Presidential and Congressional Transition

  • The Management Agenda provides high-level information for new leaders about the critical management challenges facing the federal government and lays out the actions needed to address those challenges.

  • GAO’s Management Agenda

    Chris Mihm, Managing Director, Strategic Issues, describes how the management agenda can help policy makers and other leaders address existing problems and ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of new policies going forward.

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  • Manage Finances to Improve the Nation’s Fiscal Condition

    The incoming Administration and Congress face major challenges to improve the nation’s fiscal condition. These challenges include reducing the gap between revenue and spending, addressing a multibillion-dollar tax gap, reducing billions of dollars in improper payments, and improving the reliability of financial information.

  • Manage Acquisitions to Maximize Cost Savings and Performance

    In recent years, the federal government has spent approximately $440 billion annually to acquire goods and services. To maximize cost savings and performance, Congress and the incoming Administration need to address issues involving major systems acquisitions; the protection of critical technologies and supply chains; federal contracting, and services acquisitions.

  • Develop and Manage Information Technology to Meet the Government's Needs

    Advances in information technology (IT) change the way agencies do business. Managing this technological change government-wide poses a number of challenges for the incoming Congress and Administration, specifically in acquiring and operating these systems.

  • Strengthen Cybersecurity Over Sensitive Data and Protect Critical Infrastructure Systems

    Federal agencies and our nation’s critical infrastructures depend on computerized (cyber) information systems and electronic data to carry out operations and to process, maintain, and report essential information. The security of these systems and data is vital to public confidence and the nation’s safety, prosperity, and well-being.

  • Strengthen Human Capital Capabilities to Enhance Performance

    Strategic federal human capital management is fundamental to maximizing the government’s performance and assuring its accountability to the nation as a whole. Challenges for Congress and the incoming administration include addressing mission critical skills gaps, recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce, aligning human capital strategies across government, and changing agency cultures.

  • Collaborate to Achieve National Outcomes

    The incoming Administration and Congress face challenges that involve multiple agencies, specifically: inefficient government operations, insufficient collaboration across agencies, and mismanaged federal grants. Strategies to improve how agencies work together can also help them address these challenges.

  • Improve Federal Performance to Better Achieve Results

    Given the increase in public demands for a more effective and accountable federal government, it is critical that Congress and the incoming administration collect and use evidence to drive improvements and better achieve results. Agencies should use data for decision making, enhance regulatory processes, build evaluation capacity, and improve the visibility of agency-wide risks.

  • Promote Transparency and Open Government to Enhance Civic Engagement and Foster Innovation

    To foster transparency, improve oversight, and enhance public participation in decision-making, Congress and the new administration are challenged to ensure government and public access to reliable and complete federal financial and performance information. Attention to these initiatives can help agencies gather more data, make data more accessible, be more responsive to the public, and involve the public in accomplishing social goals.

  • Implement the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act)

    Challenge: Effective Implementation As Critical Deadlines Approach

    The transition to a new administration presents risks to the effective implementation of the DATA Act due to turnover of key officials in coming months when critical steps are required to meet the May 2017 statutory deadline for agencies to submit financial information.

    Government-wide data standards for financial reporting are essential to fully identify the magnitude of federal spending and enable agencies to share data with each other, Congress, and the public. Full and effective implementation of the DATA Act will allow federal funds to be tracked at multiple points in the federal spending life cycle and significantly increase the types of data reported.

    The DATA Act requires the federal government to set government-wide data standards, identify ways to reduce reporting burdens, and regularly review data quality to help improve the transparency and accountability of federal spending data. If implemented effectively, the act should produce financial information that will likely improve government decision-making, oversight, and transparency.

    Key Actions Needed:

    1. Develop additional guidance on data standards and reporting to help agencies ensure that their data are reliable, accurate, and machine-readable.
    2. Establish and sustain a clear governance structure for protecting the integrity of established data standards over time.
    3. Effectively implement the DATA Act’s Section 5 pilot to identify ways to reduce the burden of recipient reporting.
    4. Create a comprehensive list of federal programs that will enable Congress, agencies, and the public to understand the scope of the federal government’s investment in specific program areas.
  • DATA Act of 2014: Timeline of Key Provisions from 2014 to 2018

    Title: DATA Act of 2014: Timeline of Key Provisions from 2014 to 2018

Image: Timeline.

May 2014:DATA Act enacted
May 2015: Data standards and associated guidance released by OMB and Treasury. OMB launched Section 5 Pilot to reduce recipient reporting burden
Nov. 2016: IGs issue readiness reviews 
No Later than May 2017: Agencies must begin submitting financial and payment information data in accordance with the data standards
August 2017: Report from OMB to Congress is due on the results of the Section 5 Pilot with recommendations on how to reduce the burden of recipient reporting
Nov. 2017: First mandated GAO report due and planned issuance of first IG reports on data quality and use
No later than May 2018: OMB and Treasury must ensure the data standards are applied to data made available on or successor site

Sources: GAO analysis of Pub. L. No. 113-101, 128 Stat. 1146 and December 22, 2015 letter from the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity
and Efficiency to Congressional committees.  |  Modified from GAO-15-241T
  • GAO Contact

    J. Christopher Mihm

    Managing Director, Strategic Issues


  • Improve

    Challenge: Poor Usability and Lack of Planning is intended to serve as a public window to the federal government’s goals and performance in key areas and to enhance senior leadership decision making. However, usability issues with the site have limited its effectiveness. does not include key content as required by the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010, such as an inventory of all federal programs. The federal government needs a strategic plan for the future of, which will allow it to guide decisions regarding resources and actions necessary to improve the website’s value and usability.

    Key Actions Needed:

    1. Include all website content required by the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 and ensure website usability issues are addressed.
    2. Develop a strategic plan to meet website requirements, create a customer outreach plan, and develop a strategy to manage and archive content and data from the website.
  • Home Page

    Title: Home Page

Image: Screen capture of home page.

Source: (image as of 10/12/2016).  |  GAO-16-693
  • GAO Contact

    J. Christopher Mihm

    Managing Director, Strategic Issues


  • Enhance Customer Service

    Challenge: Insufficient Focus on Addressing Customer Needs

    Federal agencies face a long-standing challenge to meet the needs of customers who depend on the government for vital services such as providing medical and insurance benefits to veterans, managing border and airport security, informing and educating visitors within national parks and forests, and in many other roles.

    Agencies often do not set measureable customer service performance goals, measure progress towards meeting those goals, maintain a formal feedback mechanisms to make changes, and do not always make information easily available to the public. As a result, agencies may not be meeting the needs of customers or identifying improvements to address customer concerns.

    Key Actions Needed:

    1. Update agency customer service standards to include performance information required by the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 and executive orders. Standards should be meaningful to customers and measurable.
    2. Implement formal feedback mechanisms to improve customer service.
    3. Develop customer service strategies to define and communicate standards and expectations.
  • Customer Service Cross-Agency Priority Goal Statement

    Title: Customer Service Cross-Agency Priority Goal Statement

Image: Illustrated table with two categories of information.

Selected Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal: Customer Service
Goal Statement: Increase citizen satisfaction and promote positive experiences with the federal government by making it faster and easier for individuals and businesses to complete transactions and receive quality services.

Source:  |  Modified from GAO-16-509
  • GAO Contact

    J. Christopher Mihm

    Managing Director, Strategic Issues


  • Encourage Open Innovation

    Challenge: Engage the Public to Achieve Goals

    Complex challenges facing the federal government highlight the need for agencies to engage and collaborate with all sectors of society. Open innovation involves using various tools and approaches, such as open dialogues, prize competitions, and crowdsourcing and citizen science, to directly engage with citizens, experts, and stakeholders. Agencies can leverage outside expertise and resources to more efficiently and effectively address an issue and achieve goals.

    Key Actions Needed:

    1. Expand the use of open innovation strategies to: collect information and a broader range of perspectives; develop new ideas, products, or solutions; enhance agency capacity; build or expand a community; and increase awareness about an issue.
    2. Apply identified practices when designing and implementing an open innovation initiative.
  • Practices for Effective Implementation of Open Innovation Initiatives

    Title: Practices for Effective Implementation of Open Innovation Initiatives

Image: Table.

1. Select the strategy appropriate for the purpose of engaging the public and the agency's capabilities

2. Clearly define specific goals and performance measures for the initiative

3. Identify and engage external stakeholders and potential partners

4. Develop plans for implementing the initiative and recruiting participants

5. Engage participants and partners while implementing the initiative

6. Collect and assess relevant data and report results

7. Sustain communities of interested partners and participants

Source: GAO analysis.  |
  • GAO Contact

    J. Christopher Mihm

    Managing Director, Strategic Issues