The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its 2014 Annual Report identifying 11 new areas of fragmentation, overlap, and duplication in federal programs and activities. These reports are released primarily to help improve business effectiveness and efficiency. We at Xentity love and admire this, as a company that strives to “build better mousetraps for their clients.” GAO also identified 15 new opportunities for cost savings and revenue enhancement.
In the previous three reports, the GAO found that Congress spent:
- $18 billion on 47 employment and training programs in FY 2009
- $13.3 billion on 45 early learning and child care programs in FY 2010
- $4.5 billion in FY 2012 on 76 drug abuse prevention and treatment programs
The 2014 Report
In its 2014 report, GAO presented 64 actions that the executive branch or Congress could take to improve efficiency and effectiveness. These efforts would help 26 areas that span a broad range of government missions and functions.
- GAO also suggests 19 actions to address evidence of fragmentation, overlap, or duplication in 11 new areas. All of which are 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.” As such, getting out of its own way is one of the easier means of cutting costs.
After taking a grand tour of the federal government multiplicity, the GAO recommended 45 actions for cutting costs. Unfortunately of the 380 reforms previously recommended, only 124 have been fully addressed. And that is not even getting into the kind of topics we will be going over in this report.
Topics We Will Be Tracking
Here are some mission takeaways from our own efforts, regarding the GAO report:
- Renewable Energy programs are VERY fragmented. It is not uncommon for organizations to try and get a service or solution piece of a new disruptive tech. 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 are fragmented. Mainly because 23 agencies have 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 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. Also, the reuse of shared services and elimination of antiquated and redundant mission operations. This, in turn, can result in significant cost savings. For example, the Department of the Interior (DOI) demonstrated that it had used enterprise architecture to modernize information technology operations. Also to avoid costs through enterprise software license agreements and hardware procurement consolidation. This resulted in financial savings of at least $80 million. In addition, Health and Human Services (HHS) 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 it is worth, Xentity staff has provided support to the Interior Enterprise Architecture during the 2003-2005 period. At the time, DOI EA focused on the Enterprise license consolidation across all its bureaus to department-wide. In 2012, GAO also added segments on Information Technology, Geospatial Investments and the Dissemination of Technical Research Reports.
Area 19: Information Technology Investment Management: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Departments of Defense (DOD) and Energy (DOE) 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: A better sense of 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 reported concepts at a higher level on the GAO releases report on FGDC Role and Geospatial Information
Dissemination of Technical Research Reports
Finally, in talking about Research, they noted:
Area 10: Dissemination of Technical Research Reports: Congress should consider whether the fee-based model, under the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) currently operates for disseminating technical information, is still viable or appropriate. Especially, given that many of the reports overlap with similar information available from the issuing organizations or other sources for free.
Want to Know More?
To learn more, check out the link at the top of this post, for the annual report. Also, if you want to learn more about us, and how we strive to find more effective, efficient solutions like the GAO, visit our homepage.