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Posthearing Questions Related to Assessing Progress in Human Capital Management

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "On July 20, 2004, GAO testified before the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs on "Building the 21st Century Federal Workforce: Assessing Progress in Human Capital Management." This letter responds to committee members' request that GAO provide answers to follow-up questions."
Date: September 3, 2004
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Assessing the Reliability of Computer-Processed Data (Superseded by GAO-09-680G)

Description: Guidance issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "This publication has been superseded by GAO-09-680G, Assessing the Reliability of Computer-Processed Data, July 2009. GAO published a guide to assist its auditing staff in ensuring the reliability of computer-based data. The guidance provides a flexible, risk-based framework for data reliability assessments that can be geared to the specific circumstances of each engagement. The framework is built on (1) making use of all existing information about the data; (2) performing at least a minimal level of data testing; (3) doing only the amount of work necessary to determine whether the data are reliable enough for GAO's purposes; (4) maximizing professional judgment; and (5) bringing the appropriate people, including management, to the table at key decision points."
Date: October 1, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Use of the Railroad Retirement Board Occupational Disability Program across the Rail Industry

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "We recently reported that Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) workers applied for U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) occupational disability benefits at a rate 12 times higher than workers from the other commuter railroads covered under the Railroad Retirement Act. RRB provides an occupational disability benefit to eligible workers whose physical or mental impairments prevent them from performing their specific railroad jobs. For example, a railroad engineer who cannot frequently climb, bend, or reach, as required by the job, may be found occupationally disabled. On March 18, 2009, Congress asked us to conduct a systematic review of RRB's occupational disability program. Per our discussions following the release of our September 2009 report on LIRR and commuter rail workers' experience with the program, Congress refined its request. It told us that its primary interest was quickly determining whether unusual patterns in claims like those exhibited at LIRR exist elsewhere across the rail industry, including class I, II, and III railroads. This letter formally conveys the information we provided during a briefing with Congress on December 2, 2009. In summary, we found that no other rail employers in our analysis had the consistently high rates of occupational disability awards that existed at LIRR from calendar years 2004 to 2007, the most current data available at the time of our review."
Date: February 4, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Department of Veterans Affairs' Lack of Timely and Accurate Information on Unexpended Balances Limits Effective Management and Congressional Oversight

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) holds about 5 percent of the real property owned by the federal government in terms of building floor area, including such facilities as hospitals and office buildings. VA's responsibility for managing its real property includes the construction of its facilities and cemeteries. Because these construction projects can span several years, VA is authorized to carry forward fund balances from year to year in its construction accounts. VA is responsible for keeping track of and managing these balances to ensure that any unexpended balances that remain after construction projects are completed are redirected to other construction project needs within the agency. VA's budgets for new construction exist in two accounts--Major Construction and Minor Construction--which are funded as separate line items within the appropriation. For purposes of this report, we refer to the Major and Minor Construction accounts as VA's construction accounts. Construction projects undertaken to replace existing facility components are funded through the Non-Recurring Maintenance (NRM) portion of the Medical Facilities budget account. For purposes of this report, we refer to the NRM as VA's facility account. Under the Comptroller General's authority to conduct evaluations on his own initiative, and as part of a continued effort to assist Congress in overseeing real property management issues, we examined VA's management of unexpended construction balances. Specifically, we addressed the following question: To what extent does VA have readily available information about unexpended balances in its construction and facility accounts to effectively manage these funds?"
Date: May 16, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Observations on the National Science Foundation's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the National Science Foundation's (NSF) fiscal year (FY) 2000 performance plan, which was submitted to Congress in response to the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, focusing on: (1) assessing the usefulness of the agency's plan for decisionmaking; and (2) identifying the degree of improvement the agency's FY 2000 performance plan represents over the FY 1999 plan."
Date: July 20, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Firms Reported to Have Commercial Activity in the Iranian Energy Sector and U.S. Government Contracts

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "On March 23, 2010, we issued a report entitled Firms Reported in Open Sources as Having Commercial Activity in Iran's Oil, Gas, and Petrochemical Sectors. Based on open sources, we identified 41 foreign firms as having commercial activity in these vital sectors of Iran's economy from 2005 to 2009. As you requested, this report identifies which of the 41 firms in our March 2010 report had contracts with the United States government from fiscal years 2005 to 2009. Our March 2010 report and this report are intended to support congressional consideration of U.S. sanctions against Iran, including proposed legislation to expand the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA)."
Date: May 4, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Observations on the Department of Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Labor's fiscal year (FY) 2000 performance plan, focusing on assessing the: (1) usefulness of the agency's plan for decisionmaking purposes; and (2) degree of improvement the agency's FY 2000 performance plan represents over the FY 1999 plan."
Date: July 20, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Multiyear Procurement Authority for the Virginia Class Submarine Program

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "On May 29, 2003 GAO briefed the Subcommittee on Defense, House Committee on Appropriations' staff on the fiscal year 2004 budget request for the Virginia class submarine program. This letter summarizes the information we provided in that briefing on the advantages that multiyear procurement authority offers the Virginia class submarine program as well as the risks of actually realizing these advantages."
Date: June 23, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Preliminary Observations on DOD Estimates of Contract Termination Liability

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In its review of guidance and practices related to contract termination liability estimates, the Department of Defense (DOD) found that weapons programs generally received estimates of contract termination liability from contractors;, although there is no comprehensive guidance on how or when programs should require or consider these estimates. DOD plans to include additional language to help ensure that program managers are aware of the need to consider termination liability before contract award and during the life of a contract in its next update of its acquisition management guidance."
Date: November 12, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NASA's Administrative Review of a Patent Infringement Claim

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) administrative review of a patent infringement claim, focusing on: (1) whether NASA adhered to established procedures in conducting its administrative review of the inventor's infringement claim; and (2) what criteria NASA used in reaching its decision."
Date: August 8, 2000
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Has Been Established but It is Premature to Evaluate its Effectiveness

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Title I of the Global AIDS and Tuberculosis Relief Act provided for the creation of a trust fund to be administered by the World Bank to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The act mandates that the Comptroller General of the United States submit a report to Congress evaluating the effectiveness of the fund within 2 years of enactment of the statute. In January 2002, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria was formally established, but as of May 2002, funds had not been disbursed to any project. GAO reviewed the status of the Global Fund and found that as of May 2002, the Global Fund had received more than $2 billion in pledges, with $700 million available for disbursement in 2002. The United States has pledged a total of $300 million to the Fund through fiscal year 2002, and the administration has requested an additional $200 million in its fiscal year 2003 budget request. At its first board meeting in January 2002, the Fund called for proposals for its first round of grants and had received 322 proposals for projects in 101 countries by the March deadline. At its second board meeting in April 2002, the Fund awarded a total of $378 million over 2 years to 40 programs in 31 countries and also agreed to a fast-track process to approve an additional $238 million for 18 proposals in 12 countries."
Date: June 7, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Highway Trust Fund Expenditures on Purposes Other than Construction and Maintenance of Highways and Bridges during Fiscal Years 2004-2008

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Highway Trust Fund (HTF) was created in 1956 to finance the construction of the Interstate Highway System. This system, built in partnership with state and local governments for over 50 years, has become central to transportation in the United States. Over these 50 years, the federal role in surface transportation has expanded to include broader goals and more programs. Although most surface transportation funds remain dedicated to highway infrastructure, federal surface transportation programs now serve additional transportation, environmental, and societal purposes such as construction of pedestrian walkways and safety enforcement facilities along border regions. The 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) authorized $244.1 billion over 5 years for highways, highway safety, and public transportation, with the HTF serving as the funding source for most of the act's programs. In addition to authorizing funds for construction and maintenance of highways and bridges, the act specifies other purposes for which funding must or may be used, including, but not limited to, safety; metropolitan planning; transit; and transportation enhancement activities, such as trails for transportation purposes, pedestrian walkways, bicycle lanes and parking, and related projects. Some of these activities have elements related to, or that contribute to, construction and maintenance of highways and bridges. Within the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are responsible for administering the grant programs funded by the HTF. In response to Congressional concerns regarding resource challenges facing the nation's current surface transportation programs and policies, this report provides information on the amount of HTF monies the DOT agencies obligated for purposes other than construction and ...
Date: June 30, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Information Security Issues

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This letter responds to congressional request that GAO address additional questions arising from the May 19, 2009, hearing on federal information security held by the Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization, and Procurement. In that hearing, we discussed the current state of information security throughout the federal government and agency efforts to comply with the requirements of the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA). Congress had the following two questions: (1) Please comment on the need for improved cyber security relating to S.773, the proposed Cybersecurity Act of 2009; and (2) Please provide recommendations to improve the Federal Information Security Management Act."
Date: June 30, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Review of U.S. Response to the Honduran Political Crisis of 2009

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "On June 28, 2009, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was detained by his country's military and flown to Costa Rica. Zelaya's removal from Honduras followed several months of political polarization within Honduras in response to a number of controversial actions taken by Zelaya, including efforts to hold a national poll on June 28, 2009. Zelaya's stated purpose for the poll was to ask Hondurans if there should be a referendum on whether the country should convoke a national constituent assembly to approve a new constitution. However, Honduran officials from other government institutions stated that they believed Zelaya would use the results of the poll to suspend the Honduran constitution. Immediately following the removal of Zelaya, the Honduran National Congress voted in Roberto Micheletti, President of the National Congress at the time, to replace Zelaya as President of Honduras. U.S. policy toward Honduras in the months preceding Zelaya's removal was to support the rule of law and the Honduran constitution, and to encourage Honduras' political actors to resolve their differences consensually and within Honduran law. In response to Zelaya's removal, U.S. officials characterized the events of June 28, 2009, as a coup. On the day of Zelaya's removal, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released statements calling on Hondurans to respect democratic norms and the constitutional order, and to resolve their political disputes peacefully and through dialogue. The U.S. Ambassador to Honduras characterized Zelaya's removal as a breakdown of the constitutional order and noted that President Obama would only recognize Zelaya as the legitimate president of Honduras. U.S. policy after Zelaya's removal was to assist Honduras in reaching a legal, constitutional, and negotiated resolution to the political crisis, which would include allowing for Zelaya's return to the ...
Date: October 20, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NASA Needs to Better Assess Contract Termination Liability Risks and Ensure Consistency in Its Practices

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) procures most of its goods and services through contracts, and it terminates very few of them. In fiscal year 2010, for example, NASA's procurements, ranging from small contracts for human resources consulting services to multimillion dollar contracts to build and operate spacecraft, totaled approximately $17.4 billion, representing about 83.4 percent of the agency's obligations that year. That same year, it terminated 28 of 16,343 active contracts and orders--a termination rate of about .17 percent. This rate is about the same--less than 0.2 percent--for each of the past 5 fiscal years. NASA contract terminations--the complete or partial cancellation of work under a contract before the contract's period of performance ends--are rare but could become more common in the future. The federal government is facing real fiscal limitations and will have to make difficult choices about upcoming priorities. This reality makes it more important than ever that NASA manage its projects as efficiently and effectively as possible and within its budget. This is a struggle for NASA. Our work has shown that NASA's large-scale projects tend to cost more and take longer to develop than planned. In this time of calls for greater fiscal austerity, NASA recognizes that it has to operate within its budget and that its projects must be affordable and sustainable over the long term. If NASA cannot address some of the issues that have led to cost and schedule growth for its projects in the past, tough decisions may need to be made about whether or not to start new projects or which projects to terminate, as additional funding could be scarce. As demonstrated by the proposed cancellation of NASA's Constellation program, a program that we have reported to ...
Date: July 12, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Differing Scope and Methodology in GAO and University of California Reports Account for Variations in Cost Estimates for Homosexual Conduct Policy

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Congress requested information concerning differences in cost estimates for implementing the Department of Defense's (DOD) homosexual conduct policy reported by GAO and a University of California Blue Ribbon Commission (Commission). In February 2005, we estimated that the cost to recruit and train replacements for enlisted servicemembers separated under the policy from fiscal years 1994 through 2003 was about $190.5 million. A year later, the Commission estimated that the cost was at least $363.8 million over the same time period--91 percent more than our estimate. This report answers the following questions: (1) What factors contributed to the difference in estimated costs reported by GAO and the Commission? (2) What factors accounted for the difference in estimated enlistee training costs in our 1998 and 2005 reports?"
Date: July 13, 2006
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Housing Assistance Council's Use of Appropriated Funds

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 authorized appropriations of $10 million annually for the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) from fiscal years 2009 through 2011. Established in 1971, HAC is a nonprofit rural housing organization that aims to improve housing conditions for low-income rural residents, especially in high-need areas such as Indian country and Appalachia and among groups such as farmworkers. As part of its mission, HAC also offers technical assistance in developing affordable rural housing and capacity building to a variety of groups involved in rural housing. HAC signs agreements each year with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) detailing how it will use its appropriations. The 2008 act required GAO to report on HAC's use of appropriated funds over the last 7 years, from 2003 to 2009--a period when HAC received more than $20 million in appropriations. To respond to this mandate, our work had four objectives: to (1) describe HAC programs and activities, (2) identify the sources of HAC's funding and its use of the funds it receives, (3) discuss the results of HAC's programs and activities, and (4) determine what is known about HAC's effectiveness in assisting rural communities."
Date: December 6, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Department of Defense's Civilian Human Capital Strategic Plan Does Not Meet Most Statutory Requirements

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The achievement of the Department of Defense's (DOD) mission is dependent in large part on the skills and expertise of its civilian workforce--which consists of almost 700,000 personnel, who develop policy, provide intelligence, manage finances, and acquire and maintain weapon systems. With more than 50 percent of its civilian personnel becoming eligible to retire in the next few years, DOD may find it difficult to fill certain mission-critical jobs with qualified personnel. Strategic workforce planning, an integral part of human capital management, helps ensure that an organization has staff with the necessary skills and competencies to accomplish its strategic goals. We have previously reported that it is critical that DOD engage in effective strategic workforce planning to ensure that its human capital reforms have maximum effectiveness and value. In 2007, we reported that strategic human capital management remained a high-risk area because the federal government now faces one of the most significant transformations to the civil service in half a century, as momentum grows toward making governmentwide changes to agency pay, classification, and performance management systems. In January 2006, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 20065 directed DOD to develop and submit to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees a strategic plan to shape and improve the DOD civilian employee workforce. Section 1122 (b) of the act provided that the plan address eight requirements. On November 6, 2007--ten months after the due date--DOD submitted to the committees both its plan titled "Department of Defense Civilian Human Capital Strategic Plan 2006-2010," and its implementation report titled "The Department of Defense Human Capital Strategic Plan for Civilian Employees of the Department of Defense, Fiscal Year 2006 Implementation Report." This latter DOD report, however, noted that it responded ...
Date: February 6, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Observations on the Coast Guard's and the Department of Homeland Security's Fleet Studies

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Fleet Mix Phase One, which was not cost constrained, indicated that the planned program of record does not fully meet long-term strategic goals and found that, to meet these goals, the Coast Guard requires a fleet that could cost as much as $65 billion to acquire, which is about $40 billion more than the $24.2 billion program of record. Coast Guard officials stated that the analysis supports the continued pursuit of the program of record. However, DHS Program Analysis & Evaluation (PA&E) and OMB officials told us that the analysis has limited utility without cost constraints and trade-offs."
Date: May 31, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Observations on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Fiscal Year 1999 Performance Report and Fiscal Year 2001 Performance Plan

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) fiscal year (FY) 1999 performance report and FY 2001 performance plans required by the Government Performance and Results Act."
Date: June 30, 2000
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Preliminary Observations on the Potential Effects of the Proposed Performance Rights Act on the Recording and Broadcast Radio Industries

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The recording and broadcast radio industries combined generated over $25 billion for the U.S. economy in 2008. These industries provide jobs for a range of skilled workers, including songwriters, producers, engineers and technicians, and radio announcers, among others. At the same time, recording studios and radio stations allow musicians, vocalists, and performers to share their talents with listeners across the nation. Through their work, the recording and broadcast radio industries contribute to the everyday American experience by creating and delivering music to people in their homes, cars, and workplaces. Beyond providing a popular form of entertainment, the recording and broadcast radio industries have helped music become a prominent feature of American culture. Music, like other forms of creative art, is protected by copyright law. Congress is considering legislation that would expand copyright protection for sound recordings. In particular, the proposed Performance Rights Act would eliminate an exemption that currently allows analog, nonsubscription AM and FM radio (broadcast radio stations) to broadcast a sound recording without acquiring permission from and paying a royalty to the copyright holder, performers, and musicians. The act would amend the statutory license for nonsubscription transmission services to include terrestrial broadcast stations. Under the amendments to the statutory license, a radio station would pay a royalty based on its revenue and its status as a commercial or noncommercial station. Furthermore, the proposed act exempts some uses of music, such as music in broadcasts of religious services and the incidental use of music by nonmusic stations. Under the House bill (the proposed act), revenues from the proposed statutory royalty would be divided among recipients as follows: 50 percent would be paid to the copyright holder, 45 percent would be paid to the featured performer or musician, ...
Date: February 26, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Human Capital Flexibilities

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "GAO discussed human capital flexibilities as they relate to the specific authorities granted to GAO through legislation enacted in 1980 and 2000. The GAO Personnel Act of 1980 implemented a broad banded pay-for-performance system for GAO analysts and specialists and certain special Comptroller General appointment authorities that were granted by Congress. The October 2000 Personnel Flexibilities Act gave GAO additional tools to: realign its workforce in light of mission needs and overall budgetary constraints; correct skills imbalances; and reduce high-grade, managerial, or supervisory positions without reducing the overall number of GAO employees. GAO believes that these tools have provided the agency with much needed flexibility to perform its mission in an efficient, effective and economical manner while incorporating adequate safeguards to prevent abuse of employees."
Date: August 9, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Internal Control Management and Evaluation Tool (Supersedes GAO-01-131G)

Description: Guidance issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "This publication superseded GAO-01-131G, Internal Control Management and Evaluation Tool: Exposure Draft, February 2001. This guide is intended to assist agencies maintain or implement effective internal controls and, when needed, to help determine what, where, and how improvements can be implemented."
Date: August 1, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Department of Defense Pilot Authority for Acquiring Information Technology Services under OMB Circular A-76

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Federal agencies are required to use the procedures contained in OMB Circular A-76 in determining whether commercial services should be performed by government personnel or through contracts with private-sector entities. In general, the circular instructs agencies to base these decisions on competitions among public and private-sector entities conducted in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Under the FAR, agencies have broad discretion in establishing the criteria they will use to select the winners of these competitions. An agency may decide, for example, that selection of the lowest priced, acceptable offer would best meet its needs. The FAR advises that this may be appropriate when requirements are clearly defined and the risk of unsuccessful performance is minimal. On the other hand, the FAR says that it may be in the best interest of an agency to provide for selecting other than the low offer when requirements are less definite, development work is required, or the risk of unsuccessful performance is high. An evaluation scheme that allows for considering the relative importance of both price and technical factors (such as an offeror's management capability, experience, or ability to apply new technology) is commonly known as the "best value" tradeoff process. The use of best value permits tradeoffs between price and non-price factors, allowing acceptance of other than the lowest-priced proposal. Although the FAR allows agencies to use different source selection approaches, public-private competitions at DOD must comply with section 2461 of title 10 of the U.S. Code. That section requires that before a function being performed by 10 or more DOD civilian personnel may be converted to performance by a contractor, DOD must determine that performance of the function by a contractor, rather than by DOD employees, will result ...
Date: May 29, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department