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Single-Family Housing: HUD's Risk-Based Oversight of Appraisers Could Be Enhanced

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Incomplete or inaccurate appraisals resulting in property overvaluations may expose the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Single-Family Mortgage Insurance programs--which insured about 3.7million single-family mortgage loans with a total value of about $425 billion in fiscal years 2001 through 2003--to greater financial risks. In 1999, GAO reported on the need for improvements in HUD's oversight of appraisers, which has historically been a challenge for the department. Also, in the past, GAO reported that, due in part to poor oversight of appraisers, HUD's Single-Family Mortgage Insurance programs remained a high-risk area. GAO conducted this review as a follow up to the 1999 report. This report examines (1) how HUD ensures that appraisers it approves are qualified to perform FHA appraisals, (2) the extent to which HUD employs a risk-based monitoring approach, and (3) HUD's efforts to take enforcement action against noncompliant appraisers."
Date: November 5, 2004
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Medicare: Advisory Opinions as a Means of Clarifying Program Requirements

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Health care providers are concerned about the quality of Medicare guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Specifically, they have reported that (1) they receive unclear guidance on program requirements and (2) because policies and procedures change frequently, they may rely on obsolete guidance, resulting in billing errors. Some government agencies issue advisory opinions in response to specific questions from requesters. These opinions permit agencies to apply law and regulation to a particular set of facts and provide requesters with specific guidance. The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 directed GAO to determine the appropriateness and feasibility of establishing in the Secretary of Health and Human Services authority to issue legally binding advisory opinions to interpret Medicare regulations. GAO (1) identified factors relevant in establishing an advisory opinion process and (2) assessed the role such a process could play in clarifying program requirements. GAO examined four federal agencies' advisory opinion processes and interviewed officials from organizations representing Medicare stakeholders to learn how such a process might address their concerns."
Date: December 8, 2004
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Smithsonian Institution: Funding Challenges Affect Facilities' Conditions and Security, Endangering Collections

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Smithsonian Institution (Smithsonian) is the world's largest museum complex and research organization. Its annual operating and capital program revenues come from its own private trust fund assets and federal appropriations, with the majority of funds for facilities coming from federal appropriations. In 2005, GAO reported that the Smithsonian's current funding would not be sufficient to cover its estimated $2.3 billion in facilities projects through 2013 and recommended that the Smithsonian Board of Regents, its governing body, develop and implement a funding plan. As requested, GAO described changes in the condition of the Smithsonian's facilities and estimate for project costs since 2005, analyzed the Smithsonian's steps taken and challenges regarding protecting and managing its real property portfolio, and assessed the Smithsonian's efforts to develop and implement strategies to fund its facilities' projects. GAO reviewed relevant documents and interviewed officials from the Smithsonian and other organizations."
Date: September 28, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Trade Adjustment Assistance: States Have Fewer Training Funds Available than Labor Estimates When Both Expenditures and Obligations Are Considered

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Manufacturing workers face an uncertain future as manufacturing employment declines--more than 3 million manufacturing jobs have been lost in this country since 2000 because of international trade as well as other factors. The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, administered by the Department of Labor (Labor), is the nation's primary program providing income support, job training, and other benefits for manufacturing workers who lose their jobs as a result of international trade. During the 3-year period from fiscal years 2004 through 2006, Labor certified nearly 4,700 petitions for TAA covering an estimated 400,000 workers. For fiscal year 2006, Congress appropriated about $966 million for TAA, of which about $220 million was for training trade-affected workers. Each year, Labor initially allocates 75 percent of the training funds, or $165 million, to states according to a formula developed by Labor. Labor holds the remaining 25 percent in reserve to distribute to states throughout the year as the need arises because of unexpected layoffs. To minimize year-to-year fluctuations in state funding, Labor uses a "hold harmless" policy that ensures that each state's initial allocation is at least 85 percent of the initial allocation received in the previous year. States have 3 years to spend TAA funds--fiscal year 2006 funds must be used by the end of fiscal year 2008. In addition, to cover administrative costs, Labor allocates to each state an additional 15 percent of its training allocation. Labor can also provide states with supplemental funding to assist TAA participants through National Emergency Grants (NEG)--discretionary awards intended to temporarily expand service capacity in response to major layoffs. During hearings held in June 2007, Labor asserted that, based on reported expenditures, all states had sufficient funds to provide training benefits to ...
Date: November 2, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Foreign Assistance: USAID Needs to Improve Its Strategic Planning to Address Current and Future Workforce Needs

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) oversees U.S. foreign assistance programs in more than 100 countries. In 2003, GAO recommended that USAID develop a comprehensive workforce planning system to better identify its staffing needs and requirements. Key principles for effective strategic workforce planning are important to an agency's ability to carry out its mission. GAO examined (1) changes in USAID's workforce and program funding since 2004, (2) the extent to which it has developed a strategic workforce plan, (3) the efforts it has taken to implement two key human capital initiatives, and (4) the challenges and constraints that affect its workforce planning and management. To conduct the work, GAO analyzed staffing and program funding data; reviewed documentation related to the agency's workforce planning; and interviewed officials in Washington, D.C., and at six overseas missions selected to obtain an appropriate mix of geographic coverage, programs, and workforce size and composition."
Date: June 30, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Trade Adjustment Assistance: Changes to the Workers Program Benefited Participants but Little Is Known about Outcomes

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Labor (Labor) was challenged to process the substantial increase in petitions filed for the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Workers program after related legislation was enacted in 2009. Labor initially had insufficient capacity to handle this increased workload, leading to processing delays and data recording errors. For example, in the quarter after the 2009 legislation took effect, Labor took an average of 153 days to process a petition—nearly four times the statutory limit. Labor responded with corrective action, including hiring new staff and adding additional quality control steps for processing petitions. Partly as a result of these efforts, processing times fell substantially. Moreover, GAO found that Labor's petition investigation process, as of June 2012, generally conformed to best practices for internal controls."
Date: September 28, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Military Operations: Actions Needed to Improve DOD's Stability Operations Approach and Enhance Interagency Planning

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has frequently been involved in stability and/or reconstruction operations that typically last 5 to 8 years and surpass combat operations in the cost of human lives and dollars. A 2005 presidential directive requires DOD and State to integrate stability activities with military contingency plans. GAO was asked to address (1) DOD's approach to enhance stability operations capabilities, and challenges that have emerged in implementing its approach; (2) DOD planning for stability operations and the extent of interagency involvement; and (3) the extent to which DOD is applying lessons learned in future plans. To address these issues, GAO assessed DOD policy and planning documents, reviewed planning efforts at three combatant commands, and evaluated DOD's use of lessons learned. GAO is also conducting a related study of the Department of State's efforts to lead and coordinate stability operations."
Date: May 31, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Trade Adjustment Assistance: Labor Should Take Action to Ensure Performance Data Are Complete, Accurate and Accessible

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In the current tight budgetary environment, program performance is likely to be an increasingly significant factor used to help policymakers assess programs and determine funding levels. Given concerns over the quality of performance data for the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program and the importance of having meaningful information to assess program performance, we examined (1) whether the TAA performance data provide a credible picture of the program's performance, (2) what TAA performance data the Department of Labor (Labor) makes available to the public and states and the usefulness of the data for managing the program, and (3) what Labor is doing to address issues with the quality of TAA data submitted by states."
Date: April 25, 2006
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Arctic Capabilities: DOD Addressed Many Specified Reporting Elements in Its 2011 Arctic Report but Should Take Steps to Meet Near- and Long-term Needs

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "DODÂ’s Arctic Report, submitted May 31, 2011, addressed three and partially addressed two of the elements specified in the House Report."
Date: January 13, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Peacekeeping: Thousands Trained but United States Is Unlikely to Complete All Activities by 2010 and Some Improvements Are Needed

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In 2004, in response to the Group of Eight (G8) Sea Island Summit, the United States established the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), a 5-year program to build peacekeeping capabilities worldwide, with a focus on Africa. Since 2005, the Department of State (State) has allocated $374 million and selected 52 countries to participate in the program. Congress mandated that GAO assess and report on the initiative. This report assesses (1) progress made in meeting GPOI goals, (2) whether State is consistently assessing the quality and effectiveness of the training, and (3) the extent to which countries meet program criteria and whether trainees are adequately screened for human rights abuses. GAO assessed State and Department of Defense (DOD) data and program documents, interviewed U.S. and host country officials, and conducted field work in eight countries."
Date: June 26, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Program Evaluation: Strategies to Facilitate Agencies' Use of Evaluation in Program Management and Policy Making

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In a governmentwide survey, GAO found that most federal managers lack recentevaluations of their programs. Thirty-seven percent reported that an evaluation had been completed within the past 5 years of any program, operation, or project they were involved in. Another 40 percent of managers reported that they did not know if an evaluation had been completed. However, 80 percent of managers who did have evaluations reported that those evaluations contributed to a moderate or greater extent to improving program management or performance and to assessing program effectiveness or value. Fewer reported that evaluations contributed moderately or more to allocating resources within a program (67 percent) or streamlining programs (61 percent)."
Date: June 26, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Transfer Students: Postsecondary Institutions Could Promote More Consistent Consideration of Coursework by Not Basing Determinations on Accreditation

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Each year thousands of students transfer from one postsecondary institution to another. The credit transfer process, to the extent that it delays students' progress, can affect the affordability of postsecondary education and the time it takes students to graduate. Seeking information on the processes and requirements that postsecondary institutions have in place to assess requests to transfer academic credits, Congress asked GAO to examine (1) how postsecondary education institutions decide which credits to accept for transfer, (2) how states and accrediting agencies facilitate the credit transfer process, and (3) the implications for students and the federal government of students' inability to transfer credits."
Date: October 18, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Telecommunications: Direct Broadcast Satellite Subscribership Has Grown Rapidly, but Varies across Different Types of Markets

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since its introduction in 1994, direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service has grown dramatically, and this service is now the principal competitor to cable television service. Although DBS service has traditionally been a rural service, passage of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999 enhanced the competitiveness of DBS service in suburban and urban markets. GAO agreed to examine (1) how DBS subscribership changed since 2001; (2) how DBS penetration rates differ across urban, suburban, and rural areas; (3) how DBS penetration rates differ across markets based on the degree and type of competition provided by cable operators; and (4) the factors that appear to influence DBS penetration rates across cable franchise areas. To complete this report, GAO prepared descriptive statistics and an econometric model using data from the Federal Communications Commission's annual Cable Price Survey and the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association's subscriber count database."
Date: April 6, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Coast Guard: Change in Course Improves Deepwater Management and Oversight, but Outcome Still Uncertain

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Coast Guard's Deepwater Program, under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has experienced serious performance and management problems. Deepwater is intended to replace or modernize Coast Guard vessels, aircraft, and the communications and electronic systems that link them together. As of fiscal year 2008, over $4 billion has been appropriated for Deepwater. The Coast Guard awarded a contract in June 2002 to a lead system integrator, Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS), to execute the program using a system-of-systems approach. In response to a Senate report accompanying a Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill, 2008, this GAO report assesses whether the changes the Coast Guard is making to its management and acquisition approach to Deepwater will put it in a position to realize better outcomes. GAO reviewed key program documents and interviewed Coast Guard and contractor personnel."
Date: June 24, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Housing Administration: Improving Disposition and Oversight Practices May Increase Returns on Foreclosed Property Sales

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) performance in selling its foreclosed properties--known as real estate-owned (REO) properties--lagged the performance of both of the government-sponsored enterprises (enterprises), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. FHA disposed of more than 400,000 properties from January 2007 through June 2012. Its combined 2007-2012 returns, measured by the net execution rate (net sales proceeds divided by independently assessed property values) were about 4 to 6 percentage points below the enterprises' returns. After controlling for certain differences in their properties' characteristics (e.g., value, location, and local market conditions), differences in combined returns between FHA and the enterprises persisted at an estimated 2 to 5 percentage points."
Date: June 20, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Telecommunications: Greater Involvement Needed by FCC in the Management and Oversight of the E-Rate Program

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since 1998, the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) E-rate program has committed more than $13 billion to help schools and libraries acquire Internet and telecommunications services. Recently, however, allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse by some E-rate program participants have come to light. As steward of the program, FCC must ensure that participants use E-rate funds appropriately and that there is managerial and financial accountability surrounding the funds. GAO reviewed (1) the effect of the current structure of the E-rate program on FCC's management of the program, (2) FCC's development and use of E-rate performance goals and measures, and (3) the effectiveness of FCC's oversight mechanisms in managing the program."
Date: February 9, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Commercial Aviation: Initial Small Community Air Service Development Projects Have Achieved Mixed Results

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Over the last decade significant changes have occurred in the airline industry. Many legacy carriers are facing challenging financial conditions and low cost carriers are attracting passengers away from some small community airports. These changes, and others, have challenged small communities to attract adequate commercial air service. To help small communities improve air service, Congress established the Small Community Air Service Development Program in 2000. This study reports on (1) how the Department of Transportation (DOT) has implemented the program; and (2) what goals and strategies have been used and what results have been obtained by the grants provided under the program."
Date: November 30, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Energy Efficiency: Long-standing Problems with DOE's Program for Setting Efficiency Standards Continue to Result in Forgone Energy Savings

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Energy (DOE) sets energy efficiency standards through the rulemaking process for certain consumer product categories, such as kitchen ranges, and industrial equipment, such as distribution transformers. Congress reported in 2005 that DOE was late in setting standards and required DOE to report every 6 months on the status of the backlog. GAO examined (1) the extent to which DOE has met its obligations to issue rules on minimum energy efficiency standards for consumer products and industrial equipment and (2) whether DOE's plan for clearing the backlog will be effective or can be improved. Among other things, GAO convened an expert panel on energy efficiency standards to identify causes and effects of delays and assess DOE's plans."
Date: January 31, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Rebuilding Iraq: More Comprehensive National Strategy Needed to Help Achieve U.S. Goals

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "According to the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq (NSVI) issued by the National Security Council (NSC), prevailing in Iraq is a vital U.S. interest because it will help win the war on terror and make America safer, stronger, and more certain of its future. This report (1) assesses the evolving U.S. national strategy for Iraq and (2) evaluates whether the NSVI and its supporting documents address the desirable characteristics of an effective national strategy developed by GAO in previous work. In this report, the NSVI and supporting documents are collectively referred to as the U.S. strategy for Iraq."
Date: July 11, 2006
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Logistics: Lack of Key Information May Impede DOD's Ability to Improve Supply Chain Management

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have focused attention on the performance of the Department of Defense's (DOD) supply chain management. According to DOD, it spent approximately $178 billion on its supply chain in fiscal year 2007. As a result of weaknesses in DOD's management of its supply chain, this area has been on GAO's list of high-risk federal government programs since 1990. DOD released its Logistics Roadmap in July 2008 to guide, measure, and track logistics improvements. DOD has identified two technologies included in this roadmap, item unique identification (IUID) and passive radio frequency identification (RFID), as having promise to address weaknesses in asset visibility. GAO reviewed (1) the extent to which the roadmap serves as a comprehensive, integrated strategy to improve logistics; and (2) the progress DOD has made implementing IUID and passive RFID. GAO reviewed the roadmap based on DOD statements about its intended purposes and visited sites where IUID and passive RFID were implemented."
Date: January 12, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Management: DOD Should Enhance Oversight of Equipment-Related Corrosion Projects

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Defense (DOD) has invested more than $63 million in 88 projects in fiscal years 2005 through 2010 to demonstrate new technology or methods addressing equipment-related corrosion. DOD's Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight (Corrosion Office) has collected a majority of required final and follow-on reports on the results of equipment-related corrosion projects and is taking steps to obtain outstanding reports. As of May 2013, GAO found project managers had submitted final reports for 55 of the 88 projects (about 63 percent) funded in fiscal years 2005 through 2010 and submitted follow-on reports for 27 of the 41 projects (about 66 percent) funded from 2005 through 2007."
Date: September 9, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Weather: FAA Is Reevaluating Services at Key Centers; Both FAA and the National Weather Service Need to Better Ensure Product Quality

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The National Weather Service's (NWS) weather products are a vital component of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) air traffic control system. In addition to providing aviation weather products developed at its own facilities, NWS also provides staff on-site at each of FAA's en route centers. This group of NWS meteorologists--called a center weather service unit--provides air traffic managers with forecasts and briefings on regional conditions including turbulence, icing, and freezing precipitation. GAO agreed to (1) determine the status of NWS's plans for restructuring the offices that provide aviation weather services at FAA's en route centers, (2) identify FAA's requirements and its alternative sources for these services, and (3) evaluate both agencies' current abilities to ensure the consistency and quality of these services. To do so, GAO evaluated agency plans for restructuring offices, defining requirements, and ensuring quality products, and interviewed agency officials."
Date: January 11, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Youthbuild Program: Analysis of Outcome Data Needed to Determine Long-Term Benefits

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since 1993, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has provided funding for Youthbuild, a competitive grant program that trains and educates disadvantaged youth and helps build low-income housing. In 2006, Youthbuild was transferred to the Department of Labor (Labor) to better align the Youthbuild program with existing youth workforce and training programs. In response to concerns about the overall quality of Youthbuild, a Senate report directed GAO to assess the program. GAO's objectives included (1) evaluating how HUD assessed and oversaw the program, (2) determining what results the program achieved, and (3) assessing how successful grantees were in obtaining outside funding. GAO analyzed Youthbuild performance data, visited Youthbuild sites, and interviewed agency officials."
Date: February 28, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Electricity Restructuring: Key Challenges Remain

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The electricity industry is in the midst of many changes, collectively referred to as restructuring, evolving from a highly regulated environment to one that places greater reliance on competition. This restructuring is occurring against a backdrop of constraints and challenges, including a shared responsibility for implementing and enforcing local, state, and federal laws affecting the electricity industry and an expected substantial increase in electricity demanded by consumers by 2025, requiring significant investment in new power plants and transmission lines. Furthermore, several recent incidents, including the largest blackout in U.S. history along the East Coast in 2003 and the energy crisis in California and other parts of the West in 2000 and 2001, have drawn attention to the need to examine the operation and direction of the industry. At Congress's request, this report summarizes results of previous GAO work on electricity restructuring, which was conducted in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. In particular, this report provides information on (1) what the federal government has done to restructure the electricity industry and the wholesale markets that it oversees, (2) how electricity markets have changed since restructuring began, and (3) GAO's views on key challenges that remain in restructuring the electricity industry."
Date: November 15, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department