Reports & Testimonies

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.

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Management Report: Improvements Needed in IRS's Financial Reporting and Information System Controls

GAO-23-106401
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Each year, we audit the financial statements of the IRS and issue opinions regarding these statements and related internal controls (i.e., processes in place to ensure the proper authorization and recording of transactions). Our FY 2022 audit identified new issues related to IT systems, tax refunds, and safeguarding assets. For example, IRS did not adequately correct certain tax return errors according to its own procedures...

Science & Tech Spotlight: Directed Energy Weapons

GAO-23-106717
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Directed energy weapons—such as lasers—use energy fired at the speed of light. These weapons can produce force that ranges from deterrent, to damaging, to destructive. Many countries, including the U.S., are researching their use. Because they use energy instead of bullets or missiles, directed energy weapons could be less expensive per shot and have virtually unlimited firing power. However, the long-term health effects of these...

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DNA Collections: CBP is Collecting Samples from Individuals in Custody, but Needs Better Data for Program Oversight

GAO-23-106252
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Federal law enforcement agencies must collect DNA samples from certain detained noncitizens and people who are arrested, facing criminal charges, or convicted of crimes. The FBI sends DNA test kits to such agencies upon request. In fiscal year 2022, Customs and Border Protection collected samples from about 37% of the 1.7 million people it encountered. But the agency doesn't know whether this covers all the...

Government Performance Management: Leading Practices to Enhance Interagency Collaboration and Address Crosscutting Challenges

GAO-23-105520
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Many issues facing the nation—such as infectious diseases and climate change—require several federal agencies to collaborate and coordinate their efforts. We have identified 8 leading practices that could help agencies collaborate more effectively, such as bridging organizational cultures—e.g., putting compatible policies in place or agreeing on common terminology. For example, we've recommended defining "research and development" for the Department of Energy's 16 nuclear waste cleanup...

Nuclear Security: DOE Should Take Actions to Fully Implement Insider Threat Program

GAO-23-105576
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The Department of Energy has several programs to ensure proper access to and handling of the nation's nuclear weapons and related information. DOE started a program in 2014 to further protect against insider threats from employees, contractors, and trusted visitors. But as of 2023, DOE hasn't fully implemented the program. For example, DOE doesn't ensure that employees are trained to identify and report potential insider...

Highway Infrastructure: Better Alignment with Leading Practices Would Improve DOT's Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program

GAO-23-105575
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When the Department of Transportation funded construction of the U.S. highway network decades ago, some highways cut through neighborhoods—disconnecting communities. Now some cities are either removing highways or building structures called "caps" over certain sections of highway to reuse the land for community and economic development. In Feb. 2023, Transportation awarded funds to 45 projects through a new pilot program to reconnect communities. But the...

Travel and Tourism: DOT Should Improve Strategic Planning and Data Collection

GAO-23-105967
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The Department of Transportation provides grants to state, local, and tribal governments to support travel and tourism—which is vital to the U.S. economy. In 2019, travel and tourism in the U.S. generated $2 trillion and supported 9.9 million jobs. Travel and tourism is a relatively new responsibility for Transportation, but it hasn't created a strategic plan with clearly defined goals and strategies to achieve them...

Bank Regulation: Preliminary Review of Agency Actions Related to March 2023 Bank Failures

GAO-23-106857
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This testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives discusses our review of the March 2023 bank failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. Risky business strategies, weak risk management practices, and weak liquidity drove the failures. Both banks grew rapidly from 2019-2021—which can signal risk. Further, the growth was fueled heavily by deposits that weren't federally insured. Federal regulators raised concerns about these risks...

Hanford Cleanup: DOE Should Validate Its Analysis of High-Level Waste Treatment Alternatives

GAO-23-106093
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For more than 20 years, the Department of Energy has been building facilities to treat and dispose of radioactive and hazardous waste at its Hanford Site in Washington State. Waste treatment could cost about $341 billion and likely won't be complete until 2084. DOE has been analyzing treatment alternatives for the most highly radioactive waste. However, the agency hasn't sought an independent review of its...

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Priority Open Recommendations: Office of Personnel Management

GAO-23-106370
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Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations. This letter to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) outlines 15 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, we recommended that OPM ensure that federal agencies have the guidance and technical assistance they need to effectively address...

F-35 Program: DOD Needs Better Accountability for Global Spare Parts and Reporting of Losses Worth Millions

GAO-23-106098
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The Department of Defense anticipates spending $1.7 trillion over the life of its F-35 aircraft program. DOD owns certain F-35 spare parts that contractors manage. But DOD doesn't account for or oversee the parts. This is in part because various DOD offices and contractors haven't agreed on whether the spare parts should be categorized as government-furnished property. This lack of agreement affects how DOD processes...

Veterans Affairs: Observations on IT Contracting Trends and Management Oversight

GAO-23-106845
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VA spends billions annually on IT systems to manage benefits and health care for millions of veterans and their families. This testimony discusses our work on how VA spends that money. For example, VA is spending more money on fewer IT contracts. Department-wide efforts to consolidate IT requirements are one of the possible reasons for this. VA also didn't get required approvals from its Chief...

Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Defense

GAO-23-106305
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Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations. This letter to the Department of Defense outlines 89 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, 8 recommendations dealt with accident prevention and the safety of servicemembers, including a recommendation that military services' safety centers standardize what...

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Priority Open Recommendations: Small Business Administration

GAO-23-106377
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Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations. This letter to the Small Business Administration outlines 13 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, SBA provided billions of dollars to businesses during the pandemic, but didn't fully assess the potential for fraud. Doing so could...

Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Agriculture

GAO-23-106456
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Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations. This letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture outlines 12 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, one recommendation was for USDA to analyze different options to help farmers and ranchers prepare for the impacts of climate...

Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Commerce

GAO-23-106384
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Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations. This letter to the Department of Commerce outlines 17 open recommendations that it should prioritize. Implementing these recommendations could yield improvements in the areas of cybersecurity, water quality, international trade, the decennial census and more. The Department of...

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Priority Open Recommendations: General Services Administration

GAO-23-106474
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Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations. This letter to the General Services Administration outlines 6 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, GSA could save millions of dollars by helping ensure that federal agencies make use of excess personal property—things like office chairs...

Social Security Series Part 1: The Dilemma

GAO-23-106667
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Social Security is a major source of income for millions of retirees and other Americans. As program costs continue to exceed revenues, the fund that supports payments for retirees and their families is projected to be unable to pay full benefits in 10 years. This brief updates our 2015 report on Social Security and examines financial issues the program faces. The sooner policymakers address the...

Priority Open Recommendations: Department of the Interior

GAO-23-106461
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Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations. This letter to the Department of the Interior outlines 12 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, Interior should improve its oversight of offshore oil and gas activities, and address the safety and environmental risks associated with...

Missile Defense: Annual Goals Unmet for Deliveries and Testing

GAO-23-106011
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The Department of Defense's Missile Defense Agency develops systems to detect attacks and track, intercept, and destroy missiles in flight. Every year, MDA sets goals for the systems it plans to deliver to the military and the tests it plans to conduct. We found that MDA did not meet these goals in FY 2022. The agency didn't deliver all of its planned interceptors and radar...