Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication in Government Programs

Since 2011, the Government Accountability Office [GAO] has issued a statutorily required annual report that identifies fragmentation, overlap, and duplication in Federal programs. Fragmentation occurs when multiple agencies are involved in the same broad area of national need; overlap occurs when multiple agencies have similar goals, strategies and activities that target similar groups; duplication is when two or more agencies provide the same services for the same beneficiaries.[i] The table below shows selected areas where GAO has found that fragmentation, overlap or duplication is occurring.

How are Congress and the Executive Branch responding to GAO’s reports of fragmentation overlap, and duplication? 

Since 2011, GAO has identified over 249 actions for the Executive Branch and Congress to eliminate or better manage fragmentation, overlap, and duplication.  Of the 29 actions recommended to Congress, 9—or 31% have been addressed; the remainder is partially addressed, unaddressed, or overtaken by other events.  For the Executive Branch, GAO recommended 220 actions of which 100—or 45% have been addressed.  GAO’s next report on fragmentation, overlap, and duplication will be issued in April of 2016.
Black and white table [i] United States Government Accountability Office.  2015 Annual Report: Additional Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication and Achieve Other Financial Benefits. GAO-15-404SP.