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GAO discussed its fiscal year (FY) 1997 budget request. GAO noted that it: (1) is operating with a staff level of about 3,700 full-time equivalent positions, down from 5,325 employees in 1992; (2) has maintained its productivity and has been able to fulfill added requirements and responsibilities despite fewer staff, although there is some risk that GAO will lack adequate resources in such key areas as financial accounting and information systems management and some program audit areas; (3) has focused its highest priority work on promoting more efficient and cost-effective government, exposing fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, targeting spending reductions to reduce the deficit, identifying trends with fiscal, budgetary, or oversight consequences for the government, and improving accountability through financial and information management; (4) has made operational improvements to increase staff access to information, reduce rework and cycle times for jobs, and improve on-time delivery of reports; (5) is finalizing plans for a costing system that will more accurately assess the estimated and actual costs of jobs; and (6) has developed and implemented its strategic plan that sets forth the critical mission-related work that GAO needs to do as well as the operational changes GAO needs to make to improve quality and timeliness, reduce cost, and increase customer satisfaction.

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