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As of June 17, 2020, there are 4969 open recommendations, of which 518 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.
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Recommendation: To enhance USAID's financial oversight of implementing partners' spending to implement and support Title II development and emergency projects, the USAID Administrator should take steps to ensure that it collects complete and consistent monitoring data from implementing partners for Title II development and emergency projects on the use of 202(e) funding for cash transfers, food vouchers, and local and regional procurement as well as data on the use of Title II funding for internal transportation, storage, and handling (ITSH) costs, in accordance with established requirements.
Agency: United States Agency for International Development Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: In December 2017, USAID informed us that new Title II development awards would require partners to adhere to a requirement that it added in July 2017 to the Food for Peace development award template, which requires programs to provide quarterly performance reports on actual cash transfers, food vouchers, and local and regional procurement activities. USAID also noted that it had developed a new WFP emergency award template with reporting requirements for monitoring data on cash transfers, food vouchers, and local and regional procurement activities. In February 2018, USAID provided support that it has developed training and standardized oversight staff roles and responsibilities to help ensure that complete and consistent monitoring data is collected for Title II development and emergency projects. However, USAID still needs to provide evidence that it collects complete and consistent monitoring data from implementing partners for Title II projects, in accordance with established requirements. As of January 2020, we continue to monitor USAID's ongoing actions taken in response to this recommendation.
Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of MARAD to study the potential availability of all qualified mariners needed to meet a full and prolonged activation of the reserve sealift fleet. In the study, MARAD should identify potential solutions to address the mariner shortfall if one is still identified.
Agency: Department of Transportation Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: In its written comments, DOT concurred with GAO's recommendation to study the potential availability of all qualified mariners needed to meet a full and prolonged activation of the reserve sealift fleet. DOT stated that MARAD had been reviewing the adequacy of existing plans to recruit mariner volunteers to crew the full reserve fleet. Furthermore, DOT noted that 13,000 mariners were required to crew all the vessels in the fleet for sustained operations. Specifically to address our recommendation, DOT officials first noted in 2016 that a forthcoming National Maritime Strategy would contain the results of their review. DOT released the National Maritime Strategy in March 2020. The Strategy lists, as one of its objectives, "develop an accurate roster of sealift qualified mariners." According to the Strategy, DOT is to have at least considered a timeline for achieving that objective by March 2021. Second, DOT told GAO in December 2016 that it had conducted an exercise in September 2016 to test mariner availability for an initial activation of the full fleet. However, this exercise did not fully address GAO's recommendation, as it did not test for a full and prolonged activation of the fleet. Third, in May 2017, MARAD officials reported that they had established a working group to identify the total number of U.S. citizen mariners in the United States who, among other things, were available to crew the U.S. flag fleet and the surge sealift fleet in times of a national emergency and planned to report to Congress in December 2017. In a September 2017 Maritime Workforce Working Group Report to Congress, which a MARAD official informed us was sent to Congress in January 2018, MARAD estimated that there was a shortage of qualified mariners available to crew a full and prolonged activation of the reserve fleet. However, its estimate did not fully account for all of the potential sources of supply. Fourth, DOT informed GAO in December 2019 that a MARAD report to Congress on "Opportunities and Challenges to Increasing the Number of U.S. Coast Guard Credentialed Mariners," which may address part of GAO's recommendation, is under the review of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Fifth, the Mariner Survey project, which DOT planned to survey all appropriately credentialed U.S. merchant mariners in 2020 (and again in 2022) to determine the number of qualified mariners willing and able to serve on short notice, has not yet been approved by OMB as of December 2019. Despite these efforts, DOT has not implemented GAO's recommendation to study the potential availability of all qualified mariners needed to meet a full and prolonged activation of the reserve sealift fleet, including reaching out to all potentially qualified mariners to verify their qualifications as well as ascertain their availability and willingness to crew the reserve sealift fleet in a full and prolonged activation.