The Government Accountability Office's "high risk" list is partly a hall of shame, partly a plea for help and attention.
Published since 1990 by GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, the list
features 28 programs or efforts of the Federal government that are at
greater susceptibility to waste, fraud and abuse and/or require rapid,
broad-based transformations to stay relevant. Recently, OhMyGov wrote
about the addition of the 2010 Census
to the high-risk list, which was especially notable because it occurred
in an off-year. The list is typically updated only every other year.
high risk list seems a pretty useful priority check for Congress. So
why has there been so little movement? A quick glance shows that 6 of
the 28 programs on the list have been there since 1990, the year the
list began. Another 7 programs have been on the list more than a
decade. Congress and the agencies share the blame on this, and there's
plenty to go around. Just imagine the fallout if a program or division
in a private company were deemed at high-risk for more than a --- wait,
stop --- A private enterprise wouldn't tolerate that sort of
performance for a decade.
See the graphic below for the full list.
aren't insignificant programs, either. Protecting the Nation's critical
infrastructures, DOD financial management, and air traffic control
modernization? Contract management at DOD, DOE and NASA? Enforcement
of tax laws? This is pretty important, impactful stuff GAO is flagging.
How about it, Congress and Agency leaders --- if your name or
Congressional committee's purview is represented on the High-Risk List,
please take it as a personal embarrassment if it's still there next
time around, in 2009. A decade and a half should be enough time to