Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Defense

GAO-23-106305 Published: May 16, 2023. Publicly Released: May 23, 2023.
Jump To:
Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations.

This letter to the Department of Defense outlines 89 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, 8 recommendations dealt with accident prevention and the safety of servicemembers, including a recommendation that military services' safety centers standardize what data they collect on aviation accidents.

DOD implemented 10 recommendations we identified as a priority last year.

We regularly update priority recommendations here.

priority open recommendations for the Department of Defense

Skip to Highlights

What GAO Found

In July 2022, GAO identified 84 priority open recommendations for the Department of Defense (DOD). Since then, DOD has implemented 10 of those recommendations, leading to improvements in defense reform and efficiency collaboration efforts, Navy shipbuilding, and financial reporting, among other areas. Thus, reducing the number of remaining priority open recommendations to 74.

In May 2023, GAO identified 15 additional priority recommendations for DOD, bringing the total number to 89. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • acquisitions and contract management;
  • rebuilding readiness and force structure;
  • accident prevention and safety;
  • cybersecurity and the information environment;
  • financial management;
  • driving enterprise-wide business reform;
  • health care;
  • preventing sexual harassment; and
  • strengthening diversity, equity and inclusion within DOD.

DOD's continued attention to these issues could lead to further improvements in the department's operations.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision-making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

For more information, contact Cathleen A. Berrick at (202) 512-3404 or

Full Report

GAO Contacts