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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Cybersecurity Program Audit Guide

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Federal cybersecurity is an urgent priority because it protects critical infrastructure, federal operations, and individuals' personal data. This guide gives analysts and auditors the methodologies, techniques, and audit procedures they need to evaluate the components of agencies' cybersecurity programs and systems. These components include risk management and incident response, among others. Over the last 3 decades, we've made thousands of recommendations to improve federal cybersecurity...

Tracking the Funds: Specific FY 2023 Provisions for Federal Agencies

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As part of FY 2023 appropriations, Members of Congress could request to designate a certain amount of funding for specific projects in their communities. While agencies often have discretion over how they award funds, Congress has directed them to distribute these funds to the designated recipients. We're tracking these funds to help ensure transparency. FY 2023 appropriations included about $15.3 billion for 7,234 projects. This...

Tracking the Funds: Agencies Have Begun Executing FY 2022 Community Project Funding/Congressionally Directed Spending

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As part of FY 2022 appropriations, Members of Congress could request to designate a certain amount of funding for specific projects in their communities. While agencies often have discretion over how they award funds, Congress has directed them to distribute these funds to the designated recipients. We're tracking the funds to help ensure transparency. FY 2022 appropriations included $9.1 billion for 4,963 projects. At the...

Nuclear Arms Control: U.S. May Face Challenges in Verifying Future Treaty Goals

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The U.S. has set goals for a new strategic U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control treaty when the current one expires in 2026. The goals are to ensure that a new treaty addresses all nuclear weapons—including those in storage and shorter-range weapons—and certain weapon delivery vehicles. For the next treaty, officials largely expect to use current methods to verify that each country complies, such as on-site inspections...

Veterans Employment: Identifying Lessons Learned from Rapid Retraining Program Could Benefit Future Efforts

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The Department of Veterans Affairs provided help for veterans who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program offered a housing stipend and 12 months of tuition and fees for veterans to retrain for high-demand occupations. More than 13,000 veterans used the program to enroll in training. VA collected a lot of data from schools and veterans on program benefits and challenges, but doesn't...

Improper Payments: Opportunities for Interagency Collaboration and Improvements

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In FY 2022, federal agencies made an estimated $247 billion in overpayment errors—payments that either should not have been made or were made in the incorrect amount. Programs with estimated overpayments of at least $100 million receive additional review. This Q&A report—the third in a series of quarterly reports—examines this process and more. The Office of Management and Budget collects information on such programs with...

Hanford Cleanup: Alternative Approaches Could Save Tens of Billions of Dollars

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The Hanford Site in Washington State is one of the largest and most expensive environmental cleanup projects worldwide. We estimated in 2022 that the cleanup will cost between $300 billion and $640 billion and take decades. In this Snapshot report we cover steps the Department of Energy and Congress could take to save money and reduce risks posed by the site's 54 million gallons of...

Cybersecurity: State Needs to Expeditiously Implement Risk Management and Other Key Practices

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The State Department carries out American diplomacy and helps shape U.S. foreign policy. Securing the IT systems that support State's mission is crucial to its ability to manage its cybersecurity risks. But State hasn't fully implemented its cybersecurity risk program. We found that it needs to: Implement processes to detect and respond to cybersecurity incidents Update hardware and software that aren't supported by vendors Strengthen...

Affordable Housing: Information on the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program

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In July 2023, we reported on a Department of Housing and Urban Development program that gives grants to eligible nonprofits to help develop housing units for low-income buyers. This report provides more information on the program and potential changes in the program's buying power. Specifically, the median sales price of housing units in this program increased from about $120,000 in 2011 to nearly $200,000 in...

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Federal Real Property: Preliminary Results Show that Increased Telework and Longstanding Challenges Led to Underutilized Federal Buildings

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The federal government's office spaces cost billions every year to lease, operate, and maintain. Even before the pandemic, agencies struggled to determine how much office space they needed. In this testimony for the Senate, we discuss the 21.4 million square feet of usable office space—conference rooms, team rooms, and offices—in the headquarters buildings of 24 agencies. During 3 weeks in January, February, and March 2023...

Science and Engineering Statistics: Improved Communication Needed with Stakeholders on Data Needs

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The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) collects and analyzes data to help people understand U.S. performance in science and engineering in a global context. NCSES covers topics such as research facility funding and job opportunities for science and engineering graduates. Governments, companies, nonprofits, and others use this data to make decisions. But NCSES generally didn't involve these users in developing its strategic...

Persistent Chemicals: Detecting, Limiting Exposure To, and Treating PFAS Contamination

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A group of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances—PFAS—are used in manufacturing, fire safety, and consumer products including nonstick cookware. But the chemicals contaminate the environment, and some may cause human health problems. This Snapshot report covers our work on government and other efforts to detect PFAS, prevent exposure, and treat contamination. For example, technologies like granular activated carbon filters can remove most PFAS from...

COVID-19: USAID Plans to Share Lessons Learned from Efforts to Meet Global Vaccination Goal

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Millions of people around the world have died from COVID-19 . The U.S. government has pledged to help reach a goal to vaccinate 70% of the global population against the virus. In support of this goal, the U.S. Agency for International Development worked with global and local partners to help 125 countries vaccinate their populations against COVID-19. But issues like falling demand for the vaccine...

GAO: Evolving and Innovating to Meet Congressional Needs

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For the last 5 years, our work yielded an average of $145 in financial benefits for every $1 invested in us, as well as an annual average of more than 1,200 other improvements. In this testimony before the Committee on House Administration's Subcommittee on Modernization, U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro discusses how we achieve our results, including: Understanding congressional priorities and needs and evolving national...

Military Housing: Strengthened Oversight Needed to Make and Sustain Improvements to Living Conditions

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Hundreds of thousands of service members live in military housing—such as government-owned barracks or privatized family housing. In recent years, there have been concerns about health and safety risks in military housing and DOD's management of its housing programs. Poor housing conditions negatively affect quality of life. We testified about our work on poor living conditions in barracks and DOD's oversight of housing. For example...

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Nursing Homes: Limitations of Using CMS Data to Identify Private Equity and Other Ownership

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Private equity firms have drawn attention in recent years by buying nursing homes, changing their operations to increase profit, and selling them for more money. We estimated that 5% of about 14,800 nursing homes enrolled in Medicare had private equity owners in 2022. Medicare collects information about nursing home owners as part of its enrollment and oversight processes. But we had to supplement Medicare's data...

Critical Infrastructure Protection: National Cybersecurity Strategy Needs to Address Information Sharing Performance Measures and Methods

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Protecting critical infrastructure—like water and electricity—from cyberattacks is a national priority. Federal agencies and critical infrastructure owners and operators must share information to tackle increasingly complex cyber threats. Long-standing challenges, such as security concerns and timeliness, make this harder. For example, representatives from a nonfederal partner said the FBI briefed them on a cyber threat about 5 months after it was identified. We recommended monitoring...

Manufactured Housing: Further HUD Action is Needed to Increase Available Loan Products

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Manufactured housing—prefabricated, factory built homes—can be an affordable option for lower-income homebuyers. But some borrowers may not qualify for mortgages and might have to turn to other kinds of financing with less favorable rates and terms. Several federal agencies, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac have created new or modified existing loan programs to help manufactured home borrowers. But while the Department of Housing and Urban...

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Pretrial Supervision: Actions Needed to Enhance Management of the Location Monitoring Program

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About a quarter of people released by the court before their federal trials are required to use location monitoring devices. These devices often use GPS and radio frequency to transmit their location data to court officers. Officers investigate immediately when devices send them "key alerts," which can indicate noncompliance. Key alerts often come in after hours and can be caused by GPS or cellular connection...