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The nation confronts profound challenges resulting from a variety of factors, including changing security threats, dramatic shifts in demographic patterns, the multidimensional processes of globalization, and the accelerating pace of technological change. These are all coming together in an era of diminishing public resources. The nation's leaders and concerned citizens require better knowledge of what is happening and where we are going to support improved public choices. The United States could potentially benefit from developing a set of key national indicators to help assess our nation's position and progress. On February 27, 2003, GAO, in cooperation with the National Academies, hosted a forum on key national indicators. The purpose of the forum was to have a rich and meaningful dialogue on whether and how to develop a set of key national indicators for the United States. The forum brought together a diverse group of national leaders to discuss the following: How are the world's leading democracies measuring national performance? What might the United States do to improve its approach and why? What are important areas to measure in assessing U.S. national performance? How might new U.S. approaches be led and implemented?

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