oversight

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Agriculture

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-01-01.

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

               United States General Accounting Office

GAO            Performance and Accountability
               Series




January 1999
               Major Management
               Challenges and Program
               Risks
               Department of Agriculture




GAO/OCG-99-2
GAO   United States
      General Accounting Office
      Washington, D.C. 20548

      Comptroller General
      of the United States



      January 1999
      The President of the Senate
      The Speaker of the House of Representatives

      This report addresses the major performance and
      management challenges that have limited the
      effectiveness of the U.S. Department of Agriculture
      (USDA) in carrying out its mission. It also addresses
      corrective actions that USDA has taken or initiated on
      these challenges and identifies further actions that are
      needed.

      The management challenges USDA faces are as diverse as
      its missions, which include ensuring the safety of the
      nation’s food supply, providing food assistance for the
      needy, supporting the agriculture sector, and managing
      the national forests. Given the importance of these
      missions, it is critical that USDA manages the programs
      designed to fulfill these missions as efficiently and
      effectively as possible. However, over the last several
      years, we have highlighted problems in each of these
      areas that reduce program effectiveness. For example, we
      have identified inefficient and wasteful practices in the
      Forest Service that have cost taxpayers hundreds of
      millions of dollars. In addition, we have found significant
      management problems in USDA’s use of information
      technology. Furthermore, we have designated financial
      management at the Forest Service and farm loan
      programs as high-risk areas.
This report is part of a special series entitled the
Performance and Accountability Series: Major
Management Challenges and Program Risks. The series
contains separate reports on 20 agencies—one on each of
the cabinet departments and on most major independent
agencies as well as the U.S. Postal Service. The series
also includes a governmentwide report that draws from
the agency-specific reports to identify the performance
and management challenges requiring attention across
the federal government. As a companion volume to this
series, GAO is issuing an update to those government
operations and programs that its work identified as “high
risk” because of their greater vulnerabilities to waste,
fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. High-risk government
operations are also identified and discussed in detail in
the appropriate performance and accountability series
agency reports.

The performance and accountability series was done at
the request of the Majority Leader of the House of
Representatives, Dick Armey; the Chairman of the House
Government Reform Committee, Dan Burton; the
Chairman of the House Budget Committee, John Kasich;
the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Governmental
Affairs, Fred Thompson; the Chairman of the Senate
Budget Committee, Pete Domenici; and Senator Larry
Craig. The series was subsequently cosponsored by the
Ranking Minority Member of the House Government
Reform Committee, Henry A. Waxman; the Ranking
Minority Member, Subcommittee on Government
Management, Information and Technology, House



            Page 2               GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
Government Reform Committee, Dennis J. Kucinich;
Senator Joseph I. Lieberman; and Senator Carl Levin.

Copies of this report series are being sent to the
President, the congressional leadership, all other
Members of the Congress, the Director of the Office of
Management and Budget, the Secretary of Agriculture,
and the heads of other major departments and agencies.




David M. Walker
Comptroller General of
the United States




            Page 3               GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
Contents



Overview                                             6

Major                                               15
Performance and
Management
Issues
Related GAO                                         40
Products
Performance and                                     46
Accountability
Series




                  Page 4   GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
Page 5   GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
Overview



           Since its creation in 1862, the U.S.
           Department of Agriculture (USDA) has grown
           substantially and is now one of the nation’s
           largest federal agencies, employing over
           100,000 people and managing a budget of
           almost $60 billion. Its 29 agencies and offices
           are responsible for operating more than 200
           programs that, among other things, support
           the productivity and profitability of farming
           and ranching, protect the natural
           environment, ensure food safety, improve
           the well-being of rural America, promote
           domestic marketing and the export of food
           and farm products, conduct biotechnology
           and other agriculture research, and provide
           food assistance to those Americans who
           need it.

           Over the years, we, USDA’s Inspector General,
           and others have documented the
           performance and management problems that
           have inhibited the effectiveness or efficiency
           of USDA’s operations. In some cases, the
           Congress and/or USDA has taken actions to
           address these problems. However, a number
           of important challenges remain.




           Page 6               GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
                     Overview




The Challenges

USDA’s Field         USDA’s  field structure for managing its farm
Structure Is         programs is obsolete and inefficient. While
Inefficient          USDA has made progress in closing about
                     1,000 county office locations, its field
                     structure still includes about 2,700 county
                     office locations that serve a decreasing
                     number of farmers. To improve the
                     efficiency of its farm service operations,
                     USDA needs to consider using alternative
                     methods for delivering services to farmers
                     and reconsider the level of personalized
                     service it provides to farmers.


Fundamental          The increasing incidence of foodborne
Changes Are Needed   illness has heightened concerns about the
to Improve Food      federal government’s effectiveness in
Safety               ensuring the safety of food. This concern has
                     resulted in, among other things, the use of
                     more scientific approaches to meat and
                     poultry inspections. However, while these
                     changes are important to better ensuring the
                     safety of our food, they do not address the
                     fundamental problem of having the
                     responsibilities for food safety scattered
                     among 12 different federal agencies, which
                     results in inconsistent oversight, poor
                     coordination, and the inefficient allocation

                     Page 7                GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
                   Overview




                   of resources. The current highly fragmented
                   federal system for food safety needs to be
                   replaced with a uniform, risk-based
                   inspection system under a single food
                   agency.


Inefficiency and   Inefficiency and waste throughout USDA’s
Waste Within the   Forest Service’s operations and organization
Forest Service     have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of
Continue           dollars. In particular, the Forest Service has
                   not obtained fair market value for its goods
                   or recovered its costs for services, cannot
                   accurately account for a significant amount
                   of its assets and expenditures, has generally
                   unreliable financial statements, and has
                   weak contracting practices. While the Forest
                   Service has made progress in recent years, it
                   is still far from achieving financial
                   accountability and possibly a decade or
                   more away from being fully accountable for
                   its performance. Since the financial
                   problems at the Forest Service are so
                   pervasive and long-standing, we are now
                   designating the Forest Service’s financial
                   management a high-risk area. To improve its
                   operational efficiency and effectiveness, the
                   Forest Service must be accountable for its
                   financial operations and performance.




                   Page 8               GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
                      Overview




USDA’s Farm Loan      In 1990, we placed USDA’s farm loan
Programs Remain       programs on our high-risk list. In 1998, we
Vulnerable to Loss    reported that the size of USDA’s direct loan
                      portfolio, $9.7 billion at the end of fiscal year
                      1997, as well as the percentage of the
                      portfolio held by delinquent borrowers had
                      decreased since 1995. Nevertheless, USDA
                      continues to carry a high level of delinquent
                      farm loan debt and to write off large
                      amounts of unpaid loans held by problem
                      borrowers. In addition, farm loan
                      delinquencies may increase because of the
                      droughts and low prices for major crops and
                      livestock in 1998. USDA and the Congress
                      need to continue to monitor the effects of
                      recent lending and servicing reforms
                      intended to improve the financial integrity of
                      the farm loan programs.


Reducing              Millions of dollars in overpayments in the
Overpayments in the   Food Stamp Program occur because eligible
Food Stamp            persons are paid too much or because
Program               ineligible individuals improperly participated
                      in the Food Stamp Program. For example,
                      thousands of prisoners and deceased
                      individuals have been included as members
                      of households receiving food stamps.
                      Computer matching can provide a
                      cost-effective mechanism to accurately and
                      independently identify households that


                      Page 9                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
                         Overview




                         include ineligible food stamp participants.
                         Some states have taken actions to reduce
                         food stamp overpayments by using computer
                         matching to identify ineligible participants.
                         USDA can enhance the states’ effectiveness in
                         identifying other ineligible participants and
                         reducing overpayments by taking a lead role
                         in promoting the sharing of information
                         among federal and state agencies.


USDA Lacks               USDA has a long-standing history of
Financial                deficiencies in its accounting and financial
Accountability Over      management systems. Since 1991, because of
Billions of Dollars in   these deficiencies, USDA’s Inspector General
Assets
                         has issued a series of unfavorable financial
                         audit reports on USDA and several of its
                         component agencies’ financial statements. In
                         addition, USDA’s ability to comply with
                         budgetary and financial statement reporting
                         requirements is severely hampered by its
                         lack of adequate financial systems. USDA
                         currently has an action plan for resolving its
                         accounting and financial systems’
                         deficiencies that calls for full
                         implementation by fiscal year 2000. Given
                         the long-standing nature of USDA’s financial
                         management deficiencies, complete
                         resolution by fiscal year 2000 will be a
                         significant challenge. In addition, as
                         previously mentioned, because the financial


                         Page 10              GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
                     Overview




                     problems at the Forest Service are so
                     pervasive and long-standing, we are now
                     designating the Forest Service’s financial
                     management a high-risk area.


USDA Can Save        USDA  is not effectively managing its
Millions by Better   telecommunications systems and services.
Managing Its         Among other things, USDA has not
Telecommunica-       consolidated and optimized
tions Investments
                     telecommunications where opportunities
                     exist to do so or established sound
                     management practices to ensure that
                     telecommunications resources are
                     effectively managed and payments for
                     unused, unnecessary, or uneconomical
                     services are terminated. To respond to these
                     problems, USDA has identified improvements
                     it states could reduce its annual $200-plus
                     million telecommunications investment by
                     as much as $70 million each year. As a first
                     step, USDA is developing a
                     Telecommunications Action Plan for
                     correcting its telecommunications
                     management deficiencies. However, once
                     this plan is developed, USDA will need to
                     effectively implement it to correct
                     deficiencies and achieve cost savings.




                     Page 11              GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
                      Overview




Significant           Since 1993, USDA has been attempting to
Weaknesses in         undertake the most costly and challenging
USDA’s                information technology (IT) modernization in
Multibillion-Dollar   its history. Several management weaknesses
Modernization of
                      raise concerns regarding the extent to which
Service Center
                      USDA’s service center IT modernization effort,
Information
Technology Place      which could ultimately cost more than
Effort at Risk        $3 billion, will achieve an adequate return on
                      its investment or significantly improve
                      customer service. These weaknesses
                      include, for example, (1) acquiring new IT
                      without first determining how it will operate
                      to provide required service, (2) not managing
                      the IT projects as investments, and (3) not
                      developing a comprehensive plan and
                      management structure. Among other things,
                      USDA needs to develop a concept of
                      operations and new mission-critical business
                      processes for providing one-stop service to
                      better ensure the success of its IT
                      modernization efforts.


USDA Faces Serious    In May 1998, we testified that USDA will have
Year 2000             a great deal of difficulty in correcting,
Computing             testing, and implementing its mission-critical
Challenges            automated information systems to work
                      beyond 1999—that is to become Year 2000
                      compliant—in time. While USDA has begun to
                      address the Year 2000 problem, it still faces
                      significant challenges renovating and


                      Page 12              GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
Overview




replacing all its mission-critical systems in
time and taking the necessary steps to
ensure that vital public services are not
disrupted.


We have not comprehensively evaluated how
effectively the strategic and annual
performance plans required by the
Government Performance and Results Act
address USDA’s management problems.
However, we have reported that USDA’s 1997
strategic plan did not address certain
management problems that we had
previously identified, including those related
to IT programs. Regarding USDA’s
performance plans, we reported on the key
areas in which USDA’s performance plans
could be improved to better meet the
purposes of the Results Act. Specifically, we
reported that USDA’s performance plans
should (1) discuss mitigation strategies for
each significant external factor that may
interfere with the achievement of
performance goals; (2) describe the
procedures that will be used to ensure that
the data needed to measure progress in
meeting performance goals are complete,
accurate, and credible; and (3) identify what,
if any, limitations exist with respect to the
data used for measuring performance.


Page 13               GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
               Overview




               Furthermore, we reported that neither the
               strategic or performance plan adequately
               explained how USDA is coordinating
               crosscutting issues both inside and outside
               the Department.


Progress and   As discussed earlier, USDA is addressing
Next Steps     many of its management challenges. For
               example, to improve the efficiency of its
               farm service operations, it has closed about
               1,000 county office locations nationwide.
               Furthermore, USDA has implemented more
               scientific approaches to meat and poultry
               inspections to better ensure the safety of our
               nation’s food. Despite these actions, USDA
               still faces formidable challenges to ensure
               the efficiency and effectiveness of its
               operations. This will not be easy, in part
               because the challenges are as diverse as
               USDA’s missions. As might be expected, there
               is no single action USDA can take that would
               effectively address all of these problems. As
               a result, this report identifies a variety of
               actions USDA can take to address each
               individual problem. In addition, the Results
               Act could serve as a powerful tool to guide
               USDA in the many decisions it will have to
               make as it works toward mitigating the
               problems associated with these challenges.



               Page 14              GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
Major Performance and Management
Issues


               Over the years, we, USDA’s Inspector General,
               the National Performance Review, and
               others have documented problems with
               USDA’s performance and management and
               recommended reforms. This report
               summarizes our recent findings on the
               effectiveness of USDA in revamping its
               obsolete field structure; improving the safety
               of our nation’s food supply; improving the
               effectiveness of, and reducing waste in, the
               Forest Service; reducing farm loan defaults;
               reducing overpayments in the Food Stamp
               Program; accounting for billions of dollars in
               assets and expenditures; managing its
               telecommunications investments; addressing
               weaknesses in its multibillion-dollar service
               center information technology
               modernization effort; and meeting the Year
               2000 challenge. We have also indicated,
               where applicable, actions USDA has taken to
               address these management and performance
               problems.


USDA’s Field   The role of USDA’s county office structure
Structure Is   and the relationship of that structure to
Inefficient    farmers has not changed significantly since
               USDA began delivering programs at the local
               level in the 1930s. Even though
               improvements have been made in the
               transportation and communications


               Page 15              GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
    Major Performance and Management
    Issues




    infrastructure, and the number of farmers
    living in rural America has declined, USDA
    continues to provide the same kind of
    personalized service in the county office that
    it did 60 years ago. However, this service
    now comes at a cost of almost $1 billion
    annually. While many farmers prefer this
    kind of service, it is questionable whether
    the federal government should support this
    service over the long term.

    The Federal Crop Insurance Reform and
    Department of Agriculture Reorganization
    Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-354, Oct. 13,
    1994) directed the Secretary of Agriculture
    to streamline departmental operations by
    consolidating county offices. USDA has made
    progress in implementing the act. Between
    December 1994 and March 1998, it reduced
    the number of county office locations by
    more than 1,000—from 3,760 to about 2,700.
    Our reports have recognized this progress
    but have noted several concerns associated
    with the consolidation efforts:

•   USDA needs to consider alternative, more
    efficient means of delivering services to
    farmers. Currently, most farmers deal
    directly with USDA personnel in local county
    offices. USDA needs to study the costs and
    benefits of using alternative delivery


    Page 16                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
    Major Performance and Management
    Issues




    methods, such as mail, telephones, and
    computers, to deliver these services. Using
    alternative delivery methods should allow
    USDA to operate with fewer staff and offices,
    which could reduce personnel expenses by
    millions of dollars. Conversely, we realize
    that making significant changes to USDA’s
    field office structure to reduce government
    expenses and improve program efficiency
    could increase the administrative
    requirements for, and thereby the costs to,
    farmers who participate in farm programs.
•   USDA needs to better evaluate the costs and
    impact of its consolidation actions. More
    specifically, although USDA has made a
    number of organizational changes since 1994
    to reduce its staff and streamline its
    operations, it does not plan to determine the
    extent to which these efforts have achieved
    the objectives of the 1994 act, other than
    determining the savings associated with staff
    reductions. As a result, USDA will not be able
    to assess the extent to which its efforts have
    been successful in achieving all the
    objectives mandated by the 1994 act,
    including the impact on the quality of
    services it provides.




    Page 17                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
               Major Performance and Management
               Issues




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


Fundamental    Foodborne illnesses in the United States are
Changes Are    widespread and costly. The magnitude of the
Needed to      problem is uncertain, however, because
Improve Food   these illnesses are underreported and health
Safety         officials cannot determine their source.
               Estimates of foodborne illnesses range
               widely, from 6.5 million to 81 million cases
               each year and result in as few as 500 to as
               many as 9,100 related deaths annually.
               According to USDA’s Economic Research
               Service, the costs for medical treatment and
               productivity losses associated with these
               illnesses and deaths range from $6.6 billion
               to $37.1 billion.

               The increasing incidence of foodborne
               illness has heightened concerns about the
               federal government’s effectiveness in
               ensuring the safety of the nation’s food
               supply. This concern in part helped spawn a
               major new approach to food safety
               regulation that is currently being phased in.
               This approach, in line with our prior


               Page 18                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
    Major Performance and Management
    Issues




    recommendations, requires meat and poultry
    plants to use a scientific system called
    Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point
    (HACCP) to ensure the safety of their
    products. The new regulations also require
    that meat and poultry slaughter plants
    conduct microbial tests for E.coli, which is a
    general indicator of sanitary conditions.

    Requiring HACCP and microbial testing is
    without question an important step toward
    moving to a more scientific approach to
    ensuring a safer food supply. However, these
    requirements do not address several other
    fundamental problems with our current food
    safety system. Most importantly, the current
    system is highly fragmented. As many as 12
    different federal agencies, administering
    over 35 different laws, oversee food safety.
    As a result, the current food safety system
    suffers from inconsistent oversight, poor
    coordination, and inefficient allocation of
    resources. For example:

•   Subtle differences in food products often
    dictate which agency regulates a product
    and what actions it takes. A case in point:
    USDA is responsible for inspecting plants that
    produce open-faced meat sandwiches and
    pizzas with meat toppings. It conducts these
    inspections at least once each operating


    Page 19                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
    Major Performance and Management
    Issues




    shift. On the other hand, the Department of
    Health and Human Services’ Food and Drug
    Administration (FDA) is responsible for
    inspecting plants that produce traditional
    meat sandwiches and nonmeat pizzas. It
    conducts inspections of plants under its
    jurisdiction, on average, once every 10 years.
•   More than one-fourth of the over $1 billion
    federal budget for food safety—about
    $271 million—could be used more efficiently
    if the current carcass-by-carcass slaughter
    inspection requirement is eliminated once
    HACCP-based inspection systems are in place.
    These statutory inspections do not optimize
    federal resources because they do not detect
    the most serious health threat associated
    with meat and poultry—microbial
    contamination. The funds currently used for
    these inspections could be better spent on
    other food safety activities, such as helping
    smaller slaughter plants implement HACCP or
    conducting better surveillance of imported
    foods.

    In summary, the highly fragmented federal
    food safety structure needs to be replaced
    with a uniform, risk-based inspection system
    under a single food safety agency. In the
    interim, the implementation of the Results
    Act’s planning requirements may better



    Page 20                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
                   Major Performance and Management
                   Issues




                   facilitate the use of food safety resources
                   across the federal government.


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


Inefficiency and   Over the last decade, we have reported that
Waste Within the   inefficiency and waste throughout the Forest
Forest Service     Service’s operations and organization have
Continue           cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of
                   dollars. For example, the Forest Service has
                   often not obtained fair market value for
                   goods or recovered costs for services as
                   permitted under federal law and has not
                   always responded to reduce or contain costs
                   pursuant to congressional request. The
                   agency’s financial statements are generally
                   unreliable, and significant assets and
                   expenditures cannot be accurately
                   accounted for. Because the Forest Service
                   has struggled for years to improve the
                   reliability of its financial statements without
                   success, we are now designating the Forest
                   Service’s financial management a high-risk
                   area. Furthermore, the Forest Service’s weak


                   Page 21                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
Major Performance and Management
Issues




contracting practices have exposed
appropriated dollars to an increased risk of
fraud, waste, and abuse. These and other
findings have led us, USDA’s Inspector
General, and Forest Service task forces to
make numerous recommendations to
improve performance. We testified on
March 26, 1998, that the Forest Service had
not acted on some of these
recommendations, had studied and restudied
others without implementing them, and has
left the implementation of others to the
discretion of its independent and
autonomous regional offices and forests,
with mixed results.

To improve its operational efficiency and
effectiveness, the Forest Service must be
accountable for its financial activities and
performance. While the agency has made
progress in recent years, it is still years away
from achieving financial accountability and
possibly a decade or more away from being
accountable for its performance.
Specifically, the Forest Service has identified
the actions required to correct known
accounting and financial reporting
deficiencies and has established a schedule
to attain financial accountability within the
next few years. In addition, the agency has
taken an important first step toward


Page 22                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
               Major Performance and Management
               Issues




               becoming accountable for its performance
               by making clear that its overriding mission
               and funding priority, consistent with its
               existing legislative framework, has shifted
               from producing goods and services to
               maintaining and restoring the health of the
               lands entrusted to its care. However, it has
               not identified the actions required to correct
               decades-old problems with its data and
               reporting, addressed new challenges
               resulting from its changed priorities, or
               established a schedule to achieve
               accountability for its performance by a
               certain date. Strong leadership within the
               agency and sustained oversight by the
               Congress will be needed to ensure that the
               actions required to hold the Forest Service
               accountable for its performance are
               identified and that it adheres to schedules to
               achieve both performance and financial
               accountability.


Key Contacts   Victor S. Rezendes, Director
               Energy, Resources, and Science Issues
               Resources, Community, and Economic
                 Development Division
               (202) 512-3841
               rezendesv.rced@gao.gov




               Page 23                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
                Major Performance and Management
                Issues




                Linda M. Calbom, Director
                Resources, Community, and Economic
                  Development Accounting and Financial
                  Management Issues
                Accounting and Information Management
                  Division
                (202) 512-8341
                calboml.aimd@gao.gov


USDA’s Farm     USDA’s farm loan programs are intended to
Loan Programs   provide temporary financial assistance to
Remain          farmers and ranchers who are unable to
Vulnerable to   obtain commercial credit at reasonable rates
Loss            and terms. In operating the farm loan
                programs, USDA faces the conflicting tasks of
                providing temporary credit to high-risk
                borrowers so they can stay in farming until
                they are able to secure commercial credit
                and of ensuring that the taxpayers’
                investment is protected. The unpaid
                principal on USDA’s active direct farm loan
                portfolio totaled about $9.7 billion at the end
                of fiscal year 1997.

                In 1990, we placed USDA’s farm loan
                programs on our high-risk list because the
                programs (1) had an exceptionally high rate
                of defaults and (2) had become a continuous
                source of subsidized credit for nearly half of
                the borrowers under these programs. In the


                Page 24                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
Major Performance and Management
Issues




1996 Farm Bill, the Congress made
fundamental changes to the programs, such
as prohibiting delinquent borrowers from
obtaining direct operating loans and limiting
the number of times delinquent borrowers
can receive debt forgiveness. In our 1997
high-risk series of reports, we noted that
these changes, if implemented properly,
would significantly reduce the financial risk
associated with the farm loan programs. In
1998, we reported that the value of farm
loans held by delinquent borrowers
decreased from $4.6 billion, or 40.7 percent
of USDA’s total outstanding direct farm loan
principal in 1995, to $2.7 billion, or
28.2 percent, in 1997.

Despite the indications of improvement in
the farm loan portfolio’s financial condition,
the farm loan programs remain high risk for
several reasons. First, USDA continues to
carry a high level of delinquent debt and to
write off large amounts of unpaid loans held
by problem borrowers. Moreover, these
delinquencies may increase because of the
droughts and low prices for major crops and
livestock in 1998. Second, the Omnibus
Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental
Appropriations Act, 1999 (P.L. 105-277, Oct.
21, 1998) eased some of the lending reforms
initiated under the 1996 Farm Bill. For


Page 25                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
              Major Performance and Management
              Issues




              example, it expanded exceptions to the
              Farm Bill’s general prohibition against
              providing additional loans to borrowers who
              had prior loan losses. Finally, both we and
              USDA’s Inspector General have reported on
              continuing management problems with the
              farm loan programs. For example, in
              May 1998, we reported that USDA still has
              problems in complying with some of its own
              loan servicing standards. Similarly, in
              December 1998, USDA’s Inspector General
              identified USDA’s farm loan programs as one
              of its key problem areas and plans to expand
              its reviews of USDA’s loan-making and
              loan-servicing actions.

              USDA and the Congress need to continue to
              monitor the effects of recent lending and
              servicing reforms intended to improve the
              financial integrity of the farm loan programs.


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




              Page 26                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
                  Major Performance and Management
                  Issues




Reducing          The Food Stamp Program is one of the
Overpayments in   largest elements of the nation’s social safety
the Food Stamp    net and is the largest single program
Program           administered by USDA. In fiscal year 1997,
                  over $19 billion in food stamps was provided
                  to about 23 million recipients. Fraud and
                  abuse in the program generally occurs
                  because of overpayments to food stamp
                  recipients or because of
                  trafficking—exchanging food stamp benefits
                  for cash or other non-food items.1

                  Overpayments occur when ineligible persons
                  are provided food stamps, as well as when
                  eligible persons are provided more than they
                  are entitled to receive. In 1997, the states
                  overpaid recipients an estimated $1.4 billion.
                  That same year, the states underpaid
                  recipients by about $509 million. Millions of
                  dollars in overpayments have occurred
                  because ineligible individuals improperly
                  participated in the Food Stamp Program. For
                  example, thousands of prisoners and
                  deceased individuals have been included as
                  members of households receiving food
                  stamps. Computer matching can provide a
                  cost-effective mechanism to accurately and

                  1
                   With regard to trafficking, USDA estimates that in 1993 (the latest
                  year of available data) about $815 million in food stamps,
                  approximately 4 percent of the food stamps issued, were traded for
                  cash at retail stores. No one knows the extent of trafficking
                  between individuals before the food stamps are redeemed at
                  authorized retailers.

                  Page 27                        GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
                    Major Performance and Management
                    Issues




                    independently identify households that
                    include ineligible food stamp participants.

                    Some states already conduct data-matching
                    programs, such as matches with the rolls of
                    other states to find participants receiving
                    duplicate benefits. The Congress has passed
                    and the President has signed legislation to
                    require the states to ensure that food stamps
                    are not issued to prisoners and deceased
                    individuals. USDA can enhance the states’
                    effectiveness in identifying other ineligible
                    participants and reducing overpayments by
                    taking a leading role in promoting the use of
                    and the sharing of information among
                    federal and state agencies.


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


USDA Lacks          USDA  has a long-standing history of
Financial           deficiencies in its accounting and financial
Accountability      management systems. Since 1991, because of
Over Billions of    these deficiencies, USDA’s Inspector General
Dollars in Assets   has issued a series of unfavorable financial


                    Page 28                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
Major Performance and Management
Issues




audit reports on USDA and on several of its
component agencies’ financial statements.
For example, the Office of the Inspector
General qualified its opinion on the fiscal
year 1997 financial statements for the Rural
Development mission area because it was
unable to reliably estimate the subsidy cost
of the mission area’s $53.7 billion direct loan
programs, as is required for budgetary and
financial reporting. In addition, the Inspector
General was unable to issue an opinion on
the Forest Service’s fiscal year 1997 financial
statements in part because of the absence of
an integrated general ledger and supporting
subsidiary records and because of significant
weaknesses in the financial systems.

The Inspector General was also unable to
issue an opinion on USDA’s fiscal year 1997
consolidated statements, primarily because
of the problems described earlier and
numerous material internal control
weaknesses reported in the Inspector
General’s fiscal year 1997 internal control
review of USDA’s National Finance Center.
For example, the Inspector General was
unable to determine if the USDA systems
maintained by the National Finance Center
had adequate security in place to prevent
misuse or unauthorized access to, or
modification of, data. Furthermore, the


Page 29                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
Major Performance and Management
Issues




Inspector General noted instances in which
access had been granted to individuals who
should have not had access and numerous
instances in which modifications were made
to software programs without proper
authorization and testing. In its report on
USDA’s fiscal year 1997 consolidated
statements, the Inspector General also cited
problems with USDA’s internal controls and
accounting systems, which prevented USDA
from complying with the Federal Financial
Management Improvement Act (FFMIA) of
1996.2 The Inspector General recommended
that for USDA to comply with the act, it needs
to (1) report its noncompliance with FFMIA to
the Office of Management and Budget and
(2) prepare a remediation plan to bring its
financial management systems into
substantial compliance within a 3-year
period.

USDA’s ability to meet budgetary and financial
statement reporting requirements is severely
hampered by its lack of adequate financial
management systems. USDA operates 70 of
these financial management systems, which
include 142 applications, and a number of


2
 FFMIA requires agencies to implement and maintain financial
management systems that comply substantially with Federal
Financial Management System Requirements, applicable federal
accounting standards, and the U.S. Standard General Ledger at the
transaction level.

Page 30                       GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
Major Performance and Management
Issues




mission area financial management
subsystems. The data in some of these
systems are neither timely nor readily
accessible. Many systems were developed to
address specific component agencies’ needs,
with little central coordination or oversight
by USDA. Standardization and data
interchange were frequently not addressed
when the systems were built, and, as a
result, information is often incompatible
with related information drawn from other
systems. Generating consolidated reports
and responding to queries from inside and
outside USDA in this environment is often a
complex and labor-intensive task.

USDA  has developed a plan of action for
resolving its accounting and financial
management systems’ deficiencies. The plan
includes steps to correct deficiencies,
scheduled dates of completion for each step,
names of senior agency officials who are
responsible for resolving each deficiency,
and procedures for measuring the agency’s
progress. Procedures for measuring progress
include having USDA’s component agencies
submit progress reports to USDA’s Chief
Financial Officer and holding progress
reviews with appropriate officials within the
Office of Management and Budget. The plan
calls for full implementation by fiscal year


Page 31                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
              Major Performance and Management
              Issues




              2000. However, because of the magnitude
              and long-standing history of the problems,
              complete resolution of USDA’s financial
              management deficiencies by fiscal year 2000
              will be a significant challenge.

              As discussed above and in the section of this
              report on inefficiency and waste within the
              Forest Service, the financial management
              problems at that agency are particularly
              serious, given their pervasive and
              long-standing nature. Because of this, we are
              now designating the Forest Service’s
              financial management a high-risk area.


Key Contact   Linda M. Calbom, Director
              Resources, Community, and Economic
                Development Accounting and Financial
                Management Issues
              Accounting and Information Management
                Division
              (202) 512-8341
              calboml.aimd@gao.gov




              Page 32                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
                     Major Performance and Management
                     Issues




USDA Can Save        USDA spends more than $200 million each
Millions by Better   year for its telecommunications systems and
Managing Its         services, such as the voice and data
Telecommuni-         communications provided by the federal
cations              government’s Federal Telecommunications
                     System 2000 programs and hundreds of
Investments
                     commercial carrier networks. USDA relies on
                     these systems to effectively administer
                     federal programs and serve millions of
                     constituents. Yet, as we have reported, USDA
                     has not cost-effectively managed and
                     planned these substantial investments.
                     Consequently, USDA has wasted millions of
                     dollars each year paying for unused,
                     unnecessary, or uneconomical services.

                     In response to our reports and
                     recommendations, USDA has taken positive
                     steps to begin correcting its
                     telecommunications management
                     weaknesses—improvements that USDA says
                     could reduce its $200 million-plus reported
                     annual investment in telecommunications by
                     as much as $70 million each year. However,
                     USDA has not achieved significant cost
                     savings or management improvements
                     because many of its corrective actions are
                     incomplete or inadequate. For example, USDA
                     has not (1) established the sound
                     management practices necessary for
                     ensuring that telecommunications resources


                     Page 33                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
Major Performance and Management
Issues




are managed cost effectively and that
payments for unused, unnecessary, or
uneconomical services are stopped;
(2) consolidated and optimized
telecommunications to achieve savings
where opportunities exist to do so;
(3) adequately planned integrated networks
in support of information-sharing needs; and
(4) determined the extent to which it is at
risk for telephone abuse and fraud and acted
to mitigate those risks, nationwide.
Furthermore, it is unclear how and when
these needed corrective actions will be
implemented because USDA has not
established time frames, milestones, and
resources for making improvements.

In its October 22, 1998, statement of actions
on our most recent report, USDA reiterated its
commitment to implementing our
recommendations and strengthening the
leadership and management of its
telecommunications program. As a first step,
USDA is developing a comprehensive
Telecommunications Action Plan for
correcting its telecommunications
management deficiencies. In addition, after
consultation with other senior USDA officials,
the Chief Information Officer designated the
Deputy Chief Information Officer as the
senior-level official responsible for providing


Page 34                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
              Major Performance and Management
              Issues




              leadership over this effort, which includes
              day-to-day responsibility and the requisite
              authority necessary for overseeing the
              implementation of the corrective plan of
              action. While these are positive steps, USDA
              still needs to effectively implement its action
              plan and take the necessary steps to correct
              its telecommunications weaknesses—or its
              estimated $70 million in annual savings will
              not be achieved.


Key Contact   Joel C. Willemssen, Director
              Civil Agencies Information Systems
              Accounting and Information Management
                Division
              (202) 512-6408
              willemssenj.aimd@gao.gov




              Page 35                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
                   Major Performance and Management
                   Issues




Significant        Since 1993, USDA has been attempting to
Weaknesses in      modernize IT3 for its service centers—the
USDA’s             biggest, most costly, and most challenging
Multibillion-      modernization in its history. USDA
Dollar             experienced a failure with its initial
                   $2.6 billion modernization program—called
Modernization of
                   Info Share—which was disbanded in 1995.
Service Center     Then, in 1995, USDA initiated another
Information        modernization effort—called the Service
Technology Place   Center Implementation initiative—for the
Effort at Risk     purpose of providing “one-stop” service to
                   customers of the farm service, natural
                   resources, and rural development agencies.
                   Plans under this initiative include
                   modernizing business processes and IT for
                   these agencies’ 3,100 locations at estimated
                   life-cycle costs that could ultimately exceed
                   $3 billion.

                   We found that USDA’s current multibillion-
                   dollar undertaking has several weaknesses
                   that place the entire effort at risk of not
                   achieving an adequate return on investment
                   or significantly improving customer service.
                   Such weaknesses include (1) acquiring new
                   IT without first determining how it will
                   operate to provide “one-stop” service, (2) not
                   managing the IT projects as investments, and

                   3
                    IT means any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of
                   equipment that is used in the automatic acquisition, storage,
                   manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching,
                   interchange, transmission, or reception of data or information.

                   Page 36                      GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
              Major Performance and Management
              Issues




              (3) not developing a comprehensive plan and
              management structure for an effort of this
              magnitude. Because USDA has failed in past
              efforts to plan and manage IT modernization,
              and because some of the same weaknesses
              are present with the ongoing modernization,
              concerns exist that USDA could again fail
              unless it acts to address these weaknesses.

              In August 1998, we recommended, among
              other things, that until it resolves critical
              weaknesses, USDA should limit IT funding for
              its service centers to only that necessary to
              bring mission-critical systems in compliance
              with Year 2000 computing requirements.
              USDA is still in the process of determining
              how it will address our August 1998
              recommendations.


Key Contact   Joel C. Willemssen, Director
              Civil Agencies Information Systems
              Accounting and Information Management
                Division
              (202) 512-6408
              willemssenj.aimd@gao.gov




              Page 37                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
                    Major Performance and Management
                    Issues




USDA Faces          If the systems that support USDA’s various
Serious Year 2000   programs cannot operate reliably into the
Computing           next century, it will not take long for the
Challenges          effects to be felt. USDA’s systems support
                    many vital public health and safety and
                    economic activities, and if not properly
                    fixed, tested, and implemented, severe
                    consequences could result. While USDA and
                    its component agencies have begun to
                    address the Year 2000 problem, we testified
                    in May 1998 that USDA will have a great deal
                    of difficulty correcting, testing, and
                    implementing all of its hundreds of
                    mission-critical systems to work beyond
                    1999—that is to become Year 2000
                    compliant—in time.

                    Given the enormous risk posed by the Year
                    2000 challenge at USDA, we also testified that
                    USDA’s Chief Information Officer and Year
                    2000 Program Office needed to provide more
                    effective leadership in overseeing USDA’s
                    Year 2000 efforts by setting Year 2000
                    priorities, providing sufficient guidance, and
                    adequately tracking progress.

                    In response to our testimony, USDA took
                    some actions to strengthen and improve its
                    Year 2000 program. These actions included
                    establishing departmental priorities for its
                    Year 2000 efforts; issuing departmentwide


                    Page 38                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
              Major Performance and Management
              Issues




              guidance on business continuity and
              contingency planning, systems testing, and
              independent verification and validation; and
              revising progress reports to more accurately
              reflect USDA’s progress in making
              mission-critical systems Year 2000
              compliant. Even so, USDA faces a significant
              challenge renovating and replacing all its
              mission-critical systems in time and taking
              the necessary steps to ensure that vital
              public services are not disrupted.


Key Contact   Joel C. Willemssen, Director
              Civil Agencies Information Systems
              Accounting and Information Management
                Division
              (202) 512-6408
              willemssenj.aimd@gao.gov




              Page 39                 GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
Related GAO Products



Making USDA’s     U.S. Department of Agriculture:
Field Structure   Administrative Streamlining Is Expected to
More Efficient    Continue Through 2002 (GAO/RCED-99-34,
                  Dec. 11, 1998).

                  U.S. Department of Agriculture: Status of
                  Closing and Consolidating County Offices
                  (GAO/T-RCED-98-250, July 29, 1998).

                  Farm Programs: Service to Farmers Will
                  Likely Change as Farm Service Agency
                  Continues to Reduce Staff and Close Offices
                  (GAO/RCED-98-136, May 1, 1998).

                  Farm Programs: Administrative
                  Requirements Reduced and Further Program
                  Delivery Changes Possible (GAO/RCED-98-98,
                  Apr. 20, 1998).

                  Farm Programs: Impact of the 1996 Farm Act
                  on County Office Workload (GAO/RCED-97-214,
                  Aug. 19, 1997).


Improving the     Food Safety: Opportunities to Redirect
Safety of Our     Federal Resources and Funds Can Enhance
Food              Effectiveness (GAO/RCED-98-224, Aug. 6, 1998).

                  Food Safety: Federal Efforts to Ensure the
                  Safety of Imported Foods Are Inconsistent



                  Page 40               GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
                    Related GAO Products




                    and Unreliable (GAO/RCED-98-103, Apr. 30,
                    1998).

                    Food Safety: Fundamental Changes Needed
                    to Improve Food Safety (GAO/RCED-97-249R,
                    Sept. 9, 1997).

                    Food Safety and Quality: Uniform,
                    Risk-based Inspection System Needed to
                    Ensure Safe Food Supply (GAO/RCED-92-152,
                    June 26, 1992).


Improving           Forest Service: Weak Contracting Practices
Efficiency and      Increase Vulnerability to Fraud, Waste, and
Reducing Waste      Abuse (GAO/RCED-98-88, May 6, 1998).
Within the Forest
Service             Forest Service: Lack of Financial and
                    Performance Accountability Has Resulted in
                    Inefficiency and Waste (GAO/T-RCED/AIMD-98-135,
                    Mar. 26, 1998).

                    Forest Service: Barriers to Generating
                    Revenue or Reducing Costs (GAO/RCED-98-58,
                    Feb. 13, 1998).

                    Forest Service Decision-Making: A
                    Framework for Improving Performance
                    (GAO/RCED-97-71, Apr. 29, 1997).




                    Page 41                GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
                  Related GAO Products




Reducing Farm     Farm Service Agency: Information on Farm
Loan Defaults     Loans and Losses (GAO/RCED-99-18, Nov. 27,
                  1998).

                  Farm Service Agency: Status of Farm Loan
                  Portfolio and the Use of Three Contracting
                  Provisions for Loan Servicing
                  (GAO/RCED-98-141, May 5, 1998).

                  High-Risk Series: Quick Reference Guide
                  (GAO/HR-97-2, Feb. 1997).

                  Farm Loans: Information on the Status of
                  USDA’s Portfolio (GAO/T-RCED-97-78, Feb. 21,
                  1997).

                  High-Risk Series: Quick Reference Guide
                  (GAO/HR-95-2, Feb. 1995).

                  High-Risk Series: Farmers Home
                  Administration’s Farm Loan Programs
                  (GAO/HR-93-1, Dec. 1992).


Reducing          Food Stamp Overpayments: Households in
Overpayments in   Different States Collect Benefits for the
the Food Stamp    Same Individuals (GAO/RCED-98-228, Aug. 6,
Program           1998).




                  Page 42                GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
                    Related GAO Products




                    Food Stamp Program: Information on
                    Trafficking Food Stamp Benefits
                    (GAO/RCED-98-77, Mar. 26, 1998).

                    Food Stamp Overpayments: Thousands of
                    Deceased Individuals Are Being Counted as
                    Household Members (GAO/RCED-98-53, Feb. 11,
                    1998).

                    Food Stamps: Substantial Overpayments
                    Result From Prisoners Counted as
                    Household Members (GAO/RCED-97-54, Mar. 10,
                    1997).


Enhancing           Forest Service: Barriers to Financial
USDA’s Ability to   Accountability Remain (GAO/AIMD-99-1, Oct. 2,
Account for Its     1998).
Financial
Activities          Forest Service: Status of Progress Toward
                    Financial Accountability (GAO/AIMD-98-84,
                    Feb. 27, 1998).

                    Federal Management: Overview of Major
                    Management Issues Facing Executive
                    Agencies (GAO/OCG-98-1R, Jan. 9, 1998).

                    Financial Management: Forest Service’s
                    Progress Toward Financial Accountability
                    (GAO/AIMD-97-151R, Aug. 29, 1997).



                    Page 43                GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
                   Related GAO Products




                   USDA Financial Systems: Additional Actions
                   Needed to Resolve Major Problems
                   (GAO/AIMD-95-222, Sept. 29, 1995).


Better             USDA Telecommunications: Strong
Management Can     Leadership Needed to Resolve Management
Reduce             Weaknesses, Achieve Savings
Telecommuni-       (GAO/AIMD-98-131, June 30, 1998).
cations Costs
                   USDATelecommunications: More Effort
                   Needed to Address Telephone Abuse and
                   Fraud (GAO/AIMD-96-59, Apr. 16, 1996).

                   USDA Telecommunications: Missed
                   Opportunities To Save Millions
                   (GAO/AIMD-95-97, Apr. 24, 1995).

                   USDA Telecommunications: Better
                   Management and Network Planning Could
                   Save Millions (GAO/AIMD-95-203, Sept. 22, 1995).


Multibillion-      USDA Service Centers: Multibillion Dollar
Dollar             Effort to Modernize Processes and
Modernization of   Technology Faces Significant Risks
Service Center     (GAO/AIMD-98-168, Aug. 31, 1998).
Information
                   USDARestructuring: Refocus Info Share
Technology
                   Program on Business Processes Rather Than
                   Technology (GAO/AIMD-94-156, Aug. 5, 1994).


                   Page 44                GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
            Related GAO Products




Year 2000   Year 2000 Computing Crisis: USDA Faces
Challenge   Tremendous Challenges in Ensuring That
            Vital Public Services Are Not Disrupted
            (GAO/T-AIMD-98-167, May 14, 1998).




            Page 45                GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
Performance and Accountability Series



             Major Management Challenges and Program
             Risks: A Governmentwide Perspective
             (GAO/OCG-99-1)

             Major Management Challenges and Program
             Risks: Department of Agriculture
             (GAO/OCG-99-2)

             Major Management Challenges and Program
             Risks: Department of Commerce
             (GAO/OCG-99-3)

             Major Management Challenges and Program
             Risks: Department of Defense (GAO/OCG-99-4)

             Major Management Challenges and Program
             Risks: Department of Education
             (GAO/OCG-99-5)

             Major Management Challenges and Program
             Risks: Department of Energy (GAO/OCG-99-6)

             Major Management Challenges and Program
             Risks: Department of Health and Human
             Services (GAO/OCG-99-7)

             Major Management Challenges and Program
             Risks: Department of Housing and Urban
             Development (GAO/OCG-99-8)




             Page 46             GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
Performance and Accountability Series




Major Management Challenges and Program
Risks: Department of the Interior
(GAO/OCG-99-9)

Major Management Challenges and Program
Risks: Department of Justice (GAO/OCG-99-10)

Major Management Challenges and Program
Risks: Department of Labor (GAO/OCG-99-11)

Major Management Challenges and Program
Risks: Department of State (GAO/OCG-99-12)

Major Management Challenges and Program
Risks: Department of Transportation
(GAO/OCG-99-13)

Major Management Challenges and Program
Risks: Department of the Treasury
(GAO/OCG-99-14)

Major Management Challenges and Program
Risks: Department of Veterans Affairs
(GAO/OCG-99-15)

Major Management Challenges and Program
Risks: Agency for International Development
(GAO/OCG-99-16)




Page 47                   GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
Performance and Accountability Series




Major Management Challenges and Program
Risks: Environmental Protection Agency
(GAO/OCG-99-17)

Major Management Challenges and Program
Risks: National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (GAO/OCG-99-18)

Major Management Challenges and Program
Risks: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
(GAO/OCG-99-19)

Major Management Challenges and Program
Risks: Social Security Administration
(GAO/OCG-99-20)

Major Management Challenges and Program
Risks: U.S. Postal Service (GAO/OCG-99-21)

High-Risk Series: An Update (GAO/HR-99-1)




The entire series of 21 performance and
accountability reports and the high-risk
series update can be ordered by using
the order number GAO/OCG-99-22SET.




Page 48                   GAO/OCG-99-2 USDA Challenges
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.

Orders by mail:

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

or visit:

Room 1100
700 4th St. NW (corner of 4th & 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
touchtone 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 an 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