Observations on the Department of Defense's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan

Gao ID: NSIAD-99-178R July 20, 1999

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) fiscal year (FY) 2000 performance plan, focusing on: (1) assessing the usefulness of the agency's plan for decisionmaking; and (2) identifying the degree of improvement the agency's FY 2000 performance plan represents over the FY 1999 plan.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD's FY 2000 annual performance plan provides a limited picture of intended performance across the department, a general discussion of strategies and resources that will be used to achieve performance goals, and limited confidence that performance information will be credible; (2) for example, while the plan clearly states DOD's performance goals, it does not clearly explain how key output measures, such as having ten active Army Divisions, will be used along with other information to assess the outcomes that result from using DOD's resources; (3) the plan does not explain the limitations of DOD's performance measure on infrastructure spending; (4) as another example, the plan states that there are no known deficiencies in data to be used for some performance measures such as the disposal of unneeded property held by contractors, although DOD recently reported systemic problems in maintaining adequate control and management accountability over this property; (5) DOD's corporate-level goals are to: (a) shape the international environment and respond to crises; and (b) prepare now for an uncertain future; (6) this year's plan represents a moderate improvement over the FY 1999 plan; (7) specifically, some degree of progress was made in addressing the weaknesses GAO and others identified in last year's plan, which partially depicted intended performance across the department, partially discussed how strategies and resources would help achieve goals, and did not provide sufficient confidence that performance information would be credible; (8) last year's plan also lacked a discussion of coordination efforts for most crosscutting activities with other agencies, such as combating terrorism; (9) additionally, the plan was not presented in a single document; (10) as a consequence, last year, the reader was required to refer to a number of other documents, such as the Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation, to obtain relevant information; (11) among improvements in this year's plan are: (a) inclusion of baseline data for 39 of 43 unclassified performance measures and indicators; (b) identification of some known deficiencies such as financial and accounting system problems; and (c) inclusion of performance goals, measures, and indicators related to six of nine major management challenges identified by GAO and the DOD Inspector General; and (12) this year's plan is set forth in a single document with references to key support information.

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