Most Federal Agencies Tackle Major Management Problems

WASHINGTON, DC ? Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., said Friday that 18 of 24 of the largest federal agencies had reported progress on all their FY2001 management challenges.

But securing electronic information and ensuring that agencies have the right people with the right skills in place to meet evolving government missions continue to be key weaknesses in agency management.

These are the findings of a General Accounting Office report that details the progress made by the 24 agencies in overcoming major management obstacles that prevent them from operating in the most economical, efficient and effective manner possible.

“Federal agencies have a long way to go before they become efficient operating machines,” said Lieberman. “Bringing management problems under control is an urgent mission of our government, more so now than ever before, in light of the domestic security challenges our country faces in this new age of insecurity.”

The Committee had asked the General Accounting Office to evaluate agencies? FY2001 performance reports and FY2003 performance plans to determine the extent to which agencies are working to resolve both agency-specific and government-wide management challenges identified in GAO?s January 2001 Performance and Accountability and High-Risk Series.

Eighteen of the 24 largest federal agencies reported that they had taken action on all management challenges in FY2001, with the Department of Education, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Agency for International Development failing to report progress on one or more of its management challenges. For example, FEMA acknowledged that human capital management and information security were both significant challenges facing the agency, but did not report a clear plan on how it intends to resolve these issues.

Progress at the Department of Defense could not be assessed because the Department did not prepare an FY2001 performance report or FY2003 performance plan. The Department of Justice was cited for failing to report its progress but Justice noted that its management challenges were no longer significant enough to be addressed in its performance report or plan.
The GAO is expected to update its government-wide High-Risk Series in January 2003.