oversight

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

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                                                          General Government Division
Washington, D.C. 20548




                 B-282840

                 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

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

                 As you requested, we have reviewed and evaluated the fiscal year 2000 performance plans for
                 the 24 Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act agencies that were submitted to Congress as
                 required by the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (Results Act). Enclosure I
                 to this letter provides our observations on the fiscal year 2000 performance plan for the
                 Department of Justice. Enclosure II lists the identified GAO management challenges and the
                 Justice Inspector General’s areas of concern and the applicable goals and measures in the
                 fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan.

                 Our objectives were to (1) assess the usefulness of the agency’s plan for decisionmaking and
                 (2) identify the degree of improvement the agency’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan
                 represents over the fiscal year 1999 plan. Our observations were generally based on the
                 requirements of the Results Act, guidance to agencies from the Office of Management and
                 Budget (OMB) for developing the plan (OMB Circular A-11, Part 2), our previous reports and
                 knowledge of Justice’s operations and programs, and our observations on Justice’s fiscal year
                 1999 performance plan. Our summary report on the CFO Act agencies’ fiscal year 2000 plans
                                                                                             1
                 contains a complete discussion of our objectives, scope, and methodology.



                 1
                  Managing for Results: Opportunities for Continued Improvements in Agencies’ Performance Plans (GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215,
                 July 20, 1999).




                 Page 1                                               GAO/GGD-99-111R Justice's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
B-282840


As agreed, unless you announce the contents of this letter earlier, we plan no further
distribution until 30 days from the date of the letter. The major contributors to this report are
listed in enclosure III. Please call me on (202) 512-3610 if you or your staff have any
questions.




Norman J. Rabkin
Director, Administration of Justice Issues

Enclosures - 3




Page 2                                       GAO/GGD-99-111R Justice's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure I

Observations on the Department of
Justice's Performance Plan for Fiscal
Year 2000
                                                         1
Justice’s fiscal year 2000 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 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 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. The
following figure highlights the plan’s major strengths and key weaknesses as Justice seeks to
make additional improvements to its plan.

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

Major Strengths
• 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

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.




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Enclosure I
Observations on the Department of Justice's Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




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.

Justice’s Performance Plan Provides a General Picture of
Intended Performance Across the Department
Justice’s performance plan provides a general picture of intended performance across the
Department. The component performance plans contain outcome indicators, some of which
are more results-oriented, and others are more output-oriented. An illustration of a results-
oriented indicator would be the Tax Division’s use of Internal Revenue Service’s current
compliance rate measure of its success in reaching its goal to maximize deterrence and foster
voluntary taxpayer compliance. The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has a goal to provide services
and programs to address inmate needs. The BOP noted a study that found inmates who
completed a residential drug abuse-counseling program were less likely to relapse into drug
use than non-participants were. One of its performance indicators for this goal is the number
of participants in residential drug abuse counseling programs. An example of a less results-
oriented goal would be the United States Attorneys’ goal to identify, prosecute, and convict
persons and legal entities that have committed drug-related criminal offenses. The United
States Attorneys’ identified an outcome indicator for this goal to be the number of drug cases
handled involving major drug organizations. This goal would be more outcome-oriented if it
focused on the number of organizations disrupted or dismantled.

Justice points out that it did not always establish numerical performance targets. It states that
in some cases, quantified goals could raise serious ethical concerns and could be seen as
bounty-hunting targets. Accordingly, Justice’s performance plan does not contain quantified




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Enclosure I
Observations on the Department of Justice's Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




targets for certain selected indicators, such as number of arrests or indictments. However,
Justice does have quantified targets for other indicators, such as the number of cases
terminated involving the number of public corruption and number of white-collar crime cases
closed. For those areas where it has good reason not to propose quantified targets, Justice
could establish separate descriptive statements of a minimally effective program and a
successful program, an alternative format allowed by the Results Act.

The component plans have identified intermediate outcome indicators for some goals. For
example, the Tax Division’s goal to maximize deterrence and foster voluntary compliance has
an intermediate outcome to establish a system to publicize criminal tax information to
enhance public awareness and promote general deterrence. DEA’s goal to disrupt and
dismantle drug syndicates has an intermediate outcome indicator, which is the ratio of the
number of targeted organizations disrupted to the total number of targeted organizations.

Further, the component plans generally have baseline and trend data for past performance to
show how a program’s anticipated performance level compares with improvements or
declines in past performance. Generally the component plans have data for fiscal years 1997
through 2000. However, when data were not available, component plans discuss actions being
taken or planned to develop such data. For example, the FBI has established as an outcome
indicator the number of violent gangs affiliated with targeted groups that have been
dismantled. In fiscal year 1998, the FBI began tracking the disruption and dismantling of
violent street gangs. In fiscal year 1999, the FBI implemented a tracking system to identify
dismantled target groups. Additionally, the Antitrust Division is working to develop
definitions and quantifiable measures to track certain inherent aspects of its work, such as
case complexity, international matters, savings to the consumer, and deterrence.

The Justice Inspector General (IG) and we have identified mission-critical management
                                                 2
problems confronting Justice and its components. Half of the problems were specific to INS.
As shown in figure 1, Justice’s summary performance plan or component plans either directly
or indirectly address these problems. Two of the management problems were not addressed.

When different programs contribute to the same or similar results, however, Justice’s plan
could better explain how and to what extent each component will contribute to achieving the
goals. The summary performance plan identifies the components that are responsible for
each performance goal and the component plans generally identify relationships between
their goals and performance indicators. However, the component plans do not explain how
their strategies are mutually reinforcing or establish common or complementary performance


2
 The management problems we identified are discussed in Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of
Justice, GAO/OCG-99-10, Jan., 1999.




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Enclosure I
Observations on the Department of Justice's Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




indicators. 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—FBI, Criminal
Division, and the U.S. Attorney—that are responsible for achieving this goal. The FBI’s
indicators deal with health care fraud in general and specifically with Medicare fraud. The
Criminal Division does not have indicators that are health care specific, only overall
convictions rate for fraud. The U.S. Attorneys include as a performance indicator the number
of cases handled involving health care fraud schemes and the amount of restitution ordered
in health care and other cases. However, the summary plan does not explain how the
strategies of the components and agencies with health care roles are mutually reinforcing nor
does it establish common or complimentary performance indicators.

The fiscal year 2000 performance plan indicates moderate improvement in addressing the
weaknesses that we identified in our assessment of the fiscal year 1999 performance plan as
it relates to providing a clear picture of intended performance across the Department. In
reviewing the fiscal year 1999 plan, we observed that the plan could include (1) intermediate
outcome goals that cover key aspects of individual components’ performance and adequately
capture important distinctions between components and (2) descriptive standards in lieu of
establishing quantified targets when they could be perceived as bounty hunting. Among
improvements in the fiscal year 2000 plan are Justice’s efforts to improve previous
performance indicators and develop new indicators. In addition, Justice has identified
additional intermediate outcome indicators.

Justice’s Performance Plan Provides a General Discussion of the
Strategies and Resources the Department Will Use to Achieve
Its Goals
The plan provides a general discussion of the resources and strategies Justice will use to
achieve performance goals. One of the Results Act’s requirements is that performance goals
should cover all of the budget program activities in the President’s budget. The plan would be
more useful to decisionmakers if it showed how funding from these activities will be
allocated to performance goals.

The summary performance plan shows resource levels by core function for fiscal years 1998,
1999, and 2000. Our analysis of the major Justice components’ plans, however, showed that
although most plans had clear linkages between program activities and performance goals,
others did not. The DEA plan’s three core business systems—enforcement of federal laws
and investigations, investigative support, and program direction—bear a direct relationship to
budget program activities, and BOP relates one or more of its program activities to each of its
strategic goals and their underlying performance goals. As a result, these component plans




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Enclosure I
Observations on the Department of Justice's Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




generally present a clear picture of which program activities support performance goals and
how much funding is being allocated to achieve those goals. On the other hand, the
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) displays its performance goals by six program
goal areas but these areas are not explicitly related to any program activities. Therefore, it is
difficult to determine whether INS has covered all of its program activities or how resources
will be deployed to meet performance goals. With respect to the FBI, it relates sets of
performance goals to a “decision unit/program.” However, the FBI’s component plan does not
show how these decision units/programs relate to the program activities in FBI’s budget. For
example, the plan provides performance goals for its “violent crimes/civil rights” decision
unit/program but it is not clear which program activity is addressed by these goals.

In our assessment of Justice’s fiscal year 1999 summary performance plan, we said that it
contained reasonably clear strategies associated with achieving related performance goals
and identified the responsible organizational components. Its fiscal year 2000 summary plan
does not contain strategies for achieving performance goals. However, the component plans
for fiscal year 2000 generally contain these strategies. For example, one of Justice’s goals is to
provide security to ensure the integrity of judicial proceedings. This goal is the responsibility
of the U.S. Marshals Service’s (USMS). Part of USMS’ strategy, as stated in its performance
plan, is to conduct an annual court security facilities survey; review the results within 30 days
of receipt; recommend improvements and prioritize them within 60 days of review; and begin
implementing improvements within 90 days of prioritizing recommendations. The FBI has a
goal to deter civil rights violations through aggressive investigative and proactive measures.
Its strategy includes forging partnerships with local law enforcement and local communities
and through these partnerships, developing training and education models to be used by law
enforcement and communities to identify, investigate, and prevent hate crimes. An INS goal is
to maximize deterrence to unlawful migration and enforce the immigration laws in the
interior of the United States. Its related strategy includes focusing on aliens who have
received final removal orders by implementing revised detention procedures; increasing the
use of information from the National Crime Information Center; and developing additional
agreements with foreign countries on removal, repatriation, and information sharing.

Justice’s performance plan generally discusses the use of information technology (IT) to help
it achieve its performance goals. Each of the seven core functions is supported by several IT
initiatives. In most cases, however, the performance plan does not clearly link the IT
initiatives to individual goals or groups of goals—that is, the plan does not provide details on
any system’s individual costs or information linking the expenditures to specific goals.
Without such details, the plan does not provide a clear rationale as to how IT resources will
contribute to or support achievement of individual goals or groups of goals. For example,
Justice plans to spend $257 million in fiscal year 2000 to support core function 1,
Investigation and Prosecution of Criminal Offenses. While the performance plan describes
several FBI, DEA, and Justice systems that will support this function, it does not link these




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Enclosure I
Observations on the Department of Justice's Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




systems to specific performance goals. Additionally, the components’ plans do not link IT
resources to the Justice’s performance goals.

The Results Act and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance requires agencies to
discuss the operational processes, skills, technology, and resources (human, capital,
information or other resources) needed to achieve the performance goals. The discussions in
the component plans do not specifically link individual goals or groups of goals directly to the
skills, technology, and information resources required to meet them, as illustrated in the IT
example provided above. However, a number of component plans have performance goals to
address human capital. For example, INS and the Criminal Division each have a goal to
ensure a motivated and diverse workforce that is well trained and empowered to do its job.
BOP has a goal to have a competent and representative workforce meeting the organization’s
needs up to and beyond the year 2000.

Justice’s performance plan has minimal discussion on the effects of external factors on the
accomplishment of performance goals. A discussion of external factors would provide
additional context for anticipated performance. Such a discussion could include strategies
Justice plans to take to mitigate the influence these external factors could have on achieving
results. For example, in the summary performance plan, Justice points out efforts to assess
progress in the areas of national and economic security are complicated by several key
external factors that are particularly difficult to control, such as foreign-based threats.
However, the plan does not discuss efforts underway to address these threats, such as the
FBI’s growing deployment of agents in foreign countries. The Civil Division’s performance
plan discusses various external factors that affect its ability to achieve its performance
targets. For example, the Division has limited control over the composition and size of its
caseload because 80 percent of its cases involves defending the U. S. government.

The fiscal year 2000 performance plan represents moderate improvement in addressing the
weaknesses that we identified in our assessment of the fiscal year 1999 performance plan as
it relates to providing a specific discussion of strategies and resources the Department will
use to achieve performance goals. In reviewing the fiscal year 1999 plan, we observed that
some component plans did not associate budgetary resources with performance goals and
that some results were not connected to strategies. Among improvements in the fiscal year
2000 plan are (1) the summary performance plan provides resources by core function for a 3-
year period and (2) the discussions of strategies in the component plans. The discussions, in
some cases, provide additional details as to how components will achieve their goals.




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Enclosure I
Observations on the Department of Justice's Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




Justice’s Performance Plan Provides General Confidence That
Department Performance Information Will Be Credible
Justice’s plan provides general confidence that the Department’s performance information
will be credible. The plan contains a discussion of its efforts to verify and validate
performance data. In addition, many of its components’ plans also contain discussions on
their verification and validation efforts. Justice recognizes that data for some performance
indicators are currently not available. For example, to assess the effectiveness of its support
to state and local governments to combat youth violence, Justice has proposed measuring the
incidence of juveniles illegally carrying guns. However, Justice has not provided baseline data
nor established a target for fiscal year 2000. To address the data unavailability, it is trying to
identify alternative indicators to measure performance. Justice’s fiscal year 2000 summary
performance plan recognizes the financial management weaknesses that we identified in our
assessment of the fiscal year 1999 performance plan and makes commitments or shows
actual attempts to address those weaknesses. However, many of the components’ plans still
do not specifically address how they plan to correct financial management problems
identified during the financial statement audits or measure progress in this area.

Justice’s performance plan recognizes the need to develop an organizational capability to
measure and report program performance. Justice states that it is taking steps to address
performance measurements and data integrity concerns. According to Justice, it is developing
a systemic performance measurement process and system. For example, with contractor
assistance it plans to assess data quality, consistency, and reliability; and collect, verify, and
analyze performance data. Justice’s Office of Inspector General (IG) indicated that it would
increase its efforts to verify and validate data sources and information systems.

Some of the components specifically address data verification and validation in their
performance plans. For example, the Civil Division has identified steps it is taking to achieve
the integrity of its database. One of its steps is to have contractors verify a representative
sample of data. The DEA also describes its efforts to validate and verify data. For example,
case data are to be validated through supervisory reviews and DEA’s statistical unit is to
routinely test arrest and disposition data for accuracy. Further, INS has included enhancing
the integrity and integration of immigration data and data systems as one of its performance
goals. In addition, the component plans, overall, identify their data sources for the
performance indicators.

Justice’s summary performance plan does not discuss the implications of data limitations for
assessing performance. However, it discusses unavailable data and actions it plans to take to
collect such data or identify alternative performance indicators. For example, reliable data do
not exist for certain types of white-collar crime, such as computer crime. Justice components
are working to develop reasonable measures and identify baseline data that provide a proxy
for measuring the intended outcomes. In another example, the FBI recognizes the difficulty in




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Enclosure I
Observations on the Department of Justice's Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




measuring the effectiveness of preventing crime. Instead, it is proposing to focus on
anticipatory measures for certain goals. In order to do this, it will emphasize implementation
of process changes that would result in the prevention of crime. Using the specific example
of hate crimes, the FBI’s approach might involve tracking the proportion of agencies and
communities that adopt and use training and other models developed to counter this
problem. In other words, more emphasis is given to the implementation of process or
procedural changes that would result in the prevention of crime. This approach should
provide information about performance data. However, Justice’s performance plan could be
more informative if it included timeframes for developing new and refining existing
performance indicators.

Justice has a departmentwide goal to obtain an unqualified audit opinion on the
departmentwide and individual component’s financial statements by fiscal year 2000. Justice
and 4 of its 9 components that were subject to audit received a disclaimer of opinion on their
fiscal year 1998 financial statements because the auditors were unable to obtain sufficient
evidence about certain balances and disclosures. Two other components received unqualified
opinions only on their balance sheets and disclaimer of opinions on all other financial
statements. Additionally, auditors of the 9 components reported a total of 13 material
weaknesses and 18 reportable conditions, some of which affected the components’ ability to
receive opinions on their financial statements. These deficiencies also affect the reliability of
financial management information, which is taken from the same data sources as the
financial statements.

Finally, auditors identified two non-compliance conditions related to the Federal Financial
Management Improvement Act of 1996. These conditions existed at most components and
involved (1) the departure from certain requirements of federal accounting standards and (2)
the inability to meet certain federal management system requirements. The fiscal year 2000
summary plan makes commitments or shows actual attempts to address its financial
management weaknesses including (1) a description of progress made towards improving its
financial management systems, (2) implementation of a corrective action plan to obtain an
unqualified opinion on all its financial statements, and (3) that progress will be continuously
monitored and reported to the OMB quarterly. However, many of the components’ plans still
do not specifically address how they plan to correct financial management problems
identified during the financial statement audits or measure progress in this area. The
summary plan indicates that several components received an unqualified opinion on their
fiscal year 1998 financial statements. As noted above, 2 of these components received
disclaimers on all financial statements except their balance sheets. In total, the Department
and 6 of its components received a disclaimer of opinion on most of their financial
statements.

The fiscal year 2000 performance plan indicates moderate improvement in addressing the
weaknesses that we identified in our assessment of the fiscal year 1999 performance plan as




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Enclosure I
Observations on the Department of Justice's Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




it relates to providing full confidence that the Department’s performance information will be
credible. In reviewing the fiscal year 1999 plan we observed that, although Justice’s plan
generally addressed the data limitation and implication issues, there appeared to be much
uncertainty as to what the results of some of its planned efforts would be, or when the efforts
would even take place. As a result, it was difficult to determine the adequacy of Justice’s
proposed performance plan efforts. We stated that Justice could strengthen its plan by
providing more specific information in its next summary plan on how it plans to ensure the
accuracy and completeness of performance data and how it plans to better address data
limitations. We also observed that Justice’s summary plan and many of the components’ plans
did not specifically address how Justice plans to correct financial management problems or
measure progress in this area. Among improvements in the fiscal year 2000 summary plan is
the section on measurement issues in which Justice provides more specific information on
how it plans to ensure the accuracy and completeness of performance data and how it plans
to address data limitations.

Other Observations on Justice’s Implementation of
Performance-Based Management
In two of our reports related to INS programs, we found that Justice had incorporated several
aspects of performance-based management but should continue to refine these efforts to
better measure performance. In our December 1997 report on illegal immigration, we
discussed the Attorney General strategy for deterring illegal entry across the southwest
        3
border. The strategy envisions three distinct but related results: fewer aliens will be able to
cross the border illegally; fewer aliens will try to illegally immigrate into the United States;
and, consequently, the number of illegal aliens in the United states will decrease. However
the indicators presently used for measuring the overall success are not sufficiently
comprehensive to address these three results, and, in many cases, data are not being gathered
systematically. In addition, there is no overall plan describing how these and other indicators
could be used to systematically evaluate the strategy to deter illegal entry. To gauge the
overall success of the strategy, data would be needed to assess each of the results envisioned
by the strategy and an evaluation plan would be needed to describe the interrelationship of
those results.

In another report, we discuss one of Justice’s strategic goals in its 1997 strategic plan was to
reduce the incentives for unauthorized employment by (1) focusing enforcement efforts in
areas that have a high probability of violation and (2) facilitating the replacement of



3
    Illegal Immigration: Southwest Border Strategy Results Inconclusive; More Evaluation Needed, GAO/GGD-98-21, Dec.11, 1997.




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




                                                         4
unauthorized worker with legal workers. In line with these strategic goals, INS established a
goal that its worksite program would investigate employers who intentionally hired
unauthorized aliens, that is, substantive violators. To measure its effectiveness in meeting its
goal, INS set a goal that 60 percent of all fines should be substantive violations, and that 146
criminal cases would be presented for prosecution. Further, INS’ worksite enforcement was
to serve as a catalyst for lawful employment by causing as many as 38,507 jobs to be vacated
by unauthorized aliens and, therefore, made available for authorized workers.

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




4
    Illegal Aliens: Significant Obstacles to Reducing Unauthorized Alien Employment Exist, GAO/GGD-99-33, Apr. 2, 1999.




Page 12                                                      GAO/GGD-99-111R Justice's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure II

Management Challenges


The following table contains a discussion of Justice’s major management challenges
identified by the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General and us and a discussion
of these challenges contained in Justice’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan.

Table II.1 Management Challenges
Management Challenge                                       Applicable Goals And Measures In The Fiscal
                                                           Year 2000 Performance Plan
INS’ organizational structure has impeded its ability to   None.
effectively enforce immigration laws and provide
immigration and citizenship services. INS has begun an
organizational restructuring effort intended to address
these problems, but the details had not been worked out
as of October 1998.
INS has for years experienced challenges with internal     None. INS, though, has a performance goal to ensure
communications and coordination. INS lacks written         a motivated and diverse workforce that is well trained
guidance on appropriate communication channels and         and empowered to do its job. Under this goal, INS is
coordination methods between offices, and lacks up-to-     to continue to review and assess policies,
date policies and procedures on how to implement           procedures, and operations to identify opportunities
immigration laws.                                          for improvements in efficiency and effectiveness.
INS’ financial management weaknesses, including the        The Justice summary performance plan does not
absence of appropriate accounting records and internal     specifically address INS financial management
controls, resulted in a disclaimer of opinion on INS’      weaknesses; however, the plan mentions immigration
financial statements by INS’ auditor.                      and ensuring accurate data. The key performance
                                                           indicator at the Justice level included the auditor
                                                           findings on new Financial Management System.

                                                           The key performance indicator at the INS level
                                                           included the unqualified opinion on financial
                                                           statements produced for FY 2000.

                                                           The INS performance plan lists conditions to be
                                                           corrected, for example, “reconciliation of fund balance
                                                           with Treasury, accounting for and recording fixed
                                                           assets, accounting for accounts receivable, and
                                                           accounting for and recording accounts payable.”
                                                           However, the plan does not specifically address how
                                                           such conditions will be corrected in order to achieve
                                                           an unqualified opinion. In addition, the INS plan
                                                           emphasizes modernizing its financial management
                                                           systems.
The effectiveness of INS’ southwest border strategy is     Justice’s performance plan does not directly address
unknown because INS did not have evaluative data to        developing data on this challenge. However, INS’
indicate whether illegal aliens were deterred from         component plan says it will continue to implement
entering the United States, whether there had been a       Border Patrol Strategic Plan, maintain control in
decrease in attempted reentries by those who had           areas where deterrence strategies have been
previously been apprehended, or whether the strategy       successfully implemented, and increase the flexibility
had reduced border violence.                               to respond to new areas of concern.




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Enclosure II
Management Challenges




Management Challenge                                         Applicable Goals And Measures In The Fiscal
                                                             Year 2000 Performance Plan
INS’ process for removing criminal aliens through the        Justice’s summary performance plan states that INS
                                     1
Institutional Hearing Program (IHP) needs                    will continue to place emphasis on the removal of
improvement. INS has failed to identify thousands of         deportable criminal aliens and the efficiency and
potentially deportable aliens before they completed their    effectiveness of the IHP. INS’ fiscal year goals for the
prison sentences. As a result, criminal aliens, including    IHP include removing 18,100 aliens via the IHP and,
aggravated felons, have been released into                   of the deportable inmates released to INS from
communities, and some have been rearrested for new           institutions, 44 percent will be criminal aliens who
crimes. INS has also incurred millions of dollars in         received a final order through the IHP.
avoidable detention costs because it has not completed
removal proceedings for all identified criminal aliens
while they were in state and federal prisons.

(The IG also identified this as a management
challenge.)
1
 Expanded and renamed the Institutional Removal
Program.
INS’ procedures for granting citizenship were weakened       INS’ component plan has a goal to deliver services to
by INS’ failure to conduct complete criminal history         the public in a timely, consistent, fair, and high quality
checks before granting applications for citizenship. As a    manner. As part of this goal it will measure its level
result, INS improperly naturalized citizens with felony      of compliance with naturalization quality procedures.
convictions. INS has begun restructuring its
naturalization process.

(The IG also identified this as a management
challenge.)
Justice has significant financial management                 Justice’s performance plan addresses management
weaknesses. Six of the its 9 components received             goals, including financial management goals. The
disclaimers of opinion on their 1997 financial               performance plan states that Justice’s goal is to
statements. Additionally, auditors of the 6 components       achieve unqualified audited financial statements, for
reported a total of 24 material weaknesses and 20            itself and its components, by fiscal year 2000.
reportable conditions that affected the components’          Improvements in the fiscal year 2000 summary
ability to receive opinions on their financial statements.   performance plan include a description of progress
                                                             made towards improving its financial management
(The IG also identified this as a management                 systems. In addition, the summary performance plan
challenge.)                                                  mentions implementation of a corrective action plan
                                                             to obtain an unqualified opinion on all its financial
                                                             statements and that progress is continuously being
                                                             monitored and reported to OMB quarterly. The plan’s
                                                             key performance indicator included the number of
                                                             Justice annual financial statements that received an
                                                             unqualified opinion.

                                                             Many of the components’ plans do not specifically
                                                             address how they plan to correct financial
                                                             management problems or measure progress in this
                                                             area.




Page 14                                              GAO/GGD-99-111R Justice's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure II
Management Challenges




Management Challenge                                       Applicable Goals And Measures In The Fiscal
                                                           Year 2000 Performance Plan
Internal control weaknesses within DEA have allowed        None. Justice’s performance plan does not
embezzlements to occur. One embezzlement case              specifically address DEA’s internal control
involved a single employee who allegedly embezzled         weaknesses.
more than $6 million during a 6-year period. The
second case involved collusion among three DEA             In addition, DEA’s component plan does not
employees who used DEA funds to purchase various           specifically address how Justice plans to correct
equipment—valued at approximately $2.7 million—that        identified financial management problems or measure
was diverted for their own use.                            progress in this area. Key performance indicators
                                                           include the annual audited financial statements with
                                                           the end outcome of an unqualified audit opinion.
Justice’s asset forfeiture program continues to be         One of Justice’s summary performance plan goals,
designated a high-risk area. Challenges remain,            which is also included in the USMS component plan,
consisting of inadequate asset forfeiture information      is that USMS will increase accountability of the asset
systems, a disclaimer of opinion on the asset forfeiture   forfeiture program. The indicators provided were:
program’s fiscal year 1997 financial statements,
weaknesses in the management of seized drugs at INS        • Percent of real property disposed of within one
Border Patrol stations, and operating two similar but      year.
separate seized asset management and disposal              • Percent of real property sold at 85 percent or more
programs without plans for consolidation.                  of its market value.
                                                           • Dispose seized properties.
(The IG also identified this as a management               • Decrease days needed to dispose of property from
challenge.)                                                USMS custody.

                                                           These key summary indicators relate to the disposal
                                                           of seized and forfeited property. The plans do not
                                                           contain any specific strategies, goals, or indicators to
                                                           ensure effective management of seized and forfeited
                                                           property.

                                                           The Assets Forfeiture Fund component plan
                                                           mentions effective management of seized and
                                                           forfeited property as a program goal, however, the
                                                           plan did not contain any specific strategies or
                                                           indicators to address weaknesses identified by
                                                           auditors in this area.

                                                           The INS component plan does` not contain any
                                                           specific strategies, goals, or indicators to address
                                                           weaknesses identified in its management of seized
                                                           drugs.




Page 15                                            GAO/GGD-99-111R Justice's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure II
Management Challenges




Other areas identified by the IG-Justice:
Computer security has been a material weakness in            Justice has identified as one of its goals: to improve
Justice since 1985. The ever-expanding availability of       the security of its computer and telecommunications
new and more powerful computers, databases, and              systems by accrediting the operational systems in
networks has brought with it new threats to the security     each of its five major law enforcement components in
of Justice systems and data. Past audits and                 accordance with security requirements. The key
inspections have disclosed serious problems in               summary indicator associated with this goal is the
computer security that could lead to the compromise of       secure exchange of information using authentication
sensitive computer systems and data.                         technologies is a cross-organizational pilot, based on
                                                             a 1999 prototype project. Justice also plans to use 30
                                                             percent of the IG’s computer audit resources for
                                                             security reviews in fiscal year 2000.
Justice is behind in addressing the Year 2000 problem.       Justice has identified as one of its goals to be
According to Justice management officials, almost 100        compliant with Year 2000 requirements for all its
percent of its mission-critical systems have been            mission-critical systems. The key summary indicator
assessed. However, as of August 1998, the IG was             associated with this goal is the percentage of
advised that only 83 percent of the renovations have         systems that successfully pass the January 1, 2000
been completed.                                              date without significant interruption in operation or
                                                             data loss. In February, Justice reported to OMB that
                                                             86 percent of its mission-critical systems was Year
                                                             2000 compliant.
Prison overcrowding remains a Justice major problem.         Justice’s summary performance plan has a
Progress has been made by Justice to reduce prison           performance goal, that Justice will support BOP’s
overcrowding, but much more needs to be done. Justice        efforts to reduce the system-wide overcrowding rate
houses approximately 98,000 inmates in Bureau of             to 31 percent with the addition of over 4,300 new
Prisons facilities that have a combined rated capacity of    beds resulting from the activations of three facilities.
78,000 inmates.                                              The related performance indicators presented were
                                                             number of beds added and percent overcrowding by
                                                             security level.
The detention space and infrastructure for criminals and     The plan does not address the location of detention
illegal migrants is facing maximum capacity. USMS            facilities. USMS’s performance plan has a goal to
continues to experience a shortage of detention facilities   fund a sufficient number of Intergovernmental
near federal courthouses. Justice is increasingly turning    Agreement jail days in state and local facilities for
to outside contractors … The INS is experiencing rapid       detainees in the custody of the USMS. One of the
growth in the use of detention space, from an average of     related indicators is the number of detainees needed
8,592 beds used daily in 1996 to a projected 15,000          to be housed in non-federal facilities. One of the
beds used daily in 1998.                                     indicators for INS’ interior enforcement goal, is the
                                                             total bedspace available, i.e., number of beds.
INS' program to remove illegal aliens is largely             None. However, INS is measuring the number of
ineffective. Only a small percentage of non-detained         criminal and noncriminal aliens removed. These
illegal aliens are annually removed even after being         numbers are separated by those aliens who wearer
processed through the entire INS system.                     or were not detained.
Although there has been a major investment in taxpayer       None. Justice in its summary performance plan and
money, the INS automation system is experiencing             in INS’ component plan point out the need to improve
waste and abuse. INS is undertaking a huge investment        the accuracy and timely availability of data used to
in automation technology and information systems . . . in    provide information to the public and to ensure
excess of $2 billion . . . Our March 1998 audit disclosed    immigration-related benefits and enforcement actions
material weaknesses in the management of the                 are based on correct and complete information.
initiative.




Page 16                                             GAO/GGD-99-111R Justice's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure II
Management Challenges




Other areas identified by the IG-Justice:
Information systems planning and implementation is still   None. The performance plan does not address any
failing. IG audits and inspections have identified         system planning and implementation issues.
numerous mission-critical computer systems that were
poorly planned, experienced long delays in
implementation, or did not provide timely or reliable
data.




Page 17                                            GAO/GGD-99-111R Justice's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure III

GAO Contacts and Staff
Acknowledgments

GAO Contact
Norman J. Rabkin,    (202) 512-8777

Acknowledgments
In addition to the contact named above, James M. Blume, Mary Lane Renninger, Deborah A.
Davis, Carl L. Higginbotham, Laura E. Castro, Casey L. Keplinger, and Michael S. Wetklow
made key contributions to this product.




(182069)



Page 18                                 GAO/GGD-99-111R Justice's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan