GAO Updates High Risk Federal Program List

Published: February 20, 2013

Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

Last week, GAO released its biennial list of federal high risk programs, to include 17 programs that have been on the list for 10 years and 6 programs that have been on the list since its inception in 1990.

On February 14th, US Comptroller General, Gene Dodaro, addressed the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to discuss progress for federal high risk programs.   During this update to GAO’s report, two programs were removed from the list and two programs were added bringing the list total to 30 programs. 

GAO removed interagency contracting and IRS Business Systems Modernization from the high risk list.  GAO recently commended the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) for its new policy framework for interagency contracting, and recognized that most of the 24 CFO Act agencies had issued guidance and performed internal reviews.  GAO also removed IRS Business Systems Modernization because sufficient improvements had been made in the areas of financial and IT management to include establishment of effective practices for investment management and project oversight.

GAO added two federal program areas to the list:  Limiting the federal government’s fiscal exposure by better managing climate change risks and mitigating gaps in weather satellite data.  Due to the federal government’s extensive infrastructure, emergency aid programs, and flood insurance program, climate change poses serious financial risks.   GAO believes the government needs leadership and strategy to mitigate these risks.

Gaps in satellite weather data may begin as soon as 2014 and last for more than two years leading to concerns regarding weather forecasts and warnings.  GAO recommends that contingency plans be developed and implemented.  

Through Congressional oversight and legislation, along with OMB leadership and agency accountability and corrective actions, vast improvements have been made to areas remaining on the high risk list.  Continued diligence by agencies in implementing GAO recommendations will lead to continued progress and elimination of federal program areas from the list.  

Deltek believes some program areas, such as those that are benefits based, may offer opportunities for technology contractors.  In our recently released report Technology Strategies for Federal Waste, Fraud and Abuse we analyze the government’s progress in cutting WFA and map out ongoing needs.  Federal demand for IT solutions to combat waste, fraud and abuse will continue to increase over the next several years.  Such solutions include technologies for pre-screening and identity authentication; data capture and processing; examination and detection; and investigation, prosecution and recovery.