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    Subject Term: Accountability

    60 publications with a total of 152 open recommendations including 20 priority recommendations
    Director: Beryl H. Davis
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of NASA should take steps to revise the agency's procedures for conducting improper payment risk assessments to include the activities of its Office of Inspector General in its risk assessment process to help ensure that all programs and activities are assessed for susceptibility to significant improper payments at least once every 3 years as required by the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: NASA concurred with this recommendation. NASA stated that it will revise the procedures for conducting improper payment risk assessments to include OIG programs and activities to ensure all programs are assessed for susceptibility to significant improper payments at least once every 3 years as required by the Improper Payments Information Act (IPIA). NASA estimated a completion date by September 2018.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should continue to provide ongoing technical assistance that significantly contributes to agencies making their own determinations about their DATA Act reporting requirements and monitor agency submissions. (Recommendation 1)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should clarify and align existing guidance regarding the appropriate definitions agencies should use to collect and report on Primary Place of Performance and establish monitoring mechanisms to foster consistent application and compliance. (Recommendation 2)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury should reasonably assure that the process for determining whether required agencies are submitting spending data is in place and operating as designed. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury should reasonably assure that ongoing monitoring controls to help ensure the completeness and accuracy of agency submissions are designed, implemented, and operating as designed. (Recommendation 4)

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury should disclose known data quality issues and limitations on the new USAspending.gov. (Recommendation 5)

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury should make the known data limitations found in Senior Accountable Official certifications more accessible and evident to users of the new USAspending.gov. (Recommendation 6)

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

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

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should revise and publicly issue OMB guidance--through an update to its Circular No. A-11, a memorandum, or other means--to provide time frames and associated milestones for implementing the federal program inventory. (Recommendation 2)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should consider--as OMB determines its strategy for resumed implementation of the federal program inventory--using a systematic approach, such as the information architecture framework, to help ensure that GPRAMA requirements and our past recommendations for the inventory are addressed. (Recommendation 3)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should work with the Performance Improvement Council to identify and share among agencies practices for expanding the use of data-driven performance reviews beyond agency priority goals, such as for other performance goals and at lower levels within agencies, that have led to performance improvements. (Recommendation 4)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should update Performance.gov to explain that quarterly reporting on the fiscal year 2014 through 2017 cross-agency priority goals and fiscal year 2016 and 2017 agency priority goals (APGs) was suspended, and provide the location of final progress updates for these goals. (Recommendation 1)

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enable the department to enhance its visibility over contractor personnel for whom it may become responsible in the event of contingency and other applicable operations, the Secretary of Defense should, in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, update accountability guidance clarifying the types of contractor personnel that are to be accounted for in a steady-state environment.

    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 enable PACOM to consistently account for contractor personnel in its area of responsibility, the Secretary of Defense should direct the PACOM Commander to clarify contractor personnel accountability guidance for the collection of all contractor personnel data in a steady-state environment and specify a system of record, such as SPOT, for the collection of this information.

    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 ensure that combatant commands are not contracting with entities that may be connected to or supporting prohibited organizations, the Secretary of Defense should, in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, develop and issue guidance that clarifies the foreign-vendor vetting steps or process that should be established at each combatant command, including the operational conditions under which a foreign-vendor vetting cell should be established.

    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 ensure that PACOM is not contracting with entities that may be connected to or supporting prohibited organizations, while awaiting DOD guidance on vendor vetting, the Secretary of Defense should direct the PACOM commander to consider developing vendor vetting guidance as other combatant commands have done, to prepare for the event that PACOM becomes actively engaged in hostilities.

    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 enable OCS to be fully embedded in the command structure at the command and continue to build upon the progress of integrating OCS into the command, as PACOM updates OCS guidance, the Secretary of Defense should direct the PACOM Commander to consider ways to ensure all joint staff functions beyond the logistics area are fully integrated into its OCS organizational structure and OCS Integration Cell.

    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 enable PACOM to better identify OCS requirements and incorporate those requirements into Annex Ws and their appendixes, the Secretary of Defense should direct the PACOM Commander to develop guidance that clarifies roles and responsibilities and the process that should be followed for OCS requirements development.

    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: Jessica Farb
    Phone: (202) 512-6991

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD program managers have the necessary information to maintain complete visibility and accountability of ITEF-funded equipment in SCIP, the Secretary of Defense should identify the root causes, such as potential interoperability and data reporting issues within SCIP and other DOD data systems, for why DOD components are not ensuring that ITEF-funded equipment transportation dates are captured in SCIP.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. As of November 2017, DOD was in the process of developing a plan to address this recommendation. GAO is continuing to monitor DOD's progress in addressing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD program managers have the necessary information to maintain complete visibility and accountability of ITEF-funded equipment in SCIP, the Secretary of Defense should develop an action plan with associated milestones and time frames for addressing the root causes for why DOD components are not ensuring that ITEF-funded equipment transportation dates are captured in SCIP.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. As of November 2017, DOD was in the process of developing a plan to address this recommendation. GAO is continuing to monitor DOD's progress in addressing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD program managers have the necessary information to maintain complete visibility and accountability of ITEF-funded equipment in SCIP, the Secretary of Defense should develop written procedures that specify under which data field ITEF-funded equipment transfer dates should be captured in the Enhanced Freight Tracking System in SCIP.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation. As of November 2017, DOD was in the process of developing a plan to address this recommendation. GAO is continuing to monitor DOD's progress in addressing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD program managers have the necessary information to maintain complete visibility and accountability of ITEF-funded equipment in SCIP, the Secretary of Defense should update the 1st Theater Sustainment Command's (1st TSC) written standard operating procedures to include the 1st TSC commander's verbal order requiring the inclusion of unique equipment case identifier information for ITEF-funded equipment on transfer documentation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. As of November 2017, DOD was in the process of developing a plan to address the recommendation. GAO is continuing to monitor DOD's progress in addressing this recommendation.
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure accountability for BIE school facility funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs to develop a comprehensive long-term capital asset plan to inform its allocation of school facility funds. Such a plan should include a prioritized list of school repair and maintenance projects with the greatest need for funding.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. In August 2017, Indian Affairs reported that its Office of Facilities, Property, and Safety Management is undergoing a reorganization to establish a work group focused on asset management and will continue to work with the Office of Management and Budget to develop a capital asset management plan. Indian Affairs has reported a target date of June 30, 2018 for implementing this recommendation. We will continue to monitor Indian Affairs' efforts to implement this recommendation and await documentation on the actions it is taking to develop a capital asset plan.
    Recommendation: To ensure accountability for BIE school facility funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs to provide more details in Indian Affairs' annual congressional budget justifications on specific needs at BIE schools, including information on proposed capital expenditures, and updates on previous school construction projects.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. In August 2017, Indian Affairs reported that its Office of Facilities, Property, and Safety Management will work with Indian Affairs' budget office and BIE to incorporate more details in its fiscal year 2019 budget justification on the specific needs at BIE schools and proposed and updated capital expenditures. Indian Affairs reported a target date of September 30, 2018, for implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure accountability for BIE school facility funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs to develop and implement guidance for its project managers and contracting officers regarding effective use of accountability measures.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. In August 2017, Indian Affairs reported that it had taken a range of actions, including establishing new oversight mechanisms, hiring staff with expertise in construction contracting, and administering training for contracting staff, among other actions to enhance the use of accountability measures in contracting. Indian Affairs reported a target date of February 28, 2018 for implementing this recommendation. It did not report taking any actions to develop guidance for its project managers and contracting officers on the effective use of accountability measures, which our recommendation specifies. We will continue to monitor Indian Affairs' efforts to implement this recommendation and await documentation that these actions are completed.
    Recommendation: To ensure accountability for BIE school facility funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs to clarify Indian Affairs' design handbook requirements to explain when and how school designs can deviate from specific requirements--such as heating and cooling systems with complex features--when the life cycle cost analysis demonstrates the requirements are not cost-effective or practical given such factors as the technical capacity of school facility staff.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior did not agree with this recommendation because it said its draft design handbook-once finalized-would address the process for requesting design deviations but was not intended to include every situation where deviations could be requested. We reviewed a version of the agency's draft handbook in May 2017 and found it did not adequately address our recommendation because it did not explain how Indian Affairs would allow for deviations, including how deviations could be based on life cycle cost analysis. In August 2017, Indian Affairs reported that its revised handbook will clearly explain the process for requesting deviations from specific requirements for designing schools. We will review its updated guidance when the agency provides us a finalized version.
    Recommendation: To ensure accountability for BIE school facility funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs to improve oversight and technical assistance to tribal organizations to enhance tribal capacity to manage major construction projects.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. In August 2017, Indian Affairs reported that its Division of Facilities Management and Construction will develop a project tracking and monitoring process for all projects above a certain monetary threshold. Additionally, Indian Affairs reported that this office will work with BIA and BIE officials to identify common challenges that tribes face in managing projects and provide appropriate technical assistance. Indian Affairs reported a target date of June 30, 2018 for implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure accountability for BIE school facility funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs to develop and implement guidance for maintaining complete contract and grant files for all BIE school construction projects.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. In August 2017, Indian Affairs reported that it will take several actions to address the recommendation, including developing guidance for maintaining complete grant files on tribally-managed school construction projects. Additionally, it reported that a new Interior policy requires that all new contract files from January 1, 2017, forward be maintained electronically, which will enhance Indian Affairs' ability to maintain contract files. Indian Affairs reported a target date of March 31, 2019 for implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Paula M. Rascona
    Phone: (202) 512-9816

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB and the Secretary of the Treasury should establish mechanisms to assess the results of independent audits and reviews of agencies' compliance with the DATA Act requirements, including those of agency OIGs, to help inform full implementation of the act's requirements across government.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Treasury stated it will establish mechanisms to assess the results of independent audits and reviews of agencies' compliance with the DATA Act requirements, including those of agency OIGs. Treasury also stated these mechanisms will inform Treasury's efforts on whether and how to tailor its future outreach efforts to help agencies meet their DATA Act requirements. We will continue to assess Treasury's efforts to address this recommendation as IGs plan to issue their required reports in November 2017.
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB and the Secretary of the Treasury should establish mechanisms to assess the results of independent audits and reviews of agencies' compliance with the DATA Act requirements, including those of agency OIGs, to help inform full implementation of the act's requirements across government.

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

    Comments: OMB stated that it reviewed available IG readiness review reports in its assessment of agency implementation efforts, and it also relied on other, more up-to-date sources of information from agencies including data obtained from one-on-one meetings and agency self-assessments. We will continue to assess OMB's efforts to address this recommendation as IGs plan to issue their required reports in November 2017.
    Director: Michael Courts
    Phone: (202) 512-8980

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen State's ability to address persistent gaps in foreign language proficiency at overseas posts and make informed future resource investments, the Secretary of State should evaluate the effectiveness of efforts implemented under the "Strategic Plan for Foreign-Language Capabilities."

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In his May 25, 2017 letter to the relevant congressional committees leadership, the Department of State reiterated its concurrence with this recommendation and stated that the department will develop a process to evaluate implementation of the 2011 Strategic Plan and future plans. As of February 2018, we expect State to produce a report on results of the evaluation by the end of fiscal year 2018.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve oversight of the concessions program, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the National Park Service to review the financial reporting process and make any necessary adjustments to help ensure timely and accurate reporting of data on annual financial reports.

    Agency: Department of the Interior: National Park Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its May 25, 2017 update letter, the Department of the Interior stated that the National Park Service will (1) review the current financial reporting process and take steps to improve the timeliness of concessioners' annual financial reports as outlined in their contracts, and (2) develop internal controls to ensure that concessioner data is accurate. The agency anticipates having these actions implemented by March 31, 2018.
    Recommendation: To help improve oversight of the concessions program, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the National Park Service to finalize guidance on maintenance and capital improvements and make it publicly available to concessioners.

    Agency: Department of the Interior: National Park Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its May 25, 2017 update letter, the Department of the Interior stated that the National Park Service will finalize the existing draft guidance on maintenance and capital improvements to clarify the funding sources available to concessioners for particular repairs and maintenance needs. The agency added that the finalized guidance will be made publicly available. The agency anticipates having this guidance finalized by November 30, 2017.
    Recommendation: To help improve oversight of the concessions program, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the National Park Service to develop performance goals with targets and timeframes in its commercial services strategic plan.

    Agency: Department of the Interior: National Park Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its May 25, 2017 update letter, the Department of the Interior stated that the National Park Service will review the commercial services program strategic plan and develop meaningful and measurable performance goals with timeframes. The agency anticipates having this implemented by June 30, 2018.
    Director: Gretta L. Goodwin
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Capitol Police Board's current and any new approaches help enhance accountability, transparency, and effective external communication with its stakeholders, the Board should revise its Manual of Procedures to fully incorporate each of the leading practices for internal control and governance standards discussed in this report. In so doing, the Board should engage stakeholders in the revision process, such as by soliciting their input on any non-statutory changes that could particularly address the concerns stakeholders have raised, and incorporating their views as appropriate. If, in making revisions to its Manual, the Board determines that statutory changes may be helpful to enhance Board operations, then the Board should also engage with stakeholders on such proposed changes.

    Agency: Capitol Police Board
    Status: Open

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

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

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, the Department of Agriculture (Agriculture) said the Food and Nutrition Service was developing written guidance that will ensure its grants management staff identify grant programs for potential duplication and overlap with other federal agencies before awarding competitive grants and cooperative agreements, as GAO recommended in January 2017. Agriculture officials said the guidance would be based on input from grants management staff, relevant Food and Nutrition program officials, and reviews of similar guidance already in place at other Agriculture sub-agencies. The Food and Nutrition Service plans to issue this guidance by the end of federal fiscal year 2017 for use beginning in fiscal year 2018. Issuing and implementing this guidance will reduce the risk of unnecessary or inadvertent overlap or duplication in grant funding.
    Director: Michael E. Clements
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, the Chair should enhance or expand the responsibilities and authority of the COO or other official or office so they can help ensure that improvements to communication and collaboration across SEC are made. For instance, if the duties of the COO were expanded, the COO could establish liaisons in each mission-critical office and division for SEC employees to contact or develop procedures to help facilitate communication and collaboration among the mission-critical office and divisions.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    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 SEC address identified personnel management challenges, the Chair should develop and implement training for hiring specialists that is informed by a skills gap analysis.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

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

    5 open recommendations
    including 4 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To better promote federal agency accountability for implementing the FSSI and category management initiatives, the Administrator of Federal Procurement Policy should ensure that transition plans are submitted and monitored as required by FSSI guidance and guidance governing specific category management initiatives.

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

    Comments: In October 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff agreed that agency transitions plans should be submitted and monitored in accordance with guidance, as GAO recommended in October 2016. OMB staff indicated that all FSSIs are now being evaluated against best in class criteria as part of the migration to a category management approach to federal procurement. Further, OMB staff stated that OMB will issue additional policy or guidance as necessary. GAO believes these actions, if implemented, would meet the intent of the recommendation. As of August 1, 2017, OMB staff indicated they are continuing efforts to implement this recommendation. Given that transition plans were also required under FSSI guidance but were not submitted or monitored, it will be important for OMB to ensure that agencies follow through on submitting required plans going forward.
    Recommendation: To better promote federal agency accountability for implementing the FSSI and category management initiatives, the Administrator of Federal Procurement Policy should update the Leadership Council charter to establish an expectation that Leadership Council agencies develop agency-specific targets for use of the solutions approved.

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

    Comments: In October 2016, OMB staff agreed with the need for agency-specific targets for use of FSSI and category management initiatives as GAO recommended. OMB staff recommended, however, that this be accomplished through the Category Management governance and reporting procedures and processes that will be instituted in upcoming guidance, rather than an update to the Leadership Council charter. In October 2016, OMB issued a draft circular on category management establishing that spend under management will be the principal measure OMB will use to assess agency adoption of category management. OMB staff indicated that they plan to evaluate at least annually agencies' spend under management results, which includes agency adoption of best in class solutions, and then review with agency leaders progress toward meeting goals. As of August 1, 2017, OMB staff indicated they are continuing efforts to implement this recommendation. Given the low agency usage of the FSSIs, without such actions, and ensuring these targets and measures are set, OMB, and specifically the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, will lack the means to monitor progress and hold large procurement agencies accountable for using existing FSSIs or best in class solutions identified under subsequent category management efforts.
    Recommendation: To better promote federal agency accountability for implementing the FSSI and category management initiatives, the Administrator of Federal Procurement Policy should revise the 2015 category management guidance to establish a process for setting targets and performance measures for each Leadership Council agency's adoption of proposed FSSIs and category management solutions and ensure agency specific targets and measures are set.

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

    Comments: In October 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff agreed that Leadership Council agency progress towards implementing category management should be tracked and measured as we recommended. OMB staff reported that guidance is in draft form in which agency progress will be measured using the Spend Under Management (SUM) model which provides an assessment of category management maturity for each of the ten government-wide categories as evaluated against five attributes: leadership, strategy, data, tools, and metrics. OMB will assess agency progress no less than annually and will engage agency leaders in regularly reviewing progress toward their goals. In addition, OMB will track agency spend through best in class contracts and these data will likely be used as an internal category metric and shared with the agencies. Taken together, these actions are responsive to GAO?s recommendations. As of August 1, 2017, OMB staff indicated they are continuing efforts to implement this recommendation. Given the low use of the FSSIs, OMB should continue to carefully monitor category management implementations as it moves forward and ensure that OFPP uses the planned targets and measures to hold agencies accountable for individual results. In short, greater accountability can lead to increased savings.
    Recommendation: To better promote federal agency accountability for implementing the FSSI and category management initiatives, the Administrator of Federal Procurement Policy should report on agency specific targets and metrics as part of the category management Cross-Agency Priority goal.

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

    Comments: In October 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff agreed that agency specific targets and metrics should be reported as GAO recommended in October 2016. OMB staff indicated that results achieved relative to the Category Management Cross Agency Priority (CAP) goal targets will continue to be reported on a quarterly basis on Peformance.gov but that they will likely not include agency specific targets and metrics. Rather, OMB staff indicated that agency spending through best in class solutions will be tracked and used as an internal category metric and that OMB will engage agency leaders in regularly reviewing progress toward their goals and assess agencies no less than annually. GAO believes these actions, if implemented, would meet the intent of the recommendation. As of August 1, 2017, OMB staff indicated they are continuing efforts to implement this recommendation. Given the low agency usage of the FSSIs, OMB needs to monitor progress and hold large procurement agencies accountable for using existing FSSIs or best in class solutions identified under subsequent category management efforts.
    Recommendation: To improve the management of current FSSIs, the GSA FSSI program management office should provide oversight and support to the Information Retrieval FSSI to better align their practices with current strategic sourcing guidance related to collecting and using transactional data to calculate savings.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, GSA conducted a gap analysis of the Information Retrieval FSSI and its compliance with FSSI standards and provided the Library of Congress with FSSI best practice tools and resources related to collecting transactional data and calculating savings. According to GSA, the Library of Congress intends to address gaps to support the goal of implementation in the next Information Retrieval award in 2018. GSA will monitor progress, and provide feedback and assistance.
    Director: David B. Gootnick
    Phone: (202) 512-3149

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the quality of the data published on ForeignAssistance.gov and help ensure consistency in published information, the Secretary of State should, in consultation with the Director of OMB and the USAID Administrator, undertake a review of the efforts to date on ensuring data quality

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with this recommendation and noted that it will continue to work with USAID in consultation with OMB to assess whether additional existing resources are required to meet the goals of ForeignAssistance.gov. As of June 2017, State has taken some steps to coordinate with OMB and USAID to improve the quality of data reported for ForeignAssistance.gov. For example, in January 2017, State co-hosted an interagency meeting with OMB and USAID to discuss data quality and reporting requirements. As of February 2018, GAO was following up with State to obtain additional information on how the established review process would or has helped improve the quality of the data reported on Foreignassistance.gov.
    Recommendation: To improve the quality of the data published on ForeignAssistance.gov and help ensure consistency in published information, the Secretary of State should, in consultation with the Director of OMB and the USAID Administrator, develop additional guidance that takes into consideration current challenges to updating ForeignAssistance.gov with verified data.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, State has taken some steps to coordinate with OMB and USAID to improve the quality of data reported for ForeignAssistance.gov. For example, in January 2017, State co-hosted an interagency meeting with OMB and USAID to discuss data quality and reporting requirements. As of February 2018, GAO was following up with State to determine if additional guidance has been developed that takes into consideration current challenges to updating ForeignAssistance.gov with verified data.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    6 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's ability to evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of policies that call for all organizations, including contractors, to embrace a strong safety culture and create a work environment that encourages a questioning attitude by all employees, the Secretary of Energy should develop and implement an independent evaluation process for routinely and accurately measuring contractor employees' willingness to raise safety and other concerns without fear of retaliation. This process should ensure that an independent third party develops, conducts, and consistently applies the evaluation methodology--which should include safeguards that protect anonymity. The process should also enable DOE to oversee and ensure that appropriate corrective actions are taken in response to evaluation results.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. In December 2016, the Office of Enterprise Assessments formed a working group to address our recommendations. According to DOE, as of March 2017 the working group developed a strategy and plan to independently analyze data associated with willingness to raise concerns within contractor organizations at DOE sites with high hazard nuclear facilities. We will continue to monitor DOE's efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the organizational placement and practices of DOE- and contractor- provided Employee Concerns Programs (ECP) do not inhibit contractor employees from raising safety and other concerns, the Secretary of Energy should revise DOE's ECP order and guidance to (1) require that the organizational placement and practices of contractor ECP's do not compromise or impair their independence, (2) clarify the circumstances under which DOE's ECP is permitted to transfer and refer concerns to contractors, and notify or require approval of the contractor employee raising the concern, and (3) provide criteria for overseeing and evaluating the effectiveness and independence of contractor-provided ECPs.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. To address this recommendation, DOE planned to update DOE Order 442.1A, Department of Energy Employee Concerns Program, to (1) address the potential for conflicts of interest that could affect the independence of contractor ECPs, (2) clarify the circumstances under which an employee concern can be referred or transferred from a DOE ECP to a contractor ECP, and (3) specify that the processes already identified in DOE Order 226.1B, Implementation of Department of Energy Oversight Policy, be used as part of the oversight processes for contractor-provided ECPs, to include evaluation of their effectiveness and independence. According to DOE, the draft order was affected by a Presidential Memorandum issued in January 2017, which put a temporary stop to the DOE directives process. We will continue to monitor the status of DOE's implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Congress has the information it needs as it considers whether or not to make permanent the enhanced whistleblower pilot program and that DOE has assurance that contractor employees have an effective mechanism to seek remedy for unlawful retaliation, the Secretary of Energy should fully evaluate the extent to which the pilot program has been implemented and whether its provisions will mitigate challenges associated with DOE's 708 program. This evaluation should include, at a minimum, an assessment of (1) contractors that have adopted the pilot program and the date they did so; (2) contractors that have not adopted the pilot program and an explanation of why not; (3) cases filed under the pilot program, if any; and (4) the pilot program's potential for mitigating challenges associated with the 708 program.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred in principle with the recommendation. In response to this recommendation, the Office of Hearings and Appeals conducted a review of the Part 708 program that, according to DOE, evaluated each of the areas of concern and compared current part 708 regulations with the pilot program. We will update the status of this recommendation after we review the resulting report.
    Recommendation: To help improve DOE's ability to take enforcement action against unlawful retaliation when appropriate and take action against contractors that create a chilled work environment, the Secretary of Energy should expedite the department's time frames for codifying in regulatory language its policy that retaliation for nuclear safety-related disclosures is a nuclear safety violation and develop a specific schedule for issuing the proposed and final rules.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation and planned to amend its regulations to clarify which DOE regulations constitute DOE Nuclear Safety Requirements. DOD planned to expedite the schedule for this rulemaking. We will update the status of this recommendation after we confirm DOE's actions
    Recommendation: To help improve DOE's ability to take enforcement action against unlawful retaliation when appropriate and take action against contractors that create a chilled work environment, the Secretary of Energy should direct DOE's Office of Enforcement to routinely collect information from the Department of Labor and other sources regarding substantiated cases of retaliation and take appropriate enforcement action.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOE, the Office of Enforcement has revised its internal implementing procedure to require that a review of DOE Office of Hearings and Appeals whistleblower cases, Department of Labor complaints submitted under the Energy Reorganization Act, and an online legal research service (for court decisions) be conducted each quarter to identify cases wherein a DOE contractor may have retaliated against an employee for reporting a safety concern and evaluate the information for potential enforcement action. We will update the status of this recommendation after we review the updated procedure.
    Recommendation: To help improve DOE's ability to take enforcement action against unlawful retaliation when appropriate and take action against contractors that create a chilled work environment, the Secretary of Energy should revise DOE's Integrated Safety Management policy and guidance to clarify what constitutes evidence of a chilled work environment and define the appropriate steps DOE should take to hold contractors accountable for creating a chilled work environment.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. DOE officials said that the department was revising the Integrated Safety Management policy but the revisions are currently on hold indefinitely along with all other actions to publish new, or update existing departmental directives in response to two Presidential Executive Orders issued in January and February 2017 that directed federal agencies to, among other things, reduce and reform agency regulations.
    Director: Jacqueline M. Nowicki
    Phone: (617) 788-0580

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better manage any challenges states may face implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Secretary of Education should direct the Office of State Support to evaluate its oversight process in light of the challenges states encountered in implementing the Flexibility initiative to identify lessons learned and, as appropriate, incorporate any lessons into plans for overseeing the ESSA, particularly around issues such as the design and implementation of states' monitoring systems.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education agreed that it is important to continuously evaluate its work and to consider ways to improve its efficiency and effectiveness and cited examples of the agency doing so during ESEA Flexibility implementation. For example, Education said it developed the Office of State Support, in part based on lessons learned while implementing the Flexibility initiative. In addition, Education said that since the ESSA was enacted in December 2015, it has continued to informally evaluate ESEA Flexibility implementation and oversight and cited several examples relevant to ESEA Flexibility and other Education programs and initiatives. Further, the agency provided is piloting quarterly calls between Education program officers and states and piloting a fiscal review in eight states focused on components of the law it says did not change significantly between NCLBA and ESSA. As Education continues its efforts to evaluate lessons learned from the Flexibility initiative - including the peer review process - and apply them to its oversight of ESSA, we encourage Education to incorporate these lessons into how it oversees the design and implementation of states' monitoring systems which are key to the success of ESSA's accountability provisions. As of August 2017, Education reported that action is still pending to address this recommendation.
    Director: Zina Merritt
    Phone: (202) 512-5257

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure the accountability and protection of SRC I ammunition, in accordance with DOD policy, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to revise guidance to clarify that accountability for all SRC I ammunition items in the Air Force's custody--regardless of ownership--should be maintained in the Air Force's system of record.

    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 ensure the Army and Marine Corps record the receipt of shipped SRC I ammunition in their accountability systems, and in accordance with DOD policy, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to finalize and implement guidance that addresses the required time frame for receipting SRC I ammunition at the depot level.

    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 ensure the Army and Marine Corps record the receipt of shipped SRC I ammunition in their accountability systems, and in accordance with DOD policy, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Commandant of the Marine Corps to finalize and implement guidance that addresses the required time frame for receipting SRC I ammunition at Marine Corps locations.

    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 ensure the Army retains accountability of SRC I ammunition in an in-transit status, consistent with DOD policy, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to evaluate and identify actions to enable the Army to retain accountability for in-transit items until acknowledgment of receipt.

    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 visibility and tracking of SRC I ammunition shipments, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the military departments and the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, through the Commander of the U.S. Transportation Command, to collaboratively determine the specific information required for the military services to ensure timely data entry into DTTS, in accordance with the Defense Transportation Regulation.

    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 completeness and accuracy of data provided by the military services to the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command in accordance with federal internal control standards, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the military departments, with the aid of the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, to conduct analysis of the completeness and accuracy of the data entered into DTTS.

    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: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that planned improvements to Amtrak's routes are implemented and their outcomes can be evaluated, the President of Amtrak should prioritize the adoption of Amtrak's strategic management system in all of Amtrak's remaining lines of business and functional departments.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, Amtrak officials indicated that Amtrak was rolling-out its strategic management system in several departments and plans were in place to extend the roll out over time. According to Amtrak officials, senior management meets monthly to discuss progress being made in the company's various strategic initiatives, however the officials noted that full implementation of the strategic management system would take time, and did not provide an estimated completion date. We will continue to monitor Amtrak's progress in adopting the strategic management system across its various business lines and functional departments.
    Recommendation: To ensure that planned improvements to Amtrak's routes are implemented and their outcomes can be evaluated, the President of Amtrak should externally report how Amtrak's initiatives meet the goals established under the Amtrak's strategic management system.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, Amtrak officials confirmed that Amtrak disagrees with this recommendation and has not taken action to implement it. Officials reported that much of Amtrak's business takes place in an environment that is increasingly competitive and prefers to keep its deliberation on these initiatives confidential. As we reported in January 2016, while we agree that there is value to keeping business proprietary information and deliberations confidential, Amtrak should be able to externally report progress without disclosing confidential deliberations or information to show how its initiatives are meeting the goals established under its strategic management system. Without this reporting, it is difficult for the company to demonstrate to Congress and other stakeholders how Amtrak is improving its financial and operating performance, and whether it is making the most efficient use of federal funds. Thus, we continue to believe that our recommendation is valid and that Amtrak should fully implement it. We will continue to monitor any steps taken by Amtrak to report outcomes of initiatives taken under Amtrak's strategic management system.
    Recommendation: To improve the consistency and completeness of Amtrak's financial reporting and to provide Congress with accurate information to make funding decisions, the President of Amtrak should make the format of its monthly performance reports and its 5-year financial plan consistent to show all of Amtrak's revenues and expenses by major function for each line of business.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, Amtrak officials confirmed that Amtrak disagrees with this recommendation and has not taken action to implement it. According to Amtrak, the 5-year financial plan and monthly performance reports serve different purposes and their utility would be lost if it attempted to "standardize" them. As we reported in January 2016, we continue to believe that it is important to improve the consistency and completeness of Amtrak's financial reporting and to provide Congress with accurate information to use in making funding decisions. The intent of our recommendation is that Amtrak provide a mechanism to show how its financial results in its monthly performance reports are comparable to the financial targets by line of business that are in its 5-year financial plan. Because Amtrak has not taken action to implement this recommendation, the inconsistency between the two reports makes it difficult to compare Amtrak's past results with its future forecasts. As a result, Congress and the states lack a clear view into the financial performance of the company that they help fund. Thus, we continue to believe that our recommendation is valid and that Amtrak should fully implement it. We will continue to monitor steps taken by Amtrak to improve the consistency and completeness of Amtrak's financial reporting.
    Recommendation: To improve the consistency and completeness of Amtrak's financial reporting and to provide Congress with accurate information to make funding decisions, the President of Amtrak should ensure that Amtrak's depreciation expenses are appropriately allocated to its lines of business once the underlying capital asset data are determined reliable.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, Amtrak officials confirmed that Amtrak disagrees with this recommendation and has not taken action to implement it. According to Amtrak, reporting of depreciation costs is of limited use for management accounting for several reasons, including that many of Amtrak's key assets, such as bridges and tunnels on the Northeast Corridor are fully depreciated, and that Amtrak's financial system includes a synthetic capital charge, which serves as a proxy for depreciation and is currently allocated across routes. As we reported in January 2016, we agree that given the long-lived nature of Amtrak's capital assets, depreciation calculated for financial reporting purposes may not provide an appropriate measure of the economic costs of using the related assets. While Amtrak may be capturing depreciation or economic costs through its synthetic capital charge (which serves as a proxy for depreciation and which Amtrak does not publicly report), as we also mention in this report, Amtrak may be misstating its line-of-business financial results by not allocating depreciation costs to its lines of business. There are a number of methods or models used to calculate depreciation or economic costs. However, regardless of the method used, it is important that the data used to calculate depreciation or the economic costs of using long-lived assets--historical cost, useful life, residual value--are complete, accurate, and timely. Thus, we continue to believe that our recommendation is valid and that Amtrak should fully implement it. We will continue to monitor steps taken by Amtrak to improve the consistency and completeness of Amtrak's financial reporting.
    Recommendation: To help Congress in assessing Amtrak's need for federal assistance for state-supported routes and to help Amtrak to develop strategies to reduce the costs of its services, the President of Amtrak should delineate the specific costs and activities for state-supported routes that are covered by the federal government and communicate this information to Congress, such as in Amtrak's annual budget request.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, Amtrak provided GAO with financial reports that Amtrak had submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration that provide details of the revenues, costs, state payments, and operating losses for each of the state-supported routes for fiscal year 2016. Although these reports include some information on the costs of state-supported routes that are covered by the federal government, Amtrak has not provided this specific information to Congress to help with assessing Amtrak's need for federal assistance for these routes, as GAO recommended. Amtrak officials told us that the company plans to report to Congress information on the expected revenues and costs for state-supported routes in the Five Year Business Line Plans required by the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act. According to Amtrak officials, they plan to submit the Five Year Business Line Plans to Congress on June 2, 2017. GAO will review those plans when published and continue to monitor Amtrak's efforts to delineate and report to Congress the specific costs and activities for state-supported routes that are covered by the federal government.
    Recommendation: In addition, to better inform congressional decision making regarding the funding of Northeast Corridor infrastructure improvements, the Northeast Corridor Commission should work with its members to establish criteria for its members to use in selecting and prioritizing capital projects to be included in future editions of its 5-year capital plan.

    Agency: Northeast Corridor Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, the Northeast Corridor (NEC) Commission published the Northeast Corridor Capital Investment Plan, Fiscal Years 2018-2022 which documents planned capital investments to the NEC over the five year period. The plan identifies criteria for Commission members (Amtrak, states, and commuter railroads that operate on the NEC) to use in selecting and prioritizing certain projects that could be advanced over the coming five years. However, the plan does not establish such criteria for all investments in the plan. Specifically, the plan establishes criteria for selecting "unfunded projects"--including major bridge and tunnel projects and basic infrastructure improvements--that could be advanced if additional funding became available. These criteria are (1) shared use by commuter and intercity rail; (2) age and condition, with priority for replacing the oldest assets beyond their useful lives; (3) critical need for continued operation of existing service; and (4) project readiness to begin construction in the next five years. However, these criteria do not cover "funded projects," or those for which a funding source has been identified, including projects funded by Amtrak and the commuter railroads through their required contributions to the NEC Commission's Baseline Capital Charge program. According to the NEC Commission officials, the Commission members have yet to establish specific criteria for funded projects due to challenges in working with Amtrak's legacy capital planning process. Amtrak has traditionally allocated funding amounts to the various segments of the NEC where the company plans to make improvements, but its planning process does not identify the specific assets to be repaired in the coming year, or the criteria for selecting these assets. NEC Commission members said they would continue to work with Amtrak to develop clear criteria for selecting and prioritizing funded projects for inclusion in future editions of the NEC's 5-year capital improvement plan. We will continue to monitor progress made by the Commission and Amtrak in this area.
    Director: Andrew Sherrill
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase accountability for program performance, the Secretary of VA should establish measures to report on program outcomes for Post-9/11 GI Bill OJT and apprenticeship programs, including considering relevant data sources and seeking legislative authority to gain access to data, if necessary.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) agreed that program performance metrics should be developed to report on program outcomes. VA initially projected it would update the GI Bill comparison tool to reflect program outcomes for on-the-job training (OJT) and apprenticeship participants by September 2017. VA's Education Service has developed business rules and definitions for the OJT and apprenticeship program, but officials said they still need to work with the VA Office of Information and Technology's Digital Services to determine when this information will be publicly available within the Comparison Tool. VA anticipates it will fully implement the recommendation by February 1, 2018.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

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

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

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

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) concurred with this recommendation, and stated that the U.S. Coast Guard and the DHS Chief Financial Officer will develop a plan to address this recommendation by September 30, 2015, then work together to fully implement the plan. DHS estimated it would complete this effort March 31, 2016. However, the USCG encountered technical challenges during this process and was unable to implement the plan by that time. The U.S. Coast Guard has revised the estimated completion date, and now anticipates it will be able to address this recommendation in fiscal year 2020.
    Director: 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: In response to our report, in December 2016, Congress passed and the President signed the FBI Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2016, Pub. L. No. 114-302, which, among other things, provides a means for FBI employees to obtain corrective action for retaliation for disclosures of wrongdoing made to supervisors and others in the employees' chain of command. Following this, the FBI worked closely with the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG) to develop a training that clearly identifies to whom FBI employees may make protected disclosures. In addition, the FBI issued an aligned policy directive and two fact sheets detailing whistleblower rights. However, as of January 2018, DOJ's regulations have not been subsequently updated and are inconsistent with the current statute and FBI's guidance and training; as such, the problem of unclear or conflicting guidance to FBI employees still needs to be addressed. To address this recommendation, DOJ would need to update its regulations and ensure that all relevant guidance is clear and consistent across the department.
    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: DOJ agreed with this recommendation but, as of January 2018, has not responded to our requests for updates. To address this recommendation, DOJ would need to develop an oversight mechanism to monitor DOJ-OPR's compliance with regulatory requirements and use that information to identify opportunities for improvement.
    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: DOJ agreed with this recommendation but, as of January 2018, has not responded to our requests for updates. To address this recommendation, DOJ would need to provide complainants with estimated time frames for returning decisions in FBI whistleblower retaliation cases.
    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: DOJ agreed with this recommendation but, as of January 2018, has not responded to our requests for updates. In January 2018, DHS-OIG officials told us that they participate at least twice a year, with OARM, DOJ-OPR, and the FBI Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Affairs in efforts to assess and improve the FBI Whistleblower Mediation Program. This is the type of action called for in the recommendation, but the mediation program is just one of many efforts to be assessed. To fully address this recommendation, DOJ would need to assess the impact of ongoing and planned efforts to reduce the duration of FBI whistleblower retaliation complaints throughout the entire complaint process, including the investigation, adjudication and appeal.
    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: DOJ agreed with this recommendation but, as of January 2018, has not responded to our requests for updates. In January 2018, DHS-OIG officials told us that they participate at least twice a year, with OARM, DOJ-OPR, and the FBI Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Affairs in efforts to assess and improve the FBI Whistleblower Mediation Program. This is the type of action called for in the recommendation, but the mediation program is just one of many efforts to be assessed. To fully address this recommendation, DOJ would need to assess the impact of ongoing and planned efforts to reduce the duration of FBI whistleblower retaliation complaints throughout the entire complaint process, including the investigation, adjudication and appeal.
    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: DOJ agreed with this recommendation but, as of January 2018, has not responded to our requests for updates. In January 2018, DHS-OIG officials told us that they participate at least twice a year, with OARM, DOJ-OPR, and the FBI Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Affairs in efforts to assess and improve the FBI Whistleblower Mediation Program. This is the type of action called for in the recommendation, but the mediation program is just one of many efforts to be assessed. To fully address this recommendation, DOJ would need to assess the impact of ongoing and planned efforts to reduce the duration of FBI whistleblower retaliation complaints throughout the entire complaint process, including the investigation, adjudication and appeal.
    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: DOJ agreed with this recommendation but, as of January 2018, has not responded to our requests for updates. In January 2018, DHS-OIG officials told us that they participate at least twice a year, with OARM, DOJ-OPR, and the FBI Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Affairs in efforts to assess and improve the FBI Whistleblower Mediation Program. This is the type of action called for in the recommendation, but the mediation program is just one of many efforts to be assessed. To fully address this recommendation, DOJ would need to assess the impact of ongoing and planned efforts to reduce the duration of FBI whistleblower retaliation complaints throughout the entire complaint process, including the investigation, adjudication and appeal.
    Director: Chris P. Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the Secretary of Homeland Security's ability to assess national preparedness and provide management oversight of federal interagency efforts to close previously identified capability gaps, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Administrator of FEMA--in coordination and collaboration with the National Security Council Staff and other federal departments and agencies--to collect information on and regularly report to the Secretary the status of federal interagency implementation of corrective actions identified (1) through prior national-level exercises and (2) following real-world incidents, specifically major disasters.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, FEMA officials reported that the agency had developed an approach for collecting and reporting on the status of federal interagency corrective actions from Level I disasters to add to the current practice of reporting on national level exercises. According to officials, the proposed approach was under review and the agency plans to coordinate with the other federal departments and agencies before submitting their proposal to DHS for final approval. In August 2017, FEMA's National Preparedness Directorate reported an expected completion date of December 29, 2017. Pending completion of this effort, this recommendation remains open. Last update requested as of 12/15/2017.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The legislated cost cap for Ford-class aircraft carrier construction provides a limit on procurement funds. However, the legislation also provides for adjustments to the cost cap. To understand the true cost of each Ford-class ship, Congress should consider revising the cost cap legislation to ensure that all work included in the initial ship cost estimate that is deferred to post-delivery and outfitting account is counted against the cost cap. If warranted, the Navy would be required to seek statutory authority to increase the cap.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: This recommendation remains open to allow Congress time to consider legislation amending the cost cap for the Ford class of aircraft carriers. The current version of the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2810) does not amend the current cost cap legislation.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Recognizing that moving toward a more customer-oriented culture within federal agencies is likely to be a continuous effort, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, to improve Forest Service's customer service standards and feedback review, to: (1) ensure standards include performance targets or goals, (2) ensure standards include performance measures, (3) ensure standards are easily publicly available, (4) develop a feedback mechanism to collect comments agency-wide, which should include guidance or criteria to elevate customer feedback from local and regional offices to identify the need for and to make service improvements.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, Forest Service provided an update for completing the tasks necessary to respond to our recommendations. In accordance with our recommendations, for each of its customer service standards, the Forest Service has developed goals, targets and measures and we consider this part of the recommendation closed. Forest Service stated the remaining part of the recommendation will be implemented by December 2018. Specifically, the Forest Service stated by December 2018 it will begin to make standards easily publicly available on its public-facing websites. The Forest Service provided the criteria for elevating customer comments and by December 2018 stated it will begin to deploy and collect feedback forms. We will close this recommendation as implemented when standards are publicly available and customer feedback forms are deployed.
    Recommendation: Recognizing that moving toward a more customer-oriented culture within federal agencies is likely to be a continuous effort, the Secretary of Education should direct Federal Student Aid's Chief Operating Officer, to improve Federal Student Aid's customer service standards and feedback review, to: (1) ensure standards are easily publicly available, (2) develop a feedback mechanism that includes guidance or criteria for service providers to elevate customer feedback to identify the need for and to make service improvements.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: We emailed Department of Education in June 2017 for an update on the status of this recommendation. Once a response is received we will update this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Recognizing that moving toward a more customer-oriented culture within federal agencies is likely to be a continuous effort, the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection should, to improve CBP's customer service standards: (1) ensure standards include performance targets or goals, (2) ensure standards include performance measures.

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

    Comments: In January 2017, CBP sent an email stating that the agency has done all it can to fully implement the recommendation at this time. Because CBP does not have performance goals or targets for customer service standards this recommendation remains open. In April 2016, CBP provided us with customer service survey questions they use to collect data. Based on our review of that information, we were unable to confirm CBP had established performance targets and goals for the data being collected. As we stated in the report, performance goals should be in a quantifiable and measurable form to define the level of performance to be achieved for program activities each year. Although CBP is collecting new customer service data based on survey responses, without predetermined performance targets that align with a customer service standard it is not clear what or if internal targets or customer needs are being met. In June 2017, we emailed CBP for an update on the status of this recommendation. Once a response is received we will update this recommendation.
    Recommendation: Recognizing that moving toward a more customer-oriented culture within federal agencies is likely to be a continuous effort, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, to improve the National Park Service's customer service standards and feedback review, to: (1) ensure standards include performance targets or goals, (2) ensure standards include performance measures, (3) ensure standards are easily publicly available, (4) develop a feedback mechanism that includes guidance or criteria to review and elevate customer feedback from local and regional offices to identify the need for and to make service improvements.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to NPS officials, NPS plans on defining a strategy that describes the intended customer experience for highest customer interactions such as Volunteer in Parks program and Teacher engagement program. NPS will align the strategy with overall organizational strategy, share the strategy with all employees (e.g., documentation, training), and update strategy plans to include performance targets and goals for customer service. NPS also plans on soliciting feedback from customers about their experiences with the VIP and Teacher Outreach Programs, collecting unsolicited feedback from customers about their experiences with the organization (e.g., by mining calls, emails, or social media posts), and gathering input from employees about their experiences with customers and their role in delivering the customer experience. NPS plans to share customer experience metrics and models with all employees (e.g., distribute reports and dashboards, conduct training sessions), publish customer service standards on website so that customers know what to expect, and publish customer service data to ensure actual service levels are transparent. Finally NPS plans on piloting the "Federal Feedback" Button and evaluate for expanded use in fiscal year 2018. In June 2017, we emailed NPS for an update on this recommendation. Once a response is received we will update this recommendation.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: 202-512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should establish additional accountability measures for management of the TIGER program to (1) establish clear procedures for addressing late-arriving applications and communicate its decisions to either accept or reject these applications to the public, and (2) document and approve major decisions in the application evaluation and project selection process through a decision memorandum or similar mechanism that provides a clear rationale for decisions to: (a) advance for senior review applications other than those rated as highly recommended; (b) not advance applications rated as highly recommended; and (c) change the technical evaluation rating of an application.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO reviewed DOT's TIGER application evaluation process for the 2014 and 2015 funding rounds and found that DOT established guidance that it would no longer accept late-arriving TIGER applications and it improved its internal procedures for documenting major decisions in its application evaluation database, including decisions to advance for senior review applications other than those rated as "highly recommended." However, DOT did not document these procedures through a decision memorandum or similar mechanism to ensure a consistent and transparent process for approving major decisions in these and future TIGER rounds. Moreover, in reviewing the 2015 TIGER application evaluation process, GAO noted that DOT altered its procedures for evaluating applications while the review process was ongoing. According to DOT's Financial Assistance Guidance Manual, grant evaluations must be conducted in accordance with the evaluation plan created prior to the announcement, and may not be changed once applications have been received. As of August 2017, the Department's Inspector General is conducting an audit of the TIGER program to assess DOT's application evaluation procedures. GAO will review the Inspector General's findings when they become available.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the CSA program, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to revise the SMS methodology to better account for limitations in drawing comparisons of safety performance information across carriers; in doing so, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to conduct a formal analysis that specifically identifies: (1) limitations in the data used to calculate SMS scores including variability in the carrier population and the quality and quantity of data available for carrier safety performance assessments, and (2) limitations in the resulting SMS scores including their precision, confidence, and reliability for the purposes for which they are used.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department has not concurred with the recommendation, does not agree with our conclusions, and has requested that we close the recommendation as not implemented. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) believes that implementing GAO's recommendation would result in a prioritization tool that only provides meaningful information about large carriers with little, if any, practical applications for assessing the safety performance of small and medium carriers that are involved in the majority of commercial motor vehicle related crashes. However, many small and medium carriers are not inspected frequently enough for FMCSA to reliably assess their crash risk using the current SMS methodology. If FMCSA continues using its current system, it may devote significant intervention resources targeting carriers that do not pose the greatest risk. FMCSA acknowledges that more data and observations would improve SMS from a statistical confidence interval perspective, which the Agency will continue to work towards. In addition, the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) conducted a congressionally-mandated evaluation of SMS, including the system's data accuracy and sufficiency, and in 2017 made several recommendations to improve FMCSA's ability to identify high-risk carriers more effectively. FMCSA is currently developing an action plan in response to the NAS recommendations but has not yet provided timeframes for completing or implementing the plan. GAO continues to believe our evidence was sufficient to support this recommendation and that absent FMSCA action, the agency will continue to lack reliable data to assess carriers that pose the greatest safety risks. GAO will review any SMS methodology revisions FMCSA implements to better account for limitations in comparing safety performance across carriers.
    Recommendation: To improve the CSA program, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to ensure that any determination of a carrier's fitness to operate properly accounts for limitations we have identified regarding safety performance information.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) agreed with the basic principles that GAO addressed in this area, but disagreed with GAO's characterization of FMCSA's proposed Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rule. In January 2016, FMCSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), which proposed a revised methodology for issuance of a safety fitness determination for motor carriers. Specifically, the new methodology would have determined when a motor carrier is not fit to operate commercial motor vehicles in or affecting interstate commerce based on the carrier's on-road safety data; an investigation; or a combination of both. However, in March 2017 FMCSA withdrew the NPRM. The Department plans, in part, to review the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) congressionally-mandated evaluation of SMS to determine whether further rulemaking action is necessary to revise the safety fitness determination process.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that OSD, the military services, and congressional decision makers have a comprehensive understanding of whether ROTC programs are achieving desired results in a cost-effective and efficient manner, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military services, to establish a systematic process to routinely evaluate ROTC program performance that includes establishing performance measures that are clearly defined and include cost components.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that OSD, the military services, and congressional decision makers have a comprehensive understanding of whether ROTC programs are achieving desired results in a cost-effective and efficient manner, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military services, to establish a systematic process to routinely evaluate ROTC program performance that includes requiring routine evaluations of ROTC programs that measure progress against the strategic goals and objectives of ROTC programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that OSD, the military services, and congressional decision makers have a comprehensive understanding of whether ROTC programs are achieving desired results in a cost-effective and efficient manner, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military services, to establish a systematic process to routinely evaluate ROTC program performance that includes using the performance information resulting from ROTC program evaluations to assess and document the need for the existing number of units,

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. The Services have reviewed and adjusted their current procedures and metrics to better measure and evaluate their ROTC programs prior to the projected DoDI publication date. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Recommendation: To help improve the oversight and accountability of the military services' ROTC programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to reexamine and clarify DOD Instruction 1215.08 to clearly delineate roles and responsibilities for oversight of ROTC programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Recommendation: To help improve the oversight and accountability of the military services' ROTC programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to coordinate with the military services to ensure that service ROTC guidance aligns with the updated DOD instruction.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. The Services have reviewed and adjusted their current procedures and metrics to better measure and evaluate their ROTC programs prior to the projected DoDI publication date. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Recommendation: To help improve the oversight and accountability of the military services' ROTC programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop and implement, in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military services, a strategy to periodically communicate with Congress and other key stakeholders on ROTC program performance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2016, this recommendation is addressed in the current working draft of Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1215.08, "Senior Reserves Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Programs." A joint Services and DOD working group has finalized updates addressing this recommendation in the draft instruction, but DOD anticipates formal coordination will be delayed until after the 2017 change in the Presidential Administration. This recommendation will remain open until the DoDI addressing this recommendation has been finalized and published.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202)512-3604

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide decision makers with more-complete information on the planned implementation, management, and oversight of DOD's newly created DHA, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) to develop and present to Congress a comprehensive timeline that includes interim milestones for all reform goals that could be used to show implementation progress.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2015, DOD has not submitted a comprehensive timeline that includes interim milestones for all reform goals. Further, as we reported in September 2015, DOD's plan for assessing the personnel requirements of the DHA lacks a detailed timeline with milestones and interim steps. Until DOD develops a comprehensive timeline for its reform, this recommendation should remain open. June 2017 Update: The DHA strategic plan/CONOPS showing a comprehensive timeline for all of its reform goals has yet to be released.
    Recommendation: To provide decision makers with more-complete information on the planned implementation, management, and oversight of DOD's newly created DHA, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) to monitor implementation costs to assess whether the shared-services projects are on track to achieve projected net cost savings or if corrective actions are needed.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As we reported in September 2015, DOD has taken some action on this recommendation for 8 of its 10 shared services. The DHA's internal leadership briefings now identify the major types of implementation costs where relevant, or otherwise address their potential impact. For example, information technology costs are identified as one primary type of costs for the Health Information Technology and Medial Logistics shared services, while contract costs are identified for the Budget and Resource Management, Medical Logistics, and Health Information Technology shared services. By identifying the major types of implementation costs, decision makers are better able to gauge the sensitivity of areas of uncertainty as they make decisions concerning future investments in shared services. MAY 2016 UPDATE: DHA reported and we verified financial savings of $722 million for FY14 and FY15 due to shared services implementation. June 2017 Update: DHA reported and we verified financial savings of $686.6 million for FY 16 due to shared services implementation.
    Director: Khan, Asif A
    Phone: (202) 512-9869

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense, in his capacity as the Chief Management Officer and in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), to design and implement department-level policies and detailed procedures for FIAR Plan risk management that incorporate the five guiding principles for effective risk management. The following are examples of key features of each of the guiding principles that DOD should, at a minimum, address in its policies and procedures. (1) Identify risks. Generate a comprehensive and continuously updated list of risks that includes the root cause of each risk, audit area(s) each risk will affect, and the potential consequences if a risk is not effectively mitigated. (2) Analyze risks. Consult with key stakeholders, including program managers; use analytical techniques, such as risk categorization, risk urgency assessment, or sensitivity analysis; and determine the impact of the identified risks on individual DOD components' abilities to achieve audit readiness. (3) Plan for risk mitigation. Assign responsibility or ownership of the risk mitigation actions, define roles and responsibilities in executing mitigation plans, establish deadlines or milestones for individual mitigation actions, and estimate resource needs. (4) Implement risk mitigation plan. Document the implementation of mitigation actions, develop appropriate metrics that allow for tracking of progress, and validate reported metrics. (5) Monitor risks. Track identified risks and assess the effectiveness of implemented mitigation actions on a continuous basis, including identifying and planning for new risks.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with our recommendation. While DOD did concur with our assessment that they did not have a risk management policy and procedures related to implementing the FIAR guidance. They did not concur with our assessment of the overall environment of DOD's risk management of the FIAR initiative. DOD has taken steps to address our recommendation including implementing an NFR tracker and standard operating procedures designed to track DOD component material weaknesses. DOD has also documented a critical path and milestones in Appendix F of their FIAR Guidance; military component tasks and milestones in appendix G of the FIAR Guidance; and audit readiness deal breakers, now referred to as critical capabilities. However, while these are positive actions, they do not address our recommendation for DOD to implement risk management policies and procedures for FIAR implementation. Further, DOD has not provided GAO with evidence of planned actions it summarized in its agency comments. Specifically, DOD has not provided documentation related to (1) improving risk management documentation, (2) reinstating the DOD probability and impact matrix, and (3) re-evaluation of metrics to monitor progress and risk of audit readiness. Lastly, DOD's tracking of military component material weaknesses does not identify risks to audit readiness, or the agencies capabilities to manage risks to audit readiness. According to the May 2017 FIAR Status Update for the HASC Panel Recommendations, DOD has reinforced the importance of internal controls over areas of significant risk by updating the FIAR Guidance with a new chapter dedicated to internal controls. DOD has also changed how they respond to recommendation follow-up by way of the Washington Headquarters Service (WHS). We are currently waiting for a POC to be assigned. We will continue to evaluate the status of actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense, in his capacity as the Chief Management Officer and in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), to consider and incorporate, as appropriate, the Navy's and DLA's risk management practices in department-level policies and procedures.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has changed how they respond to recommendation follow-up by way of the Washington Headquarters Service (WHS). We are currently waiting for a POC to be assigned. We will continue to evaluate the status of actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: Gambler, Rebecca S
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that CBP's Office of Field Operations' (OFO) staffing processes are transparent and to help ensure CBP can demonstrate that these resource decisions have effectively addressed CBP's mission needs, the Commissioner of CBP should document the methodology and process OFO uses to allocate staff to land ports of entry on the southwest border, including the rationales and factors considered in making these decisions.

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

    Comments: CBP officials report that in May 2017 the Office of Field Operations began working with a contractor to develop a comprehensive CBP position allocation methodology. CBP officials report that in July 2017 this contractor facilitated a meeting where they gathered information they will use to design a process for allocating CBP officers to ports of entry. CBP estimates that this recommendation will be implemented in December 2017.
    Director: Mihm, J Christopher
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve implementation of GPRAMA and help address pressing governance issues, given the common, long-standing difficulties agencies continue to face in measuring the performance of various types of federal programs and activities--contracts, direct services, grants, regulations, research and development, and tax expenditures--the Director of OMB should work with the PIC to develop a detailed approach to examine these difficulties across agencies, including identifying and sharing any promising practices from agencies that have overcome difficulties in measuring the performance of these program types. This approach should include goals, planned actions, and deliverables along with specific time frames for their completion, as well as the identification of the parties responsible for each action and deliverable.

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

    Comments: As of August 2017, OMB and the PIC have taken some limited actions to address this recommendation. According to information provided by staff from OMB and the PIC in June 2015, they had taken some initial steps to address this recommendation in a few areas, such as acquisition management (contracts). In addition, the PIC formed a working group on performance measurement that, in part, is focusing on how to develop appropriate performance measures. However, OMB and the PIC have not yet developed a comprehensive and detailed approach to address these issues as recommended in our report. OMB staff told us in August 2017 that efforts related to the future implementation of the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act could help address this recommendation. We will continue to monitor progress.
    Director: Powner, David A
    Phone: (202)512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce should address the weaknesses in agency- and bureau-led TechStat processes and management outlined in this report.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency partially agreed with our assessment of the agency's TechStat process, but has not yet implemented our recommendation. At the time of our review, we identified several weaknesses in the agency's TechStat processes and management, including holding bureau-led TechStats, incorporating TechStats in its capital planning and governance structure, providing training on TechStats, and consistently capturing action steps, deadlines, and responsibilities in its TechStat memorandums. In an April 2017 update, the agency stated that it had not held any TechStats in 2016, but had identified several candidates for TechStats within the next 6 months. In addition, the agency plans to update its capital planning documents to include the TechStat program in late summer 2017. In addition, it has not finalized its TechStat training documentation, but plans to complete the documentation in late summer 2017. We will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
    Director: Scire, Mathew J
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that air ventilation systems in manufactured homes perform as specified and meet the HUD Code, HUD should develop an appropriate method to test and validate the performance of the ventilation system as part of the HUD certification process.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, HUD stated that it has not developed a test to validate the performance of the whole-house ventilation specification. We continue to believe that developing such a test will better ensure that air ventilation systems in manufactured homes perform as specified and meet the HUD Code.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202)512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Congress has the necessary information to provide effective oversight over all of DOD's civilian senior leader workforces, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence to conduct assessments of the skills, competencies, and gaps within all five career civilian senior leader workforces and report them in DOD's future strategic workforce plans.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2014, officials with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence) Human Capital Management Office stated that development of criteria for assessing the skills, competencies, and gaps of the department's Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service and Defense Intelligence Senior Level workforces had been completed. According to the officials, the criteria will be included in the department's senior leader management policies and fully implemented once the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) completes development, revision, and publication of other DOD related civilian senior leader management policies that the revised Defense Intelligence civilian senior leader policy references. Update 9/2016: Officials from the Strategic Human Capital Planning Division indicated that a future strategic plan will address GAO's recommendation. Officials indicated that the plan is expected to be released in Fall 2016.
    Director: Clowers, Angela N
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    4 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: FSOC and OFR should clarify responsibility for implementing requirements to monitor threats to financial stability across FSOC and OFR, including FSOC members and member agencies, to better ensure that the monitoring and analysis of the financial system are comprehensive and not unnecessarily duplicative.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In January 2018, Treasury staff said that steps are being taken to clarify roles and responsibilities across FSOC and OFR for monitoring threats to financial stability. In June 2017, Treasury published a report in response to the President's executive order (13772) on Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System. In that report, Treasury recommends that Congress take action to reduce fragmentation, overlap, and duplication in the U.S. regulatory structure and specifically recommends that Congress reform the structure and mission of the Office of Financial Research to improve its effectiveness and to ensure greater accountability. Treasury staff said that this recommendation is in part intended to prevent duplication and gaps in monitoring threats to financial stability. Treasury plans to work with Congress to implement this recommendation. In addition, Treasury staff said they plan to take steps to improve communication across FSOC members and OFR that will help to clarify roles and responsibilities for monitoring threats to financial stability. We will continue to monitor progress in implementing these steps.
    Recommendation: FSOC and OFR should clarify responsibility for implementing requirements to monitor threats to financial stability across FSOC and OFR, including FSOC members and member agencies, to better ensure that the monitoring and analysis of the financial system are comprehensive and not unnecessarily duplicative.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council: Office of Financial Research
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2018, Treasury staff said that steps are being taken to clarify roles and responsibilities across FSOC and OFR for monitoring threats to financial stability. In June 2017, Treasury published a report in response to the President's executive order (13772) on Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System. In that report, Treasury recommends that Congress take action to reduce fragmentation, overlap, and duplication in the U.S. regulatory structure and specifically recommends that Congress reform the structure and mission of the Office of Financial Research to improve its effectiveness and to ensure greater accountability. Treasury staff said that this recommendation is in part intended to prevent duplication and gaps in monitoring threats to financial stability. Treasury plans to work with Congress to implement this recommendation. In addition, Treasury staff said they plan to take steps to improve communication across FSOC members and OFR that will help to clarify roles and responsibilities for monitoring threats to financial stability. We continue to monitor FSOC and OFR actions that would be responsive to clarifying responsibilities for monitoring threats to financial stability.
    Recommendation: To strengthen accountability and collaboration in FSOC's decision making, FSOC should establish a collaborative and comprehensive framework for assessing the impact of its decisions for designating FMUs and nonbank financial companies on the wider economy and those entities. This framework should include assessing the effects of subjecting designated FMUs and nonbank financial companies to new regulatory standards, requirements, and restrictions; establishing a baseline from which to measure the effects; and documenting the approach.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to an April 2017 presidential memorandum, Treasury issued a report on FSOC's designation process. This report included recommendations to increase the analytical rigor of the designations process, including analyzing the effects (costs and benefits) of designating FMUs and nonbank financial companies. As of December 2017, Treasury officials said that the recommendations of this report will be considered by FSOC over the next several months. We will update the status after FSOC considers the report's recommendations.
    Recommendation: To strengthen accountability and collaboration in FSOC's decision making, FSOC should develop more systematic forward-looking approaches for reporting on potential emerging threats to financial stability in annual reports. Such an approach should provide methodological insight into why certain threats to financial stability are included or excluded over time, separate current or past threats from those that are potentially emerging, and prioritize the latter.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are currently reviewing FSOC's annual reports, including its most recent report issued in December 2017.
    Director: Hutton, John P
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better focus agencies' efforts to manage the risks related to professional and management support service contracts, the Director of OMB, through the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), should establish a near-term deadline for agencies to develop internal procedures required by OFPP Policy Letter 11-01, including for services that closely support inherently governmental functions.

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

    Comments: In providing comments on our report, OFPP generally agreed with this recommendation. During follow-up discussions, OFPP agreed to provide additional information to confirm the actions they have taken to address the recommendation. However, we have yet to receive this information. We will continue to follow this recommendation and provide updated information when available.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the risks of professional and management support service contracts are more fully considered and addressed, the Director of OMB, through the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, should include contracts coded in the Federal Procurement Data System - Next Generation (FPDS-NG) as Other Professional Services and Other Management Support Services in the cost savings initiative for management support services and planned service contract inventory guidance to agencies for conducting analysis of special interest functions.

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

    Comments: In providing comments on our report, OFPP generally agreed with this recommendation. We have had discussions with OFPP and they agreed to provide additional information on the actions taken to address the recommendation. However, we have yet to receive this information. We will continue to follow this recommendation and provide updated information when available.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve leadership's commitment to preventing and responding to incidents of sexual harassment, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop a strategy for holding individuals in positions of leadership accountable for promoting, supporting, and enforcing the department's sexual harassment policies and programs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has updated its guidance on sexual harassment, but it has not yet implemented the recommendation. DOD concurred with this recommendation and stated that it would collaborate with the military services to systematically review existing accountability methods, with the goal of developing an overarching strategy. According to DOD, a 2013 memorandum from the Secretary of Defense on sexual assault prevention and response outlined requirements addressing leadership accountability for preventing sexual harassment. The Secretary of Defense also issued a memorandum addressing prevention and response of sexual harassment in 2014, and DOD updated its guidance on sexual harassment in 2015. In 2016, DOD stated that further revisions to guidance were forthcoming to provide a framework for oversight of sexual harassment. This framework, among other things, would address standards for holding leaders accountable for promoting, supporting, and enforcing sexual harassment policies. As of January 2017, those revisions had not been issued. We will continue to monitor DOD's actions.
    Recommendation: To improve implementation of the department's sexual harassment policies and programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the service secretaries to verify or track military commanders' compliance with existing requirements that commanders periodically determine their organizational health and functioning effectiveness by periodically assessing their equal opportunity climate through "command climate" assessments.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has updated its guidance on sexual harassment, including a requirement for sharing the results of command climate assessments with the next higher level of command, but has not yet implemented an oversight mechanism to verify and track commanders' compliance with requirements to conduct such assessments. DOD concurred with this recommendation and stated that it would implement the recommendation through revisions to its guidance. According to DOD, a 2013 memorandum from the Secretary of Defense on sexual assault prevention and response outlined requirements addressing leadership accountability for preventing sexual harassment. The memorandum included a requirement that the results of command climate surveys be provided to the next level up in the chain of command, and it directed service chiefs, through their respective military department secretaries, to develop methods to assess the performance of commanders in establishing command climates of dignity and respect. The Secretary of Defense also issued a memorandum addressing prevention and response of sexual harassment in 2014, and DOD updated its guidance on sexual harassment in 2015. In 2016, DOD stated that further revisions to guidance were forthcoming to provide a framework for oversight of sexual harassment. This framework, among other things, would address standards for holding leaders accountable for promoting, supporting, and enforcing sexual harassment policies. As of January 2017, those revisions had not yet been issued. We will continue to monitor DOD's actions.
    Recommendation: To enhance oversight of the department's program to help prevent and to address incidents of sexual harassment involving servicemembers, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to ensure that the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity develops and aggressively implements an oversight framework to help guide the department's efforts. At a minimum, such a framework should contain long-term goals, objectives, and milestones; strategies to accomplish goals; criteria for measuring progress; and results-oriented performance measures to assess the effectiveness of the department's sexual harassment policies and programs. Such a framework should also identify and include a plan for ensuring that adequate resources are available to carry out the office's oversight responsibilities.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation and stated that as part of its revised guidance it proposed to strengthen and institutionalize the responsibilities and authorities needed for successful implementation of the department's sexual harassment policies. During 2012, DOD reported that it expected to implement such a proposal in its revised military equal opportunity program guidance. DOD projected the department would issue this guidance in March 2013. In July 2014, DOD noted that a DOD instruction calls for establishment of a senior leadership advisory forum comprised of leaders and managers in the grade of at least senior executive service level or Flag/General Officer, such as the Defense Human Resource Board or its equivalent, to provide oversight and an annual review of the DOD Military Equal Opportunity programs and provide advice and recommendations to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. DOD further noted that the instruction further assigns the responsibility for establishing procedures for senior leader recurring oversight reviews of selected categories of military personnel programs and issuance of data calls that will be used by each Military Service and the National Guard Bureau to establish a framework of recurring analytical reviews to the Director, Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity. As of September 2015, DOD had not taken action to address this recommendation. In 2017, officials with OSD stated that they were developing a new policy that will focus on various forms of harassment, including sexual harassment, hazing, and bullying. The new policy is planned to be issued in 2018. However, it is unclear how OSD plans to improve oversight and whether it intends to include performance goals, objectives, milestones, and metrics.
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202)512-9521

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Based on a review of all existing contracts under $100,000 without an appointed COTR that should require contract employees to obtain favorable background investigation results, the Commissioner of the IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to amend those contracts to require that favorable background investigations be obtained for all relevant contract employees before routine, unescorted, unsupervised physical access to taxpayer information is granted.

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

    Comments: According to IRS, it has completed its contract review and made appropriate modifications as of July 2016. However, the modifications to the contracts were not made available for our review during the fiscal year 2016 audit. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of the IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to establish a policy requiring collaborative oversight between IRS's key offices in determining whether potential service contracts involve routine, unescorted, unsupervised physical access to taxpayer information, thus requiring background investigations, regardless of contract award amount. This policy should include a process for the requiring business unit to communicate to the Office of Procurement and the Human Capital Office the services to be provided under the contract and any potential exposure of taxpayer information to contract employees providing the services, and for all three units to (1) evaluate the risk of exposure of taxpayer information prior to finalizing and awarding the contract and (2) ensure that the final contract requires favorable background investigations as applicable, commensurate with the assessed risk.

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

    Comments: IRS's efforts to address this recommendation are ongoing. IRS stated that during fiscal year 2017, several internal organizations will partner to identify the remaining actions needed to address this recommendation. According to IRS, these actions include developing policies and procedures to reasonably assure that (1) oversight between IRS's key offices is conducted to determine whether potential service awards IRS enters into involve routine, unescorted, unsupervised physical access to taxpayer information by contractors, thus requiring background investigations, and (2) the resulting processes make clear who is responsible for completing the various steps, as well as who must maintain documentation of the approved access determination prior to the contractor being allowed to provide the services. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of the IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to revise the post orders for the service center campuses (SCC) and lockbox bank security guards to include specific procedures for timely reporting exterior lighting outages to SCC or lockbox bank facilities management. These procedures should specify (1) whom to contact to report lighting outages and (2) how to document and track lighting outages until resolved.

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

    Comments: IRS's efforts to address this recommendation are ongoing. IRS stated that during fiscal year 2017, it would update campus post orders to help ensure timely reporting, monitoring and repair of exterior lighting outages. In addition, AWSS engaged in discussions with personnel from FPS and GSA to coordinate responsibilities and suggested changes for post orders when security services are contracted by those entities. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen its baselines, facilitate external and independent reviews of those baselines, ensure effective oversight of the BMDS, and further improve transparency and accountability of its efforts, and to improve clarity, consistency, and completeness of the baselines reported to Congress, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that MDA, for resource baselines, obtain independent cost estimates for each baseline.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on our report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken all actions necessary to implement it. Although the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has received independent cost estimates from its internal independent cost group for some programs and components that support the baselines provided in MDA's Ballistic Missile Defense System Accountability Report (BAR), MDA officials told us they have not yet completed independent estimates for all the BAR baselines. In addition, the independent estimates will not have full lifecycle costs which will hamper their effectiveness. We will continue to monitor MDA's progress over the course of our next annual review.
    Recommendation: To strengthen its baselines, facilitate external and independent reviews of those baselines, ensure effective oversight of the BMDS, and further improve transparency and accountability of its efforts, and to improve clarity, consistency, and completeness of the baselines reported to Congress, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that MDA, for schedule baselines, in meeting new statutory requirements to report variances between reported acquisition baselines, also report variances between the test plan as presented in the previous acquisition baseline and the test plan as executed that explain the reason for any changes.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the Department of Defense concurred with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to report the test variances, by laying out the dates of the proposed changes. However, the variances do not include all changes to test objectives, detail when tests are deleted, nor when the altered objectives will be satisfied. MDA has initiated an effort with DOT&E and the OTA to track the movement of test objectives, however these changes are not reported and are only used internally. In addition, MDA utilizes a "mid-year" test change memorandum. The change explains the difference from the prior master test plan, but is not reported. Thus, changes that are included in the mid-year memorandum can not be tracked if one only receives the annual test plan. We will continue to monitor MDA's progress in fiscal year 2017 and determine whether MDA lays out the changes in its upcoming integrated master test plan.
    Director: Wise, David J
    Phone: (202)512-5731

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that FTA targets its resources effectively as it increases its safety efforts and is able to track the results of these efforts, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FTA Administrator to use leading practices as FTA develops its plans for fiscal year 2011 and in the future. In particular, the Administrator should create a set of clear and specific performance goals and measures that (1) are aligned with the department's strategic safety goals and identify the intended results of FTA's various safety efforts and (2) address important dimensions of program performance.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), enacted in 2012, gave the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) authority to establish and enforce a new comprehensive framework for overseeing the safety of public transportation in the U.S. FTA is developing a new National Public Transportation Safety Program, including new safety regulations and a National Safety Plan, to implement this authority. FTA has proposed a National Safety Plan that identifies a potential set of performance measures for FTA, but does not identify related goals or targets. FTA officials said that they would address our recommendation within the next 6-12 months by establishing, within an internal performance plan, a set of clear and specific performance goals and measures for FTA that align with the leading practices we identify. We will follow up in Spring 2017 to check on FTA's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Pickup, Sharon L
    Phone: (202)512-9619

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance DOD's ability to set strategic direction for its business transformation efforts, and better align and institutionalize its efforts to develop and implement plans and measure progress against established goals, the Secretary of Defense should direct the CMO to issue guidance to establish a strategic planning process with mechanisms---such as procedures and milestones---for routinely updating the SMP and military department business transformation plans. In particular, this guidance should include elements such as how DOD and the military departments---including the CMO, DCMO, and military department CMOs---will reach consensus on business priorities, coordinate review and approval of updates to plans, synchronize the development of plans with the budget process, and monitor the implementation of reform initiatives, and report progress, on a periodic basis, towards achieving established goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation. In May 2017, the Acting Deputy Chief Management Officer (DCMO) issued a memorandum directing the implementation of DOD's Agency Reform Plan and a strategic planning framework, including the Agency Strategic Plan which DOD issued in place of the Strategic Management Plan. As part of DOD's Agency Reform Plan and strategic planning framework, DOD components were tasked with conducting thorough reviews of their business operations, identifying reform initiatives, and developing performance goals and measures to monitor and assess implementation of reform initiatives. According to the Office of the DCMO, the Chief Management Officer (CMO) has engaged with the military departments through DOD governance boards to obtain their input for plan development and ongoing business transformation efforts. However, the recommendation remains unimplemented because the framework does not address how the military departments will routinely update or coordinate the review and approval of their business transformation plans with the CMO and DCMO.
    Director: Wise, David J
    Phone: (202)512-5731

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve FTA's ability to determine the extent to which transit grants, current formula incentives, and FTA program activities have had a positive effect on local transit agency performance--and to the extent that FTA finds current data sources to be appropriate and reliable for such purposes-- the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FTA Administrator to further analyze and use data submitted to FTA by local transit agencies. As part of this analysis, FTA may want to identify and evaluate, when applicable, (1) the extent to which transit grant programs are accomplishing their established goals; (2) the areas of performance in which FTA should concentrate its program activities to increase the performance of local transit agencies and the federal transit program in general; and (3) the extent to which formula incentives and other performance accountability mechanisms have influenced the activities and performance of local transit agencies.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2017, FTA had published the final National Safety Plan and a final rule on state of good repair for transit assets. However, the final Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan rule is under additional review per the transition in administration. FTA does not expect publication until Spring 2018. We will continue to monitor DOT actions pertaining to this rulemaking.
    Director: Khan, Asif A
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the military department Chief Management Officers, in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, as appropriate, after defining the cost accounting requirements, to utilize the requirements as input to the ERPs to help ensure that the ERPs will provide the capability to identify and aggregate cost information for the department's assets in accordance with DOD's defined requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD's military departments are in the process of implementing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERPs). At least one of these ERPs does not currently include cost accumulation and reporting for military equipment assets. DOD's efforts related to systems enhancements, as part of audit-readiness, are still on-going to address this recommendation. The status of this recommendation is open.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: (202)512-4431

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further the goals of public understanding of what Recovery Act funds are being spent on and what results are expected, the Director, Office of Management and Budget, should work with executive departments and agencies to determine (1) whether supplemental guidance is needed to meet, in a reasonable and cost-effective way, the intent of the Recovery Act for reporting on projects and activities and (2) whether that supplemental guidance or other agency-proposed technical assistance dealing with narrative descriptions of awards provides for transparent descriptions of funded activities.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions OMB has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To further the goals of public understanding of what Recovery Act funds are being spent on and what results are expected, the Director, Office of Management and Budget, should periodically (1) review, in partnership with executive departments and agencies, the descriptions of awards--in particular, the narrative fields--submitted by recipients to determine whether the information provides a basic understanding of the uses of the funds and the expected outcomes, and, if not, determine what actions to take, including encouraging agencies to develop or improve program-specific guidance and (2) work with the Recovery Board on the board's assessments of departments' and agencies' data quality reviews to ensure the adequacy of these reviews and further reinforce actions to meet transparency goals.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions OMB has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Rusco, Franklin W
    Phone: (202)512-4597

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase Interior's assurance that it is accurately measuring oil and gas produced on federal lands and waters, and to help ensure that Interior's production accountability inspection program consistently addresses key areas affecting measurement accuracy and that BLM meets its inspection goals, the Secretary of the Interior should establish goals for (1) witnessing onshore oil and gas meter calibrations, (2) witnessing onshore and offshore gas sample collections, (3) comparing onshore reported British Thermal Units (BTU) values with gas analyses, and (4) inspecting onshore and offshore orifice plates and meter tubes.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2014, BLM had not established goals for witnessing oil meter provings or gas meter calibrations. Officials stated that it would be too challenging to coordinate, as BLM inspectors would have to meet oil and gas company officials on site to witness the gas sample collection. BLM has also not established goals for comparing BTU analyses with gas analyses, though an official stated that comparisons do occur during an in office records review. For witnessing inspections of orifice plates and meter tubes, BLM officials again stated that coordinating these activities with companies would be cumbersome. Officials stated that inspectors do typically inspect the orifice plate when it is pulled for inspection by a company official during a gas meter calibration. For meter tubes, BLM has not taken any actions. BLM officials stated that when updating its oil and gas measurement regulations, it may address some of these issues. Interior officials set a time frame of 2016 to complete this effort.
    Recommendation: To increase Interior's assurance that it is accurately measuring oil and gas produced on federal lands and waters, and to improve the consistency of Interior's management of its onshore production and inspection program, the Secretary of the Interior should direct BLM to review and revise, as appropriate, its oversight of field and state offices and train managers involved in BLM's inspection and enforcement program to ensure adequate and appropriate review of personnel, processes, and production, consistent with standards for internal controls.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In December 2014, Interior officials stated it had a completion rate of 96 percent for its two part training class called Oil and Gas Field Managers Training. Interior officials have not taken any steps to review and revise, as appropriate, its oversight of field and state offices and have not provided a time frame for when they might take any actions.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct MDA to ensure that developmental hardware and software changes are not made to the operational baseline that disrupt the assessments needed to understand the capabilities and limitations of new BMDS developments.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation. In the June 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense System Accountability Report (BAR), Missile Defense Agency (MDA) provided some operational baselines and continues to do so annually. Nonetheless, configuration changes continue to pose challenges to a thorough assessment of the BMDS architecture. For example, the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation stated that the many configurations of the fielded ground-based interceptor inhibits a full evaluation of the GMD program. Moreover, some changes to BMDS elements are still delivered while testing of the architecture is already underway. We will continue to assess whether MDA fully adopts an approach allowing time for the warfighter and testers to fully understand hardware and software before placing it in the operational baseline.
    Director: White, James
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Congress may wish to consider broadening IRS's ability to use math error authority (MEA), with appropriate safeguards against misuse of that authority.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has expanded IRS's math error authority in certain circumstances, but not as broadly as we suggested in February 2010. Section 208 of division Q of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Public Law 114-113 enacted in December 2015) gave IRS the authority to use math error authority if (1) a taxpayer claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, or the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) during the period in which a taxpayer is not permitted to claim such credit as a consequence of either having made a prior fraudulent or reckless claim; or (2) a taxpayer omitted information required to be reported because the taxpayer made prior improper claims of the Child Tax Credit or the AOTC. In addition, Congress expanded math error authority for the First-Time Homebuyer Credit in November 2009. While expanding math error authority is consistent with what we suggested in February 2010, we maintain that a broader authorization of math error authority with appropriate controls would enable IRS to correct obvious noncompliance, would be less intrusive and burdensome to taxpayers than audits, and would potentially help taxpayers who underclaim tax benefits to which they are entitled. If Congress decides to extend broader math error authority to IRS, controls may be needed to ensure that this authority is used properly such as requiring IRS to report on its use of math error authority. The administration also requested that Congress grant the Department of the Treasury regulatory authority to expand IRS's use of math error authority as part of its budget submission for fiscal year 2018. As of September 2017, the Congress has not provided Treasury with such authority. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated this change could raise $283 million between fiscal years 2017 through 2027.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-2757

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the Bureau's use of its master schedule to manage the 2020 decennial census, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to include estimates of the resources, such as labor, materials, and overhead costs, in the 2020 integrated schedule for each activity as the schedule is built, and prepare to carry out other steps as necessary to conduct systematic schedule risk analyses on the 2020 schedule.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. The Bureau continues to refine its 2020 Census master schedule, which it recently announced it completed in July 2016. Bureau officials have periodically described their intent to link resources to activities within their schedules, but as of July 2016 had confirmed that it had not yet done so. The Bureau has provided us with copies of its schedule, but not yet satisfactory evidence of having completed such an analysis. We are beginning an audit of the Bureau's scheduling practices this summer and will review actions the Bureau may have taken to address this recommendation. As of July 2017, we have received initial documents as we begin this review.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202)512-3604

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help implement a fair, effective, and credible performance management system for its civilian employees--whether NSPS or another--the Secretary of Defense should review and evaluate the effectiveness of the department's training.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 which repealed the National Security Personnel System required that DOD (1) take all actions necessary for the orderly termination of NSPS and (2) transition of all employees and positions from NSPS to legacy personnel systems or, if applicable, to the personnel systems that would have applied if NSPS had never been established. The law also mandated that the transition be completed by no later than January 1, 2012 and required DOD to establish a new performance management system, among other things. At the time of last update in June 2013, DOD had completed its efforts to research and design a new performance management system, in coordination with the unions. More recently, on July 24, 2014, the department released its 3rd update to Congress on the design and implemenation of its new personnel management system. DOD is required to report every 6 months on its progress. In its most recent report, DOD discusses its intent to implement a new multi-level rating system, but does not provide specific details about any steps taken that would allow us to close the recommendation nor has it taken actions to implement a system at this time. According to the DOD official overseeing this effort, DOD has made progress and the next update scheduled to be issued in Decembr 2014 will have significant more detail about the efforts taken.
    Recommendation: To help implement a fair, effective, and credible performance management system for its civilian employees--whether NSPS or another--the Secretary of Defense should ensure that guidance is in place for conducting a postdecisional analysis that specifies what process the components should follow to investigate and eliminate potential barriers to fair and equitable ratings.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 which repealed the National Security Personnel System required that DOD (1) take all actions necessary for the orderly termination of NSPS and (2) transition of all employees and positions from NSPS to legacy personnel systems or, if applicable, to the personnel systems that would have applied if NSPS had never been established. The law also mandated that the transition be completed by no later than January 1, 2012 and required DOD to establish a new performance management system, among other things. At the time of last update in June 2013, DOD had completed its efforts to research and design a new performance management system, in coordination with the unions. More recently, on July 24, 2014, the department released its 3rd update to Congress on the design and implemenation of its new personnel management system. DOD is required to report every 6 months on its progress. In its most recent report, DOD discusses its intent to implement a new multi-level rating system, but does not provide specific details about any steps taken that would allow us to close the recommendation nor has it taken actions to implement a system at this time. According to the DOD official overseeing this effort, DOD has made progress and the next update scheduled to be issued in Decembr 2014 will have significant more detail about the efforts taken.
    Recommendation: To help implement a fair, effective, and credible performance management system for its civilian employees--whether NSPS or another--the Secretary of Defense should include, as part of the department's monitoring of the implementation of its system, efforts to monitor and evaluate how the safeguards specifically are implemented by lower-level organizations across the department.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 which repealed the National Security Personnel System required that DOD (1) take all actions necessary for the orderly termination of NSPS and (2) transition of all employees and positions from NSPS to legacy personnel systems or, if applicable, to the personnel systems that would have applied if NSPS had never been established. The law also mandated that the transition be completed by no later than January 1, 2012 and required DOD to establish a new performance management system, among other things. At the time of last update in June 2013, DOD had completed its efforts to research and design a new performance management system, in coordination with the unions. More recently, on July 24, 2014, the department released its 3rd update to Congress on the design and implemenation of its new personnel management system. DOD is required to report every 6 months on its progress. In its most recent report, DOD discusses its intent to implement a new multi-level rating system, but does not provide specific details about any steps taken that would allow us to close the recommendation nor has it taken actions to implement a system at this time. According to the DOD official overseeing this effort, DOD has made progress and the next update scheduled to be issued in Decembr 2014 will have significant more detail about the efforts taken.
    Director: White, James R
    Phone: (202) 512-9039

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure the notice phase is achieving desired results at the lowest costs, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should provide IRS collection managers and executives accessible, reliable information on what the business rules are.

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

    Comments: IRS said in January 2016, that it planned to review current business rules and communicate clear guidance and documentation on business rules to appropriate IRS staff by July 2016. In October 2016, IRS provided documentation of some actions taken and planned, and noted it expects to provide additional business rules information in evaluations planned by June 2017. IRS confirmed this status in March 2017.
    Recommendation: To better ensure the notice phase is achieving desired results at the lowest costs, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should periodically and regularly evaluate the business rules in terms of efficiency and effectiveness or other results and ensure the results are available to managers so the data and methodologies can be used or considered in future evaluations.

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

    Comments: IRS said in January 2016, that it would conduct periodic reviews, update business rules if needed, and ensure follow-up for ad hoc evaluations by June 2017. In October 2016, IRS provided documentation of planned actions to periodically evaluate the business rules and communicate evaluation results and business rules information to appropriate IRS staff by June 2017. IRS confirmed this status in March 2017.
    Director: Herr, Phillip R
    Phone: (202) 512-8509

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To support the triennial review program's goal of having grantees consistently meet more federal requirements, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FTA Administrator to meet standards set forth in previous GAO work, based on the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, and develop performance measures to assess: (1) the outcomes of the triennial review program, such as a method for evaluating improvements in grantee performance in meeting more federal requirements over time (2) and the quality of the triennial review through improved contractor oversight, testing, or inspection.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: Federal Transit Administration (FTA) responded to our recommendations stating that it plans to improve the quality of oversight reviews. Actions aimed to improve quality are: (1) increasing oversight of contractors by emphasizing regional and headquarters' participation in all on-site triennial reviews and (2) increasing annual oversight conference participation and quarterly review workshops that focus on improving performance measures. These activities were to be specified in new procedures coming out in 2011.
    Recommendation: To support the triennial review program's goal of having grantees consistently meet more federal requirements, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FTA Administrator to improve the objectivity and reliability of the "Close Findings Timely" performance measure by: (1) developing an internal controls process to verify grantees have satisfactorily resolved findings before closing them (2) continuing to emphasize the use of OTRAK across all regions and developing a process to close out triennial reviews in OTRAK upon grantees' completion of corrective actions.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is working to strengthen the internal control process for closing out triennial review findings. Specifically, it is drafting operating procedures indicating that (1) the regional offices have the primary responsibility to provide the necessary technical assistance to grantees to close-out findings as well as ensure the findings are not closed-out prematurely and (2) program managers have a secondary responsibility to verify whether the findings were closed out properly. The procedures were to be issued in October 2010.
    Recommendation: To support the triennial review program's goal of having grantees consistently meet more federal requirements, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FTA to ensure that additional outcome and quality performance measures are balanced with the existing measures for assessing the timeliness of the triennial review program so that one priority is not emphasized at the expense of others.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: Federal Transit Administration (FTA) anticipates adding a performance measurement, called reduction in repeat findings, that relates to assessing the quality of the review. FTA officials told us that this new performance measurement is noncontroversial and was to be discussed at a June 2012 Oversight Meeting.
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202)512-9377

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Finance Officer at the Commission's European Regional (ER) office should instruct and monitor approving officials to ensure that expenditure transactions are dated when goods and services are received and approved before payments are processed.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission: European Regional Office
    Status: Open

    Comments: During our fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011 financial statement audits, we continued to find expenditure transactions being processed prior to the goods or services being received and approved for payment. During our fiscal year 2012 audit, the Commission informed us that since the transition to a new financial management system in August 2011, all receiving is conducted in the iProcurement system (part of the Oracle accounting system) and must be complete before an invoice is processed for payment in Oracle. Although we found that invoices were approved before payment, we continued to find instances where the invoices were not dated and/or signed when goods or invoices were received. During fiscal year 2017, the Commission informed us that they developed a related policy to address our recommendation. However, the Commission has not provided documentation or an explanation of the controls used by management for monitoring (i.e. evaluating or reviewing) the effective implementation of the procedures established related to this recommendation. Therefore, we will continue to follow up on this open recommendation with the Commission at a later date.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: (202)512-6225

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress may wish to consider amending CSB's authorizing statute or the Inspector General Act of 1978 to permanently give Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Inspector General the authority to serve as the oversight body for the agency.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not taken action yet.
    Recommendation: As Congress prepares the appropriation of the EPA Inspector General, it may wish to consider providing the Inspector General with appropriations and staff allocations specifically for the audit function of CSB via a direct line in the EPA appropriation.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not taken action yet.
    Director: Dicken, John E
    Phone: (202)512-7043

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help states identify and address quality-of-care concerns among individuals with developmental disabilities receiving Medicaid HCBS waiver services, the Administrator of CMS should encourage states to (1) include death as a critical incident and conduct mortality reviews if they do not already do so and (2) broaden their mortality review processes if they already include death as a critical incident and conduct mortality reviews.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2009, CMS stated that it anticipated adding a question about mortality reviews to its next web-based version of the Home and Community-Based Services waiver application. CMS also indicated at that time that the next application version (i.e., Version 3.6) would be released in 2010. However, in July 2010, CMS indicated that this version would not be produced until 2011. In its 2011 update, CMS indicated that the version 3.6 online application had not yet been operationalized and therefore the recommendation should be left open until next year. In July 2013, CMS stated that version 3.6 remains on hold and that the agency is exploring other options for addressing this recommendation, with a target completion date of 12/31/2014.
    Director: Herr, Phillip R
    Phone: (202)512-8984

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of the federal investment in surface transportation, meet the nation's transportation needs, and ensure a sustainable commitment to transportation infrastructure, Congress may wish to consider reexamining and refocusing surface transportation programs to be responsive to these principles so that they institute tools and approaches to that emphasize the return on the federal investment.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, Congress has not yet acted on this recommendation. The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act; P.L. 114-94), signed into law in December 2015, is due to be reauthorized in fiscal year 2021.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of the federal investment in surface transportation, meet the nation's transportation needs, and ensure a sustainable commitment to transportation infrastructure, Congress may wish to consider reexamining and refocusing surface transportation programs to be responsive to these principles so that they address the current imbalance between federal surface transportation revenues and spending.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, Congress has not yet acted on this recommendation. The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act; P.L. 114-94), signed into law in December 2015, did not address the current imbalance between federal surface transportation revenues and spending. The Act is due to be reauthorized in fiscal year 2021.
    Director: Ragland, Susan
    Phone: (202)512-9471

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs to develop a framework for OIA employees to use in conducting site visits to help ensure objectives are achieved, to assure that relevant information is shared with responsible officials, and to allow more efficient and effective monitoring of issues.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: On May 24, 2017, the Department of Interior (DOI) sent out an email to its staff showing the dissemination of the new format required for completing trip reports by the staff of the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA). The new format requires staff to include travel justification (i.e., purpose/objective, location, and travel period) and trip report (i.e., meetings, site visits, results, and next steps, as applicable.) The intent of the recommendation is for DOI to have a framework that includes (1) status of required single audit reports; (2) the progress of actions to resolve reported internal control weaknesses; and (3) current needs for technical assistance, capacity building, and staff level expertise. Further, the intent of GAO's recommendation is that this information be integrated into a comprehensive monitoring process. We did not see these elements included in DOI's new format. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: Daly, Kay L
    Phone: 2025124063

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better understand the relationship of costs and revenues related to fees SSA collects for administering state SSI supplementation programs, the Commissioner of SSA should direct appropriate officials to study those costs to determine the full cost, including the cost of services provided by other entities for the benefit of SSA.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA is continuing with the roll out of the Employee Office Sampler to all field offices across the nation. According to SSA, this tool removes the manual aspect of the District Office Work Sampling process. A decision was made by SSA to update the Standard Time Values (STVs) used for costing out the full cost SSA incurs for processing state Social Security Insurance claims. SSA stated that it completed these studies in fiscal year 2012 and placed the new STVs into its Cost Analysis System for use in fiscal year 2013. According to SSA, this update allows SSA to more accurately capture the full cost of this work for the agency. In December 2016, SSA stated that it has completed the roll out of the Employee Office Sampler (EOS) to the field offices in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016. The Office of Financial Policy and Operations is currently working on a proposal for the IT Investment Process (ITIP) to roll out the EOS to the remaining operational components, targeted for early 2017.
    Director: Daly, Kay L
    Phone: 2025124063

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Transportation components implement reliable cost accounting methodologies for use in managerial decision making in accordance with departmental objectives, the Secretary of Transportation should direct appropriate department officials to finalize and issue a policy for implementing MCA departmentwide.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: Transportation initiated a major, multi-year department-wide program to re-engineer their financial processes, including cost accounting. Because of the complexity of cost accounting and the complications of the next release of their financial software, Transportation has told us that cost accounting is scheduled as a future process to be reviewed. As a result, Transportation has not yet implemented this recommendation to finalize and issue a policy for implementing MCA departmentwide.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Transportation components implement reliable cost accounting methodologies for use in managerial decision making in accordance with departmental objectives, the Secretary of Transportation should direct appropriate department officials to finalize and issue formal procedures, revised as necessary, to monitor implementation of that policy and establish a sound system of controls.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: Transportation initiated a major, multi-year department-wide program to re-engineer their financial processes, including cost accounting. Because of the complexity of cost accounting and the complications of the next release of their financial software, Transportation has told us that cost accounting is scheduled as a future process to be reviewed. As a result, Transportation has not finalized or issued a policy for implementing MCA departmentwide.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: 2025128984

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve Amtrak's efforts in addressing financial management challenges and better support management decision making, the president of Amtrak should perform a comprehensive risk assessment of financial reporting processes that support preparation of monthly performance reports and the RPI, to include determining areas of vulnerability, implementing appropriate compensating and mitigating internal controls, and ongoing monitoring to ensure compliance.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO is continuing to work with Amtrak to obtain information on the status of this recommendation and will update provide updates as available.
    Recommendation: To improve Amtrak's efforts in addressing financial management challenges and better support management decision making, the president of Amtrak should document policies and procedures related to controlling the information in the monthly performance reports, including the RPI. The policies and procedures should cover how expenses are allocated to Amtrak's routes, as well as specific guidance on documenting the justification and authorization of changes made to allocation methods.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: We will continue to work with Amtrak to obtain information about the status of this recommendation and will provide updates as available.
    Recommendation: To improve Amtrak's efforts in addressing financial management challenges and better support management decision making, the president of Amtrak should develop a comprehensive action plan for immediately implementing preventive controls to enhance the reliability of financial data and address the reportable condition over accounting for capital assets in the most recent reports and letters of comment from the independent public accountant.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: We will continue to work with Amtrak to obtain information about this recommendation and will provide updates as available.
    Recommendation: To ensure that Amtrak can better meet the challenge of increasing its efficiency and reducing its operating costs, the president of Amtrak should establish efficiency and unit cost measures with clear inputs to benchmark individual asset and corporate productivity, which will demonstrate efficient use of Amtrak's resources.

    Agency: National Railroad Passenger Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: We will continue to work with Amtrak to obtain information about the status of this recommendation and will provide updates as available.
    Director: Mctigue Jr, James R
    Phone: (202) 512-7968

    5 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that policymakers and the public have the necessary information to make informed decisions and to improve the progress toward exercising greater scrutiny of tax expenditures, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, should resume presenting tax expenditures in the budget together with related outlay programs to show a truer picture of the federal support within a mission area.

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

    Comments: No executive action taken. OMB had not presented tax expenditures in the budget together with the related outlay programs in the fiscal year 2018 budget released in May 2017. OMB did not agree that GAO's September 2005 recommendation is necessary and stated that presenting information on tax expenditures together with related outlay programs is not useful for budgeting and that such a presentation is not part of the congressional budget process. However, the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 requires a list of tax expenditures, including special tax credits, deductions, exclusions, exemptions, deferrals, and preferential tax rates. Whereas OMB favors reporting tax expenditures separately from the rest of the budget, GAO has reported that an integrated presentation is also useful to show the relative magnitude of tax expenditures compared to spending and credit programs across mission areas. OMB previously presented tax expenditure sums alongside outlays and credit activity for each budget function in the federal budget from fiscal year 1998 through fiscal year 2002, but discontinued the practice. Tax expenditures resulted in $1.4 trillion in forgone revenue in fiscal year 2016, more than the discretionary spending level that year.
    Recommendation: To ensure that policymakers and the public have the necessary information to make informed decisions and to improve the progress toward exercising greater scrutiny of tax expenditures, the Director of OMB, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, should require that tax expenditures be included in the PART process and any future such budget and performance review processes so that tax expenditures are considered along with related outlay programs in determining the adequacy of federal efforts to achieve national objectives.

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

    Comments: OMB made some progress in including tax expenditures along with related outlay programs in the executive branch's budget and performance review processes, as GAO recommended in September 2005, but as of July 2017, OMB had not developed a systematic approach for conducting such reviews. The President's fiscal year 2012 budget stated that the administration would work toward examining the objectives and effects of the wide range of tax expenditures in the budget. The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires OMB and the agencies to identify the relevant tax expenditures that contribute to each crosscutting priority goal. Beginning with its August 2012 update to Circular No. A-11 with guidance for implementing GPRAMA and continuing in subsequent annual updates, OMB has directed agencies to identify tax expenditures that contribute to each of their agency priority goals. Beginning with the July 2013 update, OMB expanded its guidance to include identifying these contributions to agency strategic objectives. In both its July 2013 and July 2014 guidance, OMB stated that it planned to work with the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and agencies to facilitate alignment of tax expenditure information with agency priority goals and strategic objectives. However, in its June 2015 update of this guidance, OMB removed the language about working with Treasury and agencies to align tax expenditures with agency goals. OMB staff told GAO in July 2017 that it was not an effort they were pursuing due to competing priorities, as well as capacity and resource constraints. OMB's July 2017 guidance still requires agencies to identify tax expenditures that contribute to their agency priority goals and strategic objectives.
    Recommendation: To ensure that policymakers and the public have the necessary information to make informed decisions and to improve the progress toward exercising greater scrutiny of tax expenditures, the Director of OMB, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, should develop and implement a framework for conducting performance reviews of tax expenditures. In developing the framework, the Director should (1) determine which agencies will have leadership responsibilities to review tax expenditures, how reviews will be coordinated among agencies with related responsibilities, and how to address the lack of credible performance information on tax expenditures; (2) set a schedule for conducting tax expenditure evaluations; (3) re-establish appropriate methods to test the overall evaluation framework and make improvements as experience is gained; and (4) to identify any additional resources that may be needed for tax expenditure reviews.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: No executive action taken. As of the last President's budget released in May 2017, the Director of OMB had not developed a framework for reviewing tax expenditure performance, as GAO recommended in June 1994 and again in September 2005. Since their initial efforts in 1997 and 1999 to outline a framework for evaluating tax expenditures and preliminary performance measures, OMB and the Department of the Treasury have ceased to make progress and retreated from setting a schedule for evaluating tax expenditures.The President's fiscal year 2012 budget stated that developing an evaluation framework is a significant challenge due to limited data availability and analytical constraints of isolating the effect of any single program. The administration planned to focus on addressing some of these challenges so it can work toward crosscutting analyses that examine tax expenditures alongside related spending programs. However, OMB and Treasury have not reported on progress on this recommendation since the President's fiscal year 2012 budget.
    Recommendation: To ensure that policymakers and the public have the necessary information to make informed decisions and to improve the progress toward exercising greater scrutiny of tax expenditures, the Director of OMB, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, should develop and implement a framework for conducting performance reviews of tax expenditures. In developing the framework, the Director should (1) determine which agencies will have leadership responsibilities to review tax expenditures, how reviews will be coordinated among agencies with related responsibilities, and how to address the lack of credible performance information on tax expenditures; (2) set a schedule for conducting tax expenditure evaluations; (3) re-establish appropriate methods to test the overall evaluation framework and make improvements as experience is gained; and (4) to identify any additional resources that may be needed for tax expenditure reviews.

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

    Comments: No executive action taken. As of the last President's budget released in May 2017, the Director of OMB had not developed a framework for reviewing tax expenditure performance, as GAO recommended in June 1994 and again in September 2005. Since their initial efforts in 1997 and 1999 to outline a framework for evaluating tax expenditures and preliminary performance measures, OMB and the Department of the Treasury have ceased to make progress and retreated from setting a schedule for evaluating tax expenditures. The President's fiscal year 2012 budget stated that developing an evaluation framework is a significant challenge due to limited data availability and analytical constraints of isolating the effect of any single program. The administration planned to focus on addressing some of these challenges so it can work toward crosscutting analyses that examine tax expenditures alongside related spending programs. However, OMB and Treasury have not reported on progress on this recommendation since the President's fiscal year 2012 budget.
    Recommendation: To ensure that policymakers and the public have the necessary information to make informed decisions and to improve the progress toward exercising greater scrutiny of tax expenditures, the Director of OMB, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, should require that tax expenditures be included in the PART process and any future such budget and performance review processes so that tax expenditures are considered along with related outlay programs in determining the adequacy of federal efforts to achieve national objectives.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2005, the Department of the Treasury responded that this recommendation did not relate to Treasury. OMB made some progress in including tax expenditures along with related outlay programs in the executive branch's budget and performance review processes, as GAO recommended in September 2005, but as of July 2017, OMB had not developed a systematic approach for conducting such reviews. The President's fiscal year 2012 budget stated that the administration would work toward examining the objectives and effects of the wide range of tax expenditures in the budget. The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires OMB and the agencies to identify the relevant tax expenditures that contribute to each crosscutting priority goal. Beginning with its August 2012 update to Circular No. A-11 with guidance for implementing GPRAMA and continuing in subsequent annual updates, OMB has directed agencies to identify tax expenditures that contribute to each of their agency priority goals. Beginning with the July 2013 update, OMB expanded its guidance to include identifying these contributions to agency strategic objectives. In both its July 2013 and July 2014 guidance, OMB stated that it planned to work with the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and agencies to facilitate alignment of tax expenditure information with agency priority goals and strategic objectives. However, in its June 2015 update of this guidance, OMB removed the language about working with Treasury and agencies to align tax expenditures with agency goals. OMB staff told GAO in July 2017 that it was not an effort they were pursuing due to competing priorities, as well as capacity and resource constraints. OMB's July 2017 guidance still requires agencies to identify tax expenditures that contribute to their agency priority goals and strategic objectives.