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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GPS Disruptions: DOT Could Improve Efforts to Identify Interference Incidents and Strengthen Resilience

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GPS improves transportation safety, but is vulnerable to interference from radio signal jamming or other sources. The Department of Transportation is responsible for identifying GPS interference incidents and improving the transportation sector's ability to withstand and recover from them. We found that DOT's process for identifying incidents doesn't produce accurate or complete information and isn't documented. Also, DOT has efforts underway to improve the sector's...

Women in the Workforce: The Gender Pay Gap Is Greater for Certain Racial and Ethnic Groups and Varies by Education Level

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In recent years, women were underrepresented in management positions and the gender pay gap was greater for certain groups. Published Census Bureau data showed that in 2021: Women made up about 44% of the total workforce but only 41% of managers Overall, women earned about $.82 for every dollar men earned; Hispanic or Latina women earned about $.58 and Black women earned about $.63 for...

Federal Protective Service: More Collaboration on Hiring and Additional Performance Information Needed

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The Federal Protective Service (FPS) protects about 9,000 federal facilities and their occupants. For the third time in almost 20 years, FPS has moved into a new agency within the Department of Homeland Security. This agency, the Management Directorate, is responsible for providing human capital and other services. FPS has experienced several benefits from the move, including more support from leadership. But FPS continues to...

Private Health Insurance: State and Federal Oversight of Provider Networks Varies

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A majority of Americans are covered by private health insurance plans. Health plans set up provider networks—contracted doctors, other providers, and facilities—to provide medical care to enrollees. A provider network is considered "inadequate" if it doesn't have enough providers for enrollees to receive timely care nearby. Inadequate networks may lead enrollees to seek higher-cost care from out-of-network providers. Most states said they review plans for...

Federal Energy and Water Management: Agencies Report Mixed Success in Meeting Efficiency Requirements, and Additional Data Are Needed

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For decades the federal government has worked to improve energy and water efficiency at federal facilities. It remains the U.S.'s single largest energy consumer, and occupants of its about 350,000 buildings used 119 billion gallons of water in FY 2021. We looked at data for 27 agencies that report their energy and water use to the Department of Energy and their compliance with 6 energy...

COVID-19 Relief Funds: Lessons Learned Could Improve Future Distribution of Federal Emergency Relief to Tribal Recipients

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The public health and economic effects of COVID-19 on tribal nations have been especially severe. To help tribes recover, Congress's pandemic relief funding has included at least $43.6 billion to support new and existing programs that tribes could use to address their unique needs. While some agencies used existing programs to distribute funds quickly, others had to develop new ones. In some cases, these new...

CARES Act: Structural Characteristics That Can Help Insulate HHS Agencies against Potential Political Interference

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Four HHS agencies had key roles in the federal COVID-19 response. Our prior reports noted shortcomings to that response, including possible political interference. Some characteristics of an agency's structure may affect how insulated it is from potential political interference, including How many political appointees it hasWhether it has active advisory committees with experts to guide decisionsIf agency officials have fixed terms These characteristics varied by...

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Troubled Asset Relief Program: Status of Remaining Housing Programs

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Through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Treasury provided $33 billion to 3 federal programs to help prevent home foreclosures. We reviewed the status of these programs. The Hardest Hit Fund ended in March 2022. The Short Refinance program is slated to wind down by the end of 2022. The Making Home Affordable (MHA) program is slated to wind down by early 2024. Treasury has already...

Thrifty Food Plan: Better Planning and Accountability Could Help Ensure Quality of Future Reevaluations

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Over 40 million people rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as "food stamps," to buy food. Benefits are based on the Thrifty Food Plan, which estimates how much it would cost a family of 4 to eat a healthy diet on a budget. In response to COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture expedited a planned update to the Thrifty Food Plan...

Online Exploitation of Children: Department of Justice Leadership and Updated National Strategy Needed to Address Challenges

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In 2008, Congress required the Department of Justice to create and implement a national strategy to combat the exploitation of children. The strategy must be updated every 2 years, led by an appointed senior official, and include 19 specific elements, such as setting measurable goals. But in the past 14 years, 9 detailees have rotated through the national coordinator position. DOJ has only issued a...

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Commerce Working Capital Fund: Policy and Performance Measure Enhancements Could Help Strengthen Management

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Federal agencies need services like payroll and IT to support their work, and they can save money by sharing those services with other agencies. The Department of Commerce's Working Capital Fund finances some of these shared services. Since our last review in 2011, Commerce has taken many steps to more effectively manage the Fund. For example, it established performance standards for service providers. But it...

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President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief: State Has Taken Actions to Address Coordination Challenges, but Staffing Challenges Persist

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Since 2003, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has provided over $100 billion for combating HIV/AIDS and saved an estimated 20 million lives. The State Department oversees about $6 billion a year in program spending across U.S. agencies in over 50 countries. Agencies have said that State's top-down culture and complex planning process have hampered program implementation. State has announced significant changes to improve...

Servicemembers Transitioning to Civilian Life: DOD Can Better Leverage Performance Information to Improve Participation in Counseling Pathways

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The Transition Assistance Program helps servicemembers choose a career, pursue higher education or entrepreneurship, or find a job after military service. The program tailors support to individuals' needs based on how prepared they are to enter civilian life. But nearly 25% of servicemembers who needed maximum support didn't attend a mandatory 2-day class. And most servicemembers didn't start the program at least 1 year before...

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Science & Tech Spotlight: Advanced Batteries

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Scientists are developing advances in battery technologies to meet increasing energy storage needs for the electric power grid and electric vehicle use. Efforts are underway to replace components of widely used lithium-ion batteries with more cost-effective, sustainable, and safe materials. Advances in longer duration storage technologies, such as flow batteries, also have the potential to help integrate renewable energy sources for electricity generation and reduce...

Sudan Claims Resolution Act: State Verified Eligibility, Determined Compensation, and Distributed Payments

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In 1998, terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killed hundreds and injured thousands of people. In December 2020, Congress enacted the Sudan Claims Resolution Act, requiring the State Department to compensate certain victims and their families. State verified that 78 people were eligible for compensation under the terms of the act, such as being U.S. citizens and involvement in certain lawsuits related...

National Security Space: Overview of Contracts for Commercial Satellite Imagery

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Commercial satellite imagery and data can play a key role in national security. For example, the war in Ukraine has drawn attention to how governments are using commercial satellites to track troop movement and the impact of attacks. The commercial space industry is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, and therefore may be able to address more of the federal government's imagery needs...

Military Readiness: Actions Needed to Further Implement Predictive Maintenance on Weapon Systems

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DOD spends $90 billion a year to keep ground systems, ships, and aircraft combat-ready using scheduled maintenance or waiting until things break to fix them. Using predictive maintenance based on data analysis could allow personnel to avoid doing work too soon—and prevent accidents. DOD told the military services to begin using predictive maintenance 20 years ago, but they made limited progress until recently. Also, DOD...

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Arctic Maritime Infrastructure: Government-wide and Coast Guard Strategies Lack a Means to Measure Progress

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Climate change has led to record low levels of ice in the U.S. Arctic region—prolonging the maritime shipping season and opening up shipping routes. But Arctic conditions are harsh and volatile, and a lack of maritime infrastructure poses safety risks. We testified that the White House and Coast Guard have strategies to address the infrastructure gaps but the strategies don't include ways to measure the...

Bureau of Prisons: Opportunities Exist to Better Assist Incarcerated People with Obtaining ID Documents Prior to Release

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The Federal Bureau of Prisons is required to help incarcerated people obtain ID documents, such as driver's licenses, before their release. ID documents may help them to secure housing or work when they reenter society. The Bureau is collecting data on the number of people leaving prison with ID documents. But that data has often been incomplete or inconsistent, making it difficult for the Bureau...

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Financial Services Industry: Overview of Representation of Minorities and Women and Practices to Promote Diversity

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We have issued several reports since 2017 reviewing the share of women and different racial/ethnic groups in the financial services industry, challenges associated with recruiting and retaining diverse staff, and practices to expand opportunities. We testified about these reports and how the financial services industry is addressing challenges and expanding opportunities. For instance firms are: assessing data on the diversity of their employees conducting targeted...