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    Subject Term: "Training programs"

    13 publications with a total of 35 open recommendations including 1 priority recommendation
    Director: David Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that NNSA effectively manages the performance of its programs, the Secretary of Energy should establish a program management policy that (1) assigns responsibilities and delegates authority to program managers and establishes expectations of competence for them, in accordance with federal internal control standards, and (2) addresses leading program management practices, such as developing program plans.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of January 2017, DOE stated that it will address our recommendation as part of its effort to meet the requirements of the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act of 2016. This Act requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to adopt government-wide standards, policies, and guidelines for program and project management for agencies. It also requires agencies to appoint program management improvement officers, establishes training competencies for program managers, and creates a job series and career path for program managers. According to the Act, OMB will issue the standards, policies, and guidelines required under the Act no later than December 14, 2017.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that NNSA develops and maintains a cadre of professional, effective, and capable program managers in accordance with leading program management practices and federal internal control standards, the Secretary of Energy should establish a training program for program managers.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of January 2017, DOE stated that it will address our recommendation as part of its effort to meet the requirements of the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act of 2016. This Act requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to adopt government-wide standards, policies, and guidelines for program and project management for agencies. It also requires agencies to appoint program management improvement officers, establishes training competencies for program managers, and creates a job series and career path for program managers. According to the Act, OMB will issue the standards, policies, and guidelines required under the Act no later than December 14, 2017.
    Director: Joseph W. Kirschbaum
    Phone: (202) 512-9971

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD agreed with the recommendation. Once DOD has provided information on actions to address the recommendation we will update the status.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure Interior can hire, retain, and train staff it needs to provide effective oversight of oil and gas activities on federal lands and waters, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of its available incentives, such as special salary rates, the student loan repayment program, and other incentives in hiring and retaining key oil and gas staff.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2016, Interior's Office of Policy, Management and Budget outlined a plan to assess the effectiveness of special salary rates, as well as recruitment, relocation, and retention incentives by tracking measures such as turnover and acceptance rates. In January 2017 Interior officials reported that the evaluation of these incentives would be conducted on a regular basis. When we confirm that the agency has implemented its evaluation plan, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure Interior can hire, retain, and train staff it needs to provide effective oversight of oil and gas activities on federal lands and waters, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget to annually evaluate the bureaus' training programs, including: (1) staff training needs, (2) training effectiveness, and (3) potential opportunities for the bureaus to share training resources.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, Interior officials said the bureaus were developing, or had developed, the means by which they would assess their training needs and review, evaluate, and update their training programs for technical staff. Interior also told GAO that as part of its quarterly review of performance data, the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget will ensure that BLM, BSEE and BOEM are coordinating their training needs. Interior officials said that their Office of Strategic Employment and Organizational Development will validate the bureaus' active engagement in this activity and provide support in the fulfillment of this recommendation where needed.
    Recommendation: To help ensure Interior can hire, retain, and train staff it needs to provide effective oversight of oil and gas activities on federal lands and waters, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management to develop technical competencies for all key oil and gas staff.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017 Interior officials reported that the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management will direct BLM, BSEE and BOEM to identify their individual bureau's respective technical competency needs for all key oil and gas staff and develop a plan with milestones for applying these competencies to recruitment, retention, and training strategies designed to address the unique requirements of each bureau.
    Recommendation: To help ensure Interior can hire, retain, and train staff it needs to provide effective oversight of oil and gas activities on federal lands and waters, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management to evaluate the need for and viability of a certification program for BSEE inspectors.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017 Interior officials reported that the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management will direct BSEE to evaluate certification programs that are used in other federal agencies and in industry to determine whether these types of formalized verification systems could benefit the inspection program. BSEE will award an Inspector Training Program evaluation contract to independently assess the need and effectiveness of a certification program for BSEE inspectors, including benchmarking with the BLM and other federal enforcement and compliance entities with inspector workforces.
    Recommendation: To help ensure Interior can hire, retain, and train staff it needs to provide effective oversight of oil and gas activities on federal lands and waters, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget to coordinate with the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management to create or use an existing mechanism, such as the Deputies Operating Group, Principals Operating Group, or the Interior Training Directors Council, to facilitate collaboration across the three bureaus in addressing their shared hiring, retention, and training challenges.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, Interior has not identified what mechanism it will use to facilitate collaboration across the three bureaus. In January 2017, Interior officials reported that as part of its quarterly review of performance data, the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget will coordinate with the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. We will provide updated information when the agency demonstrates that it has created or selected an existing mechanism to use for ongoing collaboration across the three bureaus in addressing their shared hiring, retention, and training challenges.
    Director: Jenny Grover
    Phone: (202) 512-7141

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure effective evaluation of air marshal training, the TSA Administrator should direct OTD to implement a mechanism for regularly collecting and incorporating incumbent air marshals' feedback on the training they receive from field office programs.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective evaluation of air marshal training, the TSA Administrator should direct OTD to take additional steps to improve the response rates of the training surveys it conducts.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that air marshals are complying with recurrent training requirements and have the capability to carry out FAMS's mission, the TSA Administrator should direct FAMS to specify in policy who at the headquarters level has oversight responsibility for ensuring that field office Supervisory Air Marshals-in-Charge or their designees meet their responsibilities for ensuring that training completion records are entered in a timely manner.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that air marshals are complying with recurrent training requirements and have the capability to carry out FAMS's mission, the TSA Administrator should direct FAMS to specify in policy who at the headquarters level is responsible for ensuring that headquarters personnel enter approved air marshals' training exemptions into the Federal Air Marshal Information System, and define the timeframe for doing so.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that air marshals are complying with recurrent training requirements and have the capability to carry out FAMS's mission, the TSA Administrator should direct FAMS to develop and implement standardized methods, such as examinations and checklists, for determining whether incumbent air marshals continue to be mission ready in key skills.

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

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

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that decision makers have immediate visibility into all capabilities of the National Guard that could support civil authorities in a cyber incident, the Secretary of Defense should maintain a database that can fully and quickly identify the cyber capabilities that the National Guard in the 50 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia have and could be used--if requested and approved--to support civil authorities in a cyber incident.

    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 better prepare DOD to support civil authorities in a cyber incident, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, the Commander of U.S. Northern Command, and the Commander of U.S. Cyber Command to conduct a tier 1 exercise that will improve DOD's planning efforts to support civil authorities in a cyber incident. Such an exercise should also address challenges from prior exercises, such as limited participant access to exercise environment, inclusion of other federal agencies and private-sector cybersecurity vendors, and incorporation of emergency or disaster scenarios concurrent to cyber incidents.

    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: Cary B. Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to better integrate virtual training devices into operational training, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to specify in Army guidance for developing virtual training device requirements that training developers consider and document the time available to train with the devices and intended usage rates to achieve training tasks and proficiency goals during operational training.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) partially concurred with this recommendation. As of August 2017, the Army reported taking limited steps to address this recommendation. Army officials stated that the Army has established target usage rates for existing virtual training devices, and has promulgated guidance and tracking tools for recording usage. However, the Army has not modified its guidance for developing new virtual training devices to reflect consideration of time available to train with a new device or expected usage rates to achieve training tasks and proficiency goals during operational training, as GAO recommended in August 2016.
    Recommendation: In order to better integrate virtual training devices into operational training, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to provide additional guidance on how to use virtual non-system training devices in operational training and explore opportunities to incorporate virtual training devices more fully into training strategies.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with this recommendation. As of August 2017, the Army has taken steps towards addressing it. Specifically, during the period May to November 2017, Headquarters, Department of the Army is leading an in-depth analysis of regular Army formations' readiness training models in support of operational demand. The outcome of this analysis will be viable and executable training models which will also inform future budget requests. According to Army officials, key stakeholders and relevant subject matter experts will identify and update unit training models to reflect training events and tasks to achieve training proficiency, to include key virtual training capabilities that enable specified training events. Key virtual training capabilities will be reflected for each collective and individual training event/task, which will better incorporate virtual training devices into training strategies, as GAO recommended in August 2016.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the Gold Star Advocate Program achieves its mission and objectives and to enhance outreach for the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the service secretaries, to determine outreach goals and metrics by which to measure progress in attaining those goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, DOD had not yet taken action to implement this recommendation. We will continue to follow-up on DOD's progress.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the Gold Star Advocate Program achieves its mission and objectives and to enhance outreach for the program, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should determine outreach goals and metrics by which to measure progress in attaining those goals.

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

    Comments: The Coast Guard is planning to establish goals and metrics for the Coast Guard's Gold Star Advocate Program to include: identifying resources to support the program, creating a Gold Star Advocate Program website, updating the Coast Guard's "A Survivor's Guide to Benefits" and link it to the Gold Star Advocate Program website. The Coast Guard also plans to begin capturing addresses and other contact information for survivors of each active duty servicemember death and perform a one-time mass mailing to survivors to inform them of the program. They also plan to develop measures for outreach effectiveness and to partner with the Department of Defense to identify other ways to ensure that all survivors are contacted. As of September 18, 2017, the Coast Guard has not taken action to implement this recommendation, but expects to by December 2017. As of December 2017, we have not confirmed any action had been taken.
    Recommendation: To improve the efficacy of the training provided, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop indicators to help determine how casualty assistance officer training contributes to the quality of the casualty assistance program.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, DOD had not yet taken action to implement this recommendation. We will continue to follow-up on DOD's progress.
    Director: J. Alfredo Gómez
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: As EPA and USDA continue to consider ways to track and promote water utilities' implementation of asset management, the Administrator of EPA should direct the Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water and Office of Wastewater Management to continue to include questions on water utilities' use of asset management in the clean water needs assessment and consider including questions about water utilities' use of asset management in future drinking water infrastructure needs assessment surveys.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 2017, EPA has convened a workgroup of 40 people representing states, technical advisers, EPA, and USDA. It will develop new asset management outreach tools directed towards local decision makers. The group will meet quarterly and plans to issue tools and resources by fall 2017.
    Recommendation: As EPA and USDA continue to consider ways to track and promote water utilities' implementation of asset management, the Administrator of EPA, and the Secretary of USDA, through the Rural Development Agency, should consider compiling into one document the existing cases and examples of the benefits and costs of asset management and widely share this information with water utilities.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, EPA has convened a workgroup of 40 people representing states, technical advisers, EPA, and USDA. It will develop new asset management outreach tools directed towards local decision makers. The group will meet quarterly and plans to issue tools and resources by fall 2017.
    Recommendation: As EPA and USDA continue to consider ways to track and promote water utilities' implementation of asset management, the Administrator of EPA, and the Secretary of USDA, through the Rural Development Agency, should consider compiling into one document the existing cases and examples of the benefits and costs of asset management and widely share this information with water utilities.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, EPA had convened a workgroup of 40 people representing states, technical advisers, EPA, and USDA. It will develop new asset management outreach tools directed towards local decision makers. The group will meet quarterly and plans to issue a best practices document by April 2017 and a webinar by May 2017.
    Director: David Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of the General Services Administration should develop a legislative proposal to enhance accountability for government-wide implementation of the Act. GSA should consider including the following in its proposal: (1) establishing authorities for a single agency to monitor and enforce implementation of the Act; (2) establishing agency responsibilities for reporting progress on implementation of the Act; (3) establishing agency responsibilities for assessing employee skill levels related to the Act and identifying training that allows employees to develop and retain skills required by the Act; and (4) establishing an interagency group to further government-wide collaboration on implementation of the Act.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, GSA agreed to work with other agencies to evaluate whether additional legislative changes would improve the speed and efficiency of implementation. In October 2017, GSA informed us they intend to submit a legislative proposal to Congress as part of the FY 2019 budget process. We will continue to monitor GSA actions.
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the efforts of the allocated brigades in Africa, and to identify opportunities to enhance brigade mission-specific training, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army, in coordination with the Commander of Army Forces Command and the Commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command, to conduct an assessment of the Army's approach to providing mission-specific training to regionally aligned forces, including the brigades allocated to AFRICOM, and determine whether any adjustments are needed. In addition to the assessment questions already identified by the Army in the Regionally Aligned Forces Execute Order, this assessment could consider (1) The degree to which the brigades' training--to include the curricula, resources, and execution--should be managed or coordinated at the institutional level. (2) How unit training programs should be resourced and the degree to which dedicated funding may be needed.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Army has taken positive steps in this area, such as developing a handbook to assist Regionally Aligned Force brigades in planning and training for their missions. Specifically, in November 2015, the Center for Army Lessons Learned published a handbook entitled "Regionally Aligned Forces Brigade Planning". Among other things, this handbook is intended to serve as a starting point for the identification of, planning for, and execution of missions as regionally aligned forces to an Army Service Component Command. Specific to training, this handbook includes guidance for brigades on how they should conduct mission-specific training for the regionally aligned forces mission, including: identifying potential subject matter experts and Army institutions to support mission specific training; providing sample training schedules; and highlighting specific doctrinal publications and key training considerations for use in guiding planning and preparation. According to an official from the Center for Army Lessons Learned, this handbook was intended to provide interim solutions to Regionally Aligned Force units to mitigate some of the difficulties that they have experienced until the Army formally addresses these issues with a permanent solution. While a positive step that could provide some remedies to the concerns cited in our report regarding mission-specific training, this handbook does not directly address our recommendation for the Army to conduct an assessment of its training approach for providing mission-specific training to regionally aligned forcesrecommendation. Thus, this recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To enhance the efforts of the allocated brigades in Africa, and to facilitate consistent, and predictable planning for mission-specific equipment requirements and efficient provision of such equipment, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army, in coordination with the Commander of Army Forces Command and the Commander of USARAF, to: (1) Identify the mission-specific equipment requirements on an appropriate requirements document for the brigades allocated to AFRICOM for security cooperation and other missions in Africa. (2) To the extent practicable, establish a consistent mechanism (e.g., a rotating equipment set, mission-essential equipment list) to ensure that the brigades allocated to AFRICOM are equipped with all known mission-essential equipment at the outset of their missions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Army is pursuing the establishment of Africa Activity Sets to provide a range of mission-specific equipment for units conducting activities in Africa, including regionally aligned force brigades, but these equipment sets are still pending validation and funding.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure effective evaluation of federal training programs and enhance DHS's stewardship of resources for federal training programs, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct DHS components to ensure that their documented training evaluation processes fully address attributes for effective training evaluation processes as they are drafted, updated, or revised.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2014, we reported on the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) training efforts, including the extent to which DHS has a documented process to evaluate training and development programs. We found that all five DHS components in GAO's review--U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center--have a documented process to evaluate their training programs. Their documented processes fully included three of six attributes of effective training evaluation processes identifying goals, programs to evaluate, and how results are to be used. However, the documented processes did not consistently include the other three attributes: methodology, timeframes, and roles and responsibilities. We concluded that by updating documentation to address these attributes, DHS components would have more complete information to guide its efforts in conducting effective evaluations. We therefore recommended that DHS direct its components to ensure that their documented training evaluation processes fully address attributes for effective training evaluation processes as they are drafted, updated, or revised. In September 2016, DHS officials reported that a DHS-wide self-audit of training evaluation processes was completed on March 31, 2016 and found that DHS has current documentation addressing effective learning evaluation programs and that there are commonalities in evaluation procedures across the components. As a part of the self-audit, components provided policy and procedures documents related to their training evaluation processes and found that they adhere to sound instructional systems design models. However, the self-audit focused on identifying the specific training evaluation practices for a sample of courses at each component and not whether the component-level guidance included the attributes for effective training evaluation processes we identified in our report. Further, although DHS updated its department-wide guidance on training evaluation in April 2016 to incorporate the attributes for effective training evaluation processes and some components have followed suit, other components have not. For example, we found that some components, such as Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard, had updated their training evaluation guidance to include the attributes we identified in our report. Others, such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were in the process of updating their guidance. However, as of April 2017, the guidance from the Transportation Security Administration remained in draft and the guidance from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center had not been updated since our review. Therefore, this recommendation remains open pending action on the above noted items.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective evaluation of federal training programs and enhance DHS's stewardship of resources for federal training programs, the Secretary of Homeland Security should identify existing challenges that prevent DHS from accurately capturing training costs department-wide and, to the extent that the benefits of addressing those challenges exceed the costs, implement corrective measures to overcome these challenges..

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2014, we reported on the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) training efforts, including the extent to which DHS has a documented process to reliably capture costs. We found that DHS identified efficiencies and cost savings for delivering a number of training programs. However, different methods are used for capturing training costs across the department, which poses challenges for reliably capturing these costs across DHS. Components capture training costs differently, contributing to inconsistencies in training costs captured across DHS. Variation in methods used to collect data can affect the reliability and quality of DHS-wide training program costs. However, DHS has not identified all challenges that contribute to these inconsistencies. We concluded that DHS could improve its awareness about the costs of training programs DHS-wide and thereby enhance its resource stewardship by identifying existing challenges that prevent DHS from accurately capturing training costs and implementing corrective measures. We therefore recommended that DHS identify existing challenges that prevent DHS from accurately capturing training costs department-wide and, to the extent that the benefits of addressing those challenges exceed the costs, implement corrective measures to overcome these challenges. As of September 2016, DHS reported that its Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer and Office of the Chief Financial Officer worked together to research the issue and determine the best course of action to standardize training cost reporting. However, this did not require a formal root cause analysis. In order to identify a way for the components to capture training costs in a standardized manner, DHS formed a Tiger Team that included officials from each component which identified 12 common functional areas for training to capture training costs. Components were directed to prepare implementation plans outlining how they will begin capturing cost data within the identified functional training areas and, according to DHS, began capturing the data on September 29, 2016. In January 2017, the DHS Chief Financial Officer provided guidance to the components as to how they are to report their training costs to DHS on a quarterly basis. Components provided their first quarterly submission to DHS in January 2017. These steps are in line with the intent of our recommendation. This recommendation will remain open as we monitor its continued implementation over the next two quarters.
    Director: Andrew Sherrill
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure servicemember participation in and completion of TAP, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness to require that all services provide unit commanders and their leaders information on TAP participation levels of servicemembers under their command, similar to that provided by the Army and Air Force. Such information could be used to help hold leaders accountable for ensuring TAP participation and completion.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD disagreed with this recommendation and, as of January 2016, has not taken action to address it. In its written comments published in GAO's 2014 report, DOD questioned GAO's concern that not having a mechanism to ensure a servicemember's completion of TAP by commander would result in commanders not supporting the release of servicemembers to attend TAP. DOD noted that GAO's concern is based on observations that preceded full implementation of the capstone event. In October 2013, DOD launched the capstone as a mandatory process by which commanders verify TAP participation and positively affirm that servicemembers have or have not met career readiness standards. In addition, DOD said that capstone event implementation was accompanied by a communications campaign to inform both commanders and the services. Finally, DOD said that capstone event completion is monitored departmentwide to ensure compliance. However, GAO believes that such monitoring does not provide routine information to commanders and their leaders and not all TAP locations will be monitored routinely. GAO's report noted that DOD reported that ensuring servicemember participation in capstone events was a challenge for most of the services possibly due, in part, to lack of commanders' support. Commander support for the program has been a long-standing challenge for the program. Therefore, we continue to believe that an accountability mechanism is needed for TAP that mirrors the level at which responsibility has been assigned. Since commanders are responsible for ensuring that eligible servicemembers have full access to and successfully complete required TAP components, providing them and their leaders information on TAP participation levels of servicemembers under their command could promote accountability and oversight. Servicemember participation in TAP is generally required by law and DOD policy, and also relates to a Cross-Agency Priority Goal, reinforcing the need for such a mechanism. For GAO to close this recommendation, DOD should require all services to provide unit commanders and their leaders information on TAP participation levels of servicemembers under their command.
    Recommendation: To provide information on the extent to which the revamped TAP is effective, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness to work with the partner agencies to develop a written strategy for determining which components and tracks to evaluate and the most appropriate evaluation methods. This strategy should include a plan to use the results of evaluations to modify or redesign the program, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has partially addressed GAO's recommendation on evaluating the effectiveness of the revamped TAP, information that is currently limited. DOD's May 2014 presentation to OMB on the status of TAP implementation and evaluation efforts lists specific TAP components and tracks in which VA, DOL, and SBA planned to assess TAP effectiveness or post-transition outcomes. Although the presentation to OMB indicated that VA planned a higher level evaluation, as of December 2015, VA officials said they are focusing on lower level evaluations, such as gauging participant reactions to training and monitoring. As of March 2016, DOL has been conducting a quasi-experimental evaluation of the Employment Workshop, which it expects to complete in 2017. Further, SBA officials said they are surveying Entrepreneurial track participants who agreed to a post-TAP, follow-up survey. However, DOD and the agencies have not fully demonstrated a strategic approach to planning higher level evaluations. Specifically, DOD and its partner agencies have not provided a rationale for why they chose to evaluate certain aspects of TAP and not others. A written rationale, along with how the agencies plan to use the results of the evaluations, is required for GAO to consider this recommendation closed.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To guide the implementation of actions DOD identified in its study on JPME, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should direct the Director for Joint Force Development to establish well-defined timeframes for conducting follow-on actions, coordinate with all stakeholders, and identify key officials responsible for implementing the study's recommendations to help ensure the usefulness, timeliness, and implementation of any actions DOD takes in response to the findings and recommendations contained in its study.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To guide the implementation of actions DOD identified in its study on JPME, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should direct the Director for Joint Force Development to assess the costs of implementing recommendations made and efficiencies to be derived from the recommendations in order to implement DOD's recommendations in a cost-effective manner.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.