GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed.
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As of April 1, 2020, there are 4994 open recommendations, of which 380 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.
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Recommendation: To help ensure that the contributions of tax expenditures toward the achievement of agency goals are identified and measured, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, should work with agencies to identify which tax expenditures contribute to their agency goals, as appropriate--that is, they should identify which specific tax expenditures contribute to specific strategic objectives and agency priority goals.
Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: As of December 2019, OMB had not begun to work with agencies to identify which tax expenditures contribute to the agencies' specific strategic objectives and agency priority goals, as GAO recommended in 2016. OMB staff told GAO that, although they agreed with the recommendation, it was not an effort they were pursuing due to competing priorities, as well as capacity and resource constraints. Without additional OMB assistance, agencies may continue to have difficulty identifying whether or which of the dozens of tax expenditures-representing an estimated $1.32 trillion in forgone revenues in fiscal year 2019-contribute to their goals.
Recommendation: To further DOD's efforts to identify opportunities for more efficient use of headquarters-related resources, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Chief Management Officer, in coordination with the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretaries of the military departments, and the heads of the defense agencies and DOD field activities, to, once this definition is published in DOD guidance, collect reliable information on the costs associated with functions within headquarters organizations--through revisions to the Inherently Governmental / Commercial Activities Inventory or another method--in order to provide the department with detailed information for use in estimating resources associated with specific headquarters functions, and in making decisions, monitoring performance, and allocating resources.
Agency: Department of Defense Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation. As of October 2019, DOD had made progress on this recommendation by documenting it had aligned manpower and total obligation authority in the Future Years Defense Program to major headquarters activities. Further, it sponsored assessments of data elements and coding relationships among manpower, financial, programming systems among others, and a separate assessment of the accuracy and relevancy of existing IGCA function codes. These assessments were expected to be completed by fiscal year 2019. As of October 2019, the department had not, however, finalized the definition of major headquarters activities in its guidance or provided an updated status on the research efforts on its data elements. When the department formalizes the definition in guidance and takes action in response to its assessment of IGCA inventory data it will be better positioned to accurately assess headquarters functions and estimate related resources.
Recommendation: To improve the consistency, comprehensiveness, and transparency of information provided to Congress and policymakers on the federal investment in export promotion programs, the Secretary of Commerce, as chair of the TPCC, should report in its National Export Strategies on how resources are allocated by agency and aligned with priorities.
Agency: Department of Commerce Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: The Export Enhancement Act [15 U.S.C. Section 4727(c)] states that the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee's (TPCC) strategies should establish a set of priorities for federal export promotion activities and propose a unified federal trade promotion budget that supports the plan. In written comments on GAO's report, the Director of the TPCC Secretariat generally concurred with the recommendation on behalf of the Secretary. Nevertheless, the Director noted the TPCC's limited authority over budget reporting and resource allocations and gave examples of some challenges they faced, including shifts in the political and budgetary landscape and how different Administrations and Congresses have emphasized different priorities over time. In the four years following GAO's 2013 report, the TPCC did not report in its National Export Strategies (NES) on how resources are allocated by agency and aligned with the strategy's priorities. The TPCC did not issue strategies in fiscal years 2014, 2015, or 2017, but did issue one in 2016, however it did not include any budget information. In October 2018, TPCC Secretariat officials told us they were developing a new draft National Export Strategy, which would include budget information, but that any plans for issuance were unknown and would depend on administration priorities. As of January 2020, no new National Export Strategy had been issued. The TPCC Secretariat said that they have collected budget information for trade promotion activities for fiscal years 2019 (actual) and 2020 (requested) from TPCC agencies but that information had not been transmitted to Congress as of January 2020.