Chemical and Biological Defense: Program Planning and Evaluation Should Follow Results Act Framework Page: 4 of 28
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funding of less than $1 billion for military programs to counter chemical
and biological threats.
In 1993 Congress enacted the Government Performance and Results Act
(commonly referred to as the Results Act). The legislation was designed to
have agencies focus on the performance and results of their programs
rather than on program activities and resources, as they had traditionally
done. Congress sought to shift federal management and oversight from its
preoccupation with program staffing, activity levels, and tasks completed
to program results-that is, to the real difference that federal programs
make in people's lives. Congressional reports and administrative guidance
indicate that programs such as the CB Defense Program should follow the
Results Act's outcome-oriented principles, including the establishment of
general goals as well as quantifiable, measurable, outcome-oriented
performance goals and related measures.
As you requested, we examined the extent to which DOD has applied the
Results Act's outcome-oriented principles to the CB Defense Program,
focusing in particular on research, development, testing, and evaluation
(RDT&E) activities that lead to new technologies and defensive
capabilities. Specifically, we assessed whether (1) CB Defense Program
goals are explicit and measurable, (2) the CB Defense Program has
performance measures that assess outcomes and impacts rather than
outputs and activities, and (3) organizations executing the CB Defense
RDT&E activities have incorporated Results Act principles in their program
planning and evaluation. A companion report Chemical and Biological
Defense: Coordination of Nonmedical Chemical and Biological Research
and Development Programs (GAO/NSIAD-99-160, Aug. 16, 1999) examines
coordination on nonmedical CB defense research and development
Results in Brief
DOD's CB Defense Program in general, and its RDT&E activities in
particular, have not incorporated key Results Act principles, as evidenced
by the fact that the goals of the program are vague and unmeasurable and
do not articulate specific desired impacts. Program planners do not
explain, for example, the meaning of goals such as denying military
advantage or allowing U.S. forces to operate largely unimpeded by
chemical and biological attacks. In the absence of explicit and measurable
goals, it is difficult to assess whether the program has been successful in
achieving its goals.
GAO/NSIAD-99-159 Chemical and Biological Defense
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United States. General Accounting Office. Chemical and Biological Defense: Program Planning and Evaluation Should Follow Results Act Framework, report, August 16, 1999; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc294407/m1/4/: accessed January 16, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.