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GAO’s reports and testimonies give Congress, federal agencies, and the public timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can improve government operations and save taxpayers billions of dollars.

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Satellite Control Network: Updating Sustainment Plan Would Help Space Force Better Manage Future Efforts

GAO-23-105505
Published: . Publicly Released: .
Space Force—a branch of the U.S. military—runs a network of 19 antennas around the world that communicate with and control U.S. government satellites. This network is aging and difficult to maintain. At the same time, demand on the network is increasing as more satellites are launched. Space Force's long-term plan to sustain this network hasn't been updated since 2017, so it doesn't reflect recent acquisitions...

Capital Investment Grants Program: Cost Predictions Have Improved, but the Pandemic Complicates Assessing Ridership Predictions

GAO-23-105479
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The Federal Transit Administration's Capital Investment Grants program helps cities, states, and localities build transit systems such as commuter rail. Grant applicants must develop capital cost and ridership predictions. FTA uses the predictions to help select projects and to later determine if a project delivered expected results. FTA has developed methods to help applicants make better predictions, such as by assessing how various factors may...

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Software Acquisition: Additional Actions Needed to Help DOD Implement Future Modernization Efforts

GAO-23-105611
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To respond to evolving threats, DOD has to develop and deliver software-based weapon and IT systems quickly. DOD has started modernizing its software technologies, policies, and workforce to achieve this. A few years ago, DOD's advisory committees on science and innovation recommended ways to improve its software development and acquisitions. DOD has at least partially implemented all of those recommendations. For example, DOD improved training...

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Department of Education: Employment Information for Key Grant Programs that Foster Expertise in World Languages and Cultures

GAO-23-105971
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Many career fields—such as diplomacy, national security, and business—need individuals with knowledge of languages and the world. The Department of Education provides funding to universities to develop experts with such credentials and grant fellowships to students. The 27 grantee universities we looked at encouraged students to pursue employment in certain fields by developing students' language skills and knowledge about other cultures and offering career services...

Government Performance Management: Actions Needed to Improve Transparency of Cross-Agency Priority Goals

GAO-23-106354
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The Office of Management and Budget must develop cross-agency priority goals to guide agency collaboration on the government's big challenges, like financial management. These 4-year goals are part of the President's Management Agenda. We found that the current goals could be more: Complete—OMB set goals for 3 of 5 required management areas, with no goals for managing IT or federal real property Timely—OMB publicly set...

Coast Guard Health Care: Additional Actions Could Help Ensure Beneficiaries' Access

GAO-23-105574
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The Coast Guard must ensure its active duty personnel and their families have timely access to health care. Personnel can access some outpatient care at Coast Guard clinics. Specialty care is available via military medical facilities or civilian providers in DOD's TRICARE plan. But we found: Many Coast Guard units aren't near military medical facilities About 40% of Coast Guard clinics are in areas with...

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Overseas Real Property: State Should Improve Strategic Workforce Planning for Facilities Maintenance Staff

GAO-23-105401
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The State Department maintains properties at over 275 posts worldwide. As of FY 2020, the properties had a maintenance backlog of $3 billion. State's efforts to address this backlog are complicated by challenges with hiring and retaining maintenance staff. For its maintenance workforce, State has adopted most leading practices in strategic workforce planning. Adopting the remaining practices would help the agency better understand this workforce...

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2022 Lobbying Disclosure: Observations on Compliance with Requirements

GAO-23-105989
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The Lobbying Disclosure Act requires paid lobbyists to file reports on their lobbying activity, on whether they previously held certain government positions, and more. We assess their compliance by reviewing a sample of reports, interviewing the lobbyists who filed them, and cross-checking information. As in past years, most lobbyists filed the required reports and were able to provide supporting documentation. But, 27% of the reports...

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Weapon System Sustainment: The Army and Air Force Conducted Reviews and the Army Identified Operating and Support Cost Growth

GAO-23-106341
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DOD spends billions of dollars a year to operate and maintain its weapon systems—such as aircraft or ships—to ensure it can meet the military's needs today and in the future. These "sustainment" costs—expenses for repairs, for example—account for approximately 70% of a weapon system's total cost. DOD reports to Congress on these costs annually. We looked at DOD's FY 2021 sustainment reviews and found that...

Fusion Energy: Potentially Transformative Technology Still Faces Fundamental Challenges

GAO-23-105813
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Nuclear fusion could produce electricity without carbon emissions or long-lasting nuclear waste. A 2022 experiment achieved a key milestone on the path to viable fusion energy: it was the first experiment in which the fusion reaction produced more energy than the energy injected into it. However, this technology faces challenges before it can produce commercial electricity. For example, new materials will need to be developed...

Power Marketing Administrations: Additional Steps Are Needed to Better Manage Climate-Related Risks

GAO-23-106224
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Four "power marketing administrations" sell electricity generated from federal hydropower dams to public utilities, rural cooperatives, and Indian Tribes in over 30 states. The four entities face a number of climate-related risks to their operations. For example, decreasing water availability that resulted from droughts could reduce the amount of electricity generated from dams—affecting their ability to provide power. In 2022, two of the administrations identified...

Utility-Scale Energy Storage: Technologies and Challenges for an Evolving Grid

GAO-23-105583
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The U.S. electricity grid was designed to generate electricity and deliver it almost immediately to customers—very little is stored. Adding more energy storage could have benefits, like helping utilities Meet demand during supply disruptions Recover faster after outages Support renewable energy by storing power when natural sources—like wind and sunlight—are abundant and releasing it when they are not But it can be hard to put...

Overseas Nuclear Material Security: A Comprehensive National Strategy Could Help Address Risks of Theft and Sabotage

GAO-23-106486
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Some countries have inadequate security at their nuclear facilities making them vulnerable to sabotage and the nuclear materials within them vulnerable to theft. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), DOD, and other agencies are working to help secure international nuclear materials. For instance, the U.S. is helping other countries increase facility security and counter nuclear smuggling around the world. But we found that a few...

IT Management: VA Needs to Improve CIO Oversight of Procurements

GAO-23-105719
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The Department of Veterans Affairs spends billions of dollars each year on IT to help manage veterans' benefits and deliver health care. According to federal laws and guidance, VA's Chief Information Officer (CIO) should be fully accountable for IT acquisition and management decisions. CIO oversight helps ensure that IT acquisitions aren't poorly planned or duplicative. Our review of 26 IT contract awards from fiscal year...

Animal Use in Research: NIH Should Strengthen Oversight of Projects It Funds at Foreign Facilities

GAO-23-105736
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The National Institutes of Health provided $2.2 billion in contracts or grants in FYs 2011-2021 to foreign organizations for research involving animals. Foreign facilities conducting this research must follow U.S. or international animal welfare standards. NIH relies on annual reports submitted by funding recipients to monitor the foreign research facilities' compliance with these standards. But NIH doesn't verify the reliability of the information in these...

Financial Audit: Bureau of the Fiscal Service's FY 2022 Schedules of the General Fund

GAO-23-104786
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Treasury's Fiscal Service manages the General Fund, which finances daily and long-term government operations. In FY 2022, $23.2 trillion flowed into the General Fund and $22.8 trillion flowed out of it. Fiscal Service continued to make progress in addressing the issues identified in our prior audits. However, we don't have enough information to give an opinion on the reliability of the FY 2022 Schedules because...

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Improper Payments: Fiscal Year 2022 Estimates and Opportunities for Improvement

GAO-23-106285
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In fiscal year 2022, federal agencies made an estimated $247 billion in payment errors—either payments that should not have been made or that were made in the incorrect amount. Overpayments accounted for about $200 billion of the total. But the total doesn't yet include estimates for certain risky programs, like the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This report—the first in...