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Social Security and Minorities: Earnings, Disability Incidence, and Mortality Are Key Factors That Influence Taxes Paid and Benefits Received

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Although Social Security's benefit and contribution provisions are neutral with respect to race, ethnicity, and gender, concerns about the experiences of minority groups under Social Security focus on whether they benefit less than whites, particularly because of the shorter life expectancy of blacks. These concerns are related to the concept of equity, or how benefits compare with taxes. To gain a thorough understanding of the experiences of minority populations under Social Security, GAO was asked to examine (1) what socioeconomic and demographic factors influence Social Security taxes paid and benefits received and (2) how different equity measures compare across racial groups. Because of the current system's projected actuarial deficit, to conduct this study, GAO made its calculations using three policy scenarios, each of which achieves 75-year solvency: a payroll tax increase and a progressive and proportional benefit cut. Further, GAO used three measures of equity: lifetime benefit-to-tax ratios, net lifetime benefits, and real internal rates of return. GAO also examined four birth cohorts: 1931-40, 1941-45, 1946-55, and 1956-64."
Date: April 23, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Defense Space Activities: Organizational Changes Initiated, but Further Management Actions Needed

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "In January 2001, the congressionally chartered Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization--known as the Space Commission--reported that the Department of Defense (DOD) lacked the senior-level focus and accountability to provide guidance and oversight for national security space operations. Congress mandated that GAO provide an assessment of DOD's actions to implement the Space Commission's recommendations. Thus, GAO (1) updated its June 2002 assessment of DOD's actions to address the Space Commission's recommendations, (2) ascertained progress in addressing other long- term management concerns, and (3) assessed the extent to which DOD has developed a results-oriented management framework for space activities."
Date: April 18, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Student Financial Aid: Monitoring Aid Greater Than Federally Defined Need Could Help Address Student Loan Indebtedness

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Over half of the $80.4 billion in financial aid provided to college students in the 2000-01 school year came from the federal government in the form of grants and loans provided under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA). To help finance their education, students and families may have received other funds from states, private groups or lenders, and/or the schools themselves. We initiated this study to, among other things, determine how often federal financial aid recipients received aid that was greater than their federally defined need and what cost or other implications might result from changing HEA to limit such aid."
Date: April 30, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Small Business: The National Veterans Business Development Corporation's Progress in Providing Small Business Assistance to Veterans

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999 (Act) created the National Veterans Business Development Corporation (The Veterans Corporation) to address perceived gaps in providing small business and entrepreneurship assistance to veterans. The Act requires GAO to review The Veterans Corporation. GAO described The Veterans Corporation's (1) efforts to provide small business assistance to veterans, including service-disabled veterans; (2) use of and controls over federal funds in providing these services; and (3) efforts to become financially self- sufficient."
Date: April 30, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Highway Infrastructure: Perceptions of Stakeholders on Approaches to Reduce Highway Project Completion Time

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Constructing, improving, and repairing roads is fundamental to meeting the nation's mobility needs. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) supplies most of the money (about $20 billion in fiscal year 2003), and state departments of transportation are primarily responsible for completing projects. Many federal and state agencies (called resource agencies) help ensure that environmental and other concerns are considered. These and other organizations have recognized that the time it takes to complete complex federally funded highway projects is too long--in some cases nearly 20 years. GAO was asked to report the views of knowledgeable officials on the most promising approaches for reducing completion time for federally funded highway projects. GAO obtained the views of 33 officials from federal, state, and private organizations with interests in federally funded roads."
Date: April 9, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Embassy Construction: Process for Determining Staffing Requirements Needs Improvement

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The 1998 terrorist attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa highlighted security deficiencies in diplomatic facilities, leading the Department of State to embark on an estimated $16 billion embassy construction program. The program's key objective is to provide safe, secure, and cost-effective buildings for employees overseas. Given that the size and cost of new facilities are directly related to agencies' anticipated staffing needs, it is imperative that future requirements be projected as accurately as possible. GAO was asked to (1) assess whether State and other federal agencies have adopted a disciplined process for determining future staffing requirements and (2) review cost-sharing proposals for agencies with overseas staff."
Date: April 7, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Bioterrorism: Preparedness Varied across State and Local Jurisdictions

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Much of the response to a bioterrorist attack would occur at the local level. Many local areas and their supporting state agencies, however, may not be adequately prepared to respond to such an attack. In the Public Health Improvement Act that was passed in 2000, Congress directed GAO to examine state and local preparedness for a bioterrorist attack. In this report GAO provides information on state and local preparedness and state and local concerns regarding the federal role in funding and improving preparedness. To gather this information, GAO visited seven cities and their respective state governments, reviewed documents, and interviewed officials. Cities are not identified because of the sensitive nature of this issue."
Date: April 7, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Military Personnel: DOD Needs to Assess Certain Factors in Determining Whether Hazardous Duty Pay Is Warranted for Duty in the Polar Regions

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The 109th Airlift Wing, New York Air National Guard, conducts supply missions for scientific research in the polar regions. Most unit members do not spend more than 30 consecutive days in the polar regions. Therefore, they are not eligible for hardship duty pay, which requires more than 30 consecutive days of duty in a designated hardship location. Congress considered legislation in 2002 to make an exception to the 30-day hardship duty pay threshold for polar duty. This legislation was not approved. In addition, the 109th Airlift Wing proposed designating polar duty as a hazardous duty. The Conference Report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 directed GAO and DOD to conduct separate reviews of special and incentive pays for polar duty. GAO assessed DOD's rationale for hardship duty pay and the implications of making an exception to hardship duty pay. In addition, GAO assessed the 109th Airlift Wing's justification for hazardous duty pay for polar duty."
Date: April 29, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Overseas Presence: Rightsizing Framework Can Be Applied at U.S. Diplomatic Posts in Developing Countries

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Since the mid-1990s, GAO has highlighted the need for the Department of State and other agencies to establish a systematic process for determining their overseas staffing levels. To support this long-standing need and in support of the President's Management Agenda, GAO developed a framework for assessing overseas workforce size and identified options for rightsizing. Because the framework was largely based on work at the U.S. embassy in Paris, GAO was asked to determine whether the rightsizing framework is applicable at U.S. embassies in developing countries. To accomplish this objective, we visited three U.S. embassies in West Africa--a medium-sized post in Dakar, Senegal; and two small embassies in Banjul, The Gambia; and Nouakchott, Mauritania--and applied the framework and its corresponding questions there."
Date: April 7, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Title I: Although Definitions of Administrative Expenditures Vary, Almost All Districts Studied Spent Less Than 10 Percent on Administration

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Because of concern about school district spending on administration, Congress directed GAO in two separate mandates in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 to (1) examine how school districts defined and spent Title I funds on administrative activities and (2) review Title I expenditures in at least six school districts. In response to these mandates, we are reporting on (1) how five studies define Title I administrative expenditures and what they found about the percentage of funds spent on these activities and (2) what proportion of Title I funds was spent on administrative activities compared with instructional and other activities in six school districts."
Date: April 7, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Radiation Exposure Compensation: Funding to Pay Claims May Be Inadequate to Meet Projected Needs

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "On October 15, 1990, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) was enacted providing for payments to individuals who contracted certain cancers and other serious diseases presumably as a result of their exposure to radiation released during aboveground nuclear weapons tests or as a result of their employment associated with the uranium mining industry during the Cold War era. The RECA Amendments of 2000 required that GAO report to the Congress on the Department of Justice's administration of RECA not later than 18 months after the enactment of the amendments and every 18 months thereafter. GAO originally reported on the status of the program in September 2001. The objectives of this report are to update information on claims processing, payments from the Trust Fund, and administrative expenses."
Date: April 10, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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HUD Purchase Cards: Poor Internal Controls Resulted in Improper and Questionable Purchases

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Due to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) increasing use of purchase cards and the inherent risk associated with their use, Congress asked GAO to audit the purchase card program concentrating on assessing internal controls and determining whether purchases being made are a valid use of government funds."
Date: April 11, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Military Readiness: DOD Needs a Clear and Defined Process for Setting Aircraft Availability Goals in the New Security Environment

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The attacks on September 11, 2001, show that threats to U.S. security can now come from any number of terrorist groups, at any number of locations, and in wholly unexpected ways. As a result, the Department of Defense (DOD) is shifting to a new defense strategy focused on dealing with uncertainty by acting quickly across a wide range of combat conditions. One key ingredient of the new strategy is the availability of aircraft to carry out their missions. Key measures of availability include the percentage of time an aircraft can perform at least one or all of its assigned missions, termed the "mission capable" (MC) and "full mission capable" (FMC) rates, respectively. GAO examined whether key DOD aircraft have been able to meet MC and FMC goals in recent years, and DOD's process for setting aircraft availability goals."
Date: April 7, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Telecommunications: GSA Needs to Improve Process for Awarding Task Orders for Local Service

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Metropolitan Area Acquisition (MAA) program, managed by the General Services Administration (GSA), provides local telecommunications services to government agencies in selected metropolitan areas. Of the 25 cities in which MAA contracts were awarded as of January 2003, 15 were awarded to two or more providers. Such multiple-award contracts are a means of promoting competition. To ensure equity in the award of task orders under these contracts, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requires that the government provide contractors a fair opportunity to be considered. GAO was asked to review, among other things, whether GSA's implementation of the fair consideration process is consistent and the effect of any inconsistency, as well as the adequacy of GSA's documentation to support the decisions reached."
Date: April 4, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Agricultural Conservation: USDA Needs to Better Ensure Protection of Highly Erodible Cropland and Wetlands

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Annually, over a billion tons of soil erodes from the nation's cropland, and thousands of other acres, including wetlands, are converted to new cropland. Soil erosion reduces the land's productivity and impairs water quality; drained wetlands reduce flood control. Under the 1985 Food Security Act, farmers risk losing federal farm payments if they do not apply conservation practices to reduce erosion or if they drain wetlands. Concerns about soil erosion and wetlands conversions continue, however, as do concerns about the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service's implementation of these provisions. GAO reviewed field offices' and headquarters' implementation and enforcement of the 1985 act's conservation compliance provisions."
Date: April 21, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Veterans Benefits Administration: Better Collection and Analysis of Attrition Data Needed to Enhance Workforce Planning

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "By the year 2006, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) projects it will lose a significant portion of its mission-critical workforce to retirement. VBA has hired over 2,000 new employees to begin to fill this expected gap. GAO was asked to review: (1) the attrition rate at VBA, particularly for new employees who examine veterans' claims, and the agency's methods for calculating attrition; and (2) the adequacy of VBA's analysis of attrition data, including the reasons for attrition. To answer these questions, GAO analyzed attrition data from VBA's Office of Human Resources, calculated attrition rates for VBA and other federal agencies using a governmentwide database on federal employment, and interviewed VBA officials about their efforts to measure attrition and determine why new employees leave."
Date: April 28, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Recreation Fees: Information on Forest Service Management of Revenue from the Fee Demonstration Program

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Since 1996, federal land management agencies have collected over $900 million in recreation fees from the public under an experimental initiative called the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program. Under the trial program, the Congress authorized the four federal land management agencies, including the Forest Service, to charge fees to visitors and to retain the revenues for use in addition to other appropriated funds. The Congress originally authorized the program for 3 years and has extended it several times. As Congress considers whether to extend the program or to make it permanent, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health asked GAO to address several questions about the Forest Service's administration of the program: (1) How are spending priorities determined for the revenues generated by the program? (2) How has the agency spent its fee demonstration program revenues? (3) What, if anything, is the agency doing to measure the impact of the recreation fee revenues on reducing the agency's deferred maintenance backlog? (4) How does the agency account for its fee demonstration program revenues?"
Date: April 25, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Business Modernization: Improvements Needed in Management of NASA's Integrated Financial Management Program

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) nonintegrated financial management systems have weakened its ability to oversee its contractors, and its contract management has been on GAO's high-risk list since 1990. In April 2000, NASA began its Integrated Financial Management Program (IFMP), its third attempt in recent years at modernizing financial management processes and systems. GAO was asked to review whether NASA was following key best practices in acquiring IFMP components and implementing one of the first components--the core financial module."
Date: April 30, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Defense Budget: Tracking of Emergency Response Funds for the War on Terrorism

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "As of January 2003, Congress had provided a total of $38 billion to the Department of Defense (DOD) to cover emergency response costs related to the war on terrorism. Appropriated in different ways in fiscal years 2001, 2002, and 2003, these funds are meant to pay for expenses that DOD would not normally incur, such as contingency military operations and Pentagon building repairs. Because our prior work raised questions about DOD's oversight of contingency fund spending, GAO was asked to review DOD's management of emergency response funds, specifically: (1) DOD's adherence to OMB guidance in managing funds and the sufficiency of DOD's guidance on the use of these funds, and (2) DOD's ability to track the use of emergency response funds in general. We limited our review of DOD's guidance to the initial funds placed in the Defense Emergency Response Fund. We did not verify the accuracy of the data contained in DOD's obligation reports or the appropriateness of individual expenditures."
Date: April 30, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Missile Defense: Knowledge-Based Practices Are Being Adopted, but Risks Remain

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Defense (DOD) would like to build a capable missile defense system that paces an ever-evolving threat. This is an expensive and risky endeavor because it requires a diverse set of technologies to be quickly developed, integrated, and deployed across an array of platforms. DOD estimates that it will need $50 billion for missile defense research and development over the next 6 years and likely additional funds in subsequent years. GAO was asked to review the Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) strategy for this investment and determine what knowledge-based practices characteristic of successful programs are being adopted by MDA; what significant practices are not being adopted; and whether MDA is following the practices that it has adopted."
Date: April 30, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice: Federal Agencies Could Play a Stronger Role in Helping States Reduce the Number of Children Placed Solely to Obtain Mental Health Services

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Recent news articles in over 30 states describe the difficulty many parents have in accessing mental health services for their children, and some parents choose to place their children in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems in order to obtain the services they need. GAO was asked to determine: (1) the number and characteristics of children voluntarily placed in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems to receive mental health services, (2) the factors that influence such placements, and (3) promising state and local practices that may reduce the need for child welfare and juvenile justice placements."
Date: April 21, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Defense Health Care: Army Needs to Assess the Health Status of All Early-Deploying Reservists

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "During the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War, health problems prevented the deployment of a significant number of Army reservists. To help correct this problem the Congress passed legislation that required reservists to undergo periodic physical and dental examinations. The National Defense Authorization Act for 2002 directed GAO to review the value and advisability of providing examinations. GAO also examined whether the Army is collecting and maintaining information on reservist health. GAO obtained expert opinion on the value of periodic examinations and visited seven Army reserve units to obtain information on the number of examinations that have been conducted."
Date: April 15, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Environmental Protection: Federal Planning Requirements for Transportation and Air Quality Protection Could Potentially Be More Efficient and Better Linked

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "To protect the public from harmful emissions, transportation planners in areas with poor air must show that their plans will not make it worse. Every time they update their transportation improvement program (TIP) and their 20-year plan--every 2 and 3 years respectively--federal laws and regulations require that they ensure the emissions from their plans will not exceed the mobile source emissions budget. This is known as "demonstrating conformity." Areas that fail to do so generally cannot spend federal funds on new projects until they resolve the problem. The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works asked GAO to determine (1) how many areas have failed, why, and what corrective actions they took, and (2) what issues transportation planners had with the conformity process and what solutions are possible."
Date: April 28, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Great Lakes: An Overall Strategy and Indicators for Measuring Progress Are Needed to Better Achieve Restoration Goals

Description: A chapter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The five Great Lakes, which comprise the largest system of freshwater in the world, are threatened on many environmental fronts. To address the extent of progress made in restoring the Great Lakes Basin, which includes the lakes and surrounding area, GAO (1) identified the federal and state environmental programs operating in the basin and funding devoted to them, (2) evaluated the restoration strategies used and how they are coordinated, and (3) assessed overall environmental progress made in the basin restoration effort."
Date: April 30, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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