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Open Recommendations

The Nation's Fiscal Health: Effective Use of Fiscal Rules and Targets

GAO-20-561
Sep 23, 2020
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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Congress Congress should consider establishing a long-term fiscal plan that includes fiscal rules and targets, such as a debt-to-GDP target. In doing so, Congress should weigh the key considerations discussed in this report to help ensure proper design, implementation, and enforcement of those rules and targets. (Matter for Consideration 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Civilian Personnel: Additional Guidance and Consistent Data Reporting Could Help Improve the Marine Corps' Budget Management

GAO-20-148
Oct 16, 2019
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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of the Navy The Secretary of the Navy should ensure that the Commandant of the Marine Corps updates the Marine Corps' civilian personnel budget formulation and execution policies to include guidance for the major subordinate commands to manage civilian personnel to FTEs. (Recommendation 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of the Navy The Secretary of the Navy should ensure that the Commandant of the Marine Corps identifies and reconciles any differences between the Marine Corps' internal civilian personnel data and the civilian personnel data the Department of the Navy uses to support its annual budget request. (Recommendation 2)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Data Act: OMB Needs to Formalize Data Governance for Reporting Federal Spending

GAO-19-284
Mar 22, 2019
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2 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Management and Budget
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Director of OMB should clarify and document OMB's procedure for changing official data definition standards for DATA Act reporting, for example, by explicitly describing how change procedures developed for other government-wide initiatives apply to DATA Act definition standards in a public source of guidance or information. (Recommendation 1)
Open
OMB has taken steps to restructure the federal data ecosystem, including issuing government-wide guidance covering all federal data and creating a Business Standards Council. However, given the complexity of recent changes, OMB needs to explicitly and publicly describe how those changes-developed in the context of other government-wide initiatives-apply to DATA Act data element definitions.
Office of Management and Budget The Director of OMB should ensure that the June 2018 policy changes regarding DATA Act data definition standards are clearly identified and explained in the official repository or another authoritative public source of DATA Act standards and guidance, such as by including a revision history along with the current version of the definitions. (Recommendation 2)
Open
In January 2020, OMB staff cited its Federal Spending Transparency Data Standards website and specifically notations on that site regarding the dates of revisions made to those standards as being responsive to this recommendation. However, the specific notations cited by OMB only show changes made back in 2015 and do not reflect nor explain some of the more recent revisions that led to GAO making this recommendation.

Defense Budget: Actions Needed to Improve the Management of Foreign Currency Funds

GAO-18-221
Apr 03, 2018
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3 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in coordination with the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, conduct a review of the foreign currency rates used at disbursement to determine whether cost-saving opportunities exist by more consistently selecting cost-effective rates at disbursement. (Recommendation 1)
Open
The Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with this recommendation. As of August 2019, DOD had planned actions to update Volume 6A, Chapter 7 of the Financial Management Regulation (FMR) with guidance on rates for disbursement to ensure all components are utilizing the most cost-effective rates while balancing mission requirements and time required to process transactions. DOD estimates that the FMR revision will be completed by October 31, 2020. Until the revision to the FMR is completed, DOD risks paying more to disburse funds for overseas expenditures than would otherwise be required.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) analyze realized and projected losses to determine the necessary size of the FCFD account balance and use the results of this analysis as the basis for transfers of unobligated balances to the account. (Recommendation 2)
Open
The Department of Defense (DOD) partially concurred with this recommendation. However, as of August 2019, DOD had not planned any actions intended to implement this recommendation. According to DOD, projecting foreign currency gains or losses to determine the necessary size of the Foreign Currency Fluctuations, Defense (FCFD) account balance would only be possible if foreign currency rates do not fluctuate. DOD states that if projected gains or losses are used to determine the necessary size of the FCFD account when foreign currency rates are volatile, it would expose the department to additional risk. In our report, we acknowledged the inherent challenge in projecting foreign currency gains or losses. However, we also noted that DOD already projects foreign currency gains or losses as the basis for transfers out of the FCFD account but does not use the same analysis to inform its transfers into the account. Further, DOD has the flexibility to make multiple transfers of funds to the FCFD account in a fiscal year in response to any unforeseen foreign currency fluctuations. Without an analysis of projected losses to determine the necessary size of the account balance, DOD may be maintaining the account at a higher balance than is necessary and losing opportunities to more efficiently use funds.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Secretary of the Army develop a plan with timelines for implementing changes to its General Fund Enterprise Business System to accurately record its disbursements, consistent with DOD <i>Financial Management Regulation</i> guidance. (Recommendation 4)
Open
The Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with this recommendation. As of August 2019, DOD had planned actions intended to address the recommendation. Specifically, the Secretary of the Army intended to develop a Systems Change Request for how disbursements are recorded in the General Fund Enterprise Business System to be consistent with DOD's Financial Management Regulation. DOD estimates that the system changes will be complete by the second quarter of FY 2020. Until DOD completes its planned actions to address this recommendation, the Army and DOD will continue to lack accurate information for tracking and helping to manage foreign currency gains and losses.
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