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111CG entitled 'The Role of the U.S. Government Accountability Office' 
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U.S. Government Accountability Office: 

The Role of the U.S. Government Accountability Office: 

House Democracy Partnership: 
Members of Parliament from Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Mongolia: 
Washington, D.C. 

October 2, 2008: 

Gene L. Dodaro: 
Acting Comptroller General of the United States: 


Presentation Outline: 

* Who we are and how we do our work; 

* Demand for service and impact of work; 

* The importance of collaboration and capacity building. 

Who We Are and How We Do Our Work: 

GAO’s Role & Mission: 

GAO’s role is to support the Congress in carrying out its 
constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and 
assure accountability of government for the benefit of the American 

Key Approaches: 

GAO carries out its mission in four fundamental ways: 

Oversight: preventing and detecting fraud, waste, abuse, and 

Insight: making government more efficient and effective; 

Foresight: identifying emerging issues; 

Adjudication: resolving bid protests and providing legal opinions. 

Core Values: 

Accountability: Help the Congress oversee federal programs, policies, 
and operations to ensure accountability to the American people. 

Integrity: Ensure that our work is professional, objective, fact-based, 
nonpartisan, nonideological, fair, and balanced. 

Reliability: Provide high-quality, timely, accurate, useful, clear, and 
candid information. 

Serving The Congress And The Nation: 

GAO's Strategic Plan Framework Mission: 

GAO exists to support the Congress in meeting its constitutional 
responsibilities and to help improve the performance and ensure the 
accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the 
American people. 


* Changing Security Threats;
* Sustainability Concerns;
* Economic Growth & Competitiveness;
* Global Interdependency;
* Societal Change;
* Quality of Life;
* Science & Technology. 

Goals and Objectives: 

Provide Timely, Quality Service to the Congress and the Federal 
Government to Address Current and Emerging Challenges to the Well-being 
and Financial Security of the American People related to:
* Health care needs;
* Lifelong learning;
* Work benefits and protection;
* Financial security;
* Effective system of justice;
* Viable communities;
* Natural resources use and environmental protection;
* Physical infrastructure. 

Respond to Changing Security Threats and the Challenges of Global 
Interdependence involving:
* Homeland security;
* Military capabilities and readiness;
* Advancement of U.S. interests;
* Global market forces. 

Help Transform the Federal Government's Role and How It Does Business 
to Meet Twenty-first Century Challenges by assessing:
* Roles in achieving federal objectives;
* Government transformation;
* Key management challenges and program risks;
* Fiscal position and financing of the government. 

Maximize the Value of GAO by Being a Model Federal Agency and a World- 
Class Professional Services Organization in the areas of:
* Client and customer satisfaction;
* Strategic leadership;
* Institutional knowledge and experience;
* Process improvement
* Employer of choice. 

Core Values: 

* Accountability;
* Integrity;
* Reliability. 

Source: GAO. 

[End of GAO's Strategic Plan Framework] 

GAO’s Mission Teams: 

* Defense Capabilities Management; 

* Education, Workforce, and Income Security; 

* Financial Markets and Community Investments; 

* Health Care; 

* Homeland Security and Justice; 

* International Affairs and Trade; 

* Natural Resources and the Environment; 

* Physical Infrastructure; 

* Acquisitions and Sourcing Management; 

* Applied Research and Methods; 

* Financial Management Assurance; 

* Information Technology; 

* Strategic Issues. 

GAO’s Workforce: 

* 3,141 FTE—75% in D.C., 25% in field; 

* Workforce consists primarily of analysts, IT specialists, auditors, 
attorneys, and economists; 

* GAO has technical chiefs for accounting, actuarial science, 
economics, statistics, science, and technology; 

* 80% of GAO’s resources spent on people. 

GAO’s Independence: 

The Comptroller General (CG) is the head of GAO: 

* confirmed through a joint selection/appointment process involving the 
Congress and the President. 

* serves a 15 year term of office. 

* can only be removed by impeachment or joint resolution of Congress 
for specified reasons. 

GAO staff at all levels are civil servants, not political appointees. 

GAO’s Protocols: 

Congressional Protocols: 
Govern GAO’s interactions with our client, the Congress. 

Agency Protocols: 
Govern GAO’s interactions with executive branch agencies. 

International Protocols: 
Govern GAO’s work that has international components or implications. 

Congressional Protocols: 

* GAO considers various criteria before accepting requests; 

* GAO prioritizes its work; 

* GAO makes certain commitments to congressional requesters. 


Government Auditing Standards: 

* Other generally accepted practices for:
- surveys; 
- statistical sampling; 
- other applicable industry standards, such as those for engineering 
and actuarial work; 

* Quality Assurance System. 

Monitoring and Review: 

* Annual audit by external auditors; 

* Audit Advisory Committee; 

* GAO’s Inspector General reviews; 

* Annual internal assessments of internal controls; 

* Annual internal inspection program; 

* External peer review every 3 years. 

Demand for Services and Impact of Work: 

Demand High for GAO Assistance: 

* Over 1,200 requests received in ’08; 

* Over 900 requests received to date in ’09; 

* Over 130 new mandates for GAO reviews to date in FY ’09. 

Increasing Demand for GAO Testimony: 

* GAO witnesses testifying at record pace: 

- 298 testimonies in FY ’08; 

- Over 200 to date in FY ’09. 

Table: Fiscal Year 2008 Performance: 

Measure: Financial benefits (in billions); 
FY 08 Target: $40.0; 
FY 08 Actual: $58.1. 

Measure: Other benefits; 
FY 08 Target: 1,150; 
FY 08 Actual: 1,398. 

Measure: Testimonies; 
FY 08 Target: 220; 
FY 08 Actual: 298. 

Measure: Products with recommendations; 
FY 08 Target: 60%; 
FY 08 Actual: 66%. 

Measure: Recommendations implemented; 
FY 08 Target: 80%; 
FY 08 Actual: 83%. 

Measure: Timeliness (based on client feedback); 
FY 08 Target: 95%; 
FY 08 Actual: 95%. 

[End of table] 

Impact of GAO’s Work: 

In FY ’08, GAO delivered hundreds of reports and briefings to aid 
congressional oversight and decision making and there are many examples 
showing the impact of our work: 

Financial Benefits Example: 

* Helped to improve spectrum management by extending auction authority. 

Non-financial Benefits Example: 

* Helped to increase requirements for water sprinklers in nursing 

The Importance of Collaboration and Capacity Building: 

The Importance of Collaboration: 

To strengthen accountability on a domestic and international basis, GAO 
coordinates in an ongoing way with: 

* The National Intergovernmental Audit Forum: 

* The Domestic Working Group: 

* The International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions: 

* The Global Working Group: 

GAO in the International Community: 

* GAO is a member of the International Organization of Supreme Audit 
Institutions (INTOSAI): 

* GAO’s Comptroller General sits on the INTOSAI Governing Board: 

* GAO facilitates an international auditor fellowship training program: 

* GAO participates in international peer reviews: 

* Partnerships are a key enabler of change and help to leverage 
available resources. 

Evolving Challenges for Supreme Audit Institutions: 

Public expectations of government are changing: 

* Zero tolerance for corruption; 

* Desire for enhanced results and improved responsiveness; 

* Selected trends and challenges that have no boundaries: 
- Debt finance and financial markets; 
- Changing security threats; 
- Global interdependence; 
- Climate change; 
- Science and technology; 
- Governance. 

Looking Inward: Building GAO’s Institutional Capacity: 

GAO, like other audit entities, must strive to recruit and retain 
employees with the proper skill mix in order to deal effectively with 
current and emerging challenges. Along these line, GAO: 

* Implemented core leadership training; 

* Grows faculty from within (“adjuncts”); 

* Contracts with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), when needed; 

* Hired a Chief Scientist; 

* Designed a state of the art computer lab. 

Growing Expectations on the Accountability Profession: 

To face current and emerging challenges, the accountability profession 

* Identify problem spots before crises emerge; 

* Recognize problems often need multiple organizations to work 

* Provide more detailed recommendations; 

* Add value by providing timely special products; 

* Cope with constrained resources. 

Ways to Strengthen the Accountability Profession: 

* Focusing on strategic planning: 

* Modernizing professional standards: 

* Leading the way on fiscal stewardship: 

* Helping identify needed transformations: 

* Building audit capacity: 

[End of presentation] 

On the Web: 

Web site: [hyperlink,]. 


Chuck Young, Managing Director, Public Affairs: (202) 512-4800: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street NW, Room 7149: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 


This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright 
protection in the United States. The published product may be 
reproduced and distributed in its entirety without further permission 
from GAO. However, because this work may contain copyrighted images or 
other material, permission from the copyright holder may be necessary 
if you wish to reproduce this material separately.