The Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a fresh update on its priority open recommendations for the Department of Defense (DoD), showing that while the Pentagon has been busy trying to satisfy numerous prior recommendations from the watchdog agency, its overall to-do list from GAO is staying about the same because a steady stream of new recommendations are being added.

The GAO report shows that as of July 2021, DoD had 81 remaining priority open recommendations from GAO, and had implemented 21 prior recommendations since May 2020. DoD’s actions on those 21 items have led to improvements in readiness rebuilding efforts, cybersecurity, and the Navy’s force structure.

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Last May, GAO identified 81 priority open recommendations for DoD. With DoD implementing 21, and GAO closing four priority recommendations and removing one that no longer required priority attention, DoD was left with 55 priority open recommendations. But in July 2021, GAO identified 26 additional priority recommendations for DoD, which brings the number back to 81.

The latest recommendations are in the areas of:

  • Cybersecurity and information environment;
  • Acquisitions and contract management;
  • Rebuilding readiness and force structure;
  • Financial management;
  • Healthcare;
  • Enterprise-wide business reform;
  • Preventing sexual harassment; and
  • Strengthening diversity, equity, and inclusion.

GAO currently has 12 priority recommendations on cybersecurity and information environment for DoD, which focus on cybersecurity coordination, work roles, cyber hygiene, and electromagnetic spectrum operations.

DoD concurred with eight cyber-related recommendations, and partially concurred with three of those recommendations.

“We have reported that DOD information technology systems are often riddled with cybersecurity vulnerabilities – both known and unknown,” said GAO. “Because DOD’s information technology systems and networks are key capabilities in conducting military operations and performing other critical functions, we believe these recommendations warrant urgent action by DOD.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.