GAO’s latest assessment of government programs at high risk of waste and mismanagement found enough progress in two areas to merit dropping them, while one was added and most of the rest were largely unchanged.
The two dropped were supply change management at DoD and gaps in satellite data needed for weather forecasting. DoD “took steps to improve the visibility of physical inventories, receipt processing, cargo tracking, and unit moves” and NOAA “made significant strides in mitigating potential gaps in satellite data,” it said.
However, GAO added acquisition management at the VA to the list after it identified seven contracting challenges for VA, “which has one of the most significant acquisition functions in the federal government, both in obligations and the number of contract actions.” Since the last update in 2017, GAO last year also had added the federal government’s personnel security clearance process due to growing concerns about security clearance backlogs and other problems.
The new report identifies nine areas from the list of nearly three dozen as needing special attention: cybersecurity, the federal role in housing finance, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s insurance programs, VA health care, mission critical skills gaps in 16 areas, the 2020 census, areas relating to health care and tax law enforcement that involve billions of dollars in improper payments each year, management of IT acquisitions and operations, and the yawning tax gap.
GAO says that financial benefits to the government due to progress in addressing high-risk areas during the past 13 years totaled almost $350 billion, nearly $47 billion in fiscal 2018 alone.