GAO’s reports and testimonies give Congress, federal agencies, and the public timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can improve government operations and save taxpayers billions of dollars.
The federal government faces a severe shortage of digital expertise in fields such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. A recent report urged establishing a new service academy—similar to the military academies—to train future digital civil servants.
Federal lands are a major source of hardrock minerals such as gold, silver, and copper. These minerals have an important role in the U.S. and global economies, but mining them can create public health, safety, and environmental hazards.
In 2017, USDA announced a major initiative to provide better customer service to U.S. farmers, ranchers, and foresters by modernizing its IT operations. A key IT project was the 2018 launch of Farmers.gov to provide online self-service applications, like a farm loan eligibility tool.
Staffing levels at the Office of Federal Student Aid—the largest consumer lender in the country—have not kept pace with its growing student loan portfolio. We found that from FYs 2010-2019 borrowers increased almost 150%, but the office's staff increased 6%.
Chronic health conditions (like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity) are costly and deadly—causing over half of U.S. deaths in 2018. They also exacerbated the pandemic: Americans with such conditions were 12 times more likely to die after contracting COVID, according to the CDC.