GAO has said that agencies “have made significant progress” in addressing many of the 1,300 actions it has identified in annual reports since 2011 to reduce fragmentation, duplication and overlap in federal programs, while adding nearly 100 new recommendations to the to-do list in both new and previously identified areas.
The GAO said that as a rough estimate, actions taken to date—fully addressing 56 percent of those recommendations and partially addressing another 18 percent—have saved about $552 billion over that time, with $35 billion of that attributable to steps taken last year.
In terms of internal government operations, it cited the initiative to consolidate agency data centers as producing savings of $5.7 billion. However, it said tens of millions of dollars in further potential savings remain in that area—plus potentially billions of dollars to be saved by continuing to pursue the “category management” initiative to improve how agencies buy common goods and services as well as potentially eliminate duplicative contracts.
Among the new recommendations are that:
* OMB and GSA “should better manage fragmentation and reduce the risk of overlapping and duplicating efforts in developing information technology guidance for federal agencies by improving coordination between their U.S. Digital Service and 18F programs.”
* “Contracting leaders at federal agencies should use metrics measuring cost reduction or avoidance to improve the performance of their procurement organizations.”
* The Office of National Drug Control Policy “should document its process for identifying duplication, overlap, and fragmentation among drug control grants to better manage fragmented grant efforts, retain organizational knowledge, and demonstrate its internal control system’s effectiveness.”
* “The Departments of the Treasury and Homeland Security could better manage fragmentation among their departments and other agencies with trade enforcement responsibilities and better detect illicit financial and trade activity by taking actions to enhance information sharing.”
* “The Department of Justice should analyze use of force data collection efforts to identify the extent of potential overlap, validate these findings using relevant information, and identify options to better manage any existing overlap.”
* “The Office of Science and Technology Policy could better manage fragmentation in federal efforts to advance high-performance computing by fully incorporating desirable characteristics of a national strategy.”