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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Weapon Systems Sustainment: DOD Needs to Improve Its Reporting for Warehousing Pilot Program

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The military services and contractors use warehouses to store and distribute parts to repair weapon systems, among other things. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) has 400 warehouses, but contractors also use commercial warehouses. In 2017, Congress authorized a pilot program seeking to more fully use DLA warehouses and avoid paying for commercial space. We reviewed the agency's report on this program. We found that DOD...

Biodefense: Actions Needed to Address Long-Standing Challenges

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The National Biodefense Strategy outlines how the federal government should prepare for and respond to biological incidents. The pandemic exposed shortcomings in federal response efforts. This snapshot highlights federal biodefense challenges and opportunities for improvement that we've identified. For instance, agencies have developed response plans and conducted interagency exercises to prepare for biological threats. However, they don't routinely work together to monitor exercise results in...

Nuclear Weapons: Technical Exceptions and Limitations Do Not Constrain DOD's Planning and Operations

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As it modernizes the U.S. nuclear stockpile, the National Nuclear Security Administration is working to ensure its continued safety and reliability. NNSA assesses the weapons prior to releasing them to the military services to ensure that they meet DOD's requirements for safety and performance. NNSA documents any exceptions and limitations that may be found as the weapons age and their parts need to be replaced...

Payment Integrity: Additional Coordination Is Needed for Assessing Risks in the Improper Payment Estimation Process for Advance Premium Tax Credits

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One option for buying health insurance plans in the U.S. is through marketplaces. The Affordable Care Act provided a tax credit in some cases to help individuals buy these plans. The U.S. government may pay this credit to insurance issuers in advance, which lowers the individual's monthly bill. We reviewed methods 5 states and the U.S. government used to keep ineligible people from using the...

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Child Welfare: HHS Is Taking Steps to Help States Support Relative Caregivers with Evidence-Based Programs

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When parents can't care for their children, relatives often step in as caregivers. To help these caregivers, states can access federal matching funds if they operate programs Health and Human Services determines to be evidence based. This requires states to evaluate programs to show positive impacts for families. But as of December 2022, no states have accessed these funds. Officials from all 5 states we...

Science & Tech Spotlight: Securing Data for a Post-Quantum World

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Cryptography uses math to secure or "encrypt" data—helping governments, businesses, and others protect sensitive information. While current encryption methods are nearly impossible for normal computers to break, quantum computers could quickly and easily break certain encryptions and put data at risk. This spotlight looks at how to better secure data before quantum computers capable of breaking those encryption methods are ready in possibly 10-20 years...

Vehicle Safety: DOT Should Take Additional Actions to Improve the Information Obtained from Crash Test Dummies

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration uses data from crash test dummies to help improve vehicle safety. But the dummies may not represent diverse groups of people—like women, older people, or heavier individuals—making it hard to test whether vehicle safety features are effective for everyone. For example, the dummies may not adequately reflect females' greater risk of lower leg injuries in crashes than males. NHTSA...

Financial Technology: Products Have Benefits and Risks to Underserved Consumers, and Regulatory Clarity Is Needed

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Financial technology—or "fintech"—provides consumers, who may not have access to accounts or credit via traditional banks, online access to financial services. For example, "earned wage access" products aim to help consumers get a portion of their paycheck before payday—money they've already earned, but not yet received. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has clarified that some earned wage access products aren't considered "credit"—so providers of these...

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Financial Management: DOD Needs to Improve System Oversight

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The Department of Defense can't accurately account for or report on its physical assets or spending. For more than 30 years DOD has tried to modernize its business and financial systems—spending billions of dollars a year on them. That's why DOD's business systems modernization and financial management efforts have been on our High Risk List since 1995. DOD hasn't fully developed guidance for overseeing these...

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2020 Census: A More Complete Lessons Learned Process for Cost and Schedule Would Help the Next Decennial

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By the time work ends in 2024 on the 2020 Census, it will have cost $13.7 billion—which is below the Census Bureau's original estimate of $15.6 billion. This was partly due to increased productivity during data collection—such as by using laptops instead of paper and pen to collect census data. The Bureau has collected dozens of cost and schedule lessons from its 2020 Census experience...

Federal Rulemaking: Trends at the End of Presidents' Terms Remained Generally Consistent across Administrations

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Federal agencies issue more regulations shortly before a president leaves office. This is often called "midnight rulemaking." We compared agency rulemaking in the last 120 days of the Trump administration to rulemaking in nontransition periods. In the Trump transition period, agencies published about 3 times more rules. During the 3 prior administrations' transition periods, agencies published about 2.5 times more rules. The Congressional Review Act...

Health Centers: Trends in Revenue and Grants Supported by the Community Health Center Fund

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Community health centers provide outpatient health care in places where there aren't enough doctors or hospitals. In 2021, health centers served over 30 million people, regardless of their ability to pay. We testified on our prior work in this area. Health centers received $15.8 billion in grants from the federal Community Health Center Fund in FYs 2011-2017, with most of the funds paying for their...

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Global Cybercrime: Federal Agency Efforts to Address International Partners' Capacity to Combat Crime

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Cybercrimes—such as online identity theft, credit card fraud, and ransomware attacks—are multiplying in frequency and scale around the globe. The Departments of State, Justice, and Homeland Security are working with foreign nations to help combat these technology-driven crimes. Collaboration activities include information sharing with foreign partners on current threats and providing cyber training to foreign law enforcement. But as the lead agency responsible for foreign...

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National Institute of Standards and Technology: Improved Workforce Planning Needed to Address Recruitment and Retention Challenges

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The National Institute of Standards and Technology faces major challenges recruiting and retaining its highly specialized scientific and technical workforce. Such challenges include a dwindling candidate pool and difficulty recruiting a diverse workforce. In a previous report, we identified effective workforce planning strategies to aid recruiting and retention. NIST has partially implemented many of the best practices we identified, such as using incentive payments and...

DHS Financial Management: Actions Needed to Improve Systems Modernization and Address Coast Guard Audit Issues

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There's still a lot of work to do to modernize the financial management systems at FEMA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Coast Guard within the Department of Homeland Security. FEMA and ICE are in the planning phases of their modernization efforts. The Coast Guard has begun using a new financial management system—part of a larger $510 million modernization effort—but it's not working as...

COVID-19 Relief: Funding and Spending as of Jan. 31, 2023

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The federal government has provided about $4.6 trillion to help the nation respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of our ongoing and comprehensive review of this response and recovery, we regularly report on federal COVID-19 spending. This snapshot updates the status of COVID-19 funding that we discussed in a prior testimony, and includes spent funds, funds that remain available, and more...

Capitol Attack: Federal Agencies Identified Some Threats, but Did Not Fully Process and Share Information Prior to January 6, 2021

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As part of our comprehensive look at the events of January 6, 2021, we examined how federal agencies identified potential threats, and how they used this information to prepare for and respond to the Capitol attack. We found that all 10 federal agencies that we examined identified potential threats of violence before January 6, but some agencies either didn't follow their established policies or procedures...

Veterans Affairs: Addressing Longstanding Management Challenges Requires Sustained Leadership

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The nation's veterans and their families rely on Veterans Affairs for health care and disability benefits. We testified on our body of work covering VA's longstanding challenges in: Ensuring that veterans get the health care they need Managing supply chains and VA's acquisition workforce to ensure VA medical centers get needed medical supplies Administering disability benefits to ensure that veterans get appropriate, timely compensation Securing...

Domestic Terrorism: Further Actions Needed to Strengthen FBI and DHS Collaboration to Counter Threats

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Incidents of domestic terrorism increased by 357% between 2013 and 2021. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are charged with collaborating to prevent domestic threats. Although they work together to counter threats, the agencies may need to update their current agreements to specify how they should collaborate to better address the constantly evolving threat of domestic terrorism. In addition, neither agency regularly assesses...