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United States Government Accountability Office: 


Before the Subcommittee on Legislative Branch, Committee on 
Appropriations, U.S. Senate: 

For Release on Delivery: 
Expected at 2:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 17, 2011: 

Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request: 

U.S. Government Accountability Office: 

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


Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Hoeven, and Members of the Subcommittee: 

I appreciate the opportunity to be here today to discuss the U.S. 
Government Accountability Office's (GAO) budget request for fiscal 
year 2012. I want to thank the subcommittee for its continued support 
of GAO. We very much appreciate the confidence you have shown in our 
efforts to help support the Congress in carrying out its 
constitutional responsibilities and to help improve government 
performance and accountability for the benefit of the American people. 

With this committee's support, in fiscal year 2010, GAO provided 
assistance to every standing congressional committee and 70 percent of 
their subcommittees. Our work yielded significant results across the 
government, including financial benefits of $49.9 billion--a return on 
investment of $87 for every dollar invested in GAO. In addition, we 
documented over 1,300 other benefits resulting from our work that 
helped improve services to the public, promote improved management 
throughout government and change laws, such as the Improper Payments 
Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010.[Footnote 1] 

Recently, we issued two major reports that underscore GAO's continuing 
value in helping Congress and the Administration reduce costs and 
improve government, particularly in a time of reduced resources. 

* First, just last week on March 1, 2011, we detailed 81 opportunities 
to reduce duplication, overlap, or fragmentation.[Footnote 2] These 
opportunities span a range of federal government mission areas such as 
agriculture, defense, economic development, energy, general 
government, health, homeland security, international affairs, and 
social services. Within and across these missions, our report touches 
on hundreds of federal programs, affecting virtually all major federal 
departments and agencies. By reducing or eliminating unnecessary 
duplication, overlap, or fragmentation and by addressing the other 
cost-saving and revenue-enhancing opportunities contained in the 
report, the federal government could save tens of billions of tax 
dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and 
effective services. 

* Second, our High Risk update issued on February 17, 2011 identified 
30 federal areas and programs at risk of fraud, waste, abuse, and 
mismanagement, and those in need of broad-based transformation. 
Solutions to high-risk problems offer the potential to save billions 
of dollars, dramatically improve service to the public, and strengthen 
confidence and trust in the performance and accountability of the 
U.S. Government.[Footnote 3] 

Looking ahead to fiscal year 2012, GAO is acutely aware of our dual 
responsibilities in a time of fiscal austerity. First, the Congress 
has rightly come to rely upon GAO to help identify billions of dollars 
in cost-saving opportunities to tighten federal budgets or to point 
out revenue enhancement opportunities. We know our mission becomes 
ever more critical when the nation faces difficult financial times. 
But second, GAO must also ensure it meets this responsibility while 
implementing all possible cost savings in its own operations without 
diminishing our traditionally high-quality work that lays the 
foundation for critical decision-making and oversight by the Congress. 

Accordingly, we are seeking only to maintain our fiscal year 2010 
funding level of $556.8 million in fiscal year 2012 and plan to 
maintain our current authorized staffing levels. While operating at 
this funding level with no increase poses challenges, GAO is committed 
to reducing our own costs as much as possible in order to absorb the 
additional demands and increasing costs of the coming year without 
additional resources. Our budget request attempts to balance tradeoffs 
and assumes that we will be able to manage at reduced funding levels, 
and try to maintain our staffing levels to provide insightful analyses 
on the most important priorities for congressional oversight and 
decision making. 

However, if GAO's funding is reduced below the requested level, more 
drastic measures would be needed, such as reductions in our staff 
capacity, which would result in increased delays in responding to: 

congressional requests, limit our ability to provide timely responses 
to support congressional oversight, and reduce the number of requests 
that we could complete. 

GAO Efforts Help the Congress Address Domestic and International 

GAO stands ready to serve the Congress and the American people at this 
historically critical juncture and is uniquely positioned to help 
address our nation's challenges and identify opportunities. Pressures 
to reduce the federal deficit following an economic recovery will mean 
a greater need for analyses of programs and their effectiveness, as 
well as a reduction in improper federal payments and closing the gap 
between taxes owed and paid. 

Congressional demand for GAO services remains high as evidenced by our 
workload. We expect that trend to continue as a result of the 
pressures on federal finances and our economy. For example, we will be 
working to produce future annual reports outlining duplication, 
overlap and fragmentation as well as opportunities to reduce costs and 
enhance revenue. Additionally, the Wall Street Reform Act contained 44 
new statutory requirements or authorities for GAO assistance, 
including audits related to the Federal Reserve. 

Our past performance is evidence of the critical role our dedicated 
staff play in helping the Congress and the American people better 
understand issues, both as they arise and over the long term. For 
example, in fiscal year 2010, GAO issue-area experts testified 192 
times before the Congress on a wide range of issues, ranging from 
aircargo, border and cyber security issues and the Department of 
Defense's planning for the drawdown of U.S. forces from Iraq to the 
Medicare prescription drug program, processing of disability claims 
and funding for broad band services.[Footnote 4] 

GAO's strategic plan for serving the Congress and the nation, 
highlights the broad scope of our efforts to help the Congress respond 
to domestic and international challenges, such as: 

* threats confronting U.S. national security interests; 

* fiscal sustainability and debt challenges; 

* economic recovery and restored job growth; and: 

* advances in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 

GAO seeks not only to help position the government to better manage 
risks that could compromise the nation's security, health, and 
solvency, but also to identify opportunities for managing government 
resources wisely for a more sustainable future. 

Our Strategic Plan covers the following goals and objectives. 

Goal 1: Help the Congress Address Current and Emerging Challenges to 
the Well-being and Financial Security of the American People: 

* Financing and Programs to Serve the Health Needs of an Aging and 
Diverse Population: 

* Lifelong Learning to Enhance U.S. Competitiveness: 

* Benefits and Protections for Workers, Families, and Children: 

* Financial Security for an Aging Population: 

* A Responsive, Fair, and Effective System of Justice: 

* Viable Communities: 

* A Stable Financial System and Consumer Protection: 

* Responsible Stewardship of Natural Resources and the Environment: 

* A Viable, Efficient, Safe, and Accessible National Infrastructure: 

Goal 2: Help the Congress Respond to Changing Security Threats and the 
Challenges of Global Interdependence: 

* Protect and Secure the Homeland from Threats and Disasters: 

* Ensure Military Capabilities and Readiness: 

* Advance and Protect U.S. Foreign Policy Interests: 

* Respond to the Impact of Global Market Forces on U.S. Economic and 
Security Interests: 

Goal 3: Help Transform the Federal Government to Address National 

* Analyze the Government's Fiscal Position and Opportunities to 
Strengthen Approaches to Address the Current and Projected Fiscal Gap: 

* Identify Fraud, Waste, and Abuse: 

* Support Congressional Oversight of Major Management Challenges and 
Program Risks: 

Our Strategic Plan framework is included in Appendix IV. 

Constrained Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request: 

Our requested funding level of $556.8 million will allow us to try to 
support a staffing level of 3,220 FTEs to provide insightful analysis 
on the most important priorities for congressional oversight and 
decision making. We will continue to outreach to the Congress to 
understand and set priorities to ensure that we focus on the most 
important issues for congressional oversight. 

Although operating under a flat budget for 3 years provides 
significant operational challenges, we have carefully considered our 
resource requirements and made tradeoffs to ensure that we try to 
maintain our staff capacity within our current funding level to allow 
us to provide the Congress with high-quality, timely, and objective 
analyses of government programs, operations and finances--information 
that the Congress needs to make policy choices, ensure transparency 
and accountability, and protect the taxpayer. 

However, since 80 percent of our budget covers staff compensation and 
benefits, our flexibility to control costs without diminishing our 
staff capacity is limited. Without additional funding in fiscal year 
2013 and beyond, we would need to reduce our staff capacity which 
would increase the delay in starting work on congressional requests, 
limit our ability to provide timely responses and analyses to support 
congressional oversight, and reduce the number of requests that we 
could undertake. 

GAO Maintains Effective Workforce Relations: 

We could not have achieved our level of performance without the hard 
work and dedication of our professional, diverse, and 
multidisciplinary staff. Recognizing that GAO's accomplishments are a 
direct result of our dedicated workforce, we continuously strive to 
maintain a work environment that promotes employee well-being and 
productivity. We are also proud of the results from our 2010 annual 
employee feedback survey, which indicate that employee satisfaction 
continues to increase and that we continue to make progress toward our 
goal to create a more inclusive work environment. In 2010, GAO was 
once again rated second on the list of the "Best Places to Work" in 
the federal government by the Partnership for Public Service. 

GAO regularly seeks and values the input we receive from our employee 
organizations. Recently, we reached tentative agreement with GAO's 
Employees Organization, IFPTE, Local 1921, on a master contract that 
has since been ratified by its members and is pending legal review. We 
are also working with our Employee Advisory Council and the Diversity 
Advisory Council on a range of issues. 

Concluding Remarks: 

I believe that you will find our prudent budget request is fiscally 
responsible and essential to ensure that we can maintain our capacity 
to assist the Congress in this challenging period in our nation's 

We have a proven track record of helping the Congress evaluate 
critical issues of national importance and improving the transparency 
and accountability of our national government. Our new strategic plan 
for serving the Congress through fiscal year 2015 provides the 
framework for reporting on progress toward our institutional goals. 

We remain committed to providing accurate, objective, nonpartisan, and 
constructive information to the Congress to help it conduct effective 
oversight and fulfill its constitutional responsibilities. I 
appreciate, as always, your careful consideration of our submission 
and look forward to discussing our proposal with you. 

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Hoeven, Members of the Subcommittee, this 
concludes my prepared statement. I would be pleased to respond to any 
questions that you or other members of the subcommittee might have. 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: GAO's 2011 High-Risk List: 

Strengthening the Foundation for Efficiency and Effectiveness: 

* Management of Federal Oil and Gas Resources (New): 

* Modernizing the Outdated U.S. Financial Regulatory System: 

* Restructuring the U.S. Postal Service to Achieve Sustainable 
Financial Viability: 

* Funding the Nation's Surface Transportation System: 

* Strategic Human Capital Management: 

* Managing Federal Real Property: 

Transforming DOD Program Management: 

* DOD Approach to Business Transformation: 

* DOD Business Systems Modernization: 

* DOD Support Infrastructure Management: 

* DOD Financial Management: 

* DOD Supply Chain Management: 

* DOD Weapon Systems Acquisition: 

Ensuring Public Safety and Security: 

* Implementing and Transforming the Department of Homeland Security: 

* Establishing Effective Mechanisms for Sharing and Managing Terrorism-
Related Information to Protect the Homeland: 

* Protecting the Federal Government's Information Systems and the 
Nation's Cyber Critical Infrastructures: 

* Ensuring the Effective Protection of Technologies Critical to U.S. 
National Security Interests: 

* Revamping Federal Oversight of Food Safety: 

* Protecting Public Health through Enhanced Oversight of Medical 

* Transforming EPA's Process for Assessing and Controlling Toxic 

Managing Federal Contracting More Effectively: 

* DOD Contract Management: 

* DOE's Contract Management for the National Nuclear Security 
Administration and Office of Environmental Management: 

* NASA Acquisition Management: 

* Management of Interagency Contracting: 

Assessing the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Tax Law Administration: 

* Enforcement of Tax Laws: 

* IRS Business Systems Modernization: 

Modernizing and Safeguarding Insurance and Benefit Programs: 

* Improving and Modernizing Federal Disability Programs: 

* Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Insurance Programs: 

* Medicare Program: 

* Medicaid Program: 

* National Flood Insurance Program: 

[End of Appendix I] 

Appendix II: Selected Testimony Topics, Fiscal Year 2010: 

Selected Testimony Topics: Fiscal Year 2010: 

Goal 1: Address Current and Emerging Challenges to the Well-Being and 
Financial Security of the American People: 

* Unemployment Insurance Trust Funds; 	
* Social Security Disability; 	
* Underfunded Pension Plans; 	
* Proprietary Schools; 
* Medicare High-Cost Drugs; 	
* Toxic Substance Abuses Disease Registry; 	
* Concussions in High School Athletes; 	
* Children's Access to Medicaid Dental Services; 
* Corporate Crime; 	
* DOs Civil Rights Division Enforcement Efforts; 
* Community Emergency Preparedness; 
* Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac; 
* Interior's Oversight of Oil & Gas; 
* Clean Water Act Enforcement Efforts; 
* U.S. Postal Service Financial Viability; 
* Federal Facilities Security; 
* High Speed Rail Projects; 
* Commercial Aviation Consumer Fees. 

Goal 2: Respond to Changing Security Threats and the Challenges of 
Global Interdependence: 

* Financial Markets Regulation; 
* National Flood Insurance Program; 
* Climate Change; 
* Alien Smuggling Along U.S. Southwest Border; 
* Aviation Security Advanced Imaging Technology; 
* Terrorist Watchlist Screening; 
* Combating Nuclear Smuggling; 
* Iran Sanctions; 
* Counternarcotics and Anticrime Efforts in Mexico; 
* Global Food Security; 
* Intellectual Property Enforcement Efforts; 
* Afghanistan Security Force Capacity; 
* DOD Military and Civilian Employee Compensation; 
* Warfighter Contract Support; 
* Joint Strike Fighter Challenges. 

Goal 3: Help transform the Federal Government to Address National 

* Defense Space Acquisitions; 
* Military Language Skills; 
* Interagency Collaboration for National Security; Interagency 
Contracting Strategies; 
* NASA Management and Program Challenges; 
* Balancing the Government-to-Contractor Workforce; 
* Iraq and Afghanistan Contract and Grant Management; 
* Recovery Act Oversight; 
* First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit; 
* Equal Employment Opportunity at DHS; 
* 2010 Census Management Challenges; 
* U.S. Government Financial Statements; 
* DHS Financial Management Systems Consolidation; 
* Protecting Federal Information Systems; 
* Environmental Satellites; 
* Debt Settlement Risks to Consumers; 
* Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program Fraud 
* HEAD START Program Fraud; 
* Defense Contract Audit Agency Vulnerabilities. 

Source: GAO. 

[End of Appendix II] 

Appendix III: How GAO Assisted the Nation, Fiscal Year 2010: 

How GAO Assisted the Nation: Fiscal Year 2010: 

Goal 1: Address Current and Emerging Challenges to the Well-Being and 
Financial Security of the American People: 

* Identified ways for HHS to strengthen inspections of ambulatory 
surgical centers leading to a fourfold increase in the proportion of 
centers found to have deficient practices. 

* Appointed 49 experts and stakeholders to 3 organizations created in 
new health care legislation. 

* Recommended food safety improvements that the Congress included in 
legislation for USDA's school lunch program. 

* Facilitated expedited claims process for Labor's black lung benefits 

* Increased EPA focus on environmental threats to children's health. 

* Identified factors to consider in restructuring Fannie Mae and 
Freddie Mac. 

* Proposed changes to improve control of toxic chemicals in consumer 

* Identified hidden fees for air travel that should be disclosed so 

Goal 2: Respond to Changing Security Threats and the Challenges of 
Global Interdependence: 

* Led FEMA to begin developing a strategic plan to improve the 
national public alert and warning system. 

* Exposed weaknesses in TSA's behavior-based identification of high-
risk air passengers. 

* Recommended changes that FEMA implemented to better plan for 
national emergency response capabilities. 

* Informed DHS's top-level review of weaknesses and risks in the 
multibillion dollar Secure Border Initiative. 

* Contributed to a more robust missile defense acquisition policy. 

* Encouraged reforms in the United Nations' procurement, internal 
oversight, and employment processes. 

* Provided insight to she Congress that led to expanding U.S. 
sanctions against Iran. 

* Informed development of a framework to reform the U.S. export 
control system. 

Goal 3: Help Transform the Federal Government to Address National 

* Informed IRS's decision to extend regulation of paid tax preparers, 
including requiring them to obtain an identifying number and be tested 
for competency. 

* Exposed Energy Star as a self-certification program by obtaining 
certification for bogus products which led DOE and EPA to adopt 
improvements in the approval process. 

* Led GSA to strengthen requirements due to improper spending on 
premium class government travel. 

* Surfaced weaknesses in VA outpatient scheduling IT systems. 

* Developed a methodology adopted by the Congress to efficiently 
target billions of dollars in Medicaid assistance through the Recovery 

* Assessed IT risks for the 2010 Census to ensure successful execution. 

* Profiled selected DHS investments in a 2-page format to provide the 
Congress with a new, easy reference on acquisition oversight, 
planning, and execution. 

Goal 4: Maximize the value of GAO by enabling quality, timely service 
to the Congress and Being a leading practices federal agency: 

* Implemented leading practices to attract a more diverse workforce 
and foster an inclusive work environment. 

* Leveraged technology to facilitate business process improvements in 
financial and administrative IT systems. 

* Improved access to our products with a new mobile Web site for users 
of small screen device; and a new electronic product format. 

* Collaborated with international accountability organizations to 
enhance their audit guidelines by incorporating private sector 
international auditing standards. 

* Led development of a strategic plan for the international 
accountability community. 

Source: GAO. 

[End of Appendix III} 

Appendix IV: GAO’s Strategic Plan Framework: 

Serving the Congress and the Nation: GAO’s Strategic Plan Framework: 


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. 


* National Security Threats: 
* Fiscal Sustainability Challenges: 
* Economic Recovery and Growth: 
* Global Interdependence: 
* Science and Technology: 
* Networks and Virtualization: 
* Shifting Roles of Government: 
* Demographic and Societal Change: 

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;
* Benefits and protections for workers, families, and children;
* Financial security;
* Effective system of justice;
* Viable communities;
* Stable financial system and consumer protection; 
* Stewardship of natural resources and the environment; 
* Infrastructure. 

Provide Timely, Quality Service to the Congress and the Federal 
Government to Respond to Changing Security Threats and the Challenges 
of Global Interdependence involving:
* Homeland security;
* Military capabilities and readiness;
* U.S. foreign policy interests;
* Global market forces. 

Help Transform the Federal Government to Address National Challenges 
by assessing: 
* Government’s fiscal position and options for closing gap; 
* Fraud, waste, and abuse; 
* Major management challenges and program risks. 

Maximize the Value of GAO by Enabling Quality, Timely Service to the 
Congress and Being a Leading Practices Federal Agency in the areas of: 
* Efficiency, effectiveness, and quality; 
* Diverse and inclusive work environment; 
* Professional networks and collaboration; 
* Institutional stewardship and resource management. 

Core Values: 

* Accountability;
* Integrity;
* Reliability. 

Source: GAO. 

[End of Appendix IV] 


[1] [hyperlink,], United States 
Government Accountability Office Performance and Accountability Report 
Fiscal Year 2010, and [hyperlink,], Summary of GAO's Performance 
and Financial Information Fiscal Year 2010. 

[2] [hyperlink,], 
Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs, 
Save Tax Dollars and Enhance Revenue. 

[3] Our 2011 High-Risk List is included in Appendix I. 

[4] A list of selected issues on which GAO staff testified before 
Congress during fiscal year 2010 is included as Appendix II. 

[End of section] 

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