GAO relased its 2014 Annual Report identified 11 new areas of fragmentation, overlap, and duplication in federal programs and activities. GAO also identified 15 new opportunities for cost savings and revenue enhancement. Related work and GAO’s Action Tracker—a tool that tracks progress on GAO’s specific suggestions for improvement.

The social services clearly are under the highest scrutiny as notes:

In the previous three reports, the GAO found that Congress spent:

GAO summarizes their highlights as:

In its 2014 report, GAO presents 64 actions that the executive branch or Congress could take to improve efficiency and effectiveness across 26 areas that span a broad range of government missions and functions.
  • GAO suggests 19 actions to address evidence of fragmentation, overlap, or duplication in 11 new areas across the government missions of defense, health, income security, information technology, and international affairs.
  • GAO also presents 45 opportunities for executive branch agencies or Congress to take actions to reduce the cost of government operations or enhance revenue collections for the Treasury across 15 areas of government.

One blog took a fairly direct, yet appropriate view to this – “Why Have One Government Program When 10 Can Do the Same Thing? GAO Report Reveals Duplicated Efforts, Wasted Money.

Because, as the GAO points out, “the federal government faces an unsustainable fiscal path,” and getting out of its own way is one of the easier means of cutting costs.

They do point out a sort of ray of hope in that :

After taking a grand tour of federal government multiplicity, the GAO recommends 45 actions for cutting costs. Don’t get your hopes too high, though. Of the 380 reforms previously recommended, only 124 have been fully addressed.

I say ray of hope as about 1/3 improvement is actually, possibly sadly, not bad for the largest organization in the world. Beyond 1/3, who can or will use this? This is a fantastic guiding light, but for who? Clearly it is for congress, executive branch politicals, and Program Directors, but will they be interested to act? Does it fit with their agendas and objectives? Who has influence to more than suggest it should be part of such?


Topics we’ll be tracking

But more in our neck of the woods, where we look to help, and how we analyzed, here are some mission take-ways:

  • Renewable Energy programs are VERY fragmented, though not uncommon for organization all trying to get a service or solution piece of a new up and coming and relevant disruption. Specifically, they cite more coordination between USDA and DOE

Area 4: Renewable Energy Initiatives: Federal support for wind and solar energy,
biofuels, and other renewable energy sources, which has been estimated at several
billion dollars per year, is fragmented because 23 agencies implemented hundreds of
renewable energy initiatives in fiscal year 2010—the latest year for which GAO
developed these original data. Further, the DOE and USDA could take additional
actions—to the extent possible within their statutory authority—to help ensure effective
use of financial support from several wind initiatives, which GAO found provided
duplicative support that may not have been needed in all cases for projects to be built

  • In the 2011 reports under General Government, Enterprise Architecture and Data Center Consolidation were high on the list (Page 24):

Area 14: Enterprise architectures: key mechanisms for identifying potential overlap
and duplication. Well-defined and implemented enterprise architectures in federal agencies can lead to consolidation and reuse of shared services and elimination of antiquated and redundant mission operations, which can result in significant cost savings. For example, the Department of the Interior demonstrated that it had used enterprise architecture to modernize agency information technology operations and avoid costs through enterprise software license agreements and hardware procurement consolidation, resulting in financial savings of at least $80 million. In addition, Health and Human Services will achieve savings and cost avoidance of over $150 million between fiscal years 2011 to 2015 by leveraging its enterprise architecture to improve its telecommunications infrastructure.

Area 15: Consolidating federal data centers provides opportunity to improve
government efficiency. Consolidating federal data centers provides an opportunity to improve government efficiency and achieve cost savings of up to $3 billion over 10 years.

For what its worth, for some horn tooting, Xentity staff were providing support to the Interior Enterprise Architecture during the 2003-2005 period where DOI EA focused on the Enterprise license consolidation across all its bureaus to department-wide.

In 2012, GAO also added:

Area 19: Information Technology Investment Management: The Office of Management and Budget and the Departments Defense and Energy need to address potentially duplicative information technology investments to avoid investing in unnecessary systems.

For Geospatial Investment, it cites (Page 196) our general mantra on Geospatial Integrated Services and Capabilities :

Area 11: Geospatial Investments: Better coordination among federal agencies that collect, maintain, and use geospatial information could help reduce duplication of geospatial investments and provide the opportunity for potential savings of millions of dollar

This repeats its report concepts – mind you, at a higher level – on the GAO releases report on FGDC Role and Geospatial Information

Also, there was a trend to improve simplify Federal Contracting

Finally, in talking about Research, they noted

Area 10: Dissemination of Technical Research Reports: Congress should consider whether the fee-based model under which the National Technical Information Service currently operates for disseminating technical information is still viable or appropriate, given that many of the reports overlap with similar information available from the issuing organizations or other sources for free.

There is so much more in this report, the question is, will the powers that be embrace these ideas as part of their program or political agendas and objectives?