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 System Sustainment: The Army and Air Force Conducted Reviews and the Army Identified Operating and Support Cost Growth

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DOD spends billions of dollars a year to operate and maintain its weapon systems—such as aircraft or ships—to ensure it can meet the military's needs today and in the future. These "sustainment" costs—expenses for repairs, for example—account for approximately 70% of a weapon system's total cost. DOD reports to Congress on these costs annually. We looked at DOD's FY 2021 sustainment reviews and found that...

Fusion Energy: Potentially Transformative Technology Still Faces Fundamental Challenges

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Nuclear fusion could produce electricity without carbon emissions or long-lasting nuclear waste. A 2022 experiment achieved a key milestone on the path to viable fusion energy: it was the first experiment in which the fusion reaction produced more energy than the energy injected into it. However, this technology faces challenges before it can produce commercial electricity. For example, new materials will need to be developed...

Power Marketing Administrations: Additional Steps Are Needed to Better Manage Climate-Related Risks

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Four "power marketing administrations" sell electricity generated from federal hydropower dams to public utilities, rural cooperatives, and Indian Tribes in over 30 states. The four entities face a number of climate-related risks to their operations. For example, decreasing water availability that resulted from droughts could reduce the amount of electricity generated from dams—affecting their ability to provide power. In 2022, two of the administrations identified...

Utility-Scale Energy Storage: Technologies and Challenges for an Evolving Grid

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The U.S. electricity grid was designed to generate electricity and deliver it almost immediately to customers—very little is stored. Adding more energy storage could have benefits, like helping utilities Meet demand during supply disruptions Recover faster after outages Support renewable energy by storing power when natural sources—like wind and sunlight—are abundant and releasing it when they are not But it can be hard to put...

Overseas Nuclear Material Security: A Comprehensive National Strategy Could Help Address Risks of Theft and Sabotage

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Some countries have inadequate security at their nuclear facilities making them vulnerable to sabotage and the nuclear materials within them vulnerable to theft. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), DOD, and other agencies are working to help secure international nuclear materials. For instance, the U.S. is helping other countries increase facility security and counter nuclear smuggling around the world. But we found that a few...

IT Management: VA Needs to Improve CIO Oversight of Procurements

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The Department of Veterans Affairs spends billions of dollars each year on IT to help manage veterans' benefits and deliver health care. According to federal laws and guidance, VA's Chief Information Officer (CIO) should be fully accountable for IT acquisition and management decisions. CIO oversight helps ensure that IT acquisitions aren't poorly planned or duplicative. Our review of 26 IT contract awards from fiscal year...

Animal Use in Research: NIH Should Strengthen Oversight of Projects It Funds at Foreign Facilities

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The National Institutes of Health provided $2.2 billion in contracts or grants in FYs 2011-2021 to foreign organizations for research involving animals. Foreign facilities conducting this research must follow U.S. or international animal welfare standards. NIH relies on annual reports submitted by funding recipients to monitor the foreign research facilities' compliance with these standards. But NIH doesn't verify the reliability of the information in these...

Financial Audit: Bureau of the Fiscal Service's FY 2022 Schedules of the General Fund

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Treasury's Fiscal Service manages the General Fund, which finances daily and long-term government operations. In FY 2022, $23.2 trillion flowed into the General Fund and $22.8 trillion flowed out of it. Fiscal Service continued to make progress in addressing the issues identified in our prior audits. However, we don't have enough information to give an opinion on the reliability of the FY 2022 Schedules because...

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Improper Payments: Fiscal Year 2022 Estimates and Opportunities for Improvement

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In fiscal year 2022, federal agencies made an estimated $247 billion in payment errors—either payments that should not have been made or that were made in the incorrect amount. Overpayments accounted for about $200 billion of the total. But the total doesn't yet include estimates for certain risky programs, like the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This report—the first in...

Child Care: Subsidy Eligibility and Use in Fiscal Year 2019 and State Program Changes During the Pandemic

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Many families struggle to access high-quality, affordable child care. Federal funds help states assist low-income families with child care expenses. But states subsidized care for only about 2 million of the nearly 8.7 million children eligible in FY19. The COVID-19 pandemic financially strained working families and child care providers. Six of the 7 state child care administrators we interviewed said that during the pandemic their...

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute: Review of the Audit of the FY 2022 Financial Statements

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The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute is a federally funded, nonprofit corporation that was established to fund and evaluate research aimed at helping patients, doctors, and policymakers make better health care decisions. PCORI is required to have its financial statements audited annually, and we're required to review those audits. PCORI's auditor issued an unmodified (clean) opinion on its fiscal year 2022 financial statements, concluding that these...

HUD Rental Assistance: Serving Households with Disabilities

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Finding affordable, accessible rental housing can be difficult for low-income households that have a family member with a disability. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has rental assistance programs that can help. But a lot of affordable housing is aging and has to be modified to work for these families. We looked at HUD's rental assistance programs, how many households with disabilities they served...

Tactical Aircraft: Technical, Delivery, and Affordability Challenges Complicate DOD's Ability to Upgrade Its Aging Fleet

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The Department of Defense is upgrading its fleet of fighter and attack planes, known as "tactical aircraft." Most of these planes have outlived their planned service lives. We testified about the F-35—a key piece of DOD's fleet modernization efforts. Our ongoing work shows that the F-35 program has delivered over 800 aircraft, but is over a decade behind schedule and $165 billion over original cost...

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Oversight of Agency Spending: Implementing GAO Recommendations Could Help Address Previously Identified Challenges at Commerce, DOE, and EPA

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The U.S. Departments of Commerce and Energy and the EPA have received billions in funding in recent years for clean energy, water and infrastructure, and climate resilience programs and projects (among others). This testimony discusses these agencies' challenges with effectively managing such programs and projects, including keeping costs on track. For example, DOE spent $472 million on the definition and design of 4 carbon capture...

Food Prices: Information on Trends, Factors, and Federal Roles

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From 2021-22, U.S. retail food prices rose by 11%—the largest annual increase in over 40 years. Rising food prices particularly impact low-income consumers, who spend about 30% of their income on food. Many factors influencing the food supply chain can affect retail food prices, such as global trade issues, pandemics, animal and plant disease outbreaks, and war. Federal agencies don't control food prices, but may...

Immigrant Investor Program: Opportunities Exist to Improve Fraud and National Security Risk Monitoring

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Under the Immigrant Investor Program, foreign nationals who invest in projects that create or sustain U.S. jobs can get a visa and a path to citizenship. The program presents unique fraud and national security risks for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to address, such as schemes to defraud immigrant investors. While USCIS collects some data on fraud and national security risks, more specific data—such...

National Labor Relations Board: New Protocols Aim to Prevent Errors When Swearing in Board Members

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The National Labor Relations Board is an agency that addresses complaints of unfair labor practices and protects employees' right to unionize. NLRB is headed by a five-member board. Each member of the board is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. After Senate confirmation, board nominees receive a signed presidential commission and are then sworn into office. On August 28, 2021, NLRB mistakenly...

National Security Snapshot: DOD Active-Duty Recruitment and Retention Challenges

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According to the Department of Defense, only a quarter of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 can meet military service requirements, such as those for education and physical fitness. So how can DOD maintain the number of active-duty service members it needs for national security? This Snapshot looks at our prior work on military recruitment and retention. We've recommended ways to help DOD...

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Sustainable Aviation Fuel: Agencies Should Track Progress Toward Ambitious Federal Goals [Reissued with Revisions May 17, 2023]

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To reduce aviation greenhouse gas emissions, the White House issued a "Grand Challenge" that aims to increase the production of sustainable jet fuel to 3 billion gallons per year by 2030. Its goal is also to produce enough fuel to meet 100% of commercial jet fuel demand by 2050. Currently, this fuel is used at two large airports, but accounts for less than 0.1% of...