The components of the Homeland Security Department have worked to collaborate despite their misaligned field office structures, but the department leadership has neglected to help, the Government Accountability Office says. Each component brought its own field structure and geographic regions to DHS, complicating situations where they need to collaborate.
The Small Business Administration plans to update its data rights policies under the Small Business Innovation Research program in late 2013 or early 2014, the Government Accountability Office says. An SBA spokesman could not offer details other than to say that the government shutdown in October delayed the revision process.
Some Veterans Affairs contracts with non-VA medical providers didn't contain specific performance requirements and contracting officer representatives didn't have time to monitor the contracts due to other duties, an Oct. 31 Government Accountability Office report says.
More than 8,000 federal employees and contractors approved for security clearances between 2012 owed back taxes totaling $85 million, a recently released Sept. 10 Government Accountability Office report says. The GAO says 8,400 federal workers and contractors with clearance owed back taxes and about half of them had not worked out a repayment plan with the Internal Revenue Service, the report says. Of those that owed back taxes, 4,700 were directly employed by the federal government and the rest were contractors.
In one instance of failed coordination, domestic DHS personnel took down a communication link used by a group a criminals that they didn't realize law enforcement officers abroad were monitoring. The department's personnel in the country in question told GAO that they could have prevented the mishap if their domestic counterparts had consulted with them.
Apathy in some cases went beyond a lack of interest to include employees who were unwilling to participate in emergency drills. Agencies also reported struggling to find volunteers to help lead evacuations. Some employees preferred to keep working during drills, and some failed to report to the assembly area, instead using the drill as a chance to leave for a coffee break.
General Services Administration could save money by owning rather than leasing high value spaces, but the agency hasn't provided the evaluations necessary to justify buying property, a recently released Sept. 19 Government Accountability Office report says.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should launch a project to address the removal of Social Security numbers from Medicare beneficiaries' cards as a core component of its information technology modernization efforts, says the Government Accountability Office.
Coordination of maritime research continues to challenge Homeland Security Department components, says the Government Accountability Office, a finding it says is in line with other research finding that DHS has challenges with research and development coordination.
The Agriculture Department's subjective eligibility requirements for farm program payments hindered the agency's ability to review whether farmers were compliant with the requirements, a recently released Sept. 26 Government Accountability Office reports says.