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NASA: Significant Challenges Remain for Access, Use, and Sustainment of the International Space Station

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "NASA plans to use international partner and new domestic commercial launch vehicles to access, utilize, and sustain the International Space Station from 2012 through 2020. However, the agency faces challenges in transporting cargo and crew to the ISS as well as ensuring the station is fully utilized. NASA’s decision to rely on the new commercial vehicles to transport cargo starting in 2012 and to transport crew starting in 2017 is inherently risky because the vehicles are not yet proven and are experiencing delays in development. Further, NASA does not have agreements in place for international partners to provide cargo services to the ISS beyond 2016. The agency will also face a decision regarding the need to purchase additional seats on the Russian Soyuz vehicle beyond 2016, likely before commercial vehicles have made significant progress in development, given the three-year lead time necessary for acquiring a seat. This decision is further complicated because restrictions prohibit NASA from making certain payments to Russia in connection with the ISS unless the President makes a determination. Further, NASA currently expects to transport all cargo needed by the ISS in 51 flights through 2020, but if international partner agreements and commercial service contracts do not materialize as the agency plans for the years beyond 2016, the situation could lead to a potential cargo shortfall."
Date: March 28, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

This Isn't About Me: Communication Privacy Management Theory and Public Confession

Description: Individuals at the DFW Church publicly confess intensely personal information, such as drug and alcohol addiction, spousal and child abuse, stripping, and sexual abuse. Using communication privacy management theory (CPM), I examined the way individuals at the DFW Church manage their private information, how they make disclosure decisions, and how they manage boundaries around their private information. I interviewed 13 individuals who participated in public confession, and coded their responses to identify the common themes and tactics for making disclosure decisions. Through this process, I pioneer the application of CPM to examine public disclosure events, rather than dyadic or small group disclosures. I also expand our current understanding of motivations for disclosure; rather than focusing on selfish or therapeutic motivations, participants want to encourage others through their disclosure. In terms of boundary management, individuals at the DFW Church believe that God owns part, or all, of their information; thus, disclosing their pasts is "not about them." Participants construct a new identity through their testimony narrative, effectively putting the old person in the past and presenting a new, Christian identity to the church body for group approval. In this context, confessing a negative behavior becomes a way to build a positive image by showing the drastic reformation that has taken place in that person's life. Lastly, I propose the public disclosure model—which involves boundary testing, audience analysis, and choice of disclosure path—to be tested for use in future research.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Brittain, Kära Ann Caskey
Partner: UNT Libraries

Telecommunications: Subscriber Rates and Competition in the Cable Television Industry

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "In recent years, rates for cable service have increased at a faster pace than the general rate of inflation. GAO agreed to (1) examine the impact of competition on cable rates and service, (2) assess the reliability of information contained in the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) annual cable rate report, (3) examine the causes of recent cable rate increases, (4) assess the impact of ownership affiliations in the cable industry, (5) discuss why cable operators group networks into tiers, and (6) discuss options to address factors that could be contributing to cable rate increases. GAO issued its findings and recommendations in a report entitled Telecommunications: Issues Related to Competition and Subscriber Rates in the Cable Television Industry (GAO-04-8). In that report, GAO recommended that the Chairman of FCC take steps to improve the reliability, consistency, and relevance of information on cable rates and competition in the subscription video industry. In commenting on GAO's report, FCC agreed to make changes to its annual cable rate survey, but FCC questioned, on a cost/benefit basis, the utility of revising its process to keep the classification of effective competition up to date. GAO believes that FCC should examine whether cost-effective alternative processes could help provide more accurate information. This testimony is based on that report."
Date: March 25, 2004
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Telecommunications: German DTV Transition Differs from U.S. Transition in Many Respects, but Certain Key Challenges Are Similar

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In Berlin, Germany, the transition from analog to digital television (DTV), the DTV transition, culminated in the shutoff of analog television signals in August 2003. As GAO previously reported, the December 2006 deadline for the culmination of the DTV transition in the United States seems unlikely to be met. Failure to meet this deadline will delay the return of valuable spectrum for public safety and other commercial purposes. Thus, the rapid completion of the DTV transition in Berlin has sparked interest among policymakers and industry participants in the United States. At the request of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, GAO examined (1) the structure and regulation of the German television market, (2) how the Berlin DTV transition was achieved, and (3) whether there are critical components of how the DTV transition was achieved in Berlin and other areas of Germany that have relevance to the ongoing DTV transition in the United States."
Date: July 21, 2004
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Amtrak: Management and Accountability Issues Contribute to Unprofitability of Food and Beverage Service

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Amtrak has provided food and beverage service on its trains since it began operations in 1971. Amtrak has struggled since its inception to earn sufficient revenues and depends heavily on federal subsidies to remain solvent. While a small part of Amtrak's overall expenditures, Amtrak's food and beverage service illustrates concerns in Amtrak's overall cost containment, management and accountability issues. This testimony is based on GAO's work on Amtrak's management and performance as well as additional information gained from Amtrak and other transportation providers. This testimony focuses on (1) the provisions written into Amtrak's contract with Gate Gourmet to control costs, (2) the types of management controls Amtrak exercises to prevent overpayments, and (3) the information Amtrak collects and uses to monitor the service and to report to stakeholders such as its Board of Directors."
Date: June 9, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NASA: Ares I and Orion Project Risks and Key Indicators to Measure Progress

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is in the midst of two new development efforts as part of the Constellation Program--the Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle and the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle. These projects are critical to the success of the overall program, which will return humans to spaceflight after Space Shuttle retirement in 2010. To reduce the gap in human spaceflight, NASA plans to launch Ares I and Orion in 2015--5 years after the Shuttle's retirement. GAO has issued a number of reports and testimonies that touch on various aspects of NASA's Constellation Program, particularly the development efforts underway for the Orion and Ares I projects. These reports and testimonies have questioned the affordability and overall acquisition strategy for each project. NASA has revised the Orion acquisition strategy and delayed the Ares I preliminary design review based on GAO's recommendations in these reports. In addition, GAO continues to monitor these projects on an ongoing basis at the request of members of Congress. Based on this work, GAO was asked to testify on the types of challenges that NASA faces in developing the Ares I and Orion vehicles and identify the key indicators that decision makers could use to assess risks associated with common trouble spots in development. The information in this testimony is based on work completed in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards."
Date: April 3, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Telecommunications: Options for and Barriers to Spectrum Reform

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The radio-frequency spectrum is used to provide an array of wireless communications services that are critical to the U.S. economy and various government missions, such as national security. With demand for spectrum exploding, and most useable spectrum allocated to existing users, there is growing concern that the current spectrum management framework might not be able to respond adequately to future demands. This testimony, which is based on previous GAO reports, provides information on (1) the extent to which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted market-based mechanisms for commercial use, (2) the extent to which market-based mechanisms have been adopted for federal government users of spectrum, (3) options for improving spectrum management, and (4) potential barriers to spectrum reform."
Date: March 14, 2006
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Telecommunications: Market Developments in the Global Satellite Services Industry and the Implementation of the ORBIT Act

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In 2000, the Congress passed the Open-market Reorganization for the Betterment of International Telecommunications Act (ORBIT Act) to help promote a more competitive global satellite services market. The ORBIT Act called for the full privatization of INTELSAT, a former intergovernmental organization that provided international satellite services. In this testimony, GAO discusses (1) the impetus for the privatization of Intelsat as competition developed in the 1990s, (2) the extent to which the privatization steps required by the ORBIT Act have been implemented, and (3) whether access by global satellite companies to non-U.S. markets has improved since the enactment of the ORBIT Act."
Date: April 14, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NASA: Issues Surrounding the Transition from the Space Shuttle to the Next Generation of Human Space Flight Systems

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "On January 14, 2004, the President announced a new Vision for space exploration that directs the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to focus its efforts on returning humans to the moon by 2020 in preparation for future, more ambitions missions. Implementing the Vision will require hundreds of billions of dollars and a sustained commitment from multiple administrations and Congresses. Some of the funding for implementing exploration activities is expected to come from funding freed up after the retirement of the Space Shuttle, scheduled for 2010, and projected termination of U.S. participation in the International Space Station by 2016. Congress, while supportive of the effort has voiced concern over the potential gap in human space flight. In the NASA Authorization Act of 2005, Congress stated that it is the policy of the United States to have the capability for human access to space on a continuous basis. NASA has made it a priority to minimize the gap to the extent possible. GAO provides no recommendations in this statement. However, GAO continues to emphasize that given the Nation's fiscal challenges and NASA's past difficulty developing systems within cost, schedule, and performance parameters, it is imperative that the agency adequately manage this transition in a fiscally competent and prudent manner."
Date: March 28, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Telecommunications: Concerns Regarding the Structure and FCC's Management of the E-Rate Program

Description: Testimony 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, 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. This testimony is based on GAO's February 2005 report GAO-05-151, which 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 program oversight mechanisms."
Date: March 16, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NASA: Challenges in Completing and Sustaining the International Space Station

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This testimony discusses the challenges faced by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on the International Space Station (ISS) and the Space Shuttle. NASA is in the midst of one of the most challenging periods in its history. As part of its Vision for Space Exploration, NASA is simultaneously developing a range of new technologies and highly complex systems to support future exploration efforts, completing assembly of the space station, and retiring the space shuttle. This is NASA's biggest transition effort since landing humans on the moon more than 3 decades ago and then initiating the Space Shuttle Program a few years later. Taken together, these efforts create significant challenges in terms of managing investments, launch and other facilities, workforce, international partners, and suppliers. Clearly, any delays or problems in completing and sustaining the space station itself, may well have reverberating effects on NASA's ability to ramp up efforts to develop technologies needed for future exploration or to support other important missions. GAO has undertaken a body of work related to NASA's transition efforts that include NASA's industrial supplier base, its workforce challenges, development of new crew and cargo spacecraft, and NASA's assembly and sustainment activities related to the ISS. This statement focuses on the preliminary results of on-going efforts, as well as other GAO work completed to date. Specifically, it will address the following challenges: (1) executing plans to use the shuttle to complete the ISS; (2) maintenance of the shuttle workforce through retirement of the shuttle; and (3) filling the gap between the shuttle and new NASA-developed vehicles to service the ISS. NASA's ability to overcome these challenges will be critical to ensuring the availability of the International Space Station as a viable research entity ...
Date: July 24, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Postal Service Key Reasons for Postal Reform

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Both the Presidential Commission on the U.S. Postal Service and GAO's past work have reported that universal postal service is at risk and that reform is needed to minimize the risk of a significant taxpayer bailout or dramatic postal rate increases. The administration has also supported comprehensive postal reform. Recent congressional hearings have highlighted broad consensus on the need for postal reform among diverse stakeholders that include the Postal Service, postal employee organizations, the mailing industry, and Postal Service competitors. GAO has also testified in detail about the need for postal reform. In light of these developments, GAO was asked to briefly summarize the need for postal reform and elements that should be addressed by postal reform legislation. This statement for the record is based on prior GAO reports and testimonies."
Date: March 23, 2004
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Amtrak: Acela's Continued Problems Underscore the Importance of Meeting Broader Challenges in Managing Large-Scale Projects

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In 1996, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) executed contracts to build high-speed trainsets (a combination of locomotives and passenger cars) as part of the Northeast High Speed Rail Improvement Project. Since that time, Amtrak has experienced multiple challenges related to this program, including recently removing all trains from service due to brake problems. Amtrak has struggled since its inception to earn sufficient revenues and depends heavily on federal subsidies to remain solvent. The April 2005 action to remove the Acela trainsets--Amtrak's biggest revenue source--from service has only exacerbated problems by putting increased pressure on Amtrak's ridership and revenue levels. This testimony is based on GAO's past work on Amtrak and focuses on (1) background on problems related to the development of the Acela program, (2) summary of issues related to lawsuits between Amtrak and the train manufacturers and the related settlement, (3) key challenges associated with the settlement, and (4) initial observations on possible challenges in Amtrak managing large-scale projects."
Date: May 11, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Federal Teacher Quality Programs

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This testimony discusses the findings from our recent work on fragmentation, overlap, and potential duplication in federally funded programs that support teacher quality. We recently issued a report addressing fragmentation, overlap, and potential duplication in federal programs that outlined opportunities to reduce potential duplication across a wide range of federal programs, including teacher quality programs. Our recent work on teacher quality programs builds on a long history of work where we identified a number of education programs with similar goals, beneficiaries, and allowable activities that are administered by multiple federal agencies. This work may help inform congressional deliberations over how to prioritize spending given the rapidly building fiscal pressures facing our nation's government. In recent years, the Department of Education (Education) has faced expanded responsibilities that have challenged the department to strategically allocate resources to balance new duties with ongoing ones. For example, we reported the number of grants Education awarded increased from about 14,000 in 2000 to about 21,000 just 2 years later and has since remained around 18,000, even as the number of full-time equivalent staff decreased by 13 percent from fiscal years 2000 to 2009. New programs often increase Education's workload, requiring staff to develop new guidance and provide technical assistance to program participants. Our work examining fragmentation, overlap, and potential duplication can help inform decisions on how to prioritize spending, which could also help Education address these challenges and better allocate scarce resources. In particular, our recent work identified 82 programs supporting teacher quality, which are characterized by fragmentation and overlap. Fragmentation of programs exists when programs serve the same broad area of national need but are administered across different federal agencies or offices. Program overlap exists when multiple agencies or programs have similar ...
Date: April 13, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NASA: Challenges in Completing and Sustaining the International Space Station

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The International Space Station (ISS), the most complex scientific space project ever attempted, remains incomplete. NASA expects the station's final construction cost will be $31 billion and expects sustainment costs through the station's planned retirement in fiscal year 2016 to total $11 billion. The space shuttle, the only vehicle capable of transporting large segments of the station into orbit, is critical to its completion. NASA plans to complete ISS assembly and retire the shuttle in 2010 in order to pursue a new generation of space flight vehicles, which will not begin to be available until 2015. To provide crew rotation and logistical support during this 5-year gap, NASA plans to rely on spacecraft developed by the commercial sector and other countries. In light of these circumstances, GAO examined the risks and challenges NASA faces in (1) completing assembly of the ISS by 2010 and (2) providing logistics and maintenance to the ISS after 2010. GAO's work to accomplish this included reviewing budget, planning, and other documents from NASA; reviewing NASA officials' testimonies; and interviewing NASA and foreign space program officials."
Date: April 24, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NASA: Projects Need More Disciplined Oversight and Management to Address Key Challenges

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This testimony discusses the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) oversight and management of its major projects. As you know, in 1990, GAO designated NASA's contract management as high risk in view of persistent cost growth and schedule slippage in the majority of its major projects. Since that time, GAO's high-risk work has focused on identifying a number of causal factors, including antiquated financial management systems, poor cost estimating, and undefinitized contracts. Because cost growth and schedule delays persist, this area - now titled acquisition management because of the scope of issues that need to be resolved - remains high risk. To its credit, NASA has recently made a concerted effort to improve its acquisition management. In 2007, NASA developed a comprehensive plan to address systemic weaknesses related to how it manages its acquisitions. The plan specifically seeks to strengthen program/project management, increase accuracy in cost estimating, facilitate monitoring of contractor cost performance, improve agency wide business processes, and improve financial management. While we applaud these efforts our recent work has shown that NASA needs to pay more attention to effective project management. It needs to adopt best practices that focus on closing gaps in knowledge about requirements, technologies, funding, time and other resources before it makes commitments to large-scale programs. For instance, the Mars Science Laboratory, which was already over budget, recently announced a 2-year launch delay. Current estimates suggest that the price of this delay may be $400 million--which drives the current project life-cycle cost estimate to $2.3 billion; up from its initial confirmation estimate of $1.6 billion. Also, in just one year, the development costs of NASA's Glory mission increased by 54 percent, or almost $100 million, because of problems NASA's contractor is having developing ...
Date: March 5, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Telecommunications: Data Gathering Weaknesses In FCC's Survey Of Information on Factors Underlying Cable Rate Changes

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Over 65 percent of American households currently subscribe to cable television service. There has been increasing concern that cable television rates have been rising aster than the rate of inflation for the last few years. As required, on a yearly basis, FCC prepares a report on cable rates in areas that face and those that do not face effective competition--a term defined by statute. For information used in this report, FCC maintains information on the competitive status of cable franchises and annually surveys a sample of cable franchises. GAO examined (1) the reliability of information that cable companies provided to FCC in its annual survey regarding cost factors underlying cable rate increases and (2) FCC's process for updating and revising cable franchise classifications as to whether they face effective competition."
Date: May 6, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NASA: Sound Management and Oversight Key to Addressing Crew Exploration Vehicle Project Risks

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plans to spend nearly $230 billion over the next two decades implementing the President's Vision for Space Exploration (Vision) plans. In July 2006, GAO issued a report that questioned the program's affordability, and particularly, NASA's acquisition approach for one of the program's major projects--the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). This testimony, which is based upon that report and another recent GAO report evaluating NASA's acquisition policies, highlights GAO's continuing concerns with (1) the affordability of the exploration program; (2) the acquisition approach for the CEV, and; (3) NASA's acquisition policies that lack requirements for projects to proceed with adequate knowledge."
Date: September 28, 2006
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NASA: Shuttle Fleet's Safe Return to Flight Is Key to Space Station Progress

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Since its inception, the International Space Station has experienced numerous problems that have resulted in significant cost growth and assembly schedule slippages. Following the Columbia accident and the subsequent grounding of the shuttle fleet in February 2003, concerns about the future of the space station escalated, as the fleet has been key to the station's assembly and operations. In August 2003, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board drew a causal link between aggressive space station goals--supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) current culture--and the accident. Specifically, the Board reported that, in addition to technical failures, Columbia's safety was compromised in part by internal pressures to meet an ambitious launch schedule to achieve certain space station milestones. This testimony discusses the implications of the shuttle fleet's grounding on the space station's schedule and cost, and on the program's partner funding and agreements--findings we reported on in September 2003. The testimony also proposes a framework for providing NASA and the Congress with a means to bring about and assess needed cultural changes across the agency."
Date: October 29, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Telecommunications: Application of the Antideficiency Act and Other Fiscal Controls to FCC's E-Rate Program

Description: Testimony 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. 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. This testimony is based on GAO's February 2005 report GAO-05-151, which reviewed (1) the effect of the current structure of the E-rate program on FCC's management of the program, including the applicability of the Antideficiency Act, (2) FCC's development and use of E-rate performance goals and measures, and (3) the effectiveness of FCC's program oversight mechanisms."
Date: April 11, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Telecommunications: Challenges to Assessing and Improving Telecommunications for Native Americans on Tribal Lands

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "An important goal of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, is to ensure access to telecommunications services for all Americans. This testimony is based on GAO's January 2006 report GAO-06-189, which reviewed 1) the status of telecommunications subscribership for Native Americans living on tribal lands; 2) federal programs available for improving telecommunications on these lands; 3) barriers to improvements; and 4) how some tribes are addressing these barriers."
Date: March 7, 2006
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeownership: Problems Persist With HUD's 203(k) Home Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Program

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) 203(K) Home Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Program helps promote the rehabilitation and repair of housing by combining, in one insured mortgage, the funds needed to purchase and rehabilitate a single-family home. The loans are made by banks and other private lenders from their own funds and are insured by HUD's Federal Housing Administration. The program's history of waste, fraud, and abuse prompted a GAO review of HUD program oversight about two years ago. The 203(K) program is inherently more risky than HUD's principal single-family loan insurance program because its rehabilitation component makes it more complex and susceptible to misuse. HUD's Inspector General and others noted such risks in 1997 and 1998 reports on the department's management of the program. HUD was not adequately targeting 203(K) loans and lenders for review, properly training and overseeing consultants/inspectors, and monitoring nonprofit organization's participation in the program."
Date: September 10, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department