oversight

Results Act: Comments on Selected Aspects of the Draft Strategic Plans of the Departments of Energy and the Interior

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-07-17.

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

                    United States General Accounting Office

GAO                 Testimony
                    Before the House Committee on Resources, Subcommittee
                    on Water and Power, House of Representatives




For Release
on Delivery
Expected at
                    RESULTS ACT
2 p.m. EDT
Thursday,
July 17, 1997
                    Comments on Selected
                    Aspects of the Draft
                    Strategic Plans of the
                    Departments of Energy and
                    the Interior
                    Statement of Susan D. Kladiva,
                    Acting Associate Director,
                    Energy, Resources, and Science Issues,
                    Resources, Community, and Economic
                    Development Division




GAO/T-RCED-97-213
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:

Thank you for your invitation to testify this afternoon. I am pleased to
participate in this Subcommittee’s review of the efforts of the subagencies
of the Department of the Interior and the Department of Energy that you
oversee to comply with the requirements of the Government Performance
and Results Act of 1993, which is referred to as the Results Act. As you
know, a primary purpose of the Results Act is to improve federal program
effectiveness and accountability by promoting a new focus on results,
service quality, and customer satisfaction. As agreed, I will comment on
the overall quality of the draft strategic plans of Energy and the Interior.
With regard to Energy, I will also comment on the draft plan as it relates to
Power Marketing Administrations (PMA), specifically addressing whether it
addresses the cross-cutting nature of their activities. With regard to
Interior’s draft plan, I will focus on three key areas as they relate to the
Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey. Those areas
involve Reclamation’s mission statement, the coordination of cross-cutting
program activities in Reclamation and Geological Survey, and concerns
about the data and information management systems in both of these
Interior subagencies. For the purposes of this testimony, we consider
Interior’s draft strategic plan to be a combination of the Department-wide
strategic overview and the included subagency draft plans.

In summary, our principal points are the following:

While the Department of Energy has made progress in developing its draft
strategic plan, the draft plan is still incomplete and does not fully meet the
requirements of the Results Act. The Department of Energy has developed
a draft strategic plan that is appropriately focused on a Department-wide
mission that transcends the interests of individual programs. Accordingly,
the document barely mentions PMAs specifically. However, of particular
concern to this Subcommittee, it does not identify programs and activities,
such as those of PMAs, that are cross-cutting or similar to those of other
agencies. The function of the PMAs to market electricity relates to the
functions of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which
produce the electricity that the PMAs market. However, the draft plan does
not recognize that the achievement of Energy’s strategic goals will depend,
in part, upon its coordination with these agencies. To assure that the PMAs,
Reclamation, and the Corps of Engineers are all moving toward mutually
reinforcing goals and objectives, we believe it is important for Energy to
address the coordination issue in its plan.




Page 1                                                      GAO/T-RCED-97-213
             A significant amount of work still needs to be done before Interior’s draft
             strategic plan can fulfill the requirements of the Results Act. Since
             programs within Interior are carried out primarily through eight major
             autonomous subagencies, the Department chose to implement the Act by
             developing a draft plan overview for the Department as a whole and
             requiring each of the subagencies to develop its own plans. I would like to
             focus on three key areas of Interior’s draft plan. First, although
             Reclamation’s mission statement is comprehensive and covers its major
             responsibilities, this Subcommittee and Reclamation disagree about its
             basic mission—which is the foundation of the draft plan. The consultation
             process provides an ideal opportunity to address such issues. Second, as
             with Energy, Interior’s plan generally does not identify programs and
             activities that are cross-cutting or similar to those of other subagencies
             nor does it indicate that coordination has occurred. For example, both
             Reclamation and Geological Survey, as well as other agencies such as the
             Environmental Protection Agency, address environmental water quality
             issues. However, there is no indication of any coordination of these plans
             to address the issues of duplication and overlap. Third, management of the
             information needed to track and measure performance against goals is in
             need of attention. Interior’s Inspector General’s reports on Reclamation
             and the Geological Survey have identified uncorrected accounting and
             internal control difficulties that have implications for implementation of
             the Results Act.


             As a starting point, the Results Act requires virtually every executive
Background   agency to develop a strategic plan covering at least 5 years. The plans are
             required to contain six major elements. They are (1) a comprehensive
             mission statement; (2) agency-wide long-term goals and objectives for all
             major functions and operations; (3) approaches (or strategies) and the
             various resources needed to achieve the goals and objectives; (4) the
             relationship between the long-term goals and objectives and the annual
             performance goals; (5) an identification of key factors, external to the
             agency and beyond its control, that could significantly affect achievement
             of the strategic goals; and (6) a description of how program evaluations
             were used to establish or revise strategic goals and a schedule for future
             program evaluations. In developing their plans, agencies are required to
             consult with the Congress and to solicit the views of other stakeholders. In
             preparation for meeting these requirements, executive agencies have been
             preparing their plans and submitting drafts to the Congress as a basis for
             consultation.




             Page 2                                                     GAO/T-RCED-97-213
                 Our comments are based on the most recent draft strategic plans provided
                 to the House of Representatives staff team working with them.1 The
                 comments are also based on our past and ongoing work at the various
                 agencies. This testimony is based on recent work done at the request of
                 the House leadership. Reports on that work are expected to be released
                 next month.

                 It is important to recognize that the final draft strategic plans are not due
                 to the Congress and the Office of Management and Budget until
                 September 1997. Furthermore, the Results Act anticipated that it may take
                 several planning cycles to perfect the process and that the final plans
                 would be continually refined as future planning cycles occur. Thus, our
                 comments reflect a snapshot of the plans at this time, and are intended to
                 provide some insights that may help this Subcommittee and the agencies
                 work together to successfully implement the Results Act.


                 Generally speaking, while the Department of Energy has made progress in
Department of    developing its draft strategic plan, it is still incomplete and does not fully
Energy’s Draft   meet the requirements of the Results Act. Energy’s draft plan
Strategic Plan   appropriately focuses on a Department-wide mission that transcends the
                 interests of individual programs. Energy’s mission statement provides a
                 short overarching statement, but the substance of its functions is
                 described by what it calls four business lines. These are energy resources,
                 national security, environmental quality, and science and technology.
                 Energy’s draft plan also includes a section on corporate management,
                 which cuts across the business lines.

                 However, of particular concern to this Subcommittee, the draft plan does
                 not identify programs and activities that are cross-cutting or similar to
                 those of other agencies, such as those of Energy’s Power Marketing
                 Administrations. Although Energy is sharing its draft plan with other
                 federal agencies for coordination, it believes its functions are unique. On
                 the basis of our work, however, we believe that Energy’s four broad
                 business lines do involve or overlap those of other agencies.

                 For example, in the energy resources area, the PMAs market electricity that
                 is generated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Corps of Engineers.
                 The strategic goal for energy resources focuses on developing and
                 promoting sustainable, secure, and competitive energy systems. One of the

                 1
                  The June 16, 1997, draft plan from the Department of Energy and the draft from the Department of the
                 Interior available to the Congress as of June 18, 1997, including the April 9, 1997, draft from
                 Reclamation and the June 6, 1996, draft from the Geological Survey.



                 Page 3                                                                        GAO/T-RCED-97-213
                    specific strategies for achieving this goal is to promote the safety and
                    reliability of the energy utility systems. Energy included performance
                    measures in the plan, one of which relates directly to the activities of the
                    PMAs—minimizing the amount of time that the federal transmission system
                    is inoperable and operating it in a manner that significantly exceeds
                    performance standards.2 Because the PMAs do not control the generation of
                    electricity, they cannot achieve their goal without close coordination with
                    Reclamation and the Corps of Engineers. It is important for Energy to
                    address this coordination issue in its plan to ensure that program efforts
                    are mutually reinforcing.


                    A significant amount of work still needs to be done before Interior’s draft
Department of the   strategic plan can fulfill the requirements of the Results Act. Since
Interior’s Draft    programs within Interior are carried out primarily through eight major
Strategic Plan      decentralized subagencies, the Department chose to implement the
                    Results Act by preparing a draft plan overview for the Department as a
                    whole and requiring that each of its subagencies develop its own plan. The
                    eight major subagencies within Interior include Reclamation, the
                    Geological Survey, the Bureau of Land Management, the Minerals
                    Management Service, the Office of Surface Mining, the Fish and Wildlife
                    Service, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In
                    addition to providing the broad framework for the Department, the
                    Interior-wide draft plan is to provide linkage between the departmental
                    level and the individual subagency plans.

                    Although the draft plans of some subagencies address all six required
                    elements, Interior’s draft plan cannot be considered complete because half
                    of the subagency draft plans are missing certain elements. In addition, the
                    plan does not include clear linkages between the subagencies’ goals and
                    objectives and those of the Department, as well as across the subagencies.
                    Furthermore, even the subagency draft plans that include all of the
                    elements need further work and development in several areas. For
                    example, although Reclamation and Geological Survey included all six
                    elements in their plans, most of Reclamation’s and half of Geological
                    Survey’s elements could be further developed and clarified. For example,
                    some of Reclamation’s long-term goals and objectives are not expressed in
                    outcome-oriented terms and require subjective determinations of
                    achievement. Similarly, the objectives and performance measures
                    contained in the Geological Survey’s draft plan are generally focused more


                    2
                     Although the Results Act does not require performance measures in the strategic plan, Energy has
                    included a number of them it its draft plan.



                    Page 4                                                                        GAO/T-RCED-97-213
                              on outputs than on results-oriented outcomes. This fails to meet an
                              important objective of the Results Act, which is to provide for more
                              objective measurements of program success or failure. We are providing
                              detailed comments on Reclamation’s and Geological Survey’s draft plans
                              in attached appendixes.


Bureau of Reclamation’s       This Subcommittee’s May 29, 1997, letter to the Commissioner of
Missions                      Reclamation expressed several concerns about Reclamation’s draft
                              strategic plan, including the appropriate missions, goals, and objectives.
                              For example, you noted that Reclamation seems to be abandoning its
                              original mission of developing water resources in favor of managing water
                              resources. You questioned whether Reclamation is the appropriate agency
                              to be carrying out the activities related to this management mission. You
                              also questioned Reclamation’s foregoing its mission to maintain facilities
                              constructed by Reclamation and held in title by the United States in light
                              of its statement that it is no longer seeking congressional appropriations to
                              replace, rehabilitate, or renovate facilities related to the reimbursable
                              functions of a project. Reclamation was established in 1902, and its role as
                              a water resource agency has evolved and changed over the years. Its
                              present-day mission is a legitimate and suitable subject for negotiation. It
                              is the basic premise from which the remainder of the strategic plan flows.
                              The Results Act consultation process provides an ideal framework for
                              discussing such issues.


Cross-Cutting Program         Interior’s draft plan provides little evidence of coordination. The plan does
Activities                    not address how Reclamation or the Geological Survey will coordinate
                              cross-cutting programs with the other Interior agencies or agencies
                              outside of Interior to support its overall goals. Cross-cutting program
                              efforts present the logical need to coordinate efforts to ensure that goals
                              are consistent and, as appropriate, that program efforts are mutually
                              reinforcing. We have found that when this is not done, overlap and
                              duplication can undermine efforts to establish clear missions and goals.
                              Cross-cutting issues arise in several Interior programs. For example:

                          •   Environmental protection and remediation programs. Reclamation’s draft
                              strategic plan addresses reducing, on a site-specific basis, sources of
                              pollution that impact water quality, and the Geological Survey’s plan
                              addresses water quality studies. The Environmental Protection Agency
                              and the Department of Energy also have environmental protection
                              objectives related to water quality, but these are not mentioned.



                              Page 5                                                      GAO/T-RCED-97-213
                       •   Indian programs. Most Interior agencies, including Reclamation and
                           Geological Survey, have a role in helping Interior carry out its trust
                           responsibility to American Indians and tribes. For example, Reclamation is
                           responsible for constructing and operating water, irrigation, and power
                           facilities for American Indians and tribes. Yet, the draft plan contains no
                           discussion of coordination with Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs.
                       •   Recreation programs. Reclamation manages programs that provide
                           recreational opportunities for the public, as do other Interior agencies,
                           such as the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service,
                           and agencies outside of Interior, such as the Forest Service. Again,
                           coordination is not discussed in the Reclamation draft plan.


Data and Information       The fiscal years 1995 and 1996 financial statement audit reports of the
Management Systems         Department of the Interior’s Inspector General identified certain
                           uncorrected accounting and internal control weaknesses which, if left
                           uncorrected, will present difficulties for the implementation of the Results
                           Act. For example, the Geological Survey audit identified problems in
                           accounting for the costs of projects, while the Inspector General cited
                           open recommendations on project cost allocations dating back to the early
                           1990s which Reclamation has yet to fully implement.

                           Furthermore, Interior’s draft plan does not yet address how financial
                           information will be used to support the measurement of strategic goals.
                           Identifying performance measures and ensuring the development of
                           reliable financial and program performance information will be major
                           challenges for Interior and its subagencies.


                           In summary, both the Departments of Energy and the Interior have made
                           progress toward meeting the requirements of the Results Act. The
                           continuing consultation process provides the opportunity for this
                           Subcommittee to ensure that the agencies’ priorities are consistent with
                           those of the Congress and that the functions are complementary and not
                           unnecessarily duplicative.

                           Mr. Chairman, this concludes our prepared statement, which has
                           highlighted the aspects of the draft strategic plans that we believe are of
                           particular interest to you. We will be pleased to answer any questions that
                           you or Members of the Subcommittee may have.




                           Page 6                                                     GAO/T-RCED-97-213
Page 7   GAO/T-RCED-97-213
Appendix I

Bureau of Reclamation


              1. Six key elements envisioned by Results Act

              The Bureau of Reclamation’s draft strategic plan contains each of the six
              key elements that the Government Performance and Results Act envisions
              would be in a successful strategic plan. However, most of the elements
              need further development and clarity.

              Mission statement. The mission statement is comprehensive and covers
              the major responsibilities of Reclamation. However, as presented in our
              testimony, the missions are not in line with the missions that this
              Subcommittee believes are appropriate.

              Long-term goals and objectives. While the draft plan identifies general
              goals and objectives to be accomplished by Reclamation, many of them
              could be strengthened if they were expressed in more outcome-oriented
              terms. Of the 18 outcome goals identified in the draft plan, there are at
              least 5 that are difficult to categorize as outcome-oriented. For example,
              one of the outcome goals is to “manage the Nation’s western water
              resources wisely for present and future generations.” Stated in this manner
              makes a determination of whether or not this goal is ever achieved quite
              subjective. The goal could be improved to allow for a more objective
              measurement of program success or failure. Another one of the outcome
              goals calls for Reclamation to “assist Indian tribes to develop and manage
              their water resources for present and future generations.” As stated, this
              goal appears to be more output-oriented than outcome-oriented since it
              focuses on process not results.

              How the goals are to be achieved. The draft plan contains a description of
              how the goals and objectives are to be achieved for each outcome goal.
              However, the discussion provided is general and does not include
              information on the level of resources needed to carry out the draft
              plan—human, capital, or information.

              How the goals relate to performance plans. The draft plan describes how
              Reclamation’s strategic goals will be linked to annual performance plans
              as envisioned by the Results Act. However, it is not clear to us how
              progress toward many of the strategic goals identified in the draft plan is
              measurable. Specifically, it is not clear to us that progress against 30 of the
              67 strategic goals identified in the draft plan can be measured. It is not
              clear how the annual performance plans that are linked to these 30 goals
              will be effective.




              Page 8                                                       GAO/T-RCED-97-213
Appendix I
Bureau of Reclamation




External factors. While the draft plan contains a listing of key
uncontrollable factors that could impact the achievement of Reclamation’s
goals, there is no assessment of these impacts. Without an assessment, the
Congress or Bureau management may not be able to determine the
likelihood of achieving the strategic goals.

Program evaluations. The document contains a section labeled “program
evaluation.” However, it does not adequately address this aspect of the
draft plan. For example, according to the Results Act, the plan is to
address what program evaluations were used in establishing or revising
the general goals and objectives identified in the plan. But, no such
discussion is in the draft plan. Furthermore, a discussion of future
program evaluation efforts—another requirement of the Results Act—is
limited to an acknowledgement that Reclamation will engage its
customers in discussions concerning their expectations and views with no
discussion of how the comments will be used or evaluated or when this
work will be done.

2. Key statutory authorities

The Reclamation draft plan reflects consideration of the key statutory
provisions authorizing its activities and programs. However, it does not
generally present clear linkages between the stated goals and objectives
and the relevant major statutory responsibilities. For example,
Reclamation’s draft plan provides few linkages between the large number
of outcome goals and 5-year strategic goals and its many different
statutory authorities. The draft plan contains 18 outcome goals and over 60
5-year strategic goals, which contain few statutory references. The Results
Act does not require a statement of major statutory responsibilities to be
included within an agency’s goals and objectives, but a concise discussion
of major statutory provisions and their relationship to the goals and
objectives in the draft strategic plan may facilitate a better understanding
of the diversity of Reclamation’s overall mission and goals.3

3. Interagency coordination for cross-cutting programs

Reclamation’s strategic plan does not address how it will coordinate
cross-cutting programs with other Interior subagencies. For example,
Reclamation has responsibility that cuts across the following programs of
other Interior subagencies.

3
 Office of Management and Budget Circular A-11 suggests that an agency’s mission statement may
include a brief discussion of the agency’s enabling or authorizing legislation. This suggestion, however,
does not extend to the statement of goals and objectives.



Page 9                                                                           GAO/T-RCED-97-213
    Appendix I
    Bureau of Reclamation




•   Environmental protection and remediation programs. Reclamation’s draft
    plan addresses reducing, on a site-specific basis, sources of pollution that
    impact water quality; and the Geological Survey ’s draft plan addresses
    water quality studies.
•   Indian programs. Reclamation is responsible for constructing and
    operating water, irrigation, and power facilities for Indian tribes. The
    Bureau coordinates with the Bureau of Indian Affairs on water
    settlements.
•   Land and natural resource management. Reclamation is responsible for
    water resource management. In this role, the Bureau is responsible for
    coordinating dam and dam safety programs with the Bureau of Land
    Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Park Service, and Fish
    and Wildlife Service. Furthermore, the Geological Survey performs
    studies, investigations, and mapping services related to land and natural
    resources that are relevant to Interior agencies that manage federal land
    and natural resources, including Reclamation, the Bureau of Land
    Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service.
    In addition, Reclamation’s draft plan addresses natural resource
    management as a competing goal to its program for providing water and
    power to Western states, communities, and tribes; but it does not say how
    it will measure achievement of these competing goals.
•   Recreation programs. Reclamation manages programs that provide
    numerous recreational opportunities for the public as do other agencies in
    Interior, such as the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park
    Service.

    In addition, the draft plan does not discuss how Reclamation has
    coordinated with other federal agencies that have substantial
    responsibilities impacting on its activities. These include the Corps of
    Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Power
    Marketing Administrations within the Department of Energy.

    4. Data and information systems reliability

    Interior’s Office of Inspector General’s fiscal years 1995 and 1996 financial
    audit report for Reclamation identified the following system weaknesses
    that need to be corrected to ensure the reliability of Reclamation’s
    information:

•   Lack of a subsidiary accounting system for fixed assets and lack of
    periodic reconciliations of fixed-asset subsidiary records to the general
    ledger.



    Page 10                                                     GAO/T-RCED-97-213
    Appendix I
    Bureau of Reclamation




•   Uncorrected problems in certain program cost allocations, which are
    needed to ensure the reliability of information on investments in program
    assets.

    In addition, the Office of the Inspector General identified inadequate
    computer systems controls which result in a risk that financial data could
    be inappropriately manipulated.




    Page 11                                                   GAO/T-RCED-97-213
Appendix II

U.S. Geological Survey


               1. Six key elements envisioned by Results Act

               The Geological Survey’s draft plan discusses each of the six key elements
               that the Government Performance and Results Act envisions would be in a
               successful strategic plan. However, three of the elements are not
               adequately addressed—how the goals are to be achieved, the relationship
               between long-term goals and annual performance plans, and program
               evaluations.

               Mission statement. The Geological Survey’s draft plan contains a
               comprehensive mission statement, which is “provides the Nation with
               reliable, impartial information to describe and understand the Earth.” It
               then describes how the information is to be used. In combination, the
               mission statement and the additional explanation of how the information
               developed by the Geological Survey is to be used are results-oriented and
               cover its major responsibilities.

               Long-term goals and objectives. The draft plan discusses long-term goals
               and objectives that are logically related to the mission and generally
               expressed in measurable form. The draft plan expresses each of the
               Geological Survey’s goals as “national goal/desired outcome” and
               identifies the role of the Geological Survey in providing information in
               support of that goal. However, the objectives and performance measures
               are generally focused more on outputs when they could have been
               strengthened by focusing more on results-oriented outcomes.4 For
               example, one of the objectives/performance measures is to provide
               geological descriptions of a number of important aquifers by 2002.

               How the goals are to be achieved. The Geological Survey’s draft plan
               describes the approaches or strategies to achieve its goals and objectives
               as envisioned by the Results Act. However, this area of the draft plan
               needs further development since, among other things, it does not provide
               details concerning the resources (human, capital, or information) required
               to achieve the desired results. Also, the draft plan does not address what
               changes, if any, will be made to provide the Geological Survey’s managers
               with the authority needed to implement the draft plan or how they will be
               held accountable.

               One of the strategies involves customer service. The draft plan states that
               customer service and satisfaction is being incorporated into the overall

               4
                Although the Results Act does not require performance measures in the strategic plan, the Geological
               Survey included a number of them in its document.



               Page 12                                                                        GAO/T-RCED-97-213
Appendix II
U.S. Geological Survey




strategic planning process as a critical component of the Geological
Survey’s business. It further states that various means of assessing
customer service activities are ongoing in every Geological Survey
program and cites examples. In addition, the Geological Survey has
published a customer service plan focusing on improving the access to and
delivery of existing Geological Survey information to customers. First
issued in August 1994, it presents the Geological Survey’s goals and
objectives for customer service as well as customer service standards. A
Geological Survey-wide team will review the goals, redefine standards,
monitor and evaluate progress (including proactively obtaining feedback
from customers), and track milestones and accomplishments.

How the goals relate to performance plans. The Geological Survey’s draft
plan describes the relationship between long-term goals and annual
performance goals, including identifying key terms and performance
measures that are generally measurable. The draft plan explicitly
recognizes the need for a clear linkage between annual goals and the
program activity structure listed in the budget. However, it does not
identify whether any revisions will be needed to budget account and
program activity structures to better link them with the objectives, goals,
and activities discussed in the draft plan.

External factors. The draft plan identifies eight external factors—referred
to as “driving forces”—that could significantly influence and create
alternatives for the Geological Survey: devolution of federal government
functions, new technologies, demographic changes, public investment in
science, society’s concept of “public good,” economic versus
environmental interests, global interdependence, and scarcity and
management of natural resources. These factors appear to have been
considered in developing the draft plan’s goals and objectives. Although
noting recent organization changes, such as the merger of the National
Biological Service and downsizing, the draft plan does not explicitly
identify how these external factors could affect achievement of the goals.

Program evaluations. The Geological Survey’s draft plan identifies 33 prior
evaluations and other documents that were used in establishing the goals
for the subagency. The draft plan states a goal of conducting external peer
reviews about every 5 years, combined with “more frequent” internal
management reviews. Furthermore, it states that a list is being developed
of several program-level evaluations that are planned for the next several
years. However, the draft plan does not identify the key issues of the
evaluations or how any findings may be used to improve performance.



Page 13                                                    GAO/T-RCED-97-213
           Appendix II
           U.S. Geological Survey




           2. Key statutory authorities

           The Geological Survey’s draft plan reflects consideration of the key
           statutory provisions authorizing its activities and programs. However, it
           does not generally present clear linkages between the stated goals and
           objectives and the Geological Survey’s relevant major statutory
           responsibilities. The Results Act does not require a statement of major
           statutory responsibilities to be included within an agency’s goals and
           objectives, but a concise discussion of major statutory provisions and their
           relationship to the goals and objectives in the draft strategic plan may
           facilitate a better understanding of the diversity of the Geological Survey’s
           overall mission and goals.5

           3. Interagency coordination for cross-cutting programs

           The Geological Survey’s draft plan does not identify program areas that
           are similar to or have the same purposes as programs in other agencies.
           But, as we identified, the Geological Survey has cross-cutting issues. In
           land and resource management, it performs studies, investigations, and
           mapping services related to land and natural resources that are relevant to
           Department of Interior agencies that manage federal land and natural
           resources, including Reclamation, the Bureau of Land Management, the
           Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service.

           4. Data and information systems reliability

           Interior’s Office of Inspector General’s financial audit report for fiscal year
           1996 identified inadequate controls at the Geological Survey for proper
           recording of reimbursable program costs due to a project cost accounting
           system weakness. If uncorrected, this could impair the reliability of
           project cost information.




           5
            Office of Management and Budget Circular A-11 suggests that an agency’s mission statement may
           include a brief discussion of the agency’s enabling or authorizing legislation. This suggestion, however,
           does not extend to the statement of goals and objectives.



(141087)   Page 14                                                                          GAO/T-RCED-97-213
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