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Testimony Of Eugene L. Dodaro: 
To Be Comptroller General Of The United States: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 

Statement before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and
Governmental Affairs: 

November 18, 2010: 

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Collins and Members of the Committee: 

Good afternoon. I am pleased to be here today to discuss my nomination 
to become Comptroller General of the United States. I greatly value 
the trust and support provided by the ten member bi-cameral bi-
partisan Congressional Commission in forwarding my name to President 
Obama and by the President in nominating me for this important 
position. I also would like to take this unique opportunity to thank 
the thousands of people at GAO I have worked with over the years and 
to recognize that without their dedicated and talented support, I 
would not be before you today. 

If confirmed, I pledge to continue to faithfully and diligently lead 
GAO in accomplishing its mission to support Congress in carrying out 
its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the 
performance and accountability of government for the benefit of the 
American people. At this juncture, our Nation's elected leaders face 
an array of complex domestic and international challenges which need 
to be successfully addressed to ensure the well-being of our citizens 
and the security and prosperity of our county. GAO can help the 
Congress by providing high quality, objective and timely analysis of 
government programs, operations and finances  information that the 
Congress needs to make policy choices, ensure transparency and 
accountability, and protect the taxpayer. In short, there are 
tremendous challenges ahead, and I would be honored to lead GAO during 
this important period in our Nation's history. 

While I have already provided the Committee information on my 
background and views on the responsibilities of the Comptroller 
General as well as GAO's role and operations, there are a few points 
that merit emphasizing today. As a start, I want to underscore that, 
if confirmed, my overall approach to leading GAO would be to build on 
its solid foundation as a steadfast non-partisan watchdog for the 
American people, a trusted advisor to the Congress, and a leading 
force in promoting more effective and efficient management across 
government. 

This vision for GAO includes sustaining and enhancing its core 
functions, while continuing to evolve GAO in ways that can better 
serve the Congress and the Nation in a first rate manner, now and in 
the future. I would work to continuously enhance GAO's capabilities to 
provide timely and quality service to committees throughout the 
Congress to address current and emerging challenges. This assistance 
spans the breadth of government activities and interests, ranging from 
homeland and national security challenges to health care, education, 
and retirement concerns, natural resources, environmental and 
infrastructure issues, as well regulatory reforms related to financial 
institutions and the housing sector, including efforts to resolve the 
status of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 

Within this context of broad based assistance to the institution of 
the Congress, I would also provide even greater emphasis on 
identifying high risk issues across government and in working 
collaboratively with the Congress, agency leaders and OMB to resolve 
them. Making greater progress in solving high risk areas that are in 
need of broad-based transformation or are vulnerable to waste, fraud, 
abuse, and mismanagement would significantly contribute to ensuring a 
more efficient and effective government. Areas currently on the high 
risk list cover critical sectors of the government and the economy, 
such as improving weapons systems' acquisition and DOD business 
operations, transforming the Department of Homeland Security, 
providing more effective tax administration and curtailing fraud, 
waste and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. 

Beyond the high risk areas, it is critical for GAO to provide insights 
into the government's financial condition and outlook and to seek ways 
to contribute to a more efficient and fiscally sustainable government. 
This includes working to help agencies identify and reduce billions of 
dollars in improper payments; identifying areas of duplication, 
overlap and fragmentation, as well as other opportunities to save 
money and enhance revenue; and helping promote more effective 
financial, information technology, acquisition, and performance 
management practices that can lead to eliminating wasteful approaches, 
provide greater efficiency, and ensure better accountability of 
taxpayer dollars. I would also continue to enhance GAO's forensic 
audit capabilities to help ferret out fraud, waste, abuse and 
mismanagement. 

Addressing all of these goals and aspirations for GAO requires that it 
always have a first rate, multi-disciplinary workforce. I have, and 
would continue to, if confirmed, devote significant effort to ensure 
that GAO always has the managerial and technical skills needed to 
consistently produce high quality work and meet congressional 
interests. Currently, GAO has a highly skilled multidisciplinary 
workforce, comprised of subject area and technical expertise from a 
range of disciplines, including public policy analysts, financial 
auditors, economists, attorneys, social science analysts, information 
technology specialists, civil engineers, statisticians and physical 
scientists. If confirmed, I would plan to continue to enhance GAO's 
workforce to meet evolving needs, especially in the areas of 
technology, science and engineering. 

In addition to having the right skills, GAO should always have the 
best possible respectful, inclusive and inviting working environment. 
While GAO has consistently been ranked among the best places to work 
in the federal government, attention to continuous improvement is 
necessary to make a great agency even better. I am committed to 
maintaining constructive relationships with our union, all of GAO's 
employee groups, and our people. Of paramount importance to me is 
ensuring that GAO always has a motivated, high performing, diverse 
workforce where people feel represented, valued and treated fairly. 

I also want to take today's opportunity to thank this Committee for 
its strong support of GAO, including its unwavering commitment to our 
high risk program. Additionally, I very much appreciate the 
Committee's unanimous action reporting S. 2991, the Government 
Accountability Office Improvement Act of 2010, out of committee. The 
bill, if enacted, would reaffirm GAO's authority to enforce its 
statutory access rights, providing a legislative remedy for the 
federal district court's decision in Walker v. Cheney, and confirm 
GAO's statutory access rights in several respects. While the changes 
made by the bill are relatively modest, they are very important in 
enhancing GAO's ability to achieve prompt resolutions of access 
problems. 

It is very important that GAO obtains the information it needs to do 
its work. GAO generally receives good cooperation from most 
departments and agencies in obtaining access to information and it is 
fairly rare for an agency to deny GAO access to information and rarer 
still that an agency will not work toward an accommodation that allows 
GAO to do its work. However, GAO does in certain cases experience 
access difficulties. For example, as you know, GAO has faced 
challenges in obtaining access to information from agencies in the 
intelligence community, even when the activities under review involve 
basic human capital and management functions. The recent Intelligence 
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 requires the Director of 
National Intelligence (DNI), in consultation with the Comptroller 
General, to issue a new directive governing GAO's access to 
information in the possession of an element of the intelligence 
community, and GAO has started engaging with DNI staff on this 
directive. 

In closing, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve the 
Congress and our country as Comptroller General of the United States. 
I am committed to public service and would always lead GAO in a manner 
faithful to its core values of accountability, integrity and 
reliability. It would be my honor and distinct privilege to lead GAO's 
talented and dedicated workforce in providing high quality 
professional and objective analyses and advice to help address the 
many challenges facing our nation. I would always do my very best to 
serve the Congress and help improve government for the benefit of all. 

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Collins, Members of the Committee, this 
concludes my opening remarks. Thank you all for your time and 
attention. I would be pleased to answer your questions. 

[End of testimony]