Treasury, Veterans Affairs; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct their CIOs to ensure that their CIO ratings reflect the level of risk facing an investment relative to that investment's ability to accomplish its goals.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions have been taken, we will update the recommendation status.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, Transportation, the Treasury, Veterans Affairs; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct their CIOs to ensure that their CIO ratings reflect the level of risk facing an investment relative to that investment's ability to accomplish its goals.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department agreed with the recommendation, but has not provided an update on its actions to address it. When we confirm what actions have been taken, we will update.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, Transportation, the Treasury, Veterans Affairs; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct their CIOs to ensure that their CIO ratings reflect the level of risk facing an investment relative to that investment's ability to accomplish its goals.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department agreed with our recommendation and, in a written response, stated that the CIO has revised the IT Dashboard assessment criteria to directly incorporate the degree of risk represented in the investments' Business Case documents. We will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, Transportation, the Treasury, Veterans Affairs; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct their CIOs to ensure that their CIO ratings reflect the level of risk facing an investment relative to that investment's ability to accomplish its goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions have been taken, we will update the recommendation status.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, Transportation, the Treasury, Veterans Affairs; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct their CIOs to ensure that their CIO ratings reflect the level of risk facing an investment relative to that investment's ability to accomplish its goals.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department agreed with the recommendation and, in a written response, stated that the Office of the CIO will update its IT Dashboard Standard Operating Procedure to include an active risk sub-criteria comprised of probability and impact scores. This effort is to be completed by the end of December 2016. We will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, Transportation, the Treasury, Veterans Affairs; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct their CIOs to ensure that their CIO ratings reflect the level of risk facing an investment relative to that investment's ability to accomplish its goals.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department agreed with the recommendation and, in a written response, stated that it updated its CIO evaluation methodology to measure active risks in areas such as budget variance, performance, policy and governance compliance, risk management, and contract risk. According to HHS, these risk areas reflect both internal and external risks that affect an investment's ability to accomplish its goals. When we confirm what actions have been taken, we will update.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, Transportation, the Treasury, Veterans Affairs; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct their CIOs to ensure that their CIO ratings reflect the level of risk facing an investment relative to that investment's ability to accomplish its goals.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency partially agreed with our recommendation and, in a written response, stated that its CIO rating criteria includes a review of the level of risk facing an investment relative to that investment's ability to accomplish its goals. The written statement also notes that the CIO receives regular updates from key stakeholders on investment risks and mitigation plans. When we confirm what actions have been taken, we will update.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, Transportation, the Treasury, Veterans Affairs; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct their CIOs to ensure that their CIO ratings reflect the level of risk facing an investment relative to that investment's ability to accomplish its goals.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions have been taken, we will update the recommendation status.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, Transportation, the Treasury, Veterans Affairs; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct their CIOs to ensure that their CIO ratings reflect the level of risk facing an investment relative to that investment's ability to accomplish its goals.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions have been taken, we will update the recommendation status.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, Transportation, the Treasury, Veterans Affairs; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct their CIOs to ensure that their CIO ratings reflect the level of risk facing an investment relative to that investment's ability to accomplish its goals.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department agreed with the recommendation and, in a written response, stated that it plans to require investment managers to assess operational risks detailing the probability and impact of pending threats to success. VA expects to complete this effort during the first quarter of 2017. We will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, Transportation, the Treasury, Veterans Affairs; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct their CIOs to ensure that their CIO ratings reflect the level of risk facing an investment relative to that investment's ability to accomplish its goals.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department agreed with the recommendation, but has not provided an update on its actions to address the recommendation. When we confirm what actions have been taken, we will update.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the Dashboard ratings more accurately reflect risk, the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, Transportation, the Treasury, Veterans Affairs; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct their CIOs to ensure that their CIO ratings reflect the level of risk facing an investment relative to that investment's ability to accomplish its goals.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency disagreed with the recommendation and has not provided an update on its actions to address the recommendation. We will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
    Director: bertonid@gao.gov
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    8 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To ensure effective and appropriate recovery of DI overpayments and administration of penalties and sanctions, the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should clarify its policy for assessing the reasonableness of expenses used in determining beneficiaries' repayment amounts to help ensure that withholding plans are consistently established across the agency and accurately reflect individuals' ability to pay.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As a result of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, SSA gained the ability to use the Access to Financial Information (AFI) system to verify information about the assets of beneficiaries. In February 2017, the agency reported it is continuing to work on clarifying its policy for assessing the reasonableness of expenses used in determining repayment amounts, including guidance on using the new AFI process. As part of this effort, SSA is also reviewing the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Collection Financial Standards and determining whether it can incorporate these or similar standards in its policies for determining reasonable repayment amounts. We will continue to track SSA's efforts to clarify its policies, including efforts to incorporate IRS standards.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective and appropriate recovery of DI overpayments and administration of penalties and sanctions, the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should improve oversight of DI benefit withholding agreements to ensure that they are completed appropriately. This could include requiring supervisory review of repayment plans or sampling plans as part of a quality control process, and requiring that supporting documentation for all withholding plans be retained to enable the agency to perform such oversight.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendation, but does not believe that it is necessary to conduct supervisory reviews. As of February 2017, SSA reported that it is exploring system, policy, and training opportunities to better ensure staff appropriately complete benefit withholding agreements. We will continue to track SSA's efforts to improve oversight in this area.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective and appropriate recovery of DI overpayments and administration of penalties and sanctions, the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should explore the feasibility of using additional methods to independently verify financial information provided by beneficiaries to ensure that complete and reliable information is used when determining repayment amounts. These additional tools could include those already being used by the agency for other purposes.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to SSA, Section 834 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 gave the agency the authority to use the Access to Financial Information system as part of the agency's waiver determination process. SSA reported that, as of February 2017, it also considered using the National Directory of New Hires Query for verifying an overpaid beneficiary's financial information, but preliminarily determined that the information in this system would be of limited value since it is a quarterly report of past earnings. SSA states that it continues to explore other options to verify financial information such as The Work Number and the Interstate Benefit Inquiry. We will monitor SSA's efforts to explore additional options for verifying financial information.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective and appropriate recovery of DI overpayments and administration of penalties and sanctions, the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should adjust the minimum withholding rate to 10 percent of monthly DI benefits to allow quicker recovery of debt.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendation and as of April 2017, it estimated that this would result in an additional $213 million in collections over a 5-year period. The fiscal year 2017 President's budget submission contained a legislative proposal to make this change, but has not yet been enacted. In April 2017, the agency reported that, in the third quarter of fiscal year 2017, it intends to resubmit a regulatory change to establish the minimum withholding rate to 10 percent in the event that its legislative proposal is not included in the fiscal year 2017 budget.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective and appropriate recovery of DI overpayments and administration of penalties and sanctions, the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should consider adjusting monthly withholding amounts according to cost of living adjustments or charging interest on debts being collected by withholding benefits. Should SSA determine that it is necessary to do so, it could pursue legislative authority to use recovery tools that it is currently unable to use.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 2017, SSA continued to disagree with this recommendation. For debt subject to benefit withholding, which is not considered delinquent debt, SSA asserted that these measures would not have a significant effect on the amount of debt recovered, especially compared to the option of changing the minimum withholding rate to 10 percent of monthly benefits. For delinquent debt, SSA stated charging interest on debts would require substantial changes to multiple systems that affect its overpayment businesses processes, and would require extensive training to its employees. We continue to believe there is merit in further consideration of these measures. While SSA reported it has studied the potential changes needed to charge interest on debt, without further consideration of, for example, the costs and benefits of charging interest or adjusting withholding amounts according to cost of living adjustments, SSA cannot know the extent to which these options would improve debt recovery efforts or help protect the value of debts against the effects of inflation, which can be substantial given that withholding plans can take decades to complete.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective and appropriate recovery of DI overpayments and administration of penalties and sanctions, the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should pursue additional debt collection tools for collecting delinquent penalties. This includes taking steps to implement tools within its existing authority and exploring the use of those not within its authority, and seeking legislative authority if necessary.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, SSA reported that: it had drafted regulations to use existing external debt collection tools for penalties, was developing a legislative proposal to allow the use of additional debt collection tools such as Federal salary offset and credit bureau reporting, and had started planning for a multi-activity, multi-year administrative sanctions project. In February 2017, SSA reported that, as part of its administrative sanctions project, the agency revised policy guidance on factors significant to OCIG's civil monetary penalty determinations. We will track SSA's progress in applying new tools to collecting penalties.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective and appropriate recovery of DI overpayments and administration of penalties and sanctions, the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take steps to collect complete, accurate, and timely data on, and thereby improve its ability to track civil monetary penalties and their disposition.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 2017, SSA reported that it is developing a workload tracking tool for penalties to provide accurate management information on cases. SSA expects to implement this tool by September 2017, and have the first full year of management information available in fiscal year 2018. We will close this recommendation once SSA implements and begins using this tool.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective and appropriate recovery of DI overpayments and administration of penalties and sanctions, the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should take steps to collect complete, accurate, and timely data on, and thereby improve its ability to track administrative sanctions and their disposition.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 2017, SSA reported that it has been developing a new workload tracking tool for administrative sanctions. The first phase of this tool was implemented in December 2016 and allows SSA to track administrative sanction cases throughout the development process. The second phase, expected to be implemented by September 2017, will provide SSA with management information on sanctions cases. We will continue to monitor SSA's process in developing this tool. We will close this recommendation once the tool is implemented.
    Director: John H. Pendleton
    Phone: (202) 512-3489

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To identify and mitigate risk associated with the Army's planned force structure and improve future decision making, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to expand the Army's Total Army Analysis process to routinely require a mission risk assessment for the Army's combat and enabler force structure and an assessment of mitigation strategies for identified risk prior to finalizing future force structure decisions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Army is in the process of reissuing its force development regulation (Army Regulation 71-32) and issuing a new Army Pamphlet. Collectively, officials said that these documents will codify the Army's approach to assessing mission risk and mitigation strategies for its force structure and require that these assessments be completed prior to finalizing future force structure decisions. Army officials said that these documents will be published in September 2017.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that agencies are provided with more complete guidance for contracts for cloud computing services, the Director of OMB should include all ten key practices in future guidance to agencies.

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

    Comments: We are following up with OMB on its service level agreement (SLA) guidance to agencies.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of effective cloud computing SLAs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the appropriate officials to ensure key practices are fully incorporated for cloud services as the contracts and associated SLAs expire. These efforts should include updating the Department of Defense memorandum on acquiring cloud services and current Defense Acquisition Regulations System to more completely include the key practices.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are following up with DOD on updating their service level agreement (SLA) guidance.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of effective cloud computing SLAs, the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs should direct appropriate officials to develop SLA guidance and ensure key practices are fully incorporated as the contract and associated SLAs expire.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are following up with DHS on the finalization of its service level agreement (SLA) guidance.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of effective cloud computing SLAs, the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs should direct appropriate officials to develop SLA guidance and ensure key practices are fully incorporated as the contract and associated SLAs expire.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are following up with HHS on their service level agreement (SLA) guidance.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of effective cloud computing SLAs, the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs should direct appropriate officials to develop SLA guidance and ensure key practices are fully incorporated as the contract and associated SLAs expire.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are following up with Treasury on their service level agreement (SLA) guidance.
    Recommendation: To help ensure continued progress in the implementation of effective cloud computing SLAs, the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs should direct appropriate officials to develop SLA guidance and ensure key practices are fully incorporated as the contract and associated SLAs expire.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are following up with VA on their service level agreement (SLA) guidance.
    Director: Seto Bagdoyan
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of SBA should direct the Associate Administrator of Business Development to document its planned method for tracking revenue generated under subsidiaries' primary and secondary lines of business, with milestones and timelines for when and how the method will be implemented.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO is reviewing documentation that SBA provided regarding actions that it has taken to address this recommendation and is currently determining whether these actions fully address the recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of SBA should direct the Associate Administrator of Business Development to provide the appropriate level of access to and sharing of relevant subsidiary data across district offices, including primary and secondary North American Industry Classification System codes and revenue data, once SBA develops a database with the capabilities of collecting and tracking this revenue data as we recommended in 2012.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO is reviewing documentation that SBA provided regarding actions that it has taken to address this recommendation and is currently determining whether these actions fully address the recommendation.
    Director: Mark L. Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Chairman of FCC should review joint sales agreements (JSA) filed in stations' public inspection files to identify stations involved in those JSAs and take action to ensure that each station involved has filed its JSA as required.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, FCC officials stated that the agency has not taken any action related to this recommendation.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help determine the equitable allocation of enlisted aide authorizations across the military services and the Joint Staff, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in coordination with the secretaries of the military departments and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to conduct an assessment of DOD-wide enlisted aide requirements and determine circumstances under which subsequent periodic updates should occur.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred, with comment, with this recommendation, noting that going forward, the Secretaries of the Military Departments and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will identify their respective total enlisted aide requirements, including requirements that, if authorized, would cause the department to exceed the ceiling on the number of enlisted aides authorized by law. DOD confirmed its position with regard to this recommendation on May 6, 2016.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the efficient and effective use of enlisted aides, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to reallocate enlisted aide authorizations across the military services and the Joint Staff, under the statutory cap, based on its assessments of total enlisted aide requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred, with comment, with this recommendation, stating that it will endeavor to improve the enlisted aide allocation process to better support actual service and joint requirements. DOD confirmed its position with regard to this recommendation on May 6, 2016.
    Recommendation: To help ensure consistency and transparency in military service and Joint Staff enlisted aide authorization and assignment decisions and to help determine enlisted aide requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in coordination with the military services and Joint Staff, to establish criteria for determining enlisted aide workload and include these criteria in relevant enlisted aide guidance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred, with comment, with this recommendation, stating that the workload of an enlisted aide is unique to each position and area of responsibility, and that establishing a fixed set of workload criteria would significantly limit the flexibility of the department, among other things. DOD confirmed its position with regard to this recommendation on May 6, 2016.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the reliability of enlisted aide authorization, assignment, and justification data used in DOD's future annual enlisted aide reports and improve DOD's ability to make informed decisions about the enlisted aide program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to establish a process to assess the reliability of data submitted by the military services and the Joint Staff for future enlisted aide reports.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred, with comment, with this recommendation, noting that they expect that each submission is already subject to intense scrutiny and high-level review prior to its aggregation and delivery to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and that the review process within the Office will continue to analyze those reports closely, in the interests of consistency and transparency, and to resolve potential anomalies prior to submission to Congress. DOD confirmed its position with regard to this recommendation on May 6, 2016.
    Director: Marie A. Mak
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide greater compliance with the GIDEP reporting requirement among the DOD components and their defense supplier-base, the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics should establish mechanisms for department-wide oversight of defense agencies' compliance with the GIDEP reporting requirement.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments to this report DOD concurred with this recommendation but has not completed actions to implement it. DOD stated that it will issue new DOD Instruction covering the use of GIDEP, as well as a companion DOD manual, to include identification of roles and responsibilities for submission of reports and oversight of such submission. Both documents are expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter fiscal year 2018.
    Recommendation: To provide greater compliance with the GIDEP reporting requirement among the DOD components and their defense supplier-base, the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics should develop a standardized process for determining the level of evidence needed to report a part as suspect counterfeit in GIDEP, such as a tiered reporting structure in GIDEP that provides an indication of where the suspect part is in the process of being assessed.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments to this report DOD concurred with this recommendation but has not completed actions to implement it. DOD stated that it will issue new DOD Instruction covering the use of GIDEP, as well as a companion DOD manual, to include identification of roles and responsibilities for submission of reports and oversight of such submission. Both documents are expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of fiscal year 2018.
    Recommendation: To provide greater compliance with the GIDEP reporting requirement among the DOD components and their defense supplier-base, the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics should develop guidance for when access to GIDEP reports should be limited to only government users or made available to industry.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments to this report DOD concurred with this recommendation but has not completed actions to implement it. DOD stated that it will issue new DOD Instruction covering the use of GIDEP, as well as a companion DOD manual, to include identification of roles and responsibilities for submission of reports and oversight of such submission. Both documents are expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of fiscal year 2018.
    Director: Carol R. Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    11 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the HRIT investment receives necessary oversight and attention, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to ensure that the HRIT executive steering committee is consistently involved in overseeing and advising HRIT, including approving key program management documents, such as HRIT's operational plan, schedule, and planned cost estimate.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS provided documentation demonstrating that the HRIT executive steering committee is consistently involved in overseeing and advising HRIT in response to our recommendation. DHS also provided documentation demonstrating that the Executive Steering Committee approved HRIT's operational plan for fiscal years 2016-2018. However, DHS still needs to demonstrate that the HRIT ESC has approved the schedule and cost estimate for HRIT.
    Recommendation: To address HRIT's poor progress and ineffective management, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Human Capital Officer to direct the HRIT investment to update and maintain a schedule estimate for when DHS plans to implement each of the strategic improvement opportunities.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to HRIT officials, in response to our recommendation, DHS has developed an implementation plan, including a schedule estimate, for addressing HRIT's strategic improvement opportunities. We will continue to follow-up with them for documentation of this implementation plan.
    Recommendation: To address HRIT's poor progress and ineffective management, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Human Capital Officer to direct the HRIT investment to develop a complete life-cycle cost estimate for the implementation of HRIT.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, DHS prepared an independent cost estimate for the HRIT investment. When developing this estimate, the cost estimators made many assumptions about HRIT's strategic improvement opportunities that had not yet been defined, such as the scope and the preliminary acquisition strategies for each. We will continue to follow-up with DHS for supporting documentation for this estimate in order to better understand it.
    Recommendation: To address HRIT's poor progress and ineffective management, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Human Capital Officer to direct the HRIT investment to document and track all costs, including components' costs, associated with HRIT.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with the recommendation and is working to implement it. While DHS provided certain cost tracking information for HRIT, this information was incomplete and did not demonstrate ongoing tracking of all costs. We will continue to follow-up with DHS to obtain additional documentation.
    Recommendation: To address HRIT's poor progress and ineffective management, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Human Capital Officer to direct the HRIT investment to update and maintain the department's human resources system inventory.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS provided its updated human resources systems inventory that it developed in response to our recommendation. According to officials, the list is reviewed and updated on an annual basis or as-needed when a system is deployed or retired. We will continue to monitor this recommendation to ensure that DHS is maintaining this inventory.
    Recommendation: To improve the Performance and Learning Management System (PALMS) program's implementation of IT acquisition best practices, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Information Officer to direct the PALMS program office to establish a time frame for deciding whether PALMS will be fully deployed at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and determine an alternative approach if the learning and/or performance management capabilities of PALMS are deemed not feasible for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, FEMA, the Transportation Security Administration, or USCG.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS officials stated that PALMS will not be fully deployed at FEMA, USCG, ICE, or TSA. The officials stated that future Human Resources Information Technology (HRIT) programs will include enhancing learning management and performance management capabilities. Officials stated that the details related to these efforts are to be discussed in the HRIT strategic improvement opportunity implementation plan. We will continue to follow-up with DHS for documentation of this plan.
    Recommendation: To improve the Performance and Learning Management System (PALMS) program's implementation of IT acquisition best practices, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Information Officer to direct the PALMS program office to develop a comprehensive life-cycle cost estimate, including all government and contractor costs, for the PALMS program.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS officials stated that the PALMS program will move into an operations and maintenance phase once the PALMS learning management capabilities are deployed to U.S. Secret Service. As such, DHS does not plan to develop an updated life-cycle cost estimate (LCCE) for PALMS. We will continue to follow-up with DHS for documentation of PALMS's actual costs, including government costs.
    Recommendation: To improve the Performance and Learning Management System (PALMS) program's implementation of IT acquisition best practices, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Information Officer to direct the PALMS program office to develop and maintain a single comprehensive schedule that includes all government and contractor activities, and includes all planned deployment milestones related to performance management.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, the PALMS program office updated its integrated master schedule. However, this schedule has not been appropriately maintained. We will continue to follow-up with DHS officials on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the Performance and Learning Management System (PALMS) program's implementation of IT acquisition best practices, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Information Officer to direct the PALMS program office to track and monitor all costs associated with the PALMS program.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS concurred with the recommendation and is working to implement it. DHS provided certain cost tracking information for PALMS, but this information did not include government costs or certain past PALMS costs, such as 2017 costs for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers' ongoing use of PALMS. We will continue to follow-up with DHS officials on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the Performance and Learning Management System (PALMS) program's implementation of IT acquisition best practices, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Information Officer to direct the PALMS program office to document PALMS's progress and milestone reviews, including all issues and corrective actions discussed.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, DHS is documenting certain PALMS progress reviews. We have requested documentation related to U.S. Secret Service's deployment of PALMS, to determine whether the Service conducted and documented a milestone review prior to deploying the system.
    Recommendation: To improve the Performance and Learning Management System (PALMS) program's implementation of IT acquisition best practices, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of Management to direct the Chief Information Officer to direct the PALMS program office to establish a comprehensive risk log that maintains an aggregation of all up-to-date risks (including both government- and vendor-identified)and associated mitigation plans. Additionally, within the comprehensive risk log, the PALMS program office should (1) identify and document planned completion dates for each risk mitigation step (where appropriate), and (2) prioritize the risks by determining each risk's relative priority and overall risk level.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, DHS updated its PALMS risk register. However, this register was not comprehensive. We will continue to follow-up with DHS officials on this recommendation.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the activities carried out under the ITM program do not duplicate the efforts of other federal loan guarantee programs, such as SBA's 7(a) program, the Secretary of Commerce should direct EDA to work with SBA and NIST to further identify any gaps in capital access that may be present that the program could fill, and then develop marketing materials and conduct outreach to help target those gaps.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: Partially addressed. As of November 2016 the Economic Development Administration (EDA) had begun taking action on GAO's February 2016 recommendation to work with SBA and NIST to identify gaps in capital access and develop marketing materials and conduct outreach based on any gaps identified for the Federal Loan Guarantees for Innovative Technologies in Manufacturing program (ITM). Due to delays in establishing the program, however, these efforts are still in progress. According to EDA officials, as of November 28, 2016 EDA contractors working on the ITM program had held a preliminary discussion with SBA to discuss program marketing, outreach and potential gaps in capital access that the ITM program may be able to fill, among other topics, but had not yet initiated additional coordination with NIST. We continue to believe that coordination with SBA and NIST to identify gaps in capital access, and then marketing the program to target those gaps could help EDA ensure that ITM program activities do not duplicate the efforts of other federal loan guarantee programs.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Congress has the necessary information to provide effective oversight over DOD's workforces, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, in collaboration with the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, to address ongoing requirements in section 955 and include this information in status reports that accompany the President's budget request for fiscal years 2017 and 2018. The information to be included in future status reports includes (1) a comprehensive description of a plan to achieve savings for the civilian workforce and contractor workforce for fiscal year 2012 through fiscal year 2017; (2) a description demonstrating that the plan is consistent with policies and procedures implementing workforce-management laws and steps the department is taking to ensure that no unjustified transfers between workforces take place as part of the implementing plan; (3) status reports to be included in the President's budget request for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 describing the implementation of the plan in the prior year; (4) the cost of covered civilian personnel and military basic pay for fiscal years 2012 through 2017, and an assessment of these costs in regard to their compliance with the statutory requirements set forth in section 955; and (5) an explanation for any shortfall in its reductions for the civilian and contractor workforces, and a description of actions DOD is taking to achieve the required savings.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: In DOD's most recent status report issued in February 2016, DOD did not fully address our recommendations.
    Director: Michael J. Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Although DOD partially concurred with this recommendation, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering stated in August 2016 that DOD disagreed with directing the DARPA Director to increase training requirements. He stated that DOD believes DARPA's current approach of uniquely tailored training focusing on a programs unique transition needs is most appropriate. He further noted that DARPA continues to explore opportunities to draw from existing DOD and other training materials to offer tailored and streamlined training to its program managers that works within the relatively short tenure of a DARPA program manager. A DARPA representative stated in June 2017 that there has been no change in status and that no additional related actions are planned. We will continue to track any developments that relate to this recommendation.
    Director: Timothy J. DiNapoli
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure proposed contract activities, as reflected in the statement of work and other contract documents, are assessed against the criteria provided by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) policy, the Under Secretary for Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics should ensure that the Director of the Office of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy provide clear instructions, in a timely manner, on how the service requirement review boards are to identify whether contract activities include closely associated with inherently governmental functions.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD Instruction 5000.74, issued in January 2016, discusses processes for the services requirements review boards, but does not mention closely associated with inherently governmental functions in that context. As new policy or guidance is issued, we will continue to evaluate its responsiveness to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure proposed contract activities, as reflected in the statement of work and other contract documents, are assessed against the criteria provided by the FAR and OFPP policy, the Under Secretary for Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics should ensure that the Director of the Office of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy require acquisition officials to document, prior to contract award, whether the proposed contract action includes activities that are closely associated with inherently governmental functions.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD officials, a template is being developed for components to use in assessing a service contract to determine whether activities are closely associated with inherently governmental functions. However, this template has not yet been finalized or disseminated to the components.
    Recommendation: To help facilitate the collection and use of inventory data in decision-making processes, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness should clearly identify the longer term relationships between the support office, military departments, and other stakeholders.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, these longer term relationships have not been fully identified. Officials stated that a memorandum of understanding issued in January 2017 provided some clarity regarding these relationships, but that additional steps are needed.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To aid ARNG officials in conducting their oversight of the states and territories, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to establish a permanent program for monitoring state-level recruiting activities either by extending the Recruiting Standards Branch or establishing some other similar program.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the report follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To aid ARNG officials in understanding the effectiveness of efforts to meet force requirements, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to take steps to help ensure that the ARNG collects consistent, complete, and valid data on the specific reasons why soldiers do not complete initial military training and when these soldiers separate from the ARNG during the training process. Such steps could include modifying the Standard Installation/Division Personnel System (SIDPERS) to capture this information or if unable to modify SIDPERS, taking actions to ensure that information collected in the Vulcan Recruit Sustainment Program database is valid.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To aid ARNG officials in understanding the effectiveness of efforts to meet force requirements, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to regularly track whether ARNG soldiers who join in a given fiscal year complete their initial term of service.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To aid ARNG officials in understanding the effectiveness of efforts to meet force requirements, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to periodically estimate, such as on an annual basis or other time period as appropriate, the total cost of recruiting and initial training for a soldier who joins the ARNG.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To help ARNG officials in using financial incentives to fill critical positions as required by Army and National Guard regulation, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Director, ARNG, to provide recruiters with training to better enable the use of available financial incentives.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: To help determine whether ARNG officials are effectively using financial incentives, the Secretary of the Army should , in conjunction with the Director, ARNG, exercise their oversight responsibilities by evaluating and documenting the effectiveness of ARNG's incentives program in meeting its goals. The evaluation should also determine whether incentives are being effectively awarded in military occupational specialties that have been under or over authorized levels, and whether changes are needed to effectively use existing incentives.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: To date no action has been taken. According to the DODIG follow up specialist the next DODIG follow up is December 2016.
    Recommendation: Given that the reporting of information related to the amounts of incentives obligated has been a requirement but not carried out in recent years, the Office of the Secretary of Defense should, in order to ensure continued reporting in the future, enforce its requirement for the National Guard and Reserve Component to submit information on the amounts of incentives obligated and incorporate the required information in the recruiting resources reports.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Actions ongoing.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist DOD in determining whether CIPP is meeting its intended purpose of enhancing retention and providing greater flexibility in the career path of servicemembers, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the service secretaries, to develop and implement a plan to evaluate the pilot that includes key features such as well-defined, clear, and measurable objectives and standards for determining pilot-program performance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with our recommendation, and recognized the importance of developing well defined measures to evaluate the effectiveness and utility of the career intermission pilot program (CIPP). In November 2015, DOD acknowledged receipt of our final report and noted that its position on the report has not changed since providing official written comments. In May 2017, we issued GAO-17-623R, which provided an update to the CIPP participant data in our initial report, and noted that DOD had not established performance measures in response to our recommendation. As of September 2017, DOD had still not developed these measures, noting the program was still in a pilot stage, and the final consolidated report due to Congress in June 2023 will include narratives from the service secretaries discussing the effectiveness and value of the program.
    Director: Timothy M. Persons
    Phone: (202) 512-6412

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that biosurveillance-related funding is directed to programs that can demonstrate their intended capabilities, and to help ensure sufficient information is known about the current Gen-2 system to make informed cost-benefit decisions about possible upgrades and enhancements to the system, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and other relevant officials within the Department to not pursue upgrades or enhancements to the current BioWatch system until the Office of Health Affairs (OHA): (1) establishes technical performance requirements, including limits of detection, necessary for a biodetection system to meet a clearly defined operational objective for the BioWatch program by detecting attacks of defined types and sizes with specified probabilities; (2) assesses the Gen-2 system against these performance requirements to reliably establish its capabilities; and (3) produces a full accounting of statistical and other uncertainties and limitations in what is known about the system's capability to meet its operational objectives.

    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 reduce the risk of acquiring immature detection technologies, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs, in coordination with the Under Secretary for Science and Technology, to use the best practices outlined in this report to inform test and evaluation actions for any future upgrades or changes to technology for BioWatch.

    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.
    Director: John Pendleton
    Phone: (202) 512-3489

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that resources are being efficiently applied to meet the National Guard counterdrug program's objectives, the Secretary of Defense should direct the National Guard Bureau in consultation with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics and Global Threats to subsequently collect and use performance information to help inform funding distribution decisions to state programs and to conduct oversight of the training offered by the counterdrug schools.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The National Guard counterdrug program has plans to implement performance information into its fiscal year 2017 annual assessments of the state programs and counterdrug schools. The fiscal year 2017 annual assessments are scheduled to be complete by December 2017. The recommendation will remain open until performance information has been included in the annual assessments.
    Director: Debra A. Draper
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To be able to identify and address problems that may occur and thus help ensure a smooth transition, the Secretary of Defense should require the Defense Health Agency ensure that planning documents for the expansion include specific requirements to continuously monitor affected beneficiaries, including whether (1) covered medications are available and filled in a timely and accurate manner through mail order and across MTF pharmacies; and (2) beneficiaries are satisfied with the transition to mail order and MTF pharmacies.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, DOD has not provided information that it plans to separately track through mail order and military treatment facilities the availability, timeliness, and accuracy of prescriptions filled by beneficiaries affected by the expansion of the TRICARE pharmacy pilot. Similarly, DOD has not provided information that it plans to separately track through mail order and military treatment facilities the satisfaction of beneficiaries affected by the expansion of the TRICARE pharmacy pilot.
    Director: Lori Rectanus
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist in determining whether to require USPS and PRC to report on delivery performance for rural and non-rural areas, Congress should direct USPS to provide cost estimates related to providing this information.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, Congress has not taken any action to direct USPS to provide cost estimates related to reporting on delivery performance for rural and non-rural areas
    Director: David J. Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To demonstrate the effects of GSA's ongoing efforts to better manage lease holdovers and extensions, the Administrator of GSA should identify performance goals and targets for existing or other measures related to the use of holdovers and extensions for expiring leases within GSA's strategic plan or in another agency planning document. GSA should ensure such goals, targets, and associated measures fully reflect progress, by taking into account the frequency with which holdovers and extensions occur for expiring leases within its portfolio and GSA's expected outcomes for expiring leases.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: GSA provided information to GAO in March 2017 to show that this recommendation had been implemented. Specifically, GSA updated its strategic planning process related to lease holdovers and extensions and created an up-front planning measure for expiring leases. GAO had follow up questions seeking more assurance from GSA that these actions would have the intended effect of reducing lease holdovers and extensions. As of June 2017, GAO was awaiting a response from GSA.
    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: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide decision makers with appropriate and more complete information on the continuing implementation, management, and oversight of the DHA, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) to develop a comprehensive requirements assessment process that accounts for needed future skills through the consideration of potential organizational changes and helps ensure appropriate consideration of workforce composition through the determination of the final status of military personnel within the DHA.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of April 2017, DOD has taken some steps to implement this action. According to an April 2017 letter from the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), DOD has established processes and procedures to create an overall personnel management process which are documented in a draft Administrative Instruction estimated to be finalized and published by July 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: To provide decision makers with appropriate and more complete information on the continuing implementation, management, and oversight of the DHA, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) to develop a plan for reassessing and revalidating personnel requirements as the missions and needs of the DHA evolve over time.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of April 2017, DOD has taken some steps to implement this action. According to an April 2017 letter from the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), DOD has established processes and procedures to create an overall personnel management process which are documented in a draft Administrative Instruction estimated to be finalized and published by July 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: To provide decision makers with appropriate and more complete information on the continuing implementation, management, and oversight of the DHA, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) to determine the future of the Public Health and Medical Education and Training shared services by either identifying common functions to consolidate to achieve cost savings or by developing a justification for the transfer of these functions from the military services to the DHA that is not premised on cost savings.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of April 2017, DOD has taken some steps to implement this action. According to an April 2017 letter from the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), DOD has changed the designation of its Public Health function from a shared service to a division. This change recognizes the distinction that we previously highlighted between a shared service, or the consolidation of functions previously performed by the military services, and a transfer of functions from the military services to the DHA. The letter states that DOD is in the process of assessing business case analyses for various efficiency efforts, with one proposal estimated to save $613 million over three years. DOD has not taken similar action with regard to its Medical Education and Training shared service. As we previously reported in our prior update, while DOD cites future cost savings in its modeling and simulation and online learning product lines, we reported in 2014 that these initiatives overlap with the DHA's Contracting and Procurement and Information Technology shared services. For example, while cost savings for Modeling and Simulation are allocated to the Medical Education and Training Directorate, implementation costs are to be incurred by the Contracting and Procurement shared service. This recommendation will remain open until DOD either identifies common functions to consolidate within Medical Education and Training to achieve cost savings or develops a justification for the transfer of these functions from the military services to the DHA that is not premised on cost savings.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the availability of information needed for effective and efficient management of the PCS program, including program costs and time-on-station requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in coordination with the military services, to improve the completeness and consistency of PCS data in service budget materials. This action should include revising existing guidance on the reporting of non-temporary storage costs, and clarifying existing guidance on the presentation of other PCS data.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD is forming a working group to address issues concerning the PSC program. Although a charter had not been finalized as of July 2016, the working group, including the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Personnel Policy), within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower and Reserve Affairs), and the Director, Military Personnel and Construction, within the Office of the Deputy Comptroller (Program/Budget), will review current PCS budgetary reporting requirements and revise these as necessary. DOD expected the effort under the working group to be completed in October 2017, but as of October 2017 DOD had not taken further action on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the availability of information needed for effective and efficient management of the PCS program, including program costs and time-on-station requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in coordination with the military services, to complete periodic evaluations of whether the PCS program is efficiently supporting DOD's requirements for assigning military personnel to new locations while reimbursing servicemembers for allowable expenses incurred during PCS moves. These periodic evaluations should identify changes in PCS per-move costs over time, factors driving such changes, and steps that could be taken to manage and control cost growth.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD is forming a working group to address issues concerning the PSC program. Although a charter had not been finalized as of July 2016, the working group, including the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Personnel Policy), within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower and Reserve Affairs), and the Director, Military Personnel and Construction, within the Office of the Deputy Comptroller (Program/Budget), will coordinate with key stakeholders (e.g. Military Departments and Services, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Defense Travel Management Office) on efforts to complete periodic evaluations of the efficiency and effective of the PCS program. DOD expected the effort under the working group to be completed in October 2017, but as of October 2017 DOD had not taken further action on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the availability of information needed for effective and efficient management of the PCS program, including program costs and time-on-station requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in coordination with the military services, to improve the completeness and consistency of data on exceptions used for PCS moves that occur prior to established time-on-station lengths. This action should include clarifying existing guidance with regard to how the services collect, maintain, and report data on exceptions for use in evaluating performance in meeting time-on-station requirements and addressing challenges related to the services' abilities to collect, maintain, and report exceptions data.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD is forming a working group to address issues concerning the PSC program. Although a charter had not been finalized as of July 2016, the working group, including the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Personnel Policy), within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower and Reserve Affairs), and the Director, Military Personnel and Construction, within the Office of the Deputy Comptroller (Program/Budget), will coordinate with key stakeholders (e.g. Military Departments and Services, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Defense Travel Management Office) on efforts to improve the completeness and consistency of data. DOD expected the effort under the working group to be completed in October 2017, but as of October 2017 DOD had not taken further action on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the availability of information needed for effective and efficient management of the PCS program, including program costs and time-on-station requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in coordination with the military services, to improve the completeness and consistency of data on waivers used for PCS moves that occur prior to established time-on-station lengths. This action should include establishing guidance for the military services to collect, maintain, and report data on waivers for use in evaluating performance in meeting time-on-station requirements and addressing challenges related to the services' abilities to collect, maintain, and report waiver data.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD is forming a working group to address issues concerning the PSC program. Although a charter had not been finalized as of July 2016, the working group, including the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Personnel Policy), within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower and Reserve Affairs), and the Director, Military Personnel and Construction, within the Office of the Deputy Comptroller (Program/Budget), will coordinate with key stakeholders (e.g. Military Departments and Services, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Defense Travel Management Office) on efforts to improve the completeness and consistency of data. DOD expects the effort under the working group to be completed in October 2017, but as of October 2017 DOD had not taken further action on this recommendation.
    Director: Thomas Melito
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: While recognizing that cargo preference serves policy goals established by Congress with respect to the U.S. merchant marine, including maintenance of a fleet capable of serving as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency, Congress should consider clarifying cargo preference legislation regarding the definition of "geographic area" to ensure that agencies can fully utilize the flexibility Congress granted to them when it lowered the CPFA requirement.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: We did not receive comments on the Matter for Congressional Consideration. As of October 2017, no legislation had been introduced to clarify the definition of 'geographic area' with regard to cargo preference laws.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of MARAD to study the potential availability of all qualified mariners needed to meet a full and prolonged activation of the reserve sealift fleet. In the study, MARAD should identify potential solutions to address the mariner shortfall if one is still identified.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its written comments, DOT concurred with our recommendation to study the potential availability of all qualified mariners needed to meet a full and prolonged activation of the reserve sealift fleet. DOT stated that MARAD has been reviewing the adequacy of existing plans to recruit mariner volunteers to crew the full reserve fleet. Furthermore, DOT noted that 13,000 mariners are required to crew all the vessels in the fleet for sustained operations. On June 15, 2016, GAO contacted MARAD officials to clarify the current status of the National Maritime Strategy, which DOT officials had stated would contain the results of their review. The officials said that the Strategy is still in the interagency process for approval and is not likely to be published until the end of 2016. DOT told GAO in December 2016 that it had conducted an exercise in September 2016 to test mariner availability for an initial activation of the full fleet. However, this exercise did not fully address GAO's recommendation, as it did not test for a full and prolonged activation of the fleet. Furthermore, DOT officials told GAO in April 2017 that the National Maritime Strategy has not been released and is awaiting review from the current Administration. As of May 2017, MARAD officials reported that they had established a working group to identify the total number of U.S. citizen mariners in the United States who, among other things, are available to crew the U.S. flag fleet and the surge sealift fleet in times of a national emergency and planned to report to Congress in December 2017.
    Director: Charles Jeszeck
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To encourage plan sponsors to continue efforts to improve plan participation and overall retirement savings through the use of Qualified Default Investment Alternatives, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration to assess the challenges that plan sponsors and stakeholders reported, including the extent to which these challenges can be addressed, and implement corrective actions through clarifying guidance or regulations, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2015, DOL noted that the agency would assess the challenges that plan sponsors and stakeholders had reported to GAO, decide in FY 2016 whether a broader public comment process (such as a Request for Information) or a research project would aid that assessment, and determine whether other actions, such as issuing clarifying guidance or regulations, would be beneficial to its stakeholders. In July 2016, DOL confirmed that the agency continues to plan to take the above action. In July 207, DOL responded that it had not added a public comment process to EBSA's 2017 regulatory agenda, and had no specific timeline for any next action.
    Director: Gambler, Rebecca S
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen USCIS's EB-5 Program fraud prevention, detection, and mitigation capabilities, and to more accurately and comprehensively assess and report program outcomes and the overall economic benefits of the program, the Director of USCIS should plan and conduct regular future fraud risk assessments of the EB-5 Program.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is responsible for administering the Employment-Based Fifth Preference Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5 Program). In 2015, we reviewed the EB-5 program to determine if USCIS assesses fraud and other related risks facing the program. We found that USCIS had collaborated with its interagency partners to assess fraud and national security risks in the program in fiscal years 2012 and 2015 but that these assessments were onetime efforts that did not have documented plans to conduct regular future risk assessments, in accordance with fraud prevention practices, which could help inform efforts to identify and address evolving program risks. To strengthen the program's fraud prevention, detection, and mitigation capabilities, we recommended that USCIS plan and conduct regular future fraud risk assessments. USCIS concurred with the recommendation, stating that it will continue to conduct at least one fraud, national security, or intelligence assessment on an aspect of the program annually. In September 2015, USCIS stated that the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate unit of its Immigrant Investor Program (IPO) will conduct its next fraud, national security, and intelligence assessment in FY 2016 and one assessment annually thereafter. In an August 2016 update, USCIS stated that it had conducted a national security assessment, the draft of which was under review by management, to be finalized by September 30, 2016. We will continue to monitor USCIS's efforts to ensure that the agency finalizes this assessment and documents plans to conduct future fraud assessments on a regular basis.
    Recommendation: To strengthen USCIS's EB-5 Program fraud prevention, detection, and mitigation capabilities, and to more accurately and comprehensively assess and report program outcomes and the overall economic benefits of the program, the Director of USCIS should develop a strategy to expand information collection, including considering the increased use of interviews at the I-829 phase as well as requiring the additional reporting of information in applicant and petitioner forms.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2015, we evaluated the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Employment-Based Fifth Preference Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5 Program) to determine the extent to which the agency had addressed any identified fraud risks in the program. We found that USCIS had identified unique fraud risks in the program and had taken certain steps to address and enhance its fraud risk management efforts, including establishing a dedicated entity to oversee these efforts. However, we found that USCIS's information systems and processes limited its ability to collect and use data on EB-5 Program participants to comprehensively address fraud risks in the program. To strengthen the program's fraud mitigation capabilities, we recommended that USCIS develop a strategy to expand information collection, including considering the increased use of interviews at the application for permanent residency (form I-829) phase as well as requiring the additional reporting of information in applicant and petitioner forms. USCIS concurred with the recommendation, stating that IPO will develop a strategy to enhance and expand information collection, including publishing revised EB-5 application and petition forms, and considering the use of interviews. In a September 2015 update to this recommendation, USCIS stated that it had begun internal discussions for developing a comprehensive strategy to incorporate interviews into various stages of the EB-5 process, including the I-829 phase. In addition, USCIS was implementing a comprehensive approach for revising all EB-5 specific forms (I-526, I-924, and I-924A) to improve program integrity and data collection. USCIS expects the revised forms to be available after December 31, 2015. In an August 2016 update, USCIS stated that it has revised Forms I-924, I-924A, and I-526, and anticipated revising Forms I-924 and I-924A by November 2016 and Form I-829 by March 2017. USCIS also stated that IPO had initiated a new process to allow interview of Form I-829 petitioners by video conference, and planned to develop a comprehensive interview strategy based on the results of initial and future interviews as well as other relevant information. We will continue to monitor USCIS's efforts to develop and implement this more comprehensive EB-5 data collection strategy.
    Recommendation: To strengthen USCIS's EB-5 Program fraud prevention, detection, and mitigation capabilities, and to more accurately and comprehensively assess and report program outcomes and the overall economic benefits of the program, the Director of USCIS should track and report data that immigrant investors report, and the agency verifies on its program forms for total investments and jobs created through the EB-5 Program.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2015, we evaluated the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)'s capacity to verify job creation and to use a valid and reliable methodology to report the economic benefits of its Employment-Based Fifth Preference Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5 Program). We found that over time USCIS had increased its capacity to verify job creation by increasing the size and expertise of its workforce and by providing clarifying guidance and training, among other actions. However, we found that USCIS's methodology for reporting program outcomes and overall economic benefits of the EB-5 Program was not valid and reliable because it may understate or overstate program benefits in certain instances as it was based on the minimum program requirements of 10 jobs and a $500,000 investment per investor, instead of the number of jobs and investment amounts collected by USCIS on individual EB-5 Program forms. To more accurately and comprehensively assess and report the overall economic benefits of the program, we recommended that USCIS track and report data that immigrant investors report, and the agency verifies on its program forms for total investments and jobs created. USCIS concurred with this recommendation, stating that IPO will develop a plan to collect and aggregate additional data regarding EB-5 investment amounts and job creation, including revising USCIS data systems and processes, as appropriate. In a September 2015 update, USCIS further stated that IPO officials had already met with officials from the USCIS Office of information Technology (OIT) on August 25, 2015, to discuss EB-5 data requirements, and that IPO is reviewing the fields in the Intranet Computer Linked Application Information Management System (iCLAIMS) database used for maintaining EB-5 and other immigration program data, to define data entry requirements. Once that is completed, USCIS stated that IPO will work with OIT to discuss any system changes needed to reliably aggregate data regarding EB-5 program investment amounts and job creation. In an August 2016 update, USCIS stated that through regular meetings with OIT, IPO has identified the assets needed to develop a case management system to meet the complex data needs of the EB-5 program. This system, which will be compatible with USCIS's electronic immigration system, is tentatively projected to be completed in FY 2017. We will continue to monitor USCIS's efforts to develop a system that will enable it to accurately and comprehensively assess and report the overall economic benefits of the program.
    Director: Seto Bagdoyan
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    4 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve SSA's ability to detect, prevent, and recover potential DI benefit overpayments due to the concurrent receipt of FECA benefits, the Commissioner of Social Security should review the potential DI overpayments resulting from FECA benefits identified in our case studies, as well as any indicators of fraudulent activity related to FECA benefits that were not self-reported by DI beneficiaries, and establish debt-collection efforts and fraud-related penalties, as appropriate.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of January 2017, SSA stated that it will continue reviewing the potential DI overpayments resulting from FECA benefits identified in GAO's case studies, as GAO recommended in July 2015, and that actions are due to be completed by the end of April 2017. GAO will continue to monitor SSA's efforts in this area.
    Recommendation: To improve SSA's ability to detect, prevent, and recover potential DI benefit overpayments due to the concurrent receipt of FECA benefits, the Commissioner of Social Security should review the instances described in our report in which SSA staff did not obtain proof of FECA benefits that were reported by DI beneficiaries and (1) determine the reasons for these occurrences and whether this is a pervasive problem; and (2) if necessary, design appropriate controls or make other efforts, such as staff training, to help ensure SSA staff obtain proof of workers' compensation payments, as required by SSA policy.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 2017, SSA stated that it will continue reviewing the instances described in GAO's report in which SSA staff did not obtain proof of FECA benefits that DI beneficiaries reported nor took follow-up actions as needed, as GAO recommended in July 2015. SSA expected to complete its analysis by the end of April 2017. SSA also stated that it has published an administrative message to remind staff of correct development and processing procedures for FECA claims. GAO will continue to monitor SSA's efforts in this area.
    Recommendation: To improve SSA's ability to detect, prevent, and recover potential DI benefit overpayments due to the concurrent receipt of FECA benefits, the Commissioner of Social Security should, in accordance with OMB guidance, compare the costs and benefits of alternatives to SSA's current approach for reducing the potential for overpayments that result from the concurrent receipt of FECA benefits, which relies on beneficiaries to self-report any FECA benefits they receive. These alternatives could include, among others, routinely matching DOL's FECA program data with DI program data to detect potential DI overpayments.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: SSA has taken steps to address this recommendation, but it has not completed its efforts. Specifically, in February 2017, SSA told GAO that the agency continues to discuss with DOL a data-matching agreement to obtain FECA payment data for offsetting DI benefits in accordance with federal law, as GAO recommended in July 2015. SSA also stated that it has reviewed its internal controls, policies, and workflow processes related to DI beneficiaries who receive concurrent FECA payments. Because SSA has not completed its work in this area, it is too early to determine whether these actions will address the problems GAO identified. GAO will continue to monitor SSA's work in this area.
    Recommendation: To improve SSA's ability to detect, prevent, and recover potential DI benefit overpayments due to the concurrent receipt of FECA benefits, the Commissioner of Social Security should strengthen internal controls designed to prevent DI overpayments due to the concurrent receipt of FECA benefits by implementing the alternative that provides the greatest net benefits.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: SSA has taken steps to address this recommendation, but it has not completed its efforts. Specifically, in February 2017, SSA told GAO that the agency was negotiating with DOL to enter into a data matching agreement to obtain FECA payment data for offsetting DI benefits in accordance with federal law, as GAO recommended in July 2015. SSA also stated that it was reviewing its internal controls related to DI beneficiaries who receive concurrent FECA payments and is in the process of considering the best options for strengthening these internal controls. SSA further stated that in August 2016, it issued reminders to technicians regarding developing and processing DI cases when an individual is concurrently receiving FECA benefits. Because SSA has not completed its work in this area, it is too early to determine whether these actions will address the problems GAO identified. GAO will continue to monitor SSA's work in this area.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better position the Army to determine the extent to which it is continuing to use borrowed military personnel and to enhance the Army's ability to utilize its total workforce efficiently and effectively as it moves forward, the Secretary of the Army should establish a requirement for collecting, tracking, and reporting data on the use of borrowed military personnel and provide guidance to ensure that data collected are complete and accurate; if other special duty data are included, ensure that the tool contains a method to distinguish borrowed military personnel from other special duty data.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better position the Army to determine the extent to which it is continuing to use borrowed military personnel and to enhance the Army's ability to utilize its total workforce efficiently and effectively as it moves forward, the Secretary of the Army should issue guidance that includes procedures for tracking the amount of time soldiers are used as borrowed military personnel.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better position the Army to determine the extent to which it is continuing to use borrowed military personnel and to enhance the Army's ability to utilize its total workforce efficiently and effectively as it moves forward, the Secretary of the Army should revise Army Regulation 570-4 to include guidance to senior commanders for approving the use of soldiers for positions or functions outside their occupational specialty on a rotational basis for an enduring period.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better position the Army to determine the extent to which it is continuing to use borrowed military personnel and to enhance the Army's ability to utilize its total workforce efficiently and effectively as it moves forward, the Secretary of the Army should establish oversight mechanisms that include directing commanders to maintain records for considering the full costs of borrowed military personnel when making decisions to use these personnel, and directing the Army to review these records and full costs reported by installations and commands to help ensure that these costs are considered, documented, and reported in a uniform manner.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

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

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has not yet taken action in response to this recommendation. GAO will continue to monitor.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help make an informed decision, the Commission should seek input from states on its proposal to draft updated guidance on class III minimum internal control standards and withdraw its 2006 regulations.

    Agency: National Indian Gaming Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is awaiting action by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve its ability to assess the effectiveness of its training and technical assistance efforts, the Commission should review and revise, as needed, its performance measures to include additional outcome-oriented measures.

    Agency: National Indian Gaming Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is awaiting action by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure letters of concern are more consistently prepared and responses tracked, the Commission should develop documented procedures and guidance to clearly identify letters of concern as such and to specify the type of information to be contained in them, such as time periods for a response.

    Agency: National Indian Gaming Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is awaiting action by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure letters of concern are more consistently prepared and responses tracked, the Commission should develop documented procedures and guidance to maintain and track tribes' responses to the Commission on potential compliance issues.

    Agency: National Indian Gaming Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is awaiting action by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Director: Joseph W. Kirschbaum
    Phone: (202) 512-9971

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further enhance the department's efforts to protect its classified information and systems from insider threats, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence to, in planned supplemental planning guidance to be developed, identify actions beyond the minimum standards that components should take to enhance their insider-threat programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To further enhance the department's efforts to protect its classified information and systems from insider threats, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence to evaluate and document the extent to which current assessments provide a continuing analysis of gaps for all DOD components; report to Congress on the results of this evaluation; and direct that the overall results of these self- and independent assessments be reviewed by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To further enhance the department's efforts to protect its classified information and systems from insider threats, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence to provide DOD components supplemental guidance that directs them to incorporate risk assessments into their insider-threat programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To further enhance the department's efforts to protect its classified information and systems from insider threats, the Secretary of Defense should identify an insider-threat program office to support the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence's responsibilities in managing and overseeing DOD and components' insider-threat programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    5 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the internal control environment for oversight using information from CAS and develop a consistent approach to the use of information from CAS in M&O contractor oversight and performance evaluation across the nuclear security enterprise, the Administrator of NNSA should establish comprehensive NNSA policies and guidance, beyond a general framework as included in NAP-21, for using information from CAS to conduct oversight of M&O contractors, clarifying whether CAS is to cover mission-related activities, and describing how to conduct assessments of risk, CAS maturity, and the level of the contractor's past performance.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: We recommended that NNSA establish comprehensive policies and guidance, beyond a general framework, for using information from contractor assurance systems (CAS) to conduct oversight of management and operating (M&O) contractors, clarifying whether CAS is to cover mission-related activities and describing how to conduct assessments of risk, CAS maturity, and the level of the contractor's past performance. NNSA agreed with the recommendation and has taken an important step to revise its policy. However, NNSA needs to take additional action. Specifically, NNSA approved a revised corporate site governance policy in August 2016. The revised policy improves on the agency's prior policy by clarifying one element in our recommendation that CAS is to cover mission-related activities. However the policy is still a general framework and NNSA has not established associated implementing guidance. Specifically, NNSA needs to develop guidance for NNSA headquarters' and field offices' procedures to use information from CAS and appropriately balance use of information from CAS with other more direct activities to oversee M&O contractors.
    Recommendation: To improve the internal control environment for oversight using information from CAS and develop a consistent approach to the use of information from CAS in M&O contractor oversight and performance evaluation across the nuclear security enterprise, the Administrator of NNSA should work with field office managers to establish field office procedures consistent with headquarters policy and guidance to support assessment practices for determining appropriate oversight approaches.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: Agency concurred with GAO's recommendation. Per DOE, NNSA will require field offices to develop new or modify existing procedures as appropriate to support the new requirements. The estimated completion date for these activities is September 30, 2016. DOE has not completed these activities by the estimated date and has not issued a revised date as of October 20, 2016.
    Recommendation: To improve the internal control environment for oversight using information from CAS and develop a consistent approach to the use of information from CAS in M&O contractor oversight and performance evaluation across the nuclear security enterprise, the Administrator of NNSA should reestablish a process for reviewing the effectiveness of field offices' oversight approaches, including their use of information from CAS.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: Agency concurred with recommendation. NNSA's revised Supplemental Directive (SD) 226.1B provides an approach to evaluate the effectiveness of the field oversight activities. The SD requirements include a peer review process and provide attributes that when followed, may result in improved field oversight activities. As of April 2017 The first peer review, which will pilot the review process and help assess implementation, will likely occur in June 2017 and will be conducted at the Nevada National Security Site. The next review will be in November at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. GAO will monitor the results of the pilot to determine whether and how it will be permanently implemented.
    Recommendation: To improve the internal control environment for oversight using information from CAS and develop a consistent approach to the use of information from CAS in M&O contractor oversight and performance evaluation across the nuclear security enterprise, the Administrator of NNSA should revise NNSA policy, guidance, and procedures on performance evaluation to fully address how and under what circumstances those responsible for evaluating M&O contractors' performance should use information from CAS for this purpose.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: Agency concurred with recommendation. While NNSA's revised Supplemental Directive addresses the use of CAS information in evaluating M&O contractor performance, NNSA has not yet developed guidance or procedures for how to use information from contractor assurance systems in its performance evaluation process.
    Recommendation: To improve the internal control environment for oversight using information from CAS and develop a consistent approach to the use of information from CAS in M&O contractor oversight and performance evaluation across the nuclear security enterprise, the Administrator of NNSA should assess NNSA's staffing needs to determine whether it has sufficient, qualified personnel to conduct oversight activities consistent with comprehensive policies and guidance, including the use of information from CAS.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: Agency concurred with recommendation. Action in progress. NNSA will assess staffing needs and develop a staffing strategy for defensible and sustainable oversight. This strategy will implement the corporate policy and implementing guidance, while adhering to the constraints of the National Defense Authorization Act staffing ceiling. NNSA initially estimated it would complete this activity by December 31, 2016, but it has not yet been completed.
    Director: Thomas Melito
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should reconsider State's INKSNA process to ensure that it (1) complies with INKSNA's 6-month reporting cycle, and (2) minimizes delays in its ability to opt to impose sanctions.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its written comments on the draft report, the Department of State concurred with our recommendation while expressing concerns about what it referred to as the inherent difficulties of producing 2006 Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA) reports every six months as required by law. In a July 2016 letter, State noted that it had worked to minimize delays in its ability to impose sanctions pursuant to INKSNA reports and that it aims to eventually comply with INKSNA's six-month reporting cycle as it clears the existing backlog of INKSNA cases. Moreover, it noted that State had transmitted three INKSNA reports covering three years of activity (the latest covering calendar year 2013) within the last 18 months as evidence that it was making progress towards meeting the GAO recommendation. In 2017, State informed us that it was regularly reviewing lessons learned from previous reports and incorporating best practices into follow-on iterations of INKSNA reports. For example, it informed us, it had now streamlined the decision-making process to reduce the workload in making sanctions determinations by modifying the INKSNA decision and background memo to consolidate certain cases on which the interagency has achieved consensus recommendations, thereby simplifying the review and approval process. State reiterated its intention to eventually comply with INKSNA?s six-month reporting cycle as it clears the existing backlog. GAO will continue monitoring State's efforts to fully implement the recommendation.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide greater visibility over the extent to which Army UAS units have completed required training to leaders responsible for deployment decisions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to require unit status reports to include information on the readiness levels of UAS pilots in UAS units.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Army UAS pilots receive the highest caliber of training to prepare them to successfully accomplish UAS missions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to take additional steps to mitigate potential risks posed by its waiver of course prerequisites for less experienced UAS pilots attending the course to become instructors, such as by providing additional preparation for current and future instructors who do not meet one or more course prerequisites to enhance their ability to successfully provide training.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To increase opportunities to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of UAS pilot training across DOD, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to address how the services should coordinate with one another in the strategy on UAS pilot training that the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness is current drafting.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the military whistleblower reprisal investigation process and oversight of such investigations, the Secretary of Defense should work in coordination with the Department of Defense Inspector General (DODIG) to direct the services to follow standardized investigation stages and issue guidance clarifying how the stages are defined.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2016, this recommendation remains open. Officials from DOD Inspector General, Whistleblower Reprisal Investigations Directorate provided GAO with an update to this recommendation August 11, 2016. Although DOD concurred with this recommendation in the draft and final report, they stated that DODIG is not empowered in its oversight capacity to direct the services to follow standardized stages. However, these same officials noted that they are currently working with the military services through an established working group to standardize investigation stages and develop guidance for its implementation across the services by the end of 2016. If completed, we believe that these actions will meet the intent of our recommendation by helping to DODIG to better ensure consistent program implementation and equal treatment of all servicemember complaints.
    Director: Lori Rectanus
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better understand attributable costs for individual Parcel Select NSAs, the Postmaster General should direct the appropriate staff to identify and implement cost-effective methods, such as using a sample, to collect and study information on the costs of delivering Parcel Select packages of varying characteristics in order to develop contract-specific attributable cost estimates.

    Agency: United States Postal Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: USPS developed analysis in response to this recommendation by using a proxy for package dimension rather than a sample of customer-specific dimension data, as GAO recommended. The assumptions used in the methodology by USPS result in only minor cost differences regardless of the dimension or weight of packages shipped under individual Parcel Select NSAs. As of June 13, 2017, this recommendation remains open pending additional discussions with USPS about its methodology and results.
    Director: David Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the PortfolioStat initiative improves governmental efficiency and achieves cost savings, the Director of OMB should direct the Federal CIO to ensure that its reports to Congress about the results of IT reform efforts accurately reflect savings generated from all PortfolioStat initiatives, including those associated with FDCCI.

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

    Comments: In July 2016, we followed up with OMB on its efforts to address this recommendation. As of September 1, 2016, we were still waiting for the agency's response.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the PortfolioStat initiative improves governmental efficiency and achieves cost savings, the Director of OMB should direct the Federal CIO to track agencies' planned savings and use them as a baseline for measuring reported actual savings.

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

    Comments: In July 2016, we followed up with OMB on its efforts to address this recommendation. As of September 1, 2016, we were still waiting for the agency's response.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the PortfolioStat initiative improves governmental efficiency and achieves cost savings, the Director of OMB should direct the Federal CIO to require agencies to document specifically how the cost savings achieved from PortfolioStat have been reinvested.

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

    Comments: In July 2016, we followed up with OMB on its efforts to address this recommendation. As of September 1, 2016, we were still waiting for the agency's response.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the PortfolioStat initiative improves governmental efficiency and achieves cost savings, the Director of OMB should direct the Federal CIO to establish time frames for completing assigned PortfolioStat action items and hold agencies accountable for meeting those time frames.

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

    Comments: In July 2016, we followed up with OMB on its efforts to address this recommendation. As of September 1, 2016, we were still waiting for the agency's response.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Chief Information Officer to revisit the 25 cost initiatives GAO reported in GAO-14-65 to identify those that have achieved savings and cost avoidances and report those savings and avoidances to OMB.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2016, during our review of federal agencies' efforts to rationalize their portfolio of software applications, the department reported that it does not collect data specifically on savings and cost avoidance associated with the business and enterprise IT applications that comprise most of the 25 cost initiatives reported in GAO-14-65. We will continue to follow up with the department on this recommendation.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further improve its production verification efforts and to increase communication among the bureau's staff with specialized knowledge on oil and gas measurement issues, improve the consistency and efficiency in both onshore and offshore measurement issues, and ensure that Interior continues the ongoing responsibilities outlined in our prior recommendations, the Secretary of the Interior should ensure the team meets in accordance with the provisions in the revised charter.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2016, officials stated that Interior had updated the Gas and Oil Measurement Team's charter. The charter, which was signed in December 2015, requires that the team meet at least twice per year. The charter further requires that the team is to periodically report progress of ongoing work to the newly established Interior oversight entity, the Onshore and Offshore Coordinating Committee. Interior provided documentation indicating that the team has met once since the charter was signed, with a meeting held in March 2016.
    Recommendation: To further improve its production verification efforts and to provide greater assurance that BLM staff are consistently applying the new guidance to commingling agreement requests and determine whether the guidance corrected deficiencies and produced improvements, the Secretary should direct BLM to schedule and complete the internal review as expeditiously as possible.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, Interior officials stated that once the new gas measurement regulations are finalized and implemented, BLM will conduct the internal review.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of OMB streamlining efforts and ensure agency CIOs are better able to carry out their responsibilities in managing IT, including implementing OMB's IT reform initiatives, the Director of OMB should direct the Federal CIO, in collaboration with agency CIOs, to ensure there is a common understanding with agency CIOs on the priority of the current reporting requirements and related IT reform initiatives. This should include addressing underlying reasons cited by CIOs regarding the usefulness of requirements, including when department priorities are reportedly different than OMB's and the burdensome and duplicative nature of requirements.

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

    Comments: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) neither agreed or disagreed with our recommendation. Subsequently, OMB has taken steps to address some aspects of our recommendation. Specifically, in January 2017, OMB worked with the Chief Information Officer (CIO) Council to issue a report entitled "State of Federal Information Technology (SOFIT)" which outlined current IT trends and their key challenges, and made recommendations to improve implementation efforts. Notably, the report also identified differences in priorities between OMB and agency CIOs on key IT reform initiatives and the need for improved reporting requirements. In addition, in June 2017, OMB staff reported that they met the CIO and head of each agency this past spring regarding their priorities and challenges. While these are positive steps toward ensuring a common understanding of these initiatives and reporting requirements, OMB still needs to take action to address the underlying reasons for these differences in priorities and reduce burdensome and duplicative requirements. Until OMB takes action in these areas, there is a risk that key IT reform initiatives may not fully succeed. We will continue to evaluate OMB's progress in addressing our recommendation.
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    4 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve collection of OCS issues by the military services and service component commands, the Secretary of Defense should revise existing DOD guidance, such as DOD Instruction 3020.41, to specifically detail the roles and responsibilities of the services in collecting OCS issues.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of October 2016, officials from the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Program Support reported that the department is in the process of updating DOD Instruction 3020.41, which identifies responsibilities related to operational contract support. Officials stated that the revised instruction, which is expected to be issued in December 2016, will detail the roles and responsibilities of the services in collecting lessons learned on operational contract support issues.
    Recommendation: To specifically identify and improve awareness of OCS roles and responsibilities and to collect OCS issues at the military services and the service component commands, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Navy and Air Force to include the services' roles and responsibilities to collect OCS issues in comprehensive service-specific guidance on how the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force should integrate OCS.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of October 2016, officials from the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Program Support reported that the department is in the process of updating DOD Instruction 3020.41, which identifies responsibilities related to operational contract support. Officials stated that the revised instruction, which is expected to be issued in December 2016, will detail the roles and responsibilities of the services in collecting lessons learned on operational contract support issues. Once revisions to the instruction are completed, officials noted that the services will be postured to include this new guidance in their respective regulations and guidance documents. Officials estimate completion of these service-specific regulations and guidance in fiscal year 2017.
    Recommendation: To help improve awareness of OCS roles and responsibilities and to collect OCS issues at the military services and the service component commands, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the military departments, in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to establish an OCS training requirement for commanders and senior leaders.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. In May 2016, officials from the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Program Support reported current OCS policy (DOD Instruction 3020.41) requires the Services and the Chairman to incorporate OCS into applicable policy, doctrine, programming, training, and operations. Officials stated that the revised instruction, which is expected to be issued in December 2016, will more clearly call out the OCS training requirement for commanders and senior leaders.
    Recommendation: To help improve DOD's management of OCS lessons learned, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that, as the department develops a concept for an OCS joint proponent, it include specific roles and responsibilities for a focal point responsible for integrating OCS issues from the Joint Lessons Learned Program.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation. In May 2016, officials from the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Program Support reported the department decided against creating a joint proponent for OCS issues. Rather, the course of action chosen was to designate the Joint Staff J4 as the OCS focal point and the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics) as the Principal Staff Advisor. Officials stated that the Joint Staff (J4) will serve as the focal point for integrating OCS issues from the Joint Lessons Learned Program and into DOD processes and procedures. Officials said that this designation will be detailed in DOD Instruction 3020.41, which is expected to be issued in December 2016.
    Director: Brian J. Lepore
    Phone: (202) 512-4523

    11 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help determine the effectiveness of BRAC homeless assistance conveyances, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations to require that conveyance statuses be tracked. These regulatory updates could include requiring DOD to track and share disposal actions with HUD and requiring HUD to track the status following disposal, such as type of assistance received by providers and potential withdrawals by providers.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations to require that conveyance statuses be tracked, which could include requiring DOD to track and share disposal actions with HUD and requiring HUD to track the status following disposal. In an April 2017 follow up, DOD stated that it plans to address our recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. DOD added that it will work closely with the military Departments and HUD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To help determine the effectiveness of BRAC homeless assistance conveyances, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations to require that conveyance statuses be tracked. These regulatory updates could include requiring DOD to track and share disposal actions with HUD and requiring HUD to track the status following disposal, such as type of assistance received by providers and potential withdrawals by providers.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: HUD generally concurred with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations to require that conveyance statuses be tracked, which could include requiring DOD to track and share disposal actions with HUD and requiring HUD to track the status following disposal. HUD stated that it is willing to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations to track the conveyances of property for homeless assistance, but noted that it will require DOD agreement to do so because the regulations are joint. In a March 2017 follow up, HUD stated it will address GAO recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD added it would be premature to make any changes to current implementing policies or regulations which could be impacted by new BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD stated it will work closely with the military departments and DOD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To assist homeless assistance providers and LRAs in completing the steps of the BRAC homeless assistance process within required time frames, to provide additional information to reduce unfulfilled expectations about the decisions made in executing the homeless assistance agreements, and to promote a greater dissemination of this information, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense, for each of the following four elements, should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations; establish information-sharing mechanisms, such as a website or informational pamphlets; or develop templates to include specific guidance that clearly identifies the information that should be provided to homeless assistance providers during tours of on-base property, such as the condition of the property.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations, establish information-sharing mechanisms, or develop templates to include specific guidance that clearly identifies the information that should be provided to homeless assistance providers during tours of on-base property, such as the condition of the property. DOD stated that while it already provides generic information about the property, the LRAs and interested homeless assistance providers can undertake facility assessments following the tours. However, DOD did not provide additional detail or explanation about how it would provide information about the condition of the property or access to it. In an April 2017 follow up, DOD stated that it plans to address our recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. DOD added that it will work closely with the military Departments and HUD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To assist homeless assistance providers and LRAs in completing the steps of the BRAC homeless assistance process within required time frames, to provide additional information to reduce unfulfilled expectations about the decisions made in executing the homeless assistance agreements, and to promote a greater dissemination of this information, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense, for each of the following four elements, should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations; establish information-sharing mechanisms, such as a website or informational pamphlets; or develop templates to include specific guidance that clearly identifies the information that should be provided to homeless assistance providers during tours of on-base property, such as the condition of the property.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: HUD generally concurred with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations, establish information-sharing mechanisms, or develop templates to include specific guidance that clearly identifies the information that should be provided to homeless assistance providers during tours of on-base property, such as the condition of the property. HUD stated that it will update its BRAC guidebook, website, and presentations to provide clarifying information for homeless assistance providers regarding what information should be included during tours of on-base property. HUD also noted in its response that this will require DOD and military department agreement to implement and that the provision of information about the condition of on-base property and access to that property is under the purview of the military department. In a March 2017 follow up, HUD stated it will address GAO recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD added it would be premature to make any changes to current implementing policies or regulations which could be impacted by new BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD stated it will work closely with the military departments and DOD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To assist homeless assistance providers and LRAs in completing the steps of the BRAC homeless assistance process within required time frames, to provide additional information to reduce unfulfilled expectations about the decisions made in executing the homeless assistance agreements, and to promote a greater dissemination of this information, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense, for each of the following four elements, should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations; establish information-sharing mechanisms, such as a website or informational pamphlets; or develop templates to include information for homeless assistance providers to use for preparing their notices of interest.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD did not concur with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations, establish information-sharing mechanisms, or develop templates to include information for homeless assistance providers to use in preparing their notices of interest. In its response, DOD stated that the existing regulatory guidance is adequate for providers' expressions of interest, given that these expressions evolve as the redevelopment planning effort proceeds and they learn more about the property. In an April 2017 follow up, DOD stated that it plans to address our recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. DOD added that it will work closely with the military Departments and HUD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To assist homeless assistance providers and LRAs in completing the steps of the BRAC homeless assistance process within required time frames, to provide additional information to reduce unfulfilled expectations about the decisions made in executing the homeless assistance agreements, and to promote a greater dissemination of this information, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense, for each of the following four elements, should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations; establish information-sharing mechanisms, such as a website or informational pamphlets; or develop templates to include information for homeless assistance providers to use for preparing their notices of interest.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: HUD generally concurred with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations, establish information-sharing mechanisms, or develop templates to include information for homeless assistance providers to use in preparing their notices of interest. HUD stated that it will update its BRAC guidebook, website, and presentations to provide clarifying information for homeless assistance providers to use in preparing their notices of interest. HUD also stated that it considered the current regulations and BRAC guidebook sufficient to inform providers as long as LRAs did not place additional requirements, which may create an undue burden for providers. In a March 2017 follow up, HUD stated it will address GAO recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD added it would be premature to make any changes to current implementing policies or regulations which could be impacted by new BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD stated it will work closely with the military departments and DOD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To assist homeless assistance providers and LRAs in completing the steps of the BRAC homeless assistance process within required time frames, to provide additional information to reduce unfulfilled expectations about the decisions made in executing the homeless assistance agreements, and to promote a greater dissemination of this information, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense, for each of the following four elements, should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations; establish information-sharing mechanisms, such as a website or informational pamphlets; or develop templates to include guidance for legally binding agreements and clarification on the implications of unsigned agreements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations, establish information-sharing mechanisms, or develop templates to include guidance for legally binding agreements and clarification on the implications of unsigned agreements. DOD did not commit to taking any actions to provide this information and instead noted that any action should ensure that a legally binding agreement does not bind DOD to disposal actions it is unable to carry out. Nothing in the recommendation requires DOD to sign an agreement it cannot carry out. DOD further noted that the purpose of the legally binding agreement is to provide remedies and recourse for the LRA and provider in carrying out an accommodation following property disposal. In an April 2017 follow up, DOD stated that it plans to address our recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. DOD added that it will work closely with the military Departments and HUD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To assist homeless assistance providers and LRAs in completing the steps of the BRAC homeless assistance process within required time frames, to provide additional information to reduce unfulfilled expectations about the decisions made in executing the homeless assistance agreements, and to promote a greater dissemination of this information, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense, for each of the following four elements, should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations; establish information-sharing mechanisms, such as a website or informational pamphlets; or develop templates to include guidance for legally binding agreements and clarification on the implications of unsigned agreements.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: HUD generally concurred with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations, establish information-sharing mechanisms, or develop templates to include guidance for legally binding agreements and clarification on the implications of unsigned agreements. HUD stated that it will update its BRAC guidebook, website, and presentations to provide clarifying information for homeless assistance providers to use in preparing legally binding agreements and on the implications of unsigned agreements. In a March 2017 follow up, HUD stated it will address GAO recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD added it would be premature to make any changes to current implementing policies or regulations which could be impacted by new BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD stated it will work closely with the military departments and DOD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To assist homeless assistance providers and LRAs in completing the steps of the BRAC homeless assistance process within required time frames, to provide additional information to reduce unfulfilled expectations about the decisions made in executing the homeless assistance agreements, and to promote a greater dissemination of this information, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense, for each of the following four elements, should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations; establish information-sharing mechanisms, such as a website or informational pamphlets; or develop templates to include specific information on legal alternatives to providing on-base property, including acceptable alternative options such as financial assistance or off-base property in lieu of on-base property, information about rules of sale for on-base property conveyed to homeless assistance providers, and under what circumstances it is permissible to sell property for affordable housing alongside the no-cost homeless assistance conveyance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD did not concur with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations, establish information-sharing mechanisms, or develop templates to include specific information on legal alternatives to providing on-base property, including acceptable alternative options such as financial assistance or off-base property in lieu of on-base property, information about rules of sale for on-base property conveyed to homeless assistance providers, and under what circumstances it is permissible to sell property for affordable housing alongside the no-cost homeless assistance conveyance. In its response, DOD stated that providers may only be considered through specific expressions of interest in surplus BRAC property, and these suggested alternatives may only be considered within the context of what is legally permissible given the specific circumstances at each installation. Further, DOD noted in its response that HUD may provide examples of alternatives to on-base property that have been approved to date as part of a local accommodation to offer examples for LRAs and providers. In an April 2017 follow up, DOD stated that it plans to address our recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. DOD added that it will work closely with the military Departments and HUD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To assist homeless assistance providers and LRAs in completing the steps of the BRAC homeless assistance process within required time frames, to provide additional information to reduce unfulfilled expectations about the decisions made in executing the homeless assistance agreements, and to promote a greater dissemination of this information, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense, for each of the following four elements, should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations; establish information-sharing mechanisms, such as a website or informational pamphlets; or develop templates to include specific information on legal alternatives to providing on-base property, including acceptable alternative options such as financial assistance or off-base property in lieu of on-base property, information about rules of sale for on-base property conveyed to homeless assistance providers, and under what circumstances it is permissible to sell property for affordable housing alongside the no-cost homeless assistance conveyance.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: HUD generally concurred with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations, establish information-sharing mechanisms, or develop templates to include specific information on legal alternatives to providing on-base property, including acceptable alternative options such as financial assistance or off-base property in lieu of on-base property, information about rules of sale for on-base property conveyed to homeless assistance providers, and under what circumstances it is permissible to sell property for affordable housing alongside the no-cost homeless assistance conveyance. HUD stated that it will update its BRAC guidebook, website, and presentations to clarify that the use of off-base property and financial assistance are acceptable alternate means of homeless assistance accommodation in base redevelopment plans and to include examples of alternatives to on-base property that have been approved to date. HUD also stated that this will require DOD and military department agreement to implement. In a March 2017 follow up, HUD stated it will address GAO recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD added it would be premature to make any changes to current implementing policies or regulations which could be impacted by new BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD stated it will work closely with the military departments and DOD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the timeliness of the HUD review process, the Secretary of Housing Urban Development should develop options to address the use of staff resources dedicated to the reviews of bases during a BRAC round, such as assigning temporary headquarters staff or utilizing current field HUD staff.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: HUD generally concurred with the recommendation to develop options to address the use of staff resources dedicated to the reviews of bases during a BRAC round, such as assigning temporary headquarters staff or utilizing current field HUD staff. HUD stated that it temporarily assigned headquarters staff and utilized field office staff during the 2005 round of BRAC. HUD also stated that, in the event of another BRAC round the size of 2005, it would encourage Congress to allocate funding for appropriate temporary staff resources to assist the department in meeting important timelines. In a March 2017 follow up, HUD stated it will address GAO recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD added it would be premature to make any changes to current implementing policies or regulations which could be impacted by new BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD stated it will work closely with the military departments and DOD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Director: Kay Brown
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the consistency of assistance provided to tribes, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should take steps to provide consistent title IV-E guidance to tribes across its regional offices.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2015, HHS hired a tribal coordinator who will work in the Office of the Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau. The tribal coordinator's primary functions will include facilitating communication across the regions and with tribes to share experiences and information, so as to ensure greater consistency and clarity. While this hire represents an initial step towards improving communication with tribal title IV-E agencies, more time is needed for the tribal coordinator to implement policies and procedures that will ensure consistent title IV-E guidance to tribes across HHS regional offices. In May 2017, the agency reported that tribal coordinator position was ultimately elevated to the Office of the ACYF Commissioner and became the Commissioner's representative to the Tribes. We await documentation on any guidance provided to the regional offices that would help with consistency.
    Recommendation: To improve the timeliness of assistance provided to tribes, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should establish procedures to ensure reviews of draft title IV-E plans are conducted by regional office staff in a timely manner.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, HHS stated that it does not anticipate taking action in response to this recommendation because of its existing protocols for communicating with and responding to tribal title IV-E grantees. We maintain that establishing procedures, including but not limited to timeframes for responses, would help ensure that tribes receive timely feedback from regional offices regarding their draft title IV-E plans.
    Director: Sullivan, Michael J
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of the Secretary of Defense issued a policy directive called Better Buying Power 3.0 in April 2015, which addresses this recommendation to pilot acquisition programs for streamlining. In September 2015, DOD designated one Navy program, the Next Generation Jammer, as a pilot program with streamlined oversight, processes, and documentation. The program manager believes that implementation of this model has allowed for more focus on improving program execution by significantly shortening decision cycle time and appropriately tailoring acquisition requirements. The Air Force and Army have not designated pilot programs at this time.
    Director: Randall B. Williamson
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve identification of enlisted servicemembers separated for non-disability mental conditions, and to provide reasonable assurance that enlisted servicemembers, including Air Force National Guard members, are separated for non-disability mental conditions as appropriate and in accordance with DOD requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and the Secretaries of the Army and the Navy and the Commandant of the Marine Corps to use the separation codes specific to a non-disability mental condition or develop another uniform method to track servicemembers who have been separated for specific non-disability mental conditions so that this information can be easily retrieved.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To improve identification of enlisted servicemembers separated for non-disability mental conditions, and to provide reasonable assurance that enlisted servicemembers, including Air Force National Guard members, are separated for non-disability mental conditions as appropriate and in accordance with DOD requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and the Secretary of the Air Force to take steps to ensure there is an appropriately staffed process to identify and administratively separate enlisted National Guard members who are unable to function effectively in the National Guard because of a non-disability mental condition.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To improve identification of enlisted servicemembers separated for non-disability mental conditions, and to provide reasonable assurance that enlisted servicemembers, including Air Force National Guard members, are separated for non-disability mental conditions as appropriate and in accordance with DOD requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy and the Commandant of the Marine Corps to update their services' administrative separation policies to be consistent with DOD regulations for those servicemembers separated for all non-disability mental conditions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To improve identification of enlisted servicemembers separated for non-disability mental conditions, and to provide reasonable assurance that enlisted servicemembers, including Air Force National Guard members, are separated for non-disability mental conditions as appropriate and in accordance with DOD requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force and the Navy and the Commandant of the Marine Corps to implement processes to oversee separations for non-disability mental conditions, such as reinstituting the requirement of annual compliance reporting of a sample of administrative separations, using current DOD policy requirements as review criteria for servicemembers of all military services and their Reserve components.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To improve identification of enlisted servicemembers separated for non-disability mental conditions, and to provide reasonable assurance that enlisted servicemembers, including Air Force National Guard members, are separated for non-disability mental conditions as appropriate and in accordance with DOD requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to ensure that Army's planned oversight of separations for non-disability mental conditions is implemented and incorporates reservists and National Guard members separated for such conditions, or that Army implement another process to oversee such administrative separations using current DOD policy requirements as review criteria for all servicemembers, including reservists and National Guard members.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To improve identification of enlisted servicemembers separated for non-disability mental conditions, and to provide reasonable assurance that enlisted servicemembers, including Air Force National Guard members, are separated for non-disability mental conditions as appropriate and in accordance with DOD requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to review any processes used by the military services to oversee such administrative separations to ensure compliance with DOD requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-7331

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve implementation and oversight of the MODA program, the Secretary of Defense should consider providing additional performance information to Congress on the extent to which DOD is achieving its advisor assignments and program expansion relative to its goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2016, DOD said that the MoDA program drafted a performance management framework which will establish program goals, objectives, and performance indicators to assess progress and measure results. However, as of October 2017, DOD had not provided evidence that the framework had been implemented.
    Director: Timothy J. DiNapoli
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To maximize the potential value of the MPNDI pilot program, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics should identify whether there are opportunities to test flexibilities or streamlined procedures that are not otherwise available under existing authorities.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress expanded the applicability of the pilot program in Section 892 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016. DOD has not yet identified if opportunities exist to test flexibilities or streamlined procedures that are not otherwise available under existing authorities, including under the expanded pilot program.
    Director: Merritt, Zina Dache
    Phone: (202) 512-5257

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To develop and implement a process to monitor performance and independently validate the effectiveness and sustainability of corrective actions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to assess, and refine as appropriate, existing performance measures to ensure the measures assess the implementation of individual initiatives as well as progress towards achievement of the overarching goals and objectives in the Strategy.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2016, DOD has not implemented this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To demonstrate sustained progress in having implemented corrective measures, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in collaboration with the military services, to continue the implementation of identified initiatives, refining them over time as appropriate, and demonstrate that implementation of initiatives results in measurable outcomes and progress toward achieving improvements in asset visibility.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2016, DOD has not implemented this recommendation.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    8 open recommendations
    including 8 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that FBI whistleblowers have access to recourse under DOJ's regulations should the individuals experience retaliation, and to minimize the possibility of discouraging future potential whistleblowers, the Attorney General should clarify in all current relevant DOJ guidance and communications, including FBI guidance and communications, to whom FBI employees may make protected disclosures and, further, explicitly state that employees will not have access to recourse if they experience retaliation for reporting alleged wrongdoing to someone not designated in DOJ's regulations.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not responded to GAO requests for information on any efforts DOJ has taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that complainants receive the periodic updates that they are entitled to and need to determine next steps for their complaint, such as whether or not to seek corrective action from OARM, Counsel, DOJ-OPR should tailor its new case management system or otherwise develop an oversight mechanism to capture information on the office's compliance with regulatory requirements and, further, use that information to monitor and identify opportunities to improve DOJ-OPR's compliance with regulatory requirements.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of Professional Responsibility
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not responded to GAO requests for information on any efforts DOJ has taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DOJ is fulfilling its commitment to improving efficiency in handling these complaints, Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management (OARM) and Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG) should provide parties with an estimated time frame for returning each decision, including whether the complaint meets threshold regulatory requirements, merits, and appeals. If the time frame shifts, OARM and ODAG should timely communicate a revised estimate to the parties.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of the Deputy Attorney General
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not responded to GAO requests for information on any efforts DOJ has taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DOJ is fulfilling its commitment to improving efficiency in handling these complaints, Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management (OARM) and Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG) should provide parties with an estimated time frame for returning each decision, including whether the complaint meets threshold regulatory requirements, merits, and appeals. If the time frame shifts, OARM and ODAG should timely communicate a revised estimate to the parties.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Justice Management Division: Human Resources and Administration: Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not responded to GAO requests for information on any efforts DOJ has taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DOJ is fulfilling its commitment to improving efficiency in handling these complaints, DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility (DOJ-OPR), Office of the Inspector General, OARM, and ODAG should jointly assess the impact of ongoing and planned efforts to reduce the duration of FBI whistleblower retaliation complaints throughout the entire investigation, adjudication, and appeal process to ensure that these changes are in fact shortening total complaint length, without sacrificing quality.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of the Deputy Attorney General
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not responded to GAO requests for information on any efforts DOJ has taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DOJ is fulfilling its commitment to improving efficiency in handling these complaints, DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility (DOJ-OPR), Office of the Inspector General, OARM, and ODAG should jointly assess the impact of ongoing and planned efforts to reduce the duration of FBI whistleblower retaliation complaints throughout the entire investigation, adjudication, and appeal process to ensure that these changes are in fact shortening total complaint length, without sacrificing quality.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Justice Management Division: Human Resources and Administration: Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not responded to GAO requests for information on any efforts DOJ has taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DOJ is fulfilling its commitment to improving efficiency in handling these complaints, DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility (DOJ-OPR), Office of the Inspector General, OARM, and ODAG should jointly assess the impact of ongoing and planned efforts to reduce the duration of FBI whistleblower retaliation complaints throughout the entire investigation, adjudication, and appeal process to ensure that these changes are in fact shortening total complaint length, without sacrificing quality.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of Professional Responsibility
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not responded to GAO requests for information on any efforts DOJ has taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DOJ is fulfilling its commitment to improving efficiency in handling these complaints, DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility (DOJ-OPR), Office of the Inspector General, OARM, and ODAG should jointly assess the impact of ongoing and planned efforts to reduce the duration of FBI whistleblower retaliation complaints throughout the entire investigation, adjudication, and appeal process to ensure that these changes are in fact shortening total complaint length, without sacrificing quality.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of Inspector General
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, GAO has not received information from the Department of Justice about any steps taken to address this recommendation.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of its cost estimates, as NRC revises its cost estimating procedures, the NRC Chairman should ensure that the agency aligns the procedures with relevant cost estimating best practices identified in the GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide and ensure that future cost estimates are prepared in accordance with relevant cost estimating best practices.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In February 2017, the NRC staff released draft updated cost-benefit guidance, with a public comment period beginning in March 2017. In January 2018, NRC staff plan to provide a draft of the final guidance to the Commission. The final updated cost-benefit guidance is expected to be issued for use in March 2018.
    Director: Seto J. Bagdoyan
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help FEMA prevent improper payments, the Administrator of FEMA should assess the cost and feasibility of addressing limitations in FEMA's control for identifying duplicate information in applications in high-risk data fields--such as SSN, bank-account information, address, and phone number--that may currently allow individuals or households to improperly receive multiple payments, and if determined to be costbeneficial take steps to address the system design limitation.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, FEMA reported that the agency had reviewed its software system's controls for identifying duplicate SSNs, bank account, address, and phone information. FEMA reported that it would be cost effective and feasible to improve its software system's controls for identifying duplicate address information, and the agency expects to deploy these system changes in the summer of 2017. FEMA also reported that, based on its review of the cases GAO referred to FEMA, errors in SSN and bank account information were related to human casework processing rather than software system limitations. Consequently, FEMA reported that it was reviewing and updating its casework training, guidance, and quality control documentation. We will continue to monitor FEMA's efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help FEMA prevent improper payments, the Administrator of FEMA should collaborate with SSA to assess the cost and feasibility of checking recipient SSNs against the Enumeration Verification System and the full death file to more accurately identify recipients who used Social Security numbers (SSNs) that were ineligible or belonged to likely deceased individuals, document the results of this assessment, and if determined to be cost-beneficial take steps to implement a partnership to use SSA data.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, FEMA reported that the agency completed a cost estimate for system changes needed to include a direct data exchange with SSA. FEMA further reported that the agency was continuing to explore alternative means of conducting a direct data exchange that would help FEMA verify if an SSN belongs to a deceased person. We will continue to monitor FEMA's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Charlie Jeszeck
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    5 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To better protect the retirement savings of individuals who change jobs, while retaining policies that provide 401(k) plans relief from maintaining small, inactive accounts, Congress should consider amending current law to permit the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of the Treasury to identify and designate alternative default destinations for forced transfers greater than $1,000, should they deem them more advantageous for participants.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: There has been no congressional action as of 2017.
    Recommendation: To better protect the retirement savings of individuals who change jobs, while retaining policies that provide 401(k) plans relief from maintaining small, inactive accounts, Congress should consider amending current law to repeal the provision that allows plans to disregard amounts attributable to rollovers when determining if a participant's plan balance is small enough to forcibly transfer it.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: There has been no congressional action as of 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure that individuals have access to consolidated online information about their multiple 401(k) plan accounts, the Secretary of Labor should convene a taskforce to consider establishing a national pension registry. The taskforce could include industry professionals, plan sponsor representatives, consumer representatives, and relevant federal government stakeholders, such as representatives from Social Security Administration, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and Internal Revenue Service, who could identify areas to be addressed through the regulatory process, as well as those that may require legislative action.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In April 2017, The Department of Labor (DOL) reported that it has not allocated any resources to this recommendation and, as previously stated, that it continues to believe that the Department should not undertake to convene a taskforce at this time, in light of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's (PBGC) initiative, the Department's limited authority, and resource constraints. In October 2016, DOL stated that it does not have regulatory authority to establish a pension registry and could not provide sufficient funding to operate a registry. GAO's recommendation is to convene a taskforce to look at what would be needed to create such a registry. Indeed, DOL's stated constraints are exactly the constructive input that would need to be first addressed by such a taskforce for a registry to be created. The agency further noted that the PBGC is in the process of looking at expanding its own registry of accounts left in closed defined benefit plans to include accounts in 401(k) plans. However, PBGC is only looking at expanding its program, as instructed by the Pension Protection Act, to include accounts left in terminated 401(k) plans. However, in June 2016, Congress proposed that a new national, online, lost and found for Americans' retirement accounts be created, in cooperation with the Commissioner of Social Security and the Secretary of the Treasury, using data that employers are already required to report. Until Congress' proposal becomes law, we continue to recommend that DOL facilitate a taskforce to discuss legal and other logistical questions that would need to be worked out to create a pension registry.
    Recommendation: To ensure that 401(k) plan participants have timely and adequate information to keep track of all their workplace retirement accounts, the Social Security Administration's Acting Commissioner should make information on potential vested plan benefits more accessible to individuals before retirement. For example, the agency could consolidate information on potential vested benefits, currently sent in the Potential Private Retirement Benefit Information notice, with the information provided in the Social Security earnings and benefits statement.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA disagreed with this recommendation, but did seek legal guidance to determine if it is permissible to include a general statement encouraging potential beneficiaries to pursue any external pension benefits in its benefit Statement. SSA's Office of the General Counsel determined that it would be permissible as long as it includes information required by law and the information is accurate. However, SSA continues to believe that adding such information would place SSA in a position to respond to issues or questions about ERISA and private pension plans, which SSA considers to be outside its mission and about which the agency has no firsthand legal or operational knowledge. Also, SSA believes that the current benefit Statement adequately covers the fact that people need other savings, pensions, and investments. Also, SSA sends notices to people who it believes quality for other pensions. In FY17, SSA reported no change in status to this recommendation. We continue to agree with SSA's view about providing information or advice about private pension plans generally. However, SSA's Notice of Potential Private Retirement Benefit Information already directs recipients to contact DOL with any questions, and we would expect that any changes made to make information on potential vested plan benefits more accessible to individuals before retirement - such as including the information in Social Security earnings and benefit statements - would continue to direct recipients to contact DOL with questions about ERISA policy. Furthermore, we continue to believe that individuals should receive information on any potential vested plan benefits prior to retirement.
    Recommendation: To prevent forced-transfer IRA balances from decreasing due to the low returns of the investment options currently permitted under the Department of Labor's safe harbor regulation, the Secretary of Labor should expand the investment alternatives available. For example, the forced-transfer IRA safe harbor regulations could be revised to include investment options currently under the qualified default investment alternatives regulation applicable to automatic enrollment, and permit forced-transfer IRA providers to change the investments for IRAs already established.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOL declines to adopt this recommendation. DOL noted if GAO?s comments are interpreted to mean that the recommended safe harbor revisions would free plan fiduciaries from an obligation to make a prudent selection among such a broader range of investment alternatives, then it raises significant policy issues regarding the administration of ERISA?s fiduciary duty provisions. DOL also noted that if, on the other hand, GAO's recommendation would have the safe harbor require the responsible plan fiduciary be responsible for prudently deciding whether to use a higher risk investment alternative, employers and other plan sponsors may oppose such a change. Our recommendation does not comment on or suggest changes to the obligations of plan fiduciaries as part of a change to the safe harbor. Further, GAO has made prior recommendations that DOL clarify the definition of fiduciary for purposes of investment, including a requirement that plan service providers, when assisting participants with distribution options, disclose any financial interests they may have in the outcome of those decisions in a clear, consistent, and prominent manner; the conditions under which they are subject to any regulatory standards (such as ERISA fiduciary standards, SEC standards, or others); and what those standards mean for the participant. Our recommendation is to "expand the investment options available" and we have noted that qualified default investment alternatives could be one option. Previously, DOL has stated that the limited investments under the safe harbor are appropriate because Congress' intent for the safe harbor was to preserve principal transferred out of plans. DOL noted that given the small balances and the inability of absent participants to monitor investments, the current conservative investment options are a more appropriate way to preserve principal. However, the current forced-transfer IRA investment options like money market funds can protect principal from investment risk, but not from the risk that fees (no matter how reasonable) and inflation can result in decreased account balances due to returns on these small balance accounts not keeping pace with fees. The reality has been that many forced-transfer IRAs have experienced very large and even complete declines in principal. Our recommendation did not aim to eliminate any investment alternatives covered by the safe harbor, rather it aims to expand the alternatives available so that plans and providers that want to operate under the safe harbor have the opportunity to choose the most suitable investment. We continue to encourage DOL to expand the safe harbor to include investment alternatives more likely to preserve principal and even increase it over time.
    Director: Johnson Jr, Charles M
    Phone: (202) 512-7331

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the definition of the GSCF program and assist stakeholders in assessing whether GSCF is meeting its goals, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense should provide a range of time to clarify the time frames associated with near- to mid-term GSCF projects.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) partially agreed that the departments should clearly define what time frames constitute "near- to mid-term" for GSCF projects. As of September 2015, DOD has not published a definition for what time frame constitutes "near to mid-term" for GSCF projects.
    Recommendation: To enhance the definition of the GSCF program and assist stakeholders in assessing whether GSCF is meeting its goals, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense should provide a range of time to clarify the time frames associated with near- to mid-term GSCF projects.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State did not agree that the departments should define what time frames constitute "near- to mid-term" for GSCF projects. As of September 2015, State has not published a definition for what time frame constitutes "near to mid-term" for GSCF projects.
    Recommendation: To enhance the definition of the GSCF program and assist stakeholders in assessing whether GSCF is meeting its goals, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense should track GSCF projects against established time frames.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense agreed that the departments should track GSCF projects against established time frames and said in its response that the departments plan to track the projects against the congressional notification timelines and plan to continue holding biweekly calls with project implementers to identify and address implementation considerations. As of September 2015, DOD has not tracked GSCF projects against time frames.
    Recommendation: To enhance the definition of the GSCF program and assist stakeholders in assessing whether GSCF is meeting its goals, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense should track GSCF projects against established time frames.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State agreed that the departments should track GSCF projects against established time frames. As of September 2015, State is not tracking GSCF projects against time frames.
    Director: Kimberly Gianopoulos
    Phone: (202) 512-8612

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the capacity of the U.S. government to monitor and enforce FTA partners' compliance with mutually agreed FTA labor provisions, USTR and DOL, in cooperation with State, should establish a coordinated strategic approach to monitoring and enforcing FTA labor provisions, to ensure that they systematically assess the consistency of priority FTA partner countries' laws, regulations, and practices with trade agreement labor provisions and address any identified concerns.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOL concurred with GAO recommendation and stated that it regularly coordinates monitoring and enforcement activities related to assessing and ensuring the consistency of FTA partner countries' labor laws, regulations, and practices with FTA labor provisions with USTR and State. In March 2017, the Monitoring and Enforcement of Trade Agreements Division (META) in DOLs Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) finalized Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for monitoring FTA labor provisions and engaging with partner country governments and stakeholders. These SOPs involve a renewed emphasis on monitoring trips to FTA partner countries to meet with government officials and in-country stakeholders to gather information on potential FTA violations and make key contacts with stakeholders to encourage direct communication going forward. The SOPs also include provisions regarding coordination with USTR and State in the monitoring and enforcement of FTA labor provisions. As of May 2017, this recommendation remains open pending further action by DOL and USTR.
    Recommendation: To improve the capacity of the U.S. government to monitor and enforce FTA partners' compliance with mutually agreed FTA labor provisions, USTR and DOL, in cooperation with State, should establish a coordinated strategic approach to monitoring and enforcing FTA labor provisions, to ensure that they systematically assess the consistency of priority FTA partner countries' laws, regulations, and practices with trade agreement labor provisions and address any identified concerns.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a correspondence dated January 12, 2015, USTR concurred with GAO's recommendation that USTR and DOL, in cooperation with State, establish a coordinated strategic approach to monitoring and enforcing FTA labor provisions, to ensure that they systematically assess the consistency of priority FTA partner countries' laws, regulations, and practices with trade agreement labor provisions and address any identified concerns. USTR stated that it is constantly exploring strategies to monitor and analyze information on labor issue more effectively and take action to implement those strategies. To implement GAO's recommendation, USTR is increasing the level and frequency of interagency monitoring through the Trade Policy Staff Committee, Subcommittee on Labor Monitor and Enforcement. Additionally, with DOL, USTR is exploring ways to improve engagement with U.S. Embassies in trade partner countries to monitor labor conditions. For example, DOL is funding the placement of labor officers in certain priority U.S. Embassies to collect and assess facts and to support the implementation of USTR and DOL's efforts. To date, according to USTR, DOL has placed labor officers in Colombia, Honduras, and Bangladesh. As of May 2017, this recommendation remains open pending further action by USTR and DOL.
    Recommendation: To improve the capacity of the U.S. government to monitor and enforce FTA partners' compliance with mutually agreed FTA labor provisions, USTR should ensure that the Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreement Programs, which USTR provides each year to Congress, includes results of USTR's and DOL's efforts to proactively monitor partner countries' compliance with FTA labor provisions.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a correspondence dated January 12, 2015, USTR concurred with GAO's recommendation that USTR should ensure that the Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreement Programs, which USTR provides each year to Congress, includes results of USTR's and DOL's efforts to proactively monitor partner countries' compliance with FTA labor provisions. USTR stated that its annual report already provides country-specific information on labor issues and that USTR regularly engages with Congress to provide detailed information on labor issues via meetings and phone conferences. Nonetheless, USTR recognizes that meaningful engagement with Congress is an indispensable part of monitoring and enforcing FTA labor provisions. To implement GAO's recommendation, USTR agreed to continue to identify more effective ways of communicating with Congress, including USTR's committees of jurisdiction, with respect to the Administration's FTA monitoring and enforcement efforts. Furthermore, USTR stated that it will solicit congressional advice and input to inform its efforts. As of May 2017, this recommendation remains open pending further action by USTR.
    Director: Cristina Chaplain
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Before making decisions on whether to disaggregate DOD's protected satellite communications, SBIRS, or environmental monitoring satellite systems, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to develop common measures for resilience.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has not yet developed common measures for resilience, but has stated standard metrics are under development. Results from a recent study by the National Security Space Enterprise Vision Tiger Team are expected to develop resilience requirements and options for attaining resiliency. DOD plans to use the Space Based Infrared System Follow-on as a test case for describing resilience as a system requirement. The Air Force approved a draft capability development document in February 2017, and a full capability development document is under development. In addition, DOD has identified mission assurance and resiliency as priorities for the next Space Strategic Portfolio Review. GAO's ongoing review of hosted payloads, to be conducted over the next year, will likely review issues related to this area.
    Recommendation: Before making decisions on whether to disaggregate DOD's protected satellite communications, SBIRS, or environmental monitoring satellite systems, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to expand demonstration efforts to examine the operational feasibility of disaggregation by empirically quantifying its benefits and limitations as well as addressing longstanding barriers that could hinder its implementation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has not yet empirically quantified the benefits and limitations of disaggregation, or addressed longstanding barriers that could hinder its implementation, through a demonstration of operational feasibility. However, DOD stated it has considered the disaggregation of certain capabilities in previous war games, and lessons learned will be carried forward into future war games. For example, the most recent war games focused on ways to increase space system resilience by expanding and integrating international and private sector capabilities, and increasing the number of sensors and associated coverage.
    Recommendation: Before making decisions on whether to disaggregate DOD's protected satellite communications, Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS), or environmental monitoring satellite systems, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to comprehensively examine--either through the Analysis of Alternatives studies or through other assessments--the full range of disaggregation issues, including those that go beyond the satellite systems themselves.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has made progress toward assessing disaggregation through its analysis of alternatives (AOA) efforts for individual satellite programs within three areas: protected satellite communications services (PSCS), space-based environmental monitoring (SBEM), and the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS). However, DOD has not yet completed a comprehensive examination of the full range of disaggregation issues. DOD completed the SBEM AOA in October 2013, the SBIRS Follow-on AOA in December 2015, and the PSCS AOA in February 2016. These AOAs each included cost, capability, and risk analyses for aggregated and disaggregated alternatives, though each did not assess the full range of disaggregation issues for the subject area. For example, the SBEM AOA evaluated options including placing sensors on host satellites, placing satellites in different orbits, and relying on international and U.S. civil partners to provide some capabilities, but it focused on the space segment and did not analyze alternative ground segment components. The AOA team determined impacts to the ground segment would need to be assessed more thoroughly once DOD decided on a solution. In October 2016, the Air Force approved an acquisition strategy for the planned solution, called the Weather System Follow-on - Microwave. The program has not yet assessed ground segment impacts, but the Air Force stated it will be assessed further once a contract is awarded. For the PSCS and SBIRS areas, the Air Force conducted subsequent studies on resiliency in 2016, which evaluated the benefits of resiliency in future architectures for satellite communications missions and informed resilience requirements for the SBIRS Follow-on. GAO has ongoing work in these areas and plans to complete reviews of the AOAs in the fall of 2017 and a hosted payload review in the next year.
    Director: Brian J. Lepore
    Phone: (202) 512-4523

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure DOD's approach to joint basing aligns with the intent of the 2005 BRAC recommendation and DOD's current position on the intent of joint basing, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations and Environment), in collaboration with the military services and joint bases, to evaluate the purpose of the program and determine whether DOD's current goals of achieving greater efficiencies and generating cost savings for the joint basing program, as stated in the 2005 BRAC Commission recommendation, are still appropriate or whether goals should be revised, and communicate these goals to the military services and joint bases and then adjust program activities accordingly.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD non-concurred with the recommendation and has not planned any further actions to address the recommendation. DOD stated that the department and GAO have fundamentally different approaches in viewing how DOD should manage joint bases, and noted that the recommendations imply that joint bases are OSD-run entities that should be addressed through new DOD policies. DOD stated that it believes that although joint bases involve added complexities from crossing traditional military service lines, they are ultimately service-run bases similar to all other installations. As such, DOD stated that its position is to continue to agree to disagree regarding this recommendation. As of October 2017 the department had not taken any action to address this recommendation, according to an official of OSD's basing office.
    Recommendation: To ensure DOD's approach to joint basing aligns with the intent of the 2005 BRAC recommendation and DOD's current position on the intent of joint basing, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations and Environment), in collaboration with the military services and joint bases, to, subsequent to the evaluation above, provide direction to joint bases on their requirements for meeting the joint base program's goals. DOD's leadership should work with the military services to determine what reporting requirements and milestones should be put in place to increase support and commitment for the program's goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD non-concurred with the recommendation and has not planned any further actions to address the recommendation. DOD stated that the department and GAO have fundamentally different approaches in viewing how DOD should manage joint bases, and noted that the recommendations imply that joint bases are OSD-run entities that should be addressed through new DOD policies. DOD stated that it believes that although joint bases involve added complexities from crossing traditional military service lines, they are ultimately service-run bases similar to all other installations. As such, DOD stated that its position is to continue to agree to disagree regarding this recommendation. As of October 2017, an OSD basing official stated that DOD has not taken any action to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure DOD's approach to joint basing achieves the goals as outlined by DOD in its justification for the 2005 BRAC recommendation and leverages additional opportunities to reduce duplication of effort that could in turn generate cost savings and increased efficiencies, Congress should consider directing the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations and Environment), in collaboration with the military services and joint bases, to evaluate the purpose of the program and determine whether the current goals, as stated in the 2005 BRAC Commission recommendation, are still appropriate, or whether goals should be revised; communicate these goals to the military services and joint bases, and adjust program activities accordingly; provide direction to the joint bases on requirements for meeting program goals, including determining reporting requirements and milestones; and determine any next steps for joint basing, including whether to expand it to other installations.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of October 2017 there has been no legislation identified.
    Director: Zina Merritt
    Phone: (202) 512-5257

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD's future submissions of the Biennial Core Report will be more accurate and complete, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness to assess the review processes and implement needed improvements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 10, 2015, the Assistant Secretary of Defense Logistics and Materiel Readiness stated that the process for developing and issuing DOD's Biennial Core Report has been reviewed and two corrective actions have been identified. First, a tasking memorandum for the military service to submit their input for the DOD Core Capability Report will be issued in October instead of December. This tasking will also require each submitting military service to include a certification by a General/Flag Officer or Senior Executive Service member that their military service's data is complete and accurate. Second, the extra time will allow Office of Secretary of Defense staff to conduct a more thorough review of the military service's submitted data to verify completeness and accuracy. These actions will not be complete until April 2016 which is when DOD will submit its next Core Capability Report. As of July 2016, DOD made the two corrective actions above. However, the 2016 DOD Biennial Core Report still contained data errors and inaccurate information, therefore these process improvements did not make the report more complete and accurate.
    Director: John Pendleton
    Phone: (202) 512-3489

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to assess Joint Operational Access Concept implementation, including the contribution of the Army and the Marine Corps, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Joint Staff, in coordination with the Army, the Marine Corps, and other members of the working group, to establish specific measures and milestones in future iterations of the JOAC Implementation Plan to gauge how individual implementation actions contribute in the near and long terms to achieving the required capabilities, operational objectives, and end state envisioned by the department.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with the recommendation stating that it previously recognized the need to assess JOAC implementation progress and had already begun to develop specific measures and milestones. According to officials, as of August 2015 the JOAC implementation plan has not been completed.
    Director: Jennifer A. Grover
    Phone: (202) 512-7141

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assess the progress of the Secure Flight program toward achieving its goals, the Transportation Security Administration's Administrator should develop additional measures to address key performance aspects related to each program goal, and ensure these measures clearly identify the activities necessary to achieve progress toward the goal.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions that DHS TSA has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information. Status last confirmed on 10/26/15.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help DOD to improve management of GFO requirements and collect more detailed information on associated costs, and to determine the number of GFOs required for DOD's mission, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in coordination with the secretaries of the military departments, to conduct a comprehensive update for GFO requirements by identifying, assessing, and validating positions that the department believes should be filled by GFOs, and define the circumstances under which subsequent periodic updates should occur. The update should include an assessment of whether GFO statutory limits are sufficient to meet GFO requirements and the impact of any shortfall on the department's mission.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) established a working group in July 2016 to conduct a comprehensive, global manpower study of general and flag officer requirements. As of October 2017, the Department has contracted with the RAND Corporation to develop a methodology to assess active component general and flag officer requirements and authorizations, including a billet-by-billet review to determine the degree to which current requirements are necessary and authorizations are sufficient. RAND is assessing the sufficiency of the number of general and flag officer authorizations in existing statutes and assessing the need for changes to ensure service and joint requirements are met.
    Recommendation: To help improve the definition and availability of costs associated with GFOs and aides, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to establish guidance to define the position of officer aide.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD, officer aide duties are in connection with assisting general and flag officers in the office and in an operational or training environment in which requirements and expectation can vary based on the responsibility of the officer the aide is supporting. DOD stated that officer aide assignments are more appropriately managed at the military service level.
    Recommendation: To help improve the definition and availability of costs associated with GFOs and aides, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to require the military departments to report on officer aide population data.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help improve the definition and availability of costs associated with GFOs and aides, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, in coordination with the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and the secretaries of the military departments, to define the costs that could be associated with GFOs--such as security details--for the purpose of providing a consistent approach to estimating and managing the full costs associated with GFOs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress directed the Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE), in coordination with the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) and the Service Secretaries, to define the costs associated with general and flag officers, including security details, government air travel, enlisted and officer aide housing costs, support staff, official residences, and any other costs incurred due to the nature of their position. CAPE has been working with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff and the services to develop their report. According to DOD, the report is expected to be completed in Fall 2016.
    Director: Emrey Arras, Melissa H
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the usefulness of information from school evaluations, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop a plan for future school evaluations that includes, among other things, clearly-defined evaluation questions and an assessment of the experience, expertise, and skills needed by the personnel from the entity or entities conducting the school evaluations.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2016, DOD reported that it had contracted with a recognized industry leader to provide expert research and analysis of the Department's needs and offer best practices in compliance across industry and government. In 2017, DOD reported that it awarded the contract for conducting the school evaluations and as part of that contract, specified the required experience and education for key staff conducting the evaluation. To guide the evaluations, DOD developed several data collection instruments to collect information on schools participating in the program and service members' experiences in the program. GAO will consider closing this recommendation once the first round of evaluations are completed and we obtain any evaluations based on the DCIs.
    Director: Kay E. Brown
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of FNS to establish additional guidance to help states analyze SNAP transaction data to better identify SNAP recipient households receiving replacement cards that are potentially engaging in trafficking, and assess whether the use of replacement card benefit periods may better focus this analysis on high-risk households potentially engaged in trafficking.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: FNS officials reported that, in September 2013, they awarded a contract to provide expert business consultation and technical assistance in the area of recipient fraud prevention and detection to 7 states. The purpose of the contract was to improve how effectively recipients suspected of trafficking SNAP benefits were identified and investigated, including the use of predictive analytics involving transaction and replacement card data to uncover potential recipient trafficking. As of August 2017, FNS officials reported that they have completed studies in 10 states, helping the states build predictive analytics models that incorporate use of replacement card data to better identify SNAP recipient trafficking. FNS officials report that the models have demonstrated a significant improvement in state effectiveness. FNS officials also report that, in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016, the agency conducted a training program for state technical staff to teach them how to build predictive models that incorporate the use of replacement card data. In addition, FNS officials report that the agency is currently developing a SNAP Fraud Framework to provide guidance to states on improving fraud prevention and detection, including the use of excessive card replacements and other data sources, as potential indicators of fraud. FNS tentatively anticipates releasing the framework by the end of calendar year 2017. GAO will monitor these efforts and await information, including related technical assistance materials and documentation, on how these activities are used to guide states' efforts to use transaction and replacement card data to better focus on high-risk households for potential investigation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of FNS to reassess the effectiveness of the current guidance and tools recommended to states for monitoring e-commerce and social media websites, and use this information to enhance the effectiveness of the current guidance and tools.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: FNS officials reported that, in 2016, the agency conducted additional analysis to evaluate states' current use of social media in their detection of SNAP trafficking and develop a proof of concept for the use of market-leading tools to assist states in more efficient monitoring. Based on the information gained through this analysis, FNS officials reported in August 2017 that a draft of the social media guidance is currently in FNS clearance and is expected to be released by the end of the calendar year. GAO will await the issuance of this guidance.
    Director: Steve Lord
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve the quality of the data collected on specific land-use agreements (i.e., sharing, outleases, licenses, and permits), enhance the monitoring of its revenue process and monitoring of agreements, and improve the accountability of the VA in this area, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should develop mechanisms to monitor the billing and collection of revenues for land-use agreements to help ensure that transactions are promptly and accurately recorded at the three medical centers.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: Veterans Affairs-Veterans Health Administration officials are currently updating their policies on Sharing Use of Space. Veterans Affairs-Veterans Health Administration Office of Enterprise Management will provide support to the agency's office of Finance, as needed, on the process for recognition of revenue, billing, collections, and for financial reporting to ensure completeness of financial data for land use agreements. Agency officials began working on the Capital Asset Inventory validation report. Upon completion, the report will be provided to agency field staff for action on updating the database.
    Director: John H. Pendleton
    Phone: (202) 512-3489

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist DOD in conducting any future comprehensive assessments of roles and missions that reflect appropriate statutory requirements, the Secretary of Defense should develop a comprehensive process that includes (1) a planned approach, including the principles or assumptions used to inform the assessment, that addresses all statutory requirements; (2) the involvement of key DOD stakeholders, such as the armed services, Joint Staff, and other officials within the department; (3) an opportunity to identify and involve appropriate external stakeholders, to provide input to inform the assessment; and (4) time frames with milestones for conducting the assessment and for reporting on its results.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) has not subsequently completed a comprehensive assessment of roles and missions. However, a DOD official responsible for force development stated that, in response to our report, DOD has taken specific steps to improve the force planning guidance it uses to inform its annual Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution process, including in ways that reflect evolving roles and missions of the military services. As of October 2017, DOD has still not completed a subsequent comprehensive assessment of roles and missions; however according to a DOD official, through the normal Fiscal Year 2019 Program Review and the 2017 National Defense Strategy review process, as well as in development of internal force planning guidance in advance of the budget cycle for Fiscal years 2018 and 2019, a range of discussions touching on roles and missions have occurred.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure goal leader and deputy goal leader accountability, the Director of OMB should work with agencies to ensure that agency priority goal leader and deputy goal leader performance plans demonstrate a clear connection with agency priority goals.

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

    Comments: We contacted OMB and Performance Improvement Council (PIC) staff about this recommendation in November 2016 and February 2017. They have not yet responded regarding whether they have taken any action to implement this recommendation.
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enable the Army to address the requirement to identify and track personnel with SFA-related experience, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to develop and implement a plan with goals and milestones for how it will develop the means for systematically identifying and tracking personnel with SFA-related experience.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to a TRADOC official, TRADOC has reviewed the CJCSI on Irregular Warfare (Sept. 2015) as well as the recently published DoDI 3000.11 - Management of DoD Irregular Warfare (IW) and Security Force Assistance (SFA) Capabilities (dated 3 May 2016). Based on that recently published DoDI, TRADOC (along with the other services) are coordinating with the Office of the Secretary of Defense - Force Training to prepare an initial briefing at the next Irregular Warfare Executive Steering Committee chaired by both ASD SO/LIC and JS J7 (tentatively scheduled for Jan. 2017). The briefing will cover how TRADOC plans to identify and track SFA and IW capabilities and where they are in starting that tracking process, to include any significant issues or best practices. TRADOC will then be prepared to provide a report on those skills, training and education programs and experiences every two years in conjunction with the IW assessment as required by the Instruction. In preparation for that briefing, TRADOC conducted a meeting the first week of August with both the G1 (Personnel) and Force Modernization Division to discuss the current Service personnel systems and wargame a best way to capture those skills, training and experiences. According to the official, a potential solution may be the development of an Additional Skill Identifier (ASI) vice creating a separate MOS, to allow the most effective means of being able to capture those SFA and IW skills experiences and training and the identification of a Proponent/authority for the awarding of the ASI.
    Director: Charles Jeszeck
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    6 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To better protect plan sponsors and participants who use managed account services, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) to review provider practices related to additional managed account services offered to participants in or near retirement, with the aim of determining whether conflicts of interest exist and, if it determines it is necessary, taking the appropriate action to remedy the issue.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2014, DOL agreed to include these practices in its current review of investment advice conflicts of interest, noting that such conflicts continue to be a concern. In April 2015, a proposed regulation was published in the Federal Register on the definition of a "fiduciary" of an employee benefit plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) as a result of giving investment advice to a plan or its participants or beneficiaries. The proposal would widen the array of advice relationships under which someone would be considered a fiduciary under ERISA more broadly than existing regulations. This would increase consumer protection for plan sponsors, fiduciaries, participants, beneficiaries and IRA owners. An initial comment period closed on July 21, 2015. DOL held a public hearing on August 10-13, 2015, and reopened the comment period until September 24. GAO will monitor the progress of this proposed rule.
    Recommendation: To better protect plan sponsors and participants who use managed account services, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for the EBSA to consider the fiduciary status of managed account providers when they offer services on an opt-in basis and, if necessary, make regulatory changes or provide guidance to address any issues.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOL concurred with this recommendation and agreed to review existing guidance and consider whether additional guidance is needed in light of the various business models we described. As of May 2017, DOL is continuing these efforts. To implement this recommendation, DOL should complete its efforts to consider managed account service provider practices and fiduciary roles and take any necessary action to address potential issues to ensure that sponsors and participants receive unconflicted managed account services from qualified managers.
    Recommendation: To help sponsors who offer managed account services or who are considering doing so better protect their 401(k) plan participants, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for EBSA to require plan sponsors to request from record keepers more than one managed account provider option, and notify the Department of Labor if record keepers fail to do so.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL agreed to consider this recommendation in connection with its current regulatory project on standards for brokerage windows in participant-directed individual account plans. The project has been moved to the long-term action category of DOL's regulatory agenda. DOL will also consider the extent of its legal authority to effectively require that plans have more than one managed account service provider or to require that record keepers offer more than one managed account provider as part of their service agreements. GAO believes requiring plan sponsors to ask for more than one choice of a provider -- which is slightly different than how DOL has characterized it--may be an effective method of broadening plan sponsors' choices of managed account providers. However, GAO also agrees that DOL should examine the scope of its existing authority in considering how it might implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help sponsors and participants more effectively assess the performance of managed accounts, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for EBSA to amend participant disclosure regulations to require that sponsors furnish standardized performance and benchmarking information to participants. To accomplish this, EBSA could promulgate regulations that would require sponsors who offer managed account services to provide their participants with standardized performance and benchmarking information on managed accounts. For example, sponsors could periodically furnish each managed account participant with the aggregate performance of participants' managed account portfolios and returns for broad-based securities market indexes and applicable customized benchmarks, based on those benchmarks provided for the plan's designated investment alternatives.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL agreed to consider this recommendation in connection with (1) its regulatory project on standards for brokerage windows in participant directed individual account plans and (2) open proposed rulemaking project involving the qualified default investment alternative and participant-level fee disclosure regulations. These projects have been moved to the long-term action category of DOL's regulatory agenda.
    Recommendation: To help sponsors and participants more effectively assess the performance of managed accounts, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for EBSA to amend service provider disclosure regulations to require that providers furnish standardized performance and benchmarking information to sponsors. To accomplish this, EBSA could promulgate regulations that would require service providers to disclose to sponsors standardized performance and benchmarking information on managed accounts. For example, providers could, prior to selection and periodically thereafter, as applicable, furnish sponsors with aggregated returns for generalized conservative, moderate, and aggressive portfolios, actual managed account portfolio returns for each of the sponsor's participants, and returns for broad-based securities market indexes and applicable customized benchmarks, based on those benchmarks provided for the plan's designated investment alternatives.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL agreed to consider this recommendation in connection with (1) its regulatory project on standards for brokerage windows in participant directed individual account plans and (2) open proposed rulemaking project involving the qualified default investment alternative and participant-level fee disclosure regulations. These projects have been moved to the long-term action category of DOL's regulatory agenda.
    Recommendation: To help sponsors who offer managed account services or who are considering doing so better protect their 401(k) plan participants, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for EBSA to provide guidance to plan sponsors for selecting and overseeing managed account providers that addresses: (1) the importance of considering multiple providers when choosing a managed account provider, (2) factors to consider when offering managed accounts as a Qualified Default Investment Alternative or on an opt-in basis, and (3) approaches for evaluating the services of managed account providers.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL agreed to consider this recommendation in connection with its current regulatory project on standards for brokerage windows in participant-directed individual account plans. DOL intends for this project to address whether potential regulatory or other guidance for such arrangements may be appropriate. The project has been moved to the long-term action category of DOL's regulatory agenda.
    Director: Gary Engel
    Phone: (202) 512-3406

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, working in coordination with the Controller of OMB, to establish and implement policies and procedures for accounting for and reporting all significant General Fund activity and balances, obtaining assurance on the reliability of the amounts, and reconciling the activity and balances between the General Fund and federal entities.

    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 and OMB agreed that this recommendation remained open. Treasury has established the General Fund as a federal reporting entity. In fiscal year 2017, the focus will be on preparing for the first financial audit of the General Fund. We will follow-up on progress made by Treasury and OMB as part of our fiscal year 2017 CFS audit, which is ongoing as of March 2017.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, working in coordination with the Controller of OMB, to establish a formalized process to require the performance of additional audit procedures specifically focused on intragovernmental activity and balances between federal entities to provide increased audit assurance over the reliability of such information.

    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 and OMB agreed that this recommendation remained open. As a result of multiple initiatives over the past few years, Treasury and OMB have seen a significant decrease in elimination differences of intragovernmental data submitted by federal entities. Therefore, Treasury and OMB have determined at this time there is not a justified need for the additional cost and burden on federal entities to implement additional audit procedures specifically focused on intragovernmental activity and balances. We will follow-up on progress made by Treasury and OMB as part of our fiscal year 2017 CFS audit, which is ongoing as of March 2017.
    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: 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: Charlie Jeszeck
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve IRS's enforcement and compliance efforts, decrease the administrative and financial burden of maintaining both electronic and paper-based form processing systems, and reduce plan reporting costs, Congress should consider providing the Department of the Treasury with the authority to require that the Form 5500 series be filed electronically.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of 5/31/17, Congress has taken no action.
    Recommendation: To improve the usefulness, reliability, and comparability of Form 5500 data for all stakeholders while limiting the burden on the filing community, the Secretaries of DOL and Treasury, and the Director of PBGC should consider implementing the findings from our panel when modifying plan investment and service provider fee information, including: (1) revising Schedule H plan asset categories to better match current investment vehicles and provide more transparency into plan investments; (2) revising the Schedule of Assets attachments to create a standard searchable format; (3) developing a central repository for EIN and PN numbers for filers and service providers to improve the comparability of form data across filings; (4) clarifying Schedule C instructions for direct, eligible indirect, and reportable indirect compensation so plan fees are reported more consistently and, as we recommended in the past, better align with the 408(b)(2) fee disclosures; and (5) simplifying and clarify Schedule C service provider codes to increase reporting consistency.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2016, DOL in coordination with IRS and PBGC has implemented cross-year edit checks into EFAST in an effort to improve the consistency in key identifying information, such as the EIN, Plan Number and Plan Name. These checks aim to verify identifying information submitted on the Form 5500 and to notify the filer and government agencies of inconsistencies, which affords filers the ability to review and modify crucial identifying information prior to submission. Additionally, if the filer chooses to submit data that may contain inconsistent information, the edit test indicators provide government users with the ability to more readily detect filings containing potential errors in the identifying information for further review and correction. DOL has also collaborated with PBGC and IRS in issuing proposed revisions to the Form 5500 Series in a Notice of Proposed Forms Revisions. The deadline for public comment ended December 5, 2016. The proposed revisions in the Notice reflect efforts of DOL, IRS, and PBGC to improve the Form 5500 reporting for filers, the public, and the agencies by among other things, (1) modernizing financial information filed by regarding plans; (2) updating fee and expense information on plan service providers with a focus on harmonizing annual reporting requirement with DOL's 408(b)(2); financial disclosure requirements; (3) enhancing the ability to mine data files on annual returns/reports; and (4) improving compliance with ERISA and the Code through selected new questions regarding plan operation, service provider relationships, and financial management of plans. Specifically, in the Notice the agencies propose that Schedule H report assets held and assets disposed of during the plan year to provide more transparency and a more complete report of plan's annual investments and that that the Schedule of Assets be revised to require reporting of assets held through direct filing entities. Additionally, the agencies are proposing revisions to the Schedule H, Schedule of Assets that require filers to complete standardized Schedules in a format enabling data to captured electronically. This requirement would enable importation of information from the Schedules of Assets into structured databases that DOL would make available to the public from each year's Form 5500 Series filing. The agencies are also proposing to add clarifying definitions and instructions to improve the consistency of Form 5000 responses. This includes clarification of conventions to identify filers by name and identifying numbers to help mitigate confusion about legal identities with which plans transact and improve comparability of form data across filings. In addition, the agencies also propose revisions to Schedule C to require reporting of indirect compensation for service provider subject to 408(b)(2) requirements and for all compensation that is required to be disclosed. Further, the Schedule C instructions would be clarified to track more closely with the language of the 408(b)(2) regulations. The agencies are also proposing to limit the codes for Schedule C and requiring the filer to more simply indicate all types of services for each provider identified. Additionally, they propose a requirement to indicate all the types of fees/compensation separately when reporting sources of compensation from parties other than plan and plan sponsor. The agencies are reviewing the public comments and expect the process to continue through 2017. While the Agencies have made considerable efforts to address our recommendation in the proposed revisions to the Form 5500, they have not made any decisions on whether to make changes to the forms or DOL regulations, and have not decided on a timeline for implementation of any changes to the form or DOL regulations that the Agencies ultimately may decide to adopt. We will close this recommendation once the revision is final.
    Recommendation: To improve the usefulness, reliability, and comparability of Form 5500 data for all stakeholders while limiting the burden on the filing community, the Secretaries of DOL and Treasury, and the Director of PBGC should consider implementing the findings from our panel when modifying plan investment and service provider fee information, including: (1) revising Schedule H plan asset categories to better match current investment vehicles and provide more transparency into plan investments; (2) revising the Schedule of Assets attachments to create a standard searchable format; (3) developing a central repository for EIN and PN numbers for filers and service providers to improve the comparability of form data across filings; (4) clarifying Schedule C instructions for direct, eligible indirect, and reportable indirect compensation so plan fees are reported more consistently and, as we recommended in the past, better align with the 408(b)(2) fee disclosures; and (5) simplifying and clarify Schedule C service provider codes to increase reporting consistency.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2016, DOL in coordination with IRS and PBGC has implemented cross-year edit checks into EFAST in an effort to improve the consistency in key identifying information, such as the EIN, Plan Number and Plan Name. These checks aim to verify identifying information submitted on the Form 5500 and to notify the filer and government agencies of inconsistencies, which affords filers the ability to review and modify crucial identifying information prior to submission. Additionally, if the filer chooses to submit data that may contain inconsistent information, the edit test indicators provide government users with the ability to more readily detect filings containing potential errors in the identifying information for further review and correction. IRS has also collaborated with DOL and PBGC in issuing proposed revisions to the Form 5500 Series in a Notice of Proposed Forms Revisions. The deadline for public comment ended December 5, 2016. The proposed revisions in the Notice reflect efforts of DOL, IRS, and PBGC to improve the Form 5500 reporting for filers, the public, and the agencies by among other things, (1) modernizing financial information filed by regarding plans; (2) updating fee and expense information on plan service providers with a focus on harmonizing annual reporting requirement with DOL's 408(b)(2); financial disclosure requirements; (3) enhancing the ability to mine data files on annual returns/reports; and (4) improving compliance with ERISA and the Code through selected new questions regarding plan operation, service provider relationships, and financial management of plans. Specifically, in the Notice the agencies propose that Schedule H report assets held and assets disposed of during the plan year to provide more transparency and a more complete report of plan's annual investments and that that the Schedule of Assets be revised to require reporting of assets held through direct filing entities. Additionally, the agencies are proposing revisions to the Schedule H, Schedule of Assets that require filers to complete standardized Schedules in a format enabling data to captured electronically. This requirement would enable importation of information from the Schedules of Assets into structured databases that DOL would make available to the public from each year's Form 5500 Series filing. The agencies are also proposing to add clarifying definitions and instructions to improve the consistency of Form 5000 responses. This includes clarification of conventions to identify filers by name and identifying numbers to help mitigate confusion about legal identities with which plans transact and improve comparability of form data across filings. In addition, the agencies also propose revisions to Schedule C to require reporting of indirect compensation for service provider subject to 408(b)(2) requirements and for all compensation that is required to be disclosed. Further, the Schedule C instructions would be clarified to track more closely with the language of the 408(b)(2) regulations. The agencies are also proposing to limit the codes for Schedule C and requiring the filer to more simply indicate all types of services for each provider identified. Additionally, they propose a requirement to indicate all the types of fees/compensation separately when reporting sources of compensation from parties other than plan and plan sponsor. The agencies are reviewing the public comments and expect the process to continue through 2017. While the Agencies have made considerable efforts to address our recommendation in the proposed revisions to the Form 5500, they have not made any decisions on whether to make changes to the forms or DOL regulations, and have not decided on a timeline for implementation of any changes to the form or DOL regulations that the Agencies ultimately may decide to adopt. We will close this recommendation once the revision is final.
    Recommendation: To improve the usefulness, reliability, and comparability of Form 5500 data for all stakeholders while limiting the burden on the filing community, the Secretaries of DOL and Treasury, and the Director of PBGC should consider implementing the findings from our panel when modifying plan investment and service provider fee information, including: (1) revising Schedule H plan asset categories to better match current investment vehicles and provide more transparency into plan investments; (2) revising the Schedule of Assets attachments to create a standard searchable format; (3) developing a central repository for EIN and PN numbers for filers and service providers to improve the comparability of form data across filings; (4) clarifying Schedule C instructions for direct, eligible indirect, and reportable indirect compensation so plan fees are reported more consistently and, as we recommended in the past, better align with the 408(b)(2) fee disclosures; and (5) simplifying and clarify Schedule C service provider codes to increase reporting consistency.

    Agency: Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2016, DOL in coordination with IRS and PBGC has implemented cross-year edit checks into EFAST in an effort to improve the consistency in key identifying information, such as the EIN, Plan Number and Plan Name. These checks aim to verify identifying information submitted on the Form 5500 and to notify the filer and government agencies of inconsistencies, which affords filers the ability to review and modify crucial identifying information prior to submission. Additionally, if the filer chooses to submit data that may contain inconsistent information, the edit test indicators provide government users with the ability to more readily detect filings containing potential errors in the identifying information for further review and correction. PBDC has also collaborated with DOL and IRS in issuing proposed revisions to the Form 5500 Series in a Notice of Proposed Forms Revisions. The deadline for public comment ended December 5, 2016. The proposed revisions in the Notice reflect efforts of DOL, IRS, and PBGC to improve the Form 5500 reporting for filers, the public, and the agencies by among other things, (1) modernizing financial information filed by regarding plans; (2) updating fee and expense information on plan service providers with a focus on harmonizing annual reporting requirement with DOL's 408(b)(2); financial disclosure requirements; (3) enhancing the ability to mine data files on annual returns/reports; and (4) improving compliance with ERISA and the Code through selected new questions regarding plan operation, service provider relationships, and financial management of plans. Specifically, in the Notice the agencies propose that Schedule H report assets held and assets disposed of during the plan year to provide more transparency and a more complete report of plan's annual investments and that that the Schedule of Assets be revised to require reporting of assets held through direct filing entities. Additionally, the agencies are proposing revisions to the Schedule H, Schedule of Assets that require filers to complete standardized Schedules in a format enabling data to captured electronically. This requirement would enable importation of information from the Schedules of Assets into structured databases that DOL would make available to the public from each year's Form 5500 Series filing. The agencies are also proposing to add clarifying definitions and instructions to improve the consistency of Form 5000 responses. This includes clarification of conventions to identify filers by name and identifying numbers to help mitigate confusion about legal identities with which plans transact and improve comparability of form data across filings. In addition, the agencies also propose revisions to Schedule C to require reporting of indirect compensation for service provider subject to 408(b)(2) requirements and for all compensation that is required to be disclosed. Further, the Schedule C instructions would be clarified to track more closely with the language of the 408(b)(2) regulations. The agencies are also proposing to limit the codes for Schedule C and requiring the filer to more simply indicate all types of services for each provider identified. Additionally, they propose a requirement to indicate all the types of fees/compensation separately when reporting sources of compensation from parties other than plan and plan sponsor. The agencies are reviewing the public comments and expect the process to continue through 2017. While the Agencies have made considerable efforts to address our recommendation in the proposed revisions to the Form 5500, they have not made any decisions on whether to make changes to the forms or DOL regulations, and have not decided on a timeline for implementation of any changes to the form or DOL regulations that the Agencies ultimately may decide to adopt. We will close this recommendation once any revision are made final.
    Director: Zina Merritt
    Phone: (202) 512-5257

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance DOD's ability to make consistent and informed decisions in its management of the TCC program in accordance with internal control standards, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics should require the Director, Corrosion Policy and Oversight Office, to track and maintain accurate records that include amounts of funds used for the TCC program, and have them readily available for examination to ensure that funding data will be accurately accounted for and reported in future reports, such as the annual budget report to Congress.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD's Corrosion Office has consistently maintained that there was initially some inconsistency in financial reporting. The office plans to implement internal controls to identify and document budget categories for each financial transaction executed which will improve timeliness of reporting.
    Recommendation: To enhance DOD's ability to make consistent and informed decisions in its management of the TCC program in accordance with internal control standards, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics should require the Director, Corrosion Policy and Oversight Office, to document the procedures for selecting and approving military research labs supporting civilian and military institutions in conducting projects within the TCC program.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD's Corrosion Office has consistently maintained that its existing process is adequately documented in the DOD Corrosion Prevention and Mitigation Strategic Plan and the Technical Corrosion Collaboration (TCC) Definitions Document. However, DOD plans to update the Appendix C "Technical Corrosion Collaboration" of the DOD Corrosion Prevention and Mitigation Strategic Plan to add additional details regarding the procedures for selecting and approving military research labs supporting civilian and military institutions in conducting projects.
    Director: Lorelei St. James
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve information needed for USPS and congressional decision making as well as transparency for all stakeholders, USPS's executive leaders should collect and analyze updated data on delivery mode costs and the potential savings from converting delivery points to less costly modes of delivery and establish a time frame for publicly reporting the results.

    Agency: United States Postal Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: USPS plans to implement this recommendation by May 2018. According to USPS, this will require additional data collection and analysis. For example, USPS plans to assess its delivery network to understand the potential for converting delivery points, but has not yet collected data on the potential savings of large-scale conversions from door delivery to other modes of delivery. USPS stated that for each delivery point, USPS will need to analyze the location, property rights, zoning laws, and logistical and other legal issues. In addition, USPS said it planned future research to understand the impact of delivery mode conversion on mail volume and revenue.
    Director: Goldstein, Mark L
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the management and oversight of FPS's contract guard program, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) and the Director of FPS to take immediate steps to determine which guards have not had screener or active-shooter scenario training and provide it to them and, as part of developing a national lesson plan, decide how and how often these trainings will be provided in the future.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: FPS has indicated that they plan to implement this recommendation through its implementation of a training management system. FPS anticipates beginning implementation of this system in early 2018 and completing implementation by August 2018. GAO will continue to work with FPS to determine whether this recommendation has been implemented.
    Recommendation: To improve the management and oversight of FPS's contract guard program, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary of NPPD and the Director of FPS to require that contract guard companies' instructors be certified to teach basic and refresher training courses to guards and evaluate whether a standardized instructor certification process should be implemented.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: FPS has indicated that they are currently assessing options for implementing a national lesson plan for guard training that addresses this recommendation. GAO will continue to work with FPS to determine whether this recommendation has been implemented.