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GAO: Army Corps of Engineers Should Provide Deferred Maintenance Standards, Organize Construction Funds

The Government Accountability Office has advised the Army Corps of Engineers to provide metrics for determining deferred maintenance for inland waterways, as well as modify its funding method for construction projects.

GAO said in a report published Wednesday the corps currently lacks indicators of deferred maintenance efforts, which hinders the execution of sustainment projects and presentation of estimated costs to the Office of Management and Budget and Congress.

Officials from the corps and Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works also recalled that various factors are taken into consideration before developing a standard definition for deferred maintenance.

"A single measure may not be useful to gauge the condition of the waterways because the effect of deferred maintenance projects on the reliability of the waterways will vary," GAO noted.

The agency also found that the corps requests constructions funds in increments, which corps officials and stakeholders believe has caused schedule delays and increased costs as resources are procured separately. 

GAO added that the corps should change its budgeting approach to provide full funding for construction projects or focus finances on fewer initiatives first.

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