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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1 - 7 of 7 Recommendations
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COVID-19: Sustained Federal Action Is Crucial as Pandemic Enters Its Second Year

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Office of the Secretary
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Education should regularly collect and publicly report information on school districts' financial commitments (obligations), as well as outlays (expenditures) in order to more completely reflect the status of their use of federal COVID-19 relief funds. For example, Education could modify its annual report on state and school district spending data to include obligations data in subsequent reporting cycles. See K-12 Education enclosure. (Recommendation 27)
Open

The Department of Education (Education) agreed with GAO's recommendation and has taken a number of steps to collaboratively work with states to develop reporting processes that provide greater clarity on state and school district spending. Most recently, Education officials told us that they revised the school district-level data collection instruments for COVID-19 relief funds and submitted them for public comment. Further, Education officials said they conducted focus groups and cognitive interviews to collect feedback on the proposed revisions. Education officials told us they are targeting

National Biodefense Strategy: Additional Efforts Would Enhance Likelihood of Effective Implementation

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4 Open Recommendations
4 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Office of the Secretary
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of HHS should direct the Biodefense Coordination Team to establish a plan that includes change management practices—such as strategies for feedback, communication, and education—to reinforce collaborative behaviors and enterprise-wide approaches and to help prevent early implementation challenges from becoming institutionalized. (Recommendation 1)
Open

HHS agreed with our recommendation and, in April 2021, described actions it has taken to implement it, but did not provide supporting documentation that would allow GAO to assess the extent to which these actions respond to the report findings and meet the intent of the recommendation. To fully implement the recommendation, HHS will need to provide evidence of the communication strategy and plan it created and that evidence will need to demonstrate that the actions respond effectively to the change-management related report findings. HHS will also need to provide evidence of the feedback

Office of the Secretary
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of HHS should direct the Biodefense Coordination Team to clearly document guidance and methods for analyzing the data collected from the agencies, including ensuring that nonfederal resources and capabilities are accounted for in the analysis. (Recommendation 2)
Open

HHS agreed with our recommendation and, in April 2021, described actions it has taken to implement it, but did not provide supporting documentation that would allow GAO to assess the extent to which these actions respond to the report findings and meet the intent of the recommendation. For example, HHS described that standard operating procedures are in development to further codify the annual assessment process. To fully implement this recommendation, HHS will need to provide evidence of these standard operating procedures-and the procedures must outline how the Biodefense Coordination Team

Office of the Secretary
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of HHS should direct the Biodefense Coordination Team to establish a resource plan to staff, support, and sustain its ongoing efforts. (Recommendation 3)
Open

HHS agreed with our recommendation and, in April 2021, described actions it has taken to implement it, but did not provide supporting documentation that would allow GAO to assess the extent to which these actions respond to the report findings and meet the intent of the recommendation. For example, HHS submitted a budget request for $5 million to support implementation of the National Biodefense Strategy. To fully implement this recommendation, HHS will need to provide a detailed plan on how such budget requests will be used to staff, support, and sustain ongoing implementation efforts. This

Office of the Secretary
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of HHS should direct the Biodefense Coordination Team to clearly document agreed upon processes, roles, and responsibilities for making and enforcing enterprise-wide decisions. (Recommendation 4)
Open

HHS agreed with our recommendation and, in April 2021, described actions it has taken to implement it, but did not provide supporting documentation that would allow GAO to assess the extent to which these actions respond to the report findings and meet the intent of the recommendation. To fully implement this recommendation, HHS will need to provide supporting evidence of the governance documents, including charters and processes developed for enterprise-wide decisions that address the deficiencies identified in our report.

Information Technology: DHS Directives Have Strengthened Federal Cybersecurity, but Improvements Are Needed

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Office of the Secretary
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Homeland Security should develop a schedule and plan for completing the high value asset program reassessment and addressing the outstanding issues on completing the required high value asset assessments, identifying needed resources, and finalizing guidance for Tier 2 and 3 HVA systems. (Recommendation 4)
Open

DHS concurred with this recommendation. In December 2020, DHS stated that although CISA was not on track to complete the required Tier 1 HVA assessments in fiscal year 2021, it was working on addressing the assessment constraints. Specifically, it noted that CISA had increased staffing levels, which will support at a minimum 80 HVA assessments annually and was working on developing process improvements to streamline the HVA assessment process. It added that these improvements and staffing increases would allow CISA to meet the requirement of assessing 100% of the HVA Tier 1 inventory over the

VA Acquisition Management: Steps Needed to Ensure Healthcare Federal Supply Schedules Remain Useful

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Office of the Secretary
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs should take steps to assess duplication between VA's FSS and MSPV programs, to determine if this duplication is necessary or if efficiencies can be gained. (Recommendation 11)
Open

VA concurred with this recommendation. To implement this recommendation, VA needs to complete its assessment of whether duplication across its VA FSS and MSPV programs is necessary and efficient. In February 2021, VA completed a report on its agency-wide Category Management efforts that it sees as an initial step in this process. In July 2021, VA officials stated that they are in the process of developing a VA-wide report that assesses duplication between VA's FSS and MSPV programs.

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 apqa@gao.gov.