GAO 2018-2023 Strategic Plan:

Trends Affecting Government and Society

GAO-18-396SP: Published: Feb 22, 2018. Publicly Released: Feb 22, 2018.


  • GAO: GAO's Strategic Plan – Key TrendsVIDEO: GAO's Strategic Plan – Key Trends
    In our latest strategic plan, we've identified eight key trends that will shape the United States and its place in the world in the years to come.

  • GAO Interactive Graphic
    INFOGRAPHICS: Eight Trends Affecting Government and Society

Additional Materials:


James-Christian Blockwood
(202) 512-4707


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

We are publishing these trends as part of GAO’s strategic plan for fiscal years 2018-2023 to provide strategic context for our plan. The development of trends for GAO’s strategic plan is a major component of GAO’s foresight activities.

By exploring trends, key uncertainties, and their implications, we can better highlight national issues of greatest concern to the Congress and the American people in the years and decades ahead. Taking a longer view also helps us define the strategic context for our work and better address crosscutting and interconnected challenges that will require sustained collaboration and innovation.

 The 8 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
  • 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 addition to this document, please see the other two components of GAO’s 2018-2023 strategic plan:

  • Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives (GAO-18-1SP) that serves as the foundation of GAO’s overall plan and outlines our long-term strategies and goals;
  • Key Efforts (GAO-18-395SP) that detail the near-term priorities and substantial bodies of work that will contribute to the accomplishment of our performance goals.

For more information, contact James-Christian Blockwood at 202-512-4707 or

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