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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Discretionary Transportation Grants: DOT Should Better Communicate Federal Share Requirements to Applicants

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Through a program currently known as "RAISE," the Department of Transportation has awarded $12 billion in grants for road, transit, and related projects. RAISE funds can be combined with funds from other sources, including other federal sources, to pay for projects—with rules around how much federal funding can be used. DOT's public notices to applicants weren't consistently clear about key information such as how the...

Offshore Oil and Gas: Strategy Urgently Needed to Address Cybersecurity Risks to Infrastructure

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A network of over 1,600 offshore facilities produce a significant portion of U.S. domestic oil and gas. These facilities, which rely on technology to remotely monitor and control equipment, face a growing risk of cyberattacks. A cyberattack on these facilities could cause physical, environmental, and economic harm. And disruptions to oil and gas production and transmission could affect supplies and markets. The Department of the...

Social Security Administration: Remote Service Delivery Increased during COVID-19, but More Could Be Done to Assist Vulnerable Populations

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The Social Security Administration changed how it delivered services due to COVID-19. It temporarily closed its offices to the public, with few exceptions, and expanded its telephone, video, and online services. The public filed fewer SSA benefit claims during the pandemic—especially disability claims and claims by certain vulnerable populations. This may be in part because some benefit applications can't be submitted online, including those in...

Passengers with Disabilities: Barriers to Accessible Air Travel Remain

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Air travel for people with disabilities can be very challenging. We testified about these challenges and actions that airports, airlines, and the Department of Transportation are taking to address them. For example, some airports have smartphone applications to help people with low vision navigate through terminals. Also, some airlines have developed guidance for passengers and training for airline staff to better support those traveling with...

Overseas Real Property: State's Initial Assessment of Natural Hazard Risks Faced By its Posts

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In 2020, the State Department created a Climate Security and Resilience program. The program assesses the risk natural hazards pose to each of its 294 locations around the world. State selected 8 natural hazards for its assessment: coastal flooding, riverine flooding, tsunamis, earthquakes, water stress (i.e., lack of fresh water to meet demand), extreme heat, extreme wind, and landslides. State's assessment of the risks these...

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Federal Railroad Administration: Better Communication of Safety Information Could Improve the Close Call System

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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) helps administer a voluntary, confidential reporting system where railroad employees can report close calls and unsafe events (e.g., a train going beyond the authorized maximum speed) that may have been caused by human error. But as of August 2022, only 23 of the nearly 800 railroads in the U.S. participated in this system. The system's success stories may be shared...

Ransomware: Federal Coordination and Assistance Challenges

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Ransomware is software that makes data and systems unusable unless ransom payments are made. State, local, tribal, and territorial government organizations—including schools—have been targeted by ransomware. This can affect vital government operations and services. Ransomware attacks on schools can cause learning loss as well as monetary loss. Several federal agencies provide direct assistance to these organizations in preventing and responding to ransomware attacks. We discuss...

U.S. Courts: The Judiciary Should Improve Its Policies on Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Investigations

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The federal judiciary investigates fraud, waste, and abuse allegations to hold its judges and staff accountable for their conduct as government officials and managers of public resources. But federal judiciary policies for addressing alleged fraud, waste, and abuse don't fully align with investigative best practices on establishing documented procedures and ensuring independence. For example, investigations are referred to the same unit from which the allegations...

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: Additional Steps Needed to Help States Collect Complete Enrollment Information

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The Departments of Labor and Education oversee 6 core workforce development programs that help job seekers find work and employers find qualified employees. The departments require the programs to submit data on their participants, and have taken steps to help them do so. But the departments still don't have complete data on participants who are enrolled in multiple programs. For example, program data submitted to...

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VA Health Care: Additional Action Needed to Assess the Medical Scribe Pilot

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Medical scribes help doctors by entering patient information—like symptoms and treatment plans—into electronic health records during visits. This allows doctors to focus more on treating patients and less on taking notes. Veterans Affairs piloted the use of scribes in 11 of its medical centers from 2020-2022. Scribes assisted providers in the cardiology, orthopedic, and emergency departments—updating electronic health records in real-time during patient visits. VA...

Performance and Accountability Report, Fiscal Year 2022

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GAO's work yielded $55.6 billion in financial benefits for the federal government in FY 2022—a return of $74 for every dollar invested in us. We did it by recommending ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal programs and more. We also identified 1,262 other benefits—things that improve programs and operations but can't be measured in dollars. For example, our work: Prompted the Army...

Southwest Border: Border Patrol's Missing Migrant Program

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Migrants trying to enter the U.S. illegally along the southwest border risk injury or death by crossing in remote areas. Border Patrol's Missing Migrant Program is intended to identify and help missing or injured migrants. In our April 2022 report, we recommended improving the data that the program reports to Congress on migrant deaths. Border Patrol has taken some steps since then. For example, officials...

Financial Audit: Securities and Exchange Commission's FY 2022 and FY 2021 Financial Statements

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The Securities and Exchange Commission enforces securities laws that protect investors. The SEC collected $3.2 billion in penalties for securities law violations in FY22. Some of that goes to the Investor Protection Fund, which rewards whistleblowers and supports investor education. We audit and issue opinions annually on SEC and Fund financial statements and on related internal controls (e.g., processes to reasonably assure that transactions are...

Disaster Recovery: Actions Needed to Improve the Federal Approach

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The federal government has provided billions of dollars to communities recovering from disasters, such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. But federal disaster recovery programs are spread across more than 30 agencies, making it difficult for communities to figure out who to turn to for help. We recommended that federal agencies identify and take steps to better manage this fragmentation across these programs. We also identified...

Financial Audit: Federal Housing Finance Agency's FY 2022 and FY 2021 Financial Statements

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The Federal Housing Finance Agency's goal is to keep the housing finance system healthy by supervising and regulating Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Bank System. The agency spent $338.4 million in FY 2022 to do its work. We audit and issue opinions annually on the agency's financial statements and on related internal controls (e.g., processes to reasonably assure that transactions are...

Cybersecurity: Secret Service Has Made Progress Toward Zero Trust Architecture, but Work Remains

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With the ever-increasing threat of cyberattacks, the Secret Service is adopting a "zero trust" approach to cybersecurity. This "zero trust architecture" requires constant verification of everything that's trying to connect to an organization's IT systems. The Secret Service developed a plan to implement this with 4 milestones, such as assessing agency IT systems against federal guidance and implementing cloud services. But the agency created this...

China: Efforts Underway to Address Technology Transfer Risk at U.S. Universities, but ICE Could Improve Related Data

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A third of foreign graduate students studying STEM at U.S. universities are Chinese nationals—some with access to sensitive research. U.S. agencies have identified several factors indicating the types of students—such as being from a country of concern like China—who may pose a greater risk of transferring technology to foreign entities. Immigration and Customs Enforcement keeps a database related to these factors but hasn't assessed if...

Financial Audit: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's FY 2022 and FY 2021 Financial Statements

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) works to enhance citizens' financial education and ensure that banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat people fairly. The agency spent $1.03 billion in FY 2022 to do its work. We audit and issue an opinion annually on CFPB's financial statements and on related internal controls (e.g., processes to reasonably assure that transactions are properly authorized and recorded). In...

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Pipeline Safety: Fully Implementing Key Practices Could Help Improve Transparency of Enforcement Website

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The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration inspects interstate natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines, investigates accidents, and enforces laws and regulations. The agency puts information about its enforcement activities on its public Enforcement Transparency website. We found that the website generally aligned with key practices for transparently reporting government data, but the agency could make some improvements. For example, a better search tool could...

DOD Cybersecurity: Enhanced Attention Needed to Ensure Cyber Incidents Are Appropriately Reported and Shared

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Cyber attacks threaten national security—but hackers continue to target DOD as well as private companies and others involved in the nation's military operations. DOD has taken steps to combat these attacks and has reduced the number of cyber incidents in recent years. But we found that DOD: Hasn't fully implemented its processes for managing cyber incidents Doesn't have complete data on cyber incidents that staff...