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Environmental Health: High-level Strategy and Leadership Needed to Continue Progress toward Protecting Children from Environmental Threats

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Exposure to toxic chemicals or environmental pollutants may harm the health of the nation's 74 million children and contribute to increases in asthma and developmental impairments. In 2007, 66 percent of children lived in counties exceeding allowable levels for at least one of the six principal air pollutants that cause or aggravate asthma, contributing to medical costs of $3.2 billion per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1997, Executive Order 13045 mandated that agencies place a high priority on children's risks and required that policies, programs, activities, and standards address those risks. In response, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the Office of Children's Health Protection and convened the Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee. This report assesses the extent to which EPA has institutionalized consideration of children's health through (1) strategies and priorities, (2) key offices and other child-focused resources, and (3) participation in interagency efforts. GAO reviewed numerous documents and met with EPA and other officials for this report."
Date: January 28, 2010
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: 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

Government Contracting: Federal Efforts to Assist Small Minority Owned Businesses

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "While their views varied to some degree, federal agency officials and advocacy groups GAO contacted identified a number of challenges that small, minority-owned businesses may face in pursuing federal government contracts. For example, officials and advocacy groups pointed to a lack of performance history and knowledge of the federal contracting process as significant barriers. Officials from advocacy groups cited additional challenges, such as difficulty gaining access to contracting officials and decreased contracting opportunities resulting from contract bundling—the consolidation of two or more contracts previously performed under smaller contracts, into a single contract. Officials from agencies that accounted for 70 percent of federal contracting with small, minority-owned businesses—(the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security, and the General Services Administration) told GAO that they conducted outreach to help small, minority-owned businesses with these challenges. Their outreach efforts include one-on-one interviews between contracting office staff and businesses seeking federal contracts. Linguistic and cultural barriers were identified as a challenge on a limited basis."
Date: September 28, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Disaster Assistance: Better Planning Needed for Housing Victims of Catastrophic Disasters

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed thousands of homes and displaced over 1 million people. In light of widespread Congressional and public interest in U.S. agencies' performance in assisting hurricane victims, GAO initiated work under the Comptroller General's authority to examine federal housing assistance. Specifically, this report examines (1) the extent to which the National Response Plan (NRP) clearly described the responsibilities and capabilities of federal agencies and the Red Cross; (2) the extent to which these organizations had plans for providing sheltering and housing assistance; and (3) the perceptions of victims and others regarding the assistance needed and provided. GAO reviewed the NRP and related documents, interviewed Red Cross and federal agency officials and a limited number of storm victims, and convened a group of experts to discuss these issues."
Date: February 28, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Acquisitions: Information for Congress on Performance of Major Programs Can Be More Complete, Timely, and Accessible

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "DOD has more than $1 trillion worth of major defense acquisition programs, on which it must report to Congress, including a comparison of a current program's costs to a baseline containing its cost, quantity, schedule, and performance goals. When these goals are changed, the program is "rebaselined" to reflect current status. However, measuring current estimates against the most recent baseline without additional perspectives may obscure for Congress how programs are performing over time. Concerned over this, you asked GAO to examine how DOD's use of rebaselining has affected the adequacy of data provided to Congress on major defense acquisition programs."
Date: March 28, 2005
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

DOD Business Systems Modernization: Billions Continue to Be Invested with Inadequate Management Oversight and Accountability

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Despite its significant investment in business systems, the Department of Defense (DOD) continues to have long-standing financial and inventory management problems that prevent it from producing reliable and timely information for making decisions and for accurately reporting on its billions of dollars of inventory. GAO was asked to (1) identify DOD's fiscal year 2004 estimated funding for its business systems, (2) determine if DOD has effective control and accountability over its business systems investments, and (3) determine whether selected business systems will help resolve some of DOD's long-standing problems and whether they are being effectively managed."
Date: May 28, 2004
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Health Care: Department of Defense Needs a Strategic Approach to Contracting for Health Care Professionals

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The military departments--the Army, Navy, and Air Force--generally use competition and fixed-price contracts when contracting for medical professionals. These practices can provide lower prices or reduced risk for the government. The military departments use a number of contract arrangements, including contracts awarded to multiple health care staffing companies, for health care professionals. Military department analyses indicate that multiple-award contracts result in lower prices compared to other contract arrangements."
Date: May 28, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

HIV/AIDS: Changes Needed to Improve the Distribution of Ryan White CARE Act and Housing Funds

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Among federal efforts to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic are the CARE Act of 1990 and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program (HOPWA) administered by the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), respectively. Both use formulas based upon a grantee's number of AIDS cases, rather than HIV and AIDS cases, to distribute funds to metropolitan areas, states, and territories. HIV cases must be incorporated with AIDS cases in CARE Act formulas not later than fiscal year 2007. GAO was asked to examine (1) how CARE Act and HOPWA funds are allocated among types of services, (2) the extent of funding distribution differences among CARE Act and HOPWA grantees, and how funding formula provisions contribute to these differences, and (3) what distribution differences could result from incorporating HIV case counts in CARE Act and HOPWA funding formulas."
Date: February 28, 2006
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Legal Services Corporation: Improved Internal Controls Needed in Grants Management and Oversight

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) was created as a private nonprofit to support legal assistance for low-income people to resolve their civil legal matters and relies heavily on federal appropriations. In 2006, LSC distributed most of its $327 million in grants to support such assistance. Effective internal controls over grants and oversight of grantees are critical to LSC's mission. GAO was asked to determine whether LSC's internal controls over grants management and oversight processes provide reasonable assurance that grant funds are used for their intended purposes. GAO analyzed key records and interviewed agency officials to obtain an understanding of LSC's internal control framework, including the monitoring and oversight of grantees, and performed limited reviews of internal controls and compliance at 14 grantees."
Date: December 28, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Architect of the Capitol: Committed, Sustained Leadership Needed to Continue Progress

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is responsible for the operation, maintenance, renovation, and new construction of the Capitol Hill complex, including the U.S. Capitol, the Library of Congress, and the Senate and House Office Buildings. In 2003, at the request of Congress, GAO issued a management review of AOC that contained recommendations designed to help AOC become more strategic and accountable. Subsequently, Congress directed GAO to monitor AOC's progress in implementing recommendations. This is the fourth status report on AOC's progress and summarizes GAO's assessment of AOC's overall progress and remaining actions in becoming more strategic and accountable, including AOC's responses to specific recommendations GAO made in January 2003 and subsequently. To assess AOC's progress, GAO analyzed AOC documents; interviewed AOC officials; and relied on the results of related GAO reviews, including reviews of the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC). AOC generally agreed with GAO's assessment of its progress, but noted that 2 additional recommendations--1 on financial management practices and 1 on collecting worker safety data--should be considered implemented. GAO acknowledges AOC's efforts in these areas, but maintains that further steps are necessary to fully implement these recommendations."
Date: February 28, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Cigarette Smuggling: Federal Law Enforcement Efforts and Seizures Increasing

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Illegal trafficking in cigarettes can generate enormous profits and is purportedly a multibillion dollar a year enterprise. As cigarette taxes increase, so do the incentives for criminal organizations to smuggle cigarettes into the United States. Cigarette smuggling results in lost tax revenues, undermines government health policy objectives, can attract sophisticated and organized criminal groups, and could be a source of funding for terrorists. Because of these concerns, GAO examined (1) the nature and scope of the problem of smuggled cigarettes entering the United States, including federal tax revenue losses and potential health risks; (2) federal law enforcement agencies'--U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)--efforts to thwart the smuggling of cigarettes into the United States; and (3) legal initiatives being pursued to enhance law enforcement efforts to thwart the smuggling of cigarettes into the United States."
Date: May 28, 2004
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Contracting: Actions Needed to Increase Competition

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Defense’s (DOD) competition rate for all contract obligations declined over the past five fiscal years, from 62.6 percent in fiscal year 2008 to 57.1 percent in fiscal year 2012. GAO also found that the competition rate in fiscal year 2012 varied by specific DOD component with the Air Force having the lowest at 37.1 percent and the Defense Logistics Agency the highest at 83.3 percent. The majority of the noncompetitive awards cited the availability of only one responsible source to meet the government’s needs as the reason for using noncompetitive procedures."
Date: March 28, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Disaster Preparedness: Better Planning Would Improve OSHA's Efforts to Protect Workers' Safety and Health in Disasters

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Concerns about the safety and health of workers involved in the response to Hurricane Katrina included their exposure to contaminated floodwaters and injuries from working around debris. The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for coordinating federal efforts to protect the safety and health of workers involved in the response to large national disasters. Under the Comptroller General's authority, GAO initiated a number of Katrina-related reviews. For this review, GAO examined (1) what is known about the number of response and recovery workers deployed to the Gulf Coast in response to Hurricane Katrina; (2) the extent to which OSHA tracked injuries and illnesses sustained by these workers; and (3) how well OSHA met the safety and health needs of workers. To address these issues, GAO reviewed reports; analyzed data; interviewed federal, state, and local officials; and conducted site visits."
Date: March 28, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Department of Homeland Security: Taking Further Action to Better Determine Causes of Morale Problems Would Assist in Targeting Action Plans

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees reported having lower average morale than the average for the rest of the federal government, but morale varied across components and employee groups within the department. Data from the 2011 Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS)--a tool that measures employees' perceptions of whether and to what extent conditions characterizing successful organizations are present in their agencies--showed that DHS employees had 4.5 percentage points lower job satisfaction and 7.0 percentage points lower engagement in their work overall. Engagement is the extent to which employees are immersed in their work and spending extra effort on job performance. Moreover, within most demographic groups available for comparison, DHS employees scored lower on average satisfaction and engagement than the average for the rest of the federal government. For example, within most pay categories DHS employees reported lower satisfaction and engagement than non-DHS employees in the same pay groups. Levels of satisfaction and engagement varied across components, with some components reporting scores above the non-DHS averages. Several components with lower morale, such as Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), made up a substantial share of FEVS respondents at DHS, and accounted for a significant portion of the overall difference between the department and other agencies. In addition, components that were created with the department or shortly thereafter tended to have lower morale than components that previously existed. Job satisfaction and engagement varied within components as well. For example, employees in TSA's Federal Security Director staff reported higher satisfaction (by 13 percentage points) and engagement (by 14 percentage points) than TSA's airport security screeners."
Date: September 28, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Electronic Health Records: DOD's and VA's Sharing of Information Could Benefit from Improved Management

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are required to accelerate the exchange of health information between the departments and to develop systems or capabilities that allow for interoperability (generally, the ability of systems to exchange data) and that are compliant with federal standards. The Act also established a joint interagency program office to function as a single point of accountability for the effort, which is to implement such systems or capabilities by September 30, 2009. Further, the Act required that GAO semi-annually report on the progress made in achieving these goals. For this second report, GAO evaluates the departments' progress and plans toward sharing electronic health information that comply with federal standards, and whether the interagency program office is positioned to function as a single point of accountability. To do so, GAO reviewed its past work, analyzed agency documentation, and conducted interviews."
Date: January 28, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Information Technology: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Needs to Establish Critical Investment Management Capabilities

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "To carry out its mission of ensuring health care security for beneficiaries, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) relies heavily on information technology (IT) systems. In fiscal year 2005, CMS's total IT appropriations was about $2.55 billion, of which about $760 million, or 30 percent, was to support internal investments, and $1.79 billion was to fund the Medicaid Management Information Systems (MMIS) that states use to support their Medicaid programs. (GAO is using the term "internal" to refer to all of CMS' IT investments excluding state MMISs.) In light of the size and significance of these investments, GAO's objectives were to (1) evaluate CMS's capabilities for managing its internal investments, (2) determine any plans the agency might have for improving these capabilities, and (3) examine CMS's process for approving and monitoring state MMISs."
Date: October 28, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Military Recruiting: Clarified Reporting Requirements and Increased Transparency Could Strengthen Oversight over Recruiter Irregularities

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "To sustain a viable military force, the Department of Defense (DOD) depends on recruiting several hundred thousand qualified individuals into the military each year. The service components rely on their recruiters to act with the utmost integrity because even a single incident of wrongdoing on the part of a recruiter--a recruiter irregularity--can adversely affect the service components' ability to recruit qualified individuals. GAO was asked to (1) analyze data on reported cases of recruiter irregularities across the service components, (2) review the extent to which the service components have guidance and procedures to address recruiter irregularities, and (3) review the extent to which the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) has oversight over recruiter irregularities. GAO analyzed the data on recruiter irregularities reported to OSD by the service components; reviewed the service components' recruiter irregularity case files; examined relevant guidance and procedures from the service components; and interviewed service components' recruiting command personnel, recruiters, and OSD officials."
Date: January 28, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Adult Drug Courts: Evidence Indicates Recidivism Reductions and Mixed Results for Other Outcomes

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Drug court programs, which were established in the late 1980s as a local response to increasing numbers of drug-related cases and expanding jail and prison populations, have become popular nationwide in the criminal justice system. These programs are designed to reduce defendants' repeated crime (that is, recidivism), and substance abuse behavior by engaging them in a judicially monitored substance abuse treatment. However, determining whether drug court programs are effective at reducing recidivism and substance use has been challenging because of a large amount of weak empirical evidence. he 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act requires that GAO assess drug court program effectiveness. To meet this mandate, GAO conducted a systematic review of drug court program research, from which it selected 27 evaluations of 39 adult drug court programs that met its criteria for, among other things, methodological soundness. This report describes the results of that review of published evaluations of adult drug court programs, particularly relating to (1) recidivism outcomes, (2) substance use relapse, (3) program completion, and (4) the costs and benefits of drug court programs. DOJ reviewed a draft of this report and had no comments. Office of National Drug Control Policy reviewed a draft of this report and generally agreed with the findings."
Date: February 28, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Homeland Security: Management of First Responder Grants in the National Capital Region Reflects the Need for Coordinated Planning and Performance Goals

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the National Capital Region (NCR), comprising jurisdictions including the District of Columbia and surrounding jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia, has been recognized as a significant potential target for terrorism. GAO was asked to report on (1) what federal funds have been allocated to NCR jurisdictions for emergency preparedness; (2) what challenges exist within NCR to organizing and implementing efficient and effective regional preparedness programs; (3) what gaps, if any, remain in the emergency preparedness of NCR; and (4) what has been the role of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in NCR to date."
Date: May 28, 2004
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Building Partner Capacity: Actions Needed to Strengthen DOD Efforts to Assess the Performance of the Regional Centers for Security Studies

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Defense's (DOD) five Regional Centers for Security Studies (Regional Centers) share similarities and differences with other DOD institutions that provide training and education, including professional military education, advanced degree-conferring, and professional development institutions, in terms of curriculum topics, targeted audience, and program format. GAO found that they all offer training and educational programs and activities to help participants understand security and military matters and to enhance their knowledge, skills, and experiences in these matters. However, there are notable differences in that the Regional Centers generally focus on helping foreign participants understand and respond to regional security issues; generally target a foreign civilian and military personnel audience; and offer shorter and typically less formal courses of study. The Regional Centers support DOD policy objectives with curricula designed to enhance security and foster partnerships through education and exchanges. By contrast, other DOD training and education organizations focus their curricula on military operations and leadership. While the Regional Centers' target audience is foreign civilian and military officials, the other DOD educational organizations typically aim their programs and activities at U.S. servicemembers at all career levels. Regional Center participants generally do not earn credit toward a degree, and the offered courses, conferences, and workshops are of shorter duration ranging from days to weeks. DOD's professional military education and advanced degree-conferring institutions are accredited and generally offer longer, more formal courses that provide participants the opportunity to earn advanced degrees."
Date: June 28, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Acquisitions: Improved Management Practices Could Help Minimize Cost Growth in Navy Shipbuilding Programs

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The U.S. Navy invests significantly to maintain technological superiority of its warships. In 2005 alone, $7.6 billion was devoted to new ship construction in six ship classes--96 percent of which was allocated to four classes: Arleigh Burke class destroyer, Nimitz class aircraft carrier, San Antonio class amphibious transport dock ship, and the Virginia class submarine. Cost growth in the Navy's shipbuilding programs has been a long-standing problem. Over the past few years, the Navy has used "prior year completion" funding--additional appropriations for ships already under contract--to pay for cost overruns. This report (1) estimates the current and projected cost growth on construction contracts for eight case study ships, (2) breaks down and examines the components of the cost growth, and (3) identifies any funding and management practices that contributed to cost growth."
Date: February 28, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department