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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DOD Financial Management: Additional Actions Needed to Achieve a Clean Audit Opinion on DOD’s Financial Statements

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DOD has been working to improve its long-standing financial management problems and achieve its goal of a "clean" audit opinion on its financial statements. A clean opinion is when auditors find that the statements are presented fairly and consistent with accounting principles. DOD has taken steps, such as developing corrective actions and roadmaps, to get to a clean audit opinion. But we found DOD's plans...

Cybersecurity: DOT Defined Roles and Responsibilities, but Additional Oversight Needed

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The Department of Transportation has established cybersecurity roles and responsibilities for officials that manage cybersecurity at agencies within the department. DOT's Chief Information Officer regularly communicates with staff about cyber threats, and provides cybersecurity tools and technical assistance. However, we found that DOT could improve how it implements cybersecurity policies. For example, DOT reviewed component agency cybersecurity programs for agencies within the department, but didn't...

Grants Management: Actions Needed to Improve Agency Reporting of Expired Grants

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Each year, federal agencies award hundreds of billions of dollars in grants. After each grant ends, the awarding agency generally has 1 year to officially close out the grant. Until then, unspent funds from the grant can't be used for any other purpose. Grants that aren't closed out in time are considered "expired." Agencies must report on expired grants with unspent funds. However, some parts...

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Lake Pontchartrain Basin: Additional Transparency and Performance Management Could Improve EPA's Restoration Program

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Stormwater, sewage, and agricultural runoff have polluted waters of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin for decades. From 2002 to 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency awarded about $31 million for projects to help restore this basin by, for example, improving local sewer systems. EPA has a plan that describes restoration goals for this basin and projects that could help reach the goals. However, it doesn't have a...

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Coast Guard: Recruitment and Retention Challenges Persist

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The Coast Guard protects more than 100,000 miles of U.S. coastline and waterways. But the service has reported that it needs more staff and has missed recruiting targets for the past four years. This testimony covers our work on the Coast Guard's recruitment and retention challenges. The service may miss key opportunities to tackle these issues unless it implements plans to address future workforce needs...

Public Health Preparedness: Critical Need to Address Deficiencies in HHS's Leadership and Coordination of Emergencies

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The Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for leading and coordinating the federal government's preparedness for and response to public health emergencies. We testified about our work from over a decade, which identified persistent, systemic problems with HHS's performance in this role. The issue was added to our High Risk List in January 2022. These problems affected the nation's response to COVID-19 and...

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

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This testimony 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 with the banks but didn't take...

340B Drug Discount Program: Information about Hospitals That Received an Eligibility Exception as a Result of COVID-19

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The 340B Program allows certain hospitals to buy outpatient drugs at discounted prices. To be eligible for the program, hospitals generally must treat a minimum percentage of low-income Medicare and Medicaid patients. In 2022, Congress passed a law allowing hospitals to request an exception to this requirement if they were unable to meet it due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Health Resources and Services Administration...

Export Promotion: Commerce Should Improve Workforce Planning and Management of Its Global Markets Unit

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The Global Markets unit in the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration helps small- and medium-sized U.S. businesses enter and expand into international markets. We found that the Global Markets unit hasn't developed a comprehensive strategic workforce plan that covers all of its employees. Doing so would help focus priorities across the domestic and overseas workforces. In addition, the unit's human capital office has had vacancies...

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Information Technology: Agencies Need to Continue Addressing Critical Legacy Systems

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Each year, the U.S. government spends over $100 billion on information technology. Most of that will be used to operate and maintain existing systems, including aging—or "legacy"—systems. These systems can be costly to maintain and vulnerable to hackers. This testimony updates our work in this area. In 2019, we analyzed 65 federal legacy systems and identified the 10 most critical at 10 agencies. The agencies...

Priority Open Recommendations: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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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 NASA outlines 9 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, we recommended that NASA create cost and schedule targets for some of the major systems required for upcoming Artemis lunar missions. NASA implemented 1...

Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Education

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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 Education outlines 6 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, one of these recommendations would help the Department of Education ensure that it's fully protecting the privacy of financial aid recipients...

Broadband: A National Strategy Needed to Coordinate Fragmented, Overlapping Federal Programs

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Broadband internet has become critical for work, school, and other parts of daily life. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the "digital divide" and the disadvantages people without access to broadband face. We testified about our work on the federal government's efforts to expand broadband access. The government has subsidized costs in underserved areas, largely through 25 programs dedicated to broadband access—administered by 7 agencies. But the...

World Bank: Borrower Countries' Contracts to Businesses in the U.S. and to Entities Potentially on U.S. Sanctions or Other Lists of Concern

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The World Bank provides financing to low and middle-income countries for things like infrastructure, social, and economic development projects. Countries use World Bank money to award contracts to businesses for the projects. Countries award an annual average of about $15 billion, and U.S. businesses got about 1% of these funds. In the past 6 years, when U.S. businesses bid, they won their bids about 70%...

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Electronic Health Records: Challenges with VA's New System Call for Management Improvements

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Veterans Affairs is in the process of replacing its IT system used to maintain veterans' health records—and has deployed its new system to a few locations. We testified that the new system has presented issues for some users. For example, many users said that they weren't adequately trained to use the new system. Users also said that the pharmacy-related part of the system contributed to...

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Federal Facilities: Improved Oversight Needed for Security Recommendations

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The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for security at federal buildings and facilities. We previously reported that federal agencies don't implement many of DHS's Federal Protective Service recommendations for security improvements. When we followed up with agency representatives, they cited cost or feasibility concerns. DHS requires federal agencies to self-report some information about security recommendations. But because DHS does not verify this information, it...

Midwives: Information on Births, Workforce, and Midwifery Education

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Midwives provide care during pregnancy and birth, and may attend births in hospitals, birth centers, or homes. In 2021, midwives attended 12% of births in the U.S. We found that the number of midwives and midwifery students in the U.S. has increased—although the extent of care they can provide varies by state. Also, some students may have trouble with the cost of education and the...

The Nation's Fiscal Health: Road Map Needed to Address Projected Unsustainable Debt Levels

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The federal government faces an unsustainable fiscal future. If policies don't change, debt will continue to grow faster than the economy. Our review of the nation's fiscal health found: Large annual budget deficits drive debt growth, as the government borrows to finance spending that exceeds revenue Interest costs rise and make up a larger share of total spending as overall debt and interest rates increase...

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National Institutes of Health: Better Data Will Improve Understanding of Federal Contributions to Drug Development

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The National Institutes of Health—the largest public funder of biomedical research in the U.S.—invests billions of dollars each year to help develop new drugs or new uses for existing drugs. But the extent of NIH's contributions to drug development isn't well understood or recognized by the public. One reason may be that recipients of NIH funds aren't always disclosing agency support fully or correctly when...

VA Health Care: Office of Rural Health Would Benefit from Improved Communication and Developing Performance Goals

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Access to health care is critical for veterans, particularly those living in rural areas. The Veterans Health Administration's Office of Rural Health funds research and initiatives aimed at improving the health of veterans living in rural areas. In 2022, ORH supported 120 research projects. But it informs researchers of funding opportunities via word-of-mouth and existing relationships, leaving some researchers potentially unaware. Also, ORH knows what...