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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Tracking the Funds: Specific Fiscal Year 2023 Provisions for the Office of National Drug Control Policy

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As part of FY23 appropriations, Members of Congress could request to designate a certain amount of federal 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 designated recipients. We're tracking these funds to help ensure transparency. The Office of National Drug Control Policy's FY23 appropriations included nearly $10.5...

Status of Open GAO Recommendations Made to the Director of National Intelligence

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Every year, when federal agencies implement our recommendations, it leads to billions of dollars in savings and thousands of other improvements across government. Among the 98 recommendations we made to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from FY 2011 to 2023, 63 have yet to be fully implemented. These recommendations address contracting, human capital, enterprise management, personnel security, and infrastructure. We have identified...

Small Business Research Programs: Most Agencies Allow Applicants to Define Needs and Propose Solutions

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Federal agencies help fund small businesses' technology research and development through grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements. Most agencies allow businesses that apply for funding to define problems and pitch innovative solutions within broad topic areas for some or all of their awards. In contrast, some agencies define the problems themselves and only solicit solutions. Allowing businesses to define the problems could attract more diverse small...

Antiviral Drugs: Economic Incentives and Strategies for Pandemic Preparedness

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Scientists have predicted that another pandemic is likely. They've identified the viruses that might cause it—although the Department of Health and Human Services told us that few antiviral drugs for those viruses have been approved or are in HHS-funded clinical trials. Our panel of experts suggested several ways for policymakers to incentivize the development of these antiviral drugs, such as research grants or commitments to...

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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...

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...

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...

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...

DOE Nuclear Cleanup: Clear Guidance on Categorizing Activities and an Assessment of Contract Cost Effectiveness Needed

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The Department of Energy is cleaning up nuclear waste from weapons production at 15 U.S. sites—at an estimated cost of over $400 billion. Much of this cost will be for work not directly related to the cleanup, like maintaining roads. When setting site budgets, DOE categorizes activities as either cleanup-related—like treating contamination—or not. This helps DOE prioritize competing funding needs. But DOE's guidance doesn't clearly...

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...

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 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...

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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...

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...

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...

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...