Strategic Planning at the U.S. General Accounting Office
Introduction: In anticipation of impending domestic and global changes, the U.S. General Accounting Office developed a strategic plan to guide its efforts. The two-year strategic planning process and GAOs Strategic Plan, 2000-2005, prompted a complete reorganization of GAO that began on October 1, 2000. Developing the plan entailed unprecedented effort involving staff at all levels and a wide spectrum of stakeholders. The plan evolved, in part, in response to a senior management directive to clarify GAO’s mission and objectives. Additionally, managers foresaw the plan as an opportunity to communicate to Congress and the nation GAOs capabilities.Comptroller General David Walker referred to the plan as ” a blueprint for how [GAO] will support Congress and the American people in the future,” and “a vision for strengthening the performance and accountability of the federal government.
History of Strategic Planning at GAO: The Government and Performance Results Act of 1993 did not require that GAO, a congressional agency, meet the requirement that Executive Branch agencies create or revise strategic plans every three years. However, GAO has long practiced strategic planning in various forms. For many years, planning occurred within GAO’s divisions and its respective issue areas, but until recently had never expanded into an institution-wide, integrated process. Responsibility for evaluating and overseeing various Executive Branch programs and issues were assigned to 35 separate groups called issue areas, with each issue area creating an individual plan that was updated annually. In 1995, GAO drafted its first high-level, agency-wide strategic plan.2 Managers desired to have a plan that was agency-wide in scope, rather than multiple issue area plans..
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