Recommendations Database

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 May 17, 2021, there are 4820 open recommendations, of which 378 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.

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1 - 20 of 45 Recommendations
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F-35 Aircraft Sustainment: DOD Needs to Address Substantial Supply Chain Challenges

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, together with the F-35 Program Executive Officer, the Secretaries of the Air Force and Navy, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps, clearly defines the strategy by which DOD will manage the F-35 supply chain in the future and update key strategy documents accordingly, to include any additional actions and investments necessary to support that strategy. (Recommendation 8)
Open

DOD concurred with this recommendation. As of February 2021, documentation provided by DOD stated that has begun a Business Case Analysis (BCA) of its Product Support Strategy-that is, its strategy to support and sustain the F-35 aircraft. According to DOD, this BCA will examine the full Product Support Strategy and provide evaluation and recommendations for each alternative, to include quantitative assessment, qualitative assessment, and risk analysis. Following the BCA, DOD said that the F-35 Product Support Manager will re-assess the existing Product Support Strategy in 24 months based on

Defense Strategy: Revised Analytic Approach Needed to Support Force Structure Decision-Making

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3 Open Recommendations
3 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (OUSD (Policy)), the Joint Staff, and the Office of the Director, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation—in consultation with the services—determine the analytic products needed and the level of detail that is sufficient to serve as a common starting point but flexible to allow for variation of analysis to support senior leader decisions, and update these products to reflect current strategy and intelligence estimates, as well as the anticipated operational approaches needed to address future threats. (Recommendation 1)
Open

DOD concurred with this recommendation and has taken some steps to address it. Specifically, in April 2019, the Secretary of Defense issued the FY 2021-2025 Defense Planning Guidance (DPG), which identified analytic products that would serve as the department's starting point for analysis in fiscal years 2021-2025. DOD has also begun developing some of these analytic products, including several defense planning scenarios that it developed in December 2018 to reflect some of the threats outlined in the National Defense Strategy. To fully implement this recommendation, DOD will need to develop

Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Defense should ensure that OUSD (Policy) provide specific guidance requiring the services to explore a range of innovative force structure approaches relevant to the key threats identified in the National Defense Strategy, including identifying key assumptions on which the services must conduct sensitivity analyses. (Recommendation 2)
Open

DOD concurred with this recommendation and has taken some steps to address it. Specifically, in April 2019, DOD issued the FY 2021-2025 Defense Planning Guidance (DPG), which directed some actions relevant to our recommendation regarding the need to explore a range of innovative force structure approaches. However, it did not directly address the need to require the services to conduct sensitivity analysis on key assumptions. The defense planning scenarios that DOD developed in December 2018 identify critical parameters for analytical exploration and encourage DOD components to conduct

Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Defense should establish an approach for comparing competing analyses and conducting joint analyses for force structure to support senior leaders as they seek to implement the National Defense Strategy. This could include establishing a separate body with these capabilities and/or specifying the organizational responsibilities and processes for conducting these comparisons and analyses. (Recommendation 3)
Open

DOD concurred with this recommendation and has taken some steps to address it. Specifically, in May 2019, DOD issued the FY 2021-2025 Defense Planning Guidance (DPG), which could lay the groundwork for DOD to compare competing analyses and conduct joint force structure analyses. To fully implement this recommendation, DOD needs to establish an approach for doing so, which could include establishing a body or process for conducting comparisons or joint analyses. In March 2021, DOD officials noted that, due to the recent political transition, some of the forums established by the prior

Cybersecurity Workforce: Agencies Need to Accurately Categorize Positions to Effectively Identify Critical Staffing Needs

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
To complete the appropriate assignment of codes to their positions performing IT, cybersecurity, or cyber-related functions, in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act of 2015, the Secretary of Defense should take steps to review the assignment of the "000" code to any positions in the department in the 2210 IT management occupational series, assign the appropriate NICE framework work role codes, and assess the accuracy of position descriptions. (Recommendation 4)
Open

The Department of Defense concurred with the recommendation. In September 2020, DOD stated that it had taken steps to decrease the number of positions that were assigned inappropriate codes and were continuing to monitor and track coding with the aim of addressing the recommendation by September 2022. As of March 2021, it had not yet provided sufficient evidence that it had implemented the recommendation. To fully implement this recommendation, DOD will need to provide evidence that it has assigned appropriate National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education framework work role codes to its

DOD Training: U.S. Cyber Command and Services Should Take Actions to Maintain a Trained Cyber Mission Force

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4 Open Recommendations
4 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of the Air Force should ensure that Air Forces Cyber coordinate with CYBERCOM to develop a plan that comprehensively assesses and identifies specific CMF training requirements for phases two (foundational), three (collective), and four (sustainment), in order to maintain the appropriate sizing and deployment of personnel across the Air Force's CMF teams. (Recommendation 5)
Open

DOD agreed with our recommendation. According to a DOD status report on implementing the recommendations for GAO-19-362 that was provided to us in February 2021, the Air Force's timeline to develop a training plan is contingent upon the completion of U.S. Cyber Command releasing a Master Task List. The Air Force anticipates that it will take until 2022 to develop training plans for its phase 2, 3, and 4 training requirements.

Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Commandant of the Marine Corps should ensure that Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace coordinate with CYBERCOM to develop a plan that comprehensively assesses and identifies specific CMF training requirements for phases two (foundational), three (collective), and four (sustainment), in order to maintain the appropriate sizing and deployment of personnel across the Marine Corps' CMF teams. (Recommendation 6)
Open

DOD agreed with our recommendation. According to a DOD status report on implementing the recommendations for GAO-19-362 that was provided to us in February 2021, the Marine Corps's phase 2 foundational training is reliant upon National Security Agency. The Marine Corps is unable to deliver this training outside of National Security Agency accesses and processes, they believe a Marine Corps solution will be in place in 2021. Additionally, the Marine Corps plans to accomplish phase 3 (collective) and phase 4 (sustainment) training via the Persistent Cyber Training Environment beginning in 2021.

Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of the Army should ensure that Army Cyber Command coordinate with CYBERCOM to develop a plan that comprehensively assesses and identifies specific CMF training requirements for phases two (foundational), three (collective), and four (sustainment), in order to maintain the appropriate sizing and deployment of personnel across the Army's CMF teams. (Recommendation 3)
Open

DOD agreed with the recommendation. According to a DOD status report on implementing the recommendations for GAO-19-362 that was provided to us in February 2021, the Army's implementation of this recommendation is dependent upon U.S. Cyber Command establishing master training task lists which drive the training. In December 2020, Army Cyber command indicated that it would likely take until October 2021 to complete these tasks.

Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of the Navy should ensure that Fleet Cyber Command coordinate with CYBERCOM to develop a plan that comprehensively assesses and identifies specific CMF training requirements for phases three (collective) and four (sustainment) in order to maintain the appropriate sizing and deployment of personnel across the Navy's CMF teams. (Recommendation 4)
Open

DOD agreed with the recommendation. According to a DOD status report on implementing the recommendations for GAO-19-362 that was provided to us in February 2021, the Navy's timeline to identify the specific training requirements for Cyber Mission Force training is dependent upon U.S. Cyber Command releasing a Master Task List. Navy anticipates completing its training requirmeent development by October 31, 2021.

Defense Management: DOD Needs to Implement Statutory Requirements and Identify Resources for Its Cross-Functional Reform Teams

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Chief Management Officer establishes a process for identifying and prioritizing available funding to develop and implement initiatives from the cross-functional reform teams. (Recommendation 1)
Open

Officials from the Office of the Chief Management Officer (OCMO) told us that OCMO had developed a Defense Enterprise Reform Management Framework in collaboration with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation. According to those officials, this process established a simple, standard, repeatable process for identifying and prioritizing the Departments' business reform initiatives, and required stakeholder buy-in throughout the initiatives' life-cycle. However, as of February 2021, we are awaiting specific documentation

Defense Real Property: DOD Needs to Take Additional Actions to Improve Management of Its Inventory Data

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3 Open Recommendations
3 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, in collaboration with the military services, develops a strategy that identifies and addresses risks to data quality and information accessibility. At a minimum, this strategy should establish time frames and performance metrics for addressing risks related to (1) unfilled real property positions, (2) a lack of a department-wide approach to improving its data, and (3) implementation of OSD's expanded data platform. (Recommendation 6)
Open

DOD partially concurred with this recommendation and stated that it plans to collaborate with the military services on separate service strategies that reflect each military service's operating environment. As of July 2020, DOD officials told us they plan to stabilize their Data Analytics Integration Support (DAIS) platform to improve data inventory by ensuring successful network connectivity for all military service users. DOD will update policy guidance to formalize the use of the DAIS platform for inventory submission by the military services. DOD also will develop and formalize in policy

Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, in collaboration with the military services, defines and documents which data elements within the RPAD submissions are most significant for decision-making. (Recommendation 4)
Open

DOD concurred with this recommendation to define and document which data elements within its Real Property Assets Database (RPAD) submissions are most significant for decision-making. As of July 2020, DOD officials told us they will conduct a review of all data elements in its Real Property Assets Database, including compiling list of all data elements actively being used by data consumers. DOD also plans to divide required data elements into blocks to begin strenuous monitoring for accuracy. DOD's estimated completion date for these actions is September 2023. As of March 2021, DOD officials

Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, in collaboration with the military services, coordinates on corrective action plans to remediate discrepancies in significant data elements in its real property data system that are identified by OSD's verification and validation tool. (Recommendation 5)
Open

DOD concurred with this recommendation to coordinate on corrective action plans to remediate discrepancies in significant data elements in its real property data system that are identified by OSD's verification and validation tool. As of July 2020, DOD officials told us they plan to establish a senior leader Functional Governance Board to monitor accuracy compliance. DOD also plans to establish quarterly progress reports to be posted on the Data Analytics Integration Support (DAIS) application for constant monitoring by all users. DOD's estimated completion date for these actions is September

Defense Health Care: DOD Should Demonstrate How Its Plan to Transfer the Administration of Military Treatment Facilities Will Improve Efficiency

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3 Open Recommendations
3 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, in coordination with Director of the DHA and the Surgeons General of the military departments, define and analyze the 16 operational readiness and installation-specific medical functions currently excluded from transfer to the DHA to determine whether opportunities exist to reduce or better manage duplicative functions and improve efficiencies in the administration of the MTFs. (Recommendation 1)
Open

DOD concurred with this recommendation. According to responses provided by DOD officials in December 2019, the department provided guidance on the division of the 16 operational readiness and installation-specific medical functions in a March 2019 memorandum from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. However, further detail is needed regarding what analysis DOD completed to assess the 16 functions for duplication. In responses provided by DOD in March 2021, officials stated that the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Defense Health Agency

Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, in coordination with DHA Assistant Director for Health Care Administration and the Secretaries of the military departments, validate headquarters-level personnel requirements to determine that they are established at the minimum levels necessary--per DOD guidance--to accomplish missions and achieve objectives before transferring authority, direction, and control of the MTFs to the DHA for the third phase. (Recommendation 2)
Open

DOD concurred with this recommendation. In December 2019, DOD officials stated that DOD conducted a review of the DHA personnel requirements and that the military departments also conducted reviews. DOD officials also stated that DOD will continue to evaluate the mix of contractors, military, and civilian employees during and after the transition. However, the review of DHA personnel requirements DOD officials referenced in their December 2019 responses, as GAO previously reported in GAO-19-53, did not validate personnel requirements. Further information is needed regarding what steps DOD is

Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, in coordination with DHA Assistant Director for Health Care Administration and the Secretaries of the military departments, conduct a comprehensive review to identify the least costly mix--per DOD guidance--of military, civilian, and contractors needed to meet validated requirements--that is, to perform the functions identified at the DHA headquarters and intermediate management organizations and at the military departments' headquarters and intermediate commands. Additionally, this comprehensive review should be completed before transferring authority, direction, and control of the MTFs to the DHA for the third phase. (Recommendation 3)
Open

DOD concurred with this recommendation. In December 2019, DOD officials stated that through the review of the budget development process, DOD transferred 1,900 personnel to the military departments for the management of their respective readiness missions. Further, DOD officials mentioned a 2018 report concerning a review of DHA personnel requirements. As reported in GAO-19-53, the report on DHA personnel requirements was specific to DHA and did not include information regarding the military departments' headquarters and intermediate commands. Further information is needed to determine whether

Defense Management: DOD Needs to Address Inefficiencies and Implement Reform across Its Defense Agencies and DOD Field Activities

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the CMO routinely and comprehensively monitors and evaluates ongoing efficiency initiatives within the department, including those related to the reform teams. This monitoring should include establishing baselines from which to measure progress, periodically reviewing progress made, and evaluating results. (Recommendation 5)
Open

DOD concurred with this recommendation. In April 2019, DOD submitted to Congress its initial plan for business operations reform. It included an initial plan, schedule, and cost estimate for conducting these reforms. The plan states that a reform initiative framework was implemented to track and report progress of initiatives, and that financial savings will be monitored by a validation process. In December 2019, DOD issued a follow-up report providing additional baseline estimates related to the four areas. DOD officials stated that a reform initiative framework has been implemented to track

Foreign Military Sales: Financial Oversight of the Use of Overhead Funds Needs Strengthening

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2 Open Recommendations
2 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Director of DSCA takes steps to work with DFAS and other DOD components, as appropriate, to improve the reliability of the data that DSCA obtains on all DOD components' use of CAS funds, including actual execution data, at an appropriate level of detail, such as by object class. (Recommendation 9)
Open

In February and May 2019, DSCA informed us that it had taken some steps to implement this recommendation, including establishing an automatic interface with certain DOD components' accounting systems to provide DSCA with daily information and data on those components' actual spending of FMS CAS funds. DSCA noted that it is working toward establishing automatic interfaces for the other components that receive these funds. In October 2019, DSCA informed us that implementation is ongoing. As of February 2021, we continue to monitor DOD's ongoing actions to implement this recommendation.

Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Director of DSCA takes steps to work with Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS)--DSCA's financial service provider--and other DOD components, as appropriate, to improve the reliability of the data the DSCA obtains on all DOD components' use of FMS administrative funds, including actual execution data, at an appropriate level of detail, such as by object class. (Recommendation 1)
Open

In February and May 2019, DSCA informed us that it had taken some steps to implement this recommendation, including establishing an automatic interface with certain DOD components' accounting systems to provide DSCA with daily information and data on those components' actual spending of FMS administrative funds. DSCA noted that it is working toward establishing automatic interfaces for the other components that receive these funds. In October 2019, DSCA informed us that implementation is ongoing. As of February 2021, we continue to monitor DOD's ongoing actions to implement this recommendation

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: Development Is Nearly Complete, but Deficiencies Found in Testing Need to Be Resolved [Reissued with Revisions Jun. 13, 2018]

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Defense
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 program office to identify what steps are needed to ensure the F-35 meets reliability and maintainability requirements before each variant reaches maturity and update the Reliability and Maintainability Improvement Program with these steps. (Recommendation 2)
Open

DOD concurred with our recommendation. According to a DOD official, as of March 2021, the F-35 program office is in the process of revising its plan for improving the F-35's reliability and maintainability (R&M) performance, but has not revised R&M requirements, which the program office considers to be unachievable. Specifically, the program (1) updated the F-35 Life-Cycle Sustainment Plan (LCSP) to identify the program's R&M performance goals; (2) revised the Reliability and Maintainability Improvement Plan (RMIP) to more clearly, identify how R&M improvements projects will drive increased F

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