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Changing Families, Changing Work

Description: This study looks at the changing roles of women in the family and at work.
Date: February 5, 2014
Creator: Weisberg, Anne & Galinsky, Ellen

Guidance for Implementation of Pay Our Military Act

Description: A memorandum which provides instructions for identifying civilian personnel within the Armed Forces who "are providing support to members of the Armed Forces" within the meaning of the Pay Our Military Act.
Date: October 5, 2013
Creator: United States. Department of Defense.

Efficient Phase-Change Materials: Development of a Low-Cost Thermal Energy Storage System Using Phase-Change Materials with Enhanced Radiation Heat Transfer

Description: HEATS Project: USF is developing low-cost, high-temperature phase-change materials (PCMs) for use in thermal energy storage systems. Heat storage materials are critical to the energy storage process. In solar thermal storage systems, heat can be stored in these materials during the day and released at night—when the sun is not out—to drive a turbine and produce electricity. In nuclear storage systems, heat can be stored in these materials at night and released to produce electricity during daytime peak-demand hours. Most PCMs do not conduct heat very well. Using an innovative, electroless encapsulation technique, USF is enhancing the heat transfer capability of its PCMs. The inner walls of the capsules will be lined with a corrosion-resistant, high-infrared emissivity coating, and the absorptivity of the PCM will be controlled with the addition of nano-sized particles. USF’s PCMs remain stable at temperatures from 600 to 1,000°C and can be used for solar thermal power storage, nuclear thermal power storage, and other applications.
Date: December 5, 2011

Metal Hydride Thermal Storage: Reversible Metal Hydride Thermal Storage for High-Temperature Power Generation Systems

Description: HEATS Project: PNNL is developing a thermal energy storage system based on a Reversible Metal Hydride Thermochemical (RMHT) system, which uses metal hydride as a heat storage material. Heat storage materials are critical to the energy storage process. In solar thermal storage systems, heat can be stored in these materials during the day and released at night—when the sun is not out—to drive a turbine and produce electricity. In nuclear storage systems, heat can be stored in these materials at night and released to produce electricity during daytime peak-demand hours. PNNL’s metal hydride material can reversibly store heat as hydrogen cycles in and out of the material. In a RHMT system, metal hydrides remain stable in high temperatures (600- 800°C). A high-temperature tank in PNNL’s storage system releases heat as hydrogen is absorbed, and a low-temperature tank stores the heat until it is needed. The low-cost material and simplicity of PNNL’s thermal energy storage system is expected to keep costs down. The system has the potential to significantly increase energy density.
Date: December 5, 2011

Long-Term Colloid Mobilization And Colloid-Facilitated Transport Of Radionuclides In A Semi-Arid Vadose Zone

Description: The main purpose of this project was to improve the fundamental mechanistic understanding and quantification of long-term colloid mobilization and colloid-facilitated transport of radionuclides in the vadose zone, with special emphasis on the semi-arid Hanford site. While we focused some of the experiments on hydrogeological and geochemical conditions of the Hanford site, many of our results apply to colloid and colloid-facilitated transport in general. Specific objectives were (1) to determine the mechanisms of colloid mobilization and colloid-facilitated radionuclide transport in undisturbed Hanford sediments under unsaturated flow, (2) to quantify in situ colloid mobilization and colloid-facilitated radionuclide transport from Hanford sediments under field conditions, and (3) to develop a field-scale conceptual and numerical model for colloid mobilization and transport at the Hanford vadose zone, and use that model to predict long-term colloid and colloid- facilitated radionuclide transport. To achieve these goals and objectives, we have used a combination of experimental, theoretical, and numerical methods at different spatial scales, ranging from microscopic investigations of single particle attachment and detachment to larger-scale field experiments using outdoor lysimeters at the Hanford site. Microscopic and single particle investigations provided fundamental insight into mechanisms of colloid interactions with the air-water interface. We could show that a moving air water interface (such as a moving water front during infiltration and drainage) is very effective in removing and mobilizing particles from a stationary surface. Field experiment using a vadose zone lysimeter facility at the Hanford site showed that surface-applied Eu colloids can be translocated rapidly under natural precipitation as well as artificial irrigation. Small amounts of applied colloids were translocated from the surface to a depth of two meters within two months and only 20 mm of cumulative infiltration. Large water infiltration events, mimicking snow melt, enhanced movement of Eu colloids. Nonetheless the majority of Eu colloids remained ...
Date: November 5, 2012
Creator: Flury, Markus; Harsh, James B; Zhang, Fred; Gee, Glendon W; Mattson, Earl D & Lichtner, Peter C

Retirement Security: Trends in Marriage, Work, and Pensions May Increase Vulnerability for Some Retirees

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The decline in marriage, rise in women's labor force participation, and transition away from defined benefit (DB) plans to defined contribution (DC) plans have resulted in changes in the types of retirement benefits households receive and increased vulnerabilities for some. Since the 1960s, the percentage of unmarried and single-parent families has risen dramatically, especially among low-income, less-educated individuals, and some minorities. At the same time, the percentage of married women entering the labor force has increased. The decline in marriage and rise in women's labor force participation have affected the types of Social Security benefits households receive, with fewer women receiving spousal benefits today than in the past. In addition, the shift away from DB to DC plans has increased financial vulnerabilities for some due to the fact that DC plans typically offer fewer spousal protections. DC plans also place greater responsibility on households to make decisions and manage their pension and financial assets so they have income throughout retirement. As shown in the figure below, despite Social Security's role in reducing poverty among seniors, poverty remains high among certain groups of seniors, such as minorities and unmarried women. These vulnerable populations are more likely to be adversely affected by these trends and may need assistance in old age."
Date: March 5, 2014
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.

FAA Reauthorization Act: Progress and Challenges Implementing Various Provisions of the 2012 Act

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (the 2012 Act) contained several provisions related to implementing the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen)—a complex, long-term initiative to incrementally modernize and transform the national airspace system (NAS). GAO's recent work on NextGen has highlighted three key implementation issues:"
Date: February 5, 2014
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.

State and Local Governments' Fiscal Outlook: April 2012 Update

Description: Other written product issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The state and local government sector continues to face near-term and long-term fiscal challenges that grow over time. The fiscal challenges confronting the state and local sector add to the nation’s overall fiscal challenges. The fiscal situation of the state and local government sector has improved in the past year as the sector’s tax receipts have slowly increased in conjunction with the economic recovery. Nonetheless, total tax receipts have only recently returned to the prerecession levels of 2007 and the sector still faces a gap between revenue and spending. The sector faces long-term fiscal challenges that grow over time. The fiscal position of the sector will steadily decline through 2060 absent any policy changes."
Date: April 5, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: Update on Program Performance

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The federal-state TANF partnership makes significant resources available to address poverty in the lives of families with children. With these resources, TANF has provided a basic safety net to many families and helped many parents step into jobs. At the same time, there are questions about the strength and breadth of the TANF safety net. Many eligible families—some of whom have very low incomes—are not receiving TANF cash assistance. Regarding TANF as a welfare-to-work program, the emphasis on work participation rates as a measure of state program performance has helped change the culture of state welfare programs to focus on moving families into employment. However, features of the work participation rates as currently implemented undercut their effectiveness as a way to encourage states to engage parents, including those difficult to serve, and help them achieve self-sufficiency. Finally, states have used TANF funds to support a variety of programs other than cash assistance as allowed by law. Yet, we do not know enough about this spending or whether this flexibility is resulting in the most efficient and effective use of funds at this time."
Date: June 5, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.

Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request: U.S. Government Accountability Office

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "GAO's fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget request of $525.1 million seeks an increase of 3.9 percent to maintain staff capacity as well as continue necessary maintenance and improvements to our information technology (IT) and building infrastructure. Additionally, receipts and reimbursements, primarily from program and financial audits, and rental income, totaling $30.9 million are expected in FY 2015."
Date: March 5, 2014
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.

Organizational Transformation: A Framework for Assessing and Improving Enterprise Architecture Management (Version 2.0) (Supersedes GAO-03-584G)

Description: Guidance issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This publication supersedes GAO-03-584G Information Technology: A Framework for Assessing and Improving Enterprise Architecture Management (Version 1.1), April 2003, and Information Technology: A Practical Guide to Federal Enterprise Architecture, Version 1.0, February 2001."
Date: August 5, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.

Homeland Security: Addressing Weaknesses with Facility Security Committees Would Enhance Protection of Federal Facilities

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "To accomplish its mission of protecting about 9,000 federal facilities, the Federal Protective Service (FPS) currently has a budget of about $1 billion, about 1,225 full-time employees, and about 15,000 contract security guards. However, protecting federal facilities and their occupants from a potential terrorist attack or other acts of violence remains a daunting challenge for the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Federal Protective Service. GAO has issued numerous reports on FPS's efforts to protect the General Services Administration's (GSA) facilities. This report (1) recaps the major challenges we reported that FPS faces in protecting federal facilities and discusses FPS's efforts to address them and (2) identifies an additional challenge that FPS faces related to the facility security committees (FSC), which are responsible for addressing security issues at federal facilities. This report is based primarily on our previous work and recent FPS interviews."
Date: August 5, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.

Early Learning and Child Care: Federal Funds Support Multiple Programs with Similar Goals

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The federal investment in early learning and child care is administered through 45 programs that provide or may support related services to children from birth through age 5, as well as five tax provisions that subsidize private expenditures in this area. Among the 45 programs, 12 have an explicit program purpose of providing early learning or child care services. These programs differ in size, target population, and structure. For example, most of them obligated less than $500 million each in fiscal year 2012, while the largest program, Head Start, obligated approximately $8 billion in that year. The remaining 33 programs identified in GAO's 2012 report permit the use of funds for delivering or supporting early learning or child care services, but this is not their explicit purpose. These programs include multipurpose block grants, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, for which early learning or child care is not a primary purpose but which may nevertheless provide significant funding for child care. They also include programs that may allow funds to be used for early learning or child care, but these are not among their primary goals and do not typically account for a significant portion of available program funds. Finally, five federal tax provisions support early learning and child care by forgoing tax revenue to subsidize the private purchase of child care services. These five tax expenditures accounted for at least $3.1 billion of forgone tax revenue for the U.S. Treasury in fiscal year 2012."
Date: February 5, 2014
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.

Medicaid and CHIP: Reports for Monitoring Children's Health Care Services Need Improvement

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)--two joint federal-state health care programs for low-income families and children--play a critical role in addressing the health care needs of children. In 2008, more than 36 million children in the United States received health care coverage through Medicaid or CHIP. Like all children, children covered by Medicaid and CHIP may have health care conditions that could warrant care from primary care or specialist providers. At the same time, a significant number of children in Medicaid and CHIP may not be receiving basic preventive care, which these programs generally cover. For example, we reported in 2009 that, on the basis of parents' reports in national surveys, about 40 percent of children in Medicaid and CHIP had not had a well-child checkup over a 2-year period. Many state Medicaid and CHIP programs and other health care purchasers have started initiatives to improve care coordination for children and provide children with access to networks of care. For the purposes of this report, care coordination is broadly defined as a process in which an individual or group helps to arrange a patient's primary and specialty health care services. Care coordination can be provided by primary care providers or through other individuals such as social workers or case managers. Care coordination activities can include communication--sharing information among participants in a patient's care--and linking patients to community resources. Care coordination can help children gain access to a network of care, that is, a set of providers who are available to help address the primary and specialty health care needs of a patient. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), oversees state Medicaid and CHIP ...
Date: April 5, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.

SSA Representative Payee Program: Long-Term Strategy Needed to Address Challenges

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In summary, GAO found that SSA struggles to effectively administer its Representative Payee Program, despite steps the agency has taken to address its challenges in identifying, selecting, and monitoring representative payees. SSA field office managers in some offices said that due to increasing workloads and staff attrition they sometimes have to perform payee program duties that lower-level staff typically handle. SSA is also encountering increasing numbers of beneficiaries who may not have a suitable payee readily available. In an effort to address this challenge, SSA hosted a webinar to recruit additional payees. However, agency officials said this effort did not produce any new payees. SSA also faces challenges ensuring that payees who are selected are suitable for the task. In response, SSA has implemented a pilot program in its Philadelphia region to screen and bar payee applicants who have been convicted of certain crimes such as robbery and fraud to obtain governmental assistance. SSA said the focus of the pilot is to determine how easily these additional controls can be implemented. GAO also found that SSA faces challenges monitoring payees' use of beneficiaries' SSA funds--a time-consuming process. SSA has developed an electronic accounting process that allows payees to submit reports online, which saves staff time on handling and scanning paper reports. However, it does not lessen the need for SSA staff to review some of these reports. SSA has taken other steps to improve the administration of the program, but the OIG continues to designate the program as a major SSA management challenge. Some of the actions SSA has taken to improve administration of the Representative Payee Program align with goals in the agency's Strategic Plan. However, SSA has not developed a comprehensive plan for addressing the challenges ...
Date: June 5, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.

GAO Review of the Department of Homeland Security's Certification of the Secure Flight Program--Cost and Schedule Estimates

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The matching of airline passenger information against terrorist watchlist records (watchlist matching) is a frontline defense against acts of terrorism that target the nation's civil aviation system. In general, passengers identified as matches to the No-Fly list are prohibited from boarding commercial flights, while those matched to the Selectee list are required to undergo additional screening. Historically, airline passenger prescreening against watchlist records has been performed by commercial air carriers. As required by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has developed an advanced passenger prescreening program--known as Secure Flight--to assume from air carriers the function of matching passenger information against terrorist watchlist records. Since fiscal year 2004, TSA has received $358 million in appropriated funds for the development and implementation of Secure Flight, according to program officials. Also, since fiscal year 2004, GAO has been mandated to assess the development and implementation of the Secure Flight program. We have reported on numerous challenges the program has faced, including those related to protecting passenger privacy, completing performance testing, fully defining and testing security requirements, and establishing reliable cost and schedule estimates, among other things. We have made recommendations to address these challenges, and TSA has generally agreed with them and has taken corrective actions."
Date: April 5, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.

Geospatial Information: OMB and Agencies Can Reduce Duplication by Making Coordination a Priority

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The President and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have established policies and procedures for coordinating investments in geospatial data, however, in November 2012, GAO reported that governmentwide committees and federal departments and agencies had not effectively implemented them. The committee that was established to promote the coordination of geospatial data nationwide--the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)--had developed and endorsed key standards and had established a clearinghouse of metadata. GAO found that the clearinghouse was not being used by agencies to identify planned geospatial investments to promote coordination and reduce duplication. In addition, the committee had not yet fully planned for or implemented an approach to manage geospatial data as related groups of investments to allow agencies to more effectively plan geospatial data collection efforts and minimize duplicative investments, and its strategic plan was missing key elements."
Date: December 5, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.

Next Generation Air Transportation System: FAA Has Made Some Progress in Implementation, but Delays Threaten to Impact Costs and Benefits

Description: A publication issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This testimony discusses the current progress toward implementing the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). NextGen will impact nearly every aspect of air transportation and will transform the way in which the air transportation system operates today. It will do so, in part, by (1) using satellite-based surveillance as opposed to ground-based radars, (2) using performance-based navigation instead of cumbersome step-by-step procedures, (3) replacing routine voice communications with data transmissions, and (4) organizing and merging the disjointed data that pilots, controllers, airports, airlines, and others currently rely on to operate the system. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been planning and developing NextGen since 2003, and is now implementing near-term (through 2012) and mid-term (through 2018) capabilities. Over the years, concerns have been raised by the Congress and other stakeholders that despite years of effort and billions of dollars spent, FAA has not made sufficient progress in deploying systems and producing benefits. In past reports, we have made a number of recommendations to FAA to address delays in development and acquisitions, improve its processes, and focus on accountability and performance. Others have also made recommendations to FAA to improve its implementation of NextGen. For example, the Department of Transportation's Office of the Inspector General recently made recommendations regarding specific NextGen programs, and the NextGen Midterm Implementation Task Force--whose creation was requested by FAA--resulted in consensus recommendations from industry on specific capabilities FAA should prioritize. Over the last 2 years, FAA has taken several steps and instituted many changes to address several of these issues. This statement today discusses (1) the results of NextGen programs and improvements to date and (2) ongoing issues that will affect NextGen implementation. This statement today is based on our NextGen-related reports and ...
Date: October 5, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.

VA Health Care: Status of VA's Approach in Conducting the National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In addition to providing health care to over 5 million veterans each year, the Veterans Health Administration, part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), funds research on specific health conditions that veterans may experience. One condition that is examined in VA-funded research is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder that can occur after a person is exposed to a life-threatening event. According to VA, experts estimate that up to 30 percent of Vietnam veterans and up to 20 percent of Operation Enduring Freedom veterans and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans have experienced PTSD. Veterans suffering from PTSD may experience problems sleeping, maintaining relationships, and returning to their previous civilian lives. Additionally, studies have shown that many veterans suffering from PTSD are more likely to be diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and other diseases. After the Vietnam War, Congress wanted information about the psychological effects of the war on Vietnam veterans to inform the need for PTSD services at VA. Consequently, in 1983, Congress mandated that VA provide for the conduct of a study on PTSD and related postwar psychological problems among Vietnam veterans. VA contracted with an external entity, the Research Triangle Institute, to conduct the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS). This cross-sectional study determined the incidence and prevalence of PTSD among Vietnam veterans and Vietnam-era veterans. Under contact with VA, Research Triangle Institute researchers designed the study and analyzed the information collected for the study, which was initiated in 1984 and completed in 1988. Participants' identities were not provided to VA because of the Research Triangle Institute's concerns about Vietnam veterans' distrust of government agencies. According to VA, the NVVRS was a landmark study and is the only nationally representative study that focuses on PTSD in ...
Date: May 5, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.

The Department of Transportation Found That It Improperly Obligated Motor Carrier Grant Funds

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In May 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) alerted your offices that it might have violated statutory restrictions when obligating funds to states for its Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks (CVISN) program. CVISN awards grants to state offices to support improved information technology exchanges between government agencies and the motor carrier industry to enhance motor carrier safety and other efforts. In 2005, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) provided $25 million annually in contract authority and established funding restrictions for CVISN awards. FMCSA temporarily shut down the CVISN program in May 2010 to determine whether it violated funding restrictions and to prevent exacerbating any problems; it has not determined when it will restart the program. In response to congressional request, this report addresses (1) whether FMCSA complied with statutory requirements when awarding CVISN grants to states and (2) actions that the agency is taking to manage the award of CVISN grants effectively."
Date: May 5, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.

Private Pensions: Multiemployer Plans and PBGC Face Urgent Challenges

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The most severely distressed multiemployer plans have taken significant steps to address their funding problems and, while most plans expected improved financial health, some did not. A survey conducted by a large actuarial and consulting firm serving multiemployer plans suggests that the majority of the most severely underfunded plans--those designated as being in critical status--developed plans to increase employer contributions or reduce certain participant benefits. In some cases, these measures will have significant effects on employers and participants. For example, one plan representative stated that contribution increases had damaged some firms' competitive position in the industry. Similarly, reductions or limitations on certain benefits--such as disability benefits--may create hardships for some older workers, such as those with physically demanding jobs. Most of the 107 surveyed plans expected to emerge from critical status, but about 26 percent did not and instead seek to delay eventual insolvency."
Date: March 5, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.

Veterans' Education Benefits: Enhanced Guidance and Collaboration Could Improve Administration of the Post-9/11 GI Bill Program

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "With the passage of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 (Post- 9/11 GI Bill), Congress created a comprehensive education benefit program for veterans, service members, and their dependents pursuing postsecondary education. Since implementation, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has provided just over $5.7 billion for the Post-9/11 GI Bill to fund education expenses for about 381,000 veterans, service members, and their dependents through fiscal year 2010, and estimates it will provide almost $8 billion in fiscal year 2011--an amount that would represent about 71 percent of all expected costs for education benefits. From the passage of the law to August 1, 2009, the start of the first semester in which funds were available, VA had about 13 months to implement the program. The Post-9/11 GI Bill program is substantially different from previously authorized VA education benefits or GI Bill programs that characteristically provide monthly payments to eligible claimants. The Post-9/11 GI Bill, by contrast, includes a more complex payment system that channels funds to both students and schools. GAO and VA have reported on various challenges VA faced when implementing the new program, including claims processing delays. We were asked to review the progress of the program's implementation and answer the following questions: (1) What were VA's implementation challenges, the steps taken to address them, and any unintended consequences? (2) To what extent has VA met its timeliness and accuracy goals for processing Post-9/11 GI Bill claims and been responsive to call center inquiries? (3) What processes, if any, can VA adopt from the Department of Education's administration of student aid programs to improve its administration of Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits?"
Date: May 5, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.