In response to a request from the Maritime Administration (MARAD), the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) reviewed MARAD’s core functions, including its role within the Department of Transportation and its contributions to the Nation. NAPA’s 2017 report included 27 recommendations to address weaknesses it identified in MARAD’s ability to articulate and meet its mission. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 directed our office to audit MARAD’s actions to address 16 of NAPA’s 27 recommendations—related to the Agency’s program alignment, training mission, and other issues. Accordingly, the objective of this audit was to assess MARAD’s actions to address the 16 recommendations from NAPA’s 2017 report specified by Congress.
What We Found
MARAD took action on 15 of the 16 recommendations we reviewed. It completed 5 of 10 recommendations related to overarching issues impacting its effectiveness, and 2 of 6 recommendations that focused on its ability to provide adequate qualified merchant mariners to meet commercial and national security needs. Nine recommendations had not been completed at the time of our audit. MARAD partially completed eight and decided not to take action on the ninth—determining that the costs outweighed the benefits. Five recommendations were partially completed because they were dependent on coordination with MARAD’s stakeholders. The other three were partially completed for a variety of reasons, including MARAD’s need to finalize policies and procedures. MARAD has indicated that it plans to take action on all of the partially completed recommendations. However, the Agency lacks updated milestones for completion or an ongoing process for tracking implementation that will place it in a better position to fulfill its mission and meet the Nation’s commercial and security needs.
We made two recommendations to facilitate MARAD’s further progress in addressing the NAPA recommendations. MARAD concurred with both recommendations and proposed appropriate actions and completion dates. Accordingly, we consider both recommendations as resolved but open pending completion of the planned actions.
No. 1 to MARAD
Develop a plan with milestones for completing the remaining eight applicable recommendations.