Schaffer Online Library of Drug Policy

Contents | Feedback | Search | DRCNet Home Page | Join DRCNet

DRCNet Library | Schaffer Library | Government Publications | GAO Publications

Management Reform: GAO's Comments on the National Performance Review's

(Letter Report, 12/03/93, GAO/OCG-94-1).

The National Performance Review (NPR), done under the direction of the
Vice President, seeks ways to make the government work better and cost
less.  The NPR recommendations are grouped into four areas: cutting red
tape, putting customers first, empowering employees to get results, and
cutting back to basics.  The NPR report contains 384 recommendations
covering 27 federal agencies and 14 government systems, such as
procurement and budgeting.  The NPR report emphasizes many of the basic
themes that GAO has been stressing for years, including the need to
strengthen agency management and to focus management and accountability
on the results of programs.  Accordingly, GAO agrees with virtually all
of the NPR report's recommendations and believes that their successful
implementation will significantly help the government to overcome its
management and programmatic problems.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

     TITLE:  Management Reform: GAO's Comments on the National 
             Performance Review's Recommendations
      DATE:  12/03/93
   SUBJECT:  Public administration
             Personnel management
             Program management
             Agency evaluation
             General management reviews
             Oversight by Congress
             Financial management
             Interagency relations
IDENTIFIER:  National Performance Review

================================================================ COVER

Report to Congressional Requesters

December 1993



Comments on NPR's Recommendations

=============================================================== LETTER


December 3, 1993

The Honorable John Conyers, Jr., Chairman
The Honorable William F.  Clinger, Jr., Ranking
 Minority Member
Committee on Government Operations
House of Representatives

The Honorable John Glenn, Chairman
The Honorable William V.  Roth, Jr., Ranking
 Minority Member
Committee on Governmental Affairs
United States Senate

The Honorable William L.  (Bill) Clay
Chairman, Committee on Post Office and Civil Service
House of Representatives

The Honorable John R.  Kasich
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on the Budget
House of Representatives

This report responds to your requests that we comment on the
recommendations contained in the National Performance Review's (NPR)
September 7, 1993, report.\1 The NPR, under the direction of the Vice
President, was a major management reform initiative by the
administration and was intended to identify ways to make the
government work better and cost less.  The NPR report's
recommendations were organized by four key principles:  "cutting red
tape, putting customers first, empowering employees to get results,
and cutting back to basics." The NPR report contained 384 major
recommendations covering 27 federal agencies and 14 government
systems, such as procurement and budgeting. 

This report provides our initial comments on the NPR report's
recommendations on the basis of our work, and is the first part of a
planned long-term body of work on the NPR.  In subsequent work, we
will monitor the degree to which the NPR's recommendations have been
implemented and evaluate the extent to which the recommendations
effectively address the management and programmatic problems the NPR

\1 From Red Tape to Results:  Creating a Government That Works Better
and Costs Less, report of the National Performance Review, Vice
President Al Gore, September 7, 1993. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :1

The NPR report emphasized many of the basic themes that we have
stressed for years, including the need to strengthen management
within agencies and to focus management and accountability on the
results of programs.  Accordingly, we generally agree with most of
the NPR report's recommendations and believe that successful
implementation of those recommendations can make an important
contribution in addressing the federal government's management and
programmatic problems. 

The ultimate success of the NPR, however, will depend upon the
detailed strategies and specific actions developed to implement its
recommendations.  The administration must forge a strong, coordinated
partnership with Congress to develop these strategies.  As part of
that partnership, priority attention must be given to improving
agencies' management capacities so that they can assume additional
authority and responsibility contemplated by the NPR and be held
accountable for programmatic outcomes.  A key to improved
accountability is strengthened financial management, including
audited financial statements.  Moreover, the fundamental management
changes that are needed require the active and sustained attention of
the top political and career leadership in the agencies. 

Despite its wide scope, the NPR report contained some recommendations
that were too general for us to comment.  The NPR report also was
silent on a number of critical management and program issues
confronting the federal government that our work has shown need
prompt attention.  These additional areas of concern are detailed in
the individual sections accompanying this letter. 

.. .
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :5

This initial examination of the NPR report's recommendations had two
objectives.  Our first objective was to review the NPR report's
recommendations.  On the basis of our work, we placed each NPR
recommendation in one of four categories: 

(1) We agree with the NPR recommendation. 

(2) We generally agree with the NPR recommendation. 

(3) We disagree with the NPR recommendation. 

(4) We have insufficient information on which to judge the merits of
the NPR recommendation either because we have not done work in the
specific area addressed by the recommendation or the recommendation
was too vague for us to comment. 

We did not review the NPR's estimated savings from implementing its
recommendations.  The Congressional Budget Office already has
analyzed some of the NPR report's recommendations from that

Our second objective was to identify major management and
programmatic areas of concern that were not addressed in the NPR
report.  We understand that the NPR report's recommendations will be
supplemented by a series of detailed monographs, so some of these
areas may be addressed in the subsequent NPR monographs. 

. . .
============================================================ Chapter 0

--------  --------------------------------------------------  --------------  --
Letter                                                                         1

Section   Government agency                                   Abbreviation

1         Agency for International Development                AID             10

2         Department of Agriculture                           USDA            14

3         Department of Commerce                              DOC             22

4         Department of Defense                               DOD             31

5         Department of Education                             ED              41

6         Department of Energy                                DOE             47

7         Environmental Protection Agency                     EPA             54

8         Executive Office of the President                   EOP             61

9         Federal Emergency Management Agency                 FEMA            67

10        Department of Health and Human Services             HHS             70

11        Department of Housing and Urban Development         HUD             81

12        Intelligence Community                              INTEL           88

13        Department of the Interior                          DOI             92

14        Department of Justice                               DOJ             10

15        Department of Labor                                 DOL             11

16        National Aeronautics and Space Administration       NASA            12

17        National Science Foundation/Office of Science and   NSF             12
          Technology Policy                                                    7

18        Small Business Administration                       SBA             13

19        Department of State/U.S. Information Agency         DOS             13

20        Department of Transportation                        DOT             14

21        Department of the Treasury/Resolution Trust         TRE             16
          Corporation                                                          0

22        Department of Veterans Affairs                      DVA             17

--------  --------------------------------------------------  --------------  --
Section   Government system                                   Abbreviation    Pa

23        Creating Quality Leadership and Management          QUAL            18

24        Streamlining Management Control                     SMC             18

25        Transforming Organizational Structures              ORG             19

26        Improving Customer Services                         ICS             19

27        Mission-Driven, Results-Oriented Budgeting          BGT             20

28        Improving Financial Management                      FM              20

29        Reinventing Human Resource Management               HRM             21

30        Reinventing Federal Procurement                     PROC            23

31        Reinventing Support Services                        SUP             24

32        Reengineer Through the Use of Information           IT              25
          Technology                                                           0

33        Rethinking Program Design                           DES             25

34        Strengthening the Partnership in Intergovernmental  FSL             26
          Service Delivery                                                     2

35        Reinventing Environmental Management                ENV             26

36        Improving Regulatory Systems                        REG             26

37        General Services Administration                     GSA             27

38        Office of Personnel Management                      OPM             27

=========================================================== Chapter 14

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:0.1

As discussed in our December 1992 transition series report on Justice
Issues, during the last decade federal, state, and local governments
have substantially increased funding for law enforcement as a result
of mounting public concern over crime (especially drugs and
violence).  Despite committing billions to the criminal justice
system and filling the nation's jails and prisons, the expectation of
reduced vulnerability to crime has not been achieved.  Furthermore,
inaccurate financial data, unrealiable financial and information
systems, and poor internal controls could result in the loss of
millions of dollars.  Given the existing criminal threat and tight
budget environment, government policymakers need to focus on getting
the most from the existing criminal justice system resources by
exploring ways to (1) strengthen the Department of Justice's
leadership and management functions; (2) better investigate and
prosecute white collar crime; (3) make needed immigration policy and
management decisions; (4) respond to a rapid rise in the federal
prison population; and (5) make antidrug efforts more effective. 

NPR's recommendations are targeted to improving the criminal justice
system in each of these five areas.  For example, NPR is seeking to
strengthen the Attorney General's oversight of law enforcement
activities, and consolidate some activities, as a means to improve
the coordination and structure of federal law enforcement.  We
support such efforts, but in the search for increased efficiency and
effectiveness, it should be recognized that some fragmentation and
inefficiencies in the criminal justice system represent a trade-off
for avoiding abuses that history has shown may occur from too much
centralized police authority. 

         GAO CONTACT
----------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:0.1.1

Henry R.  Wray, Director, Administration of Justice Issues, General
Government Division, (202) 512-5156. 

--------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:1

DOJ02:  Improve Border Management
Federal border management should be significantly improved.  NPR
recommends a series of actions to be taken by Customs and INS to make
these improvements. 

GAO Comments
Customs and INS have a long history of interagency rivalry, poor
coordination, and ineffective cooperation, despite sharing
responsibility for primary inspections at land border ports of entry. 
We have recommended that OMB, working with the Treasury, Justice, and
State Departments, develop a proposal for ending the dual management
of border inspections. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:1.1

DOJ03:  Redirect and Better Coordinate Resources Dedicated to
Interdiction of Drugs
This recommendation outlines changes that can be made to better
coordinate federal programs directed at the air interdiction of

GAO Comments
We agree.  Given worldwide drug production capacity, domestic demand,
and the resourcefulness of drug smugglers to adapt to U.S. 
enforcement initiatives, the overall availability of drugs in this
country has not been diminished despite substantial increases in air
interdiction efforts and related drug seizures.  The commitment of
resources should not be made without considering the potential
effectiveness of alternative efforts, both supply and demand, and
should be based on achieving measurable goals.  Also, to better
coordinate agency efforts, improvements in information system
interoperability, data integrity, security, and overall intelligence
information management are needed. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:1.2

DOJ08:  Reinvent the Immigration and Naturalization Service's
Organization and Management
NPR recommends a number of changes in INS organization and management
processes to provide an improved management structure and a strategic
vision for the agency. 

GAO Comments
We concur.  Over the past decade, weak management systems and
inconsistent leadership at INS led to segmented autonomous programs,
each attempting to deal with its own set of problems without much
attention to the impact on other INS programs.  Without coherent
overall direction and basic management reforms, the organization has
been unable to effectively address changing enforcement
responsibilities and long-standing service delivery problems. 
Further, we have recommended the appointment of an Associate
Commissioner for Financial Management as the focal point for
developing an overall financial management plan. 

--------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:2

DOJ01:  Improve the Coordination and Structure of Federal Law
Enforcement Agencies
NPR recommends the designation of the Attorney General as the
Director of Law Enforcement to coordinate federal law enforcement
efforts.  It also recommends changes in the alignment of federal law
enforcement responsibilities. 

GAO Comments
We support the need for greater coordination of the numerous agencies
involved in federal law enforcement.  The decentralized operations,
including the 94 U.S.  Attorneys and the various investigative
agencies within Justice and Treasury, complicate efforts by the
Department of Justice to coordinate and direct a wide variety of
initiatives and programs to fight crime.  We have not taken a
position as to whether the various law enforcement agencies should be
consolidated into one or more agencies. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:2.1

DOJ04:  Improve Department of Justice Debt Collection Efforts
This recommendation would make improvements in the Justice debt
collection effort, including giving the department the ability to
retain a small percentage of debts collected and allowing Justice to
credit its working capital fund with a percentage of debt collections
to be used for the creation of a centralized debt tracking and
information system. 

GAO Comments
We agree that the Department of Justice, as well as the
Administrative Office of the U.S.  Courts, need to improve their debt
collection efforts and financial and other information systems.  Our
analysis has shown that the government had collected less than 5
percent of the fines and restitution ordered in major financial
institution fraud cases.  We have not, however, studied the
alternative financing method recommended by NPR. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:2.2

DOJ05:  Improve the Bureau of Prisons Education, Job Training, and
Financial Responsibilities Programs
NPR makes a series of recommendations for improving prison education,
training, and inmate financial responsibility policies. 

GAO Comments
We agree that the Bureau of Prisons should strengthen its inmate
education and training programs.  Many inmates leave prison without
marketable job skills, English language proficiency, or completing a
secondary education, yet are expected to become assimilated into
society, i.e., become law-abiding productive citizens.  We have not
examined inmate financial responsibility policies and have no comment
on those recommendations. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:2.3

DOJ06:  Improve the Management of Federal Assets Targeted for
Improvements are needed in the methods by which the federal
government disposes of various assets. 

GAO Comments
We have assessed the asset disposition activities of selected
agencies--General Services Administration, Resolution Trust
Corporation, Customs Service, Marshals Service, and Internal Revenue
Service--and have identified the need for improvements by these
agencies.  We have recommended that the Attorney General and the
Secretary of the Treasury continue to pursue consolidating the
management and disposition of noncash seized property inventories. 
We have also initiated work to evaluate asset disposition practices
on a governmentwide basis, but as yet do not have enough information
to comment on the recommendation from this broader perspective. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:2.4

DOJ07:  Reduce the Duplication of Drug Intelligence Systems and
Improve Computer Security
NPR recommends several changes to eliminate duplication in the
federal drug intelligence system. 

GAO Comments
We agree in principle but are uncertain as to the specifics of the
recommendation.  Fragmentation and duplication in the intelligence
area are an outgrowth of the overlap in responsibilities among the
numerous law enforcement and defense agencies involved in countering
drug-trafficking activities.  We have also reported on inadequate
physical and operational controls over computer security, absence of
contingency plans, and lack of computer security training at the
Department of Justice.  We believe that strong leadership, such as by
the Office of National Drug Control Policy (the office responsible
for overseeing the implementation of national drug policies) is a key
factor in streamlining the intelligence effort without compromising

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:2.5

DOJ12:  Streamline Background Investigations for Federal Employees
The current method of completing background examinations on federal
employees is time-consuming and inefficient.  This recommendation
outlines improvements to streamline the process without sacrificing

GAO Comments
We have not specifically reviewed this issue with respect to Justice
employees.  But, given our past work at other agencies, we endorse
the concept of streamlining background investigations provided that
thoroughness is not jeopardized, particularly with respect to the
investigation of employees for sensitive positions such as those in
law enforcement. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:2.6

DOJ16:  Develop Lower Cost Solutions to Federal Prison Space Problems
This recommendation describes approaches to solving existing prison
space problems. 

GAO Comments
We agree that lower cost solutions need to be pursued, and
implemented where feasible, but it is not yet clear whether NPR's
recommendation will be limited to lowering the cost of prison design
and construction or encompass options for reducing the number of
persons sent to prison.  Between fiscal years 1986 and 1992, the
federal inmate population grew from 41,500 to more than 89,000, in
part reflecting changes in sentencing policies.  Absent a change in
those policies, the rapid growth in the federal prison population can
be expected to continue, requiring additional prison capacity. 

--------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:3


--------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:4

DOJ09:  Make the Department of Justice Operate More Effectively as
the U.S.  Government Law Firm
Justice should undertake several improvements in the way it manages
its litigation functions to improve service to its customers and
better manage its case load. 

GAO Comments
We believe that improving litigation service to customers is a goal
that should be pursued by the Department.  We have reported on the
need for uniform and accurate litigative case management data and on
weaknesses in ADP management and operations, most notably in the area
of ADP security.  We have not made an in-depth evaluation of other
alternatives to existing litigation practices. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:4.1

DOJ10:  Improve White Collar Fraud Civil Enforcement
Civil fraud recovery should be established as a priority and the
department should take steps to improve its white collar fraud

GAO Comments
We recognize that civil fraud recoveries are an important aspect of
white collar fraud enforcement.  See our comments on related
recommendation DOJ04.  We have not studied other alternatives to
existing practices. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:4.2

DOJ11:  Reduce the Duplication of Law Enforcement Training Facilities
Overlap and duplication in the provision of federal law enforcement
training facilities should be examined.  Multi-agency training needs
should be accommodated through existing facilities in lieu of the
construction of new facilities by individual agencies. 

GAO Comments
Although we have not studied this issue, this is an area where we
would agree that further examination could prove worthwhile.  Law
enforcement agencies, while having unique missions that require
individualized training, frequently have overlapping jurisdictions
and perform functions that require similar or identical knowledge and

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:4.3

DOJ13:  Adjust Civil Monetary Penalties to the Inflation Index
Civil monetary penalties have not been adjusted to keep up with
inflation.  Under this recommendation, a "catch-up" adjustment would
be made and the need for additional inflation adjustments would be
automatically reassessed every four years. 

GAO Comments
At this time we have insufficient information to assess the basis for
or desirability of this recommendation.  Our work on civil debt and
criminal fines indicates that a major problem is collecting the
criminal and civil fines and penalties now imposed.  Recent Justice
estimates indicate that the total amount of unpaid criminal debt
exceeded $1.6 billion, and the balance continues to grow. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:4.4

DOJ14:  Improve Federal Courthouse Security
This recommendation is intended to address concerns of the U.S. 
Marshals Service concerning security at federal courthouses. 

GAO Comments
We recognize that federal courthouses need to be secure and Marshals
Service resources need to be targeted at the greatest security needs
based on systematic assessments of potential risk.  We have not yet
completed our ongoing review of courthouse and judicial security
issues and thus have not taken a position on these matters. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:4.5

DOJ15:  Improve the Professionalism of the U.S.  Marshals Service
U.S.  Marshals should be selected based on merit by the Director of
the U.S.  Marshals Service and reduce some positions. 

GAO Comments
While we endorse the concept of improving the professionalism of the
Marshals Service and reducing unnecessary positions where feasible,
we have not studied this issue and thus do not have sufficient
information on which to take a position. 

--------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:5


--------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 14:6

Justice Issues (GAO/OCG-93-23TR, Dec.  1992) relates to the overall
summary and DOJ01. 

Justice Department:  Coordination Between DEA and the FBI
(GAO/GGD-90-59, Mar.  21, 1990) relates to DOJ01. 

Bank and Thrift Criminal Fraud:  The Federal Commitment Could Be
Broadened (GAO/GGD-93-48, Jan.  8, 1993) relates to DOJ01 and DOJ04. 

Bank and Thrift Fraud:  Overview of the Federal Government's Response
(GAO/T-GGD-92-12, Feb.  6, 1992) relates to DOJ01 and DOJ04. 

War on Drugs:  Information Management Poses Formidable Challenges
(GAO/IMTEC-91-40, May 31, 1991) relates to DOJ01, DOJ03, and DOJ07. 

Customs Service and INS:  Dual Management Structure for Border
Inspections Should Be Ended (GAO/GGD-93-111, June 30, 1993) relates
to DOJ02. 

Drug Control:  Heavy Investment in Military Surveillance Is Not
Paying Off (GAO/NSIAD-93-220, Sept.  1, 1993) relates to DOJ03. 

Drug Interdiction:  Funding Continues to Increase but Program
Effectiveness Is Unknown (GAO/GGD-91-10, Dec.  11, 1990) relates to

Drug Control:  Anti-Drug Efforts in the Bahamas (GAO/GGD-90-42, Mar. 
8, 1990) relates to DOJ03. 

Drug Smuggling:  Capabilities for Interdicting Private Aircraft Are
Limited and Costly (GAO/GGD-89-93, June 9, 1989) relates to DOJ03. 

Financial Management:  INS Lacks Accountability and Controls Over Its
Resources (GAO/AFMD-91-20, Jan.  24, 1991) relates to DOJ04 and

U.S.  Department of Justice:  Overview of Civil and Criminal Debt
Collection Efforts (GAO/T-GGD-90-62, July 31, 1990) relates to DOJ04,
DOJ10, and DOJ13. 

Federal Prisons:  Inmate and Staff Views on Education and Work
Training Programs (GAO/GGD-93-33, Jan.  19, 1993) relates to DOJ05. 

Asset Forfeiture Programs (GAO/HR-93-17, Dec.  1992) relates to

Resolution Trust Corporation (GAO/HR-93-4, Dec.  1992) relates to

Drug Control:  Reauthorization of the Office of National Drug Control
Policy (GAO/T-GGD-94-7, Oct.  5, 1993) relates to DOJ07. 

Drug Control:  Coordination of Intelligence Activities
(GAO/GGD-93-83BR, Apr.  2, 1993) relates to DOJ07. 

Computer Security:  DEA's Handling of Sensitive Drug Enforcement and
National Security Information Is Inadequate (GAO/T-IMTEC-92-24, Sept. 
30, 1992) relates to DOJ07. 

Drug Control:  Inadequate Guidance Results in Duplicate Intelligence
Production Efforts (GAO/NSIAD-92-153, Apr.  14, 1992) relates to

Immigration Management:  Strong Leadership and Management Reforms
Needed to Address Serious Problems (GAO/GGD-91-28, Jan.  23, 1991)
relates to DOJ08. 

Information Management:  Immigration and Naturalization Service Lacks
Ready Access to Essential Data (GAO/IMTEC-90-75, Sept.  27, 1990)
relates to DOJ08. 

Justice:  IRM and Project Eagle (GAO/IMTEC-93-7R, Dec.  9, 1992)
relates to DOJ09. 

Employee Background Checks (GAO/GGD-93-62R, Sept.  2, 1993) relates
to DOJ12. 

Nuclear Security:  DOE's Progress on Reducing Its Security Clearance
Work Load (GAO/RCED-93-183, Aug.  12, 1993) relates to DOJ12. 

Personnel Security:  Efforts by DOD and DOE to Eliminate Duplicate
Background Investigations (GAO/RCED-93-23, May 10, 1993) relates to

OPM Revolving Fund:  Benchmarking Could Aid OPM's Efforts to Improve
Customer Service (GAO/GGD-92-18, Jan.  21, 1992) relates to DOJ12. 

National Fine Center:  Expectations High, but Development Behind
Schedule (GAO/GGD-93-95, Aug.  10, 1993) relates to DOJ13. 

Program Fraud:  Implementation of the Program Fraud Civil Remedies
Act of 1986 (GAO/AFMD-91-73, Sept.  16, 1991) relates to DOJ13. 

Intensive Probation Supervision:  Crime-Control and Cost-Saving
Effectiveness (GAO/PEMD-93-23, June 4, 1993) relates to DOJ16. 

Prison Boot Camps:  Short-Term Prison Costs Reduced, but Long-Term
Impact Uncertain (GAO/GGD-93-69, Apr.  29, 1993) relates to DOJ16. 

Prison Alternatives:  Crowded Federal Prisons Can Transfer More
Inmates to Halfway Houses (GAO/GGD-92-5, Nov.  14, 1991) relates to

Prison Costs:  Opportunities Exist to Lower the Cost of Building
Federal Prisons (GAO/GGD-92-3, Oct.  25, 1991) relates to DOJ16. 

Federal Prisons:  Revised Design Standards Could Save Expansion Funds
(GAO/GGD-91-54, Mar.  14, 1991) relates to DOJ16. 

Intermediate Sanctions:  Their Impacts on Prison Crowding, Costs, and
Recidivism Are Still Unclear (GAO/PEMD-90-21, Sept.  7, 1990) relates
to DOJ16. 

Cliff Schaffer's Home Page