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Nuclear Nonproliferation: DOE's Efforts to Assist Weapons Scientists in Russia's Nuclear Cities Face Challenges

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "TThe United States and Russia began an ambitious nonproliferation program, the Nuclear Cities Initiative (NCI), to create sustainable job opportunities for weapons scientists in Russia's closed nuclear cities and to help Russia accelerate the downsizing of its nuclear weapons complex in in 1998. The program, however, poses a daunting challenge. The nuclear cities are geographically and economically isolated, access is restricted for security reasons, and weapons scientists are not accustomed to working for commercial businesses. Thus, Western businesses are reluctant to invest in the nuclear cities. This report reviews (1) the costs to implement NCI, including the amount of program funds spent in the United States and Russia, as well as planned expenditures; (2) the impact of NCI projects; and (3) the status of the European Nuclear Cities Initiative. GAO summarized this report in testimony before Congress; see: Nuclear Nonproliferation: DOE's Efforts to Secure Nuclear Material and Employ Weapons Scientists in Russia, by Gary L. Jones, Director Natural Resources and Environment, before the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Senate Committee on Armed Services. GAO-01-726T, May 15 (10 pages)."
Date: May 3, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Nuclear Waste: Agreement Among Agencies Responsible for the West Valley Site Is Critically Needed

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The West Valley nuclear facility in western New York State was built in the 1960s to convert spent nuclear fuel from commercial reactors into reusable nuclear fuel. New York State, the owner of the site, and the Atomic Energy Commission--the predecessor of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Department of Energy (DOE)--jointly promoted the venture. However, the timing of the venture was poor because the market for reprocessed nuclear fuel was limited and because new, more restrictive health and safety standards raised concerns about the facility. West Valley was shut down in the 1970s, and Congress enacted the West Valley Demonstration Project Act in 1980, which brought DOE to West Valley to carry out cleanup activities. This report examines the: (1) status of the cleanup; (2) factors that may be hindering the cleanup; (3) degree of certainty in the Department's estimates of total cleanup costs and schedule; and (4) degree to which the West Valley cleanup may reflect, or have implications for, larger cleanup challenges facing DOE and the nation. DOE has almost completed solidifying the high-level wastes at West Valley, but major additional cleanup work remains. These tasks, which could take up to 40 years to complete, include decontaminating and decommissioning structures, remediating soil and groundwater, and removing nuclear wastes stored and buried onsite. The following three factors are hindering DOE's attempts to clean up West Valley: (1) DOE and New York State still have not agreed on the overall future of the site, (2) NRC cleanup standards for West Valley do not exist, and (3) cleanup planning has been limited by uncertainty about where West Valley's nuclear wastes are to go. In addition, DOE's estimates of the total costs and completion date for …
Date: May 11, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Environmental Protection: Improved Inspections and Enforcement Would Better Ensure the Safety of Underground Storage Tanks

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The states and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot ensure that all active underground storage tanks have the required leak-, spill-, and overfill-protection equipment installed, nor can they guarantee that the installed equipment is being properly operated and maintained. Although the states and EPA regions focus most of their limited resources on monitoring active tanks, empty or inactive tanks can also potentially contaminate soil and groundwater. Half of the states have not physically inspected all of their tanks, and several others have not done inspections often enough to ensure the tanks' safety. Moreover, most states and EPA lack authority to use the most effective enforcement tools, and many state officials acknowledge that additional enforcement tools and resources were needed to ensure tank safety. EPA has the opportunity to correct these limitations within its own regions and to help states correct them through its new tank program initiatives. However, the agency has yet to define many of the implementation details, so it is difficult to determine whether the proposed actions will ensure more inspection coverage and more effective enforcement, especially within the states. Congress could help alleviate the states' resource shortages by providing additional funding for inspections and enforcement or greater flexibility to use existing funds to improve these activities."
Date: May 4, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Veterans Benefits: Training for Claims Processors Needs Evaluation

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) developed a computer-assisted training program, known as the Training and Performance Support System (TPSS), to help its employees become more accurate in processing disability compensation and pension claims. The program seeks to provide uniform and consistent training to employees in 57 regional offices. Although VBA's long-term goal is to attain a 96 percent accuracy rate for claims processing, VBA reported an accuracy rate of only 59 percent for fiscal year 2000. This report reviews (1) the status of the TPSS program's development and implementation and (2) the extent to which TPSS will meet its objectives. GAO found that despite VBA's objective to centrally develop a standardized training program, significant delays in the development of TPSS are hindering the program's ability to provide standardized training to claims processing employees. According to VBA's current schedule, the full development of the program will not be completed until at least 2004, or about two years later than VBA had planned. Although VBA provided nine training modules to regional offices to begin the program, the extent to which the offices implemented them varied considerably. Many offices reported that workload pressures prevented them from fully using the modules. GAO found that TPSS might not fully achieve its objectives. For instance, TPSS training modules may not be available in time to train new employees hired to replace employees who are expected to retire in the future. Furthermore, TPSS may not reduce training time, as envisioned by VBA."
Date: May 31, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Weapons of Mass Destruction: State Department Oversight of Science Centers Program

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Since 1994, the United States has appropriated $227 million to support two multilateral science centers in Russia and Ukraine. The science centers pay scientists who once developed nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and missile systems for the Soviet Union to conduct peaceful research. By employing scientists at the science centers, the United States seeks to reduce the risks that these scientists could be tempted to sell their expertise to terrorists. This report examines the (1) selection procedures the State Department uses to fund projects that meet program objectives and (2) monitoring procedures the State Department uses to verify that scientists are working on the peaceful research they are paid to produce. GAO found that State lacks complete information on the total number and locations of senior scientists and has not been granted access to senior scientists at critical research institutes under the Russian Ministry of Defense. GAO also found that State has designed an interagency review process to select and fund research proposals submitted by weapons scientists to the science centers in Russia and Ukraine. The overall goal is to select projects that reduce proliferation risks to the United States and employ as many senior scientists as possible. The science centers were following their monitoring processes and were taking steps to address audit deficiencies."
Date: May 10, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Air Pollution: Air Quality and Respiratory Problems in and Near the Great Smoky Mountains

Description: A briefing report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Concerns have been growing about the air quality, visibility, and respiratory illnesses around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. This report analyzes recent trends in and contributing factors to (1) visibility impairments, (2) ground-level ozone, and (3) respiratory illnesses. This report also examines the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) plans to reduce its emission of regulated pollutants from generating electricity. Visibility impairments and ozone are largely attributable to the following three types of emissions: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds. The counties that border the park generally have slightly higher mortality rates from two types of respiratory illness. The three types of emissions interact in the atmosphere to form ozone gas and sulfate particles, which are linked to respiratory illnesses. In response to federal laws and other factors, TVA is making substantial environment-related investments and expects to reduce its annual emissions of sulfur dioxide by 40 percent and its "ozone-season"' emissions of nitrogen oxides by 70 percent between 1999 and 2005."
Date: May 25, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Telecommunications: Research and Regulatory Efforts on Mobile Phone Health Issues

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The consensus of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the World Health Organization, and other major health agencies is that the research to date does not show radiofrequency energy emitted from mobile phones has harmful health effects, but there is not yet enough information to conclude that they pose no risk. Although most of the epidemiological and laboratory studies done on this issue have found no adverse health effects, the findings of some studies have raised questions about cancer and other health problems that require further study. The Cellular Telecommunication & Internet Association (CTIA) and FDA will jointly conduct research on mobile phone health affects. Although the initiative is funded solely by CTIA, FDA's active role in setting the research agenda and providing scientific oversight should help alleviate concerns about the objectivity of the report. The media has widely reported on the debate over whether mobile phones can cause health problems. Thus, the federal government's role in providing the public with clear information on this issue is particularly important. FDA has a consumer information update on mobile phone health issues but has not revised that data since October 1999. Consequently FDA does not discuss the significance of major, recently published research studies that have been reported in the press. FDA said that it has not revised the update because the scientific picture has not changed significantly."
Date: May 7, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Navy Acquisitions: Improved Littoral War-Fighting Capabilities Needed

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "According to the Navy, the primary purpose of forward-deployed naval forces is to project power from the sea to influence events ashore. To be successful, naval forces must be able to gain access to, and operate in the coastal areas of potential adversaries. Consequently, they must be able to detect and neutralize enemy sea mines and other antiship weapons. Finally, they must be able to launch and support offensive operations against enemy forces ashore. This report assesses the Navy's (1) existing mine countermeasures, (2) antisubmarine warfare, (3) ship self-defense, (4) surface fire support capabilities, and (5) progress in the acquisition programs the Navy is pursuing to address shortfalls in these areas. GAO found that the Navy's current force of specialized ships, helicopters, and other assets developed to detect and neutralize enemy sea mines lack several key warfighting capabilities it needs for shoreline operations. Although the Navy is making some progress in overcoming shortfalls in antisubmarine warfare, a lack of resources and priorities among competing programs persists. The Navy's ship defense capabilities against cruise missiles are marginal, and surface ships will be at risk when operating within the range of these weapons. The Navy will not meet the Marine Corps' naval surface fire support requirements for at least another decade. The Navy has shown limited progress in overcoming shortfalls in the acquisition programs it is pursuing."
Date: May 18, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Information Management: Dissemination of Technical Reports

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "This report reviews the Department of Commerce's National Technical Information Service (NTIS), which is a permanent repository and principal disseminator of scientific, technical, engineering, and business-related information. NTIS acquires research reports primarily from federal agencies and their contractors and grantees as well as from international sources. GAO discusses (1) the various functions of NTIS; (2) the quantity, age, and demand trends of reports in NTIS' repository; (3) the extent to which the reports in NTIS' repository are readily available from other public sources; and (4) whether federal agencies are sending their reports to NTIS for sale to the public, as required by law. GAO found that NTIS provides its basic statutory clearinghouse repository function of collecting and disseminating full-text paper reports and various other fee-based services for agencies. These include brokerage services, distribution services, and Web services. NTIS has about 2.5 million reports in its repository that are to be retained permanently. About 75 percent of the reports are more than 12 years old, and NTIS has sold one or more copies of about eight percent of its 2.5 million reports. Of the 1.8 million reports more than 12 years old, only about one percent has sold since 1995. About 19 percent of NTIS reports were readily available from one or more of the four sources at the time GAO searched. Agencies often did not send their reports to NTIS as required by law. The reasons agencies cited for not sending their reports were that they (1) were unaware of the law; (2) would incur additional costs and duplication of effort to format and transfer information to NTIS that is free on the agency's Web site; or (3) did not believe their reports were covered because, …
Date: May 18, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Coast Guard: Progress Being Made on Deepwater Project, but Risks Remain

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Coast Guard is in the final stages of planning the largest procurement project in its history-the modernization or replacement of more than 90 cutters and 200 aircraft used for missions more than 50 miles from shore. This project, called the Deepwater Capability Replacement Project, is expected to cost more than $10 billion and take 20 years or longer to complete. Congress and the Coast Guard are at a major crossroads with the project. Planning is essentially complete, and Congress will soon be asked to commit to a multibillion-dollar project that will define the way the Coast Guard performs many of its missions for decades to come. The deepwater acquisition strategy is unique and untried for a project of this magnitude. It carries many risks that could potentially cause significant schedule delays and cost increases. The project faces risks in the following four areas: (1) planning the project around annual funding levels far above what the administration has told the Coast Guard it can expect to receive, (2) keeping costs under control in the contract's later years, (3) ensuring that procedures and personnel are in place for managing and overseeing the contractor once the contract is awarded, and (4) minimizing potential problems with developing unproven technology. All of these risks can be mitigated to varying degrees, but not without management attention."
Date: May 2, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Multilateral Development Banks: Profiles of Selected Multilateral Development Banks

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "This report discusses Multilateral Development Banks (MDB), which provide financial support for projects and programs that promote social and economic progress in developing countries. GAO provides (1) summaries of each bank's mission, function, and operations; (2) key bank financial data covering the last three fiscal years; and (3) information on the U.S. investment in capital and voting percentages in each MDB. GAO found that MDBs are autonomous international financial entities that finance economic and social development projects and programs in developing countries. The MDBs primarily fund these projects and programs using money borrowed from world capital markets or money provided by the governments of member countries. MDBs enable developing countries to access foreign currency resources on more advantageous terms than would be available to them on the basis of their own international credit standing. The MDBs provide assistance in the form of loans, equity investments, loan and equity guarantees, and technical assistance. Direct lending is the primary vehicle of development assistance. The United States is the largest member in most of the MDBs discussed in this report, contributing significant amounts to support the missions of the MDBs and subscribing a significant amount to MDBs' callable capital."
Date: May 18, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Defense Acquisition: Army Transformation Faces Weapon Systems Challenges

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Changes in the character and the conduct of warfighting and in the range and the nature of missions call for an Army force that is more responsive and dominant across the full spectrum of operations and requires much less in-theater logistics support. To meet these new demands, the Army is using the latest technology to develop a series of weapon systems that will be lighter than today's heavy force systems but just as lethal and survivable. The Army's transformation effort will face several challenges. First, the transformation will place additional funding demands on the defense budget. Second, the Army's plans for the transformation assume that weapons systems and equipment can be developed and acquired much faster than in the past. Third, the Army needs to update current acquisition plans to reflect transformation priorities and schedules. The success of this effort depends on the Army's ability to manage transformation acquisitions as leading commercial firms do. By following best practices used in the commercial sector, the Army can better match its needs with its resources."
Date: May 21, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Flu Vaccine: Supply Problems Heighten Need to Ensure Access for High-Risk People

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Until the 2000-2001 flu season, the production and the distribution of flu vaccine generally went smoothly. In the fall of 2000, however, stories began to circulate about delays in obtaining flu vaccines. GAO reviewed (1) the circumstances that contributed to the delay and the effects the delay had on prices paid for vaccine, (2) how effectively current distribution channels ensure that high-risk populations receive vaccine on a priority basis, and (3) what the federal government is doing to better prepare for possible disruptions of influenza vaccine supply. GAO found that manufacturing difficulties resulted in an overall delay of about 6-8 weeks in shipping vaccine to most customers and a temporary price spike. Manufacturers experienced unprecedented problems growing a new viral strain, while two of four manufacturers halted production--one permanently--to address safety and quality control concerns. There is currently no system to ensure that high-risk patients have priority when the supply of vaccine is short. Although the federal government has no direct control over how influenza vaccine is purchased and distributed by the private sector and state and local governments, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has several efforts underway to help cope with future influenza vaccine shortages and delays. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised guidelines to extend the recommended timeframe for receiving immunizations. CDC is also helping to bring together manufacturers, distributors, providers, and others in the private and public sectors to explore ways to improve distribution to high-risk individuals."
Date: May 15, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Bilingual Education: Four Overlapping Programs Could Be Consolidated

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "In fiscal year 2000, the federal government funded four bilingual education programs--Program Development and Implementation Grants, Program Enhancement Projects, Comprehensive School Grants, and Systemwide Improvement Grants--that award grants to school districts to serve children with limited English proficiency. This report reviews (1) how similar the performance goals and measures, eligibility criteria, and allowable services are among the four bilingual education programs; (2) to what extent the different kinds of grants were made to the same types of schools or school districts and were used to provide the same services; (3) what is known about these programs' effectiveness; and (4) whether these programs can be better coordinated or if opportunities exist for program coordination and cost savings. GAO found that all four federal bilingual education programs share the same performance goals and measures, use similar eligibility criteria, and allow for similar uses of program funds. In fiscal year 2000, the four bilingual programs made grants to school districts that shared some characteristics and provided similar services; however, individual schools typically did not receive funding from more than one program. The services provided with program funds are similar, but are tailored by school districts and schools to meet local needs. Currently, the effectiveness of the four bilingual programs on a national level is not known. The authorizing legislation requires the use of local evaluations to assess students' progress in meeting state standards. The variation in local assessment tests complicates the task of providing a national picture of program effectiveness. Even if the Department of Education were able to obtain uniform information on local projects, it faces challenges in trying to isolate the funding effects of the four bilingual programs from funding effects of other programs that support students …
Date: May 14, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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DOD and VA Pharmacy: Progress and Remaining Challenges in Jointly Buying and Mailing Out Drugs

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) have made important progress, particularly during the past year, in their efforts to jointly procure drugs to help control spiraling prescription drug costs. Although their collaborative efforts have been impressive, the two agencies have largely targeted generic drugs, which comprise less than 10 percent of their combined expenditures. More dramatic cost reductions could be achieved through procurements of high-cost brand-name drugs, although doing so can be more complex and time consuming to garner the necessary clinical support and provider acceptance on therapeutic interchangeability. Nonetheless, DOD's greatly expanded retiree drug benefit and the formularies being developed by both agencies should provide added joint procurement opportunities for such drugs. Also, VA and DOD have shown that flexible approaches to developing joint solicitations can take into account differences in their health systems while still maximizing drug discounts. In GAO's view, their joint activities could be further enhanced by periodically conferring with private managed care pharmacy experts and reporting to Congress on their joint procurement activities. Top management at DOD and VA need to stay focused on their joint procurement and distribution activities as leadership changes continue at the two agencies. VA and DOD have also made progress in their efforts to conduct a consolidated mail outpatient pharmacy pilot. The sooner the pilot proves feasible, the sooner DOD can begin to realize the financial and quality of care benefits associated with the transfer of its refill workload."
Date: May 25, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Bureau of Reclamation: Water Marketing Activities and Costs at the Central Valley Project

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "This report discusses the water marketing activities of the Bureau of Reclamation's Central Valley Project and their associated costs. Water marketing costs have risen significantly since 1989, but GAO found no evidence that the costs were associated with activities other than normal operation and maintenance activities that are recoverable from water customers under applicable law. GAO reviewed the information provided to customers and found that the customers were unable to determine whether (1) budgeted activities were the ones that would actually be charged to them and (2) budgeted amounts for the coming year's activities represented increases in previous estimates."
Date: May 4, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Force Structure: Projected Requirements for Some Army Forces Not Well Established

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Army has made progress developing a sound basis for its force structure requirements. It has improved the rigor of its analysis through more realistic scenarios and the integration of Army plans and initiatives. It has also expanded the analysis to include requirements for the entire Army. However, the weaknesses GAO identified suggest that the Army still lacks a sound basis for its institutional force requirements and the forces needed for the strategic reserve, domestic support, and homeland defense. GAO's analysis of the institutional force requirements casts doubt on their accuracy and, by extension, the accuracy of the shortfall that the Army identified in this element. By developing more accurate estimates of institutional forces, this shortfall might be entirely eliminated. A sound basis for requirements is also hampered by the lack of criteria for the strategic reserve, domestic support, and homeland defense element of the Army's force structure. A clearer definition of their missions is needed to accurately estimate the forces that will be required."
Date: May 11, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Licensing Hydropower Projects: Better Time and Cost Data Needed to Reach Informed Decisions About Process Reforms

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "This report assesses the licensing process of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Specifically, GAO examines (1) why the licensing process now takes longer and costs more than it did when FERC issued most original licenses several decades ago; (2) whether participants in the licensing process agree on the need for, and type of, further reforms to reduce time and costs; and (3) whether available time and cost data are sufficient to allow informed decisions on the effectiveness of recent reforms and the need for further reforms. GAO found that since 1986, FERC has been required to give "equal consideration" to, and make tradeoffs among, hydropower generation and other competing resource needs. Additional environmental and land management laws have also placed additional requirements on other federal and state agencies participating in the licensing process to address specific resource needs. GAO found no agreement between FERC, federal and state land resource agencies, licensees, environmental groups, and other participants in the licensing process on the need for further reforms to reduce process-related time and costs. Finally, available time and cost data are insufficient to allow informed decisions on the effectiveness of recent reforms. Without complete and accurate time and cost data and the ability to link time and costs to projects, processes, and outcomes, FERC cannot assess the extent to which the observations and suggestions--or any recommended administrative reforms or legislative changes--might reduce the process' length and costs."
Date: May 2, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Immigration Benefits: Several Factors Impede Timeliness of Application Processing

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Congress, the media, and immigrant advocacy groups have criticized the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for its inability to provide immigrants with timely decisions on their applications for such benefits as naturalization and legal permanent residence. INS continues to experience significant problems managing its application workload despite years of increasing budgets and staff. Automation improvements would provide INS with the management information it needs to determine how long aliens have been waiting for their applications to be processed. Automation improvements would also help INS determine whether it is processing all the applications it receives, working on applications in the order in which they are received, and providing prompt and correct responses to applicants' inquiries about the status of their cases. INS does not know how to maximize the deployment of staff to process applications in a timely fashion because it lacks a systematically developed staff resource allocation model. Such a model could help INS determine the right number and types of staff it needs, efficiently distribute staff to the right locations, and ensure that resources are deployed commensurate with the workload to minimize backlogs and processing times. INS could reduce the need to revoke employment authorization documents by providing guidance and training on application screening to its district staff and taking steps to ascertain whether improvements could be made to the application screening process. INS' long-standing problems with its fingerprinting process appear to have been largely corrected. With digital technology now being used by INS to fingerprint aliens and transmit the fingerprints electronically to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, opportunities may exist to store the fingerprints electronically and save the time and expense associated with the refingerprinting process."
Date: May 4, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Defense Inventory: Army War Reserve Spare Parts Requirements Are Uncertain

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "According to the current National Military Strategy the United States should be prepared to fight and win two nearly simultaneous wars in different parts of the world. Military policy calls for each of the services to acquire and maintain enough war material inventories to sustain a two-war scenario until the industrial base can resupply our armed forces. Because of limitations in the Army's process for determining war reserve spare parts requirements, however, the accuracy of the war reserve spare parts requirements and funding needs are uncertain. These limitations include (1) not using the best available data on the rate at which spare parts would be consumed during wartime for its war reserve spare parts requirements calculations, (2) having a potential mismatch between the Army's process for determining spare parts requirements for war reserves and how the Army plans to repair equipment on the battlefield, and (3) lacking a fact-based assessment of industrial base capacity to provide needed parts for the two-war scenario. Uncertainties are likely to persist for some time as the Army contemplates a significant transformation of its forces and other changes are considered affecting military strategy and force structure. However, improvements in the above areas could lessen the degree of uncertainties that exist."
Date: May 10, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Department of Veterans Affairs: Improved Measures Needed to Assess Supplemental Loan Servicing Program

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) Loan Guaranty Program, which guarantees mortgage loans for qualified lenders, provides additional assistance to those who face financial hardship and possible foreclosure. This report discusses VA's supplemental loan servicing program. GAO (1) assesses VA's implementation of its policies and procedures for servicing troubled loans and (2) analyzes VA's measures for assessing the effectiveness of its supplemental servicing program and ability to generate meaningful data for overseeing and improving loan servicing. GAO found that the three regional loan centers it visited generally conformed with VA policies and procedures and had procedures in place to ensure that VA's loan servicing representatives complied with VA policies and procedures. Two issues affect VA's ability to effectively manage its supplemental servicing program. First, VA lacks meaningful performance measures that would allow it to accurately assess the effectiveness of its program. Second, VA's computer system has been unable to generate useful and timely management reports that regional loan center managers and headquarters staff could use to manage their supplemental loan servicing program."
Date: May 4, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Nuclear Cleanup: DOE Should Reevaluate Waste Disposal Options Before Building New Facilities

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Unless the Department of Energy (DOE) revisits its disposal needs and its current option for disposing of wastes off-site, it could miss opportunities to reduce cleanup costs at the Fernald, Oak Ridge, and the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) sites and at other sites, such as Paducah, that might propose the development of new on-site facilities. Building in a decision checkpoint before major investment decisions are finalized could identify instances in which the use of off-site disposal would be less expensive, or when the cost difference no longer outweighs the long-term risks associated with on-site disposal. Such validation of the cost comparison is especially important in instances in which DOE is aware that the scope or timeframe of the cleanup effort has changed dramatically. Remaining open to new proposals for off-site disposal would also inject an element of competition into this process. Thus, even if the validation did nothing more than confirm the original decision to dispose of the wastes on-site, it has the potential to ensure that costs are kept to a minimum."
Date: May 25, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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DEA's Mobile Enforcement Teams: Steps Taken to Enhance Program Management, but More Can Be Done

Description: A chapter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "This report discusses the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Mobile Enforcement Team Program. GAO found that since the program was established in 1995, DEA has enhanced its management of the program and provided for greater headquarters oversight and monitoring. In implementing the program and carrying out deployments, the field division METs generally complied with some of the pertinent requirements and guidelines that GAO reviewed. However, some DEA headquarters files did not contain adequate documentation, GAO could not determine whether the METs consistently and adequately assessed the requesting local law enforcement agencies' abilities to address, on their own, the drug and related violence problems for which DEA's program assistance was requested. DEA expects the program to focus on specific, targeted gangs in the areas in which the METs are deployed and that deployments will generally continue until the targeted individuals are arrested and the targeted drug gangs have been disrupted or dismantled. Consistent with the nature and objectives of the program, investigators focused primarily on street-level drug dealers and were mostly local and regional in scope. DEA collects data on various performance measures to assess the results of individual deployments and the overall program. It reports internally and externally on program results for some of the performance measures. However, the measures have problems and limitations related primarily to the inconsistency in data collection."
Date: May 24, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Securities Investor Protection: Steps Needed to Better Disclose SIPC Policies to Investors

Description: A chapter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970 created the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) to help protect customers against losses from the failure of a securities firm. However, the large number of claims denied in several recent SIPC liquidation proceedings has raised concerns that some SIPC policies and practices may unduly limit the actual protection afforded customers. This report discusses (1) the basis for SIPC policies involving unauthorized trading and the extent that these policies are disclosed to investors; (2) the basis for SIPC policies involving the affiliates of SIPC member firms and the extent that these policies are disclosed to investors; (3) SEC oversight of SIPC; and (4) the disclosure rules for SIPC, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and state insurance guarantee associations, as well as the related implications for consumers as the financial services industry consolidates."
Date: May 25, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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