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 December 7, 2021, there are 4653 open recommendations, of which 482 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.

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Disaster Assistance: Additional Actions Needed to Strengthen FEMA's Individuals and Households Program

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The FEMA Administrator should identify and implement strategies to provide additional information to applicants about how FEMA determined their eligibility for assistance and the amount of assistance to award. (Recommendation 4)
Open

In August 2021, FEMA officials provided an update stating that FEMA's Correspondence Revision Workgroup reviewed its eligibility notification letters and found that due to software limitations, FEMA is unable to include the damages verified during the inspection, or FEMA's factors in its award decisions. However, FEMA officials stated that FEMA will continue to further conduct a review of the letters and plans to implement any revisions by April 2022.

COVID-19: Federal Efforts Could Be Strengthened by Timely and Concerted Actions

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency—who heads one of the agencies leading the COVID-19 response through the Unified Coordination Group—consistent with their roles and responsibilities, should work with relevant federal, state, territorial, and tribal stakeholders to devise interim solutions, such as systems and guidance and dissemination of best practices, to help states enhance their ability to track the status of supply requests and plan for supply needs for the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic response. (Recommendation 4)
Open

In September 2020, DHS disagreed with this recommendation, noting, among other things, work that FEMA had already done to manage the medical supply chain and increase supply availability. Although DHS disagreed with our recommendation, it began taking some actions in March 2021. As of May 2021, DHS had not demonstrated action to devise interim solutions that would systematically help states, tribes, and territories effectively track, manage, and plan for supplies to carry out the COVID-19 pandemic response in the absence of state-level end-to-end logistics capabilities that would track

FEMA Disaster Workforce: Actions Needed to Address Deployment and Staff Development Challenges

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2 Open Recommendations
2 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The FEMA Administrator should develop a plan—with time frames and milestones and input from field leadership—to address identified challenges that have hindered FEMA's ability to provide reliable and complete information to field leaders and managers about staff knowledge, skills, and abilities. (Recommendation 1)
Open

DHS concurred with our recommendation. In its February 2021 update, FEMA stated that it has taken steps to enhance the FEMA Qualification System's coach-and-evaluator program to provide more oversight of the program and help ensure greater reliability for personnel who receive qualification status. For example, FEMA stated that it has implemented assessments that cadres can use to help ensure that coach-and-evaluators are effectively coaching disaster staff. FEMA also stated that it plans to facilitate virtual coach-and-evaluator deployments to maximize pairing opportunities and increase

Federal Emergency Management Agency
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The FEMA Administrator should develop mechanisms, including collecting relevant data, to assess how effectively FEMA's disaster workforce was deployed to meet mission needs in the field. (Recommendation 2)
Open

DHS concurred with our recommendation. In its February 2021 update, FEMA officials stated that the agency is making progress toward meeting the force structure targets it established in 2019 and has a process in place to modify the targets for certain cadres on an annual basis if needed. According to these officials, such modifications will be based in part on feedback they receive via continuous coordination with the field on how deployments are meeting mission needs. FEMA officials noted that this will help cadres improve staffing models to better reflect how many personnel are needed to

Federal Disaster Assistance: Improved Criteria Needed to Assess a Jurisdiction's Capability to Respond and Recover on Its Own

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the process for disaster declarations, the FEMA Administrator should develop and implement a methodology that provides a more comprehensive assessment of a jurisdiction's capability to respond to and recover from a disaster without federal assistance. This should include one or more measures of a jurisdiction's fiscal capacity, such as TTR, and consideration of the jurisdiction's response and recovery capabilities. If FEMA continues to use the PA per capita indicator to assist in identifying a jurisdiction's capabilities to respond to and recover from a disaster, it should adjust the indicator to accurately reflect the annual changes in the U.S. economy since 1986, when the current indicator was first adopted for use. In addition, implementing the adjustment by raising the indicator in steps over several years would give jurisdictions more time to plan for and adjust to the change.
Open

On October 5, 2018, the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 (DRRA), was signed into law. DRRA (section 1239) directs the FEMA Administrator to initiate a rulemaking to update the factors considered when evaluating a request for a Major Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance, specifically the estimated cost of assistance (i.e. the per capita indicator). In response, FEMA initiated a rulemaking in December 2020 proposing to increase the per capita indicator to account for increases in inflation from 1986 to 1999, and to adjust the individual states' indicators by their total taxable

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