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Assessing Recharge and Geological Model Uncertainty at the Climax Mine Area of the Nevada Test Site

Description: Hydrologic analyses are commonly based on a single conceptual-mathematical model. Yet hydrologic environments are open and complex, rendering them prone to multiple interpretations and mathematical descriptions. Considering conceptual model uncertainty is a critical process in hydrologic uncertainty assessment. This study assesses recharge and geologic model uncertainty for the Climax mine area of the Nevada Test Site, Nevada. Five alternative recharge models have been independently developed for Nevada and the Death Valley area of California. These models are (1) the Maxey-Eakin model, (2 and 3) a distributed parameter watershed model with and without a runon-runoff component, and (4 and 5) a chloride mass-balance model with two zero-recharge masks, one for alluvium and one for both alluvium and elevation. Similarly, five geological models have been developed based on different interpretations of available geologic information. One of them was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey for the Death Valley Regional Flow System (DVRFS) model; the other four were developed by Bechtel Nevada for the Yucca Flat Corrective Action Unit (CAU). The Climax mine area is in the northern part of the Yucca Flat CAU, which is within the DVRFS. A total of 25 conceptual models are thus formulated based on the five recharge and five geologic models. The objective of our work is to evaluate the conceptual model uncertainty, and quantify its propagation through the groundwater modeling process. A model averaging method is applied that formally incorporates prior information and field measurements into our evaluation. The DVRFS model developed by the U.S. Geological Survey is used as the modeling framework, into which the 25 models are incorporated. Conceptual model uncertainty is first evaluated through expert elicitation based on prior information possessed by two expert panels. Their perceptions of model plausibility are quantified as prior model probabilities, which are then updated by the site ...
Date: November 8, 2007
Creator: Ye, M.; Pohlmann, K.; Chapman, J. & Pohll, G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Biofuels: DOE Lacks a Strategic Approach to Coordinate Increasing Production with Infrastructure Development and Vehicle Needs

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The U.S. transportation sector is almost entirely dependent on oil, a condition that poses significant economic and environmental risks. Biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, have the potential to displace oil use in transportation fuel. GAO was asked to describe the status of and impediments to expanding biofuel production, distribution infrastructure, and compatible vehicles as well as federal policy options to overcome the impediments. GAO was also asked to assess the extent to which the Department of Energy (DOE) has developed a strategic approach to coordinate the expansion of biofuel production, infrastructure, and vehicles and has evaluated the effectiveness of biofuel tax credits. GAO interviewed representatives and reviewed studies and data from DOE, states, industry, and other sources."
Date: June 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Military Personnel: DMDC Data on Officers' Commissioning Programs is Insufficiently Reliable and Needs to be Corrected

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) is a key Department of Defense (DOD) support organization that, among other things, generates reports for defense organizations such as the military services, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Staff. External organizations such as GAO and federally funded research and development centers also rely on DMDC for quantitative data and analyses pertaining to a wide variety of issues, including the numbers of DOD personnel in specified occupations or demographic groups, servicemembers' attitudes, and compensation. DMDC reports to DOD's Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. In describing its databases, DMDC states that it maintains the largest archive of personnel, manpower, training, and financial data in DOD. It also notes that the personnel data are broad in scope and extend back to the early 1970s covering all services, all components of the total force (active duty, guard, reserve, and civilian), and all phases of the personnel life cycle (accession, separation, and retirement). DMDC data serve as the basis for DOD's annual Population Representation in the Military Forces which, among other things, provides information on the numbers of officers who were accessed into the military from each service's various commissioning programs: military academies, Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), Officer Candidate Schools (OCS: for the Army, Navy, and Air Force) and Officer Training School (OTS: for the Air Force). On January 19, 2007, we issued a report on officer accessions, retention, and foreign language training. The purpose of this report is to bring to your attention reliability issues with DMDC data that we encountered while preparing our report and to provide you with our recommendations to address these issues."
Date: March 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Transportation: DOD Has Taken Actions to Incorporate Lessons Learned in Transforming Its Freight Distribution System

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Defense (DOD) transports second destination freight from over 600 locations to thousands of destinations throughout the continental United States each year at a cost of approximately $900 million. In 2001, DOD conducted a prototype program to better understand whether commercial best practices--specifically the use of a third-party logistics provider--could be applied to its freight transportation system and reduce costs. The prototype, which included a 1-year base agreement with two 1-year option periods, was conducted at selected Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and military service shipping locations in the southeastern United States. At the conclusion of the first year, DLA exercised an option to extend the prototype at its shipping locations, whereas the military service shipping locations returned to DOD's previous freight shipping system due to dissatisfaction with the prototype's performance. On the basis of the prototype, DOD concluded that a third-party logistics provider could successfully integrate with DOD transportation processes if the program was designed and implemented correctly to capitalize on the benefits of using a third-party logistics provider while also addressing the performance problems that were experienced with the prototype. In 2004, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics initiated the Defense Transportation Coordination Initiative (DTCI) to improve the reliability, predictability, and efficiency of moving materiel within the continental United States through a long-term partnership with a third-party logistics provider. DOD issued a request for proposals in June 2006 and plans to award a contract during fiscal year 2007. The DTCI contracting vehicle will be an indefinite-delivery, requirements-type contract3 that will pay the contractor on a cost-reimbursable basis for moving freight, a monthly fixed price for management services, and a semi-annual award fee based on contractor performance. The contract covers commodities that ...
Date: May 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Military Personnel: Additional Actions Needed to Improve Oversight of Reserve Employment Issues

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since September 11, 2001, the Department of Defense (DOD) has mobilized more than 500,000 reservists. As reservists demobilize, concerns exist about difficulties with their civilian employment. Public Law 109-163 required GAO to report on reservists' civilian employer data and employment matters. GAO assessed (1) the status of DOD's efforts to capture reservists' employer data; (2) DOD, Labor, Justice, and Office of Special Counsel processes to track and address reservists' Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) complaints; and (3) the four federal agencies' efforts to track reservists' USERRA complaints related to disabilities incurred while on active duty. GAO reviewed policies and procedures for reporting and tracking complaints; DOD's civilian employer database for reservists and reservists' USERRA complaints; and data reliability and quality checks."
Date: February 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

VA Student Financial Aid: Management Actions Needed to Reduce Overlap in Approving Education and Training Programs and to Assess State Approving Agencies

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In fiscal year 2006, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) paid approximately $2.1 billion in education assistance benefits to more than 470,000 beneficiaries and about $19 million to state approving agencies (SAA) to assess whether schools and training programs offer education of sufficient quality for veterans to receive VA education assistance benefits when attending them. Qualified individuals--veterans, service persons, reservists, and certain spouses and dependents--receive benefits through a number of education assistance programs for the pursuit of various types of programs, such as a degree program, vocational program, apprenticeship, or on-the-job training. The Departments of Education (Education) and Labor (Labor) also assess education and training programs for various purposes, primarily for awarding student aid and providing apprenticeship assistance. In 2006, under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, Education provided nearly $77 billion in student aid in the form of both grants and loans. The Department of Education assesses and certifies postsecondary institutions for participation in Title IV programs through various oversight functions to ensure that these schools meet federal administrative and financial requirements and that they are accredited and licensed. Similarly, under the National Apprenticeship Act of 1937, the Department of Labor is authorized to formulate and promote the furtherance of labor standards to safeguard the welfare of apprentices. Given each agency's role, the potential of duplicative efforts among federal agencies has been a congressional concern. In 1995, GAO reported on this matter and concluded that there was a substantial amount of overlap between the efforts of SAAs and the other federal agencies. In light of continued congressional interest in this issue, we have now answered the following questions: (1) What changes have occurred in state approving agencies' duties and functions since 1995? (2) To ...
Date: March 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Weather Forecasting: National Weather Service's Operations Prototype Needs More Rigorous Planning

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Using advanced systems and trained specialists located in 122 weather forecast offices throughout the country, the National Weather Service (NWS) provides storm and flood warnings and weather forecasts to protect life and property and to enhance the national economy. To improve the efficiency of its operations, in November 2006, NWS approved an effort to develop a prototype of an alternative way of operating. Under this prototype, weather forecasting offices would share selected responsibilities. GAO (1) determined the status of and plans for the prototype, (2) evaluated whether the prototype's justification was sufficient, (3) determined whether NWS's plans to evaluate the prototype are adequate, (4) evaluated whether NWS is sufficiently involving stakeholders in its prototype plans, and (5) determined how NWS plans to ensure that there will be no degradation of service during and after the prototype. To do so, GAO analyzed agency documentation and interviewed program officials and stakeholders."
Date: June 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Higher Education: Issues Related to Law School Accreditation

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In order to participate in certain federal programs, such as federal student financial aid, postsecondary institutions must be accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the Department of Education (Education). Accreditation ensures that schools provide basic levels of quality in their educational programs, and Education recognizes those agencies it concludes can reliably determine the quality of education provided by the schools and programs they accredit. Since 1952, Education has recognized the American Bar Association (ABA) as an accrediting agency for law schools. ABA accreditation is important to the 195 law schools it accredits because it allows their graduates the flexibility to take the Bar exam in any jurisdiction in the United States. The Department of Education requires that all recognized accrediting agencies periodically reapply for continued recognition. The Secretary of Education's accreditation advisory group, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), considered the ABA's most recent application for continued recognition in December 2006. The ABA was originally scheduled for review in December 2005, but Education postponed it twice based on the large volume of public comments that had to be reviewed, as well as concerns about the ABA's diversity standard. To address Congressional interest in these issues, we answered the following questions: (1) What is Education's process for recognizing accrediting agencies? (2) What is ABA's process for accrediting law schools? (3) What concerns have been raised about the ABA's accreditation process?"
Date: March 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NASA: Progress Made on Strategic Human Capital Management, but Future Program Challenges Remain

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is engaged in efforts to replace the Space Shuttle with the next generation of human space flight systems and implement the President's space exploration policy. To do this, NASA must recruit, develop, and retain certain critical skills in its workforce, guided by its strategic human capital management plan. GAO was asked to examine the extent to which NASA (1) has aligned its human capital planning framework with its strategic mission and programmatic goals and (2) is recruiting, developing, and retaining critically skilled personnel, given future workforce needs. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed NASA's policies, planning, and implementation documents; reviewed budget documents and performance and accountability reports; and interviewed cognizant agency officials. To assess NASA's efforts to recruit, develop, and retain critically skilled personnel, we analyzed demographics data, and critical skills information; NASA's policy, procedures and guidance for recruiting and hiring; and implementation of information systems programs, and processes that support human capital management and planning. We are not making any recommendations in this report."
Date: August 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Aviation Administration: Cost Allocation Practices and Cost Recovery Proposal Compared with Selected International Practices

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Anticipating the expiration of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) current authorization at the end of fiscal year 2007, the administration submitted a proposal on February 14, 2007, for reauthorizing FAA and the excise taxes that fund most of its budget. This proposal would introduce cost-based charges for commercial users of air traffic control services, eliminate many current taxes, substantially raise fuel taxes for general aviation users to pay for their use of air traffic control services, and charge commercial and general aviation users a fuel tax to pay primarily for airport capital improvements. In January 2007, FAA released the results of a recently completed cost allocation study in support of the administration's proposal for transitioning to user fees. FAA and the administration used this study to determine the factors that drive the costs of providing air traffic control services, allocate these costs to various users of air traffic control services, and support the development of alternative methods to recover those costs. On March 21, 2007, we testified before the House Subcommittee on Aviation, providing our observations on selected changes to FAA's funding and budget structure contained in the administration's reauthorization proposal. As requested, we are also providing comparative information to further assist Congress in considering FAA's funding proposal. Accordingly, we addressed the following question: How do the proposed practices for allocating and recovering the cost of FAA's air traffic control operations compare to the practices of other countries?"
Date: June 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Employee Misclassification: Improved Outreach Could Help Ensure Proper Worker Classification

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Some workers do not receive worker protections to which they are entitled because employers misclassify them as independent contractors when they should be classified as employees. Key worker protections include minimum hourly wage and overtime pay and access to unemployment insurance. The Department of Labor (DOL) enforces several labor laws to protect workers, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Misclassification can also have a negative impact on tax collection for Social Security, unemployment insurance, and other programs. This testimony draws upon a previous GAO report and focuses specifically on (1) the number and characteristics of independent contractors, (2) the workforce protections and benefits provided to employees that typically are not available to independent contractors, and (3) the actions that DOL takes to detect and address employee misclassification."
Date: May 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Medicare Part D: Enrolling New Dual-Eligible Beneficiaries in Prescription Drug Plans

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Under the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA), dual-eligible beneficiaries--individuals with both Medicare and Medicaid coverage--have their drug costs covered under Medicare Part D rather than under state Medicaid programs. The MMA requires the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to enroll these beneficiaries in a Medicare prescription drug plan (PDP) if they do not select a plan on their own. CMS enrolled about 5.5 million dual-eligible beneficiaries in late 2005 and about 634,000 beneficiaries who became dually eligible during 2006. GAO was asked to testify on (1) CMS's process for enrolling new dual-eligible beneficiaries into PDPs and its effect on access to drugs and (2) how CMS set the effective coverage date for certain dual-eligible beneficiaries and its implementation of this policy. This testimony is based on a GAO report that is being released today, Medicare Part D: Challenges in Enrolling New Dual-Eligible Beneficiaries (GAO-07-272)."
Date: May 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Leaking Underground Storage Tanks: EPA Should Take Steps to Better Ensure the Effective Use of Public Funding for Cleanups

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Underground storage tanks that leak hazardous substances can contaminate nearby groundwater and soil. Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), tank owners and operators are primarily responsible for paying to clean up releases from their tanks. They can demonstrate their financial responsibility by using, among other options, publicly funded state financial assurance funds. Such funds function like insurance and are intended to ensure timely cleanup. These funds also pay to clean up releases from tanks without a viable owner, as does the federal Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund. GAO was asked to report on (1) states' estimates of the public costs to clean up known releases, (2) states' primary sources of cleanups funding and their viability, and (3) federal sources to address these releases. GAO surveyed all states and discussed key issues with EPA and selected state officials."
Date: February 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Acquisitions: Analysis of Processes Used to Evaluate Active Protection Systems

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Active Protection Systems (APS) protect vehicles from attack by detecting and intercepting missiles or munitions. In 2005, the lead systems integrator for the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program sought proposals for an APS developer and design and to deliver APS prototypes on vehicles by fiscal year 2009. Raytheon was chosen the APS developer. At the same time, the Department of Defense's Office of Force Transformation (OFT) evaluated near-term APS for potential use in Iraq. GAO was asked to review the Army's actions on APS/FCS: (1) the process for selecting the subcontractor to develop an APS for FCS and if potential conflicts of interest were avoided; (2) the timing of the trade study and if it followed a consistent methodology to evaluate alternatives, and the results; (3) the role the Army and Boeing played in selecting the developer; and (4) the process followed to provide a near-term APS solution for current forces."
Date: June 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy: Progress Made in Approving Applications, but Ability to Identify Remaining Individuals Is Limited

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "To help the elderly and disabled with prescription drug costs, the Congress passed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003, which created a voluntary outpatient prescription drug benefit (Medicare Part D). A key element of the prescription drug benefit is the low-income subsidy, or "extra help," available to Medicare beneficiaries with limited income and resources to assist them in paying their premiums and other out-of-pocket costs. To assess Social Security Administration's (SSA) implementation of the Medicare Part D low-income subsidy, GAO was asked to review (1) the progress that SSA has made in identifying and soliciting applications from individuals potentially eligible for the low-income subsidy, and (2) the processes that SSA uses to track its progress in administering the subsidy. This statement is drawn from GAO's ongoing study for the committee on the Medicare Part D low-income subsidy, which is expected to be published at the end of May. To conduct this work, GAO reviewed the law, assessed subsidy data, and interviewed officials from SSA, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Internal Revenue Service, state Medicaid agencies, and advocacy groups."
Date: May 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Military Personnel: Federal Agencies Have Taken Actions to Address Servicemembers' Employment Rights, but a Single Entity Needs to Maintain Visibility to Improve Focus on Overall Program Results

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since September 11, 2001, the Department of Defense (DOD) has mobilized more than 500,000 National Guard and Reserve members. As reservists return to civilian life, concerns exist about difficulties with their civilian employment. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) of 1994 protects the employment rights of individuals, largely National Guard and Reserve members, as they transition back to their civilian employment. GAO has issued a number of reports on agency efforts to carry out their USERRA responsibilities. DOD, the Department of Labor (DOL), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) have key responsibilities under the act. GAO was asked to discuss the overall process that the agencies use to implement USERRA. Specifically, this testimony addresses (1) organizational accountability in the implementation of USERRA and (2) actions that the agencies have taken to improve their processes to implement USERRA. For this testimony, GAO drew from its most recent reports on USERRA."
Date: November 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Coast Guard: Status of Efforts to Improve Deepwater Program Management and Address Operational Challenges

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Coast Guard's Deepwater program is a 25-year, $24 billion plan to replace or modernize its fleet of vessels and aircraft. While there is widespread acknowledgment that many of the Coast Guard's aging assets need replacement or renovation, concerns exist about the acquisition approach the Coast Guard adopted in launching the Deepwater program. From the outset, GAO has expressed concern about the risks involved with the Coast Guard's acquisition strategy, and continues to review Deepwater program management. This statement discusses (1) the Coast Guard's acquisition approach for the Deepwater program; (2) Coast Guard efforts to manage the program, hold contractors accountable, and control costs through competition; (3) the status of the Coast Guard's efforts to acquire new or upgraded Deepwater assets; and (4) operational challenges the Coast Guard is facing because of performance and design problems with Deepwater patrol boats."
Date: March 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Serious Economic, Fiscal, and Accountability Challenges

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The U.S. insular area of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is a self-governing commonwealth of the United States that comprises 14 islands in the North Pacific. In a December 2006 report--U.S. Insular Areas: Economic, Fiscal, and Financial Accountability Challenges (GAO-07-119)--regarding four insular areas including CNMI, GAO identified and reported the following: (1) economic challenges, including the effect of changing tax and trade laws on their economies; (2) fiscal condition; and (3) financial accountability, including compliance with the Single Audit Act. The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which requested the December 2006 report, asked GAO to present and discuss the results as they pertain to CNMI. Our summary and conclusions are based on our work performed for our December 2006 report on U.S. insular areas. For this testimony we also had available CNMI's fiscal year 2005 audited financial statements, which we have included in our review, along with some recent developments in fiscal year 2006."
Date: February 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Oversight of Food Safety: High-Risk Designation Can Bring Needed Attention to Fragmented System

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Each year, about 76 million people contract a foodborne illness in the United States; about 325,000 require hospitalization; and about 5,000 die. While the recent E. coli outbreaks highlighted the risks posed by accidental contamination, the attacks of September 11, 2001, heightened awareness that the food supply could also be vulnerable to deliberate contamination. This testimony focuses on the (1) role that GAO's high-risk series can play in raising the priority and visibility of the need to transform federal oversight of food safety, (2) fragmented nature of federal oversight of food safety, and (3) need to address federal oversight of food safety as a 21st century challenge. This work is based on previously issued reports."
Date: February 8, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department