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.
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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 December 31, 1969, there are open recommendations, of which are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.
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Recommendation: To improve the reliability of its cost estimates, as NRC revises its cost estimating procedures, the NRC Chairman should ensure that the agency aligns the procedures with relevant cost estimating best practices identified in the GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide and ensure that future cost estimates are prepared in accordance with relevant cost estimating best practices.
Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: In August 2019, NRC staff reported that the Commission had directed them to revise the guidance and resubmit it to the Commission by January 2020. NRC staff said that following Commission review and approval, they will publish the guidance. We will review the cost-benefit guidance when it is released and determine if it responds to this recommendation.
Recommendation: To reduce uncertainty about the expected cost and schedule of the U.S. ITER Project and its potential impact on the U.S. fusion program, once the ITER Organization completes its reassessment of the international project schedule, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Associate Director of the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences to use that schedule, if reliable, to propose a final, stable funding plan for the U.S. ITER Project, approve a performance baseline with finalized cost and schedule estimates, and communicate this information to Congress.
Agency: Department of Energy Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: DOE approved a performance baseline for the first plasma portion of the U.S. ITER Project in January 2017 and communicated that performance baseline to Congress. However, as of December 2019, DOE has not set a performance baseline for the post-first plasma portion of the project. DOE officials told us the Administration was reviewing U.S. participation in ITER. They said that if, at the end of the review, the Administration decided to continue U.S. participation in ITER, then DOE would set a performance baseline for the post-first plasma portion of the U.S. ITER Project.
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: FMCSA did not agree with our recommendation, disputing the methodology and conclusions in our report. However, we continue to believe that addressing Safety Measurement System (SMS) methodology limitations has merit and could help the agency better target FMCSA's resources to the carriers that pose the highest risk of crashing. For example, we found FMCSA requires a minimum level of information for a carrier to receive an SMS score; however, this requirement is not strong enough to produce sufficiently reliable scores. As a result, FMCSA identified many carriers as high risk that were not later involved in a crash, potentially causing FMCSA to miss opportunities to intervene with higher risk carriers. To fully implement this recommendation, FMCSA should revise SMS methodology to account for data limitations that limit comparisons so that the FMCSA is better positioned to identify and mitigate carriers that pose the greatest safety risks.
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. Regarding GAO's 2013 assessment of the Bureau's schedule (GAO-14-59), Bureau officials stated that they hoped to begin identifying the resources needed for each activity in their schedules by early 2014. Bureau officials announced they had completed the 2020 Census schedule in July 2016, and have since periodically described their intent to link resources to activities within their schedules. However, as of May 2018, the Bureau had not taken these steps. Senior Bureau officials have now stated that it would require additional staffing in order to plan for and implement this recommendation. In July 2018 (GAO-18-589) we reported again on the status of the Bureau's scheduling, stating that when the Bureau has resource loaded its schedule, it will be able to use the schedule more effectively as a management tool. As of March 2019, we are in contact with the Bureau to collect evidence that these actions have been taken. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to conduct quantitative schedule risk analyses with the resulting schedule.