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Large Cryogenic Germanium Detector. Final Report

Description: The goal of this project was to investigate possible ways of increasing the size of cryogenic Ge detectors. This project identified two possible approaches to increasing the individual cryogenic Ge detector size. The first approach relies on using the existing technology for growing detector-grade (high-purity) germanium crystals of dislocation density 100-7000 cm{sup -2}. The second approach is to consider dislocation-free Ge crystals.
Date: February 13, 2013
Creator: Mandic, Vuk
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Wildfire Fuels and Fuel Reduction

Description: This report examines wildfire biomass fuels. It discusses fuel characteristics and their relation to wildfire intensity and spread, and includes a description of actions proposed to reduce biomass fuel levels, their effectiveness for protecting property and resources from wildfires, and their impacts on other resource values. It concludes with an examination of the federal authorities for fuel reduction activities on federal and non-federal lands, together with data on the funding provided under each of these authorities.
Date: May 13, 2013
Creator: Bracmort, Kelsi
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Crime and Forfeiture

Description: This report provides an overview of federal forfeiture law. It sketches the origins and general attributes of forfeiture, describes the distribution of the hundreds of millions of dollars it generates, and identifies some of the related constitutional issues.
Date: May 13, 2013
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Chemical Regulation: Observations on the Toxic Substances Control Act and EPA Implementation

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "GAO reported in June 2005 that EPA has historically faced the following challenges in implementing the provisions of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA):"
Date: June 13, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Water Infrastructure: Approaches and Issues for Financing Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs are the largest sources of federal assistance to states and local communities for funding drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. In fiscal year 2012, EPA funded the Clean Water SRF program $1.5 billion and the Drinking Water SRF program $918 million from congressional appropriations. EPA grants capitalization funds to states, which in turn provide low- or no-interest loans to local communities or utilities to pay for water distribution pipelines, treatment plants, sewer lines, and other similar infrastructure."
Date: March 13, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Financial Institutions: Causes and Consequences of Recent Community Bank Failures

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Ten states concentrated in the western, midwestern, and southeastern United States--areas where the housing market had experienced strong growth in the prior decade--each experienced 10 or more commercial bank or thrift (bank) failures between 2008 and 2011. The failures of small banks (those with less than $1 billion in assets) in these states were largely driven by credit losses on commercial real estate (CRE) loans, particularly loans secured by real estate to finance land development and construction. Many of the failed banks had often pursued aggressive growth strategies using nontraditional, riskier funding sources and exhibited weak underwriting and credit administration practices. The Department of the Treasury and the Financial Stability Forum's Working Group on Loss Provisioning observed that earlier recognition of credit losses could have potentially lessened the impact of the crisis. The accounting model used for estimating credit losses is based on historical loss rates, which were low in the prefinancial crisis years. In part due to these accounting rules, loan loss allowances were not adequate to absorb the wave of credit losses that occurred once the financial crisis began. Banks had to recognize these losses through a sudden series of increases (provisions) to the loan loss allowance that reduced earnings and regulatory capital. In December 2012, the Financial Accounting Standards Board issued a proposal for public comment for a loan loss provisioning model that is more forward looking and would incorporate a broader range of credit information. This would result in banks establishing earlier recognition of loan losses for the loans they underwrite and could incentivize prudent risk management practices. It should also help address the cycle of losses and failures that emerged in the recent crisis as banks were forced to increase loan loss allowances ...
Date: June 13, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Information Technology: Leveraging Best Practices to Help Ensure Successful Major Acquisitions

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Information technology (IT) acquisition best practices have been developed by both industry and the federal government. For example, the Software Engineering Institute has developed highly regarded and widely used guidance on best practices, such as requirements development and management, risk management, validation and verification, and project monitoring and control. GAO's own research in IT management best practices led to the development of the Information Technology Investment Management Framework, which describes essential and complementary IT investment management disciplines, such as oversight of system development and acquisition management, and organizes them into a set of critical processes for successful investments."
Date: November 13, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Export-Import Bank: Recent Growth Underscores Need for Improved Risk Management and Reporting

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Ex-Im's Business Plan concluded that the exposure limits in the Reauthorization Act were appropriate, but GAO’s May 2013 report found weaknesses in the methodology Ex-Im used to justify that conclusion. The Reauthorization Act increased the Ex-Im exposure limit to $120 billion in 2012, with provisions for additional increases to $130 billion in 2013 and $140 billion in 2014. Ex-Im forecast that its year-end exposure would be $120.2 billion in 2013 and $134.9 billion in 2014, below the congressionally determined limits. However, the buffer between the exposure limit and Ex-Im's exposure forecast for 2013 and 2014 is small in comparison with recent historical experience."
Date: June 13, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program: Independent Living Services and Supports Require Stronger Oversight

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Of the 9,215 veterans who entered the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Independent Living (IL) track within the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program from fiscal years 2008 to 2011, most were male Vietnam era veterans in their 50s or 60s. The most prevalent disabilities among these veterans were post-traumatic stress disorder and tinnitus ("ringing in the ears"). GAO's review of 182 IL cases from fiscal year 2008 shows that VR&E provided a range of IL benefits to veterans; the most common benefits being counseling services and computers. Less common benefits included gym memberships, camping equipment, and a boat. GAO estimates that VR&E spent nearly $14 million on benefits for veterans entering the IL track in fiscal year 2008--an average of almost $6,000 per IL veteran."
Date: November 13, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Modernizing the Nuclear Security Enterprise: Observations on DOE's and NNSA's Efforts to Enhance Oversight of Security, Safety, and Project and Contract Management

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a separately organized agency within DOE, continue to face challenges in ensuring that oversight of security activities is effective. For example, in July 2012, after three trespassers gained access to the protected security area directly adjacent to one of the nation's most critically important nuclear weapon-related facilities, the Y-12 National Security Complex, DOE and NNSA took a number of immediate actions. These actions included repairing security equipment, reassigning key security personnel, and firing the Y-12 protective force contractor. As GAO and others have reported, DOE has a long history of security breakdowns and an equally long history of instituting remedies to fix these problems. For example, 10 years ago, GAO reported on inconsistencies among NNSA sites on how they assess contractors' security activities and, since that time, DOE has undertaken security initiatives to address these issues. GAO is currently evaluating these security reform initiatives."
Date: March 13, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Postal Service: Urgent Action Needed to Achieve Financial Sustainability

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) continues to incur unsustainable operating deficits, has not made required payments of $11.1 billion to prefund retiree health benefits, and has reached its $15 billion borrowing limit. Thus far, USPS has been able to operate within these constraints, but now faces a critical shortage of liquidity that threatens its financial solvency and ability to finance needed capital investment. USPS had an almost 25 percent decline in total mail volume and net losses totaling $40 billion since fiscal year 2006. While USPS achieved about $15 billion in savings and reduced its workforce by about 168,000 over this period, its debt and unfunded benefit liabilities grew to $96 billion by the end of fiscal year 2012. USPS expects mail volume and revenue to continue decreasing as online bill communication and e-commerce expand."
Date: February 13, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Private Pensions: Revised Electronic Disclosure Rules Could Clarify Use and Better Protect Participant Choice

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Federal statutes and regulations under the purview of the Department of Labor (Labor) and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) allow employers who sponsor private pension plans to furnish all pension disclosures to participants electronically:"
Date: September 13, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Budget Issues: Effects of Budget Uncertainty from Continuing Resolutions on Agency Operations

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Because CRs only provide funding until agreement is reached on final appropriations, they create uncertainty for agencies about both when they will receive their final appropriation and what level of funding ultimately will be available. Effects of CRs on federal agencies differ based in part on the duration and number of CRs and may vary by agency and program. CRs include provisions that prohibit agencies from beginning new activities and projects and direct agencies to take only the most limited funding actions. Congress can provide flexibility for certain programs and initiatives through the use of legislative anomalies, which provide funding and authorities different from the standard CR provisions."
Date: March 13, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Logistics: The Department of Defense's Report on Strategic Seaports Addressed All Congressionally Directed Elements

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In the conference report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, Congress directed DOD to provide an updated report on strategic seaport facilities used for military purposes, specifying that DOD must include (1) an assessment of the structural integrity and deficiencies of the port facilities and determination of the infrastructure improvements needed to directly or indirectly meet national security and readiness requirements; (2) an assessment of the impact on operational readiness if the improvements are not undertaken; (3) an identification of potential funding sources for the needed improvements from existing authorities; and (4) an opinion as to whether DOD has the necessary authority to support section 50302 of Title 46 of the United States Code. DOD issued that report in January 2013. In summary, we found that DOD addressed all four of the elements directed by Congress, as follows:"
Date: May 13, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

VA Health Care: Reported Outpatient Medical Appointment Wait Times Are Unreliable

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In brief, GAO found that (1) VHA's reported outpatient medical appointment wait times are unreliable, (2) there was inconsistent implementation of certain elements of VHA's scheduling policy that could result in increased wait times or delays in scheduling timely medical appointments, and (3) VHA is implementing or piloting a number of initiatives to improve veterans' access to medical appointments. Specifically, VHA's reported outpatient medical appointment wait times are unreliable because of problems with correctly recording the appointment desired date--the date on which the patient or provider would like the appointment to be scheduled--in the VistA scheduling system. Since, at the time of our review, VHA measured medical appointment wait times as the number of days elapsed from the desired date, the reliability of reported wait time performance is dependent on the consistency with which VA medical centers (VAMC) schedulers record the desired date in the VistA scheduling system. However, aspects of VHA's scheduling policy and related training documents on how to determine and record the desired date are unclear and do not ensure replicable and reliable recording of the desired date by the large number of staff across VHA who can schedule medical appointments, which at the time of our review was estimated to be more than 50,000. During our site visits, we found that at least one scheduler at each VAMC did not record the desired date correctly, which, in certain cases, would have resulted in a reported wait time that was shorter than the patient actually experienced for that appointment. Moreover, staff at some clinics told us they change medical appointment desired dates to show clinic wait times within VHA's performance goals. Although VHA officials acknowledged limitations of measuring wait times based on desired date, and ...
Date: February 13, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department