Reports & Testimonies

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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Tracking the Funds: Specific Fiscal Year 2022 Provisions for National Archives and Records Administration

GAO-22-105883
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As part of FY22 appropriations, Members of Congress could request to designate a certain amount of federal funding for specific projects in their communities. While agencies often have discretion over how they award funds, Congress has directed them to distribute these funds to designated recipients. We're tracking the funds to help ensure transparency. National Archives and Records Administration's FY22 appropriations included $36.8 million for 13...

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Homelessness: VA Provides Support to the Most Vulnerable Women Veterans and Has Taken Steps to Improve Services

GAO-22-105360
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As the number of women veterans has grown—to about 2 million in FY2021—so have concerns about homelessness in this population. A VA program helps women—and other veterans facing homelessness—get services such as emergency housing and child care from a network of service providers. VA collects feedback from veterans about the program and has used it to make improvements that may be especially helpful for women...

Bank Supervision: Lessons Learned from Remote Supervision during Pandemic Could Inform Future Disruptions

GAO-22-104659
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, federal banking regulators couldn't examine most banks and credit unions in person. So, they changed certain examination practices, especially at smaller institutions. For example, they rescheduled examinations and reviewed scanned copies of loan files. We found that 3 of 5 regulators who have risk management programs also Updated their programs to reflect pandemic-related changes in risk Reviewed pandemic lessons learned The...

NASA Lunar Programs: Improved Mission Guidance Needed as Artemis Complexity Grows

GAO-22-105323
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NASA is embarking on a series of missions—collectively known as Artemis—that will return astronauts to the moon and ultimately bring humans to Mars over the next decade-plus. The guidance NASA uses to create and manage Artemis mission schedules was intended for individual programs, not missions. Missions integrate several programs together and require coordination across different NASA divisions and with contractors. Schedule guidance specifically for missions...

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program: USDA Should Conduct More Rigorous Reviews of Payments to Producers

GAO-22-104397
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In 2020 and 2021, the Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency provided $31 billion in aid to over 950,000 producers of agricultural commodities—including crops, dairy, and livestock—to help offset losses and costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. We found problems in the process the Farm Service Agency used to review the claims the producers submitted for payment—potentially making it harder to identify payment errors and...

Priority Open Recommendations: Office of the Director of National Intelligence

GAO-22-105852
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Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help improve the federal government. We alert department heads to where they can save the most money, address issues on our High Risk List, or significantly improve government operations. This report outlines our 19 priority open recommendations for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as of August 2022. These recommendations are intended to address...

Science & Tech Spotlight: Brain-Computer Interfaces

GAO-22-106118
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Brain-computer interfaces allow people to control machines using their thoughts. The technology is still largely experimental, but its possibilities are vast. For example, it could help people with paralysis regain control of their limbs and enable servicemembers to operate a drone hands-free on the battlefield. Yet, creating a direct connection between brain and machine may raise concerns. For example, it could give users unfair advantages...

National Security Snapshot: U.S. Support for the War in Ukraine

GAO-22-106079
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This report highlights our work in areas relevant to the war in Ukraine, including the U.S. military posture in Europe, development assistance, the information environment, and intelligence issues. We made 9 key recommendations in these areas. For example, the war has emphasized the importance of deterring Russian aggression in Europe through the presence of U.S. forces. Since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, DOD has expanded...

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Coast Guard: Additional Actions Needed to Improve Tsunami Emergency Planning in the Pacific Northwest

GAO-22-105220
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The Pacific Northwest is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis. But only 19 of the 39 Coast Guard units at risk in this region have a written tsunami evacuation plan for personnel and their dependents. The Coast Guard requires units to create written tsunami evacuation plans but doesn't ensure that they do. Also, there's no guidance for developing the plans—resulting in wide variations in their content...

Federal Real Property: GSA Could Further Support Agencies' Post-Pandemic Planning for Office Space Use

GAO-22-105105
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Most federal employees worked remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving many federal facilities underutilized. The pandemic significantly altered the government's office space needs and has it reconsidering the size and scale of its real property portfolio. The General Services Administration sees this as an opportunity to restructure that portfolio and is taking steps to make cost-effective decisions by collecting data on how often employees report...

National Security Space: Actions Needed to Better Use Commercial Satellite Imagery and Analytics

GAO-22-106106
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Commercial satellite companies can play a key role in providing imagery and data critical to national security issues. For example, the war in Ukraine has drawn attention to how governments are using commercial satellites to track troop movement and the impact of attacks. The Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense, however, have a slow and cumbersome approach to incorporating emerging commercial capabilities. Until they...

Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics at GAO: September 2022 Update

GAO-22-900426
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From smartphones to bioengineered vaccines, scientific and technological advances are changing the world we live in. Adopting these technologies into every day and government use can bring opportunities—for economic growth and improved quality of life—as well as the potential for unintended consequences. Since 2019, our Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics team has provided Congress with in-depth information on the most pressing science and technology issues...

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Cybersecurity: Kick-Starting the Office of the National Cyber Director

GAO-22-105502
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The federal government needs to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to overcome the cyber threats facing our nation. Cybersecurity has been on our High Risk list since 1997. In 2021, Congress created the Office of the National Cyber Director to lead the nation's cybersecurity efforts. Our overview looks at the Office's strategic statement, which summarizes its vision and path to improve the nation's cybersecurity...

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VA Disability: Clearer Claims Processing Guidance Needed for Selected Agent Orange Conditions

GAO-22-105191
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For decades, Veterans Affairs has denied most disability claims by Vietnam veterans for 3 conditions associated with exposure to herbicides like Agent Orange. These conditions—which involve nerve damage, skin cysts, and blistering—must have manifested within 1 year of service in Vietnam for VA to presume a connection between the condition and exposure. But claims processors didn't consistently understand what evidence could be used to support...

Human Trafficking: U.S. Agencies' International Efforts to Fight a Global Problem

GAO-22-106029
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Human trafficking victims are often held in slave-like conditions and forced to work in the sex trade or other servitude. One international organization estimated about 25 million people were trafficked in 2016. The U.S. seeks to combat trafficking. For example, the Departments of State, Labor, Homeland Security, and Defense, and the U.S. Agency for International Development have programs to prevent trafficking, prosecute traffickers, and protect...

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DHS Headquarters Consolidation: Project Cost and Schedule Estimates Are Not Finalized

GAO-22-105970
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The Department of Homeland Security is planning to consolidate some of its operations and thousands of its workers at the St. Elizabeths campus in Washington, D.C. Construction began in 2009. Over $2.8 billion has been appropriated. DHS was required to report project cost and schedule estimates and other information to congressional committees. Its report didn't have sufficient information on these estimates for us to reliably...

Export-Import Bank: Status of End-Use Monitoring of Dual-Use Exports as of August 2022

GAO-22-106090
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The Export-Import Bank's mission is to support U.S. jobs by facilitating U.S. exports through loans, loan guarantees, and insurance. According to its policy, the Bank generally cannot finance defense goods and services unless they are nonlethal and primarily used for civilian rather than military purposes. The Bank monitors these "dual-use" items to ensure they are used mostly for civilian purposes. We report each year on...

Tribal Economic Development: Action is Needed to Better Understand the Extent of Federal Support

GAO-22-105215
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Historically, tribal communities have had higher rates of unemployment and poverty than other communities. The federal government administers multiple programs that can support economic development in these communities. We identified 22 programs at 7 agencies that provide economic development assistance—e.g., grants or loans—to tribal governments and businesses. But these programs might be hard to identify or access, leaving tribal entities to miss out on valuable...

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Retirement Security: Recent Efforts by Other Countries to Expand Plan Coverage and Facilitate Savings

GAO-22-105102
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Ensuring retirement income security for the aging U.S. workforce presents many challenges. People are increasingly responsible for their retirement planning, and as they live longer, they may outlive their savings. We reviewed steps other countries have taken to promote retirement plan savings. International experts informed us of several efforts, including auto-enrollment—which can increase plan participation for eligible workers but may not reach others, such as...

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Aviation Safety: FAA Should Strengthen Efforts to Address the Illegal Practice of Intentionally Aiming Lasers at Aircraft [Reissued with revisions on Aug. 26, 2022]

GAO-22-104664
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Aiming a laser at an aircraft can disorient pilots and is a federal crime. In recent years, laser incidents have increased—there were a record 9,723 incidents reported in 2021. Identifying those involved remains difficult. To support incident investigations, FAA asks pilots to complete a lengthy, voluntary questionnaire. But it only received responses for 12% of incidents one recent year. FAA and law enforcement previously had...