oversight

Managing for Results: Opportunities for Continued Improvements in Agencies' Performance Plans

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-07-20.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                      United States General Accounting Office

GAO                   Report to Congressional Requesters




July 1999
                      MANAGING FOR
                      RESULTS
                      Opportunities for
                      Continued
                      Improvements in
                      Agencies’ Performance
                      Plans




GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215
United States General Accounting Office                                                      General Government Division
Washington, D.C. 20548




                                    B-283190
                                    July 20, 1999

                                    The Honorable Dick Armey
                                    Majority Leader
                                    House of Representatives

                                    The Honorable Dan Burton
                                    Chairman
                                    Committee on Government Reform
                                    House of Representatives

                                    The Honorable Fred Thompson
                                    Chairman
                                    Committee on Governmental Affairs
                                    United States Senate

                                    The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (Results Act) seeks
                                    to shift the focus of government performance and accountability away
                                    from a preoccupation with activities to a focus on the results or outcomes
                                    of those activities. The Results Act requires agencies to produce annual
                                    performance plans to clearly inform Congress and the public of the annual
                                    performance goals for agencies’ major programs and activities, the
                                    measures that will be used to gauge performance, the strategies and
                                    resources required to achieve the performance goals, and the procedures
                                    that will be used to verify and validate performance information.

                                    High-performing organizations consistently strive to ensure that their
                                                                                                  1
                                    organizational missions and goals drive day-to-day activities. Thus, the
                                    performance improvements expected under the Results Act will not occur
                                    merely because an agency has issued an annual performance plan. Rather,
                                    performance improvements occur when agencies transform their
                                    organizational cultures so that achieving results becomes the driving
                                    concern of daily operations and when agency managers and external
                                    decisionmakers use results-oriented plans and the planning and
                                    management processes that underpin them to inform decisions.

                                    Congress clearly has shown its interest in agency performance planning to
                                    better inform its decisions. As you requested, this report provides

                                    1
                                    See, for example, Executive Guide: Effectively Implementing the Government Performance and
                                    Results Act (GAO/GGD-96-118, June 1996).




                                    Page 1                 GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
B-283190




summary information based on our review and evaluation of the fiscal year
2000 performance plans of the 24 agencies covered by the Chief Financial
Officers (CFO) Act. (The CFO Act agencies are listed in figure 2.) As
agreed with your offices, our first objective was to summarize our
observations on the extent to which the agencies’ plans include three key
elements of informative performance plans: (1) clear pictures of intended
performance, (2) specific discussions of strategies and resources, and (3)
confidence that performance information will be credible. For each of
these elements, we characterized each agency’s plan in one of four ways,
based on the degree to which the plan contains informative practices
associated with that element. These practices, drawn from Results Act
requirements, related guidance, and the more informative features of the
                                                                          2
fiscal year 1999 performance plans, are identified in our published work.

Thus, to address the first element concerning the degree to which the plan
provides a clear picture of intended performance, we characterized each
plan in one of four ways: (1) provides a clear picture of intended
performance across the agency, (2) provides a general picture, (3)
provides a limited picture, or (4) provides an unclear picture. To address
the second element, on the extent to which a plan includes specific
discussions of strategies and resources, we characterized each plan as (1)
containing specific discussions of strategies and resources, (2) general
discussions, (3) limited discussions, or (4) no discussions. To address the
third element on the extent to which a plan provides confidence that
performance information will be credible, we characterized each plan as
providing (1) full confidence, (2) general confidence, (3) limited
confidence, or (4) no confidence.

Our second objective was to identify the degree of improvement the fiscal
year 2000 performance plans represent over the fiscal year 1999 plans.
Based on our analysis, we determined the level of improvement in
agencies’ plans by using one of four characterizations: (1) much
improvement; (2) moderate improvement; (3) little, if any, improvement;
(4) no improvement. Appendix I provides additional information on our
scope and methodology.

We briefed congressional offices during a 3-month period beginning in
March 1999 on our observations on individual agencies’ plans. Appendixes
II through XXV contain the abbreviated text of our observations and

2
 Agency Performance Plans: Examples of Practices That Can Improve Usefulness to Decisionmakers
(GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-69, Feb. 26, 1999) and The Results Act: An Evaluator’s Guide to Assessing Agency
Annual Performance Plans, Versions 1 (GAO/GGD-10.1.20, April 1998).




Page 2                 GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                    B-283190




                                    include Internet addresses for the complete text of our observations and
                                    agencies’ comments on those observations.

                                    On the whole, agencies’ fiscal year 2000 performance plans show moderate
Results in Brief                    improvements over the fiscal year 1999 plans and contain better
                                    information and perspective. However, key weaknesses remain, and
                                    important opportunities exist to improve future plans. Figure 1 highlights
                                    the major strengths and key weaknesses that were most common among
                                    agencies’ fiscal year 2000 performance plans and that need to be addressed
                                    in future plans.

Figure 1: Major Strengths and Key
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000
Performance Plans




                                    Source: GAO analysis based on agencies’ fiscal year 2000 performance plans.


                                    Figure 2 shows how we characterized each of the agencies on the three
                                    elements of informative performance plans that we examined.




                                    Page 3                 GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                          B-283190




Figure 2: Characterization of CFO Act Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans




                                          Source: GAO analysis based on agencies’ fiscal year 2000 performance plans.




                                          Page 4                 GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                        B-283190




Figure 2: (Continued)




                        Overall, the plans provide general pictures of intended performance across
                        the agencies suggesting that important opportunities for continued
                        improvements still remain to be addressed. For example, while all of the
                        plans include baseline and trend data for at least some of their goals and



                        Page 5            GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
B-283190




measures—which is important to understanding an agency’s progress over
time in achieving results—inconsistent attention is given to resolving
mission-critical management challenges and program risks. These
management challenges and program risks continue to seriously
undermine the federal government’s performance and to leave it
vulnerable to billions of dollars in waste, fraud, abuse, and
mismanagement.

Agencies also could provide clearer pictures of intended performance by
providing greater attention to crosscutting program issues. Coordinating
crosscutting programs is important because, as our work has suggested,
mission fragmentation and program overlap are widespread across the
federal government. In that regard, most agencies’ plans show some
improvement in their recognition of crosscutting program efforts.
However, few plans attempt the more challenging tasks of discussing
planned strategies for coordination and establishing complementary
performance goals and common or complementary performance
measures. Continued progress on this issue is important because, in
program area after program area, we have found that unfocused and
uncoordinated crosscutting programs waste scarce funds, confuse and
frustrate program customers, and limit overall program effectiveness.
Crosscutting programs by definition involve more than one agency, and
coordination therefore requires the ability to look across agencies and
ensure that the appropriate coordination is taking place. Given the Office
of Management and Budget’s (OMB) position in the executive branch, its
leadership is particularly important in addressing this issue.

Agencies’ discussions of how resources and strategies will be used to
achieve results show mixed progress. Some individual agencies show
progress in making useful linkages between their budget requests and
performance goals, while other agencies are not showing the necessary
progress. Opportunities also remain to more directly explain how
programs and initiatives will achieve goals, and little progress is being
made in linking management resources and strategies, such as the use of
information technology, to results. Notable by their absence are
discussions of how agencies plan to strategically develop their human
capital to achieve results. This suggests that one of the critical components
of high-performing organizations—the systematic integration of human
capital planning and program planning—is not being adequately addressed
across the federal government.

The continuing lack of confidence that performance information will be
credible is also a source of major concern. Many agencies offer only



Page 6            GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
               B-283190




               limited indications that performance data will be credible. Also, agencies
               generally do not identify actions that they are taking to compensate for the
               lack of quality data, nor do they discuss the implications for
               decisionmaking of the lack of quality data. The inattention to ensuring that
               performance data will be sufficiently timely, complete, accurate, useful,
               and consistent is an important weakness in the performance plans.
               Ultimately, performance plans will not be fully useful to congressional
               decisionmakers unless and until this key weakness is resolved.

               In crafting the Results Act, Congress understood that effectively
               implementing management changes of the magnitude envisioned under the
               Act would take several years, although each year should see marked
               improvements over the preceding ones. Sustained and committed
               leadership within agencies, OMB, and Congress will be critical to making
               additional progress in Results Act implementation. Accordingly, we
               recommend that the Director of OMB ensure that agencies’ future annual
               plans make additional improvements by addressing continuing weaknesses
               in the plans’ clarity of intended performance, discussions of strategies and
               resources, and confidence in the credibility of performance information.
               We also suggest that Congress, building on its recent and ongoing use of
               performance plans to help inform its own decisionmaking, use agencies’
               annual plans as a basis for augmented oversight.

               A critical component of high-performing organizations, as envisioned by
Background     the Results Act, is the dynamic and complementary process of setting a
               strategic direction, defining annual goals and measures, and reporting on
               performance. As required by the Results Act, agencies are to prepare
               annual performance plans that establish the connections between the long-
               term goals outlined in their strategic plans and the day-to-day activities of
               managers and staff. To be useful, annual performance plans should answer
               three core questions:

             • To what extent does the agency have a clear picture of intended
               performance?
             • Does the agency have the right mix of strategies and resources needed to
               achieve its goals?
             • Will the agency’s performance information be credible?

               At the request of Congress and to assist agencies in their efforts to produce
                                                                                        3
               useful performance plans, we issued guides on assessing annual plans. We
               3
                Agencies’ Annual Performance Plans Under the Results Act: An Assessment Guide to Facilitate
               Congressional Decisionmaking, Version 1 (GAO/GGD/AIMD-10.1.18, February 1998) and GAO/GGD-
               10.1.20, April 1998.




               Page 7                 GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                         B-283190




                         subsequently reviewed the fiscal year 1999 performance plans for the CFO
                                       4
                         Act agencies. We also issued reports on fiscal year 1999 plans that
                         identified practices that can improve the usefulness of plans and
                                                                                              5
                         approaches used to connect budget requests with anticipated results.

                         A majority of agencies’ fiscal year 2000 plans give general pictures of
Fiscal Year 2000 Plans   intended performance across the agencies, with the plans of the
Provide General          Department of Labor, Department of Transportation (DOT), the General
Pictures of Agencies’    Services Administration (GSA), and the Social Security Administration
                         (SSA) providing the clearest overall pictures.
Intended Performance
                         To assess the degree to which an agency’s plan provides a clear picture of
                         intended performance across the agency, we examined whether it includes
                         (1) sets of performance goals and measures that address program results;
                         (2) baseline and trend data for past performance; (3) performance goals or
                         strategies to resolve mission-critical management problems; and (4)
                         identification of crosscutting programs (i.e., those programs that
                         contribute to the same or similar results), complementary performance
                         goals and common or complementary performance measures to show how
                         differing program strategies are mutually reinforcing, and planned
                         coordination strategies. Figure 3 shows the results of our assessment of
                         the 24 agencies. We categorized each agency’s plan based on the degree to
                         which it collectively addressed the four practices presented above.




                         4
                          Managing for Results: An Agenda To Improve the Usefulness of Agencies’ Annual Performance Plans
                         (GAO/GGD/AIMD-98-228, Sept. 8, 1998).
                         5
                          GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-69, February 26, 1999 and Performance Budgeting: Initial Experiences Under the
                         Results Act in Linking Plans With Budgets (GAO/AIMD/GGD-99-67, Apr. 12, 1999). See also
                         Performance Budgeting: Initial Agency Experiences Provide a Foundation to Assess Future Directions
                         (GAO/T-AIMD/GGD-99-216, July 1, 1999).




                         Page 8                  GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                          B-283190




Figure 3: Clarity of Agencies’ Intended
Performance




                                          Source: GAO analysis based on agencies’ fiscal year 2000 performance plans.


Progress Is Being Made in                 All of the fiscal year 2000 plans we reviewed contain at least some goals
                                          and measures that address program results. In our assessment of the fiscal
Defining Program Results                  year 1999 plans, we identified the lack of comprehensive sets of goals that
                                          focused on results as one of the central weaknesses that limited the
                                          usefulness of the plans for congressional and other decisionmakers.

                                          While this improvement is still not evident across all agencies, some plans
                                          incorporate sets of performance goals and measures that depict the
                                          complexity of the results federal agencies seek to achieve. For example, to
                                          help achieve improved public health and safety on the highway, DOT has
                                          performance goals and measures to reduce the rates of alcohol-related and
                                          large truck-related fatalities and injuries and to increase seat belt use, in
                                          addition to its goals related to highway fatality and injury rates. The DOT
                                          plan also provides helpful information that explains the importance of
                                          each goal, the relationship of annual goals to DOT strategic goals, and the
                                          relationship of the performance measures to annual goals.

                                          Similarly, the Department of Education’s plan contains a set of goals and
                                          measures related to a vital issue of growing national concern—that
                                          schools should be strong, safe, disciplined, and drug-free. Specifically,
                                          Education has performance goals and measures to reduce the prevalence



                                          Page 9                 GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
B-283190




of alcohol and drugs in schools, decrease criminal and violent incidents
committed by students, and increase the percentage of teachers who are
trained to deal with discipline problems in the classrooms. The plan
includes explanatory information for each goal and measure. For instance,
Education explains that it changed its target level for the percentage of
students using marijuana at school because of better than expected
reductions in 1998.

However, we still found cases where program results were not clearly
defined. For example, the Small Business Administration’s (SBA)
performance plan’s goals and measures continue to generally focus on
outputs rather than results. To assess progress in its goal to “increase
opportunities for small business success,” SBA relies on measures such as
an increase in the number of loans made by SBA, the number of clients
served, the number of bonds issued, and the amount of dollars invested in
small businesses. This is important information, but the plan does not
show how these measures are related to increasing opportunities for small
businesses to be successful—the key result SBA hopes to achieve.

Sets of performance goals and measures also should provide balanced
perspectives on performance that cover the variety of results agencies are
expected to achieve. Federal programs are designed and implemented in
dynamic environments where mission requirements may be in conflict,
such as ensuring enforcement while promoting related services, or
priorities may be different, such as those to improve service quality while
limiting program cost. Consequently, mission requirements and priorities
must be weighed against each other to avoid distorting program
performance.

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Veterans Health Administration
(VHA) provides an illustration of an agency that is using a range of goals to
reflect the variety of results it seeks to achieve. VHA recognizes that, as it
seeks to improve the health status of veterans, it must provide care
efficiently. VHA’s primary healthcare strategy has three performance goals
to be achieved by fiscal year 2002, referred to as the 30-20-10 strategy. With
fiscal year 1997 as the baseline, VHA has separate goals that focus on (1)
reducing the cost per patient by 30 percent, (2) increasing the number of
patients served by 20 percent, and (3) increasing to 10 percent the portion
of the medical care budget derived from alternative revenue sources.
VHA’s ability to fund the costs associated with serving 20 percent more
patients than in the past will depend in large part on VHA’s success in
meeting its goals to decrease the cost per patient and increase revenues
from alternative sources.



Page 10           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                               B-283190




Multiyear and Intermediate     In reviewing the fiscal year 1999 plans, we said that setting multiyear and
Goals Can Provide Useful       intermediate goals is particularly useful when it may take years before
Perspective on Results to Be   results are achieved and in isolating an agency’s discrete contribution to a
                                               6
Achieved                       specific result. In examining the fiscal year 2000 plans, we found that
                               some agencies have started to incorporate these practices into their
                               performance plans.

                               For example, the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) plan includes
                               multiyear goals that provide valuable perspective on its plans over several
                               years. In particular, the plan has an objective for fiscal year 2002 to
                               simplify and automate the current General Schedule position classification
                               system by reducing the number of position classification standards from
                               more than 400 to fewer than 100. The plan shows that OPM projects that it
                               will reduce the number of classification standards to 320 by the end of
                               fiscal year 1999 and further reduce the number to 216 by the end of fiscal
                               year 2000. Reducing the number of classification standards is seen by OPM
                               as important because it will provide federal agencies with added flexibility
                               to better acquire and deploy their human capital.

                               The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric
                               Administration (NOAA) also includes projected target levels of
                               performance for multiyear goals in its plan. As part of its strategic goal to
                               sustain healthy coasts, NOAA set a target for fiscal year 2002 to increase to
                               75 the percentage of the U.S. coastline where threats to the habitat have
                               been assessed and ranked. NOAA set a target level of 20 percent in fiscal
                               year 2000 from a baseline of 0 percent in fiscal year 1998.

                               In contrast, the Department of the Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service
                               (IRS) provides an example of where multiyear goals could be included in
                               the plan but are not. The plan states that the IRS Restructuring and Reform
                               Act of 1998 requires that 80 percent of all tax and information returns that
                               IRS processes be electronically filed by year 2007. IRS’ plan would be more
                               useful if it discussed this mandate along with target levels to show how it
                               plans to achieve this goal over the next 7 years. Congress will likely expect
                               to receive information relating to IRS’ progress in the area, particularly
                               since IRS has requested funding for this goal. Treasury officials said that
                               they recognize the shortcomings in IRS’ performance measures. As part of
                               its restructuring, IRS is undertaking improvements by developing new
                               performance measures.



                               6
                                   GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-69, February 26, 1999.




                               Page 11                  GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                          B-283190




                          A few agencies have recognized that using intermediate goals and
                          measures, such as outputs or intermediate outcomes, can show interim
                          progress toward intended results. For example, the Department of
                          Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has a goal to disrupt
                          and dismantle drug syndicates, but its plan acknowledges that counting the
                          number of cases, arrests, or seizures does not adequately measure the true
                          impact of enforcement efforts. Therefore, addition to those measures, DEA
                          is developing other gauges, such as the ratio of the number of targeted
                          organizations disrupted as a result of DEA involvement in foreign
                          investigations to the total number of targeted organizations. Its plan states
                          that DEA will collect data for this goal in fiscal year 1999.

                          Similarly, SSA recognizes in its plan that one change needed for its
                          disability program is that disabled beneficiaries must become self-
                          sufficient to the greatest extent possible. As a first step toward its strategic
                          objective to “shape the disability program in a manner that increases self-
                          sufficiency,” SSA includes an intermediate goal to increase by 10 percent
                          in fiscal year 2000 the number of Disability Insurance beneficiaries
                          transitioning into trial work periods over time. SSA states that it will
                          develop other goals and measures after an analysis of historical data is
                          completed.

Identifying Past          All of the fiscal year 2000 plans we reviewed include baseline and trend
                          data for at least some of their goals and measures. With baseline and trend
Performance Through       data, the performance plans provide a context for drawing conclusions
Baseline and Trend Data   about whether performance goals are reasonable and appropriate.
Provides a Valuable       Decisionmakers can use such information to gauge how a program’s
Perspective on Current    anticipated performance level compares with improvements or declines in
                          past performance.
Goals
                          For example, the DOT plan includes graphs for nearly all goals and
                          measures that show baseline and trend data as well as the targets for fiscal
                          year 1999 and 2000. The graphs clearly indicate trends and provide a basis
                          for comparing actual program results with the established performance
                          goals. The performance goal for hazardous material incidents is typical in
                          that it has a graph that shows the number of serious hazardous materials
                          incidents that occurred in transportation during the period 1988 through
                          1997. DOT also includes explanatory information that provides a context
                          for past performance and future goals.

                          In cases where baseline and trend data are not yet available, the more
                          informative performance plans include information on what actions
                          agencies are taking to collect appropriate data and when they expect to



                          Page 12            GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                          B-283190




                          have them. For example, the Department of Housing and Urban
                          Development (HUD) provides baseline and trend data for many of its goals
                          and measures, if such data are available. If data are not available, the plan
                          discusses when HUD expects to develop the baselines. For example, the
                          performance goal and measure to increase the share of recipients of
                          welfare-to-work vouchers who hold jobs at the time of annual
                          recertification indicates that the baseline for households receiving
                          vouchers in fiscal year 2000 will be determined in fiscal year 2001.

Agencies’ Plans Lack      The fiscal year 2000 annual performance plans show inconsistent attention
                          to the need to resolve the mission-critical management challenges and
Consistent Attention to   program risks that continue to undermine the federal government’s
Mission-Critical          economy, efficiency, and effectiveness. These challenges and risks must be
Management Challenges     addressed as part of any serious effort to fundamentally improve the
and Program Risks         performance of federal agencies. In our assessment of the fiscal year 1999
                          performance plans, we observed that the value of the plans could be
                          augmented if they more fully included goals that addressed mission-critical
                                               7
                          management issues. We noted that precise and measurable goals for
                          resolving mission-critical management problems are important to ensuring
                          that the agencies have the institutional capacity to achieve their more
                          results-oriented programmatic goals.

                          In assessing the fiscal year 2000 plans, we looked at whether the plans
                          address over 300 specific management challenges and program risks
                                                                                 8
                          identified by us and the agencies’ Inspectors General. Many of these
                          challenges and risks are long-standing, well known, and have been the
                          subject of close congressional scrutiny. They include, most prominently,
                          federal operations that we have identified as being at among the highest
                          risk for waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.

                          We found that agencies do not consistently address management
                          challenges and program risks in their fiscal year 2000 performance plans.
                          In those cases where challenges and risks are addressed, agencies use a
                          variety of approaches, including setting goals and measures directly linked
                          to the management challenges and program risks, establishing goals and
                          measures that are indirectly related to the challenges and risks, or laying
                          out strategies to address them. Figure 4 illustrates the distribution of these
                          various approaches among the management challenges and program risks
                          we identified.

                          7
                              GAO/GGD/AIMD-98-228, September 8, 1998.
                          8
                              Performance and Accountability Series and High-Risk Update (GAO/OCG-99-22SET, January 1999).




                          Page 13                   GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                       B-283190




Figure 4: Approaches Used to Address
Management Challenges and Program
Risks




                                       Note: Numbers do not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.
                                       Source: GAO analysis based on agencies’ fiscal year 2000 performance plans.




                                       Agencies’ fiscal year 2000 plans contain goals and measures that directly
                                       address about 40 percent of the identified management challenges and
                                       program risks. For example, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) plan
                                       contains goals and measures that are designed to address its major
                                       management challenges and program risks. DOE’s contract management is
                                       one of the areas on our high-risk list, and this is especially important
                                       because DOE relies on contractors to perform about 90 percent of its
                                       work. Under DOE’s corporate management goal, one objective is to
                                       improve the delivery of products and services through contract reform and
                                       the use of businesslike practices. The strategies DOE identifies include
                                       using prudent contracting and business management approaches that
                                       emphasize results, accountability, and competition. DOE’s plan also
                                       contains three specific measures addressing contract reform. One of these
                                       measures is to convert one support services contract at each major site to
                                       become a performance-based service contract using government
                                       standards.




                                       Page 14                GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
  B-283190




  On the other hand, agencies’ plans do not contain goals, measures, or
  strategies to resolve one-fourth of the management challenges and
  program risks we identified. In Treasury’s plan, for example, IRS has no
  goals, measures, or strategies to address several of the high-risk areas we
  have identified, even though important management reform initiatives are
  under way across the agency. Specifically, Treasury’s plan does not
  address

• internal control weaknesses over unpaid tax assessments (We found that
  the lack of a subsidiary ledger impairs IRS’ ability to effectively manage its
  unpaid assessments. This weakness has resulted in IRS’ inappropriately
  directing collection efforts against taxpayers after amounts owed have
  been paid.);
• the need to assess the impact of various efforts IRS has under way to
  reduce filing fraud;
• the need to improve security controls over information systems and
  address weaknesses that place sensitive taxpayer data at risk to both
  internal and external threats (Our high-risk update reported that IRS’
  controls do not adequately reduce vulnerability to inappropriate
  disclosure.); and
• weaknesses in internal controls over taxpayer receipts. (Specifically, there
  is no discussion of IRS’ plans to strengthen efforts to ensure that taxpayer
  receipts are securely transported, such as prohibiting the use of bicycle or
  other unarmed vehicle couriers. Our high-risk update pointed out that IRS’
  controls over tax receipts do not adequately reduce their vulnerability to
        9
  theft. )

  Treasury’s plan would be more informative if it captured IRS’ reform
  efforts and delineated goals and performance measures and, if necessary,
  developed interim measures to show IRS’ intended near-term progress
  toward addressing its high-risk operations.

  For about 18 percent of the over 300 management challenges and program
  risks we identified, agencies have established annual performance goals
  that appear to indirectly address these issues. For example, while SSA paid
  over $73 billion in 1998 in cash benefits to nearly 11 million blind and
  disabled beneficiaries, we found that SSA’s complex process for
  determining whether an individual qualifies for disability benefits has been
  plagued by a number of long-standing weaknesses. SSA’s disability benefit

  9
  For more recent information on this issue see Financial Audit: IRS’ Fiscal Year 1998 Financial
  Statements (GAO/AIMD-99-75, Mar. 1, 1999) and Internal Revenue Service: Results of Fiscal Year 1998
  Financial Statement Audit (GAO/T-AIMD-99-103, Mar. 1, 1999).




  Page 15                 GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
B-283190




claims process is time-consuming and expensive, and SSA’s disability
caseloads have grown significantly in the past decade. On the basis of our
ongoing review of SSA’s disability claims process redesign effort, we found
that SSA has not been able to keep its redesign activities on schedule or
demonstrate that its proposed changes will significantly improve its claims
process. Further, we found that few people have left the disability rolls to
return to work. Although SSA’s plan does not include any direct goals or
measures for its disability redesign efforts, it does include an intermediate
goal for fiscal year 2000 to increase the number of Disability Insurance
recipients and Supplemental Security Income recipients transitioning into
the workforce by 10 percent over fiscal year 1997 levels.

Finally, agencies identify strategies to help them meet the challenges and
risks they confront, rather than setting goals and measures in their
performance plans. The plans we reviewed contain strategies to address
about 18 percent of the identified challenges and risks. For some agencies,
these strategies are clearly and directly related to the agency’s efforts to
address a specific challenge or risk. For example, DOT’s lack of controls
over its financial activities impairs the agency’s ability to manage programs
and exposes the department to potential waste, fraud, mismanagement,
and abuse. DOT’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan identifies financial
accounting as a management challenge and addresses key weaknesses that
need to be resolved before DOT can obtain an unqualified audit opinion on
its fiscal year 2000 financial audit. DOT’s corporate management strategies
include efforts to (1) receive an unqualified audit opinion on the
department’s fiscal year 2000 consolidated financial statement and stand-
alone financial statements, (2) enhance the efficiency of the accounting
operation consistent with increased accountability and reliable reporting,
and (3) implement a pilot of the improved financial systems environment
in at least one operating administration.

In other cases, however, it is unclear to what extent the strategies that
agencies identify in their fiscal year 2000 annual performance plans will
address the management challenges and program risks. Labor’s Inspector
General has found, for example, that the department faces serious
vulnerabilities within three major worker benefit programs. These program
risks include the continued proliferation of unemployment insurance fraud
schemes and the escalating indebtedness of the Black Lung Disability
Trust Fund. Labor did not develop any performance goals to specifically
address these vulnerabilities, and although its plan broadly discusses these
concerns, the plan shows that Labor will rely, for example, on the
Inspector General’s investigations to help identify and investigate
multistate fraud schemes. Labor did not address efforts to reduce the



Page 16           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                            B-283190




                            indebtedness of the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. Similarly, another
                            challenge the Inspector General identified is Labor’s need to ensure that
                            weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and criminal activity are identified and
                            addressed. Here again, Labor’s plan indicates that it will rely on the
                            Inspector General investigations to address this challenge. Because the
                            Inspector General has already identified these management challenges and
                            program risks, it is unclear whether relying on further Inspector General
                            investigations will be a sufficient strategy to systematically address the
                            vulnerabilities that have been identified across several Labor programs.

Coordinating Crosscutting   The fiscal year 2000 performance plans indicate that the federal
                            government continues to make progress in showing that crosscutting
Program Efforts Needs       efforts are being coordinated to ensure effective and efficient program
Additional Effort           delivery. Among the improvements in the fiscal year 2000 plans over what
                            we observed in the fiscal year 1999 plans are further identification of
                            crosscutting efforts and more inclusive listings of other agencies with
                            which responsibility for those efforts are shared. However, similar to the
                            situation with the 1999 plans, few agencies have attempted the more
                            challenging task of establishing complementary performance goals,
                            mutually reinforcing strategies, and common performance measures, as
                            appropriate.

                            The effective and efficient coordination of crosscutting programs is
                            important because our work has suggested that mission fragmentation and
                            program overlap are widespread. We have identified opportunities for
                            improving federal program coordination in vital national mission areas
                            covering counterterrorism agriculture, community and regional
                            development, health, income security, law enforcement, international
                            affairs, and other areas. Our work has found that uncoordinated federal
                            efforts confuse and frustrate program recipients, waste scarce resources,
                            and undermine the overall effectiveness of the federal effort.

                            SSA and VA improved their fiscal year 2000 plans over their fiscal year
                            1999 plans by linking their performance goals and objectives to
                            crosscutting program efforts. SSA, under its goal “to make SSA program
                            management the best-in-business, with zero tolerance for fraud and
                            abuse,” lists 14 crosscutting areas of coordination, including information
                            sharing with the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Health
                            Care Financing Administration to help SSA determine Medicaid eligibility.
                            Similarly, VA’s fiscal year 2000 plan briefly describes an extensive array of
                            crosscutting activities and explicitly associates applicable crosscutting
                            activities with each key performance goal, whereas the fiscal year 1999
                            plan was limited to listings of other entities with crosscutting interests.



                            Page 17           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                 B-283190




                                 Although most agencies have shown at least some improvement in their
                                 identification of crosscutting program efforts, the Department of Defense
                                 (DOD) and DOE continue to provide little information about the
                                 substantive work of interagency coordination that is taking place. For
                                 example, we found that the federal government’s effort to combat
                                 terrorism—an effort that cost about $6.7 billion in fiscal year 1997—was
                                 among the significant crosscutting programs for which DOD failed to
                                 discuss the details of coordination with other involved agencies in both its
                                 fiscal years 1999 and 2000 plans. This failure is important because, as we
                                 recently testified, opportunities continue to exist to better focus and target
                                 the nation’s investments in combating terrorism and better ensure that the
                                 United States is prioritizing its funding of the right programs in the right
                                           10
                                 amounts.

                                 Similarly, DOE’s fiscal year 2000 plan does not show other agencies’
                                 programs that contribute to results that DOE is also trying to achieve. This
                                 plan’s “means and strategies” section, under the business line of Science
                                 and Technology, provides one example. In this discussion, DOE does not
                                 identify any federal agency, such as the National Science Foundation
                                 (NSF), that may contribute to similar science and technology results. In
                                 contrast, under its goal of “discoveries at and across the frontier of science
                                 and engineering,” NSF’s plan identifies research facilities supported by
                                 both NSF and DOE, including the Large Haldron Collider in Switzerland.

Plans Devote Limited Attention   Few agencies have moved beyond identification of crosscutting efforts and
to Developing Complementary      strategies to include in their plans complementary performance goals to
Goals                            show how different program strategies are mutually reinforcing. We noted
                                 in our assessment of the fiscal year 1999 plans that an agency could
                                 increase the usefulness of its performance plan to congressional and other
                                 decisionmakers by identifying the results-oriented performance goals that
                                 involve other agencies and by showing how the agency contributes to the
                                 common result.

                                 Although incomplete, the efforts of DOT and HHS show how such an
                                 approach can provide valuable perspective to decisionmakers. For
                                 example, DOT’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan indicates goals and
                                 performance measures to be used mutually to support crosscutting
                                 programs. The plan states that the Federal Aviation Administration and the
                                 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have
                                 complementary performance goals to decrease by 80 percent the rate of

                                 10
                                  Combating Terrorism: Observations on Federal Spending to Combat Terrorism (GAO/T-NSIAD-99-
                                 107, Mar. 11, 1999).




                                 Page 18               GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                              B-283190




                              aviation fatalities by the year 2007. However, the plan could be improved
                              by describing how the strategies of the two agencies are mutually
                              reinforcing.

                              HHS also provides valuable perspective to decisionmakers by linking
                              complementary performance goals of agencies within the department.
                              Those linkages suggest how differing program strategies can be mutually
                              reinforcing. For example, one of HHS’ strategic objectives is to reduce
                              tobacco use, especially among the young. To contribute to this objective,
                              the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a performance goal to
                              reduce the percentage of teenagers who smoke by conducting education
                              campaigns, providing funding and technical assistance to state programs,
                              and working with nongovernmental entities. The Food and Drug
                              Administration (FDA) has a complementary goal to reduce the easy access
                              to tobacco products and eliminate the strong appeal of these products for
                              children by conducting 400,000 compliance checks and selecting certain
                              sites to target for intensified enforcement efforts to determine the
                              effectiveness of different levels of effort. HHS can build upon
                              intradepartmental efforts by aligning its performance goals with those of
                              other federal agencies, such as the Departments of Justice and Education.

Some Plans Include Helpful    While still uncommon, useful performance plans not only identify
Discussions of Coordination   crosscutting efforts, they also describe how agencies expect to coordinate
Approaches                    efforts with other agencies that have similar responsibilities. Plans that
                              more directly explain strategies and tools for interagency coordination will
                              be most helpful to Congress as it assesses the degree to which those
                              strategies and tools are appropriate and effective and seeks best practices
                              for use in other program areas. By way of illustration, FDA has a goal to
                              develop and make available an improved method for the detection of
                              several foodborne pathogens. FDA’s discussion of this goal refers to an
                              interagency research plan that seeks to more effectively coordinate the
                              food safety research activities of FDA and the Department of Agriculture
                              (USDA).

                              FDA’s discussion of joint planning, one approach to interagency
                              coordination, demonstrates how annual performance plans can be used to
                              develop a base of governmentwide information on the strengths and
                              weaknesses of various coordination approaches and tools—as we
                              suggested in our review of the fiscal year 1999 plans. Other plans, such as
                              those of VA, SSA, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), also
                              discuss coordination tools, such as cooperative training, partnerships,
                              memorandums of understanding, bilateral agreements, and interagency
                              task forces.



                              Page 19           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                            B-283190




                                            Most fiscal year 2000 plans provide a general discussion—with DOT’s
Performance Plans                           being the clearest—of the strategies and resources that the agency will use
Provide a General                           to achieve results. Thus, similar to other aspects of performance plans,
Discussion of                               substantial opportunities exist to make continued improvements in
                                            presentations of strategies and resources.
Strategies and
Resources                                   To assess the degree to which an agency’s plan provides a specific
                                            discussion of strategies and resources the agency will use to achieve
                                            performance goals, we examined whether it includes (1) budgetary
                                            resources related to the achievement of performance goals; (2) strategies
                                            and programs linked to specific performance goals and descriptions of
                                            how the strategies and programs will contribute to the achievement of
                                            those goals; (3) a brief description or reference to a separate document of
                                            how the agency plans to build, maintain, and marshal the human capital
                                            needed to achieve results; and (4) strategies to leverage or mitigate the
                                            effects of external factors on the accomplishment of performance goals.
                                            Figure 5 shows the results of our assessment of the 24 agencies. We
                                            categorized each agency’s plan based on the degree to which it collectively
                                            addressed the four practices presented above.

Figure 5: Clarity of Agencies’ Strategies
and Resources




                                            Source: GAO analysis based on agencies’ fiscal year 2000 performance plans.




                                            Page 20                GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                            B-283190




Agencies Do Not             Like the fiscal year 1999 plans, most of the fiscal year 2000 plans do not
                            consistently show how program activity funding would be allocated to
Consistently Show How       agencies’ performance goals. However, individual agencies show progress
Budgetary Resources Would   in making useful linkages between their budget requests and performance
Be Used to Achieve          goals, as we will detail in a companion letter to this report. Such progress
Performance Goals           is important because a key objective of the Results Act is to help Congress
                            develop a clearer understanding of what is being achieved in relation to
                            what is being spent. The Act requires that annual performance plans link
                                                                                                        11
                            performance goals to the program activities in agencies’ budget requests.

                            The most informative plans would translate these linkages into budgetary
                            terms—that is, they would show how funding is being allocated from
                            program activities to discrete sets of performance goals. For example,
                            SSA’s fiscal year 1999 performance plan noted that the agency’s Limitation
                            on Administrative Expenses (LAE) account supported most of the
                            measures in the plan. However, beyond that acknowledgement, SSA
                            provided few details as to how budget resources would actually be
                            allocated to support its performance goals. As a means of communicating
                            its efforts to link budget resources to stated goals, the fiscal year 2000 plan
                            now includes a matrix of SSA’s fiscal year 2000 administrative budget
                            accounts by related strategic goal. For example, the matrix shows that SSA
                            has determined that it will require $38 million to meet its strategic goal of
                            “promoting responsive programs” and that this amount will come out of
                            SSA’s LAE and Extramural Research accounts.

                            As we noted in reviewing fiscal year 1999 performance plans, agencies
                            used a variety of techniques to show relationships between budgetary
                                                               12
                            resources and performance goals. Plans contain crosswalks to help
                            identify how much funding would be needed to support discrete sets of
                            performance goals and where that funding was included in the agency’s
                            budget request. For example, the U.S. Geological Survey portion of the
                            Department of the Interior’s fiscal year 2000 plan provides crosswalks
                            showing (1) the relationship between funding for its budget program
                                                                                    13
                            activities and funding for its “GPRA program activities” and (2) how
                            “GPRA program activity” funding would be allocated to performance goals.
                            In contrast, some agencies could have used such crosswalks to make their

                            11
                               Subject to clearance by OMB and generally resulting from negotiations between agencies and
                            appropriations subcommittees, program activities are intended to provide a meaningful representation
                            of the operations financed by a specific budget account.
                            12
                                 GAO/AIMD/GGD-99-67, April 12, 1999.
                            13
                             As defined in OMB Circular A-11, “GPRA program activities” are developed by consolidating,
                            aggregating, or disaggregating the program activities included in the President’s Budget.




                            Page 21                   GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                             B-283190




                             presentations more relevant for budget decisionmaking. For example,
                             Commerce’s plan identifies requirements of $133.2 million to achieve the
                             International Trade Administration’s (ITA) strategic goal of increasing the
                             number of small business exporters. However, it is not clear how this
                             funding level was derived from the budget activities or accounts in ITA’s
                             budget request.

                             In addition to providing crosswalks, some agencies also made
                             performance information useful for resource allocation decisions by
                             including this information in the budget justification of estimates
                             traditionally sent to Congress in support of their requests. For example,
                             NRC integrates its budget justification and performance plan for the first
                             time in fiscal year 2000 as part of a broader initiative to integrate its
                             planning, budgeting, and performance management process. Information
                             traditionally contained in a budget justification, such as descriptions of
                             accounts and their funding, was combined with performance information
                             in such a way that the NRC budget justification and its plan could not be
                             separated.

                             Although no agency made significant changes to its account or program
                             activity structure in fiscal year 2000 in order to clarify or simplify
                             relationships between program activities and performance goals, some
                             agencies mention the possibility of future change. For example, we have
                             previously noted that VA’s program activities do not clearly align with the
                             agency’s performance goals. In its fiscal year 2000 plan, VA states that it is
                             working with OMB to develop a budget account restructuring proposal.

Agencies Are Relating        Most of the fiscal year 2000 plans we reviewed relate strategies and
                             programs to performance goals. However, few plans indicate how the
Strategies and Programs to   strategies will contribute to accomplishing the expected level of
Results                      performance. Discussions of how the strategies will contribute to results
                             are important because they are helpful to congressional and other
                             decisionmakers in assessing the degree to which strategies are appropriate
                             and reasonable. Such discussions also are important in pinpointing
                             opportunities to improve performance and reduce costs.

                             As an example, DOT’s performance plan provides a specific discussion of
                             the strategies and resources that the department will use to achieve its
                             performance goals. For each performance goal, the plan lists an overall
                             strategy that often clearly conveys the relationship between the strategy
                             and the goal for achieving it, as well as specific activities and initiatives to
                             be undertaken in fiscal year 2000. For instance, DOT expects to increase
                             transit ridership through investments in transit infrastructure, financial



                             Page 22            GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                 B-283190




                                 assistance to metropolitan planning organizations and state departments
                                 of transportation for planning activities, research on improving train
                                 control systems, and fleet management to provide more customer service.

                                 NSF’s performance plan also presents strategies that clearly show how
                                 NSF plans to achieve its fiscal year 2000 performance goals. Specifically,
                                 the plan describes the general strategies that NSF intends to use to achieve
                                 its performance goals for the results of scientific research and education
                                 and for most of its performance goals for the NSF investment process and
                                 management. To illustrate, NSF will use a competitive merit-based review
                                 process with peer evaluations to identify the most promising ideas from
                                 the strongest researchers and educators. According to its plan, NSF will
                                 work toward the outcome goal of “promoting connections between
                                 discoveries and their use in service to society” by using the merit review
                                 process to make awards for research and education activities that will
                                 rapidly and readily feed into education, policy development, or work of
                                 other federal agencies or the private sector.

                                 On the other hand, some agencies do not adequately discuss how
                                 strategies and programs contribute to results. For example, Labor
                                 identifies in its plan 112 means and strategies to accomplish its 42
                                 performance goals and links each strategy to a specific performance goal.
                                 However, in some instances, the strategies do not identify how they would
                                 help achieve the stated goals. For example, one performance goal states
                                 that 60 percent of local employment and training offices will be part of
                                 one-stop career center systems. In a related strategy, Labor states that it
                                 will “continue its support of the adoption and implementation of
                                 continuous improvement initiatives throughout the workforce
                                 development system,” but does not indicate how these efforts will help
                                 achieve the performance goal.

                                 In some cases, strategies are not provided. For example, HHS’
                                 Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has a goal to provide
                                 children permanency and stability in their living situations, and related
                                 performance measures, such as increasing the percentage of children who
                                 are adopted within 2 years of foster care placement. However, ACF does
                                 not identify the strategies that it will rely on to achieve this goal.

Progress Needed in Linking Use   While agencies’ fiscal year 2000 plans show progress in relating programs
of Capital Assets and            and strategies to goals, few relate the use of capital assets and
Management Systems to Results    management systems to achieving results. Although a majority of the
                                 agencies discuss mission-critical management systems in their fiscal year
                                 2000 performance plans—such as financial management, procurement and



                                 Page 23           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
B-283190




grants management, and other systems—few describe how the systems
will support the achievement of program results or clearly link initiatives
to individual goals or groups of goals.

Addressing information technology issues in annual performance plans is
important because of technology’s critical role in achieving results, the
sizable investment the federal government has made in information
technology (about $145 billion between 1992 and 1997), and the long-
standing weaknesses in virtually every agency in successfully employing
technology to further mission accomplishment. The vital role that
information technology can play in helping agencies achieve their goals
was not clearly described in agency plans. The failure to recognize the
central role of technology in achieving results is a cause of significant
concern because, under the Paperwork Reduction and Clinger-Cohen Acts,
Congress put in place clear statutory requirements for agencies to better
link their technology plans and information technology use to their
missions and programmatic goals.

SSA’s fiscal year 2000 plan provides a series of brief descriptions of key
technology initiatives such as its Intelligent Workstation and Local Area
Network (IWS/LAN), which is at the center of SSA’s redesign of its core
business processes. However, the plan does not clearly link the IWS/LAN
initiative to any goals necessary to determine its impact on workload
productivity, processing times, or the accuracy rates of decisions.
Considering that prior plans have stated that SSA’s strategic goals are
essentially unachievable unless SSA invests wisely in information
technology, such as IWS/LAN, a clearer, more-direct link between
technology initiatives and the program results they are meant to support
would enhance the usefulness of the plan.

On the other hand, USDA’s performance plan, which is made up of USDA
component plans, frequently explains how proposed capital assets and
management systems will support the achievement of program results. For
example, the plan for the Agricultural Marketing Service, a component of
USDA, describes how a proposed funding increase will provide for the
modernization and the replacement of its Processed Commodities
Inventory Management System. This system supports such activities as
planning, procurement, and accounting for more than $1 billion of
domestic and $562 million of foreign commodities annually. The plan
further notes that studies have indicated that a modernized system will
generate significant efficiency improvements and considerable cost
savings.




Page 24           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                            B-283190




Agencies Provide            Most of the fiscal year 2000 annual performance plans do not sufficiently
                            address how the agencies will use their human capital to achieve results.
Insufficient Attention to   Specifically, few of the plans relate—or reference a separate document
How Human Capital Will Be   that relates—how the agency will build, marshal, and maintain the human
Used to Achieve Results     capital needed to achieve its performance goals. This suggests that one of
                            the central attributes of high performing organizations—the systematic
                            integration of mission and program planning with human capital
                            planning—is not being effectively addressed across the federal
                            government. The general lack of attention to human capital issues is a very
                            serious omission because only when the right employees are on board and
                            provided the training, tools, structure, incentives, and accountability to
                            work effectively is organizational success possible.

                            Although the plans often discuss human capital issues in general terms,
                            such as recruitment and training efforts, they do not consistently discuss
                            other key human capital strategies used by high-performing organizations.
                            For example, SBA’s plan discusses its need to “transition” and “reshape”
                                                           st
                            its workforce to become a 21 century leading edge institution and the
                            agency’s intention to spend $3 million to train its staff in the skills needed
                            to meet its mission. However, the plan does not discuss the types of human
                            resources skills needed to achieve SBA’s fiscal year 2000 performance
                            goals or the types of training to be provided to help ensure that SBA’s staff
                            have the needed skills.

                            As another example, NRC’s plan uses a table to show the funds and staff
                            that it requested for the 13 programs that constitute the nuclear reactor
                            safety strategic arena. Although NRC provides some information on the
                            recruitment, training, and use of staff, it does not discuss the knowledge,
                            skills, and abilities needed to achieve results. Such a discussion would be
                            particularly helpful since NRC has been downsizing in response to
                            congressional pressure and our prior work has shown several federal
                            agencies’ downsizing efforts were not well-planned and contributed to
                                                                              14
                            staff shortages and skills gaps in critical areas.

                            Unlike most plans, VA’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan provides an
                            example of how a human capital initiative is tied to, and necessary for,
                            achieving performance goals. VA’s plan identifies performance goals to
                            increase compensation claim processing accuracy and to reduce claim-
                            processing time. VA’s performance plan notes that the Veterans Benefits
                            Administration (VBA) will need to hire and train additional employees to

                            14
                             Federal Downsizing: Effective Buyout Practices and Their Use in FY 1997 (GAO/GGD-97-124, June 30,
                            1997).




                            Page 25                GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                             B-283190




                             replace a sizable portion of the compensation and pension claims
                             processing workforce who will become eligible for retirement within 5
                             years. According to its performance plan, to train these new employees as
                             well as existing employees, VBA is developing training packages using
                             instructional systems development methodology and will measure training
                             effectiveness through performance-based testing, which is intended to lead
                             to certification of employees.

A Few Plans Discuss          High-performing organizations seek to align employee performance
Accountability for Results   management with organizational missions and goals. Our prior work
                             looking at early Results Act implementation efforts found that linking
                             employee performance management to results is a substantial and
                                                               15
                             continuing challenge for agencies. The plans for DOT and VA provide
                             valuable discussions of the approaches those agencies are using to
                             “contract” with senior managers for results. Such discussions are
                             informative because they clearly show the agency’s commitment to
                             achieving results and provide a basis for lessons learned and best practices
                             for other agencies to consider.

                             DOT’s plan notes that the department has incorporated all of its fiscal year
                             1999 performance goals into performance agreements between
                             administrators and the Secretary. At monthly meetings with the Deputy
                             Secretary, the administrators are to report progress toward meeting these
                             goals and program adjustments that may be undertaken throughout the
                             year.

                             VHA, a component of VA, also uses a performance contracting process
                             whereby the Under Secretary for Health negotiates performance
                             agreements with all of VHA’s senior executives. These performance
                             agreements focus on 15 quantifiable performance targets. In addition,
                             executives are held accountable for achieving goals pertaining to
                             workforce diversity, labor-management partnerships, and staff education
                             and training. Plans are under way to extend the performance contract
                             approach throughout VHA.

Agencies are Recognizing     Unlike the fiscal year 1999 plans, the majority of the fiscal year 2000
                             performance plans identify external factors that could affect achievement
the Effects of External      of strategic and performance goals. However, far fewer agencies discuss
Factors on Achieving         the strategies they will use to leverage or mitigate the effects of identified
Performance Goals            external factors. Such discussions can help congressional and other

                             15
                              Performance Management: Aligning Employee Performance With Agency Goals at Six Results Act
                             Pilots (GAO/GGD-98-162, Sept. 4, 1998).




                             Page 26                GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                        B-283190




                        decisionmakers determine if the agency has the best mix of program
                        strategies in place to achieve its goals or if additional agency or
                        congressional actions are needed to achieve results.

                        For example, Commerce’s plan identifies many of the external factors that
                        could affect the Patent and Trademark Office’s (PTO) ability to achieve its
                        four strategic goals, but the plan does not clearly describe or indicate how
                        PTO will mitigate the effect of these factors. Under PTO’s strategic goal to
                        “grant exclusive rights, for limited times, to inventors for their
                        discoveries,” the plan states that the patent business’ workload is
                        dependent on foreign economies because about 50 percent of patent
                        applications are from overseas. The plan recognizes that changes in
                        foreign economies could impact PTO’s workload and affect its revenue,
                        but it does not indicate how PTO would adjust to any changes in incoming
                        patent applications from these countries.

                        An agency that improved in this area over last year is USDA’s Grain
                        Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). In its fiscal
                        year 1999 plan, GIPSA did not identify any external factors; however, in its
                        fiscal year 2000 plan, it identifies several important external factors and
                        provides mitigation strategies to address them. For example, GIPSA plans
                        to increase the efficiency of grain marketing by streamlining grain
                        inspection and weighing processes and by providing objective measures
                        of, among other things, grain quality.

                        The majority of the fiscal year 2000 performance plans we reviewed
Performance Plans       provide only limited confidence that performance information will be
Provide Limited         credible, and agencies need to make substantial progress in this area. Only
Confidence That         the plans for Education, Justice, DOT, and SSA provide even general
                        confidence that their performance information will be credible
Performance Data Will
Be Credible             To assess the degree to which an agency’s plan provides confidence that
                        the agency’s performance information will be credible, we examined
                        whether it describes (1) efforts to verify and validate performance data,
                        and (2) data limitations, including actions to compensate for unavailable or
                        low-quality data and the implications of data limitations for assessing
                        performance. Figure 6 shows the results of our assessment of the 24
                        agencies. We categorized each agency’s plan based on the degree to which
                        it collectively addressed the two practices presented above.




                        Page 27           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                      B-283190




Figure 6: Confidence in Performance
Data




                                      Source: GAO analysis based on agencies’ fiscal year 2000 performance plans.




Most Plans Lack                       Like the fiscal year 1999 performance plans, most of the fiscal year 2000
                                      performance plans lack information on the actual procedures the agencies
Information on Data                   will use to verify and validate performance information. Congressional and
Verification and Validation           executive branch decisionmakers must have assurance that the program
                                      and financial data being used will be sufficiently timely, complete,
                                      accurate, useful, and consistent if these data are to inform decisionmaking.

                                      Furthermore, in some cases, data sources are not sufficiently identified.
                                      For example, the Department of State’s performance plan includes data
                                      sources that are sometimes vaguely expressed as “X report” or “Bureau X
                                      records.” Also, SBA identifies sources and means to validate performance
                                      data typically with one or two word descriptors, such as “publications” or
                                      “SBA records.”

                                      Moreover, few agencies provide explicit discussions of how they intend to
                                      verify and validate performance data. For example, some of the
                                      verification processes described in HHS’ Substance Abuse and Mental
                                      Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) performance plan do not
                                      provide confidence in the credibility of its performance information.
                                      Regarding the validity of data that will be used to measure progress in



                                      Page 28                GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
B-283190




offering outreach services to homeless and mentally ill persons, SAMHSA
states “[s]ince the sources of the data are the local agencies that provide
the services, the quality of the data is very good.” SAMHSA appears to be
assuming that these data are valid without indicating whether it plans to
verify the quality of the data or that it has conducted prior studies that
confirm the basis for SAMSHA’s confidence.

Similarly, the performance plan of the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a
component of USDA, contains a limited discussion of the verification and
validation of data relating to goals and measures for its electric program.
The RUS plan states that (1) the relevant data are available in records from
RUS’ automated systems, RUS’ borrower-reported statistics, and USDA’s
Economic Research Service (ERS); (2) RUS has had long experience with
its internal data and is highly confident of its accuracy; and (3) it considers
ERS’ data to be very reliable. RUS, however, does not discuss the basis for
its confidence in its or ERS’ data accuracy and reliability.

On the other hand, a few agencies incorporated in their performance plans
a discussion of procedures to verify and validate data. These procedures
include external reviews, standardization of definitions, statistical
                                                  16
sampling, and Inspector General quality audits. For example, VA is taking
steps to validate measurement systems; developing processes for staff and
independent consultants to examine methodologies; having models
reviewed by expert panels; and obtaining independent evaluations from
nationally recognized experts to review methods of data collection,
statistical analysis, and reporting. The plan states that external reviews are
essential in order to help depoliticize issues related to data validity and
reliability.

Also, Education describes working with the National Postsecondary
Education Cooperative to improve the efficiency and usefulness of data
reported on postsecondary education by standardizing definitions of key
variables, avoiding duplicate data requests, and increasing the level of
communications between the major providers and users of postsecondary
data. Also, the plan outlines a 5-year strategy to streamline and benchmark
the collection of elementary and secondary program data. The goal of this
system is to provide accurate, comparable information about federal
program results to all program participants. Education also plans to work
with its Inspector General to independently monitor the reliability of its
data quality in high priority areas, such as student financial aid.

16
 In a forthcoming report we will provide additional information on strategies, or approaches, that
agencies are using to verify and validate performance information.




Page 29                  GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                            B-283190




Agencies Generally Do Not   Similar to our findings with the fiscal year 1999 performance plans, we
                            found that, in general, the fiscal year 2000 performance plans do not
Address Data Limitations    include discussions of strategies to address known data limitations. When
                            performance data are unavailable or of low quality, a performance plan
                            would be more useful to decisionmakers if it briefly discussed how the
                            agency plans to deal with such limitations. Moreover, discussions of the
                            challenges that an agency faces in obtaining high-quality performance data
                            is helpful to decisionmakers in determining the implications for assessing
                            the subsequent achievement of performance goals.

                            For example, HHS’ ACF performance plan notes that, in the area of child
                            support enforcement, not all states have certified statewide automated
                            systems and some states still maintain their data manually. Additionally,
                            the agency’s Office of Child Support Enforcement has reported that, where
                            these systems are not in place, problems of duplication and missing
                                                     17
                            information could result. Yet, the plan does not discuss the actions ACF
                            will take to compensate for possibly unreliable data.

                            The Environmental Protection Agency’s performance plan describes the
                            databases used for tracking compliance with requirements under the Safe
                            Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act, and the quality assurance and
                            quality control programs, to ensure the accuracy and reliability of these
                            databases. Nevertheless, a number of states have challenged the
                            compliance information in the database for Safe Drinking Water. Although
                            the agency has acknowledged the problem and undertaken a major effort
                            to address it, this data limitation was not discussed in the plan. Thus,
                            decisionmakers are not provided with context that would be helpful in
                            considering whether the agency will be able to confidently report on the
                            degree to which it has achieved its goals.

                            On the other hand, DOT’s performance plan provides important context
                            for decisionmakers by including a good discussion of data limitations and,
                            in particular, the implications of those limitations for the quality of the
                            data. For example, the plan defines the performance measure for maritime
                            oil spills—gallons spilled per million gallons shipped—as only counting
                            spills of less than one million gallons from regulated vessels and
                            waterfront facilities and not counting other spills. The plan further
                            explains that a limitation to the data is that it may underreport the amount
                            spilled because it excludes nonregulated sources and major oil spills.
                            However, it explains that large oil spills are excluded because they occur

                            17
                             Child Support Enforcement: Twentieth Annual Report To Congress, HHS’ Administration for Children
                            and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, September 30, 1995, pp. 166-167.




                            Page 30                GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                            B-283190




                            rarely and, when they do occur, would have an inordinate influence on
                            statistical trends. The plan also explains that measuring only spills from
                            regulated sources is more meaningful for program management.

                            A few performance plans provide information on how agencies are
                            working to improve the availability and quality of their data. For example,
                            the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) indicates that it is
                            seeking to find ways to improve data quality for some of its performance
                            indicators. For its goal of reducing by 10 percent the number of deaths due
                            to infectious diseases of major public health importance by 2007, USAID
                            reports that no data are available on a country-specific basis and that it
                            will be working with the World Health Organization to collect such data by
                            2002. In other instances, USAID indicates that it will seek to ensure
                            collection of relevant data by conducting periodic surveys in USAID-
                            assisted countries.

Poor Financial Management   Federal decisionmakers must have reliable and timely performance and
Limits Data Quality         financial information to ensure adequate accountability, manage for
                            results, and make timely and well-informed judgments. Unfortunately,
                            historically, such information has not been available, and agencies’ and
                            Inspector General reports, as well as our own work, have identified a
                            series of persistent limitations in the availability of quality financial data
                            for decisionmaking. Without reliable data on costs, decisionmakers cannot
                            effectively control and reduce costs, assess performance, and evaluate
                            programs. Under the CFO Act, agencies are expected to fill this gap by
                            developing and deploying more modern financial management systems
                            and routinely producing sound cost information. Toward that end, the 24
                            agencies covered by the CFO Act have been required to prepare annual
                            audited financial statements since fiscal year 1996. These audits have
                            shown how far many agencies have to go to generate reliable year-end
                            information. Table 1 shows the status of audit opinions for the 24 CFO Act
                            agencies for fiscal year 1998 as of June 30, 1999.




                            Page 31            GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                        B-283190




Table 1: The CFO Act Agencies’ Fiscal
Year 1998 Financial Statement Audit     Opinions                                Agencies
Opinions                                Unqualified audit opinions:             •Department of Housing and Urban Development
                                        The financial statements are            •Department of the Interior
                                        reliable in all material respects.      •Department of Labor
                                                                                •Federal Emergency Management Agency
                                                                                •General Services Administration
                                                                                •National Aeronautics and Space Administration
                                                                                •National Science Foundation
                                                                                •Nuclear Regulatory Commission
                                                                                •Social Security Administration

                                        Qualified audit opinions:               •Department of Health and Human Services
                                        Except for some item(s), which          •Department of Energy
                                        are mentioned in the auditor’s          •Department of the Treasury
                                        report, the financial statements        •Department of Veterans Affairs
                                        are reliable in all material
                                        respects.
                                        Disclaimers:                            •Department of Agriculture
                                        The auditor does not know if the        •Department of Defense
                                        financial statements are reliable       •Department of Justice
                                        in all material respects.               •Department of Transportation
                                                                                •U.S. Agency for International Development

                                        Other:                                  •Department of Commerce received an unqualified
                                                                                opinion on its balance sheet and a disclaimer on its
                                                                                other financial statements.
                                                                                •Office of Personnel Management’s Retirement
                                                                                Program, Life Insurance Program, and Health Benefits
                                                                                Insurance Program received unqualified opinions; the
                                                                                Revolving Funds and the Salaries and Expenses
                                                                                Accounts received disclaimers.

                                        Audits Not Completed:                   •Department of Education
                                                                                •Department of State
                                                                                •Environmental Protection Agency
                                                                                •Small Business Administration
                                        Source: Individual agency reports on results of audits of fiscal year 1998 financial statements, as of
                                        June 30, 1999.


                                        For some agencies, the preparation of financial statements requires
                                        considerable reliance on ad hoc programming and analysis of data
                                        produced by inadequate financial management systems that are not
                                        integrated or reconciled, and that often require significant adjustments.
                                        While obtaining unqualified “clean” audit opinions on federal financial
                                        statements is an important objective, it is not an end in and of itself. The
                                        key is to take steps to continuously improve internal controls and
                                        underlying financial and management information systems as a means to



                                        Page 32                  GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
B-283190




ensure accountability, increase the economy, improve the efficiency, and
enhance the effectiveness of government. These systems must generate
timely, accurate, and useful information on an ongoing basis, not just as of
the end of the fiscal year. The overarching challenge in generating timely,
reliable data throughout the year is overhauling financial and related
management information systems.

More fundamentally, the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act
of 1996 (FFMIA) requires that agency financial management systems
                                                   18
comply with (1) financial systems requirements, (2) federal accounting
standards, and (3) the U.S. Government Standard General Ledger at the
transaction level. At the time of our report, financial statement audits for
fiscal year 1998 had been completed on 20 of the 24 CFO Act agencies. Of
those 20, financial management systems for 17 agencies were found by
auditors to be in substantial noncompliance with FFMIA’s requirements.
The three agencies in compliance were DOE, NASA, and NSF. Examples of
reported problems at several agencies are discussed below.

Financial audits at several Commerce bureaus continue to disclose serious
data reliability problems. The performance plan does not acknowledge the
performance implications of its financial management and consolidated
financial statement problems or delays in implementing its new
Consolidated Administrative Management System. However, Commerce’s
performance plan discusses a request for a $2.1 million increase in funding
to (1) target specific problems, ensure the integrity of the department’s
financial statements, and achieve an unqualified financial audit opinion
across the department and (2) help provide an integrated financial
management system to comply with federal accounting requirements.

DOD’s plan acknowledges that data for certain measures and indicators
come from financial and accounting systems that have experienced
problems. However, as we have reported, long-standing weaknesses in
DOD’s financial management operations undermine DOD’s ability to
effectively manage it vast operations, limit the reliability of financial
information provided to Congress, and continue to result in wasted
resources.




18
   The financial management systems requirements have been developed by the Joint Financial
Management Improvement Program, which is a joint and cooperative undertaking of Treasury, OMB,
GAO, and OPM.




Page 33                GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
              B-283190




              In addition, we recently reported that USAID’s internal accounting and
              information systems do not have the capacity to generate reliable data to
              support its performance plan and to produce credible performance
                      19
              reports. USAID’s financial management system does not meet the federal
              financial management systems requirements, and material weaknesses in
              internal controls impair the integrity of its financial information. The
              agency has indicated that it is committed to developing a financial
              management system that will meet federal standards, but the USAID
              Inspector General recently reported that the agency has made only limited
                                                               20
              progress in correcting its system deficiencies.

              Agencies can continue to build on the progress that has been made over
Conclusions   the last year in improving the performance plans by focusing their efforts
              on five key areas that offer the greatest opportunities for continuing
              improvements. These areas—which we identified in assessing last year’s
              plans—include

              (1) better articulating a results orientation,
              (2) coordinating crosscutting programs,
              (3) showing the performance consequences of budget decisions,
              (4) clearly showing how strategies will be used to achieve results, and
              (5) building the capacity within agencies to gather and use performance
              information.

              Better articulating a results orientation. The fiscal year 2000 plans provide
              a general picture of agencies’ intended performance. Each of the plans
              contains at least some results-oriented goals and related performance
              measures, and many of the plans contain informative baseline and trend
              data. Nonetheless, continuing opportunities exist to more consistently
              articulate a results orientation. Some agencies have used multiyear and
              intermediate goals to provide clearer pictures of intended performance.
              Likewise, plans with goals and strategies that address mission-critical
              management challenges and program risks show that agencies are striving
              to build the capacity to be high-performing organizations and reduce the
              risk of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.



              19
               Performance and Accountability Series: Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Agency
              for International Development (GAO/OCG-99-16, January 1999).
              20
                 Reports on USAID’s Financial Statements, Internal Controls and Compliance for Fiscal Year 1998,
              Report # 0-000-99-001-F, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Agency for International Development,
              March 1, 1999.




              Page 34                 GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
B-283190




Coordinating crosscutting programs. Interagency coordination is
important for ensuring that crosscutting program efforts are mutually
reinforcing and efficiently implemented. While agencies continue to make
progress, the substantive work of coordination would be evident if
performance plans more often contained complementary performance
goals, mutually reinforcing strategies, and common or complementary
performance measures. Also not yet widespread are discussions of how
crosscutting program efforts are being coordinated. Crosscutting
programs, by definition, involve more than one agency, and coordination
therefore requires the ability to look across agencies and ensure that the
appropriate coordination is taking place. Given OMB’s position in the
executive branch, its leadership is particularly important in addressing this
issue.

Showing the performance consequences of budget decisions. Some
agencies have begun to develop useful linkages between their performance
plans and budget requests. However, persistent challenges in performance
measurement and deficiencies in cost accounting systems continue to
hamper such efforts. The progress that has been made, the challenges that
persist, and Congress’ interest in having credible, results-oriented
information for making resource allocation decisions underscore the
importance of continued improvement in showing the performance
                                                             21
consequences of budgetary decisions. In a previous report, we
recommended that the Director of OMB assess the approaches agencies
are using to link performance goals to the program activities of their
budget requests. We further recommended that OMB work with agencies
and Congress to develop a constructive and practical agenda to further
clarify the relationship between budgetary resources and results.

Clearly showing how strategies will be used to achieve results. While
agencies’ fiscal year 2000 plans contain valuable and informative
discussions of how strategies and programs relate to goals, additional
progress is needed in explaining how strategies and programs will be used
to achieve results. Specifying clearly in performance plans how strategies
are to be used to achieve results is important to managers and other
decisionmakers in order to determine the right mix of strategies, that is,
one which maximizes performance while limiting costs. We also found that
most fiscal year 2000 performance plans do not sufficiently address how
the agency will use its human capital to achieve results. This lack of
attention to human capital issues suggests that much more effort is needed
to integrate program performance planning and human capital planning.
21
     GAO/AIMD/GGD-99-67, April 12, 1999.




Page 35                   GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                        B-283190




                        More generally, linking the use of capital assets and management systems
                        to results still is not consistently being done.

                        Building the capacity within agencies to gather and use performance
                        information. In order to successfully measure progress toward intended
                        results, agencies need to build the capacity to gather and use performance
                        information. However, most of the agencies’ fiscal year 2000 performance
                        plans provide limited confidence in the credibility of the information that
                        is to be used to assess agencies’ progress toward achieving results. Many
                        plans lack specific detail on the actual procedures the agencies will use to
                        verify and validate performance information, and there are few discussions
                        of known data limitations, such as unavailable or low-quality data, and
                        strategies to address these limitations.

                        We recommend that the Director of OMB ensure that executive agencies
Recommendation to       make continued progress in improving the usefulness of performance
the Director of OMB     planning for congressional and executive branch decisionmaking. As
                        discussed above, in our assessment of the fiscal year 1999 performance
                        plans, we suggested five key improvement opportunities that provide an
                        ongoing agenda for improving the usefulness of agencies’ performance
                        plans. In assessing the fiscal year 2000 plans, we identified important
                        opportunities for continuing improvements in agencies’ plans in each of
                        those five areas:

                      • Better articulating a results orientation, with particular attention to
                        ensuring that performance plans show how mission-critical management
                        challenges and program risks will be addressed.
                      • Coordinating crosscutting programs, with particular attention to
                        demonstrating that crosscutting programs are taking advantage of
                        opportunities to employ complementary performance goals, mutually
                        reinforcing strategies, and common or complementary performance
                        measures, as appropriate.
                      • Showing the performance consequences of budget and other resource
                        decisions.
                      • Clearly showing how strategies will be used to achieve results, with
                        particular attention to integrating human capital and program performance
                        planning.
                      • Building the capacity within agencies to gather and use performance
                        information, with particular attention to ensuring that agencies provide
                        confidence that performance information will be credible.




                        Page 36           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                        B-283190




                        Continued improvements in agencies’ plans should help Congress in
Matter for              building on its recent and ongoing use of performance plans to help inform
Congressional           its own decisionmaking. In that regard, we have long advocated that
Consideration           congressional committees of jurisdiction hold augmented oversight
                        hearings on each of the major agencies at least once each Congress and
                        preferably on an annual basis. Information on missions, goals, strategies,
                        resources, and results could provide a consistent starting point for each of
                        these hearings. Such hearings also will further underscore for agencies the
                        importance that Congress places on creating high-performing executive
                        organizations. Performance planning under the Results Act should allow
                        for more informed discussions about issues such as:

                      • Whether the agency is pursuing the right goals and making progress
                        toward achieving them.
                      • Whether the federal government is effectively coordinating its responses to
                        pressing national needs.
                      • Whether the federal government is achieving an expected level of
                        performance for the budgetary and other resource commitments that have
                        been provided.
                      • The degree to which the agency has the best mix of programs, initiatives,
                        and other strategies to achieve results.
                      • The progress the agency is making in addressing mission-critical
                        management challenges and program risks.
                      • The efforts underway to ensure that the agency’s human capital strategies
                        are linked to strategic and programmatic planning and accountability
                        mechanisms.
                      • The status of the agency’s efforts to use information technology to achieve
                        results.

                        On July 1, 1999, we provided a draft of this letter to the Director of OMB
Agency Comments and     for comment. We did not ask the Director to comment on the agency
Our Evaluation          appendixes because those appendixes were drawn from our individual
                        reviews of the fiscal year 2000 performance plans, on which the agencies
                        were asked to comment. As indicated in each of the appendixes, the
                        complete text of our observations and agencies’ comments on those
                        observations are included on the Internet. On July 12, 1999, a responsible
                        OMB senior staff member stated that the agency did not have any
                        comments on this report.

                        As agreed, unless you announce the contents of this report earlier, we plan
                        no further distribution until 30 days from the date of this letter. At that
                        time, we will send copies of this report to Senator Joseph I. Lieberman,
                        Representative Richard A. Gephardt, and Representative Henry A.Waxman



                        Page 37           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
B-283190




in their respective capacities as the Ranking Minority Member of the
Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Minority Leader of the House
of Representatives, and Ranking Miniority Member of the House
Committee on Government Reform. We are also sending copies to the
Honorable Jacob J. Lew, Director of OMB, and will make copies available
to others on request.

The major contributors to this report are acknowledged in appendix XXVI.
If you have any questions about this report or would like to discuss it
further, please contact J. Christopher Mihm on (202) 512-8676.




Nancy Kingsbury
Acting Assistant Comptroller General




Page 38          GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Page 39   GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Contents



Letter                                                                                                 1


Appendix I                                                                                            50
                        Clarity of Intended Performance                                               50
Scope and               Clarity of Strategies and Resources                                           51
Methodology             Confidence in Performance Data                                                52
                        Degree of Improvement Over Fiscal Year 1999 Plans                             52


Appendix II                                                                                           54
                        Summary of Observations                                                       54
Observations on the     Agency Comments                                                               55
Department of           Key Contact                                                                   56

Agriculture’s
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
Appendix III                                                                                          57
                        Summary of Observations                                                       57
Observations on the     Agency Comments                                                               60
Department of           Key Contact                                                                   60

Commerce’s
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
Appendix IV                                                                                           61
                        Summary of Observations                                                       61
Observations on the     Agency Comments                                                               63
Department of           Key Contact                                                                   63

Defense’s Performance
Plan for Fiscal Year
2000




                        Page 40          GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                       Contents




Appendix V                                                                                          64
                       Summary of Observations                                                      64
Observations on the    Agency Comments                                                              66
Department of          Key Contact                                                                  66

Education’s
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
Appendix VI                                                                                         67
                       Summary of Observations                                                      67
Observations on the    Agency Comments                                                              69
Department of          Key Contact                                                                  69

Energy’s Performance
Plan for Fiscal Year
2000
Appendix VII                                                                                        70
                       Summary of Observations                                                      70
Observations on the    Agency Comments                                                              71
Department of Health   Key Contacts                                                                 72

and Human Services’
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
Appendix VIII                                                                                       73
                       Summary of Observations                                                      73
Observations on the    Agency Comments                                                              75
Department of          Key Contact                                                                  76

Housing and Urban
Development’s
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000




                       Page 41         GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                         Contents




Appendix IX                                                                                           77
                         Summary of Observations                                                      77
Observations on the      Agency Comments                                                              79
Department of the        Key Contact                                                                  80

Interior’s Performance
Plan for Fiscal Year
2000
Appendix X                                                                                            81
                         Summary of Observations                                                      81
Observations on the      Agency Comments                                                              82
Department of            Key Contact                                                                  83

Justice’s Performance
Plan for Fiscal Year
2000
Appendix XI                                                                                           84
                         Summary of Observations                                                      84
Observations on the      Agency Comments                                                              86
Department of Labor’s    Key Contact                                                                  86

Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
Appendix XII                                                                                          87
                         Summary of Observations                                                      87
Observations on the      Agency Comments                                                              88
Department of State’s    Key Contact                                                                  88

Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000




                         Page 42         GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                       Contents




Appendix XIII                                                                                       89
                       Summary of Observations                                                      89
Observations on the    Agency Comments                                                              90
Department of          Key Contact                                                                  90

Transportation’s
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
Appendix XIV                                                                                        91
                       Summary of Observations                                                      91
Observations on the    Agency Comments                                                              92
Department of the      Key Contact                                                                  92

Treasury’s
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
Appendix XV                                                                                         93
                       Summary of Observations                                                      93
Observations on the    Agency Comments                                                              95
Department of          Key Contact                                                                  96

Veterans Affairs’
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
Appendix XVI                                                                                        97
                       Summary of Observations                                                      97
Observations on the    Agency Comments                                                              98
Environmental          Key Contact                                                                  98

Protection Agency’s
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000




                       Page 43         GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                       Contents




Appendix XVII                                                                                      99
                       Summary of Observations                                                     99
Observations on the    Agency Comments                                                            100
Federal Emergency      Key Contact                                                                101

Management Agency’s
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
Appendix XVIII                                                                                    102
                       Summary of Observations                                                    102
Observations on the    Agency Comments                                                            103
General Services       Key Contact                                                                103

Administration’s
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
Appendix XIX                                                                                      104
                       Summary of Observations                                                    104
Observations on the    Agency Comments                                                            106
National Aeronautics   Key Contact                                                                106

and Space
Administration’s
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
Appendix XX                                                                                       107
                       Summary of Observations                                                    107
Observations on the    Agency Comments                                                            108
National Science       Key Contact                                                                108

Foundation’s
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000




                       Page 44         GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                       Contents




Appendix XXI                                                                                      109
                       Summary of Observations                                                    109
Observations on the    Agency Comments                                                            110
Nuclear Regulatory     Key Contact                                                                110

Commission’s
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
Appendix XXII                                                                                     111
                       Summary of Observations                                                    111
Observations on the    Agency Comments                                                            112
Office of Personnel    Key Contact                                                                113

Management’s
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
Appendix XXIII                                                                                    114
                       Summary of Observations                                                    114
Observations on the    Agency Comments                                                            116
Small Business         Key Contact                                                                117

Administration’s
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
Appendix XXIV                                                                                     118
                       Summary of Observations                                                    118
Observations on the    Agency Comments                                                            119
Social Security        Key Contact                                                                120

Administration’s
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000




                       Page 45         GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                       Contents




Appendix XXV                                                                                       121
                       Summary of Observations                                                     121
Observations on the    Agency Comments                                                             122
U.S. Agency for        Key Contact                                                                 122

International
Development’s Annual
Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
Appendix XXVI                                                                                      123

GAO Contacts and
Staff
Acknowledgments
Tables                 Table 1: The CFO Act Agencies’ Fiscal Year 1998                               32
                         Financial Statement Audit Opinions


Figures                Figure 1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of Fiscal                         3
                         Year 2000 Performance Plans
                       Figure 2: Characterization of CFO Act Agencies’ Fiscal                         4
                         Year 2000 Performance Plans
                       Figure 2: (Continued)                                                          5
                       Figure 3: Clarity of Agencies’ Intended Performance                            9
                       Figure 4: Approaches Used to Address Management                               14
                         Challenges and Program Risks
                       Figure 5: Clarity of Agencies’ Strategies and Resources                       20
                       Figure 6: Confidence in Performance Data                                      28
                       Figure II.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                            54
                         Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
                       Figure III.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                           58
                         Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
                       Figure IV.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                            62
                         DOD’s Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
                       Figure V.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                             65
                         Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
                       Figure VI.1: Major Stengths and Key Weaknesses of Fiscal                      68
                         Year 2000 Performance Plan




                       Page 46          GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Contents




Figure VII.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                           70
  HHS’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure VIII.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                          74
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure IX.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                            78
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure X.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                             82
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure XI.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                            85
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure XII.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                           87
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure XIII.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                          89
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure XIV.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                           91
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure XV.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                            94
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure XVI.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                           97
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure XVII.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                          99
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure XVIII.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                       102
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure XIX.1: Major Strengths and Key Weakneses of                          104
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure XX.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                          107
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure XXI.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                         109
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure XXII.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                        112
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure XXIII.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                       115
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure XXIV.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                        118
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Figure XXV.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of                         121
  Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan




Page 47          GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Contents




Abbreviations

ACF         Administration for Children and Families
CFO         chief financial officer
DEA         Drug Enforcement Administration
DOD         Department of Defense
DOE         Department of Energy
DOT         Department of Transportation
ERS         Economic Research Service
FDA         Food and Drug Administration
FFMIA       Federal Financial Management Improvement Act
GIPSA       Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration
GSA         General Services Administration
HHS         Department of Health and Human Services
HUD         Department of Housing and Urban Development
IRS         Internal Revenue Service
ITA         International Trade Administration
IWS/LAN     Intelligent Workstation and Local Area Network
LAE         Limitation on Administrative Expenses
NASA        National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NOAA        National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NRC         Nuclear Regulatory Commission
NSF         National Science Foundation
OMB         Office of Management and Budget
OPM         Office of Personnel Management
PTO         Patent and Trademark Office
RUS         Rural Utilities Service
SAMHSA      Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
SBA         Small Business Administration
SSA         Social Security Administration
USAID       United States Agency for International Development
USDA        United States Department of Agriculture
VA          Department of Veterans Affairs
VBA         Veterans Benefits Administration
VHA         Veterans Health Administration


Page 48         GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Page 49   GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix I

Scope and Methodology


                      To summarize our observations on agencies’ fiscal year 2000 performance
                      plans and to identify the degree of improvement over the fiscal year 1999
                      plans, we analyzed the information contained in our observations of the 24
                      individual CFO Act agencies’ performance plans. Consistent with our
                      approach last year in reviewing the fiscal year 1999 annual plans, our
                      reviews of each of the agencies’ performance plans and our summary
                      analysis of the 24 plans were based on criteria from our evaluator’s guide
                      and our congressional guide, which in turn are based on the Results Act;
                      OMB Circular No. A-11, Part 2; and other related guidance. In the guides,
                      we collapsed the Results Act’s requirements for annual performance plans
                      into three core questions that focus on performance goals and measures,
                                                                                1
                      strategies and resources, and verification and validation. The criteria from
                      the guides were supplemented by practices and examples included in our
                      report Agency Performance Plans: Examples of Practices That Can
                      Improve Usefulness to Decisionmakers (GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-69, Feb. 26,
                      1999), which builds on the improvement opportunities identified in our
                                                                            2
                      fiscal year 1999 performance plans’ summary report.

                      From that work, we derived practices to identify each plan’s strengths and
                      weaknesses and determined the extent to which the plan includes three
                      key elements of informative performance plans: (1) clear picture of
                      intended performance, (2) specific discussion of strategies and resources,
                      and (3) confidence that performance information will be credible. For each
                      of these three key elements, we classified the plan into one of four
                      summary characterizations based on the degree to which the individual
                      plan contains the associated practices.

                      To assess the first key element, clarity of the picture of intended
Clarity of Intended   performance across the agency, we based our judgments on the degree to
Performance           which an agency’s performance plan contains the following practices:

                      1. Sets of performance goals and measures that address program results
                      and the important dimensions of program performance and balance
                      competing program priorities.

                      • If appropriate, the plan contains intermediate goals and measures, such
                        as outputs or intermediate outcomes that are linked to end outcomes
                        and show progress or contribution to intended program results.


                      1
                          GAO/GGD-10.1.20, April 1998, and GAO/GGD/AIMD-10.1.18, February 1998.
                      2
                          GAO/GGD/AIMD-98-228, September 8, 1998.




                      Page 50                  GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                        Appendix I
                        Scope and Methodology




                        • If appropriate, the plan contains projected target levels of performance
                          for current and multiyear goals to convey what a program is expected to
                          achieve for that year and in the long term.

                        2. Baseline and trend data for past performance to show how a program’s
                        anticipated performance level compares with improvements or declines in
                        past performance.

                        3. Performance goals or strategies to resolve mission-critical management
                        problems.

                        4. Identification of crosscutting programs (i.e., those programs that
                        contribute to the same or similar results), complementary performance
                        goals and common or complementary performance measures to show how
                        differing program strategies are mutually reinforcing, and planned
                        coordination strategies.

                        To address the first element concerning the degree to which a plan
                        provides a clear picture of intended performance across the agency, we
                        characterized each plan in one of four ways: (1) provides a clear picture of
                        intended performance across the agency, (2) provides a general picture,
                        (3) provides a limited picture, or (4) provides an unclear picture.

                        To assess the second key element, specificity of the discussion of
Clarity of Strategies   strategies and resources the agency will use to achieve performance goals,
and Resources           we based our judgments on the degree to which an agency’s performance
                        plan contains the following practices:

                        5. Budgetary resources related to the achievement of performance goals.

                        6. Strategies and programs linked to specific performance goals and
                        descriptions of how the strategies and programs will contribute to the
                        achievement of those goals. Specifically, does the plan do the following:

                        • Identify planned changes to program approaches in order to accomplish
                          results-oriented goals. For example, the plan may include a description
                          of performance partnerships with state, local, and third party providers
                          that focus accountability while providing the flexibility needed to
                          achieve results.
                        • Explain, through a brief description or reference to a separate
                          document, how proposed capital assets and mission-critical
                          management systems (e.g., information technology, financial
                          management, budget, procurement, grants management, and other



                        Page 51            GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                         Appendix I
                         Scope and Methodology




                           systems) will support the achievement of program results.

                         7. A brief description or reference to a separate document concerning how
                         the agency plans to build, maintain, and marshal the human capital needed
                         to achieve results.

                         8. Strategies to leverage or mitigate the effects of external factors on the
                         accomplishment of performance goals.

                         To address the second element concerning the extent to which a plan
                         includes specific discussions of strategies and resources, we characterized
                         each plan in one of four ways: (1) contains specific discussion of strategies
                         and resources, (2) general discussion, (3) limited discussion, or (4) no
                         discussion.

                         To assess the final key element, level of confidence that the agency’s
Confidence in            performance information will be credible, we based our judgments on the
Performance Data         degree to which an agency’s performance plan contains the following
                         practices:

                         9. Describes efforts to verify and validate performance data.

                         10. Describes data limitations, including actions to compensate for
                         unavailable or low-quality data, and the implications of data limitations for
                         assessing performance.

                         To address the third element concerning the extent to which a plan
                         provides confidence that performance information will be credible, we
                         characterized each plan in one of four ways as providing: (1) full
                         confidence, (2) general confidence, (3) limited confidence, or (4) no
                         confidence.

                         To determine the degree of improvement in the individual plans, we also
Degree of                examined the extent to which an agency’s fiscal year 2000 performance
Improvement Over         plan addressed the weaknesses that we identified in reviewing its fiscal
Fiscal Year 1999 Plans   year 1999 plan. Based on our analysis, we determined the level of
                         improvement in agencies’ plans by using one of four characterizations: (1)
                         much improvement; (2) moderate improvement; (3) little, if any,
                         improvement; or (4) no improvement. As needed, we also reviewed parts
                         of selected agencies’ fiscal year 2000 annual performance plans to
                         supplement our analysis of our individual agency reviews and to elaborate
                         further on particular issues. To further help us identify opportunities for




                         Page 52            GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix I
Scope and Methodology




agencies to improve future performance plans, we also drew on other
related work.

We reviewed agency performance plans from February through June 1999
and did our work according to generally accepted government auditing
standards. On July 1, 1999, we requested comments from the Director of
OMB on a draft of this report. On July 12, 1999, a responsible OMB senior
staff member stated that the agency did not have any comments on this
report.




Page 53            GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix II

Observations on the Department of
Agriculture’s Performance Plan for Fiscal
Year 2000
                                       On April 13, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
                                       Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) performance plan for fiscal year 2000.
                                       The following are our overall observations on the plan. The complete text
                                       (GAO/RCED-99-187) of our observations and USDA’s comments on those
                                       observations are available at http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?rced-99-187
                                       only on the Internet.

                                       Overall, the USDA performance plan provides a general picture of intended
Summary of                             performance across the Department, a general discussion of the strategies
Observations                           and resources the Department will use to achieve performance goals, and
                                       limited confidence that performance information will be credible. For
                                       example, regarding intended performance, USDA’s Farm Service Agency’s
                                       (FSA) plan has four strategic goals, one of which is to assist agricultural
                                       producers and landowners in achieving a high level of stewardship of soil,
                                       water, air, and wildlife resources on America’s farms and ranches. This
                                       strategic goal includes four performance goals with multiple measures
                                       (such as the number of acres of highly erodible land retired) to indicate
                                       progress toward achieving the goals. Figure II.1 highlights the plan’s major
                                       strengths and key weaknesses as USDA seeks to make additional
                                       improvements to its plan.

Figure II.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000         • Uses goals and measures that address program results and performance.
Performance Plan
                                       • Uses intermediate outputs to show progress toward intended results.
                                       • Explains how proposed capital assets and management systems support
                                       achievement of program results.

                                       Key Weaknesses
                                       • Does not consistently include strategies for mitigating external factors.
                                       • Does not adequately describe efforts to verify and validate data.
                                       • Does not consistently discuss impact of data limitations.

                                       USDA’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan represents a moderate
                                       improvement over the fiscal year 1999 plan in that it indicates some degree
                                       of progress in addressing the weaknesses that we identified in our
                                       assessment of the fiscal year 1999 plan. We observed that the fiscal year
                                       1999 plan did not adequately (1) explain how USDA agencies are
                                       coordinating crosscutting issues within and outside the Department; (2)
                                       discuss mitigation strategies for significant external factors that may
                                       interfere with the achievement of performance goals; (3) describe the
                                       procedures that will be used to ensure that the data needed to measure
                                       progress in meeting performance goals are complete, accurate, and



                                       Page 54           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix II
                  Observations on the Department of Agriculture’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




                  credible; and (4) identify what, if any, limitations exist with respect to the
                  data used for measuring performance. Among the improvements in the
                  fiscal year 2000 plan are (1) better efforts to identify programs that
                  contribute to similar results, (2) more consistent use of goals and
                  measures that address program results and performance, and (3) improved
                  linkages between program activities and performance goals.

                  The Department’s plan, however, could be improved by, among other
                  areas, (1) identifying strategies to mitigate external factors, (2) describing
                  efforts to verify and validate performance data, and (3) discussing data
                  limitations. For example, the Rural Utilities Service’s performance plan
                  lists several performance goals and indicators for the Service’s electric
                  program. However, the plan’s discussion concerning the verification and
                  validation of data relating to these goals and indicators is limited primarily
                  to stating that (1) the data are available in records from the Service’s
                  automated systems, from the Service’s borrower-reported statistics, and
                  from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and (2) the Service has
                  had long experience with its internal data and is highly confident of its
                  accuracy as well as the reliability of ERS’ data. The plan does not,
                  however, discuss the basis for its confidence in the data’s accuracy and
                  reliability nor how data limitations could adversely affect its ability to
                  assess performance. Furthermore, the plan makes no mention of actions
                  that the Rural Utilities Service will take to compensate for any unavailable
                  or low-quality data.

                  The improved use of goals and measures was demonstrated in USDA’s
                  Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration’s (GIPSA) plan.
                  For its performance goal of increasing the efficiency of grain inspection
                  and weighing processes, the plan provides two measures: (1) the
                  percentage of evaluations completed to maintain critical methodology and
                  (2) the number of new and/or improved methods or tests. These measures
                  replaced the fiscal year 1999 measure “number of export facilities
                  equipped with automated grain inspection systems” because GIPSA
                  considered it to be an internal measure of process rather than of output or
                  outcome.

                  We provided a draft of this summary to the U.S. Department of Agriculture
Agency Comments   on April 14, 1999, for its review and comment. We met with USDA’s Chief
                  Financial Officer; the Director, Planning and Accountability Division; and
                  other USDA officials from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer and the
                  Office of Budget and Program Analysis to obtain their oral comments. The
                  officials generally concurred with our observations, describing them as
                  “fair and balanced.” They provided clarifying comments and technical



                  Page 55              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
              Appendix II
              Observations on the Department of Agriculture’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




              corrections, which we have incorporated as appropriate. See
              http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?rced-99-187 for additional information
              on USDA’s comments (in GAO/RCED 99-187) on our observations.

              Lawrence J. Dyckman, Director
Key Contact   Food and Agriculture Issues
              Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division
              (202) 512-5138




              Page 56              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix III

Observations on the Department of
Commerce’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year
2000
               On April 9, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
               Department of Commerce’s performance plan for fiscal year 2000. The
               following are our overall observations on the plan. The complete text
               (GAO/GGD-99-117R) of our observations and Commerce’s comments on
               those observations are available at
               http://www.gao.gov/corresp/gg99117r.pdf only on the Internet.

               Commerce invested a substantial amount of effort in performance
Summary of     planning and in improving the overall format and presentation of its
Observations   performance plan over the previous year’s, with considerable success.
               Commerce’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan provides a general
               picture of intended performance across the department, a general
               discussion of strategies and resources the department will use to achieve
               its goals, and limited confidence that the department’s performance
               information will be credible. The plan should be useful to decisionmakers
               in that it contains departmental crosscutting or management improvement
               goals as well as individual bureau performance goals and targets that
               generally are focused on results, briefly summarizes the means and
               strategies that will be used to achieve those goals, and contains a
               verification/validation section for each performance goal and measure.
               For example, the plan contains useful outcome-oriented performance
               goals and targets for improving both the lead times and accuracy of short-
               term severe weather warnings and forecasts for tornadoes, flash floods,
               and severe thunderstorms. These goals and targets are related to a
               departmental priority goal to reduce and mitigate the impacts of natural
               disasters and to the National Weather Service’s (NWS) technology
               modernization project to improve weather warning and forecast services, a
               project which remains on our governmentwide high-risk list.

               Figure III.1 highlights the plan’s major strengths and key weaknesses as
               Commerce seeks to make additional improvements to its plan.




               Page 57           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                        Appendix III
                                        Observations on the Department of Commerce’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




Figure III.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000          • Includes performance goals and measures linked to strategic
Performance Plan
                                        themes/goals and to departmental priority crosscutting and management
                                        improvement goals.
                                        • Contains results-oriented goals and measures for many key missions.
                                        • Discusses major management challenges and program risks.
                                        • Summarizes the means and strategies and identifies/discusses key
                                        crosscutting activities for each strategic goal and set of related
                                        performance goals.
                                        • Plan’s organization and presentation are useful and reader-friendly.

                                        Key Weaknesses
                                        • Does not contain specific performance goals and targets for some
                                        activities or clearly show how budgetary resources relate to performance
                                        goals.
                                        • Does not discuss crosscutting coordination efforts or evidence
                                        coordination.
                                        • Does not clearly show how strategies and resources will be used to
                                        achieve stated annual goals and performance targets.
                                        • Does not describe strategies to mitigate the effects of identified external
                                        factors.
                                        • Does not clearly describe efforts to verify and validate performance data
                                        or discuss the implications of known performance data limitations.

                                        Commerce’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan represents a moderate
                                        improvement over the fiscal year 1999 plan in that it addresses most, but
                                        not all, of the weaknesses that we identified in our assessment of the fiscal
                                        year 1999 plan. In reviewing the fiscal year 1999 plan, we observed that it
                                        provided only a partial picture of intended performance across the
                                        department; discussed, to some extent, the strategies and resources that
                                        Commerce bureaus would use to achieve targeted levels of performance;
                                        and did not provide sufficient evidence or confidence that performance
                                                                                           1
                                        data would be accurate, complete, and credible. For example, the plan
                                        did not (1) include outcome-oriented goals for many key activities, such as
                                        the 2000 Decennial Census, or clearly show how many of the output-
                                        oriented goals related to results; (2) discuss the performance implications
                                        of known management and data capacity problems, high-risk programs,
                                        and external factors; (3) describe the crosscutting activities Commerce
                                        1
                                        Results Act: Observations on the Department of Commerce’s Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal
                                        Year 1999 (GAO/GGD-98-135R, June 24, 1998).




                                        Page 58                GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix III
Observations on the Department of Commerce’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




shares with other government entities or evidence coordination; or (4)
adequately discuss the strategies and procedures to verify and validate
performance and Commerce’s capacity to produce accurate and reliable
data to measure. Because of Commerce’s “holding company” nature, the
diversity of its missions and functions, and its historically decentralized
management approach, we also expressed concerns about Commerce’s
ability to develop and present focused, useful departmentwide strategic
and annual performance plans that both (1) cover all of its programs and
activities and (2) meet the criteria in the Results Act and other guidance.

Among improvements in the fiscal year 2000 plan are (1) fewer and more
targeted strategic goals, annual performance goals, and performance
measures; (2) more outcome-oriented performance goals and measures
and interim process goals and measures to better gauge progress toward
achieving long-term scientific, social, and public works investment goals;
(3) new plan sections on external factors, means and strategies,
governmentwide crosscutting activities, and resource requirements for
each strategic goal and related set of annual performance goals and
measures; (4) more complete discussions of management challenges
relating to NWS modernization and the 2000 Decennial Census that have
been reported to be high-risk by the Commerce Inspector General (IG) and
our office; and (5) a new plan section on performance verification and
validation for each annual performance goal and measure that shows data
sources, frequency, verification strategy/procedure, data storage
information, and in most cases the baseline data. For example, the plan
contains measurable interim and process goals and related baseline and
trend data to gauge the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA)
progress in achieving its long-term strategic goal to “create jobs and
private enterprise in economically distressed communities,” a goal that
will take up to 9 years to fully realize.

As we reported in our recent special series report on major management
                                                   2
challenges and program risks facing Commerce, the department agrees
that its earlier Results Act plans were lacking in several respects and
seems committed to improving the quality and usefulness of its future
plans. At their request, we had several meetings with Commerce officials
to discuss how the department could improve its fiscal year 2000 annual
performance plan. Commerce made a concerted effort to improve its
fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan and succeeded in developing and
presenting a more useful departmentwide plan that (1) better covers its

2
 Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Commerce (GAO/OCG-99-3,
January 1999).




Page 59               GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix III
                  Observations on the Department of Commerce’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




                  departmental integration efforts and priority goals as well as its numerous
                  and disparate programs, activities, and individual bureaus and (2) more
                  fully meets the criteria in the Results Act and related guidance. Although
                  Commerce’s fiscal year 2000 plan continues to have weaknesses in three
                  core areas that are key for congressional and executive branch oversight
                  and decisionmaking—annual performance goals and measures, strategies
                  and resources, and performance verification and validation—the plan’s
                  overall organization, presentation and readability, and usefulness has been
                  greatly improved, and it can serve as a framework for improving the
                  content of the department’s future annual performance plans.

                  On June 4, 1999, we received Commerce’s written comments from the
Agency Comments   Acting Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration
                  on a draft of this analysis of Commerce’s fiscal year 2000 annual
                  performance plan. She agreed that Commerce needs to strengthen its
                  efforts to verify and validate performance data. She said that Commerce
                  believes that the verification and validation of performance data is a
                  critical issue and that it devoted considerable effort over the past year to
                  defining its methodology and expects to focus in the coming year on
                  ensuring that its performance measurements are reliable and useful.
                  However, she said that there are two major areas in which Commerce
                  disagrees with the draft. These areas are our (1) characterization that
                  Commerce has made only “moderate” improvement relative to its fiscal
                  year 1999 plan and (2) observation that the plan does not provide a
                  complete picture of intended performance for the 2000 Decennial Census.
                  See http://www.gao.gov/corresp/gg99117r.pdf for additional information on
                  Commerce’s comments (in GAO/GGD-99-117R) on our observations.

                  Laurie E. Ekstrand, Associate Director
Key Contact       Federal Management and Workforce Issues
                  General Government Division
                  (202) 512-8676




                  Page 60              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix IV

Observations on the Department of Defense’s
Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000

               On April 16, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
               Department of Defense’s (DOD) performance plan for fiscal year 2000. The
               following are our overall observations on the plan. The complete text
               (GAO/NSIAD-99-178R) of our observations and DOD’s comments on those
               observations is available at http://www.gao.gov/corresp/ns99178r.pdf only
               on the Internet.

               DOD’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance provides a limited picture of
Summary of     intended performance across the Department, a general discussion of
Observations   strategies and resources that will be used to achieve performance goals,
                                                                                     1
               and limited confidence that performance information will be credible. For
               example, while the plan clearly states DOD’s performance goals, it does
               not clearly explain how key output measures such as having 10 active
               Army Divisions will be used along with other information to assess the
               outcomes that result from using DOD’s resources. The plan does not
               explain the limitations of DOD’s performance measure on infrastructure
               spending. As another example, the plan states that there are no known
               deficiencies in data to be used for some performance measures such as the
               disposal of unneeded property held by contractors, although DOD recently
               reported systemic problems in maintaining adequate control and
               management accountability over this property. DOD’s corporate-level
               (strategic) goals are to (1) shape the international environment and
               respond to crises and (2) prepare now for an uncertain future. Figure IV.1
               highlights the plan’s major strengths and key weaknesses.




               1
                DOD’s performance plan is included as appendix J of the Secretary of Defense’s Annual Report to the
               President and the Congress. DOD officials stated that the fiscal year 2000 performance plan was
               designed to be a stand-alone document but that it was deliberately included in the Secretary’s annual
               report because the annual report supports and elaborates on the performance plan. Therefore, we
               considered information throughout the Secretary’s annual report in assessing DOD’s plan.




               Page 61                 GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                       Appendix IV
                                       Observations on the Department of Defense’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




Figure IV.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of DOD’s Fiscal Year 2000   • Includes a clear discussion of corporate-level and annual performance
Performance Plan
                                       goals.
                                       • Includes a general discussion of strategies and resources.
                                       • Includes output-oriented measures and indicators related to most major
                                       management challenges.

                                       Key Weaknesses
                                       • Does not include information on how DOD will qualitatively assess
                                       results.
                                       • Does not explain coordination for crosscutting efforts.
                                       • Does not relate budget program activities to performance goals.
                                       • Does not provide confidence that performance information will be
                                       credible.

                                       This year’s plan represents a moderate improvement over the fiscal year
                                       1999 plan. Specifically, some degree of progress was made in addressing
                                       the weaknesses we and others identified in last year’s plan, which partially
                                       depicted intended performance across the Department, partially discussed
                                       how strategies and resources would help achieve goals, and did not
                                       provide sufficient confidence that performance information would be
                                       credible. Last year’s plan also lacked a discussion of coordination efforts
                                       for most crosscutting activities with other agencies, such as combating
                                       terrorism. Additionally, the plan was not presented in a single document.
                                       As a consequence, last year, the reader was required to refer to a number
                                       of other documents, such as the Quadrennial Review of Military
                                       Compensation, to obtain relevant information.

                                       Among improvements in this year’s plan are (1) inclusion of baseline data
                                                                                                      2
                                       for 39 of 43 unclassified performance measures and indicators; (2)
                                       identification of some known deficiencies such as financial and accounting
                                       system problems; and (3) inclusion of performance goals, measures, and
                                       indicators related to six of nine major management challenges identified
                                                                                                    3
                                       by us and/or the DOD Inspector General (see attached table). Also, this
                                       2
                                        In addition, DOD plans to include eight classified readiness performance measures and indicators,
                                       along with classified goals for each and information on how the credibility of performance data will be
                                       ensured, in a classified document—the January-March 1999 Quarterly Readiness Report to the
                                       Congress.
                                       3
                                        The Senate Committee on Appropriation’s report on DOD’s fiscal year 1999 appropriation bill (S.
                                       Report 105-200) contains suggestions for improving the fiscal year 1999 performance plan. DOD’s fiscal
                                       year 2000 plan responded to these suggestions.




                                       Page 62                  GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix IV
                  Observations on the Department of Defense’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




                  year’s plan is set forth in a single document with references to key support
                  information.

                  In oral comments on a draft of our observations, DOD did not agree with
Agency Comments   our overall assessment of the performance plan and asked that we include
                  their view on two issues. First, DOD officials stated the principal output
                  and outcome of DOD’s annual budget is a specified military force ready to
                  go to war, and the fiscal year 2000 performance plan defines performance
                  goals relevant to that objective. The performance goals establish a
                  measurable path to achievement of the corporate goals articulated in the
                  Department’s strategic plan. Second, officials stated that our
                  characterization of the plan as being of limited use to decisionmakers does
                  not fully reflect their views. They noted that this year’s plan contains more
                  information and is more useful to internal departmental decisionmakers
                  than last year’s plan. However, they recognized that the plan could be
                  made more useful to external decisionmakers by including additional
                  information such as more outcome-oriented measures for business
                  operations such as logistics, which accounts for over half of the
                  Department’s budget.

                  We agree that ready forces are a key output of DOD’s efforts. However, we
                  continue to believe that better results information will require a qualitative
                  assessment of the conduct of military missions, as well as an assessment
                  of investments in technology to improve weapons capabilities. See
                  http://www.gao.gov/corresp/ns99178r.pdf for additional information on
                  DOD’s comments (in GAO/NSIAD-99-178R) on our observations.

                  David R. Warren
Key Contact       Director, Defense Management Issues
                  National Security and International Affairs Division
                  (202) 512-8412




                  Page 63              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix V

Observations on the Department of
Education’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year
2000
               On April 9, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
               Department of Education’s performance plan for fiscal year 2000. The
               following are our overall observations on the plan. The complete text
               (GAO/HEHS-99-136R) of our observations and the Department of
               Education’s comments on those observations are available at
               http://www.gao.gov/corresp/he99136r.pdf only on the Internet.

               Education’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan provides (1) a
Summary of     general picture of intended performance across the agency, (2) a general
Observations   discussion of strategies and resources the agency will use to achieve its
               goals, and (3) general confidence that agency performance information
               will be credible. For example, most performance indicators in the plan
               include baseline or trend data and projections against which to assess
               performance. Similarly, the description of each objective includes a
               discussion of how external factors, such as the level of state and local
               funding for schools, will affect Education’s ability to achieve the objective.
               Figure V.1 highlights the plan’s major strengths and key weaknesses as
               Education seeks to make additional improvements to its plan.




               Page 64            GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                      Appendix V
                                      Observations on the Department of Education’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




Figure V.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000        • Performance objectives and indicators are generally objective,
Performance Plan
                                      measurable, and quantifiable.
                                      • Baseline or trend data for most performance indicators are included.
                                      • Need to coordinate with other federal agencies is discussed.
                                      • Role of external factors on ability to achieve objectives is discussed.
                                      • Data limitations and measures to verify the reliability of performance
                                      measures are described.
                                      • Specific validation and verification efforts are described.
                                      • How evaluations will be used to supplement for performance
                                      measurement shortcomings is shown.

                                      Key Weaknesses
                                      • Some performance measures do not sufficiently cover key aspects of
                                      performance.
                                      • Coordination of specific programs with similar programs in other
                                      agencies or complimentary performance goals and measures are not
                                      discussed.
                                      • Separate discussions of how capital assets, mission critical management
                                      systems, or human capital will support achievement of program results are
                                      not included.
                                      • How some data limitations will be resolved is not indicated.

                                      Education’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan shows moderate
                                      improvement in addressing the weaknesses we identified in our
                                      assessment of its fiscal year 1999 plan. In reviewing the 1999 plan, we
                                      observed that it (l) did not provide a complete picture of the intended
                                      performance of its programs, (2) did not fully discuss how strategies and
                                      resources would help achieve its performance goals, and (3) did not
                                      provide sufficient confidence that its elementary and secondary education
                                      performance information would be credible. Among the most important
                                      improvements, the fiscal year 2000 plan

                                      • includes baselines or trend data for most performance indicators (for
                                      example, half of the 98 indicators in Education’s fiscal year 2000 plan have
                                      both baseline and trend data and about 90 percent now have baseline
                                      data);




                                      Page 65              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix V
                  Observations on the Department of Education’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




                  •identifies within individual program performance plans the strategic
                                                                                           1


                  objectives the program supports;

                  • adds discussions of how external factors impact each objective (for
                  example, many of the key strategies for each objective in the plan discuss
                  how Education will work with nonfederal partners to focus on results and
                  minimize administrative burdens);

                  • rewrites some key strategies to more closely show their relationship to
                  the objective they support;

                  • adds more detailed discussion of Education’s strategies and timelines for
                  improving its performance information (for example, Education’s plan
                  provides specific strategies and timelines for improving the efficiency and
                  quality of the student aid delivery system); and

                  • discusses the data limitations for 97 of the 98 total performance
                  indicators.

                  On May 4, 1999, we obtained oral comments from Department of
Agency Comments   Education officials, including the Director of Planning and Evaluation
                  Service and staff from its Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs,
                  on a draft of our summary of Education’s fiscal year 2000 annual
                  performance plan. These officials generally agreed with our assessment.
                  They said it provided an accurate and constructive opinion of their fiscal
                  year 2000 performance plan. They also acknowledged that additional work
                  is needed in certain areas of the plan and they plan to continue working
                  with the OMB and others to further improve the plan. See
                  http://www.gao.gov/corresp/he99136r.pdf for additional information on
                  Education’s comments (in GAO/HEHS-99-136R) on our observations.

                  Cynthia M. Fagnoni
Key Contact       Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues
                  Health, Education, and Human Services Division
                  (202) 512-7215




                  1
                  Education’s performance plan includes a separate volume that shows the performance plans for each
                  program in its budget.




                  Page 66                GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix VI

Observations on the Department of Energy’s
Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000

               On April 8, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
               Department of Energy’s (DOE) performance plan for fiscal year 2000. The
               following are our overall observations on the plan. The complete text
               (GAO/RCED-99-218R) of our observations and DOE’s comments on those
               observations are available at http://www.gao.gov/corresp/rc99218r.pdf only
               on the Internet.

               DOE’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan provides a limited picture
Summary of     of intended performance across the agency, a general discussion of
Observations   strategies and resources the agency will use to achieve its goals, and
               limited confidence that agency performance information will be credible.
               While the plan is clearly linked to the strategic plan, the strategic plan does
               not always provide quantitative goals and objectives that show what DOE’s
               plans to accomplish. As a result, it is difficult for the user to determine
               whether the annual goals are reasonable and to measure how the
               Department’s annual performance compares with the strategic plan’s goals
               and objectives. For example, under the Environmental Quality business
               line, DOE describes one of its long-term strategies as “Reducing Worker,
               Public, And Environmental Risks” and one of its goals is to “stabilize and
               safely store approximately 53 metric tons of heavy metal of spent nuclear
               fuel.” However, the strategic goal or objective does not describe the total
               amount to be stabilized and stored to meet this long-term strategy.
               Furthermore, for two critical programs—intelligence and
               counterintelligence—DOE does not have any goals and measures for
               addressing the protection of classified or sensitive information and
               technology. In April 1999, we testified that, in the final analysis, security
                                                                                   1
               problems at DOE’s laboratories reflect a lack of accountability.

               While the plan links annual performance to the program activities in the
               President’s budget request, the plan would be more informative if it also
               presented all annual goals by the individual office. For example, annual
               performance can be linked through DOE’s business lines and to the
               organizations contributing to the business lines. However, this structure
               makes it difficult to identify the planned performance by organization.
               Although DOE recognizes the importance of validating and verifying
               performance measures and information systems required to assess its
               accomplishments, the annual plan does not translate that general
               recognition into specific plans for assessing and improving performance.
               For example, the plan states that DOE provides periodic guidance to its
               organizations and that the Inspector General audits its financial statements

               1
                Department of Energy: Key Factors Underlying Security Problems at DOE Facilities (GAO/T-RCED-99-
               159, April 20, 1999).




               Page 67                GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                      Appendix VI
                                      Observations on the Department of Energy’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




                                      but it does not describe the specific procedures it will use in the
                                      verification and validation process. Figure VI.1 highlights the plan’s major
                                      strengths and key weaknesses as DOE seeks to make additional
                                      improvements in its plan.

Figure VI.1: Major Stengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000        • Clearly links annual performance to the strategic plan.
Performance Plan
                                      • Shows how budgetary resources are related to performance goals.

                                      Key Weaknesses
                                      • Strategic goals and objectives do not provide a context for evaluating
                                      planned performance.
                                      • Details are not provided to show how performance will be verified and
                                      validated.

                                      DOE’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan indicates moderate improvement
                                      in addressing the weaknesses we identified in our assessment of the fiscal
                                      year 1999 performance plan. In reviewing the fiscal year 1999 plan, we
                                      observed that the performance plan did not

                                      • provide an overall context for the measurement of performance
                                      addressed in the annual goals,

                                      • link all goals and measures to program activities in the budget request,

                                      • identify annual performance goals with crosscutting issues,

                                      • explain how strategies would contribute to achieving performance goals,
                                      and

                                      • provide details of the procedures to be used to verify and validate its
                                      performance.

                                      Among improvements in the fiscal year 2000 plan are better linkage
                                      between annual performance and program activities in the budget request
                                      and strategies that are linked through strategic objectives to annual
                                      performance goals. However, the annual performance plan could be
                                      improved by providing quantifiable strategic goals and objectives. These
                                      strategic goals and objectives would serve as a context for evaluating the
                                      Department’s planned annual performance, identifying crosscutting issues
                                      with annual performance goals, and providing details showing how
                                      performance will be verified and validated.



                                      Page 68              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix VI
                  Observations on the Department of Energy’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




                  On April 13, 1999, we obtained oral comments from the Director, Strategic
Agency Comments   Planning, Budget & Program Evaluation and members of his office, on a
                  draft of our analysis of DOE’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan.
                  These officials generally agreed with our observations but pointed out
                  several areas they felt needed correction and clarification. DOE believes
                  its use of goals for three fiscal years in the annual plan provides a context
                  for evaluating the reasonableness of the goals. However, DOE also
                  believes the goals of the strategic plan need to be quantifiable to provide a
                  more clear context. We revised the language in the report to show that the
                  goals of the strategic plan need to be quantifiable. Additionally, DOE
                  believes that we improperly used a weakness in its estimating of
                  environmental liabilities in its performance verification and validation
                  process because it is not a performance issue. We agree and deleted this
                  information from the report. Finally, since DOE intends to complete all of
                  its “Year 2000” activities by September 30, 1999, it did not include goals for
                  this effort in its annual plan. We believe that DOE should include Year
                  2000 goals in the annual plan because (1) their tight schedule leaves little
                  time to address unanticipated concerns and (2) several agencies will be
                  developing and testing some Year 2000 strategies through the end of 1999.
                  See http://www.gao.gov/corresp/rc99218r.pdf for additional information on
                  DOE’s comments (in GAO/RCED-99-218R) on our observations.

                  Victor S. Rezendes,
Key Contact       Director, Energy, Resources, and Science
                  Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division
                  202-512-3841




                  Page 69              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix VII

Observations on the Department of Health
and Human Services’ Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
                                        On April 13, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
                                        Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) performance plan for
                                        fiscal year 2000. The following are our overall observations on the plan.
                                        The complete text (GAO/HEHS-99-149R) of our observations and HHS’
                                        comments on those observations are available at
                                        http://www.gao.gov/corresp/he99149r.pdf only on the Internet.

                                        HHS’ fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan consists of a 250-page
Summary of                              department wide summary and 13 individual agency plans. Although the
Observations                            plan more clearly ties performance goals to the Department’s strategic
                                        plan than the 1999 plan did, HHS’ 2000 performance plan provides a limited
                                        picture of intended performance across the Department, a limited
                                        discussion of strategies and resources the Department will use to achieve
                                        its goals, and limited confidence that HHS’ performance information will
                                        be credible. For example, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
                                        Administration (SAMHSA) characterizes the data that will be used to
                                        measure progress in offering outreach services to homeless and mentally
                                        ill persons as “very good” because “the sources of the data are the local
                                        agencies that provide the services.” SAMHSA appears to be assuming that
                                        these data are valid without making any effort to verify the quality of these
                                        data, which are critical to measuring the agency’s performance. Figure
                                        VII.1 highlights the plan’s major strength and key weaknesses as HHS
                                        seeks to make additional improvements to its plan.

Figure VII.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of HHS’ Fiscal Year 2000     • Agency performance goals that are tied to Department strategic plan and
Performance Plan
                                        program activities.

                                        Key Weaknesses
                                        • Agency performance goals not consistently measurable.
                                        • Some key management challenges, such as Year 2000 compliance for
                                        certain key systems and financial system weaknesses, are not adequately
                                        addressed.
                                        • Agency procedures to verify and validate performance data or identify
                                        actions to compensate for low quality data are not adequately described.
                                        • The strategies and resources the agency will use to achieve its
                                        performance goals are not always adequately discussed.
                                        • Sufficient information about strategies to mitigate external factors and to
                                        marshal the human capital needed to achieve results are not provided.

                                        HHS’ fiscal year 2000 performance plan indicates some degree of progress
                                        in addressing the weaknesses that we identified in our assessment of its



                                        Page 70           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix VII
                  Observations on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Performance Plan for Fiscal
                  Year 2000




                  fiscal year 1999 performance plan. In reviewing HHS’ fiscal year 1999 plan,
                  we observed that the plan could (1) more consistently set measurable
                  performance goals; (2) provide information about how HHS agencies will
                  coordinate with one another and other performance partners, such as
                  states, to achieve related goals; (3) identify the resources HHS needs to
                  accomplish its goals; (4) discuss how HHS intends to address problems
                  with performance data; and (5) more consistently link performance goals
                  with HHS’ mission, strategic goals, and program activities. Improvements
                  in the fiscal year 2000 plan include (1) a description of how Department
                  strategic goals relate to key programs and initiatives, and identification of
                  some agency performance goals that implement Department strategic
                  goals; (2) better descriptions of strategies and resources needed to
                  accomplish performance goals; and (3) better identification of data to be
                  used to measure performance and better discussions of data weaknesses.
                  For example, HHS’ fiscal year 2000 performance plan includes an
                  expanded departmentwide summary that links Departmental strategic
                  goals to programs and initiatives and selected performance goals and
                  measures from the agencies’ performance plans. Further, the plan
                  identifies the agencies responsible for implementing departmentwide
                  goals.

                  On April 27, 1999, the HHS Assistant Secretary of Management and Budget
Agency Comments   provided written comments on our draft observations on the HHS plan.
                  The Department generally did not agree with our assessment; it also stated
                  that it will continue to work with the Office of Management and Budget
                  and HHS’ performance partners to ensure that future plans continue to
                  provide data that support budget and program decisions. HHS disagreed
                  with our observations in five specific areas: (1) agency performance goals
                  are not consistently measurable; (2) the plan does not adequately address
                  key management challenges; (3) HHS will not have credible data; (4) HHS
                  does not adequately discuss the strategies and resources the agency will
                  use to achieve its performance goals; and (5) HHS does not provide
                  sufficient information about strategies to mitigate external factors and to
                  marshal the human capital needed to achieve results. We made technical
                  corrections where appropriate, but continue to believe that our
                  assessment was accurate. For example, we noted that some significant
                  programs do not have performance goals. See
                  http://www.gao.gov/corresp/he99149r.pdf for additional information on
                  HHS’ comments (in GAO/HEHS-99-149R) on our observations.




                  Page 71              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
               Appendix VII
               Observations on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Performance Plan for Fiscal
               Year 2000




               William J. Scanlon
Key Contacts   Director, Health Financing and Public Health Issues
               Health, Education and Human Services Division
               (202) 512-7114

               Cynthia M. Fagnoni
               Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues
               Health, Education and Human Services Division
               (202) 512-7215




               Page 72              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix VIII

Observations on the Department of Housing
and Urban Development’s Performance Plan
for Fiscal Year 2000
                On April 22, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
                Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) performance
                plan for fiscal year 2000. The following are our overall observations on the
                plan. The complete text (GAO/RCED-99-208R) of our observations and
                HUD’s comments on those observations are available at
                http://www.gao.gov/corresp/rc99208r.pdf only on the Internet.

                HUD’s fiscal year 2000 provides a general picture of intended
Summary of      performance across the Department and a general discussion of the
Observations    strategies and resources to achieve its strategic goals.1 Specifically,
                the plan appears to cover all of HUD’s program activities, links the
                program activities to strategic goals and objectives, identifies
                outcome and output indicators that generally are results oriented
                and measurable, discusses strategies for achieving the objectives,
                and cites specific data sources related to each indicator. However,
                the plan provides only limited confidence that the performance data
                will be credible. For example, many of the indicators rely on data
                from external sources that HUD does not plan to verify, and other
                indicators rely on systems that are new and that HUD says may need
                further testing or may require that the indicators be recalibrated
                once the data are known. Figure VIII.1 highlights the plan’s major
                strengths and key weaknesses.




                1
                 HUD’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan revised the terminology used in the Department’s
                previous plan in order to conform to guidance from the Office of Management and Budget. Specifically,
                strategic goals and objectives in the fiscal year 2000 plan were called strategic objectives and
                performance goals, respectively, in the fiscal year 1999 plan. We use the current terminology
                throughout this document.




                Page 73                 GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                           Appendix VIII
                                           Observations on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Performance Plan for
                                           Fiscal Year 2000




Figure VIII.1: Major Strengths and Key
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000             Major Strengths
Performance Plan                           • Contains results-oriented goals and quantifiable measures.
                                           • Discusses strategies for achieving intended performance.
                                           • Identifies crosscutting activities.
                                           • Identifies specific data sources, as well as limitations or advantages of
                                           the data.
                                           • Discusses planned validation/verification of performance measures.

                                           Key Weaknesses
                                           • Does not show how budgetary resources are allocated to achieving
                                           performance goals.
                                           • Provides limited confidence that the performance data will be credible.
                                           • Does not link its human resources to its strategic goals and objectives.
                                           • Does not describe planned coordination strategies.

                                           HUD’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan is an improvement over
                                           the previous plan and is well on its way to addressing the weaknesses we
                                           identified in our assessment of HUD’s fiscal year 1999 annual performance
                                                2
                                           plan. In reviewing the fiscal year 1999 plan, we observed that the plan did
                                           not

                                         • cover all the program activities in HUD’s budget and that the
                                           consolidations and aggregations of program activities were not clearly
                                           explained;
                                         • fully discuss how HUD would coordinate with other agencies having
                                           related goals or define its contributions to the crosscutting activities,
                                         • fully discuss the strategies that HUD intended to pursue to achieve its
                                           performance goals;
                                         • provide a complete discussion of the resources needed to achieve the
                                           performance goals; and
                                         • relate HUD’s information systems to specific indicators, discuss all of the
                                           systems from which performance data would be extracted, or discuss the
                                           data’s limitations and their possible effects on the performance indicators.




                                           2
                                           Results Act: Observations on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Fiscal Year 1999
                                           Annual Performance Plan (GAO/RCED-98-159R, June 5, 1998).




                                           Page 74                GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                    Appendix VIII
                    Observations on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Performance Plan for
                    Fiscal Year 2000




                    In contrast, the fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan

                  • includes tables listing the budget accounts and/or program activities that
                    support each objective and an appendix that summarizes the links for all
                    of the strategic goals and objectives;
                  • discusses HUD’s coordination with other agencies on the objectives,
                    where applicable;
                  • discusses specific strategies for each objective;
                  • includes a resource allocation table that shows which strategic goals are
                    supported by the discretionary funding and staff resources in HUD’s
                    budget accounts; and
                  • includes a data source, a statement of the data’s limitations or advantages,
                    and a discussion of the validation and verification efforts for each
                    performance indicator.

                    In addition, the current plan explains the link between HUD’s objectives
                    and HUD’s 2020 Management Reform Plan, which was implemented to
                    address HUD’s major management challenges, and includes a separate
                    section that discusses HUD’s management, financial, and quality assurance
                    improvements.

                    However, the fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan could be further
                    improved if it showed the allocation of the budgetary resources needed to
                    achieve specific performance goals, more specifically discussed HUD’s
                    strategies for coordinating with other agencies, and eliminated
                    inconsistencies within the plan and among the related budget documents.
                    In addition, HUD should increase its efforts to verify and validate data and
                    continue to develop a model for linking resource allocation to strategic
                    goals and objectives.

                    We provided HUD with a draft of this report for review and comment. On
Agency Comments     May 11, 1999, Deputy Secretary Saul N. Ramirez responded with written
                    comments. In these comments, HUD generally agreed with our report,
                    stated that it captured the annual performance plan’s major improvements,
                    and stated that the Department is committed to taking specific actions to
                    improve in the areas we identified. However, HUD raised specific concerns
                    about our observations on the credibility of its performance measurement
                    data and its interagency coordination strategies. We did not revise our
                    observations as a result of the comments; however, we modified the
                    report, where appropriate, to clarify our observations on how the plan
                    could be improved. See http://www.gao.gov/corresp/rc99208r.pdf for
                    additional information on HUD’s comments (in GAO/RCED-99-208R) on
                    our observations.



                    Page 75              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
              Appendix VIII
              Observations on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Performance Plan for
              Fiscal Year 2000




              Judy A. England-Joseph
Key Contact   Director, Housing and Community Development Issues
              Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division
              202-512-7631




              Page 76              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix IX

Observations on the Department of the
Interior’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year
2000
               On May 17, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
               Department of the Interior’s performance plan for fiscal year 2000. The
               following are our overall observations on the plan. The complete text
               (GAO/RCED-99-207R) of our observations and Interior’s comments on
               those observations are available at
               http://www.gao.gov/corresp/rc99207r.pdf only on the Internet.

               Interior’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan consists of 10
Summary of     components—a departmental overview and 9 component plans. Most of
                                                                                  1


Observations   the plans should provide a general picture of intended performance across
               the agency and a general discussion of the strategies and resources that
               the agencies will use to achieve their performance goals. However,
               additional work is needed to provide confidence that the performance
               information will be credible. For example, most of the component plans
               have performance measures that represent progress towards the
               performance goals. To illustrate, NPS’ plan has an annual goal to reduce by
               7 percent the rates of safety-related incidents in which visitors are
               involved. To measure accomplishments, NPS will use statistics that depict
               law enforcement incidents, natural resource violations, search-and-rescue
               missions, and traffic accidents. However, most of the component plans do
               not discuss the actions needed to compensate for unavailable or low-
               quality data or the implications of data limitations for assessing
               performance. Figure IX.1 highlights the plan’s major strengths and key
               weaknesses that need to be addressed in future plans.




               1
                The nine subagencies are the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM),
               Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Minerals Management Service
               (MMS), National Park Service (NPS), Office of the Special Trustee For American Indians (OST), Office
               of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), and U. S. Geological Survey (USGS). We did
               not review the plans for the Office of Insular Affairs, Inspector General, or Office of the Solicitor.




               Page 77                 GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                       Appendix IX
                                       Observations on the Department of the Interior’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




Figure IX.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000         • Contains results-oriented goals and quantifiable measures.
Performance Plan
                                       • Discusses strategies for achieving intended performance.
                                       • Plans follow a consistent format making them more user friendly than
                                       those from fiscal year 1999.

                                       Key Weaknesses
                                       • Most of the plans do not provide specific procedures to credibly validate
                                       and verify performance information.
                                       • Most of the plans do not identify or recognize issues that would
                                       significantly affect data limitations and their implication for assessing
                                       whether goals are being achieved.

                                       Interior’s fiscal year 2000 performance plans show moderate improvement
                                       in addressing weaknesses that we identified in our assessment of the fiscal
                                       year 1999 plans. In reviewing the fiscal year 1999 plans, we observed
                                       overall that the plan was not user-friendly. The component plans had to be
                                       reviewed in conjunction with the budget justifications. Therefore,
                                       understanding the totality was an overwhelming and time-consuming task
                                       involving a review of about 3,500 pages of material. More specifically, we
                                       said that the plans were limited in describing the strategies to accomplish
                                       performance goals; discussing the actions to address external factors that
                                       were likely to affect performance; describing the capital, human, and other
                                       resources to be used to achieve performance goals; describing credible
                                       procedures to verify and validate performance information, and
                                       recognizing known significant limitations to data from agency sources. For
                                       example, BIA’s fiscal year 1999 performance plan contained strategies for
                                       achieving its strategic goals that in some cases were very different from
                                       those identified in its strategic plan.

                                       While Interior’s fiscal year 2000 total plan is still quite lengthy, it is
                                       significantly more user-friendly. Specifically the overall plan (1) follows a
                                       consistent format among all of the component plans making it easier to
                                       locate material, (2) shows improved linkages between the component
                                       plans and among the goals and strategies within each individual plan, and
                                       (3) has fewer and, as a result, more focused, goals and measures. In
                                       addition, the departmental overview plan identifies department wide goals
                                       that are more clearly presented. Furthermore, the fiscal year 2000 plans
                                       are becoming more stand-alone documents in that they do not have to be
                                       read in conjunction with the budget justifications in order to provide a




                                       Page 78              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix IX
                  Observations on the Department of the Interior’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




                  reasonable understanding of each plan. Also, the plans do a better job of
                  developing goals that are measurable, describing the strategies that the
                  agencies will use to measure the accomplishment of goals, and discussing
                  the external factors that have an effect on accomplishing the stated goals.

                  Despite the overall improvements, the component plans need to continue
                  to be strengthened to ensure that their performance information is
                  sufficiently complete, accurate, and consistent. For example, six of the
                  component plans still need to better identify significant data limitations
                  and their implications for assessing the achievement of performance goals.
                  Another area in which additional improvements are needed is in linking
                  performance goals to program activities in the President’s budget request.
                  Five of the plans need to provide better linkages. For example, FWS’ plan
                  identifies funding levels for “GPRA program activities” but does not
                  explain how these GPRA program activities were derived from the
                  program activities in the agency’s budget justification.

                  On April 7, 1999, we met with Interior officials, including the Deputy
Agency Comments   Assistant Secretary of Budget and Finance, the Director of the Office of
                  Planning and Performance Management, and the Director of the Office of
                  Financial Management to obtain agency comments. We were subsequently
                  provided written comments on April 9, 1999. Interior officials believe that
                  its fiscal year 2000 performance plan meets the requirements of the Results
                  Act and the guidelines provided by the Office of Management and Budget
                  in Circular A-11. However, the Department acknowledges that
                  improvements can be made to its plan. Interior also noted that the
                  development of its performance plan is an iterative process and that
                  progress will continue as the agency gains additional knowledge and
                  experience with performance-based, results-oriented management. The
                  Department did not agree with our observation that it had not made
                  significant progress in the area of validating and verifying performance
                  information. While they believe that some improvements can be made,
                  they said that the fiscal year 2000 plan includes validation processes for
                  each measure and that we did not give them enough credit for the progress
                  they made in describing the information on the validation and verification
                  measures in their plans. We agreed that the department improved its
                  discussion of validation and verification measures over its fiscal year 1999
                  plans and that additional improvements can be made. See
                  http://www.gao.gov/corresp/rc99207r.pdf for additional information on
                  Interior’s comments (in GAO/RCED-99-207R) on our observations.




                  Page 79              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
              Appendix IX
              Observations on the Department of the Interior’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




              Victor S. Rezendes, Director
Key Contact   Energy, Resources, and Science Issue Area
              Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division
              (202) 512-3841




              Page 80              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix X

Observations on the Department of Justice’s
Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000

               On March 30, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
               Department of Justice’s performance plan for fiscal year 2000. The
               following are our overall observations of the plan. The complete text
               (GAO/GGD-99-111R) of our observations and Justice’s comments on those
               observations is available at http://www.gao.gov/corresp/gg99111r.pdf only
               on the Internet.
                                                                       1
               Justice’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan provides a general picture of
Summary of     intended performance across the Department, a general discussion of
Observations   strategies and resources the Department will use to achieve its goals, and
               general confidence that the Department’s performance information will be
               credible. However, the plan did not identify mutually reinforcing goals and
               measures. An illustration of intended performance is the Tax Division’s use
               of the Internal Revenue Service’s current compliance rate measure of its
               success in reaching its goal to maximize deterrence and foster voluntary
               taxpayer compliance. Also, to ensure credible performance information,
               Justice will be assessing data quality, consistency, and reliability; and
               collecting, verifying, and analyzing performance data. However, a
               summary performance plan goal related to reducing white-collar crime is
               to confront the increase in health care fraud by successfully prosecuting
               and obtaining judgments against individuals and organizations that defraud
               federal health care programs. The summary performance plan identifies
               three components—Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Criminal
               Division, and the U.S. Attorney—that are responsible for achieving this
               goal. The plan does not explain how the strategies of the components‘ and
               agencies’ with roles in health care are mutually reinforcing, nor does it
               establish common or complimentary performance indicators. Figure X.1
               highlights the plan’s major strengths and key weaknesses that need to be
               addressed in future plans.




               1
                Justice prepared a summary performance plan that includes the major program goals the Department
               expects to achieve in fiscal year 2000 and summarizes the more detailed performance plans of its
               components. The component plans are part of Justice’s fiscal year 2000 congressional authorization
               and budget submission. Together, Justice’s summary performance plan and the component
               performance plans constitute Justice’s performance plan for fiscal year 2000.




               Page 81                GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                      Appendix X
                                      Observations on the Department of Justice’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




Figure X.1: Major Strengths and Key
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000        Major Strengths
Performance Plan                      • Provides clear relationships between goals and measures.
                                      • Contains goals and measures that are quantifiable, with related baselines
                                      and targets.
                                      • Discusses strategies for ensuring that its performance data are credible.

                                      Key Weaknesses
                                      • Does not sufficiently identify mutually reinforcing goals and measures
                                      among Justice components.
                                      • Does not fully show how funding from program activities will be
                                      allocated to performance goals.

                                      Justice’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan represents a moderate
                                      improvement over the fiscal year 1999 plan in that it indicates some degree
                                      of progress in addressing the weaknesses that we identified in our
                                      assessment of the fiscal year 1999 plan. In reviewing the fiscal year 1999
                                      plan, we observed that the plan could be more useful if it (1) clarified how
                                      major Justice programs would contribute to achieving the performance
                                      goals, (2) better described how requested resources would produce the
                                      expected results, and (3) provided more specific information on plans to
                                      improve the accuracy and completeness of performance data. Among
                                      improvements in the fiscal year 2000 plan is the emphasis Justice places on
                                      data integrity, including its requirement that components identify the data
                                      source for each performance indicator and discuss steps they will take to
                                      insure data accuracy. For example, the Civil Division has identified steps it
                                      is taking to achieve integrity of its database through contractor verification
                                      of a representative sample of data. However, the plan did not identify
                                      mutually reinforcing goals and measures. For example, a summary
                                      performance plan goal related to reducing white-collar crime is to confront
                                      the increase in health care fraud by successfully prosecuting and obtaining
                                      judgments against individuals and organizations that defraud federal
                                      health care programs. The summary performance plan identifies three
                                      components—Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Criminal Division,
                                      and the U.S. Attorney—that are responsible for achieving this goal. The
                                      plan does not explain how the strategies of the components’ and agencies’
                                      with roles in health care are mutually reinforcing, nor does it establish
                                      common or complimentary performance indicators.

                                      On April 14, 1999, we obtained comments from Justice Department
Agency Comments                       officials, including the Deputy Director, Budget Staff, on a draft of our
                                      analysis of Justice’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan. These officials



                                      Page 82              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
              Appendix X
              Observations on the Department of Justice’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




              generally agreed with the draft of our analysis. See
              http://www.gao.gov/corresp/gg99111r.pdf for additional information on
              Justice’s comments (in GAO/GGD-99-111R) on our observations.

              Norman J. Rabkin
Key Contact   Administration of Justice Issues
              General Government Division
              (202) 512-8777




              Page 83              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix XI

Observations on the Department of Labor’s
Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000

               On April 9, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
               Department of Labor’s performance plan for fiscal year 2000. The
               following are our overall observations on the plan. The complete text
               (GAO/HEHS-99-152R) of our observations and Labor’s comments on those
               observations are available at http://www.gao.gov/corresp/he99152r.pdf
               only on the Internet.

               Labor’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan provides a generally
Summary of     clear picture of intended performance across the agency and provides a
Observations   general discussion of strategies and resources the agency will use to
               achieve its goals. However, the plan provides limited confidence that
               information on agency performance will be credible. For example, Labor’s
               plan identifies budgeted funding amounts for each of the three strategic
               goals and details the activities from the component offices that will help
               accomplish each of the strategic goals. However, the lack of reliable and
               timely data across all of Labor’s data systems raise concerns about its
               ability to accurately assess performance. Figure XI.1 highlights the plan’s
               major strengths and key weaknesses that need to be addressed in future
               plans.




               Page 84           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                       Appendix XI
                                       Observations on the Department of Labor’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




Figure XI.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000         • Performance goals and measures are objective, clear, measurable, and
Performance Plan
                                       provide a clear picture of intended performance across the agency.
                                       •The need for information technology goals was recognized and goals
                                       were developed.
                                       •Human capital management goals have been revised to better address
                                       workplace issues.
                                       •Means and strategies are linked to performance goals.

                                       Key Weaknesses
                                       • Serious data limitations affect the accuracy of reported performance.
                                       Labor recognizes these limitations but does not discuss how the data
                                       limitations it identifies will affect its measurement of performance goals.
                                       •The plan does not adequately describe how Labor will actively work with
                                       other agencies that share responsibility for some of Labor’s functions to
                                       ensure that Labor’s goals are achieved.
                                       •The plan does not always explain how strategies will help achieve
                                       individual performance goals.

                                       Labor’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan represents a moderate
                                       improvement over the fiscal year 1999 plan, because Labor has made some
                                       progress in addressing the weaknesses we identified last year. In reviewing
                                       the fiscal year 1999 plan, we observed that it (1) provided only a partial
                                       picture of intended performance across the agency, (2) partially portrayed
                                       how Labor’s strategies and resources would help achieve its goals, and (3)
                                       did not provide sufficient confidence that the agency’s performance
                                       information would be credible.

                                       Among improvements in the fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan are
                                       modified performance goals that better focus on outcomes and elimination
                                       of other goals that could not be adequately measured. For example, Labor
                                       made one goal measurable by specifying a percentage increase for job
                                       retention and wages for Job Corps program participants. Labor also
                                       eliminated a goal that was not measurable relating to distribution of
                                       educational materials on pensions. A second improvement is a better
                                       linking of agency strategies to specific performance goals. For example,
                                       for each strategy listed, Labor identified the specific performance goal to
                                       which it applied. Thirdly, Labor added goals related to information
                                       technology. For example, one goal states that Labor will complete reviews
                                       of 70 percent of risk assessment and disaster recovery plans developed to



                                       Page 85              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix XI
                  Observations on the Department of Labor’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




                  ensure that its information systems are adequately protected, secure from
                  tampering, reliable; and that security is well managed and documented.

                  On April 21, 1999, we obtained written comments from the Department of
Agency Comments   Labor’s Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management on a draft
                  of our analysis of the Department of Labor’s fiscal year 2000 annual
                  performance plan. Labor generally concurred with our observations of the
                  plan’s strengths and weaknesses and acknowledged the needed plan
                  improvements in the areas of improved data quality, better descriptions of
                  collaboration efforts, and clearer linkages between strategies and goals.
                  Labor also stated that it will use our analysis of its fiscal year 2000 plan as
                  a basis for improvements to the next version of its performance plan. See
                  http://www.gao.gov/corresp/he99152r.pdf for additional information on
                  Labor’s comments (in GAO/HEHS-99-152R) on our observations.

                  Cynthia M. Fagnoni, Director
Key Contact       Education, Workforce and Income Security Issues
                  Health, Education and Human Services Division
                  (202) 512-7215




                  Page 86              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix XII

Observations on the Department of State’s
Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000

                                        On April 8, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
                                        Department of State’s performance plan for fiscal year 2000. The following
                                        are our overall observations on the plan. The complete text (GAO/NSIAD-
                                        99-183R) of our observations and the Department of State’s comments on
                                        those observations are available at
                                        http://www.gao.gov/corresp/ns99183r.pdf only on the Internet.
                                                                       1
                                        State’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan provides a partial picture
Summary of                              of (1) intended performance across the agency, (2) the strategies and
Observations                            resources that will be used to achieve the performance goals, and (3) the
                                        methods it will employ to ensure the credibility of the information used to
                                        assess agency performance. For example, State’s strategic goal of opening
                                        foreign markets has two areas of emphasis. However, the plan provides
                                        performance information for only one of them. Figure XII.1 highlights the
                                        plan’s major strengths and key weaknesses that need to be addressed in
                                        future plans.

Figure XII.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000          • Contains more results-oriented goals, strategies, and quantifiable
Performance Plan
                                        measures.
                                        • Includes baseline and targets for each performance indicator.

                                        Key Weaknesses
                                        • Does not provide a complete performance picture for all strategic goals.
                                        • Does not sufficiently describe how resources will help achieve goals.
                                        • Does not describe efforts to verify and validate performance data.

                                        State’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan represents a moderate
                                        improvement over the fiscal year 1999 plan in that it shows some progress
                                        in addressing the weaknesses we identified in our assessment of that plan.
                                        In reviewing the fiscal year 1999 plan, we observed that (1) many of the
                                        goals were not clearly stated and/or extended beyond State’s span of
                                        control, (2) the plan did not have baselines and targets for each
                                        performance indicator, and (3) crosscutting issues and data limitations
                                        were not addressed. Among improvements in the fiscal year 2000 plan are
                                        the addition of baselines, targets, and quantifiable measures to gauge
                                        performance, and results-oriented goals that better capture what State can
                                        accomplish.


                                        1
                                         This plan sets out the Department of State’s performance targets for fiscal years 1999 and 2000. It
                                        replaces the fiscal year 1999 plan submitted in February 1998. The performance report due in March
                                        2000 will report results against the fiscal year 1999 targets from this plan.




                                        Page 87                  GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix XII
                  Observations on the Department of State’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




                  On April 13, 1999, we obtained comments from officials of State's Office of
Agency Comments   Management Policy and Planning and the Bureau of Finance and
                  Management Policy on a draft of our analysis of the agency's fiscal year
                  2000 annual performance plan. These officials generally agreed with our
                  analysis. However, they questioned the need for identifying the roles,
                  responsibilities, and complementary performance goals and measures of
                  other agencies with crosscutting programs. They believe that adding more
                  detailed references to other agencies goes beyond what time and
                  resources will allow. They also requested a more explicit discussion of the
                  requirement that the plan show how State's personnel, capital assets, and
                  mission-critical management systems contribute to achieving performance
                  goals. We have included additional guidance on this issue in our analysis.
                  See http://www.gao.gov/corresp/ns99183r.pdf for additional information on
                  State’s comments (in GAO/NSIAD-99-183R) on our observations.

                  Benjamin F. Nelson, Director
Key Contact       International Relations and Trade Issues
                  National Security and International Affairs Division
                  (202) 512-4128




                  Page 88              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix XIII

Observations on the Department of
Transportation’s Performance Plan for Fiscal
Year 2000
                                         On April 7, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
                                         Department of Transportation’s (DOT) performance plan for fiscal year
                                         2000. The following are our overall observations on the plan. The complete
                                         text (GAO/RCED-99-153) of our observations and DOT’s comments on
                                         those observations are available at
                                         http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?rced-99-153 only on the Internet.

                                         DOT’s performance plan for fiscal year 2000 provides a clear picture of
Summary of                               intended performance across the Department, a specific discussion of the
Observations                             strategies and resources the Department will use to achieve its goals, and
                                         general confidence that DOT’s performance information will be credible.
                                         For example, the performance goal for reducing recreational boating
                                         fatalities from 819 in fiscal year 1997 to 720 or fewer in fiscal year 2000 will
                                         be accomplished by activities of several U.S. Coast Guard programs—
                                         boating safety grants provided to the states, regulations developed by the
                                         Recreational Boating Safety program, and boat inspections conducted by
                                         the Coast Guard auxiliary. Figure XIII.1 highlights the plan’s major
                                         strengths and key weaknesses as DOT seeks to make additional
                                         improvements to its plan.

Figure XIII.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000           • Contains results-oriented goals and quantifiable.
Performance Plan
                                         • Discusses strategies and resources for achieving intended performances.
                                         • Describes efforts to verify and validate performance data and the data’s
                                         limitations.

                                         Key Weaknesses
                                         • Does not consistently link the strategic outcomes to the performance
                                         goals.
                                         • Does not consistently explain coordination strategies with outside
                                         organizations.
                                         • Does not consistently include goals and measures for addressing the
                                         management challenges facing the Department.

                                         DOT’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan represents a moderate
                                         improvement over the fiscal year 1999 plan in that it indicates some degree
                                         of progress in addressing the weaknesses that we identified in our
                                         assessment of the fiscal year 1999 plan. We observed that the fiscal year
                                         1999 plan did not (1) sufficiently address management challenges facing
                                         the Department; (2) consistently link strategic goals, program activities,
                                         and performance goals; (3) indicate interagency coordination for
                                         crosscutting areas; or (4) provide sufficient information on external



                                         Page 89            GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix XIII
                  Observations on the Department of Transportation’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




                  factors, the processes and resources for achieving the goals, and the
                  performance data. Among the improvements in the fiscal year 2000 plan
                  are more consistent linkages among the program activities and
                  performance goals, additional information on external factors and
                  strategies for achieving the goals, and a more comprehensive discussion of
                  the data’s quality. However, the plan still needs improvement, especially in
                  explaining how certain management challenges, such as financial
                  management weaknesses, will be addressed. For example, DOT’s Office of
                  Inspector General (OIG) reported that the Department’s accounting
                  system could not be used as the only source of financial information to
                  prepare its financial statements. While the fiscal year 2000 plan does not
                  address this issue, DOT has recognized the financial reporting deficiencies
                  identified by the OIG and is taking actions to correct them. The lack of
                  accountability for financial activities is a key challenge that DOT faces in
                  implementing performance-based management.

                  We provided copies of a draft of these observations to DOT for review and
Agency Comments   comment. The Department stated that it appreciated GAO’s favorable
                  review of its fiscal year 2000 performance plan and indicated that it had
                  put much work into making improvements over the fiscal year 1999 plan
                  by addressing our comments on that plan. DOT made several suggestions
                  to clarify the discussion of its financial accounting system, which we
                  incorporated. The Department acknowledged that work remains to be
                  done to improve its financial accounting system and stated that it has
                  established plans to do this. DOT also acknowledged the more general
                  need for good data systems to implement the Results Act and indicated
                  that it is working to enhance those systems. See
                  http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?rced-99-153 for additional information
                  on DOT’s comments (in GAO/RCED-99-153) on our observations.

                  Phyllis Scheinberg
Key Contact       Associate Director, Transportation Issues
                  Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division
                  (202) 512-3650




                  Page 90              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix XIV

Observations on the Department of the
Treasury’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year
2000
                                        On April 16, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
                                        Department of the Treasury’s performance plan for fiscal year 2000. The
                                        following are our overall observations on the plan. The complete text
                                        (GAO/GGD-99-114R) of our observations and Treasury’s comments on
                                        those observations are available at http://www.gao/corresp/gg99114r.pdf
                                        only on the Internet.

                                        Treasury’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan, which is integrated with its
Summary of                              budget justification, provides a limited picture of intended performance
Observations                            across the Department, a limited discussion of the strategies and resources
                                        it will use to achieve its goals, and limited confidence that its performance
                                        information will be credible. Figure XIV.1 highlights the plan’s major
                                        strengths and key weaknesses.

Figure XIV.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000          • Provides linkages between the annual performance goals and measures
Performance Plan
                                        and the strategic goals in the bureaus’ and offices’ strategic plans.
                                        • Shows trend data for past performance.
                                        • Includes information on resources to achieve goals.
                                        • Includes a section on departmentwide systems and capital investments.

                                        Key Weaknesses
                                        • Does not consistently identify programs that contributed to the same or
                                        similar results.
                                        • Does not consistently discuss specific strategies for achieving goals.
                                        • Does not adequately discuss procedures for verifying and validating
                                        performance data.
                                        • Does not include performance goals to address all significant
                                        management challenges and high-risk areas.

                                        Treasury’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan recognizes the weaknesses
                                        that we identified in our assessment of the fiscal year 1999 performance
                                        plan and makes specific commitments or shows actual attempts to address
                                        those weaknesses. However, real progress is not yet evident. In reviewing
                                        Treasury’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan, we observed that the
                                        weaknesses in the fiscal year 1999 plan generally applied to the fiscal year
                                        2000 plan as well. For example, some measures in both plans were
                                        insufficient to adequately gauge progress toward meeting performance
                                        goals. On the positive side, unlike the fiscal year 1999 plan, the fiscal year
                                        2000 plan has a section that briefly describes departmentwide systems and
                                        capital investment programs. The fiscal year 2000 plan also uses standard
                                        descriptions for assessing data accuracy across the Department.



                                        Page 91           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix XIV
                  Observations on the Department of the Treasury’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




                  On June 14, 1999, we met with the Director of Treasury’s Office of
Agency Comments   Strategic Planning and Evaluation and members of his staff to obtain oral
                  comments on a draft of this report. The officials generally agreed with our
                  analysis and provided some technical comments, which we incorporated
                  as appropriate. They also said that Treasury is continually trying to
                  improve its strategic and performance plans. Among other things, Treasury
                  plans to ensure that updates to its bureaus’ and offices’ strategic plans
                  include goals for high-risk programs and major management challenges. In
                  addition, Treasury’s Office of Inspector General plans to work with the
                  bureaus and offices to help improve their capacity to provide confidence
                  that the performance data used to measure progress are verified and
                  validated. See http://www.gao/corresp/gg99114r.pdf for additional
                  information on Treasury’s comments (in GAO/GGD-99-114R) on our
                  observations.

                  Cornelia M. Ashby
Key Contact       Associate Director, Tax Policy and Administration Issues
                  General Government Division
                  (202) 512-9110




                  Page 92              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix XV

Observations on the Department of Veterans
Affairs’ Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000

               On April 6, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
               Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) performance plan for fiscal year
               2000. The following are our overall observations on the plan. The complete
               text (GAO/HEHS-99-138R) of our observations and VA’s comments on
               those observations are available at
               http://www.gao.gov/corresp/he99138r.pdf only on the Internet.

               VA’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan provides a general picture
Summary of     of intended performance across VA, a generally complete discussion of
Observations   strategies and resources that VA will use to achieve its goals, and limited
               confidence that VA’s performance information will be credible. The plan
               (1) presents performance goals and measures, along with baseline and
               trend data, that cover all of VA’s major programs, except that there are no
               results-oriented goals for fiscal year 2000 for three programs; (2) explicitly
               links specific strategies and initiatives to each of VA’s key performance
               goals and also summarizes these strategies and initiatives for each major
               program; and (3) discusses performance information weaknesses that will
               not be corrected until future years.

               Figure XV.1 highlights the plan’s major strengths and key weaknesses as
               VA seeks to make additional improvements to its plan for programs
               operated by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Veterans Benefits
               Administration (VBA), and National Cemetery Administration (NCA).




               Page 93            GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                       Appendix XV
                                       Observations on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




Figure XV.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000         • Contains quantified fiscal year 2000 performance goals and measures for
Performance Plan
                                       all of VA’s major programs and the program activities in VA’s budget
                                       request.
                                       • Explicitly links strategies, crosscutting activities, mission-critical
                                       management problems, and data sources to each of VA’s key performance
                                       goals.
                                       • Provides an in-depth discussion of performance data reliability problems
                                       and VA’s initiatives for addressing these problems.

                                       Key Weaknesses
                                       • Contains process-oriented, but no results-oriented, performance goals for
                                       fiscal year 2000 for VBA’s compensation, pension, and insurance programs.
                                       For these programs, the plan defines some interim outcome goals and
                                       measures, without target performance levels, that will be used as the basis
                                       for developing results-oriented goals and measures.
                                       • Discusses data verification and validation procedures for some, but not
                                       all, key performance goals and measures.

                                       VA’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan represents moderate improvement
                                       in addressing weaknesses that we identified in its fiscal year 1999
                                       performance plan. For example, the fiscal year 1999 plan included no
                                       results-oriented performance goals or measures for VBA’s compensation,
                                       pension, or insurance programs. By contrast, while the fiscal year 2000
                                       plan still does not include results-oriented goals for these three programs,
                                       it does provide interim outcome performance goals and measures,
                                       although the target level of performance to be achieved for the coming
                                       year is not defined. For instance, to ensure that veterans are compensated
                                       for their loss in earning capacity due to service-connected disabilities, the
                                       plan includes an interim goal that would measure the percentage of
                                       veterans receiving compensation whose total income exceeds that of like-
                                       circumstanced non-veterans. However, the plan does not provide a
                                       performance target level for fiscal year 2000.

                                       Another area of improvement is the discussion of crosscutting activities of
                                       other federal agencies, state and local governments, and the private sector.
                                       While the fiscal year 1999 plan basically was limited to a listing of other
                                       entities with crosscutting interests, the fiscal year 2000 plan briefly
                                       describes an extensive array of crosscutting activities and explicitly
                                       associates applicable crosscutting activities with each key performance




                                       Page 94              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix XV
                  Observations on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




                  goal. It also provides details on how VA and other agencies with similar or
                  related responsibilities are cooperating. For example, VA’s vocational
                  rehabilitation program has a goal of placing more disabled veterans in
                  jobs. Toward this end, VA and the Department of Labor have established a
                  cooperative training program designed to increase the efficiency and
                  effectiveness of staff from both agencies in preparing disabled veterans for
                  the job market.

                  In another area of improvement, the fiscal year 1999 plan did not provide
                  plans and time frames for completing the conversion of VA’s computer
                  systems to avoid Year 2000 computer problems. By contrast, the fiscal year
                  2000 plan states that VA is on target to have all computer system
                  conversions completed and tested by March 1999 and that VA had already
                  renovated 99.7 percent of its mission-critical computer software
                  applications, including all payment-related applications and those
                  supporting health care.

                  Also, compared with last year’s plan, the fiscal year 2000 plan provides an
                  in-depth discussion of VA’s actions to begin addressing weaknesses in data
                  systems and performance information. For example, at the request of the
                  Under Secretary for Health, VHA held a Data Validation Summit in
                  December 1998 to develop strategies for eliminating problems that
                  contribute to data validity deficiencies, such as a lack of standard
                  definitions, decentralized approaches to data collection and
                  implementation of automated systems, local modification of systems, lack
                  of knowledge or understanding about systems, and difficulty in
                  coordinating more than 140 VHA databases.

                  In a letter dated April 27, 1999, VA’s Assistant Secretary for Planning and
Agency Comments   Analysis provided written comments on our draft assessment of VA’s fiscal
                  year 2000 performance plan. VA generally agreed with our observations
                  and stated that it found our assessment, on the whole, to be fair and
                  accurate. However, VA concluded that GAO apparently expected the plan
                  to provide a greater level of detail than VA believed was required regarding
                  the establishment of performance goals for resolving management
                  problems that VA’s plan identified as mission-critical. In response to our
                  statement that VA’s plan does not include performance goals for all
                  mission-critical management problems, VA stated its belief that the
                  performance plan’s purpose is to report on key performance measures
                  representing VA’s highest priorities for its major programs. Although we
                  agree that the plan’s primary focus should be on the key performance




                  Page 95              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
              Appendix XV
              Observations on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




                                                                                     1
              measures for its major programs, OMB Circular A-11 recommends that
              plans include performance goals for management problems, particularly
              those that are mission critical, that could potentially impede achievement
              of program goals. See http://www.gao.gov/corresp/he99138r.pdf for
              additional information on VA’s comments (in GAO/HEHS-99-138R) on our
              observations.

              Stephen P. Backhus, Director
Key Contact   Veterans’ Affairs and Military Health Care Issues
              Health, Education, and Human Services Division
              (202) 512-7101




              1
               The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) encourages agencies to describe the actions being
              taken to address management problems. OMB, Preparation and Submission of Budget Estimates, OMB
              Circular A-11, (Washington, D.C.: OMB/Executive Office of the President, 1998), Section 220.11(e), p.
              314.




              Page 96                 GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix XVI

Observations on the Environmental
Protection Agency’s Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
                                        On April 16, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
                                        Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) performance plan for fiscal year
                                        2000. The following are our overall observations on the plan. The complete
                                        text (GAO/RCED-99-237R) of our observations and EPA’s comments on
                                        those observations are available at
                                        http://www.gao.gov/corresp/rc99237r.pdf only on the Internet.

                                        EPA’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan provides a general picture
Summary of                              of intended performance across the agency and provides a general
Observations                            discussion of strategies and resources the agency will use to achieve its
                                        goals. However, the plan provides only limited confidence that the
                                        agency’s performance information will be credible. For example, the plan
                                        has some performance measures, such as reducing toxic air pollution by 5
                                        percent in fiscal year 2000, that address program results. The plan also lays
                                        out the regulatory, standards setting, research, and assistance strategies,
                                        along with requested resources, to meet EPA’s goals for attaining air
                                        quality standards for ozone and particulate matter. However, it does not
                                        address data limitations in tracking compliance with the Safe Drinking
                                        Water Act. Figure XVI.1 highlights the plan’s major strengths and key
                                        weaknesses that need to be addressed in future plans.

Figure XVI.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000          • Presents goals that are generally objective, measurable, and quantifiable.
Performance Plan
                                        • Discusses strategies and resources for achieving intended performance.

                                        Key Weaknesses
                                        • Does not provide sufficient details on crosscutting goals and activities.
                                        • Provides limited confidence that the agency’s performance information
                                        will be credible.

                                        EPA’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan represents a moderate
                                        improvement over the fiscal year 1999 plan in that the agency has made
                                        progress in addressing the weaknesses that we identified in our
                                        assessment of the fiscal year 1999 plan. In reviewing the fiscal year 1999
                                        plan, we observed that the quality of the goals and measures varied across
                                        the plan in that they were not always well-defined or comprehensive
                                        enough to cover all important program aspects; the plan did not
                                        completely describe how EPA coordinated with other federal agencies that
                                        had related strategic or performance goals; and the plan did not
                                        consistently identify data limitations and their implications for assessing
                                        the achievement of performance goals.




                                        Page 97           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix XVI
                  Observations on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year
                  2000




                  Among the improvements in the fiscal year 2000 plan are goals and
                  measures of generally better quality. EPA has also made some progress in
                  providing more general information on coordination with other agencies.
                  However, the plan shows little improvement in providing details on goals
                  and strategies that cut across agency lines. Similarly, it shows no
                  substantial progress in better identifying data limitations.

                  On April 13, 1999, we obtained comments from EPA on a draft of our
Agency Comments   analysis of the agency’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan. EPA
                  generally agreed with our analysis and appreciated our constructive
                  review, saying that it would continue to strive for improvements in its plan.
                  The agency also commented on several of our observations and discussed
                  its actions to improve the quality of its databases and information systems.
                  See http://www.gao.gov/corresp/rc99237r.pdf for additional information on
                  EPA’s comments (in GAO/RCED-99-237R) on our observations.

                  Peter F. Guerrero, Director
Key Contact       Environmental Protection Issues
                  Resources, Community, and Economic
                   Development Division
                  (202) 512-6111




                  Page 98              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix XVII

Observations on the Federal Emergency
Management Agency’s Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
                                         On April 7, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
                                         Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) performance plan for
                                         fiscal year 2000. The following are our overall observations on the plan.
                                         The complete text (GAO/RCED-99-226R) of our observations and FEMA’s
                                         comments on those observations are available at
                                         http://www.gao.gov/corresp/rc99226r.pdf only on the Internet.

                                         FEMA’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan provides a general
Summary of                               picture of intended performance across the agency and a general
Observations                             discussion of strategies and resources the agency will use to achieve its
                                         performance goals. However, the plan provides limited confidence that the
                                         agency’s performance information will be credible and it does not identify
                                         the external factors that could affect FEMA’s ability to achieve its
                                         performance goals and the actions FEMA can take to mitigate these
                                         factors. For example, the plan reduces the number of operational
                                         objectives and performance goals used in the plan, thus helping to focus
                                         attention on FEMA’s more critical priorities. Figure XVII.1 highlights the
                                         plan’s major strengths and key weaknesses that need to be addressed in
                                         future plans.

Figure XVII.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000           • Provides clear structure linking strategic goals, 5-year operational
Performance Plan
                                         objectives, and annual performance goals.
                                         • Contains results-oriented annual performance goals and generally
                                         quantifiable performance indicators.
                                         • Discusses strategies for accomplishing annual performance goals.

                                         Key Weaknesses
                                         • Presents only a limited discussion of FEMA’s efforts and plans to
                                         coordinate with other agencies whose programs and activities complement
                                         FEMA’s.
                                         • Does not identify the external factors that could affect FEMA’s ability to
                                         achieve its performance goals and the actions FEMA can take to mitigate
                                         these factors.
                                         • Does not identify significant limitations potentially affecting the
                                         credibility of data used to measure performance.
                                         • Provides only a limited description of FEMA’s procedures for verifying
                                         and validating performance data.

                                         FEMA’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan recognizes some of the
                                         weaknesses that we identified in our assessment of the fiscal year 1999
                                         performance plan and makes specific commitments to address some of



                                         Page 99           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix XVII
                  Observations on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Performance Plan for Fiscal
                  Year 2000




                  those weaknesses. However, real progress is not yet evident in addressing
                  all of the prior weaknesses we noted. Therefore, the fiscal year 2000 plan
                  represents little improvement over the fiscal year 1999 plan. For example,
                  in reviewing the fiscal year 1999 plan, we observed that the plan did not
                  identify the external factors that could affect FEMA’s ability to achieve its
                  performance goals and the actions FEMA can take to mitigate these
                  factors; identify significant limitations potentially affecting the credibility
                  of the data used to measure performance; or provide a full description of
                  the procedures for verifying and validating performance data.

                  Only limited progress has been made in addressing these concerns in the
                  fiscal year 2000 performance plan. However, among the improvements in
                  the fiscal year 2000 plan are the use of established baselines to measure
                  the agency’s progress in meeting its performance goals. For example, the
                  plan includes the goal of operating a logistics program that provides timely
                  and cost-effective resources to support the agency’s all-hazards emergency
                  management mission. The performance indicators for this goal include
                  references to 5-percent changes from fiscal year 1999 baselines, including
                  a 5-percent reduction in the percentage of assets lost or damaged and a 5-
                  percent reduction in the time between receiving and shipping orders for
                  supplies. Other improvements include a general listing of federal agencies
                  with missions and activities that complement FEMA’s, linkage between
                  budget accounts and annual performance goals, and a reduction in the
                  number of operational objectives and annual performance goals.

                  Additionally, the plan now includes several new appendixes that (1) chart
                  FEMA’s fiscal year 1998’s actual performance, fiscal year 1999’s estimated
                  performance, and fiscal year 2000’s projected performance; (2) list 5-year
                  operational objectives and performance goals for FEMA’s staff offices; and
                  (3) present a 5-year projection of FEMA’s spending on capital assets.
                  However, the plan still contains a number of weaknesses. For example, it
                  still contains over 150 performance indicators—presenting levels of
                  performance for so many indicators could make it difficult to assess
                  FEMA’s performance. Additionally, the plan does not recognize the
                  limitations with the internal sources of data it intends to use to assess
                  performance, nor does it clearly describe credible and specific procedures
                  that will be used to verify and validate performance data.

                  We provided FEMA with a copy of our draft observations for review and
Agency Comments   comment. In written comments provided on April 14, 1999, FEMA’s
                  Director generally agreed with our observations, noting that the agency
                  would revise several aspects of its performance plan with more explicit
                  information and additional detail. However, FEMA’s Director also



                  Page 100             GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
              Appendix XVII
              Observations on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Performance Plan for Fiscal
              Year 2000




              questioned several of our observations, including noting that FEMA
              included information on external factors that could affect its ability to
              achieve its performance goals in both its September 30, 1997, strategic plan
              and within certain performance goals in the performance plan. We believe
              FEMA should include additional references to how specific external
              factors could have an impact on individual performance goals and the
              actions FEMA can take to mitigate these factors. In addition, FEMA’s
              Director clarified and updated certain information, which we incorporated
              in our observations where appropriate. See
              http://www.gao.gov/corresp/rc99226r.pdf for additional information on
              FEMA’s comments (in GAO/RCED-99-226R) on our observations.

              Judy England-Joseph, Director
Key Contact   Housing and Community Development Issue Area
              Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division
              (202) 512-7631




              Page 101             GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix XVIII

Observations on the General Services
Administration’s Performance Plan for Fiscal
Year 2000
                                          On April 7, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
                                          General Services Administration’s (GSA) performance plan for fiscal year
                                          2000. The following are our overall observations on the plan. The complete
                                          text (GAO/GGD-99-113R) of our observations and GSA’s comments on
                                          those observations are available at
                                          http://www.gao.gov/corresp/gg99113r.pdf only on the Internet.
                                                                                                            1
                                          GSA’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan, issued March 2, 1999,
Summary of                                provides a clear picture of intended performance across the agency and a
Observations                              general discussion of the strategies for achieving its goals. However, the
                                          plan’s discussion of the budget resources needed to achieve the goals is
                                          incomplete, and it provides only limited confidence that agency
                                          performance information will be credible. For example, 48 of the 58 goals
                                          in the 2000 plan had measures, baselines, and targets that are quantifiable
                                          and that should allow decisionmakers to more easily gauge performance.
                                          However, the 2000 plan continues to be very general and does not
                                          sufficiently discuss GSA’s planned actions to verify and validate data that
                                          will be used to measure results. Figure XVIII.1 highlights the plan’s major
                                          strengths and key weaknesses that need to be addressed in future plans.

Figure XVIII.1: Major Strengths and Key
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000            Major Strengths
Performance Plan                          • Provides sufficient context for understanding GSA’s operations and what
                                          it intends to achieve.
                                          • Contains clear connections between GSA’s mission, strategic goals, and
                                          performance goals.
                                          • Includes goals and measures that are quantifiable, with related baselines
                                          and targets.
                                          • Contains clear relationships between goals and measures.

                                          Key Weaknesses
                                          • Does not sufficiently discuss how the performance goals and measures
                                          link to the program activities and funding in GSA’s budget.
                                          • Does not explain how GSA will ensure that its performance data are
                                          reliable.




                                          1
                                           GSA’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan contained revised goals, measures, and targets for fiscal year
                                          1999; GSA refers to it as the “Fiscal Years 1999/2000 Performance Plan.” Our analysis compared this
                                          plan with the fiscal year 1999 performance plan, which GSA issued on March 5, 1998, hereafter referred
                                          to as the “fiscal year 1999 performance plan” or “the 1999 plan.”




                                          Page 102                 GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix XVIII
                  Observations on the General Services Administration’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year
                  2000




                  GSA’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan represented a moderate
                  improvement over the fiscal year 1999 plan in that it corrects a number of
                  the weaknesses that we identified in our assessment of the fiscal year 1999
                       2
                  plan. The 1999 plan contained many goals that were not quantifiable or
                  outcome oriented. Also, the goals were not always linked to specific
                  program activities and funding in GSA’s budget. The plan also did not
                  discuss GSA’s coordination efforts for its many crosscutting activities, did
                  not have an explicit discussion of the strategies and resources that were
                  needed to achieve goals, and did not discuss the actions GSA had taken to
                  address known data limitations.

                  Overall, the fiscal year 2000 plan more fully meets the criteria in the
                  Results Act and related guidance and provides sufficient context for
                  understanding GSA’s operations and what it intends to achieve. Among its
                  improvements, the plan has (1) much better linkages between GSA’s
                  mission, strategic goals, and performance goals; (2) goals and measures
                  that are more quantifiable and outcome oriented; and (3) clearer
                  relationships between the goals and measures. For example, measures of
                  the percentage of construction and repair and alteration projects delivered
                  on time are directly linked to the performance goals related to the on-time
                  delivery of these services. The plan is also improved in how it addresses
                  crosscutting issues, management problems, and the strategies needed to
                  achieve the goals. However, the plan does not sufficiently discuss budget
                  resources needed to achieve the goals or adequately describe GSA’s efforts
                  to verify and validate performance data. For example, the narrative for 30
                  of the 58 goals does not directly link the goals to the budget or explain why
                  the linkage is missing.

                  On March 30, 1999, GSA’s Chief Financial Officer, Director of Budget, and
Agency Comments   Managing Director for Planning provided oral agency comments on a draft
                  of our analysis of GSA’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan. They generally
                  agreed with our analysis and said it would help them correct the
                  weaknesses we identified as they develop next year’s plan. See
                  http://www.gao.gov/corresp/gg99113r.pdf for additional information on
                  GSA’s comments (in GAO/GGD-99-113R) on our observations.

                  Bernard Ungar, Director,
Key Contact       Government Business Operations
                  General Government Division
                  (202) 512-8387

                  2
                   Results Act: Observations on the General Services Administration’s Annual Performance Plan
                  (GAO/GGD-98-110, May 11, 1998).




                  Page 103                GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix XIX

Observations on the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration’s Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000
                                        On April 22, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
                                        National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) performance
                                        plan for fiscal year 2000. The following are our overall observations on the
                                        plan. The complete text (GAO/NSIAD-99-186R) of our observations and
                                        NASA’s comments on those observations are available at
                                        http://www.gao.gov/corresp/ns99186r.pdf only on the Internet.

                                        NASA’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan should be useful to
Summary of                              decisionmakers. It provides a limited picture of intended performance
Observations                            across the agency, a general discussion of strategies and resources the
                                        agency will use to achieve its goals, and limited confidence that
                                        performance information will be credible. An example of a positive change
                                        regarding the plan’s presentation of strategies and goals is the discussion
                                        on NASA’s objective of extending the use of Earth Science research for
                                        national, state, and local application. The plan links that objective with the
                                        achievement of three performance goals, namely having at least one
                                        Regional Earth Science Application become self-sustaining; developing at
                                        least two new data products for routine decisionmaking by user
                                        organizations; and implementing at least five joint applications research
                                        projects/partnerships with state and local governments in remote sensing
                                        applications. Figure XIX.1 highlights the plan’s major strengths and key
                                        weaknesses as NASA seeks to make additional improvements to its plan.

Figure XIX.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weakneses of Fiscal Year 2000           •Shows how budgetary resources are related to performance.
Performance Plan
                                        •Provides expanded detail on performance evaluations and identifies
                                        specific data sources.

                                        Key Weaknesses
                                        •Does not provide clear rationale for how information technology related
                                        strategies and programs contribute to achievement of performance goals.
                                        •Does not include procedures for verifying and validating performance
                                        data.

                                        NASA’s fiscal year 2000 plan represents a moderate improvement over the
                                        fiscal year 1999 plan in that it indicates some degree of progress in
                                        addressing the weaknesses NASA’s fiscal year 2000 plan represents a
                                        moderate improvement over the fiscal year 1999 plan in that it indicates
                                        some degree of progress in addressing the weaknesses identified in our
                                        assessment of the fiscal year 1999 plan. In reviewing the fiscal year 1999
                                        plan, we observed that the plan could have provided a clearer picture of
                                        intended performance across the agency, did not fully portray how
                                        strategies and resources would help achieve performance goals, and


                                        Page 104          GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix XIX
Observations on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Performance Plan for
Fiscal Year 2000




partially provided confidence that performance information would be
credible. Among improvements in the fiscal year 2000 plan is the inclusion
of performance objectives or targets that fully or partially address 5 of 10
management challenges identified by NASA’s Office of the Inspector
General (OIG) or us. For example, we reported that contract management
is a continuing area of high risk and that until NASA’s financial
management system is operational, performance assessments relying on
cost data may be incomplete. NASA’s plan addresses this issue by
establishing a performance target to implement new financial systems and
business procedures, including the installation of its Integrated Financial
Management System. Although NASA officials said that they did not
specifically attempt to address the major management challenges
identified by the NASA OIG, the plan does include performance objectives
or targets that relate to some of these management challenges.

For example, the OIG reported that ensuring the availability of launch
vehicles presented challenges. These challenges included (1) ensuring the
availability of small expendable launch vehicles so that milestones can be
met and NASA missions are cost-effective and (2) evaluating whether
NASA’s providing the majority of development funds and assigning
technology rights to its industry partners in the development of the new
reusable launch vehicles is in the best interest of the government.

The plan includes an objective related to this challenge that NASA’s plan
characterizes as revolutionizing space launch capabilities. Specifically, it
provides a performance target to begin and complete flight testing of the
X-33 in fiscal year 2000 to demonstrate technologies required for future
reusable launch vehicles.

An example of another improvement in NASA’s plan is the addition of a
crosswalk that links strategic objectives and performance targets to the
budget categories used in NASA’s congressional budget justification. This
crosswalk indicates that NASA’s performance targets cover the program
activities in its budget justification. Use of the crosswalk is illustrated in
the example related to NASA’s objective of extending the use of Earth
Science research for national, state, and local application. The plan
provides limited confidence that the agency’s performance plan will be
credible. It does not include an explicit discussion of procedures that will
be used to verify and validate performance data. Furthermore, the plan
does not address possible limitations in internal and external sources of
data, such as quality, validity, and timeliness. For example, NASA will rely
on Federal Aviation Administration data to ascertain whether its goal of
increasing operations throughout was achieved.



Page 105             GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix XIX
                  Observations on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Performance Plan for
                  Fiscal Year 2000




                  On April 27, 1999, we obtained written comments from NASA’s Associate
Agency Comments   Administrator on a draft of our analysis of NASA’s fiscal year 2000 annual
                  performance plan. In commenting on a draft of our analysis, the Associate
                  Deputy Administrator stated that the agency generally believes that our
                  report is balanced and will endeavor to use our observations in improving
                  the management of the agency. NASA raised concern about three issues
                  that we identified in our analysis. One involved the inclusion of major
                  management challenges identified by the NASA OIG in the plan. NASA
                  stated that the report containing the OIG’s management challenges was
                  issued subsequent to the agency’s formulation, selection, and submittal of
                  its performance targets to the Office of Management and Budget. NASA
                  contends that the OIG’s management challenges were identified too late to
                  enable inclusion in the performance plan. See
                  http://www.gao.gov/corresp/ns99186r.pdf for additional information on
                  NASA’s comments (in GAO/NSIAD-99-186R) on our observations.

                  Allen Li
Key Contact       Associate Director, Defense Acquisitions Issues
                  National Security and International Affairs Division
                  202-512-3600




                  Page 106             GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix XX

Observations on the National Science
Foundation’s Performance Plan for Fiscal
Year 2000
                                       On April 7, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
                                       National Science Foundation (NSF) performance plan for fiscal year 2000.
                                       The following are our overall observations on the plan. The complete text
                                       (GAO/RCED-99-206R) of our observations and NSF’s comments on those
                                       observations are available at http://www.gao.gov/corresp/rc99206r.pdf only
                                       on the Internet.

                                       NSF’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan will be of general
Summary of                             usefulness to decisionmakers. The plan provides a general picture of
Observations                           intended performance across the agency, a general discussion of the
                                       strategies and resources the agency will use to achieve its goals, and
                                       limited confidence that agency’s performance information will be credible.
                                       While the plan identifies crosscutting efforts with other agencies, it does
                                       not provide clear information on the linkages between the NSF budget and
                                       its performance goals, which will be key for congressional reviewers. NSF
                                       provides a matrix documenting the relative extent to which NSF functions,
                                       such as “research project support” and “education and training,” support
                                       its goals such as the “connections between discoveries and their use in
                                       service to society.” But there is no direct linkage between specific budget
                                       activities such as “U.S. Polar Research Program” or “graduate education”
                                       and NSF’s performance goals. Figure XX.1 highlights the plan’s major
                                       strengths and key weaknesses as NSF seeks to make additional
                                       improvements to its plan.

Figure XX.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000         • Uses an alternative format to describe type and level of performance.
Performance Plan
                                       • Provides additional outcome oriented goals.
                                       • Links strategies to specific program goals and describes how strategies
                                       contribute to the achievement of those goals.
                                       • Identifies crosscutting efforts with other related federal programs.

                                       Key Weaknesses
                                       • Provides limited discussion of capital, human, and financial resources.
                                       • Lacks clear linkages between the budget and performance goals.
                                       • Provides limited confidence in the validation and verification of data.

                                       The fiscal year 2000 performance plan indicates moderate progress in
                                       addressing the weaknesses that we identified in our assessment of the
                                       fiscal year 1999 performance plan. In reviewing the fiscal year 1999 plan,
                                       we observed that there was insufficient detail on crosscutting programs,
                                       external factors, strategies and resources needed to achieve goals, and
                                       data verification and validation. Among the improvements in the fiscal year



                                       Page 107          GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix XX
                  Observations on the National Science Foundation’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




                  2000 plan are additional information on crosscutting efforts and external
                  factors. Regarding crosscutting efforts, NSF describes both formal and
                  informal agreements with other agencies. For example, under its goal of
                  “discoveries at and across the frontier of science and engineering,” NSF
                  supports research activities with the Department of Energy at the large
                  hadron collider in Switzerland and with the National Aeronautics and
                  Space Administration at its space-based and ground-based astronomy
                  facilities. NSF also improved its plan by describing external factors that
                  could affect performance. For example, NSF describes the necessary
                  commitment on the part of school districts, schools, and their faculty to
                  modifying their approaches to education in order to enhance achievement
                  for the NSF performance goal of “improved achievement in mathematics
                  and science skills needed by all Americans.” Furthermore, NSF officials
                  told us that if they believe work funded through a grant cannot be reliably
                  completed, they may stop funding for the award. While this may not
                  improve performance, it may mitigate the continued use of funds for
                  unproductive activities. Improvements that still need to be made to the
                  performance plan are more detailed discussions of the resources needed
                  to achieve goals and further elaboration on the procedures to assess the
                  reliability and validity of data used to assess goal achievement.

                  On April 21, 1999, we obtained comments from NSF officials, including the
Agency Comments   Deputy Director, on a draft of our analysis of the agency’s fiscal year 2000
                  annual performance plan. These officials generally agreed with the
                  observations made in the draft. They provided clarification on several
                  points about the linkages between performance and resources and about
                  issues concerning measurement and data verification and validation. We
                  incorporated this information in the report as appropriate. NSF officials
                  pointed out that the Foundation is one of the only agencies using the
                  qualitative method to assess performance in research and education by
                  using the alternative format. To test this approach, officials are using its
                  Committees of Visitors process to assess performance for NSF’s first
                  performance report for March 2000. This point was incorporated in the
                  body of the report. See http://www.gao.gov/corresp/rc99206r.pdf for
                  additional information on NSF’s comments (in GAO/RCED-99-206R) on
                  our observations.

                  Victor S. Rezendes, Director
Key Contact       Energy, Resources, and Science
                  Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division
                  202-512-3841




                  Page 108             GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix XXI

Observations on the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission’s Performance Plan for Fiscal
Year 2000
                                        On April 19, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
                                        Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) performance plan for fiscal year
                                        2000. The following are our overall observations on the plan. The
                                        complete text (GAO/RCED-99-213R) of our observations and NRC’s
                                        comments on those observations are available at
                                        http://www.gao.gov/corresp/rc99213r.pdf only on the Internet.

                                        NRC’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan should be useful to
Summary of                              decisionmakers in that it provides a general discussion of intended
Observations                            performance across the agency and of strategies and resources the agency
                                        will use to achieve its goals. However, the plan focuses on strategies, not
                                        outcomes and provides limited confidence to judge the credibility of
                                        performance information because it is incomplete and lacks specificity.
                                        Figure XXI.1 highlights the plan’s major strengths and key weaknesses as
                                        NRC seeks to make additional improvements to its plan.

Figure XXI.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000          • Contains measurable goals and quantifiable measures.
Performance Plan
                                        • Discusses strategies and resources for achieving intended performance.
                                        • Better discusses crosscutting functions and external factors.

                                        Key Weaknesses
                                        • Focuses on strategies, not outcomes.
                                        • Does not show how achieving strategies and outputs will contribute to
                                        meeting performance goals.
                                        • Lacks details to determine that performance information is credible.

                                        NRC’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan represents a moderate
                                        improvement over the fiscal year 1999 plan in that it indicates some degree
                                        of progress in addressing the weaknesses that we identified in our
                                        assessment of the earlier plan. In reviewing the fiscal year 1999 plan, we
                                        observed that NRC could have provided a clearer picture of the agency’s
                                        intended performance overall as well as the strategies and resources it
                                        would use to achieve its performance goals. We also noted that the fiscal
                                        year 1999 performance plan did not provide confidence that the agency’s
                                        performance information would be credible. In its fiscal year 2000 plan,
                                        NRC (1) better discusses how its strategies and resources will help achieve
                                        its goals, (2) links its strategies to programs, and (3) better discusses
                                        crosscutting functions with other government agencies and external
                                        factors that could affect achieving the goals established. However, NRC
                                        focuses on strategies, not outcomes; has not related the outputs to its




                                        Page 109          GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix XXI
                  Observations on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year
                  2000




                  performance goals; and provides limited details to determine whether its
                  performance information is credible.

                  On April 12, 1999, we obtained oral comments from NRC staff, including
Agency Comments   the Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, on
                  a draft of our analysis of the fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan.
                  With the exception of the information on NRC’s performance information,
                  the agency generally agreed with our observations. In addition, NRC staff
                  said that the agency is committed to moving to an outcome-oriented,
                  performance-based organization and recognizes that a multiyear effort will
                  be required to do so. They also said that it would be very difficult to show
                  the impact that the agency’s programs have on nuclear industry
                  performance or the safe operation of plants. See
                  http://www.gao.gov/corresp/rc99213r.pdf for additional information on
                  NRC’s comments (in GAO/RCED-99-213R) on our observations.

                  Victor Rezendes
Key Contact       Energy, Resources, and Science Issue Area
                  Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division
                  202-512-3841




                  Page 110             GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix XXII

Observations on the Office of Personnel
Management’s Performance Plan for Fiscal
Year 2000
                On April 6, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
                Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) performance plan for fiscal year
                2000. The following are our overall observations on the plan. The complete
                text (GAO/GGD-99-125) of our observations and OPM’s comments on
                those observations are available at
                http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?ggd-99-125 only on the Internet.

                OPM’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan provides a general picture
Summary of      of intended performance across the agency. We found that the plan’s
Observations    performance goals address OPM’s major programs and priorities. For
                example, to enhance federal workforce quality, the plan has a goal for
                OPM to develop a federal workforce planning, analysis, and forecasting
                model to be used by agencies. However, OPM’s plan could have been more
                useful if it contained cost-based performance measures to show how
                efficiently OPM performs certain operations and activities, such as the cost
                to process civil service retirement payments made either by electronic
                funds transfer or check.

                OPM’s annual performance plan includes a general discussion of strategies
                and resources the agency will use to achieve its goals. For each of its
                goals, the plan discusses a strategy for achieving the goal. For example, the
                plan discusses its strategy to enhance its information security program by
                conducting internal and external evaluations of its systems.

                OPM’s year 2000 performance plan provides limited confidence that
                agency performance information will be credible. Although the plan
                discusses OPM’s verification and validation of its performance measures,
                the discussion does not always provide assurance that the methods used
                will be reliable. For example, the plan proposes using results of several
                surveys for verification and validation with response rates ranging up to 57
                percent. However, the plan proposes using survey results of a sample of
                human resources specialists as a key element in its measurement program,
                but the survey received only a 29 percent response rate.

                Figure XXII.1 highlights the plan’s major strengths and key weaknesses as
                OPM seeks to make additional improvements to its plan.




                Page 111          GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                         Appendix XXII
                                         Observations on the Office of Personnel Management’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year
                                         2000




Figure XXII.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000           • Contains more results-oriented goals and quantifiable measures than in
Performance Plan
                                         the fiscal year 1999 plan.
                                         • Shows how budgetary resources related to achievement of goals.
                                         • Describes how agency plans to build, maintain, and marshal the human
                                         capital needed to achieve results for many of its program activities.

                                         Key Weaknesses
                                         • Lacks strategies to leverage or mitigate the effects of external factors on
                                         the accomplishment of performance goals.
                                         • Does not fully explain how OPM will ensure that its performance data
                                         are valid and reliable.

                                         OPM’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan represents a moderate
                                         improvement over the fiscal year 1999 plan in that it addresses a number of
                                         the weaknesses that we identified in our assessment of the fiscal year 1999
                                              1
                                         plan. In reviewing the fiscal year 1999 plan, we observed that the plan’s
                                         goals typically were activity or output-oriented rather than results-
                                         oriented, and that the plan could also be improved by including more
                                         information on how resources would be used to achieve goals. We also
                                         noted that the 1999 plan did not discuss known data limitations that could
                                         affect the validity of various performance measures that OPM planned to
                                         use. Among improvements in the fiscal year 2000 plan are the increased
                                         number of results-oriented performance goals and quantifiable measures
                                         and the use of baseline and trend data for past performance. For example,
                                         the plan has a goal to further simplify the General Schedule classification
                                         system to fewer than 225 classification standards and another goal to
                                         maintain or increase the fiscal year 1999 level of customer satisfaction,
                                         processing times, and accuracy rates for processing new claims for annuity
                                         and survivor benefits.

                                         On April 8, 1999, we obtained oral comments from OPM officials, including
Agency Comments                          the Deputy Chief of Staff, on a draft of our analysis of OPM’s fiscal year
                                         2000 annual performance plan. These officials generally agreed with out
                                         observations. In some cases, they suggested additional context concerning
                                         our observations. We made changes where appropriate to reflect OPM’s
                                         comments. See http://www.gao/gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?ggd-99-125 for additional

                                         1
                                          Results Act: Observations on the Office of Personnel Management’s Annual Performance Plan
                                         (GAO/GGD-98-130, July 28, 1998).




                                         Page 112               GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
              Appendix XXII
              Observations on the Office of Personnel Management’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year
              2000




              information on OPM’s comments (in GAO/GGD-99-125) on our
              observations.

              Michael Brostek, Associate Director
Key Contact   Federal Management and Workforce Issues
              General Government Division
              (202) 512-8676




              Page 113             GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix XXIII

Observations on the Small Business
Administration’s Performance Plan for Fiscal
Year 2000
                 On April 8, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
                 Small Business Administration’s (SBA) performance plan for fiscal year
                 2000. The following are our overall observations on the plan. The complete
                 text (GAO/RCED-99-211R) of our observations and SBA’s comments on
                 those observations are available at
                 http://www.gao.gov/corresp/rc99211r.pdf only on the Internet.

                 SBA’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan provides a general picture
Summary of       of intended performance across the agency. For example, the plan’s 13
Observations     performance goals are objective and measurable through the plan’s 55
                 performance measures, all of which have targeted levels of performance
                 for fiscal year 2000. At the same time, the plan is limited in its discussion of
                 the strategies and the resources that SBA will use to achieve its goals. For
                 example, the plan states that during fiscal year 2000, SBA will spend $3
                 million to train its staff in the skills needed to meet its current programs
                 and responsibilities. However, the plan does not discuss the types of
                 human resource skills that are needed to achieve the fiscal year 2000
                 performance goals or the types of training to be provided to help ensure
                 that staff have those skills. Also, the plan is limited in the degree of
                 confidence that it provides that SBA’s performance data will be credible.
                 For example, means identified in the plan to validate performance data are
                 typically one or two word descriptors, such as “publications” or “SBA
                 records,” which are sources of data rather than ways to validate or verify
                 the data. Figure XXIII.1 highlights the plan’s major strengths and key
                 weaknesses.




                 Page 114           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                                          Appendix XXIII
                                          Observations on the Small Business Administration’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




Figure XXIII.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000            • Created a set of performance goals and measures that addresses SBA’s
Performance Plan
                                          program performance.
                                          • Included baseline and trend data for performance measures.
                                          • Identified other agencies whose programs and activities complement
                                          those of SBA.

                                          Key Weaknesses
                                          • Did not identify performance goals and measures that specifically
                                          address the major management problems identified by SBA’s Inspector
                                          General.
                                          • Did not link the strategies to the performance goals and describe how
                                          they will help achieve those goals.
                                          • Did not describe strategies or actions SBA could take to mitigate the
                                          effects of external factors on the accomplishment of performance goals.
                                          • Did not identify how SBA will use its human capital to help achieve its
                                          performance goals.
                                          • Did not describe efforts to verify and validate the data used to assess
                                          performance.
                                          • Did not discuss the limitations of internal and external data sources for
                                          assessing performance.

                                          SBA’s fiscal year 2000 plan has made little, if any, improvement over the
                                          agency’s fiscal year 1999 plan. While the fiscal year 2000 performance plan
                                          recognizes the weaknesses that we identified in our assessment of the
                                          fiscal year 1999 performance plan and makes specific commitments to
                                          address those weaknesses, real progress is not yet evident. In reviewing
                                          the fiscal year 1999 plan, we noted that it did not discuss SBA’s efforts to
                                          coordinate with other agencies whose programs and activities complement
                                                         1
                                          those of SBA. For example, SBA’s strategic goal to help businesses and
                                          families recover from disasters is a mission shared by the Federal
                                          Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and by other federal, state, and
                                          local disaster agencies. Other than noting that SBA and FEMA would
                                          continue efforts to develop a joint home-loss inspection report, SBA’s
                                          fiscal year 1999 plan did not discuss how SBA had coordinated or would
                                          coordinate its disaster-relief activities with FEMA and the other agencies.
                                          Also, the fiscal year 1999 plan did not identify the technological and human
                                          resources SBA needed to achieve its intended performance, did not clearly
                                          1
                                          Results Act: Observations on the Small Business Administration’s Fiscal Year 1999 Annual
                                          Performance Plan (GAO/RCED-98-200R, May 28, 1998).




                                          Page 115                GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix XXIII
                  Observations on the Small Business Administration’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




                  link the plan’s performance goals and measures with the program activities
                  in SBA’s budget, and did not discuss the limitations that affect the
                  credibility of data used to assess performance. We noted that the fiscal
                  year 1999 plan contained over 100 performance measures and that such an
                  array of measures might be excessive and obscure, rather than clarify,
                  performance issues. We also pointed out that 14 of the measures did not
                  have targeted levels of performance for fiscal year 1999. We observed that,
                  to be more useful, SBA’s fiscal year 1999 plan should more completely
                  describe SBA’s strategies for achieving its performance goals; explicitly
                  discuss how information technology would help SBA achieve its
                  performance goals; more thoroughly discuss the actions that SBA could
                  take to mitigate the effects of external factors on its performance; and
                  describe how SBA would attribute achievement of, or changes in, the
                  plan’s performance goals specifically to the agency’s programs and
                  activities.

                  SBA improved its fiscal year 2000 performance plan by reducing the
                  number of performance measures from over 100 in the fiscal year 1999
                  plan to 55 and by establishing targeted levels of performance for fiscal year
                  2000 for each performance measure. In addition, the fiscal year 2000 plan
                  discusses SBA’s difficulty in isolating the effects of its 7(a) guaranteed
                  business loans and other assistance in achieving the plan’s performance
                  goals as well as SBA’s efforts to deal with the agency’s Year 2000 computer
                  problems.

                  On May 11, 1999, SBA’s Chief Operating Officer provided us with written
Agency Comments   comments on our analysis of SBA’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan. SBA
                  disagreed with our overall observation that its fiscal year 2000
                  performance plan is of limited usefulness to decision makers. SBA noted
                  that its program managers found the plan useful in showing how SBA’s
                  performance has changed over the past 3 years and that the Office of
                  Management and Budget found the plan useful in its budgetary
                  deliberations. Our observation does not intend to infer that SBA’s plan is of
                  limited usefulness to everyone. Rather, our point is that the weaknesses
                  we observed in the plan make it of limited usefulness in providing a clear
                  picture of SBA’s intended performance during fiscal year 2000, discussing
                  the strategies and resources that SBA will use to achieve the performance
                  goals in the plan, and providing confidence that data SBA will use to assess
                  its performance will be credible. SBA also disagreed with our overall
                  judgement that its fiscal year 2000 plan had improved little, if any, over the
                  agency’s fiscal year 1999 plan. SBA noted several improvements to the
                  plan, including a more comprehensive discussion of other public and
                  private sector programs that crosscut those of SBA. Our analysis



                  Page 116             GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
              Appendix XXIII
              Observations on the Small Business Administration’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




              recognizes that SBA improved its fiscal year 2000 performance plan and
              gives SBA credit for such improvements. At the same time, it is our
              position that SBA’s fiscal year 2000 plan has improved little, if any, over
              the agency’s fiscal year 1999 plan because a number of key weaknesses
              that we observed in the fiscal year 1999 plan remain in the fiscal year 2000
              plan. See http://www.gao.gov/corresp/rc99211r.pdf for additional
              information on SBA’s comments (in GAO/RCED-99-211R) on our
              observations.

              Judy A. England-Joseph, Director
Key Contact   Housing and Community Development Issues
              Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division
              202-512-7631




              Page 117             GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix XXIV

Observations on the Social Security
Administration’s Performance Plan for Fiscal
Year 2000
                                         On April 8, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the
                                         Social Security Administration’s (SSA) performance plan for fiscal year
                                         2000. The following are our overall observations on the plan. The complete
                                         text (GAO/HEHS-99-162R) of our observations and SSA’s comments on
                                         those observations are available at
                                         http://www.gao.gov/corresp/he99162r.pdf only on the Internet.

                                         SSA’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan provides a clear picture of
Summary of                               intended performance across the agency, a general discussion of strategies
Observations                             and resources the agency will use to achieve its goals, and general
                                         confidence that agency performance information will be credible. Figure
                                         XXIV.1 highlights the plan’s major strengths and key weaknesses as SSA
                                         seeks to make additional improvements.

Figure XXIV.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000           • Contains results-oriented goals and quantifiable measures.
Performance Plan
                                         • Contains intermediate outputs or outcomes linked to end outcomes.
                                         • Includes baseline and trend data.
                                         • Recognizes crosscutting agencies and organizations.
                                         • Shows how budgetary resources are related to performance goals.
                                         • Discusses strategies and resources for achieving intended performance.

                                         Key Weaknesses
                                         • Information technology strategies, performance goals and resources not
                                         clearly defined or linked to SSA’s five strategic goals.
                                         • Discussion of external environment lacks a clear strategy for mitigating
                                         or using identified conditions to accomplish SSA’s strategic goals.

                                         SSA’s fiscal year 2000 plan represents much improvement over the fiscal
                                         year 1999 plan in that it is well on its way to addressing all of the
                                         weaknesses that we identified in our assessment of the prior plan. The
                                         1999 plan fell short of meeting the criteria set forth in the Results Act
                                         because, in several key areas, its performance goals were not measurable
                                         or the level of performance to be achieved was not adequately defined. For
                                         example, we noted that SSA’s performance goals under its larger strategic
                                         goal to—“promote responsive social security programs and conduct
                                         effective policy development, research, and program evaluation”—were
                                         not clearly related to intended performance. Thus, for this goal and many
                                         others in the plan, it was difficult to see how SSA would measure intended
                                         progress or achievement.




                                         Page 118          GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix XXIV
                  Observations on the Social Security Administration’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




                  SSA’s fiscal year 1999 performance plan also lacked baseline information
                  necessary to compare intended performance to prior years and did not
                  clearly link performance goals with its budget program activities. Nor did
                  it include sufficient goals and strategies for addressing longstanding
                  problems in the mission-critical “high-risk” Supplemental Security Income
                  program. The plan also did not acknowledge or include a discussion of
                  SSA’s efforts to coordinate its activities with other agencies having related
                  strategic or performance goals. We also found that SSA had not adequately
                  discussed how its strategies and resources would help achieve its goals.
                  Thus, it was difficult to tell whether SSA adequately planned how it would
                  achieve the desired results or whether its performance goals were
                  reasonable, given the level of resources available to the agency. Finally, we
                  concluded that SSA’s fiscal year 1999 plan provided insufficient
                  information to assess whether agency performance data was credible or
                  that SSA was taking necessary steps to ensure data integrity.

                  Among improvements in the fiscal year 2000 plan is the addition of several
                  key performance goals and an overall improvement in the quality and
                  clarity of many other goals and measures necessary to determine intended
                  performance and assess success. For example, the plan now includes
                  clearer linkages between SSA’s broader strategic goal of “promoting
                  responsive social security programs” and the annual performance goals
                  and measures essential to achieving the goal’s intended results.
                  Throughout the document, the fiscal year 2000 plan also now includes
                  clearer discussions of the linkages between SSA’s mission, goals, and
                  budget activities. It also provides baseline performance information dating
                  back to fiscal year 1997, essential to making comparisons between prior
                  and proposed levels of performance. In response to our prior findings, SSA
                  has also included additional goals and measures to assess its strategy for
                  addressing problems in the mission-critical SSI program. For example, the
                  plan now includes a fiscal year 2000 goal to increase SSI debt collections
                  by about 7 percent over fiscal year 1999 levels. Finally, the plan provides
                  additional information for Congressional and other reviewers to assess
                  whether SSA’s performance data is credible.

                  On April 23, 1999, we obtained comments from agency officials, including
Agency Comments   the Commissioner of Social Security, on a draft of our analysis of SSA’s
                  fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan. These officials generally agreed
                  with our conclusions and recommendations for improvement. They also
                  noted that SSA intends to continue to utilize GAO’s feedback to improve
                  the agency’s ability to manage for results and enhance the usefulness of its
                  planning documents. SSA disagreed with our conclusion that its
                  performance information remained vulnerable to potential unauthorized



                  Page 119              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
              Appendix XXIV
              Observations on the Social Security Administration’s Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




              access and manipulation. The agency also noted that its systems have
              undergone tests to ensure that intrusions should not occur. We agree that
              progress has been made in the area of internal controls. However,
              vulnerabilities remain and further actions are needed to ensure the
              integrity of SSA’s performance data. See
              http://www.gao.gov/corresp/he99162r.pdf for additional information on
              SSA’s comments (in GAO/HEHS-99-162R) on our observations.

              Cynthia M. Fagnoni
Key Contact   Director, Education, Workforce and Income Security Issues
              Health, Education and Human Services Division
              (202) 512-7202




              Page 120              GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix XXV

Observations on the U.S. Agency for
International Development’s Annual
Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000
                                        On April 16, 1999, we briefed congressional staff on our analysis of the U.S.
                                        Agency for International Development’s (USAID) performance plan for
                                        fiscal year 2000. The following are our overall observations on the plan.
                                        The complete text (GAO/NSIAD-99-188R) of our observations and USAID’s
                                        comments on those observations are available at
                                        http://www.gao.gov/corresp/ns99188r.pdf only on the Internet.

                                        USAID’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan provides a general
Summary of                              overview of intended performance across the agency and a general
Observations                            discussion of the strategies and resources the agency will use to achieve
                                        its goals. However, USAID needs to develop a clearer linkage between
                                        broad development goals and specific USAID country program goals and
                                        results. For example, although the plan cites increased reliance on private
                                        markets as one of USAID’s long-term performance goals, the plan provides
                                        no information as to how USAID strategies or programs support this goal.
                                        USAID also needs to continue its efforts to improve the quality of data
                                        used to measure performance. Figure XXV.1 highlights the plan’s major
                                        strengths and key weaknesses.

Figure XXV.1: Major Strengths and Key   Major Strengths
Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000          • Contains results-oriented goals and quantifiable performance measures.
Performance Plan
                                        • Generally discusses strategies and resources for achieving intended
                                        performance.
                                        • Discusses data limitations and external factors affecting results.

                                        Key Weaknesses
                                        • Does not develop clear linkage between agency and individual country
                                        goals.
                                        • Does not identify the full range of other agency and other donor
                                        programs that may contribute to achieving overall goals.
                                        • Continues to rely on weak financial and program results data.

                                        USAID’S fiscal year 2000 performance plan represents a moderate
                                        improvement over the fiscal year 1999 plan in that it shows some progress
                                        in addressing the weaknesses that we identified in our assessment of the
                                        fiscal year 1999 plan. In reviewing the fiscal year 1999 plan, we observed
                                        that (1) most of the goals and measures were broadly defined to reflect the
                                        overall goals of the international donor community, making it difficult to
                                        assess the results of USAID’s specific activities; (2) the plan did not
                                        provide detail on USAID’s specific strategies and programs, the external
                                        factors involved, or the specific resources to be provided; and (3) the plan
                                        did not discuss the reliability of performance information that it will use to



                                        Page 121           GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
                  Appendix XXV
                  Observations on the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Annual Performance Plan
                  for Fiscal Year 2000




                  demonstrate the linkage of its programs to results. Among improvements
                  in the fiscal year 2000 plan, we note that (1) USAID has provided greater
                  detail in discussing agency goals and performance indicators by
                  geographic regions, although not comprehensively by country; (2) USAID
                  has in some areas tried to provide data linking performance indicators to
                  countries having USAID programs, rather than just providing overall
                  regional data; and (3) USAID has provided a more thorough discussion of
                  data limitations and external factors affecting the results of its programs.

                  On May 4, 1999, we obtained comments from USAID officials, including
Agency Comments   the Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Policy and Program
                  Coordination, on a draft of our analysis of USAID’s fiscal year 2000 annual
                  performance plan. These officials generally agreed with our analysis. In
                  addition, with respect to our comments regarding the need to link agency
                  goals with individual country goals, they noted that USAID is currently
                  developing methods of improving the linkage among the Annual
                  Performance Plan, the Annual Performance Report, and the country
                  coverage provided in USAID’s Congressional Presentation. They also noted
                  that they are exploring ways to improve the quality of data used to assess
                  performance. See http://www.gao.gov/corresp/ns99188r.pdf for additional
                  information on USAID’s comments (in GAO/NSIAD-99-188R) on our
                  observations.

                  Benjamin F. Nelson, Director
Key Contact       International Relations and Trade Issues
                  National Security and International Affairs Division
                  202-512-4128




                  Page 122             GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Appendix XXVI

GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments


                  J. Christopher Mihm, (202)512-8676
GAO Contacts

                  In addition to the individual named above, Dottie Self, Joe Wholey, Lauren
Acknowledgments   Alpert, Jan Bogus, Donna Byers, Laura Castro, Anita Pilch, Susan Ragland,
                  Kim Raheb, Lisa Shames, and Marlene Zacharias made key contributions
                  to this report.

                  The examples used in this report are drawn from the assessments of the
                  individual agency annual performance plans that were done by staff across
                  GAO. Thus, in addition to the individuals named above, the staff who
                  worked on the individual agency plan assessments also made important
                  contributions to this report. The individuals are identified in the separate
                  products on agency plans available on the Internet.




                  Page 123          GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Page 124   GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215 Agencies’ Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plans
Ordering Information

The first copy of each GAO report and testimony is free. Additional
copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the following address,
accompanied by a check or money order made out to the
Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. VISA and
MasterCard credit cards are accepted, also. Orders for 100 or more
copies to be mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent.

Order by mail:

U.S. General Accounting Office
P.O. Box 37050
Washington, DC 20013

or visit:

Room 1100
     th                  th
700 4 St. NW (corner of 4 and G Sts. NW)
U.S. General Accounting Office
Washington, DC

Orders may also be placed by calling (202) 512-6000 or by using fax
number (202) 512-6061, or TDD (202) 512-2537.

Each day, GAO issues a list of newly available reports and testimony.
To receive facsimile copies of the daily list or any list from the past
30 days, please call (202) 512-6000 using a touch-tone phone. A
recorded menu will provide information on how to obtain these
lists.

For information on how to access GAO reports on the INTERNET,
send e-mail message with “info” in the body to:

info@www.gao.gov

or visit GAO’s World Wide Web Home Page at:

http://www.gao.gov
United States                       Bulk Rate
General Accounting Office      Postage & Fees Paid
Washington, D.C. 20548-0001           GAO
                                Permit No. G100
Official Business
Penalty for Private Use $300

Address Correction Requested




(410430)