Skip to main content

From Harnessing Science and Tech to Funding the Nation, GAO Identifies 8 Key Trends as Part of New Strategic Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 22, 2018)—The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) today issued its Strategic Plan for Serving the Congress and the Nation for fiscal years 2018-2023. GAO’s plan provides a comprehensive roadmap to assist it as it continues to help increase accountability, efficiency, and effectiveness across the full range of government operations. Designed to help guide future audit work, the plan identifies eight trends GAO believes will have a major impact on the U.S. government and society. Some of these are long-standing trends—such as the federal government’s unsustainable long-term fiscal path—while others have emerged or intensified in recent years—such as evolving geopolitical conditions and technology that may spur economic competitiveness but also pose security challenges for the United States.

“As the United States confronts a series of new and long-standing challenges, GAO will rely on its latest strategic plan to guide its efforts to make government more accountable, efficient, and effective and, ultimately, help improve the safety, security, and well-being of the American people,” said Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO. “Our plan outlines a number of important drivers and trends that will shape GAO’s work in the coming years, especially in areas such as national security and defense, health care, and new developments in science and technology,” said Dodaro.

The eight trend areas in GAO’s plan include:

  • Global conditions affecting U.S. and international security
  • The federal government’s long-term unsustainable fiscal path
  • Global responses to challenges posed by divergent economic growth
  • Technological advances and their impact on preparing the workforce of the future
  • Demographic changes and their implications for U.S. society and economy
  • Five emerging technologies and scientific advances that could potentially transform society
  • Increasingly complex governance relationships and practices
  • Balancing competing natural resource and sustainability needs

“In an era of rapid change and dynamic transformation, this plan positions GAO to assist Congress with overseeing government operations and preparing for a range of future challenges and opportunities,” said James-Christian Blockwood, Managing Director of Strategic Planning and External Liaison, who oversaw development of the new strategic plan.

GAO’s plan consists of two other components separate from the trend areas:

  • GAO’s Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives form the foundation of the agency’s plan and lay out its long-term strategies to accomplish its goals.
  • The plan’s Key Efforts detail the agency’s near-term priorities to provide the Congress with timely and fact-based analysis of the most important issues facing the nation.

GAO’s Strategic Plan for Serving the Congress and the Nation, 2018-2023, is available on GAO’s website at

For more information, contact Chuck Young, Managing Director of Public Affairs, at (202) 512-4800.


The Government Accountability Office, known as the investigative arm of Congress, is an independent, nonpartisan agency that exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities. GAO also works to improve the performance of the federal government and ensure its accountability to the American people. The agency examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. GAO provides Congress with timely information that is objective, fact-based, nonideological, fair, and balanced. GAO’s commitment to good government is reflected in its core values of accountability, integrity, and reliability.

Next Release:

GAO Unable to Render an Opinion on the U.S. Government's Annual Financial Statements


WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 15, 2018) — The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) was unable to render an opinion on the federal government’s consolidated financial statements for fiscal year 2017. GAO cited shortcomings that have plagued the financial statements in past years, including persistent problems with the Department of Defense’s (DOD) financial management and auditability, the federal government’s inability to account for and reconcile certain transactions, and an ineffective process for preparing the consolidated financial statements.