GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed.
GAO’s priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention.
We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues.
Below you can search only priority recommendations, or search all recommendations.
Our recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations.
Moreover, when implemented, some of our priority recommendations can save large amounts of money, help Congress make decisions on major issues, and substantially improve or transform major government programs or agencies, among other benefits.
As of February 9, 2020, there are 4958 open recommendations, of which 422 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.
Browse or Search Open Recommendations
Have a Question about a Recommendation?
For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation.
For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or email@example.com.
Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Chief Management Officer (CMO), in its revisions to the draft organizational strategy, address how the department will promote and achieve a collaborative culture, as required under section 911 of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2017. The CMO could accomplish this by incorporating our leading practices on mergers and organizational transformations. (Recommendation 1)
Agency: Department of Defense Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. Based on our review of an October 2018 version of the draft organizational strategy, officials from the Office of the Chief Management Officer (OCMO) revised the strategy to identify potential action steps for the department that align with each of the nine leading practices for mergers and organizational transformations that we have identified in our prior work. For example, consistent with the leading practice for establishing a coherent mission and integrated strategic goals to guide the transformation, OCMO officials revised the draft strategy to propose that the CMO, in coordination with stakeholders, could develop an implementation plan with detailed initiatives for increasing collaboration and information sharing across the department. According to the draft strategy, this plan could include goals and milestones for these initiatives, and the CMO could report periodically on the achievement of the goals. Further, consistent with the leading practice to involve employees to obtain their ideas and gain their ownership for the transformation, OCMO officials proposed that a representative from OCMO could chair an action officer-level governance body to plan and share performance information related to this effort. According to the draft strategy, this governance body would solicit feedback about the related changes, propose changes to new policies and procedures based on the feedback, and manage the implementation and tracking of the established goals. OCMO's revisions appear to meet the intent of our recommendation; however, DOD had not issued the final organizational strategy as of December 2018. To fully implement this recommendation, DOD needs to issue the final organizational strategy with these revisions.
Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the CMO obtain stakeholder input on the development of the organizational strategy from key stakeholders, including the Secretary of Defense, the military departments, the combatant commands, and defense agencies. (Recommendation 2)
Agency: Department of Defense Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. Officials from the Office of the Chief Management Officer (OCMO) stated that the CMO plans to coordinate the review and approval of the draft organizational strategy across components within the department, but as of December 2018 had not done so. To fully implement this recommendation, DOD needs to demonstrate that the department sought and incorporated input, as appropriate, from stakeholders across the department, including the Secretary of Defense, military departments, combatant commands, and defense agencies, prior to the issuance of the final organizational strategy.
Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury, as the chair of CFIUS, and working with member agencies, should coordinate member agencies' efforts to better understand the staffing levels needed to address the current and projected CFIUS workload associated with core committee functions. (Recommendation 1)
Agency: Department of the Treasury Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: In commenting on the report in February 2018, Treasury concurred with the recommendation. In December 2018, Treasury noted that the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 requires each CFIUS member agency to submit detailed spending plans annually for seven years to appropriate congressional committees, including estimated expenditures and staffing levels, and requires annual testimony for seven years from the CFIUS staff chairperson regarding anticipated resource needs. As of November 2019, GAO continues to monitor this recommendation.
Recommendation: To help lessen confusion among the public and policy makers regarding federal data on sexual violence, the Director of OMB should establish a federal interagency forum on sexual violence statistics. The forum should consider the broad range of differences across the data collection efforts to assess which differences enhance or hinder the overall understanding of sexual violence in the United States.
Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: At the time of our report, OMB neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation but stated that it did not believe convening a forum was the most strategic use of resources because agencies were not far enough along with their data collection efforts. We disagree with OMB's assertion because 7 of the 10 data collection efforts have been in place for more than 10 years, and several have been in place for multiple decades. As of December 2019, OMB has not provided information on any new efforts to establish a federal interagency forum on sexual violence statistics.
Recommendation: To more effectively implement SBA's expansion of OIT field staff as required by the SBJA, the Administrator of the SBA should update SBA's plan for additional OIT staff to include funding sources and time frames, as well as possible efficiencies from clearly defining roles and responsibilities and leveraging other entities' export assistance resources.
Agency: Small Business Administration Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: SBA concurred with our recommendations. In response to the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (SBJA) requirement that a total of 30 export finance specialists be hired nationwide by September 2012, SBA noted resource constraints and filled only 19 positions at that time. In 2016, SBA reported progress toward the SBJA requirement despite agency staffing limitations and staffed a total of 21 or 70% of the 30 required export finance specialist (EFS) positions. SBA officials also reported that they had hired staff to replace retirements or other staff departures, but determined that because of finite funding resources it would not be feasible to hire additional OIT staff. They instead took steps to mitigate the shortfall by engaging other field office staff to more proactively market its international trade programs to small businesses. In particular, in 2017, as part a result of the new Administrations' Agency Reform plan, SBA undertook a Field Alignment Project. Specific to OIT, this project was intended to better leverage certain District office field staff such that they would increase outreach efforts to promote exports as required by the SBJA and in response to GAO's recommendations. This was done by assigning district staff new specific output goals intended to increase export promotion activities. In January 2020, OIT reported hiring four additional export finance specialists, bringing the total hired to 25. OIT also reported establishing a strategy for future hires to be assigned to existing Export Assistance Centers, and requesting fiscal year 2021 funding to hire individuals to fill the remaining five positions. While these steps partially mitigate the shortfall and are in the spirit of the SBJA requirement and GAO's recommendations, as of January 2020 SBA has not yet achieved the 30 export finance specialists required by the SBJA.
Recommendation: To develop timely chemical risk information that EPA needs to effectively conduct its mission, the Administrator, EPA, should require the Office of Research and Development to re-evaluate its draft proposed changes to the IRIS assessment process in light of the issues raised in this report and ensure that any revised process periodically assesses the level of resources that should be dedicated to this significant program to meet user needs and maintain a viable IRIS database.
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: As of September 2018, EPA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program officials told GAO that they have drafted and sent for Agency review a "Handbook for Developing IRIS Assessments," intended to guide staff through the sequential stages of the IRIS assessment process. Since January 2017, IRIS Program staff have used project management techniques and software intended to help Program leadership better understand and utilize resources and monitor assessment progress. However, until the IRIS Program provides documentation demonstrating a stable IRIS process that periodically assesses the level of resources that should be dedicated to the program to meet user needs and maintain a viable IRIS database, and finalizes the Handbook, GAO will leave this recommendation open.