GAO’s Guide to Saving the Government Billions of Dollars: Reducing Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication in Federal Programs

GAO's Duplication and Cost Savings MedallionToday we released our 9th annual report on fragmentation, overlap, and duplication in the federal government, adding 98 new actions that Congress or federal agencies can take to improve government programs. For example:

  • The Department of Energy could avoid spending billions of dollars by developing a radioactive and hazardous waste cleanup strategy.
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services could save hundreds of millions of dollars by improving how it oversees Medicaid expenditures.
  • The Department of Defense could save millions of dollars annually by coordinating with state and local governments for support services, such as waste management and snow removal.
  • The Department of Homeland Security should develop a strategy and implementation plan to better manage its fragmented chemical defense programs and activities.
  • Federal agencies that coordinate research on quantum computing and synthetic biology could better manage fragmentation to improve their research efforts to maintain U.S. competitiveness in these areas.

Listen to Jessica Lucas-Judy, a director in our Strategic Issues team, explain more about 2019’s updates.

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How reducing fragmentation, overlap, and duplication saves taxpayer money

Since 2011, we’ve been reporting on ways the government can be more efficient and save taxpayers’ money by looking for agencies and programs that:

  • work on similar or different parts of the same goal  (fragmentation)
  • have similar goals or provide similar services (overlap)
  • work on the same activities or provide the same services (duplication)

Fully addressing new actions and those that remain open from our prior reports could lead to tens of billions of dollars in additional financial benefits. By addressing actions we’ve proposed, the federal government has saved about $260 billion!

Want to find out more? Check out our Action Tracker to explore the hundreds of other actions we’ve identified.


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