The federal government is the world's largest and most complex entity, with about $3.5 trillion in outlays in fiscal year 2010 funding a broad array of programs and operations. GAO maintains a program to focus attention on government operations that it identifies as high risk due to their greater vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement or the need for transformation to address economy, efficiency, or effectiveness challenges. Since 1990, GAO has designated over 50 areas as high risk and subsequently removed over one-third of the areas due to progress made. This biennial update describes the status of high-risk areas listed in 2009 and identifies any new high-risk area needing attention by Congress and the executive branch. Solutions to high-risk problems offer the potential to save billions of dollars, improve service to the public, and strengthen the performance and accountability of the U.S. government.
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